featured

All posts in the featured category

10 Pop Culture Mayors Who Should Be The Next Mayor Of New York City

Published August 4, 2014 by gossipzoo

Header

New York City recently hosted primaries for the upcoming Mayoral election, the first step in determining who will be the next Mayor of the greatest city in the world (take that Spokane, Washington!).

Being the Mayor of the Five Boroughs is a pretty big deal. The job includes regulating soda pop consumption, occasionally appearing on Saturday Night live, wearing a sash, and fighting hurricanes with one’s bare hands. Sometimes the Mayor even has to speak Spanish.

It’s not a job for the feint of heart. Even though it’s a municipal job, the Mayor of New York City is a national, even global figure. There were a whole lot of names in the big mayoral top hat, ranging from City Councilmen, Comptrollers, The Chairman of the MTA, and the one, the only, the aptly named Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner.

Other than the guy with the famous penis, I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of the candidates. Now that Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio have emerged as each party’s respective nominees, I’m a little flummoxed as to who I should be casting my ballot for, being a newly registered voter in Manhattan. In fact, other than that fake job description I made up above, I really have no idea what the Mayor does. I guess they’re like the president of town?

Like most things in the world, pretty much all of my knowledge is based off of things that I’ve seen in movies and on television. So for the November 5th election, I’ll be looking for the qualities found in pop culture’s greatest Mayors.

The post 10 Pop Culture Mayors Who Should Be The Next Mayor Of New York City appeared first on WhatCulture!.

8 Great Movies About Film Making All Directors Must See

Published July 20, 2014 by gossipzoo

Lost In La Mancha

The track record for movies about movies is not particularly fantastic, to be frank. The appeal is pretty obvious – if great art comes from passion, it makes sense that a cinematic artist would be inspired when making a movie about movies, right? – But all too often films about films tend to fall into one of two ludicrous extremes, either painting filmmaking as a soul crushing toil in the salt mines, or as a jolly frolic where there’s no pressure and no pain, and inspiration flows from a tap. (Cue laughter from anyone who’s ever tried to make a movie, ever.) No wonder the best movies about film making tend to be documentaries – it’s harder to BS an audience about the process of making films when you’re showing actual footage from a working film set.

All of which is a long winded way of saying that when a film comes out that really captures something about the dynamics of filmmaking, it’s a special thing indeed. Here’s eight films – some documentaries, some fiction, some romanticized, some anything but – that anybody looking to work in the art form should see:

8. The Snowball Effect

clerks

OK, to be fair, citing a DVD making of documentary on this list is probably cheating – but honestly, if you’re looking for inspiration as a young filmmaker, what better source? In the past, knowledge about “how movies are made” only came from classic Hollywood films, which by and large offered a ludicrously sanitized fictionalization of the filmmaking process; now anyone with a DVD remote has direct access (sometimes perhaps a little too direct?) to the process by which films are made.

Few filmmakers are more honest and forthright on this score than Kevin Smith. Open and honest about his own failings as a director (“Throw a rock, you’ll hit a better director than me,” he once told a crowd of fans), Smith has also been quite open about the making of his films, with DVD and Blu-ray platters that sometimes seem awfully opulent for movies about a bunch of dudes standing around talking. The Snowball Effect, a documentary about the making of his debut film, Clerks, is probably the finest of these supplements, and honestly might be one of those rare beasts – a documentary about the making of a film that is better than the film itself.

Obviously there’s plenty of wit (vulgar, but still) in The Snowball Effect, plenty of ribbing and joshing and juicy behind the scenes tales; but for any filmmaker, The Snowball Effect is the most valuable form of filmmaking heroin imaginable. If you’ve ever needed the inspiration to get off your ass and just make a movie, then it’s required you see The Snowball Effect, which charts – in granular but fascinating detail – how Smith, a college drop out, pulled together a bunch of his friends, some untried community theater actors and a few buddies from his brief time in film school to make a movie. The film is refreshingly blunt, with most of the participants admitting that they had little or no idea what they were doing, and that the fact that the film turned out watchable was probably a miracle; it’s also inspiring, in that Smith and his rag tag operation seem to prove Quentin Tarantino’s assertion that if you love movies enough, regardless of time or budgetary constraints, you will probably make a good one.

The post 8 Great Movies About Film Making All Directors Must See appeared first on WhatCulture!.

10 Awful Hollywood Trends That Are All Your Fault

Published June 6, 2014 by gossipzoo

rgrgrgr

Everyone, it seems, loves to rant about Hollywood, to viciously mock its saturated and tedious tropes. If, like me, you spend most of your days wearing a string vest covered in bits of fried egg, sitting very still on a stool and watching the walls rot, you’re too relieved to be out of the house, in a somewhat clean pair of trousers, watching colourful images unfold in front of you, to rage against the system.

And yet rage you do. I’ve seen you outside the cinemas, hacking at holly bushes and bits of wood. Of course, the terrible truth of these Hollywood trends is that they’re our fault. Conveniently, I have a list of ten of these terrible trends, each one accompanied by unsubstantiated and entirely subjective reasons why.

10. Emotionally Manipulative String Arrangements

Forming emotional connections with the viewer is difficult for any filmmaker- it requires skill and care and time. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut: mournful string arrangements and sparse, plinky-plonky piano pieces in the background are guaranteed to have the audience in floods of tears.

Consequently, deep, emotionally driven narratives and quality writing are eschewed in favour of the generic sad soundtrack. And it’s all our fault, because of our stupid brains having a stupid reaction to stupid music: ‘The listener does not need to know what the music means, only how it makes him feel…the onscreen action, of course, provides clues and cues as to how the accompanying music does or is supposed to make us feel’, as Stuart Fischoff puts it.

The inherent emotional effect of certain generic kinds of music is well documented. Shame on you and your weakness for a string section playing in a minor key.

The post 10 Awful Hollywood Trends That Are All Your Fault appeared first on WhatCulture!.

NFL: Why The New England Patriots Have So Much To Prove

Published May 23, 2014 by gossipzoo

7541722

Brady (12) gives instructions to Vereen (34), Amendola (80) and Boyce (82) at Patriots training camp last week.

At this time of year, with training camp ongoing and the first round of pre-season games fast approaching, the New England Patriots – like all of the teams in the NFL – are busy preparing for the new season.

Normally analysts are busy predicting who will make the post-season, which players are destined for exceptional seasons and who might just make the Super Bowl in February of next year at Met Life Stadium in New York.

Under normal circumstances the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick do not attract headlines for the wrong reasons. They go about their business and stride into action somewhat unnoticed.

This off-season has been very different however. Following defeat in the AFC Championship game at the hands of the eventual winners the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots are ready to go again, ready with one goal in mind and ready to deliver a fourth ring for the Tom Brady-Belichick regime which began back in 2000.

Usually the Patriots organisation are very keen to shy away from media attention, particularly things that may prove a distraction. They have not been successful at that in 2013.

From Wes Welker’s departure to an AFC rival in the Denver Broncos during free-agency, there have been huge question marks surrounding their credentials without a receiver who contributed almost 7500 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns following his arrival from the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2007 season.

In doing so he naturally became one of Brady’s ‘go-to guys’, a safety blanket and a very, very effective play maker operating from the slot.

539w

Welker pictured during his time with the Patriots, moved to the Denver Broncos in March.

Nonetheless – while no one has doubted his importance to New England’s offense – they let him go in March and he duly signed a two-year $12 million contract with the Denver Broncos.

Elsewhere, Brandon Lloyd also departed after one season, Deion Branch is no longer on the roster and there are still injury concerns over tight end Rob Gronkowski who has had multiple surgeries since breaking his arm in December.

First and foremost, his intended replacement at Gillette Stadium was wide receiver Danny Amendola who arrived from the St Louis Rams where he was Sam Bradford’s favourite target.

However there are still doubts over his health which has seen him miss extended time in the last couple of seasons. The other question is, can he have the same impact Welker did when he arrived in Massachusetts six years ago?

Amendola arrives with tremendous potential at the age of just 27, but he needs to prove to the coaching staff that they were right to choose him over re-signing Welker during free agency.

He should be helped by the fact that he will have a future Hall of Famer throwing him the ball and that he has some familiarity in Michael Hoomanawanui – a former teammate – and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who had the same role with the Rams in 2011.

Moreover, the team took the decision to draft both Aaron Dobson in the second round out of Marshall and Josh Boyce in the fourth from TCU in the 2013 NFL Draft to bolster the receiving core, which they hope will pay immediate dividends.

This may not seem like that big of an issue given stories would come out of Foxborough in the coming months which would draw headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Firstly Tim Tebow’s release from division rival the New York Jets where he was seldom used, led to speculation that he might be on his way to the Patriots.

Not the end of the world you might think? Well not really, yet Tebow does bring with him the possible furore that accompanied him during his one season stay with ‘Gang Green’ and did when he lit the league alight with the Broncos in 2011.

Criticised for his poor throwing action and unconvincing mechanics, he was still able to drag the Broncos to an unlikely play-off berth, and then play-off victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in early 2012.

Although, the arrival of Peyton Manning last off-season saw ‘Tebow Time’ come to a halt as he was traded to Rex Ryan’s Jets.

Now it would be foolish to think that he arrives into New England and he will start – he won’t. It also could be viewed as silly to believe that the locker room could be affected by unwelcome media attention.

Bill Belichick has never allowed for this to be the case. He has taken risks before to sign players on the scrap heap, players who had gained a reputation as being negative influences.

One of those came with spectacular results in Randy Moss who – in 2007 – grabbed 23 touchdowns in a single season. Other acquisitions haven’t worked. Defensive Lineman Albert Haynesworth joined in 2011 and he simply didn’t adhere to the ‘Patriot way’. Neither did Chad Ochocinco who only made 15 receptions during the 2011 season before he was let go.

Signing Tebow represents a possible shrewd move. He might not even make the final 53 man roster, if he does he won’t start and even then he won’t be the backup quarterback either.

What he represents is somebody who comes with no strings attached. There is no guaranteed money, so if New England want to cut him, they can without having to give him a penny.

If it works out he could line up in various formations with some believing he could be used on special teams, at tight end or even as a half-back in short yardage situations.

Its boom or bust possibly for Tebow. If he is released he may have to start contacting the Canadian Football League. If it does go to plan, Belichick may have made a terrific signing.

However, the most controversial and possibly damaging story of the off-season was the story concerning shamed tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Drafted out of Florida in 2010, he quickly formed a devastating tandem with Gronkowski – two tight ends which some pundits called the best in the NFL, and who would dominate the league for the next decade.

Yet, on 18th June it emerged Hernandez had been arrested in connection with the murder of semi-professional American Footballer Odin Lloyd – a close friend who was discovered with gun shots near his home.

Nine days later, the 23-year old was then investigated with a double murder that took place a year earlier in the Boston area.

i.1.aaron-hernandez-murder-case

Aaron Hernandez has given New England headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Patriots and the NFL were rocked. Their owner Robert Kraft did his best to avert a media frenzy by barring Hernandez from taking refuge in the stadium and it was not much longer that the organisation – in light of the allegations – decided to take the decision to ‘cut’ or release a player who had become a key part of the Patriots offense during his three season spell with them.

From a perception standpoint too, the NFL had been tarnished – something commissioner Roger Goodell was well aware of, telling the NFL Network “It’s a black eye”.

On one hand it symbolized something of real embarrassment to the whole of the league, but also to his former employers. On the other hand, amid the departure of Welker and the fitness concerns with Gronkowski this led many, including the NFL Network team to discuss whether the Patriots offense – which has consistently ranked in the top five over the last few years – could still be effective.

NFL Network analyst, Fox commentator and ex Ravens head coach Brian Billick drew the conclusion that as long as ‘number 12 (in reference to Brady) was there then they should still be effective.

Brady turned 36 over the weekend, though he is still considered one of the league’s best.

His pressing issue is the need to prove to the doubters that he can still get the best out of the players at his disposal, and to fend off possible competition in the AFC East from the improving Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills who at present are an unknown quantity under rookie quarterback E.J Manuel and first year head coach Doug Marrone.

In fact, witnessing a tumultuous off-season for the Patriots which has rarely been the case, this perhaps throws the division door wide open and lays down a real point to prove for a side which has been division champion in nine out of the last ten seasons.

The Patriots may still go onto to win their division easily in 2013. They will probably emerge with a winning record. If they do they will be among the favourites to represent the AFC in the first Super Bowl to be held in a northern state.

But following the comings and goings of several players and a murder investigation overshadowing their preparations, the ‘Pats’ will emerge as a side who are hungry to move on from that setback and to accomplish every sides goal heading into a brand new campaign – lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy come its conclusion.

It is difficult though to overlook the challenges both on and off the field that they face in the months to come, challenges they will embrace and strive to overcome for a franchise that has not won a Super Bowl since 2005.

This year may prove to be one of the hardest yet. The saying goes however, ‘what does not kill you makes you stronger’. The Patriots will hope they can be testament to just that.

The post NFL: Why The New England Patriots Have So Much To Prove appeared first on WhatCulture!.

10 Utterly Bleak Movies That Will Thoroughly Depress You

Published April 24, 2014 by gossipzoo

1last exit to brooklyn

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bleak films. Movies can become a form of escapism – to lift you out of the doldrums. However I prefer films that actively put me into a depressed mood for reasons best known to myself.

It can be very cathartic to watch a bleak movie. You can play out all of your miserable, mean spirited fantasies on the screen and live out the worst possible scenario in a safe and harmless way. Such movies afford a glimpse into the abyss. They are to be applauded for going against the grain and staying true to their own dystopian vision.

I have provided you all with ten bleak movies to liven up your day. Please, please, please tell me about your own favourite bleak movies below so that I can be pointed in the direction of more gloom mongering…

10. Driller Killer (1979)

driller killer

Reno is your typical tortured artist. He has no money to pay his rent. An art dealer refuses to give him a loan. He lives in possibly the crummiest area of New York. When a punk band called the Roosters move in next door and incessantly practice their very loud, very bad music, Reno flips his lid. Buying a power drill, he goes out on nightly rampages to relieve his tension by killing bums with a drill to the head. Eventually, he is so erratic his girlfriend Carol moves back in with her ex husband Stephen. He is making tea whilst she is in the shower. Reno kills him and gets into the couple’s bed. What a delightful surprise awaits Carol!

For a low budget, independent film Driller Killer packs quite a few punches in its violence as well as its portrayal of a deeply disturbed individual. It was brutal enough to gain a place as a ‘Video Nasty’ during the hey days of video regulation in the UK during the early 1980s. I doubt it was because of the content of the film but rather its title and VHS cover showing a drill going in full throttle into a hobo’s head. There is a certain dark comedy to the events that befall Reno. However I found the end of the film when Reno gets into Carol’s bed to wait for her quite disturbing and bleak – after all, he is likely to kill the poor woman. Reno is never recognised for his artistic talent and anyone would have been driven up the wall listening to the ‘music’ of the diabolical Roosters. Big time bleak and depressing in a blackly comical way.

The post 10 Utterly Bleak Movies That Will Thoroughly Depress You appeared first on WhatCulture!.

WWE: Top 5 Returns That Would Make Big Improvement

Published April 24, 2014 by gossipzoo

There’s nothing better in WWE than a surprising return to the fold after time away from it. Just the sound of iconic entrance music can send a shiver down the spine. With the return of Rob Van Dam at Money in the Bank this weekend, it feels like the right time to take a closer look as to what other former stars would offer to today’s WWE.

This is nothing new, of course. Over the past few years, WWE have been working to lure back some of their most popular former wrestlers. The Rock and Brock Lesnar, the two potential returns that many thought would be an impossibility, became a reality in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Booker T, Chris Jericho, the New Age Outlaws (and countless others) have all made their returns too. Even the former stars that have been very outspoken about WWE in a negative light have been able to make a return to action. If there’s money to be made, then Vince McMahon can be very forgiving.

In this article, I will only take a look at those who could potentially make their return and be of benefit to the product as a whole. As much as I would love them both to return, there’s no Ultimate Warrior or Hulk Hogan listed here. Also, retirees such as Shawn Michaels and Edge are excluded also.

So, who could potentially return? Let’s count down the top five.

The post WWE: Top 5 Returns That Would Make Big Improvement appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Misfits Season 5: 5 Greatest Moments From The Show So Far

Published December 25, 2013 by gossipzoo

Misfits Season 5

Tomorrow sees the return of dark comedy Misfits, the fifth – and final – series of the Howard Overman-created show.

Following a group of young offenders sentenced to work community service before a freak electrical storm endows them all with superpowers, season five transports us one year on from the event and focuses on how various characters are dealing with their new lives.

Throughout the series’ run, we’ve experienced moments of ingenious comedy interspersed with gruesome deaths, more probation workers than we can count and a total cast upheaval.

The original cast – Antonia Thomas, Iwan Rheon, Lauren Socha, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, and Robert Sheehan as Alisha Daniels, Simon Bellamy, Kelly Bailey, Curtis Donovan, and Nathan Young, respectively, are all gone.

In their place are Joseph Gilgun as Rudy Wade along with Karla Crome, Nathan McMullen, Matt Stokoe and Natasha O’Keeffe as Jess, Finn, Alex and Abbey Smith.

And though these dramatic changes slowed down the show’s momentum following a thunderous first and second season, Misfits has still managed to produce several unforgettable moments.

As we prepare to say one last goodbye to our gang of young tearaways, here, we run through the 5 Greatest Moments From The Show So Far.

Click “Next” to get started.

The post Misfits Season 5: 5 Greatest Moments From The Show So Far appeared first on WhatCulture!.

%d bloggers like this: