Perfect Films for Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow night. Around this time of year, TV networks, particularly those which are movie-centric, air monthlong marathons of scary movies.

It sort of takes you back to the old days of TV, where late night lineups were filled with all-night marathons of old scary movies, like TNT’s old MonsterVision block with character actor John Bloom portraying that lovable Texan trailer dweller Joe Bob Briggs.

Tomorrow night, after the trick-or-treaters leave your neighborhood, arm yourself with whatever Halloween candy you didn’t give away (and if you’re anything like my family, you’ll be arming yourself with the entire bowl of candy), go through your DVR of AMC FearFest recordings or pop in one of those years-old MonsterVision VHS recordings off of TNT and watch some of these movies:

Halloween (film series): The horror movie series to end all horror movie series began with the original Halloween picture in 1978. Michael Myers, now 21 years old at the time of the first flick of the series, escapes from a psychiatric hospital he had been admitted to years earlier following the 1963 stabbing death of his older sister. His psychiatrist then follows him to prevent  subsequent killings. This series was arguably the catalyst for the slasher film subgenre, as well as the film series that started the career of Jamie Lee Curtis, who also starred in a movie called…

The Fog  (1980:) Fronted by the Halloween producer/director tandem of John Carpenter and Debra Hill, this Adrienne Barbeau-starred film involves everything a horror movie should have, such as things going bump in the night in the small town of Antonio Bay, causing the payphones to all ring at once, among other spooky happenings. It’s got plenty of corpses from mass murders, and strangely (for a horror flick) a celebration honoring the killers. There’s even a decapitation at the very end. Now, isn’t that just lovely?

It’s Alive! (1974, remade in 2008;) Aww, look! A cute little baby! Everyone knows that babies are adorable, except when the little bundle of joy’s a little mutant bundle of joy. Frank and Lenore Davis, played by John Ryan and Sharon Farrell, are ready to welcome their second child into the world. When the baby comes out, Frank and Lenore notice something has gone horribly wrong. The baby’s hideously disfigured, complete with fangs and claws. As soon as it’s born, it takes out the medical team responsible for bringing it into the world just moments earlier. The baby winds up going on a bloodthirsty rampage, destroying everyone in its path and attempts to kill its mother and father after sparing Lenore earlier in the film.

The baby used in It’s Alive! was a fake baby created by makeup artist Rick Baker, who also was a special effects assistant for 1973’s The Exorcist. This movie spawned a sequel called…

It Lives Again! (1978;) Four years after the original film, It Lives Again! follows Frank Davis’s (reprised by John Ryan) mission to help would-be parents of mutant infants after experiencing the anguish of being involved with the death of his own in It’s Alive!. Frank attempts to help Eugene and Jody Scott (played by Fredric Forrest and Kathleen Lloyd) by advising them of the plot to kill their mutant infant, while a rash of mutant births spreads throughout the country.

Friday the 13th Series: Finally, we come to the mother of all scary movie series, Friday the 13th. 12 flicks strong, the movie series chronicles the death and times of Jason Voorhies, who met his demise as a boy after drowning at Camp Crystal Lake due to the unwatchful eyes of two camp counselors who had sex when they should have been monitoring Jason’s activities. In the first film, Jason’s mother, not Jason himself, stalks and murders the people who are readying the camp for its reopening. In Friday the 13th, Part II, Jason comes back to life and continues the killings that his mother started.

After Friday the 13th, Part VI, the series gets too ridiculous, even by horror movie standards. Those of you who stuck it out even through Freddie vs. Jason and the 2009 Michael Bay-produced remake of the original, will be happy to know that another F13 movie will be released in 2015, serving as a sequel to the ’09 reboot. Like its predecessor, released on February 13, 2009 (a Friday), this movie is targeted for a November 13 (also a Friday) release next year.

The common thread with these films is, you guessed it, they appeared on Joe Bob’s MonsterVision at one time or another on TNT. Five of the first six F13 movies were featured on an all-night Halloween MonsterVision marathon 16 years ago. Part IV wasn’t shown in the marathon, but was aired at another time on the program.

These movies will give you a perfect Halloween treat. If you have no trick-or-treat candy left over, improvise. Get some popcorn. Order a pizza. Drink a can of Old Milwaukee Beer like Joe Bob used to. Sure, MonsterVision’s been gone 14 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a MonsterVision-style marathon of your own.

Have a happy and safe Halloween. Remember, if you don’t get scared, you’re not having fun.

Chivas USA’s Departure Puts #MLS At Even 20 Teams

Next year marks the 20th anniversary season of Major League Soccer, North America’s premier top-flight association football league.  Because of the departure of one of MLS’ clubs, the League will feature 20 franchises.

Earlier today, less than 24 hours removed from Chivas USA’s 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in the team’s season finale, MLS officials announced that the match also served as the last in its 10-year history.

Chivas USA, which began in the 2005 season of Major League Soccer, was an offshoot of Mexican soccer team Club Deportivo Chivas Guadalajara when originally established back in 2004. Off field drama reared its ugly head time and again during the decade of turmoil.

During the back end of the 2010 season, key members of the Chivas USA staff left the program. On October 27, 2010, Chivas terminated the services of head coach Martin Vazquez, followed by the departure of team President and CEO Shawn Hunter five days later.

Stephen Hamilton, Chivas USA’s Vice President of Soccer Operations, would also leave the team in December of that year. On January 4, 2011, Chivas USA hired Robin Fraser as head coach.

Last year, perhaps the most severe allegations of misconduct within Chivas USA took place.  After the owner of Chivas USA’s parent club, Jorge Vergara and his wife Angelica Fuentes, took control of the team in 2012, alleged racism was the subject of a discrimination suit brought against the franchise.

Dan Calichman, current assistant coach at Toronto FC, and former New England Revolution and New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York RedBulls) midfielder Ted Chronopoulous. were terminated as youth coaches because neither were of Latino descent.

The lawsuit, which was the subject of a 2013 broadcast of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO, alleges that after Vergara came on, he had instructed his staff to terminate anyone who did not speak Spanish.

Jose Davis, who had been appointed as Chivas USA’s Team President in late 2012, requested that Chronopoulous supply him with a list of players in the Chivas USA Academy who were Mexican and a list of those who weren’t. Not long after, Calichman and Chronopoulous were let go.

MLS intervened just prior to this season. In February, the League seized control of Chivas USA from Vergara and had intended to sell the ownership stake to interested parties who wished to keep the franchise in the Los Angeles, California area.

On September 29, ESPN reported that Chivas USA would suspend operations at the close of this season.

The next day, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reported that an investment group led by Peter Guber, co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Vincent Tan, owner of Barclays Premier League club Cardiff City, would purchase Chivas USA for $100 million. As per the terms of the sale, Chivas USA dissolved, effective today.

Los Angeles won’t be without a second MLS team for long, however. An expansion team will join MLS in time for the 2017 season, which is when the expansion franchise in Atlanta will also begin play.

The dissolution of the Chivas USA franchise permits Guber and Tan’s investment firm to develop the expansion franchise with an identity separate from that of the late Chivas USA.

The main page of the Chivas USA Website is now simply an open letter to supporters, penned by Team President Nelson Rodriguez, which you can read at http://www.cdchivasusa.com/.

With the dissolution of Chivas USA, MLS also announced that Sporting Kansas City, defending MLS Cup champions, and Houston Dynamo, 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup runners-up, would be rejoining the Western Conference. Here’s how the conference affiliations look heading into 2015:

East:

Chicago Fire

Columbus Crew SC

DC United

Montreal Impact

New England Revolution

New York City FC

New York Red Bulls

Orlando City SC

Philadelphia Union

Toronto FC

West:

Colorado Rapids

FC Dallas

Houston Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City

LA Galaxy

Portland Timbers

Real Salt Lake

San Jose Earthquakes

Seattle Sounders FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Kiss Between Tristan Thompson and @FSOAllieOop (Allie Clifton) Yields to Great Overreaction

If you watched Friday night’s NBA preseason game between the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, you saw Cavs forward/center Tristan Thompson score 17 points and grab 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

However, it’s what happened before the 108-102 Dallas victory tipped off that has had everybody talking, and in some cases crying foul, over the past few days.

In a pregame interview, Clifton grilled Thompson as to his approach to moving back to playing forward.

Thompson replied with “See ball, get ball. Same approach. You know how I do, Tina.” This is nothing new for Thompson, who has routinely joked around with Clifton during her previous two seasons on the FOX Sports Ohio Cavaliers telecasts. As the interview neared its end, Thompson leaned over and planted a quick kiss on Clifton’s head, right after he winked at the camera.

(If you have yet to see the video clip in question, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmlTByKgX6w.)

In the aftermath of the kiss seen nationally via NBA TV’s carriage of the Cleveland feed, people are acting as if Thompson was behaving inappropriately toward Clifton.

Good Lord, it’s not like Thompson and Clifton shared a kiss on the mouth! A kiss is just a kiss, no matter if it’s on the cheek, forehead, or mouth. Was the kiss inappropriate? Sort of, but it’s not that big of a deal.

The pinheads of the Internet are treating this as if it were an act of sexual misconduct. Half of the comments on YouTube are crying racism because of the smooch between Thompson, who is black, and Clifton, who is white.

Heavens to Betsy, this is late 2014. In this day and age, interracial couples and marriages are about as common as having a cup of coffee while reading the daily newspaper every morning.

Kelly Dwyer, writer at Yahoo!’s NBA-centric blog, Ball Don’t Lie, delivered the granddaddy of all overreactions, calling Thompson’s innocuous kiss “not cool, not funny.” Here’s the paragraph that’s made the most rounds on the Web:

“Just because Allie Clifton remained calm and professional and kept a smile following the buss, it doesn’t mean Tristan Thompson wasn’t straight up sexually harassing her. She remained calm and professional because she is a professional – that is to say, she’s doing her [EXPLETIVE DELETED] job. Don’t kiss someone without their consent, ever, and don’t kiss someone without their consent while they’re doing their job.

This isn’t cute or funny or meme-worthy. There should be no marginalizing or rationalizing of this. That could be a mortifying thing for this reporter, and Thompson couldn’t be more in the wrong.”

It isn’t a mortifying thing. As was stated previously, the kiss is 100 percent innocuous in nature. Dwyer completely missed the point.

Besides, if Dwyer had bothered to do research on Allie Clifton before writing that column, he’d have know she’s not scarred by this in the least bit. She’s been happily married for just over a year.  I’m certain her husband isn’t too concerned about this funny moment, either.

While no official response about the kiss has been made by Tristan Thompson, Clifton tweeted this yesterday:

“Hey fans thing was inside joke & not a big deal. We have a good working relationship. All is good. Can’t wait 4 tonight.”

In closing, I ask you to just calm the hell down about this. Chill!

Ties Bad For NFL

Prior to 2012, there were only four NFL games which ended in tie scores since the start of the 1990’s. Here are the games which ended in ties in question:

November 16, 1997: Baltimore Ravens 10, Philadelphia Eagles 10. (Each team’s kicker missed what would have been the game-winning field goal attempt for their respective clubs in the overtime period. Baltimore placekicker Matt Stover missed wide right on a 53-yard try with 2:21 remaining, and Philadelphia kicker Chris Boniol [just acquired the previous spring from Dallas] also whiffed on a field goal from 40 yards out at the whistle.)

November 23, 1997: Washington Redskins 7, New York Giants 7. (This is the only tie game ever in the history of Sunday Night Football. Game was made famous for Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte’s headbutt into the wall after the tying touchdown.)

November 10, 2002: Atlanta Falcons 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 34. (Atlanta overcame a 17-point deficit to force OT. Tommy Maddox threw a Hail Mary pass to Plaxico Burress on the last play of the game. Burress was tackled a half yard away from the end zone, preserving the draw.)

November 16, 2008: Philadelphia Eagles 13, Cincinnati Bengals 13. (Shayne Graham’s 47-yard game-winner fell short with seconds left in the game.)

No ties were recorded until November 11, 2012, when the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers battled to a 24-24 stalemate. In that game, the Rams had the game-winning field goal nullified after a flag, and both clubs failed to convert field goal attempts in the extra session.

The next year on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, Minnesota and Green Bay tied, 26-26 after the Vikings erased a 16-point deficit in the 4th quarter. Both the Vikings and the Packers kicked field goals in OT to tie the game for good.

Last Sunday, the NFL had its third tie since the outset of 2012, when the Bengals and Carolina Panthers played to a 37-37 draw after Mike Nugent failed to convert the game-winner at the whistle.

In the wake of the highest scoring tie in the NFL since overtime rules came into play in 1974, the fact that regular season games can still end in a tie score in 2014 is very frustrating.

Think about it: You’re sitting there, watching a three and a half hour-long football game, but there’s no result, no ultimate winner. Ties aren’t good for the National Football League. They leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths.

With there having been three tie games in as many seasons in the NFL, it’s time for a change,  The League should seriously consider adopting the overtime rules used in the NCAA since 1996.

Pretty much everybody in the NFL today has played college football using these OT rules.  The NCAA overtime rules are a better set of regulations than what the NFL uses for overtime.

In college overtime, you’ve got only a play clock, possessions beginning on your opponent’s 25-yard line, no sudden death, and you and your opponent have to attempt a two-point conversion after touchdowns in the third and all subsequent overtime periods.

This means that if the NFL were to adopt these rules (which they should,) games will end in a guaranteed winner all the time.

Read my lips, no more ties.

NFL on FOX Removes UFC Announcer Goldberg after Twitter Outburst

During every UFC telecast, when a knockout occurs, play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg will shout this phrase:

“IT IS ALL OVER!”

That phrase now also applies to his career as an NFL play-by-play broadcaster. Goldberg, who joined the on-air staff at FOX Sports in 2011 after the American television broadcast rights to all UFC non-pay-per-view events transferred to FOX from Spike TV, was given a two-game trial run in October. Brendon Ayanbadejo, former Atlanta Falcons linebacker, was tapped as Goldberg’s color commentator.

The pair’s first telecast was Sunday afternoon’s regionally-aired Lions/Vikings game. Throughout the telecast, Goldberg made several factual errors, none more glaring than when he said that the intended receiver of an incomplete pass by Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was Lions wide receiver Golden Tate. The target was #15 on the Vikings, Greg Jennings. Tate wears #15 on the Lions.

He also flubbed by mispronouncing the names of certain players on both teams, forgot what down it was, and the like. Some fans weren’t too keen on having Goldberg call their team’s game.

One fan tweeted that he’s “heard better announcing on the subway.” Goldberg, who has previously called Arizona Cardinals exhibition games on local television in the Phoenix broadcast area, had a horrible telecast on Sunday afternoon.

After the game, Goldberg took to Twitter and got into a war of words with the viewers who criticized his broadcast.  Most of the nasty tweets he sent out (and later deleted) are unfit for reposting on this blog.

The cleanest tweet from his outburst was this message he sent to a member of the Lions/Vikings viewing audience:

“I hope you never waste my time again.”

Earlier today, FOX responded to this tirade by removing Goldberg from this Sunday afternoon’s regionally-televised Vikings/Bills game. Ayanbadejo will provide color analysis as originally scheduled.

In lieu of Goldberg, FOX Sports has tapped the newest member of its on-air staff, veteran play-by-play announcer Tim Brando, to describe the action of this Week 7 ballgame.

Brando just came over to FOX from CBS Sports this fall after leaving The Tiffany Network earlier this year, where he served as host of the network’s SEC on CBS pregame report, College Football Today, as well as a play-by-play announcer for the network’s NCAA basketball coverage including March Madness.

Brando is, like Goldberg was, part of a revolving door of announcers and analysts for regionally-televised NFL games. He’ll return to the NFL booth at the end of the season after his college football duties wrap up. Fellow college football announcer Gus Johnson will cover NFL games in December, as well.

Even though Mike Goldberg is a great play-by-play man, the way he conducted himself on social media late Sunday afternoon after his NFL telecast was completely unprofessional. Every sports broadcaster has had a bad day on the air every now and then.

If any sports broadcaster were to respond to people who badmouth them in the way Goldberg did, they’d be fired quicker than you can say “Peyton Manning throws a rare interception and Perrish Cox returns it all the way back for a 49ers touchdown.”

You’d never see Jim Nantz respond to critics like that, because it would look bad on him. It would reflect poorly on any sportscaster.

UPDATE: As of 5:02 p.m. ET, Goldberg has officially apologized for his remarks on his Twitter account last weekend.

“I just want to apologize to everyone at FOX and elsewhere for my momentary lapse of reason Sunday night. I let some mean-spirited folks on twitter get to me and I should have had thicker skin instead of reacting so quickly and emotionally. I don’t want to be a distraction on the upcoming broadcast Sunday, so we mutually agreed that it would be best to sit this next one out. I’m not happy about it personally but, professionally, it’s the right thing to do after my mistake. Thank you to FOX and to others who have been so great to me and understanding.”- Mike Goldberg’s apology, via Twitter earlier today.

 

AMC Sacks LA KISS Reality Docuseries “4th & Loud” after Only Season

Earlier this year, the LA KISS, one of two new Arena Football League teams for the 2014 season, took the field for their inaugural campaign. All of America was watching.

Television network AMC captured all of the on-field action and off-field drama of the day-to-day operations of the football team, owned by classic rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, in a reality docudrama entitled 4th & Loud, which premiered on August 12.

The premiere date was one week later than what had been originally planned. 10 episodes made up the first season, which closes on Tuesday night.

Although the initial season was successful, AMC has decided to pull the plug on 4th & Loud after Tuesday’s broadcast, as per a report from Variety Magazine’s Television Managing Editor Cynthia Littleton.

The article states that most of AMC’s unscripted programming, like Game of Arms, an arm-wrestling competition, and three new reality series just commissioned by the network last May, were all scrubbed.

According to Littleton, this was done “as the cabler beats out a retreat of the reality genre to redouble its focus on scripted development.”

Some viewers of the show have argued that too much emphasis was placed on Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s involvement with the franchise.  The episode “Marked Man” revolved partially around Simmons and Stanley going on tour with KISS, while the football team was faced with a game against rival Portland.

Another crucial story line in the episode came about when LA head coach Bob McMillen overheard that quarterback Aaron Garcia had been offered the head coaching position for the KISS if McMillen were to be fired after the 2014 season.

In the previous week’s episode, footage of a meeting between McMillen and team co-owner Brett Bouchy was shown, during which Bouchy assured McMillen that his position wasn’t in danger.

It’s almost as if AMC was banking solely on Simmons and Stanley’s involvement with the team for the show to be successful.  The fact of the matter is that the show has very little to do with actual football.

Aside from edited highlights with post-production commentary by Arena Football announcer Ari Wolfe, there’s not much action going on. Practices have been shown interspersed with interview-style commentary from Simmons, Stanley, McMillen, Bouchy, and other members of the staff and players.

Other people contend that the off-field footage captured seems staged.

Case in point: Last week’s episode showed clips of a pool party held for the team and staff, during which Bouchy and his wife got into a heated argument regarding the time the team spends on the practice field. To top it all off, this tete-a-tete unfolded right in front of the players, who gave the couple some strange looks.

To me, that just screams staged, no doubt about it.

After Tuesday night’s first season finale, 4th & Loud faces an uncertain future. Not all hope is lost. According to reports, the series’ production company, ThinkProgress Media, is currently in the process of shopping 4th & Loud to another network.

That just might be what turns the tide. If it goes to ESPN, maybe the series will focus more on football.

 

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Redblacks playoff dreams hanging by a thread

drewzuhoskydaily:

Expansion RedBlacks’ postseason hopes could be dashed after Monday’s Thanksgiving games, writes Gord Holder of The Ottawa Citizen.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

Like millions of turkeys, the Ottawa Redblacks’ playoff aspirations may not survive Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Maybe it was always a longshot for the Canadian Football League expansion franchise to qualify for the six-team tournament leading to the Grey Cup championship. Still, given the relative struggles of East Division counterparts, it was possible.

Crunch time has arrived.

If the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-7) beat the Toronto Argonauts (5-8) on Friday, the Redblacks (2-11) lose to the B.C. Lions (7-7) on Saturday and the Montreal Alouettes (5-8) down the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5) on Monday, Ottawa will be officially eliminated.

“It’s literally the cliché: It’s one game at a time, and we are trying to win as many games as we can this year,” Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said Wednesday after practice at TD Place stadium. “We are going to play all five of the rest and see what all shakes out.

“We have never…

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