CAW: Boston


Boston’s self titled debut album is among one of my favorite classic rock records. From start to finish it is filled with classic hits and shows of one of the most talented rock bands in their era. From an engineering stand point this album came out with some very unique guitar sounds.

Tom Scholz was playing around with future members Barry Goudreau and Brad Delp, and then was like, “you guys suck.” So he broke up the band and recorded the entire album by himself in his basement with Delp on vocals. It attracted attention from Epic records and they were like, “Hey, you guys gotta record this in a legit studio.” And then Scholz was like, “Syke, this rocks.” So they compromised and a studio band recorded most of the instruments in LA, while Scholz did the rest of the overdubs in his basement studio. Only two tracks include all of the guys that would tour under the name Boston, Foreplay/Long Time and Let Me Take You Home Tonight.

In 2003 the album went 17x platinum establishing that was an instant classic and will continue to be for along time to come.

Look at those F**king Stars.

Step by Step

Step Brothers

From the minds of Talladega Nights and Anchorman, is the latest Adam McKay/Will Ferrell collaboration Step Brothers. As I’m sure from what you’ve already seen on TV or in previews, this film can basically be entirely summed up in about a sentence. It’s two middle aged men living with their parents, whom become step brothers and act like immature kids being forced to learn some responsibility. With swearing galore, wacky situations and a couple of creepy and almost homoerotic sequences this comedy may be dumb downed to the core but is as well mindless entertainment in it’s truest form.

Lead by the comic mind of Will Ferrell and Oscar nominated actor John C. Reilly, Step Brothers is a completely relentless and almost insane summer comedy. Being drawn to Will Ferrell and as well being a John C. Reilly fan, I myself was immediately attracted to this comedy and walked in anticipating a funny and easy time at the movies. In what’s easily a showcase of these two actors comedic abilities I’m not sure if this could ever work had it been anyone else, as a matter of fact, it probably would of sucked had it been done with another two actors. Luckily, these two talented performers delivered on humor but this film is far from truly well crafted cinema.

I’ll admit even for an outlandish goof-ball comedy like this, the premise is a bit hard to swallow. The idea of two forty-something grown men who live at home and act like 12 year olds is more a stretched out SNL sketch than the kind of material that should be used in a feature length film. I mean these characters have to have some serious psychological impairments to end up in these predicaments but then again look at me, I’m trying to analyze the validity of a Will Ferrell comedy and that’s not really the point. It may be hard for some of the more uptight or intellectual viewers to accept, but for someone who can enjoy the smaller joys of extreme vulgarity and off-the-wall improvisation it’s a laugh riot.

Though in this day and age of comedy films with a heart like Knocked Up or The 40 Year Old Virgin I often found myself a little bummed or even uncomfortable by the lack of attention and care put into this story. Sure you can have loads of gross out jokes and wacky slap-stick gags but without a well developed story, than it can never really be anything more than another moronic summer comedy. I can already see people of lesser standards talking about this film in the same conversation where they might discuss how sweet Old School or Harold and Kumar was and when I look it at like I wish McKay, Ferrell and Reilly could of shot a little higher with this idea. Even McKay and Ferrell’s previous attempts followed a remotely proficient structure so it was sad to see this one go every which way without ever establishing a competent base, not entirely necessary for a film like this but it couldn’t hurt.

So if you want to see some twisted humor while being able to leave your brain at the door, than I’d say this films is for you, just don’t go expecting to see a classic comedy in the making because Step Brothers as funny as it is, is still missing a few steps.

Believe it or Not

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

The truth is out there yet again with this summer’s release of The X-Files: I Want to Believe an eerie, clever and suitable enough thriller. Reuniting the iconic pairing of everyone’s favorite paranormal investigators, Co-Writer/Director/Creator Chris Carter has set Mulder and Scully on yet another another creepy romp through the cold heartland of America. With a six year absence since the show’s finale in May 2002 and almost a decade passing since the last film, I think we were all curious as to whether this team could recapture the spark of the original series and after viewing it I believe they did, but as a standalone movie it definitely had a significant weak spot.

Following the closely knit mystery of an FBI agent’s disappearance, our story is set mostly in a wintery Virginia setting where a team of FBI field agents, led by Agent Mosley Drummy (Alvin “Xzbit” Joiner) and Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet), with the aid of a supposedly psychic former pedophile/priest Father Joe (Billy Connolly) are searching for a fellow agent who’s gone missing. After discovering several bodily remains but with no real break in the case, the FBI sets out to reunite the infamous team of Dana Scully, now a doctor and the expertise of now recluse Fox Mulder to solve the case. (That’s about as much as I’m going to say without spoiling anything)

Right off the bat I have to commend Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny’s ability to slip right back into the roles to recapture their trademark chemistry. Billy Connolly is another cast member worth high note for his subtle yet stark and hard hitting performance. The script penned by Chris Carter and X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz is as usual sharp, witty and always spooky, not much unlike the classic show. It may be hard for newcomers to adjust to the subtleties of this storytelling approach but for myself a loyal fan, it fit just like a glove. I admire the amount of care put into this dialogue and pacing to achieve a compelling story. Some movies go for big budget action and special effects to achieve suspense and entertainment, but here it’s handled in a much more realistic, basic approach more similar to a film like Silence of the Lambs than your average Hollywood Thriller.

The theme of faith is a strong element in this film, as it also addresses some intriguing deeper personal issues such as our suspension of belief and abilities to trust one another. Scully and Mulder’s relationship is put to the test stronger than I’ve ever seen, and it makes for some of the strongest scenes in the movie.

Sounds pretty good so far, but I must warn you that I Want to Believe isn’t perfect and does have a major downfall near the end of the film. Where we spend most of the film’s duration getting peeks and flashes of what looks to be a promising finale, this film never really delivers and lacks a satisfying climax. There seems to be a great amount of build up to nothing too shocking or exciting, rather it just gives us a brief confrontation, explanation and than ends. Puzzled at the end of the film I pondered, “They spent six years and that was the best they could come up with?” Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the rest of the film, I just didn’t get why there was no real third act. I came to the conclusion that if this had been another episode of the show I would of been satisfied, but as a theatrical movie this is really lacking some cinematic structure not to mention a satisfying resolution.

With some of that grim news out of the way don’t let my review get you down. There’s still much to enjoy in this intelligent, well acted, competent thriller. It may not have the glitz and glamour of most summer films but it has substance and as long as Carter and company always have that, I will always believe.


It’s been more than a week since a talked about E3 at Sean, and even more than a week since the show ended. Despite being pretty disappointing, I’ll still relive last week to help you find the diamonds in the rough.

So on Tuesday Sony and Nintendo had their press conferences. Sony didn’t announce anything that unexpected, save for M.A.G. (Massive Action Game). It sounds kind of interesting, but I need to hear more on the execution there. Overall a fine show, albeit a somewhat boring one.

Nintendo, on the other hand, fucked up. The Wii Motion Plus thing, which I guess adds 1:1 motion to the WiiMote, but where were the games? All we got was the new Wii Sports, which doesn’t look like they are trying very hard. The only real games they announced were the DS GTA (which they revealed nothing about) and the new Animal Crossing, which looks identical to the Gamecube game, except it has a city now. Bullshit! The other announcements were Wii Music, which looks like something for toddlers.

Press Conference Scorecard:
Microsoft: B
Sony: B-
Nintendo: F

The only other press conference worth noting was the EA one, which was a glorified parade of all their great game developers. Can’t wait for Spore, Mirror’s Edge, Rock Band 2, all that stuff.

I can’t really say any new games caught my eye, but I did enjoy getting a better look at some titles that we didn’t know too much about. The new Prince of Persia looks great, but maybe I’m biased towards games that use Sigur Ros music in the trailer. If I had a PS3 I’d be stoked about Resistance 2 and Killzone 2. Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5, all that shit looks great.

Guitar Hero World Tour just doesn’t impress me. They have a couple sweet songs announced so far, but the interface itself, along with the note charts, just doesn’t look good. I get the feeling that Rock Band 2 is a perfecting of RB1, while Guitar Hero 4 is just Neversoft trying to catch up and pander to the fans.

Ultimately, there’s not that much that I can report to you. The best thing to do is go to a site like GameTrailers or Kotaku and dig in.

T3: X-Cited

It’s been a busy summer with all these superhero flicks and big budget blockbusters and this week marks the release of the second film based off the award winning series The X-Files (1993-2002), entitled The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Which is aimed at being a lower budget stand-alone suspense story, kind of in the vein of the “Monster-of-the-Week” episodes they used to have on the show.

With it’s close proximity to the release of The Dark Knight and competition from the Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers, not to mention some initially lukewarm reviews. This will most likely not be a hit at the box office but I’m sure it’ll bring out all the X-Fanatics. So in honor of this event I decided to put together a list of my favorite X-Files outings, which only includes episodes before the departure of David Duchovny… Sorry Robert Patrick.

10. The Host (Season 2)
Air Date: September 23, 1994
Written by: Chris Carter
The Case: After various murders occur around New Jersey. Mulder and Scully investigate the city sewer system to find what else but a giant parasite living in the Jersey sewers.
The Verdict: Though I’d initially overlooked this episode, Sean got me to thinking that “Yeah this is a pretty good episode, featuring what’s probably the best monster in the shows entire run.” So I just had to honor the Flukeman in all his slimy goodness.
X Fact: The Flukeman himself is played by X-File writer Darin Morgan.

9. D.P.O (Season 3)
Air Date: October 6, 1995
Written by: Howard Gordon
The Case: Darren Peter Oswald is a small town, love-struck, simpleton who just happens to have the ability to control electricity. Leading to murder, Mulder and Scully intervene and that’s when things start to really get hectic
The Verdict: Skilled performances are what won me over here. A young Giovanni Ribisi shows some impressive talent as the misunderstood Darren Peter Oswald. Plus it’s got Jack Black doing his whole stoner routine.
X Fact: Prominently features music from industrial band Filter, Brit Pop group James and Punk Rock band The Vandals.

8. Monday (Season 6)
Air Date: February 28, 1999
Written by: Vince Gilligan & John Shiban
The Case: A violent bank robbery is repeated every day, ala Groundhog Day, until Mulder and Scully can stop the crime with the help from the only women unaffected by the phenomenon.
The Verdict: Comical and unpredictable, like Groundhog Day this is an interesting look at the same situation never quite handled in the same way. The supporting cast is strong and the story is quite compelling.
X Fact: This episode is actually based on an episode of The Twilight Zone titled “Shadow Play”.

7. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (Season 6)
Air Date: December 13, 1998
Written by: Chris Carter
The Case: Mulder and Scully investigate a haunted house on Christmas Eve where they are haunted by the ghosts of two former lovers.
The Verdict: Both a spooky and charming ghost story. Asner and Tomlin show off their veteran skills while a confused Mulder and Scully try to overcome the spirits eerie powers. A pleasant Holiday episode, I’ve loved this one ever since it first aired.
X Fact: Smallest cast for any episode of the series. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin.

6. The Amazing Maleeni (Season 7)
Air Date: January 16, 2000
Written by: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz
The Case: Mulder and Scully investigate the death of magician whom after turning his head 360 degrees is moments later mysteriously decapitated.
The Verdict: A fascinating delving into the world of magic and one of the finest crafted X-Files mysteries I’ve seen. Ricky Jay is quite good in duel roles and it had me guessing up to the end.
X Fact: Ricky Jay known mostly for his roles in various David Mamet projects, is also one of the most talented sleight-of-hand experts in the United States.

5. Small Potatoes (Season 4)
Air Date: April 20, 1997
Written by: Vince Gilligan
The Case: Five women in a small town give birth to tailed babies with the prime suspect being one Eddie Van Blundht, a man with the ability to shape-shift.
The Verdict: Darin Morgan is the perfect lovable loser in this dopey curiosity tale. I tend to lean towards liking a lot of the comedic episodes as The X-Files staff seems to have a real knack for writing them.
X Fact: Darin Morgan who plays Eddie Van Blundht, also played the memorable Flukeman in the episode “The Host” along with being the writer of five X-Files episodes.

4. Bad Blood (Season 5)
Air Date: February 22, 1998
Written by: Vince Gilligan
The Case: While investigating in Texas, Mulder kills a boy whom he mistakes for a vampire.
The Verdict: Seeing both Mulder and Scully’s exaggerated interpretations of their encounter is barrel of laughs and the addition of Luke Wilson as the slow minded sheriff is one of the best guest spots of the series. “You must be the Gu-va-ment people” is a classic X-Files line. Also an interesting history lesson regarding the mythos of vampires.
X Fact: Gillian Anderson’s favorite episode.

3. Home (Season 4)
Air Date: October 11, 1996
Written by: Glen Morgan & James Wong
The Case: A southern inbred family is targeted after the remains of a deformed infant are discovered near the family farm.
The Verdict: Probably the only episode that ever frightened me as a child. Home is the closest any X-Files episode got to a Horror movie. A creepy setting, plenty of violence and everyone’s favorite bone deformities all play major parts in this controversial outing. This episode should give you doubts about traveling to small country towns.
X Fact: Banned from Fox after its first airing, it is the only episode to receive a TV-MA rating.

2. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season 3)
Air Date: October 13, 1995
Written by: Darin Morgan
The Case: Mulder and Scully seek the help of an insurance salesman who can predict people’s deaths and invite him to aide them in a murder case.
The Verdict: Peter Boyle gives a strong, genuine performance in one of the best episodes to so perfectly balance comedy and drama. The subject matter is intriguing with plenty of room for character development and the paranormal aspect is kept believable and intriguing.
X Fact: This episode won two Emmys, one for writer Darin Morgan and another for Peter Boyle.

1. Dreamland (Parts I & II) (Season 6)
Air Date: November 29, 1998 – December 6, 1998
Written by: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz
The Case: While investigating near Area 51, a mysterious craft switches the identities of Mulder with an FBI agent in a midlife crisis.
The Verdict: I could of picked one of the deeper or introspective episodes, but I just had to go with the one I find to be the most entertaining. Dreamland is a wacky misadventure of identity crisis and a fair share of bizarre paranormal activity. It’s not too tough to follow and we get some pretty entertaining performances from Mulder, Scully and especially Morris Fletcher, played with a perfect snooty attitude by Michael McKean. I wouldn’t imagine that it would crack most fans’ lists but I consider it a must see.
X Fact: The dance which Mulder performs in front of the mirror is actually a tribute to a similar scene performed by Groucho Marx in the film Duck Soup .

Well I guess Season 6 is the season to watch if you’ve checked out my list. I’ll be on the look out for better episodes as I continue watching the series but until than this is my list and keep watching the skies.

Honorable Mention
Being that there’s so many great episodes, I thought might as well just list my next five as worth mentioning.
11. Darkness Falls – A gross out fest with suspense up the wahzoo.
12. Arcadia – Seeing Mulder and Scully pretend to be a married couple is pretty wacky in this funny yet grim episode.
13. Beyond the Sea – Brad Dourif gives a fantastic performance in this dark tale of murder and psychic powers.
14. Je Souhaite – You wouldn’t think genies would work in this kind of show but they pull it off. Plus it’s got Will Sasso, he’s a funny guy.
15. The Post-Modern Prometheus – Probably the strangest but also most stylish and comedic episode in the entire series

The Show Must Go On

“At the Movies with Lyons and Mankiewicz” that title certainly would need some work. Sifting through the daily IMDb news I found a post that I thought would be an appropriate followup to Sean’s “The Balcony is Closed”. As you’ve already heard, Ebert and Roeper have left the show “At the Movies”, but quick to act Disney has already replaced the esteemed film critics with E! Channel critic Ben Lyons and radio personality/Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. Plans are to makeover the show with new segments and a new image but still remain a review show.

Hmm E! Entertainment huh… Well I don’t mean to judge a book by it’s cover but considering the pretty boy image of Ben Lyons and the former position he held? One thing is for sure is it’s gonna be hard for me to be won over. I’ll stilll give it a shot but never hearing of these two guys makes me a little iffy. I can only hope this new duo can pull off a genuine chemistry to keep me watching.

(Pictured above left to right: Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons)

C.A.T: Wheels of Fire

Cream – Wheels of Fire (1968)
In honor of the event “Hippiefest 2008”, which I attended on July 12th to see Jack Bruce (See “The Ottman Prophecies” for the full story) I decided to do a Cream album for this week’s classic album and why not an album that recently enjoyed it’s 40th anniversary? Cream’s psychedelic blues opus “Wheels of Fire” easily the most experimental album of their brief but memorable run.

Working closely with future Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi, who would act as producer while also playing viola, bells, organ and brass on the album, Cream cut this epic double album Wheels of Fire. Spawning such hits as the poetic, wah guitar infused “White Room” and Clapton’s legendary rendition of Robert Johnson’s legendary blues standard “Crossroads” this would prove to be an impressive work from this band and era.

Musicianship here is nothing short of brilliant, as all three members show off their skill as the cream of the crop of British blues. Blues numbers like “Sitting on Top of the World” the Bruce penned “Politician” and Booker T. Jones’ “Born Under a Bad Sign” are stunning pieces chocked full of old Slowhand’s flawless guitar solos, Jack’s energetic bass lines and incredibly precise drum work from Ginger Baker. Not to forget the well layered vocals fronted by Bruce’s powerful Scottish howl and the obserd but memorable lyrics of Pete Brown.

One of my favorite aspects of this album is addition of more instruments to build up Cream’s already powerful sound. The ringing church bells of “Those Were the Days”, the morose violin work on numbers like “Deserted Cities of the Heart” and “As You Said” which accompanied by unique de-tunings and classical instruments like glockenspiels or bells sounds like a precursor to some of Led Zeppelin’s more acoustic, string based ventures and what can I say about “White Room”? It quickly became a great 60s rock standard.

Wheels of Fire may feel a tad exhausting by the time you reach the live portion of the album, but it’s completely worth wait for a number like “Crossroads”. Bruce and Baker’s rhythm is a dizzying orgy of immense grooves while Clapton shows us why so many call him a god. I could see why some could find this album too busy or complicated, but I say it’s a triumphant rock venture and once in a blue moon I still find myself coming back to it.

Favorite Tracks: “White Room”, “Deserted Cities of the Heart”, “Crossroads”