Coffee Talk #656: Random Thoughts on E3 2015

Another E3 Expo is in the books! Since we’re a few years removed from console launches, E3 2015 was gloriously software heavy. That said, virtual reality hardware was huge at this year’s show and generated lots of excitement. There were tons of great games on the show floor and behind closed doors. Special thanks to old friends and new friends that let me cut lines and sneak into demos that I didn’t have appointments for. Now here are some random thoughts on E3 2015.

Console Press Conferences: Sony crushed it. The company had lots of great original content and showed off juicy timed exclusives. The Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy VII announcements won the hearts of millions of old-school gamers. Sony has come a long way with presentation too (remember those old Kaz Hirai PowerPoint slides?), largely because Microsoft raised the bar for E3 press conference theatricality. Microsoft put on a good show, but I found Sony’s press conference far more exciting. As for Nintendo’s latest direct-to-video presentation, the company had lots of games that I’m excited for…but the Nintendo executive muppets will haunt my dreams for the next few months (the Satoru Iwata muppet is terrifying).

Nintendo Muppets E3 2015

Publisher Press Conferences: I’m probably in the minority here, but I was more impressed with Square Enix’s presser than EA’s or Ubisoft’s. While Square Enix’s presentation was flat and the company didn’t have the celebrity star power its competitors flaunted, the games were excellent. Square Enix simply had more games that I wanted to play. While many of my friends loved Ubisoft’s lineup, it didn’t do much for me, save for South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Ubisoft gets bonus points for Aisha Tyler hosting and for Angela Bassett’s appearance. As for EA, it had frickin’ Pele — one of the coolest and most legendary single-name celebrities ever. EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst had me amped, but not as much Kingdom Hearts 3, World of Final Fantasy, Life is Strange, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy VII (more on that in a bit).

Virtual Reality: I played a bunch of VR games/demos and totally understand why so many people are excited about this type of gaming. It feels fresh and exciting. When VR works, it’s amazing and makes you feel like you’re playing a game from the future. When the frame rates are clunky, VR games give you a headache. What I’m unsure about is the business model. From what several people told me, making a VR game is very expensive. Gamers will need expensive hardware for the best VR experience. From the (admittedly limited) information I gathered, Valve has the best plans for making VR accessible for developers and consumers. I’m curious to see what the other VR companies will do to help make VR affordable for creators and gamers alike.

Wattam: Going into the show, I was certain that I’d be charmed by Funomena’s Wattam. The creation of Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy) and Robin Hunicke (Journey), Wattam is wonderfully creative — a game that’s simple, but with complexity that makes it difficult to describe. Some people are calling it a puzzle game, while others feel it’s adventure, and some are calling it a platformer. Check out the trailer below and see for yourself. Whatever category you think Wattam fits in, there’s no denying that the graphics are cute, the gameplay is creative, and the sound design is adorable. I love that Sony publishes atypically delightful games like Wattam.

Final Fantasy VII: Some gamers feel that FFVII is the best game in the series. Others feel that it’s the most overrated. Either way, it’s a huge deal that the game is being remade and coming to PlayStation 4 (initially). While I enjoyed the original game, it’s not in my top five for the Final Fantasy series. Having said that, I’m a big fan of FFVII world, since Crisis Core and Advent Children helped make sense of everything. I’m going to dedicate a full topic to this column next week. No matter how good or bad the FFVII remake ends up being, I’m excited to watch the process and listen to the debates. I expect full fanboy fury over FFVII and gamers better not disappoint me.

Mario Tennis: I “accidentally” spent more than hour playing Mario Tennis Ultra Smash at Nintendo’s booth. I’m a longtime fan of the Mario Tennis games, both on home and handheld consoles. Even though the game is early and there were only two playable characters, I had a blast with Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. The core gameplay is tight, while the addition of power-ups gives it a wackier feel that make sense in the context of the Mario universe. I’ll give this one a full preview in a bit.

Sword Coast Legends: As a huge fan of the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games, I was really looking forward to learning more about Sword Coast Legends. After getting a demo and playing the game, my expectations were exceeded. It will surely satisfy fans of the isometric PC RPGs that I mentioned, but should also satisfy fans of pen-and-paper RPGs. The dungeon master features look awesome, powerful, and fun. While most of the game will have professional voice acting, I was delighted to learn that there will be opportunities for live action role-playing. I vow to make a character based on Azrael Abyss from Saturday Night Live and annoy the hell out of anyone foolish enough to let me be a dungeon master. I’ll be giving Sword Coast Legends a full preview too.

Your Take: Naturally, I didn’t get to play or see everything I wanted to. This is where you come in! I’d love to get your take on E3 2015. How did it play from home? What games are you excited for? Who do you think “won” the press conferences? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.

Coffee Talk #655: E3 2015 — So Wha’tcha Want?!?

E3 2015 is next week! It kind of crept on me there — totally forgot it was this close. As always, I’m excited to see lots of great games, watch the console manufacturers try to outdo each other, and catch up with longtime videogame industry friends. This year, I’ll have a bunch more “me” time at the show. At E3 2014 I made the mistake of working for two companies that wanted full-time efforts out of one person. While I enjoyed the show, it was tiring and I didn’t have the exploration time that I love (I also missed my annual Hooter’s lunch with my dear friend, AIAS Debby). E3 2015 will be different! I have some light freelance work and a bunch of meetings, but will certainly have lots of time to check out games.

Hooters with @debbychen, an E3 tradition. #e32013 #losangeles #chickenwings

A photo posted by Raymond Padilla (@rpadtv) on

I tried to load up as many E3 2015 meetings as I could on Tuesday (day one of the show). In years past, some of the best games I’ve seen were ones that I looked at because friends and respected colleagues told me to check them out. Bumping into someone between appointments and asking, “So what have you seen that’s cool?” has lead to some amazing revelations. I’ll rely heavily on that technique at E3 2015.

Some of my industry friends have been making fun of me and asking, “So? What indie game are you going to fall in love with this year?” Yeah, yeah, yeah — that’s totally deserved after being smitten with games like JourneyThe Unfinished Swan and Sound Shapes during previous E3 shows. While I’m looking forward to the spectacle of big-budget games and the unique charm of indies, the game I’m looking forward to the most doesn’t fit into either category — Sword Coast Legends. As a huge mark for the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games, I can’t wait to learn more about this one.

As longtime RPadholics, I want to know what you want me to check out on your behalf. If I have access to the game and time allows, you’ll get your own personal preview. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you’d like me to check out at E3 2015.

Coffee Talk #654: Excited and Scared For Big Trouble in Little China Starring The Rock

Big Trouble in Little China is one of my all-time favorite movies (I’m talking top three). As a lifelong fan of pro-wrestling, I vowed to support any movie Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is involved with. When the rumor of The Rock starring in a remake of Big Trouble in Little China broke, I was immensely excited…and more than a little bit scared. On paper, it should be a movie that I love, but John Carpenter’s 1986 classic has elements that I expect a 2015 movie studio to completely miss.

You see, I have no doubt that The Rock would be brilliant as a modern day Jack Burton. Kurt Russell was fantastic in that role, playing the overconfident (wannabe) hero that thinks way too highly of his abilities and completely overestimates his prowess with the ladies. While I don’t think The Rock would be able to achieve the mesmerizingly charming dopiness that Russell pulled off, he’d be able to bring more physicality to the role, allowing the movie’s action to reach new heights (for the Jack Burton character, anyway).

The reason why Jack Burton is such a wonderful character is that he absolutely thinks he’s the hero, but is most certainly not. The true hero of Big Trouble in Little China is Wang Chi, subtly and expertly played by Dennis Dun. Dun’s Wang Chi has a quiet confidence; he’s much more capable than Jack Burton could ever be, but you’ll never hear him brag about that fact.

Should the Big Trouble in Little China remake happen, I completely expect Hollywood to fail in the casting of Wang Chi. I expect the studio to cast someone that’s too pretty and too willing to take a back seat to The Rock. With the way Hollywood has been casting Asian-Americans lately, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Wang Chi rewritten as 1/8th Chinese so that some caucasian pretty boy can play the role. As much as Jack Burton’s character made the original Big Trouble in Little China, Wang Chi was equally vital to the mix. The two characters and two actors complemented each other perfectly, in a way that few pairs in other buddy movies ever have.

So while I’m terribly excited for a Big Trouble in Little China remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m going to temper my expectations. I fully expect The Rock to make a kick-ass Jack Burton, but I’m worried about what Hollywood will do with Wang Chi. I fear that the new version of the character will lack the strength the original had and I fear that he won’t be the true hero of the story.

What do you guys and gals think? Are you amped for a Big Trouble in Little China remake? Any casting ideas for Wang Chi? Kindly share all your thoughts in the comments section, lest you be doomed to the hell of the upside down sinners. (The Chinese have a lot of hells.)

Coffee Talk #653: Ignorant Pacquiao Fans Dismiss Mayweather’s Victory

Last night’s boxing match (hard to call it a “fight”) between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was disappointing. The most lucrative bout in the sport’s history, it was pugilistic clinic by Mayweather that didn’t exactly electrify the crowd. While Manny had a few moments of flashy offense and stunned Mayweather a few times, “Money” dominated the fight. For various reasons, many Pacquiao fans aren’t giving Mayweather the credit he deserves. As a hardcore boxing fan, I find all the talk of “all Mayweather did was run” and “Mayweather was holding all night” incredibly annoying; it shows that many Filipino boxing fans — especially the ones that only watch Pacquiao fights — don’t understand the sport at all. Before I rant more about that, let’s get to the official particulars.

Judge Dave Moretti scored it 118-110, while judges Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements had it 116-112. I was scoring the fight and gave Pacquiao two rounds, matching Moretti’s score. I also put an asterisk next to two rounds, noting that they were tough to score, so the 116-112 scores seem reasonable to me.

According to CompuBox, Mayweather landed 148 of 435 punches (34 percent), while Pacquiao landed 81 of 429 punches (19 percent). With those numbers in mind, I find it hilarious that ignorant fans have accused Mayweather of “only” holding and running. While he certainly held more than ever before and fought backwards for the majority of the fight, he also landed 67 more punches than Pacquiao and was the more accurate fighter.

It appears that several Pacquiao fans don’t understand how boxing is judged. The Association of Boxing Commissions uses three criteria to score a fight. I’ll list all three and discuss them in the context of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

  1. Clean Punching — Mayweather landed more shots and cleaner shots. He was accurate with his jab, straight counter-right, and check hook. Even when Manny managed to land combinations, many of his punches were partially blocked.
  2. Effective Aggression — Many Pacquiao supporters claim that Manny should have gotten more credit for being the aggressor. While it’s obvious to anyone that Pacquiao was pushing the pace, he wasn’t aggressive in an effective manner. His low connect percentage reflects his ineffective aggression.
  3. Ring Generalship — This is where Mayweather excelled and this is what’s lost on many Pacquiao fans. For the majority of the fight, Mayweather controlled the pace and distance. Again, the numbers support this. This was Pacquiao’s lowest and least accurate output for a 12-round fight; it had everything to do with Mayweather’s fantastic ability to control other fighters.

 

Keep in mind that I’m not a fan of Mayweather’s personality at all. I was rooting for Pacquiao and hoped that the God he prays to would bless him with a miracle. Even though I think Mayweather is a woman-beating piece-of-crap, his boxing ability is undeniably spectacular. The fight went pretty much how I thought it would — a dominant but unexciting boxing clinic by Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Many fans are denying Mayweather’s dominance of Pacquiao due to ignorance. They simply don’t understand the sport of boxing and their whining is irritating me. It makes it look like Filipinos are homers that have no idea what boxing is about — they just complain about holding and running, while ignoring punch output and ring generalship. If you judged the fight logically and objectively, the only reasonable conclusion is that Mayweather thoroughly outboxed Pacquiao.

Anyway, that’s my take on the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match and how some stupid fans have reacted to it. What did you think of the fight? Yeah, it was a snoozer, but I don’t see how anyone could deny Mayweather’s performance. If you watched the fight, please share your thoughts on it in the comments section.

Coffee Talk #652: Random Thoughts on Daredevil (Netflix)

After a trio of binge-watching sessions, I finally got around to finishing Daredevil on Netflix. The first of several direct-to-Netflix series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), all 13 episodes of Daredevil were released on the streaming service on April 10, 2015. A few of you RPadholics and many of my friends binge-watched the show over the release weekend, but I spaced out my viewing sessions (partially to savor it and partially due to other commitments). After finishing Daredevil and thinking about it for a day, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really, really enjoyed the series, but absolutely love what it does for the MCU. I’ll break down my likes and dislikes below, but first a bit on why I love what Daredevil means for the future of the MCU.

As I mentioned, Daredevil is the first of several Marvel series coming to Netflix. For various reasons, the company chose Netflix to highlight its “street level” superheroes. Following Daredevil, Netflix will have shows starring Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First. While the Avengers combat alien invasions, Captain America battles giant Nazi organizations, and Thor faces off against demigods, the street level heroes fight everyday crime. Daredevil beats on muggers, Luke Cage fights gangs, Jessica Jones has a private investigation firm, and Iron First has girly yellow slippers. I love that this facet of Marvel is being explored. While these heroes aren’t as powerful as a Norse god or a man in billion-dollar armor, they’re easier to relate to and arguably more interesting because of their vulnerabilities. The street level heroes are a brilliant contrast to the Avengers and help diversify the MCU.

I also love that all 13 episodes were released at once on Netflix. Yeah, you don’t have the weekly water-cooler chats about the show, but I love that I can watch as much Daredevil as I please whenever I please. People love to binge-watch these days and being able to binge-watch a brand new show is very, very cool.

Now let’s move on to some random thoughts (binary style!) about Daredevil. I know that many of you have finished the show already and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please share them in the comments section. Now activating binary mode. (Activate your spoiler shields!)

Daredevil Netflix red costume

Good: I’m sure some parents’ and/or Christian groups will be appalled that I’m celebrating Daredevil’s violence, but that aspect of the show was unique compared to the violence in the MCU movies. Sure, Cap, Thor, and the gang take their fair share of punches, but the violence in Daredevil is far more bone-crunching. There are several episodes where you think the hero’s powers aren’t enhanced senses, but the ability to absorb a decade’s worth of ass-kicking in 30 minutes or less. Daredevil takes several beatings throughout the 13 episodes and unlike a Norse god getting smacked by a frost giant, you can imagine what those beatings were like.

Daredevil gives as good as he gets too (otherwise, he’d be dead after two episodes). The beatings Daredevil doles out are straight-up nasty and Kingpin’s use of a car door makes me a little bit scared of my Ford Focus Electric. Appropriately, the street level heroes face street level violence.

Bad: Television shows have a certain rhythm, usually planned around commercial breaks. Since direct-to-Netflix shows don’t have such annoyances, the directors are liberated. In some cases, the unusual pacing can be pleasantly surprising. In others, there are dull stretches. While I liked Daredevil’s lack of predictable beats, there were several episodes that could have been better with more traditional pacing. Sometimes giving directors and editors freedom isn’t the best.

Good: Kingpin absolutely ruled. Between Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance and the material he had to work with, this version of Kingpin is my favorite live-action portrayal of a comic-book villain ever. I’ve never watched a villain so nuanced and layered. D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was powerful, gentle, ruthless, caring, maniacal, child like, romantic, and sadistic. Sure, he had 13 episodes to develop the character, but his performance was flat-out impressive no matter how you slice it. It’s awesome how you can find be terrified of Kingpin in one scene and feel sorry him in a scene where he’s on an awkward date.

Daredevil Netflix Kingpin

Bad: While Kingpin owned and the supporting cast was strong, I found Charlie Cox a little bland. In the comics, I enjoy reading as much about Matt Murdock as I do his alter ego. In the show, I couldn’t wait for Murdock to put on his costume and kick some ass. Part of it has to do with Cox’s stupid grin, which is just asking to be smacked. It’s not that he was bad; I just found the rest of the cast more entertaining.

Good: As I mentioned in the last paragraph, the supporting cast was strong. My favorite episode was probably the seventh, which featured Daredevil’s trainer Stick. I love this character in the comics and was thrilled to see him on television. Scott Glenn’s interpretation of stick was lots of fun.

A close second was the tenth episode, “Nelson vs. Murdock.” In the previous episodes, I enjoyed Elden Henson’s version of Foggy Nelson, but he killed it in this one. It would have been easy and lazy to rely on Foggy purely as comic relief. Having him challenge Matt — questioning his existence as Daredevil and their decades-long friendship — made for a powerful episode.

Good: There were lots of cute nods to fans of the comics. I loved the crack about Vanessa dating a guy that wore white suits with purple cravats (Kingpin’s traditional outfit in the comics). Mentions of the Greek girl Matt dated in college set the ground for a future appearance by Elektra. While Karen Page was victimized throughout the series, the use of heroin in the show made me worry that the writers will follow the books and make her an addict in the future. While they were forgettable asides for people new to Daredevil, they were also nice bits for longtime fans of the character to hear.

Daredevil Netflix Matt Karen

Bad: As expected, Daredevil took a few episodes to come together. The first few episodes ranged from decent to good. It wasn’t until the fifth episode that Daredevil really took off.

Good: Rosario Dawson is amazingly sexy.

Bad: Poor Ben Urich. I was hoping to see him in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, but his MCU version is no more. (Note to RPadholic Smartguy: Why aren’t you complaining about Daredevil Ben Urich being black?!? :p)

Good: I loved the way that the first season ended. Ultimately, it was about Wilson Fisk throwing away his altruistic (though misguided) side and truly becoming the Kingpin, just as much as it was about Matt Murdock finding his way (and an honest tailor) and fully becoming Daredevil. It was a great build that left me wanting more. On a side note, I’ve always wondered why other superheroes never messed with Daredevil on April 1, replacing his red costume with a turquoise and fuchsia getup…but perhaps that’s just me.

Good: While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Daredevil is the best part of the MCU (which some others have proclaimed), I very much enjoyed the show and love that it laid the groundwork for future street level exploits. Bring on Jewel Jessica Jones!

Coffee Talk #651: Cutting the Cord With HBO Now

Last week, I made the decision to cut the cord and cancel my AT&T U-Verse TV service. The recent launch of HBO Now and the fairly recent launch of Sling TV precipitated the change. With those two streaming television services, I have access to Game of ThronesLast Week Tonight with John OliverESPN, and the first few rounds of the NBA playoffs — vital parts of my TV consumption. My existing Netflix (comp account) and Amazon Prime subscriptions already provide a great selection of movie and television content. HBO Now and Sling TV give me even more to choose from — certainly more than I need. When you add up all the subs, it’s still cheaper than my monthly U-Verse TV package.

One week in and I’m a happy camper. The Game of Thrones premiere streamed without a hitch, I’ve got my weekly dose of John Oliver, my lunchtime break of Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption continues, and I get to watch NBA games. While people had problems with Sling TV during March Madness and some people had issues with Game of Thrones on HBO Now last night, those services have been working flawlessly for me. I’m getting almost all the content I want and saving money!

Of course there are things that I’ll miss. Chief among them is live boxing. Unfortunately, HBO Now doesn’t feature the network’s live sports broadcasts. Showtime also has a bunch of live fights that I’d like to see. Since I’m no longer a U-Verse subscriber, I won’t have access to boxing pay-per-view events. Hopefully a solution will present itself in the future. For now, I’ll just have to go to bars or make drop-in visits to friends with cable in order to enjoy boxing. Keep in mind that all of this was expected. Being a hardcore boxing fan is really expensive. You need a cable or satellite subscription, premium networks, and pay-per-view to follow the sport live.

Cutting the cord has been liberating. It’s cheaper and (for the way I like to watch television) better. Yeah, I’ll be lumped in with those Silver Lake hipsters that love to brag about how they cut the cord years ago, but it only made sense for me now. Game of Thrones has been my favorite TV show for the last four years and there’s a bunch of other HBO content that I love (despite the presence of the wretched Olivia Munn). HBO Now gives me all of that. With baseball kicking off and the NBA playoffs starting, this is my favorite time of the year for sports. Sling TV has me covered. Watching TV solely through streaming services is less expensive and kind of cool in that “Hey, look at me! I’m a futurist!” way. For my television habits, Netflix and Amazon Prime were a great start, but HBO Now and Sling TV sealed the deal.

I know that RPadholic Smartguy has cut the cord. Care to give an update on how your experience is going? For you other guys and dolls, what would it take for you to cancel your traditional cable service and go full streaming? Leave a comment and let me know (please)!

Coffee Talk #650: The Best Nerd Movies of 2014

2014 was a busy year for nerd movies. Some were excellent (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), some were uneven (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and some were crap (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Out of all the nerd movies released this year, one surprised and delighted me more than any other — Guardians of the Galaxy.

The surprise was on a couple of levels. While I’m a fan of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Brian Michael Bendis), I didn’t think these characters were mainstream enough for a mass hit. Despite the monosyllabic talking tree and the haughty talking raccoon, that’s exactly what happened. Guardians slaughtered the box office and was generally well reviewed by mainstream media outlets.

The other surprise was Dave Bautista. As a longtime pro-wrestling fan that prefers skilled technicians over musclebound oafs, I’ve loathed Bautista for more than a decade. He sucked in the ring and on the mic for the WWE. I was certain that he’d suck in Guardians of the Galaxy. His performance was…shocking. Obviously Big Dave was made for action scenes, but I was astounded by his comedic timing. He delivered some great lines in the movie and I’m still astounded that his acting was entertaining.

As I’ve written a few times in the past, I believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior movie from technical and writing standpoints. That said, Guardians is way more fun and re-watchable. Since their digital releases, I’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice and…you know, I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve watched Guardians, but it’s definitely more than 10.

With its fantastic special effects, outstanding use of music, and fun performances, Guardians of the Galaxy gets my pick as nerd movie of the year.

LEGO Movie

Honorable Mentions

The LEGO Movie — This one was a surprise. I was expecting a saccharine movie for kids, but got a clever and heartfelt film. LEGO Batman ruled. “Everything is Awesome” ruled. The LEGO Movie was a smart and funny movie that’s great for children of all ages, and one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in years.

Birdman — I need to watch this movie again…several times. The writing and performances were great, but the camerawork was mesmerizing. The way the movie was filmed, it looks like a couple of really long tracking shots. Some have argued that it appears to be one tracking shot. Birdman is strange, powerful, and dazzling…but I’m still not sure what I saw. This movie definitely needs repeat viewings.

Birdman

Your Turn — As always, I want to hear about your favorite movies of 2014. Fire away in the comments section (please!).

Coffee Talk #649: Shreds Revisited (Pop Edition!)

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of “shreds” videos. A well done shreds video totally cracks me up. The best clips are musically accurate enough to be recognizable, with the right amount of horrible playing/singing to make you laugh. The last time I wrote about shreds, I focused on heavy metal acts like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. The genre lends itself  marvelously to shreds; it’s fun to butcher virtuoso guitar playing and bang heavy drums off-rhythm. Today, I give you a trio of my favorite pop music shreds. Today’s lineup is Hall & Oates, Backstreet Boys, and Miley Cyrus.

This live performance of Hall & Oates “Maneater” is a fantastic example of a superior shreds video. The composer did an exemplary job of mixing different musical instruments and vocals, syncing them perfectly with the performance. Small touches, like the hollow sound that occurs when Hall hits the microphone stand, really help bring this video to life. Plus, John Oates is just a funny looking dude. It’s a scientific fact that videos that feature a white man with an afro and a pr0n-stache are exponentially funnier than ones without a white man with an afro and a pr0n-stache.

This clip of the Backstreet Boys singing “I Want it That Way” shows that a capella shreds can work too. It helps that it was performed on Oprah, as cutaways to the live crowd and Ms. Winfrey herself lead to some funny moments. The ridiculous faces made by the Backstreet Boys are even funnier. Lastly, middle-aged men singing a boy band song is always a good laugh. On a technical level, the composer did a great job crafting horrid harmonies.

Last, but not least, is Miley Cyrus performing “Wrecking Ball” on Ellen. Similar to the Backstreet Boys performance, the talk-show setting helps. Miley’s edge is that she’s singing a ridiculously dramatic song; a rich white girl whining about problems just begs to be made fun of. The composer did a fine job with the instruments, particularly the wretched guitar playing. On its own, “Wrecking Ball” is easy enough to laugh at. Give it the shreds treatment and the song hits a whole new level of comedy.

Naturally, I want to watch any shreds videos that you recommend. If you come across some great ones, please post them in the comments section.

Coffee Talk #648: Your Black Friday/Cyber Monday Wish/Get List

The ludicrous sensations known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here! For the next week or so, I’d love to hear all about your wishes and wants for this year’s shopping spectacular. As the deals pile up, please use the comments section to post any sweet deals you’ve snagged or that you recommend to your fellow RPadholics. If you’d be so kind as to keep an eye on Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals page, picking something up would really help out RPadTV (if you hit the link in this sentence before buying).

Sadly, I’m way too poor to buy much of anything this year. So I’m going to live vicariously through you guys and gals. Hopefully a bunch of you will enjoy some stellar deals so that I can feel a bit of joy and possibly bust out the following saying:

Ha! So let’s have it (please)! Share your Black Friday and Cyber Monday wishes and gets below (again, please).


Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about the rocky career of RGKnee, Derrick Rose’s endless aches, or the extremely unfortunate breakup of Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Coffee Talk #647: Aunt May, Dr. Doom, and Pissing Off Comics Fans

While Marvel Studios has been serving up comic book movies that entertain both fanboys and mainstream moviegoers, other studios continue to find ways to piss off comics fans. You’d think that Fox and Sony would learn from Marvel Studios productions like Iron ManCaptain America, and The Avengers, no? Instead, the studios that (unfortunately) hold movie licenses for the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man seem to be going out of their way to irk comic book readers, if the rumors are to be believed. As a lifelong comics nerd, the recent rumors are bugging the hell out of me. Today’s Coffee Talk is all about therapeutic venting.

Let’s start with the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. In a recent interview with Collider, actor Tony Kebbell revealed how his version of Dr. Doom will differ from the comic book version. Kebbell said, “He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. The Doom in ours — I’m a programmer. Very anti-social programmer.” That’s…terrible. Dr. Doom is one of the most interesting and complex villains in comics. He’s a cool mix of science and sorcery. His harshness is offset by a genuine love for the people he rules in Latveria. One of the worst parts of the last pair of Fantastic Four movies was that they made Dr. Doom an evil businessman instead of an awesome scientist/sorcerer. The next Dr. Doom is an evil programmer. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than an evil businessman, but I know that it still sucks.

Already expanding the Spider-Man franchise with upcoming Sinister Six and Venom movies, Sony is rumored to be pursuing a movie based on — get this — Aunt May. When I read the rumor on Latino Review, my (NSFW) reaction was something like this:

The Aunt May movie (I can’t believe I just typed that) is supposedly a spy film. The good news is that the rumor is so completely ridiculous that part of me believes that a Sony PR flak leaked it just to mess with the press. The bad news is that there’s a good chance I’ll be forced to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge if I wake up in a world where an Aunt May movie is a real thing.

Anyway, that’s enough venting for now. What do you guys and dolls think about the latest Fantastic Four and Spider-Man Aunt May rumors? How do you feel about a Fantastic Four movie where Dr. Doom isn’t an awesome scientist/sorcerer named Victor Von Doom, but is instead an angry programmer named Victor Domashev? Do you think an Aunt May spy movie is too nuts to be true? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.