Monday, August 25, 2014

5 Other Great Songs by One-Hit Wonders

5 Other Great Songs by One-Hit Wonders

By: Brian Cotnoir

     The term “One-Hit Wonder” is used to describe a band or artist that had only one hit song. However, I always thought that term dumb term, because just because a band only recorded and released one song that had any mainstream success doesn’t mean that all their other songs weren’t good.  Many bands and musical artists may only be known for one or two songs in the mainstream, but a lot of them are still playing, recording, and even touring today.  So today we take a look at the bands and artist dubbed “One-Hit Wonders” by the media and introduce you to some of their lesser known—but just as good—tracks.

1.) “Superman’s Song” by the Crash Test Dummies



     Many people remember or know of the Canadian Alternative Rock band, The Crash Test Dummies from their 1993 song “MMMM MMMMM MMMMM”, but two years before the release of that song they had some moderate success in the U.S. with the track “Superman’s Song” from their album The Ghosts that Haunt Me.  It is soft mournful track eulogizing the loss of Clark Kent/Superman.  It’s a track that’s just as good as “MMMM MMMMM MMMM”.

2.)  Good Times” by Marcy Playground


Is there anyone out who doesn’t like Marcy Playground’s droney Alternative Rock Hit, “Sex & Candy”?  After the release of “Sex & Candy” in 1997, it spent a then-record 15 weeks as the #1 song on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.  However, their failure to obtain further success in the mainstream wasn’t because their other songs weren’t as good, but more because they were one of those imageless bands; they were the kind of band that you could be standing next to in line at a bus stop and you wouldn’t know who the hell they were.  They had other great songs on their self-titled debut album such as “Shadow of Seattle”, “Poppies”, and “St. Joe on the School bus”.  However, the track I’m going to recommend for you is one of their more recent songs.  Good Times” was released off their 2009 album Leaving a Fit of Rage. It’s an upbeat song, about not letting the small things in life get you down and always remembering the good times in life.  It’s a track, I think most people can relate too.

3.)  House of Pain Anthem by The House of Pain

Everlast, Danny Boy, and DJ Lethal—better known as the House of Pain—rose to popularity in 1992 with their hit “Jump Around”, a track that’s still popular at house parties and sports arenas around the world.  However, in the beginning of the Music Video to “Jump Around” there is a sampling from another track off the same album “House of Pain Anthem”.  It has more of a Gangsta-Rap vibe, and a catchy chorus, and tough sounding lyrics.  

4.)  Digging the Grave by Faith No More



San Francisco based Funk-Metal band Faith No More rose to prominence with their 1989 hit “Epic”.  Epic” is a track that gained even more popularity when it was featured on the popular music-based video game Rock Band.  Although is a great track, I feel like it was just the beginning for Faith No More.  Their follow up albums Angel Dust and King for a Day...Fool for a Lifetime are also packed with wonderful singles that display singer Mike Patton’s wide vocal range and prove he really is “Mr. One Thousand Voices”; tracks such as “Be Aggressive”, “Ugly in the Morning”, and “Digging the Grave”.

5.)  Three Point One Four by The Bloodhound Gang

Who doesn’t know The Bloodhound Gang’s hilariously epic 1998 smash hit “Bad Touch”.  Who doesn’t enjoy the chorus “You and me baby aint nothing but mammals/so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel”.  However, the Bloodhound Gang has recorded equally as offensive songs with sexualized lyrics such as “Kiss me where it smells funny”, “Screwing you on the Beach at Night”, and “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo”.  However, it is another track from their Hooray for Boobies album that has probably its most offensive and raunchiest song, “Three Point One Four”.  But don’t let the tame title of the song fool you, it’s actually a song with obscene and comedic lyrics.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Character Analysis: Thackery Binx

Character Analysis: Thackery Binx

By: Brian Cotnoir

     There’s no doubt about it: When you think Disney, you think animation.  However, Disney Film Studios have actually had a great deal of success with their live action films.  The “Pirates of the Caribbean” films have grossed over 4 billion dollars worldwide!  And yet, they are still known primarily as a animation film studio.  Well, there’s one live action film that Disney released that is very near and dear to the hearts of many from my generation, and every fall I see more and more people break out their copy to watch it for Halloween. I of course am talking about “Hocus Pocus”.  Hocus Pocus” has some sentimental value to me.  Not only was it a film that was made and released during my childhood, but its set in my home state of Massachusetts, and parts of it were actually filmed in Salem, MA.  When I was in college my friends and I would go into Salem on Halloween, and I just got a feeling of sweet nostalgia every time we went.  It is an amazing film that’s filled with interesting and memorable characters, and I’m going to do a Character Analysis on one of the films characters, Thackery Binx.

CHARACTER: Thackery Binx from “Hocus Pocus” (1993)

Thackery Binx from "Hocus Pocus" (1993)
Thackery Binx is a young farm boy from 1693, who lives in Salem, Massachusetts.  One morning Thackery notices that his little sister Emily has been spirited away by the evil Sanderson Sisters, who are alleged witches.  The Sanderson Sisters lure the children of Salem out into their cottage in the woods in order to feed them a special potion that allows them to drain out the child’s life force so they can remain young and beautiful forever.  Thackery tries to rescue his sister, but his heroic plans are thwarted by the 3 sisters and he is transformed into a black cat.  The Sanderson Sister’s drain the life force of Emily, but are soon caught in the act by the Binx family and the residents of Salem.  Thackery’s family is completely unaware that their son has been transformed into a cat; a form in which is unfortunately doomed to spend the rest of his life in, until the curse is broken.  He is immortal and nothing—not time, disease, or even being run over by a car—can kill him.                  
Heeeeere kitty-kitty
    Flash forward 300 years to Halloween night and teenager Max Dennison (who just so happens to also be a virgin) lights the black flame candle in brings the Sanderson sisters back from the dead.  Max, his little sister Dani, and his friend Allison are now being pursued by the Sanderson Sisters and the only person who can help them is Thackery Binx.  Fortunately for Max and the others Thackery has the ability to communicate with them (which brings up the question, how come Max, Dani, and Allison can communicate with him, but Thackery’s parents were unable to talk to him 300 years ago?).


One unique thing about Thackery Binx is that he is portrayed by two different actors.  In the opening and closing scene Thackery is played by actor Sean Murray.  However, the voice of Thackery is done by voice actor Jason Marsden, and not just when he’s Binx the Cat, he also voices all over of Sean Murray’s lines too.  I have no idea why they did that?  I have done my research and couldn’t find any reason why they chose to cast Thackery like that. I can’t understand they wouldn’t just have Sean Murray read the lines for Binx the cat or why they wouldn’t have had Jason Marsden play Thackery in the live action scenes.  To be perfectly, honest I would have preferred it if they would have had Jason Marsden play Thackery and be the voice of Binx the Cat.
Sean Murray, the actor who played Thackery Binx

Jason Marsden the voice of Thackery and Binx the Cat

     Thackery is similar to the character Salem Saberhagen from the Television series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (the 1st episode of which came 3 years after “Hocus Pocus”).  Both are men who were transformed into black cats.  However, their similarities stop there.  Thackery was transformed into one for trying to stop the Sanderson Sisters from killing his sister.  Salem was transformed into a cat for trying to “take over the world”.  Thackery’s story and personality is more tragic and brooding, while Salem’s story and personality is more comedic.
Salem from "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (1996)

     The Curse on Thackery is broken after Max, Dani, Allison, and Billy Butcher (a resurrected zombie) vanquish the Sanderson sisters, by exposing them to the sun light the day after Halloween.  Binx is now dead, and his spirit is scene in the graveyard.  He thanks Max, Dani, and Allison for their help setting him free from the curse that was put on him over three centuries ago.  The last we see of Thackery is walking off into the sunrise with the spirit of his long deceased sister Emily, to happily spend eternity together in the afterlife.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

                   I drew that at work this morning for all to see. I wanted to see what people would do/say. Mostly people didn't talk much about the tragedy, instead it roused a few smiles! You see, people remember Robin Williams and smile because that is what he did! He made us smile. We all grew up with him in one way or another, I saw him most in his films, others can recite his stand-ups without hesitation. His death is a great loss for everyone who loved him and the world is just a bit darker without him.
                  One coworker of mine recalled her tears the night before. She said how she wondered why she was crying when she didn't know him. I told her we all knew him, in a way. Robin was an artist; and as an artist he showed everyone who he was. He let us all know him, in a way. 
                  Through his acting we saw his heart, his passion for theater and he always gave it his all. No matter what the script, comedy or drama, one can just tell that he loved to tell stories, wether it be as a character in one or alone on a stage speaking to an audience. Through his stand up we saw his mind, he imbued his comedy with his experiences and stories he had lived and relayed how he thought about subjects like the president and gun control ("The National Rifle Association says you have the rights to own armor piercing rounds if you're a hunter. WHY? How many deer wear bulletproof vests?!")
                  After hearing the news I immediately lit a candle and went to my dvds to find Mrs. Doubtfire, which is apparently the first film of his that comes to mind for me. Not finding it I went to netflix and began watching Hook. About half way through I realized how many times I had seen the film and went off to find one of my favorites: Bicentennial Man. This movie brought me to tears when I first saw it and I had been meaning to see it again. It still makes me cry. I watched that, and his stand up Weapons of Self Destruction until the candle went out (a tiny tea light). Getting into bed, still watching his stand ups I realized the irony in the fact that I was laughing at the man to get over his demise. 
                   That's what makes him great. Great comedy can make us laugh no matter what the situation. Another reason he was great is that it seemed that he was always on. Even when he wasn't on stage or a set, in interviews, on the red carpet, it seemed he love to make others laugh, and he was brave enough to do things to get those laughs that most others would not. 
                   I spoke to him. My vivid imagination could conjure a ghost of him, standing in my apartment. I told him through tears he was going to live forever. The films he was in, his stand up, they will be watched for generations to come, and remembered long after that. We live for as long as our memories are held dear and what better way to be remembered than making people smile?
                   So many people have posted tributes, condolences, and good-byes (the one quoted in my drawing brought me to tears again after I thought I was done!). I am no different. I cannot find a new way to say this that has not been said countless time in the past 24 hours. There is only one way to say farewell to the huge talent the Robin Williams was: Cry, watch his films and stand-ups, and promise to help him live on by showing them to others. I hope I never need to hear someone ask "Who is Robin Williams?" That's up to us. Generations to come need to see this man, because he is great, and he is an inspiration.
                   In his Inside the Actor's Studio interview he said that he hopes that there is laughter in heaven. Well, Mr. Williams, if there wasn't any before, there certainly is now!
                   But here in life the man was an artist, a genius of comedy who makes us laugh even in the wake of his death. Through that art, through our laughter, he will live forever.
  1. July 21, 1951-August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams
One of the best. One of the greats!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

5 Reasons why King Candy from "Wreck-It Ralph" is the Worst Disney Villain Ever

5 Reasons why King Candy from “Wreck-It Ralph” is the WORST Disney Villain Ever

By: Brian Cotnoir

Welcome back to this, the third instillation of my Disney Villain Top 5’s.  This week will be looking at who I consider to be the Worst Disney Villain.  Now most people would assume that I’d go with someone like Hans from “Frozen” or Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast”, but no there is a villain whose for worst, far more pathetic, and probably the worst movie Villain, Disney has come up with yet.  I of course am talking about King Candy from Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” and here are 5 reasons why I think he is the Worst Disney Villain. 

1.) He’s Prejudice

Aint no Glitches allowed in my Candy Kingdom
King Candy is a prejudicial ruler.  The group he targets, game glitches.  Throughout the film he does everything he can to prevent Vanellope Von Schweetz (a game glitch) from racing in the candy kingdom.  King Candy is so bent on preventing Vanellope from participating in the race that he levies’s a toll of one gold coin/medal in order to enter the race.  Coins/medals to gain race entry are typically given to race winners...making it practically impossible for Vanellope to be able to enter the race.  Vanellope had to steal Wreck It Ralph’s medal, she probably wouldn’t have been able to enter the race at all.  Even after, Vanellope gains entry in the race, King Candy does everything he can to keep her from racing.  He goes as far as to hack the game code and extract her medal to prevent her from being allowed to race.

2.) He’s (possibly) a pedophile

     Am I the only person who thinks it’s sketchy that an older adult male is competing in a sport with only little girls?  Yeah, King Candy sends up all kinds of red flags.  Why is it that King Candy hates glitches, but wants to race with little girls?   Yeah, that’s pretty darn sketchy if you ask me.  I think there’s a reason to suspect that King Candy is a potentially a pedophile.
King Candy is such a creep!

3.) He is Egotistical

     King Candy has an ego.  He thinks he’s better than everyone; he tries to tell people what to do and how to live their lives.  He very well possibly has a God-complex too.  He is willing to put the lives of other videogame characters in danger to get exactly what he wants, including murder... 
You cocky Jerk, you!

4.) Murders and attempts to murder other game characters

     SPOILERS: King Candy is actually another video game character named Turbo, who was a part of a popular racing arcade game, however when Turbo’s popularity began to dwindle he left his game and went into another more popular game causing both games to sabotage it, but as a result cost both games to suffer serious malfunctions and as a result both gamesunplugged: meaning everyone in both games was killed.  After both games were unplugged King Candy snuck into the Sugar Rush game and re-wrote some of the games code in hopes of taking over the game.  He killed before and was more than willing to kill off all the characters in Sugar Rush to satisfy his over-inflated ego.
Heeeeeeeeeeerrrrrreeeeee'ssss Turbo!

5.) He doesn’t even get a villain song

     How can you be a good Disney villain if you don’t even get a villain song?  Yes, there’s a song on the soundtrack called “King Candy”, but it’s only an instrumental, no lyrics, or singing from King Candy whatsoever.  How can you ever be a great Disney Villain if you don’t even get your own Villain song?  That reason alone was more than enough to make me count King Candy from “Wreck-It Ralph” as the Worst Disney Villain Ever.

5 Reasons why Ursula from "The Little Mermaid" is the Best Disney Villainess Ever