Rickys Random Articles

Airplane Movie Reviews: Iron Man 3 and Oblivion

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1x1.trans Airplane Movie Reviews: Iron Man 3 and Oblivion

I don’t watch movies a lot anymore, but when I am on an airplane, I most certainly do. Having flown to Edmonton the past weekend, I was allowed to watch two movies. With it, I chose two of the bigger movies to come out this year.

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 comes on the heels of the disappointing Iron Man 2. How bad was Iron Man 2? I didn’t even watch it. This new film reunites him with Shane Black, who casted him and Val Kilmer in the underrated movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I actually saw that movie at TIFF. You gotta remember, when Robert Downey JR was cast by Shane Black in that movie, he wasn’t a superstar like he is today. Instead, he was probably best known as a talented drug addict actor who couldn’t get his shit together and had to do Ally McBeal. I guess this was probably a returned favor. Shane Black loves action movies so this seemed like a perfect marriage. However, he also wrote Lethal Weapon 4, and I still can’t believe an angry Jet Li would lose to Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in a fight. Seriously.

Iron Man 3 was actually pretty good, Guy Pearce makes for a great villain and there are some nice twists in the movie. I really don’t understand why he just didn’t pick up the phone and call Captain America or something. The bad guys are threatening the USA! WTF is Captain America doing if he’s not helping out someone who is openly threatening the President? Gwyneth Paltrow has a meatier role this time around, but I am still waiting for a director with some guts to end an Iron Man movie where her head is in a box. The sub plot with the kid seems like typical movie plot device, but I guess makes little children happy so that’s okay. I thought the action scenes at the end were a bit too frenetic, but given that most of today’s movie fans suffer from ADD, I guess that’s reasonable.

Verdict: Pretty good, well worth a watch. I wouldn’t really pay more then 10 bucks for it.

Oblivion

I wonder if Tom Cruise regrets that whole Katie Holmes thing. No one has lost more because of Joey. Before the whole couch jumping thing, his movies open at 50 mill, now, I don’t even know if they make that much.

Oblivion was a sleek looking sci-fi film that was pretty good despite it’s own stupidity. Visually, it looks quite beautiful and all the scenes inside that little space apartment they had looked like it could of been a noxema commercial. Morgan Freeman basically plays Morpheus and probably spent like two days on set mailing it in before going to mail in his actual cheque for the play. The ladies in the movie all want a piece of Tom Cruise despite the fact that he is about two inches shorter and twenty years older then them. The one thing I liked about this movie is that it keeps you guessing and it aims for something much larger then itself. It doesn’t really achieve it, but the ride along the way is fairly interesting. The music is done by the M83 dude and it is quite good. Did I mention the movie was pretty? Well, it is. Probably a bit too long, but I was on a plane so I didn’t really care.

Verdict: Watch it if it’s free, or you have a large tv at home.

Throwback Tuesday: Five Favorite Music Moments from the OC

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1x1.trans Throwback Tuesday: Five Favorite Music Moments from the OC

The OC turned ten years old yesterday, once again confirming the fact that I am indeed, aging. For all it’s flaws (and there were many), The OC was still a pretty entertaining shows and turned the following leads into superstars:

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Okay, so none of them broke out, but neither did anyone from Beverly Hills 90210, so I guess that was expected. Anyways, the one thing the OC will most likely be known for is music. Few shows at the time used music as well as the OC did and it’s influence on shows today can be seen whenever you switch to the CW (but why would you).

Here are some songs I will always associate with the show.

Doves – Caught By the River

This is pretty much how I imagined California to be..everyone having a good time on a boardwalk somewhere. This scene was memorable because I actually really like this band and was like ‘whoa, did a tv show just played a song by a band I like on tv in prime time?’ and then my friends who were over were like ‘whoa, are we all sitting here watching The OC?’

Joseph Arthur – Honey and the Moon

This was your classic sad indie-pop song that in just about every OC episode. It’s pretty much in any drama episode now on every show. I still kinda like this song and it turned me into a Joseph Arthur fan for a few minutes.

Interpol – The Specialist

Whoever was doing the playlist for OC memorable scenes on Youtube MISSED this scene. You dropped the ball man, go back to the basement and complete this list! Anyways, The Specialist is most definitely one of the best songs Interpol ever recorded. Sadly, it was only on their self titled EP and not Turn on the Bright Lights. I still remember when this song was on the OC, because frankly, you remember when your favorite songs get played on a TV show. Ryan was cheating on Marissa with her old flame Teresa, which is like cheating on your Ferrari with a K Car. Logistics aside, this cheating was caught by Teresa’s boyfriend at the time so this song played in the background while the dude ominously waited in the car. Why do I know this.

In a way, Interpol’s career trajectory is a lot like the OC’s.

Let’s take a look:

Turn The Bright Lights On – Brilliant debut has everyone talking about the band, much like the first season of the OC. Carlos D is the coolest person alive, just like Mischa Barton. Some members of the band seem a bit older then listed, much like how the guy who played Ryan could have been thirty at the time. At least it wasn’t Andrea from 90210 all over again. Seriously, who casted Andrea?

1x1.trans Throwback Tuesday: Five Favorite Music Moments from the OC

Antics – Follow up to a brilliant debut is stellar but not quite the same as the debut. Still the album featured some exceptionally strong moments. Much like season 2 of The OC, which was rather average, except for the lesbian relationship between Marissa and Olivia Wilde. I honestly don’t even remember what else happened.

Our Love to Admire – Third album sees Interpol’s popularity wane and the music starts suffering from ‘sameyness’. People start writing off the band. This is pretty much season 3 of the OC, where Josh Schwartz finally realizes that casting only 4 young leads can only lead to so many realistic romantic combinations. Carlos D leaves after this album, Mischa Barton gets killed at the end of season 3.

Interpol – By this time, Interpol has more or less become a punch line but the hardcore fans still support them. Ditto for the OC.

Freaky, isn’t it.

Placebo – Running Up That Hill

Placebo always does wicked covers (see: 20th Century Boy and Where is My Mind) and this Kate Bush cover is no exception. This song started off the last season of The OC, where everyone is dealing with the death of Marissa (including Mischa Barton, who killed her own career – that’s some serious method acting). Ryan Atwood looks about 35 in this episode. Still, it was a good, dramatic way to start off a season.

Nada Surf – If You Leave

I already wrote about this one here. Here is a synopsis:

In the scene, supposed uber nerdy but secretly cool Seth Cohen had just chosen the uber attractive valley girl Summer Roberts over uniquely hip but slightly less attractive but really only by tv standards Anna. In response, Anna decides (as you do, when rejected in grade 10 by a high school crush) to move back to whence she came from, Pittsburgh (where she is no doubt a 10 whereas she’s probably a 6 or 7 in la). Perhaps exhibiting buyers regret, Seth rushes to the airport (is that possible in LA?) and unsuccessfully attempts to sway Anna Stern into staying.

In the light of the OMD drummer getting a heart attack in Toronto, it’s important to point out that this song is pretty damn awesome in whatever form.

Honestly, there were many more music moments from this show but for time sake, let’s stop now. What were your favorites?

Throwback Thursday: Big Shiny Tunes 2- Track by Track Analysis

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1x1.trans Throwback Thursday: Big Shiny Tunes 2  Track by Track Analysis

One of the biggest albums of our youth. Me and Paul decided to revisited it not too long ago. This brings us back to a time where Muchmusic played music instead of Sixteen and Pregnant. Remember those days?

Here we go.

R = Ricky
P = Paul

Prodigy – “Breathe (Edit)”

R: I still think Breathe has one of the coolest intros of all time, sounds like ninjas fighting.
P:: as long as the ninjas have funny keith flint haircuts
R: these guys went away pretty quickly though, I think somehow chris brown listened to smack my bitch up as a kid and took it to heart
P: ouch. you may be right though

Blur – “Song 2″

R:You know this is the third best selling Canadian record ever? I still find it weird most of my friend’s were introduced to Blur via Song 2, versus Parklife or Girls and Boys or The Universal
P:: Not that weird at all. they were pretty marginally known in north america before that song hit
R: Canadian music from the past decade might have benefited from some sort of Justine-Damon-Brett Anderson love triangle

Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life”

R: Man Stephan Jenkins dated Charlize Theron for 3 years in the late 90s. During her prime.
P:: Sadly ,Stephen Jenkins never really had a prime.
R: Nope. although I still enjoy this song and ‘how’s it gonna be’, brings you back to the days where your future was unknown or something.
P:: Yeah, I kind of hate myself for it, but I can’t help but sing along with this tune. Because it’s big and shiny, I guess
R:I wonder if I have sang this in Karaoke before. Didn’t they play south by last year
P::yup, I sort of saw them play twice in the same day. once for a radio interview thing in the morning and once later that night as I walked by a stage outdoors

Smash Mouth – “Walkin’ on the Sun”

R: I can’t stand this Smash Mouth song. or any Smash Mouth song
P::Yeah, Smash Mouth were inexplicably kind of huge back in the day. Seems like they were on every movie soundtrack. They must have had great management
R: There were so many psuedo ska-punk bands back in the late 90s. Wonder why, was it a tv show?
P::I blame No Doubt. I seem to remember Smash Mouth opening for Blur. That seemed like a weird bill

Sugar Ray – “Fly”

R:I have a soft spot for Fly, because it’s so damn summery. I like how they had a reggae dude in there. typically “all white band pulls in black dude to seem more legit” move.
P:: Sugar Ray would have had to pull in James Brown in order to get any real cred. But yeah, it’s pretty damn catchy.
R:I wonder what would happen if you asked Mark McGrath in 1996 if he was going to be a suck up host for a gossip shop on an entertainment network in ten years time. I didn’t know this reggae dude was in this song so much.

Bran Van 3000 – “Drinking in L.A.”

P:: And six songs in, we finally get a Canadian band on this comp from the Nation’s Music Station. I definitely have a soft spot for Bran Van.
R: This song gets played at every 90s dance night

(mix up causes us to miss Marilyn Manson )

Holly McNarland – “Numb”

R: what the heck is this
P: Can rock singer from around that time. What’s going on here? I thought you were up on your 90s stuff
R:Holly must of been a east coast thing

Bush – “Swallowed”

R: Swallowed..haha. This song marked the 2 minutes that Bush was considered a decent band
P:Oh snap!
R: They’ll always have machinehead
P:Not to mention Glycerine … Bush had a pretty good run for awhile there
R:The guitar in this song is like the guitar for 80% of the rock bands in mid 90s
P:Hey, you don’t get a hit song by being original

Matchbox 20 – “Push”

P:Ugh, matchbox 20, These guys were the worst
R:Every soccer mom’s favorite band in the late 90s – “i want to push you down” seems like this song promotes spousal violence
P:”I want to take you for granted” – I think you got it mixed up, it wasn’t the prodigy song that influenced Chris Brown

Collective Soul – “Precious Declaration”

R:I actually kinda love Precious Declarations and I really liked their second album. probably one of the few christian music i like
P: They were a Christian band? Are you sure you’re not getting the mixed up with Jars of Clay? Or Stryper?
R: Just listen to the lyrics yo “I was blind but now i see Salvation has discovered me”
P: Couldn’t help but look into it. here’s what wikipedia had to say about collective soul’s “Shine”: “Due to the song’s lyrical themes, particularly the mention of “heaven”, Collective Soul was often early on regarded as a Christian band. Frontman Ed Roland elaborated, “I remember around the time ["Shine" came out] getting into an argument with a writer who said, ‘You’re a Christian band.’ I said, ‘No, we’re not.’ ‘Well, you have the word heaven in your song.’ And I said, ‘Well, so does Led Zeppelin. I don’t remember anyone saying they were a Christian band.’” He went on to stress that such classification would unite the bandmates’ beliefs and that a particular doctrine cannot speak for all its members.[3] Roland did note, however, his religious background and the fact that his father is a Southern Baptist minister, but that this does not justify a Christian label.”

The Tea Party – “Temptation (Edit) (Tom Lord-Alge Mix)”

R:I still kinda like this song. Tea Party were hot shit for awhile. Then Jeff Martin went full weird
P: Went? I think he was always pretty weird

The Chemical Brothers – “Block Rockin’ Beats”

R:I really like Chemical Brothers, but their songs are always 2 minutes too long.

Wide Mouth Mason – “My Old Self”

R: Wide Mouth Mason, Saskatchewan’s favorite band. This song is pretty shitty
P: Yeah, I was just gonna say i don’t really remember this song and that’s probably the reason why. Still , I remember seeing these guys live back in the day and being somewhat
impressed

Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”

R: Nothing to say about Radiohead. Except this song would be impossible in karaoke.
P: Who’s idea was it to put Radiohead next to Wide Mouth Mason in the tracklisting? Makes WMM look even worse by comparison.
R: I wonder who curated this album? George? Rick the Temp? Sook Yin? I also wonder if this post is gonna generate a google alert for some of the less popular acts on this cd, and then they’ll see this. Paranoid Android is so good. It taught a whole generation of people that songs don’t really need choruses.
P: I really never actually noticed that this song doesn’t have a chorus

The Age of Electric – “Remote Control”

R: I had this Age of Electric cd because of Columbia House but I don’t think I listened to it more then five times
P: Yeah, they’re definitely a bit of a footnote in Canadian music history, but they did have a couple of alright songs

Stone Temple Pilots – “Lady Picture Show”

R: Last track.. not my favorite STP song, but it’s okay. Overall, this album is pretty stellar.
P: Stellar? It’s alright, but stellar seems a bit much. That might be the nostalgia talking

Tall People at Concerts: An analysis.

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1x1.trans Tall People at Concerts: An analysis.

Here at the Panic Manual, we not only review concerts and write about songs, we also take the time to dig deep (but not that deep). We once attempted to see if Barenaked Ladie’s If I had a Million Dollars song was actually realistic, tried to decipher Our Lady Peace lyrics and even took the time to review our own concert reviews. So now it’s only natural to look at another issue that has long been ignored – the constant scorn that tall people face at concerts.

According to a random site I found on google, the average height of male in Canada is 5’8 1/2. I am 6’1 so while it doesn’t make me that much taller, it still makes me taller then the average male. I guess I can claim I am tall because I play on the “tall boys” team during me and my friend’s annual Canada Day soccer game. Anyways, as a tall person and frequent show go-er, I can just say – while it’s usually great to have a clear view, it’s not always that fun. I know some people might have a hard time believing that, so here I am to provide you with some things we have to deal with at shows.

Excruciating self awareness that people hate you
I am completely aware that everyone behind me hates me during a show. It doesn’t make it any less painful. I can’t help it. I think most tall people try to stay in the back or near the sides during a show, but sometimes, when it’s the band you love, you really just want to be in the middle and at the front. As a paying customer, that’s also our right. You know that moment during the show, when you are having a great time and the band has the lights shine on the fans? You look around to see if everyone else is having as much fun, but imagine if every person you make eye contact with looks like they want to stab you. That’s what we get. You could argue the view is just as good from the back, but it’s not. Sometimes you just want to be right up the thick of it. Still when that happens, you know there’s a bunch of eyes on you, hating. Not the greatest feeling, let me tell you.

Taller people
So imagine you are generally one of the tall people at shows. Imagine the confusion you would get if someone even taller stand in front of you? Sometimes this happens and we are completely confused. It’s totally foreign – what is the protocol here? Do we move to stand in front of them? do we just suck it up? Confusion leads to anxiety and the next thing you know, we are a nervous wreck. Ideally, we would just shuffle to the side, but then we run the risk of creating a “tall wall”, where two tall people stand side by side and exponentially block more people’s view then one person. The hatred would double. It sounds silly, but these questions plague the mind of someone tall during a show.

Broken Jaw Anxiety
At first, I thought this was just me, but after conferring with fellow Panic Manual writer Vik (who is 6’3) and occasional PM contributor Sully (who is 6’0) it is actually a common thought. I will summarize this by a tweet I made.

Imagine having to eat food through a straw for months because some person in front of you did not have the spatial awareness to know that something that can easily be broken is just 8 inches directly overhead. You might think it’s silly, but it happens more then you think.

So as you can see, it’s not always fun and games for tall people at shows. I mean yes, the view is great, but next time you decide to swear at one because they accidentally block your view, remember: they have feelings too.