Category Archives: Blog

TWC: Brian Thompson

While acting ability is essential to any actor or actress having a long career in the ever-changing and increasingly dynamic world of film, having a particular look is perhaps even more important. I mean really, when we watch someone perform what is the first thing that we recognize? Is it their ability to transform into their character or is it how their actual look fits that character? It evens out a bit as the performance goes on but that initial reaction goes a long way for the audience to accept it and, more importantly, go along with it. For instance, it would be kind of tough to envision Nathan Lane as a serial killer because that just isn’t the type of look that he brings to the table. Robin Williams is a good example of an actor that faced this dilemma and still brought it home. It’s definitely possible to avert an audience’s expectations with a worthwhile performance, but most of the time it is just plain easier to cast a guy that looks like a serial killer to play a serial killer. On that note, not many actors look more like a serial killer than the man we’ll discuss today, Brian Thompson
Here he is while not performing, looking only slightly less serial killer-y…
Despite looking like he would eat your children, Thompson started his career in theater performing in various plays, musicals, and operas. He eventually got his Master’s of Fine Arts and started auditioning for film roles. In his first role he played one of the three punks (along with Bill Paxton) that the Terminator encounters after being sent back, and it was actually Thompson’s character whose clothes are stolen and Arnold wears for the rest of the movie. That’s a pretty awesome introduction to the Hollywood scene right there. It became immediately apparent that with his intimidating physique and look that Thompson could find consistent work.After being featured in a few television shows he landed one of his largest roles to date, as the psychopath antagonist in Sylvester Stallone’s action “film” Cobra. Thompson played The Night Stalker, a cult leader who kidnaps women and murders them with an axe or a fancy knife. He was probably the most memorable part of the movie besides Bridgette Nielson’s robot lust commercial and Stallone’s never-ending product placements. Really though, this was the role that has been getting him work ever since.Next up was The Three Amigos, where he played one of the German fancyboys that are a lot tougher than they initially seem, especially after they shoot up a full bar. I’m not even sure if he said a word but it still sticks out in my mind as one of his more memorable roles. Again it says a lot about how much an actor’s look and presence can present to an audience even if they don’t have a lot of dialogue to work with.He has been in a ton of stuff, usually either playing a main bad guy, a main bad guy’s lackey, or some other role that needs a huge scary dude. I suppose I have to bring up his disappointing role as Shao-Khan in the sequel to Mortal Kombat, the utterly terrible Annihilation. I’m not sure the blame for that one can be put on Thompson’s shoulders though as he seemed to be the only person in the entire production to actually want to make a real movie. God that movie sucks. It still doesn’t change the fact that this guy will always be one of the go-to guys if you need someone to scare the crap out of you by simply being there, and god bless him for that.-Kevin Merryman

CTM: Overtime – 4

With so much media in your face these days, it’s getting harder and harder to take things to the extreme. I remember a time when I used to get mad if somebody was texting while I talked to them. Now I take their temperature if they don’t ignore my conversation for their iPhone: “Are you feeling okay?” “Yeah, why?” “You weren’t being as insanely inconsiderate as you normally are.” Okay. So this one isn’t technically a sketch by The Overtime, and is a piece that was written by Geoffrey Golden after the group split off into their own projects. But it was done really, really close to when The Overtime was around, so it counts — kind of like how “My Sweet Lord” was more or less a Beatles song even though it was on a George Harrison solo record. C’mon, you guys know what I mean, don’t be jerks. Anyway, cheers to this Classy Troupe of the Month, you can see many of these gents doing comedy work around Los Angeles proper: John Ford has a group at iOWest called Get Sweaty, Asterios Kokkinos hosts the Frolic Show at the Far Bar in Little Tokyo twice a month, and Geoffrey Golden is the Editor-in-Chief of The Devastator Magazine while writing freelance comedy on the sly.

Murder on Skull Drive, Episode 4

This particular episode of Murder on Skull Drive deals with the secrets that people keep, the kind of deep, dark fetishes that damn a man in the night and keep him grappling within the stench of his own shadows. And apparently those shadows smell like “a cat died in a bag of cinammon”.

Also, almost twenty of the rooms in your house should be a functioning TJ Maxx, and I hope to God they all play “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on their overhead speakers.

Nancy – Becca Flinn
Nigel Cornfellow – Dan Fulton
Roderick – Zak White
Narrator/Whiskers – Todd Spence
Written by Zak White
Recorded and engineered by Dan Fulton
Created by Zak White

episode4 by MurderOnSkullDrive

CTM: Overtime – 3

If not for the editing choices alone, this sketch is inspirational because Asterios Kokkinos shoulda been on Mad TV a loooooong time ago, and the entire sketch is a metaphor for my childhood. This is pre-pogs, mind you, which is a term that I just made up and suddenly adore: pre-pogs. Say, what do you call psychic who loves snap bracelets? A pre-pog precog!

Clearly, I have a future at Laffy Taffy. And my mother is strangely okay with that.

No, seriously, snap bracelets are the devil and are responsible for more playground fights than gum, girls, or your mom. This epidemic can only be controlled by educating our youth and annoying the adults that are too far gone to know better. Just think of how many hands could be slapped away from reaching for some deadly and harmful vice: beer, gum, girls or your mom. Now think of those hands being chopped off by a neon band of sheet metal and you’ve got a movement on your hands! …Er, hand. Expect the re-release of the Empire Strikes Back Blu-Ray to have Vader taking care of his son in this much more caring and colorful manner. Hell, I’d buy it.

 

CTM: Overtime – 2

Y’know, it’s been a pretty emotional weekend, what with the anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund and all. Those guys have not only saved countless helpless pandas in their habitats, but are responsible for the World Wrestling Federation (formerly known as the WWF) changing their entire name to World Wrestling Entertainment. I don’t think that its any small coincidence that a lot of character wrestlers stopped being as prevalent in professional wrestling after the WWE thing and we started getting jankass name-names like Chris Jericho and John Cena. Thanks a lot, pandas. This weekend was especially rough for me because I didn’t get to see guys with names like Jake the Snake, Koko B. Ware, and Big John Studd in my beef jerky ads between the footage of people dying. And that, my friends, is the true price of freedom.

Say, speaking of pandas…how would you guys feel about making a panda into a samurai? That works, right? Then I could get my WWF violent-nationalistic-stereotype fix and get something cuddly! Yes, it all makes sense now!

(if the sound isn’t working, click on the lower bar and view in “240p”)

 

 

Murder on Skull Drive, Episode 3

You know, you can’t always follow your nose. Sometimes there’s a trail of blood to show you where to go, which is both good news and bad news at the same time. What I mean is, if you’re looking for somebody who is bleeding to death, you want to save them, which means you don’t want them to die. But sometimes that means a certain and possibly significant  amount of blood loss. Oh, Cornfellows. Our next installment of Murder on Skull Drive is a doozy and gives until it hurts. Take what you desire. Opium? That’s all mine. IT’S ALL MINE, DAMMIT.

 

Nancy – Becca Flinn
Nigel Cornfellow – Dan Fulton
Lawrence – Zak White
Narrator – Todd Spence
Written by Zak White
Recorded and engineered by Dan Fulton
Created by Zak White

episode3 by MurderOnSkullDrive

CTM: Overtime – 1

Classy Keeler does office work and some writing for a magazine called The Devastator Quarterly out in Los Angeles, a spiffy comedy rag that features writers from The Onion, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, and more! Many of the authors in The Devastator are writers for various shows and websites, but once upon a time, three of these gents – Geoffrey Golden, Asterios Kokkinos and John  Ford – were members of a sketch comedy troupe called Overtime.

Overtime was a lot like us….they created their own videos, did live shows, and had writers for their blog – which is kind of cool, to see how far they have come since producing these videos together. Pitching TV shows is something the guys from Overtime have become used to by now, but even back in their Caveman Jesus days they were on top of their shit, making them our Classy Troupe of the Month. There’s another version of this video floating around from a later Golden/Kokkinos collaboration for The Atomic-Powered Millionaires, but we’re rather fond of the original. Enjoy.

 

 

What’s My Age Again: The Blink 182 Musical

When I heard there was going to be a Green Day musical a while back, I was ecstatic. My days as a teenage RENT-head had left me hungry for another kick-ass rock opera and at heart, I wanted to believe I was still that eighth-grader writing the lyrics to “Minority” on her trapper-keeper in white-out pen.

When I found out the musical would be based on the band’s 2004 albumAmerican Idiot, I was less excited.

If you’re going to make a pop-punk Broadway musical using the music of Green Day, it’s easy to see why you would use American Idiot. It’s already a concept album with strong characters and a topical plot. All the writing is basically done for you in a way it wouldn’t be if you were skipping around like the ABBA songs do in Mamma Mia.

When I finally saw the finished product, I found the choice of American Idiot just plain lazy. I would have much rather seen a Green Day musical using one of their better albums, where someone had taken the time to write an original show around the music. A good example would be 1994’sDookie.

Off the top of my head, ‘Dookie: The Rock Opera’ could be about a listless high school stoner (“Longview,” a song the band’s members said is about smoking weed and masturbating) who goes crazy, ends up in a mental hospital (“Basketcase”) and meets a fellow inmate with whom he falls in love (“She”).

She teaches him to grow up (“When I Come Around”) and they bust out of the hospital together (“Enemius Sleepus”), standing up to the warden and their oppressive parents (“In The End” and “F.O.D. (Fuck Off And Die)”). The girl gets killed in the struggle and the musical ends with the reformed stoner visiting her childhood home to honor her memory. He is now a free man (“All By Myself”).

I know. It took me ten minutes to think of and it’s super brilliant.

But then I got to think more about it, and my first thought was: “Fuck you, Green Day for selling out.” (Well, not really. I still love you, Green Day. Please come visit me like the three Dickensian Ghosts of Warped Tours Past: Christmas Billie Joe, Christmas Tre Cool and Christmas Mike Dirnt.)

My point is that other just as awesome pop-punk bands deserve their own musicals too. What about Blink 182? I’d love to see a musical based on the 1999 album Enema Of the State. That album was formative for me, and not just because it inspired me to Google both “enema” and “sodomy” in the fifth grade.

Here’s what I picture for the Enema of the State musical:

PART I

A high school couple is fighting while they’re on a date (“Dumpweed”). We’re introduced to the reckless, fun-loving character of Tom. His girlfriend is crazy but he’s also immature and stupid. She leaves him during this duet.

Tom, a musician, goes to a house party to tell his friends what happened. He’s upset (“Don’t Leave Me”). They get so drunk that they think aliens have abducted them. All the friends sing this song at the party, and it’s also a metaphor for Tom feeling like an outsider even among his buddies (“Aliens Exist”).

Meanwhile, his best friend and band mate, Adam, and Adam’s girlfriend, Wendy, have a tender moment because they’re going to different colleges soon (“Going Away to College”). Adam is going to a really prestigious Ivy League school and Wendy is staying behind to attend community college. Adam is drinking away his sorrows about leaving her. Every high school kid in the audience seeing this on a school trip decides to forgo Sarah Lawrence and get a job at Taco Bell. For love.

The play fast-forwards a few years. Adam has graduated from college. He meets up with Tom, who is still a train wreck. They’re happy to see each other but it soon turns into Adam reprimanding Tom for being such a mess (“What’s My Age Again?”). This song is staged like a musical tug-of-war not unlike RENT’s “What You Own.” I should probably just admit that the part of Adam is actually played by Adam-Pascal-from-the-past. I don’t know. Make it happen.

Anyway, they part on bad terms with Tom revealing that Wendy, who Adam still loves and hopes to win back, is engaged to someone else  (“Dysentery Gary”).

INTERMISSION: Everyone gets some Fruit Roll-ups and Gushers as snacks. They talk in the lobby about what a genius the playwright is. A vendor sells temporary tattoos of giant blue butterflies like the chick on the album cover has on her arm. All the old people use the bathroom.

PART II

Fast-forward five years. Adam has cancer. He keeps thinking about whether he should tell his former best friend, Tom, who he hasn’t talked to since they fought (“Adam’s Song”).

He’s also filled with regret about Wendy and reminisces about the good times they had (“All The Small Things”). During this song, rose petals fall from the ceiling onto the audience. It’s amazing. The Lion King can literally suck this play’s dick.

This scene is split-screened with Tom also singing about the old days. He misses Adam too.

Plot twist! The guy who Wendy is engaged to is revealed to be Tom! He sings the end of the song to her. Oh no! DRAMA!

All three unknowingly go to a local frat party. They feel old, wondering what they’re doing there (“The Party Song”).

Adam sees Wendy from across the room. He tries to seem like he’s with one of the dumb sorority girls who, in a wink-y homage, is dressed like the nurse from the cover of the album.

He sees Wendy kiss Tom and realizes Tom is her fiancé. He fantasizes that Tom’s and Wendy’s relationship is horrible and unhealthy (“Mutt”).

Wendy and Adam reconnect outside the party. They contemplate getting back together. Wendy misses Adam, but admits she and Tom are happy. Adam tells her that he’s sick and decides it’s time for him to move on from all his past drama (“Wendy Clear”). (Their names are also in the songs! Take that, Green Day!) Adam tells Wendy to marry Tom and be happy.

All three remember when they were younger and the strong friendships they had (“Anthem”). The “slavery” in the lyrics is a metaphor for Adam’s illness. The audience won’t have time to question this total stretch because they’ll be too busy getting out boxes of tissues.

During the instrumental, Adam is dying. His nostalgia turns into him singing full-on hallucinations of being seventeen again. Off to the side, Wendy and Tom get married.

The musical ends with Wendy and Tom at Adam’s side in the hospital. As he dies, he sings the repeated, “I time bomb.” (COME ON. Are you seeingthis shit?!)

Curtains close. A projector displays the words “What’s Your Age Again?” The audience exits, contemplating their own mortality while being moved to tears.

Everyone involved wins twenty-five Tony Awards.

 

–Gaby Dunn

Posted originally on Tought Catalogue

CTM: Dealership – 4

A friend of mine only recently saw John Carpenter’s The Thing for the first time, which is preposterous considering he works at a major movie studio. It’s been well-hyped before, so if you’re unawares with this masterpiece, it holds up against (and is perhaps better than) Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th while falling comfortably in the sci-fi/action genre as a comfy peer to Aliens 1&2 and Predator. We all agreed over yellow beer last night that it is Twelve Angry Men meets The Exorcist.

Anyway, to even attempt to remake, reboot, or prequel this film – considering the brutality of the analog special effects, the script being so damned concise, and the impeccable cast – is kind of a joke. If their 2012 monster looks sweet, then it’ll just look like something from Silent Hill, all CGI and shit. You gonna tell me you can grab the juice of Wilford Brimley swinging around a fire axe at Kurt Russell? Nah son, don’t think so.

Honestly, the best way to deal with The Thing is to recognize it as a classic and pay homage to it. That said, we will dearly miss Dealership, and are (for the first time ever) considering making them the first repeat Classy Troupe of the Month when their second season is posted online. Get to work, Barkley Automotive, we miss you already.