Saturday, November 19, 2016

Character Analysis: Doug Glatt (Part I)

Character Analysis: Doug Glatt

By: Brian Cotnoir

Doug Glatt from "Goon"
I am a sports guy.  I may not have played (or have been very good at sports in my youth, but I always enjoyed watching them. I enjoy all kinds of sports, Football, Baseball, Auto Racing, Hockey, Basketball, it doesn’t matter to me, if it’s good and entertaining I’ll watch it...well, as long as my favorite teams are winning.  Plus, I grew up in the 90’s, which was like the Golden Age of the Sports movies for kids: “The Mighty Ducks”, “Rookie of the Year”, “The Little Giants”, and “Cool Runnings”, are just a few example of some of the great sports movies we got between the late 1980’s and 1990’s.  So I decided for this edition of Character Analysis I wanted to write one on a character from a Sports film, and the first character that popped into my mind comes from a newer (and lesser known) sports movie from 2011, “Goon”.  So if you haven’t seen “Goon” yet, I highly recommend you go and do it after you read this Analysis of the films protagonist, Doug “The Thug” Glatt.

CHARACTER: Doug Glatt from “Goon” (2011)

     Doug Glatt is a bouncer from the small fictional town of Orangetown, Massachusetts.  Doug feels ostracized for not being more like his family.  Unlike his father and older brother, Ira, who are successful doctors, Doug is clumsy, and bumbles when he talks, or tries to talk back to someone, and often viewed as an embarrassment and disappointment by his parents and the members of the Jewish Temple they attend.                                     
Doug with Orangetown Assassins
     One night, Doug attends a local minor league hockey game with his buddy, Pat.  After Pat taunts a player on the opposing team who was sent to the penalty box, the player goes into the stands to fight.  Doug tries to de-escalate the situation, but after the player calls him and Pat “faggots”. Doug takes serious offense to that word because his older brother Ira is gay and proceeds to violently pummel the player in the stands to the astonishment of the fans and other hockey players.  The next day while appearing on Pat’s Public Access TV Show, “Hot Ice”, Doug is invited by the coach of the Orangetown Assassins, who witnessed the fight in the stands, and invites Doug to come and try out for the team.  Doug is mocked by the other members of the Assassins for his poor ice skating and his inability to come up with insults, but then he decides to let his fists to the talking, and beats up multiple players on the team.  The coach of the Assassins sees that Doug is a sweet-natured—almost childlike—adult, but believes that with Doug on the team as their enforcer he can help lead the team to victory.    
     Doug’s coach in Orangetown tells him that his brother Ronnie, who is also hockey coach for a Minor League Team, wants to sign Doug to a contract with his team the Halifax Highlanders.  Coach Ronnie wants him to protect a star player, named Xavier LaFlamme, who was once a promising prospect, but after suffering a serious concussion in one of his first Pro Hockey Games, is to petrified to play effectively because of his fear of getting hit again.  Doug journey’s to Halifax to join the Highlanders, and is not only going to be Xavier LaFlamme’s protector on the ice, but also his roommate.                        
     The Highlanders are a “who’s who” of misfits and other failed hockey prospects.  Doug is the only person who is proud to be a member of the Highlanders, and is constantly seeking the approval of teammates and is always looking to them for guidance.  Doug makes an immediate impact on the team, by knocking out an opposing player with just one punch, which earns him the admiration of his new coach, his teammates (except LaFlamme), and a local girl, named Eva, who Doug has a crush on.          
     Doug’s family and Pat journey up to Halifax to see him play, and are mortified when they see him get into a fight on the ice, while the entire arena chants “Doug the Thug!”.  After the game, Doug’s parents try to get him to give up playing hockey, but he doesn’t want to because he finally feels like he’s good at something and a part of something important.  Doug’s parents continue to express their disappointment with him, and tell him that they basically view him as an embarrassment, and leave in disgust.  The only people in Doug’s lives who are supportive of his hockey fighting are his friend Pat, his older brother Ira, and Eva.


Actor Sean William Scott plays Doug Glatt in "Goon"
Doug Glatt is played by actor Sean William Scott, who most people remember as the guy who played Steve Stiffler in the “American Pie” film franchise.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Sean William Scott in this role because you really get to see how good of an actor he really is.  Scott has appeared in other films that got much wider releases, but were absolutely despised by critics and audiences such as “Role Models”, “Dukes of Hazzard”, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, “Mr. Woodcock”, and “Movie 43”. I feel by appearing in a lesser known film that only got a limited release, people can finally see the true acting talents of Sean William Scott, and not just assume he’s playing some doofy or moronic character who likes to smoke weed.


The character of Doug Glatt was inspired by a real life minor league hockey player named Doug Smith, who also was an enforcer.  The film itself is a loose adaptation of the book “Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey”.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Doug shares similarities with characters from other ice hockey movies such as the Hanson Brothers from the 1970’s cult classic Hockey film “Slap Shot”, and also Dean Portman from “D-2:The Mighty Ducks”, as they are also both enforcers on a hockey team.                              

   I would also say that Doug has a lot of similarities with Adam Sandler’s character Bobby Boucher from “The Waterboy” because both are sweet-natured simple men, who are fans of their sport and get recruited to join a losing sports team after the coaches witness them commit an extreme act of violence against an opposing player.  Both of their parents disapprove them playing their sport, and both have found a girlfriend who is first attracted to them because of their physicality of play.

Bobby Boucher from "The Waterboy"


Doug fights Ross Rhea
In the final game of the season and with the playoffs on the line, Doug and the Highlanders must face off against the St. Johns Shamrocks, and their brutal enforcer Ross “The Boss” Rhea.  Rhea promised to “lay [Doug] the f*ck out” if they ever met on the ice.  In one of the most brutal hockey fights ever seen, Doug knocks out Rhea—with a broken ankle no less—and then skates off to the locker room to have his ankle treated.  Doug’s showing of toughness and bravery inspires his roommate/teammate Xavier LaFlamme to play his heart out and goes on to score a hat trick that wins them the game.  While waiting in the locker room with his girlfriend Eva, Doug reflects on the fight he just had with Rhea uttering, “I think I nailed him”.

*”Goon 2: The Last of the Enforcers”, the sequel to this film is scheduled for release in 2017, I will post a follow up to this Character Analysis once it is released and I get a chance to see it*

Friday, November 11, 2016

Character Analysis: Arnie Grape

Character Analysis: Arnie Grape

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Is there any actor in Hollywood who is more respected, more famous, and more praised than Leonardo DiCaprio? ...Well maybe Daniel Day-Lewis, but Leo is also a Silver Screen treasure.  No matter what film you’ve seen him in, he is guaranteed to give you an Award Winning Performance.  So I thought it would be a good idea to write do an Analysis on one of Leo’s roles, and asked my friends what they thought.  My only stipulation is it had to be a fictional character that he played, so no Howard Hughes, or Frank Abagnale, or J. Edgar Hoover, or Hugh Glass, but pretty much any other character was fair game, and the people have spoken and they have requested that I do an analysis on Arnie Grape from the Indie classic “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

CHARACTER: Arnie Grape from “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993)

Arnie Grape
Arnie Grape is a 17-year-old boy with Intellectual Disabilities who lives in the small town of Endora, Iowa.  When he was a baby the doctors said he would not live past the age of 10 (presumably because of his condition).  Arnie lives with his Momma, his older brother Gilbert, his older sister Amy, and his younger sister, Ellen.  It is mentioned by Arnie’s brother Gilbert that they also had a brother named Larry, but it is never really specified what happened to him, he is just referred to as “gone”.  When Arnie was 1-years-old his father, Albert, hung himself in the basement of their house.  Arnie is very affectionate towards his mother and his older brother Gilbert                     Arnie’s mother loves him dearly, but due to her morbid obesity and limited mobility cannot really provide Arnie and his siblings.  Arnie’s older brother Gilbert has the sole job of watching out for him.  Wherever Gilbert goes, Arnie comes with him.  Arnie spends most of his days hanging out at Lamson’s Grocery store, where his brother Gilbert works as a stock/delivery boy.                                                Although he is intellectually disabled, Arnie is known to get himself in trouble.  On more than one occasion the police have been called because Arnie has climbed up the town’s water tower and refuse’s to come down.  Arnie eventually gets arrested for climbing the water tower after the Sheriff gets fed up.  He is placed in a holding cell until his mother comes down and demands that the Sheriff release her son.                    


Actor Leonardo DiCaprio plays Arnie Grape
Arnie is played by actor Leonardo DiCaprio.  The role of Arnie in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” was only the fourth movie role DiCaprio ever played, and it is said that he was offered the role of Thackery Binx in the Disney film “Hocus Pocus”, so that he could take on the role of Arnie in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”.  It is no easy feat for any actor to play a character who has intellectual disabilities, especially for an actor as young as DiCaprio was at the time (he was only 19-years-old when he played the role of Arnie), but DiCaprio did a fantastic job, and the critics took notice.  For his role of Arnie, DiCaprio earned his first Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor (but he would unfortunately lose to Tommy Lee Jones for “The Fugitive”.


In order to get in character for his role, DiCaprio spent a few days at a home for Mentally Disabled Teens, talking to them and observing their mannerisms. That’s really all the information I could find about what DiCaprio did to research the role.  And just like all people with Intellectual Disabilities DiCaprio’s role of Arnie is unlike any other film character with Intellectual Disabilities so it’s not possible for me to make a fair or accurate comparison. 



     Arnie’s mother dies after his 18th birthday party.  In order to spare their recently deceased mother more embarrassment and ridicule the family decides to burn down their house with their mothers corpse still inside.  The next time we see Arnie his waiting by the roadside with his older brother Gilbert, one year later.  Their friend Becky (who Gilbert began a romantic relationship with) has arrived with her grandmother for their annual trip and the two of them have decided to join them on their cross country journey.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Character Analysis: Wallace Wells

Character Analysis: Wallace Wells

By: Brian Cotnoir

     I’m not as big a fan of comics as many people, but there are some comics I’m rather fond of.  One of my favorite comics is Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics.  I’ve always identified with the titular title character, Scott, so much.  I mean we’re both socially awkward Canadians in their mid-20’s who play the bass, and have an evil ex-girlfriend who’s a can’t be more relatable than that.  I’m also a huge fan of the movie based on O’Malley’s comics, so I asked my friends to pick a character from the Scott Pilgrim universe for me to write an analysis on, and by overwhelming request they I chosen Wallace Wells as the Character for my Analysis.  Now, just to clarify, I’m only doing an analysis on Wallace from the film version, and not the Wallace from O’Malley’s comics (because they do have some significant differences).

CHARACTER: Wallace Wells from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

Wallace Wells is the “cool gay roommate” of Scott Pilgrim in both the comics and the film.  Although, not state in the film, it is revealed in the comics that Wallace has a day job working in an office.  He shares a very tiny apartment with Scott and more or less pays for everything they have.  He and Scott even have to share a mattress on the floor.  Wallace cares about, Scott but also teases him a lot.  It is Wallace who rats out Scott to his younger sister Stacy, and tells him that he is dating a 17-year-old girl named Knives Chau.  Wallace in the film is also a fun loving bachelor in the film.  At the first battle of the bands he steals Stacy’s date, Jimmy, away from her.  Judging by Stacy’s reaction, in the film, this is not the first time Wallace has done it.  Wallace is a key figure in helping Scott train, figure out a battle strategy, and the locations of some of Romona’s seven evil ex’s.  Wallace also helps Scott deal with his breakup with Envy Adams which shows that he does care for his friend Scott.  And despite his own promiscuous behavior in the film, Wallace tells Scott that if he will tell Ramona the truth about him already having if a girlfriend unless he breaks up with Knives. 


Wallace Wells is played by actor Kieran Culkin who is the younger brother of former child star, Macaulay Culkin.  He was absolutely hilarious in this role.  Culkin’s brother, Macaulay, played a gay character in the film “Party Monster”, and was very overly flamboyant & stereotypical with his role, so it was nice to see that Kieran took a more subtle approach to his role.


According to the Comics creator, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Wallace is based off his former roommate Christopher Butcher, who is the co-founder PopImage; a website all about comics.  I also believe that Wallace is your typical mentor character. He’s the guy sent to there to help the hero/protagonist train and achieve their goal.  I’d put Wallace in the same category as Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid”, Phil from “Hercules” (1997), and Paulie from the “Rocky” franchise.

Wallace Wells from "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

Paulie from the "Rocky" Franchise


After Scott’s final battle at the Chaos Theater, we don’t really find out what happens to Wallace, at least in the film.  In the comics we find out that he is dating and living with his boyfriend, Mobile (who does not appear in the film), who is a psychic.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Character Analysis: Paxton

Character Analysis: Paxton

By: Brian Cotnoir

I’m probably one of the biggest fans of director Eli Roth.  I’ve seen every movie he’s released so far, and I just think he’s the greatest. I wanted to do a Character Analysis on one of his film characters, but I couldn’t make up my mind who I wanted to write one about.  I could’ve gone with Grimm, the character he played in his directorial debut, “Cabin Fever” and I also debated doing one about Keanu Reeves character from his film “Knock Knock”.  In the end I decided to go with the main character from the first Eli Roth film I ever saw, Paxton from “Hostel” and “Hostel 2”.

CHARACTER: Paxton from “Hostel” (2005) and “Hostel Part 2” (2007)

Paxton from "Hostel"
Paxton is a young American traveling with his friend Josh across Europe with their Icelandic friend, Oli.  At one point, Paxton mentions that he’s “studying for the Bar” which implies that he’s a recent law school graduate.  Paxton and his friends have arrived in Europe for sex, drugs, and partying.  Paxton is trying to help his buddy Josh soil his wild oats and some of the many fine women of Amsterdam.  Paxton, and his friends end up taking shelter at the apartment of a young Dutch boy named Alex.  They tell Alex, that they’ve been looking all over Europe for fine women, and tells them about an amazing hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia where the girls are hot and they go crazy for American guys and will do anything and everything sexual with them.  Paxton and his friends decide to skip their trip to Barcelona, and head to Bratislava instead.  When they finally arrive at the hostel it’s even better than they ever dreamed.  However, after both is friends mysteriously vanish without a trace, and Paxton experiences a sense of déjà vu at the hostel, he becomes increasingly frustrated and concerned about where his friends have gone.  Paxton tracks down two of the girls he met at the hostel and orders that he take them to where his friends are.  He is led to an abandoned factory in in the countryside where he learns that his friends were sold to the highest bidder by a group called “The Elite Hunting Club” to be tortured and killed, and that he is next to be killed on the list.


Paxton is played by actor Jay Hernandez.  Who has a small name with a lot of experience in a lot of big name movies.  Before “Hostel”, Hernandez appeared in Disney film “The Rookie” and “Friday Night Lights”.  Since then, Hernandez has gone on to star in films such as “World Trade Center”, “Quarantine”, and most recently starred as El Diablo in “Suicide Squad”.  Hernandez did a great job in the role as Paxton.


Paxton is exactly what you think of when you think of a stereotypical young American in Europe.  He’s spoiled, vulgar, arrogant, feels he is entitled, and that he’s more important than everyone else.  I also think that Paxton shares some similarities with Pinocchio.  Both are young boys with wanderlust who are lead astray by people they thought they could trust (In Paxton’s case Alex and Natalya, in Pinocchio’s case Honest John and Gideon) and sold off to the highest bidder (I.E. The Coachmen and the Elite Hunting Club) to have unspeakable things done to them.

I dont know who had it worst


Did Paxton get a new haircut?
Paxton tries pleading for mercy with the German client who paid for him (in German), but he German man does not listen to his pleas.  After a substantial amount of serendipity, Paxton manages to escape his captors, and even gets revenge on Alex and the two girls for being responsible for their pain and suffering.  Paxton manages to get on the train and escape to safety, where he eventually ends up killing the Dutch Businessman who killed his friend Josh.  The next time we see Paxton it is at the beginning of “Hostel: Part II”.  Paxton is dealing with PTSD following his ordeal, and has not told anyone, except his girlfriend, the truth about what happened overseas.  The next day Paxton’s girlfriend awakes to find his decapitated body in their kitchen, and the box with Paxton’s head in it is delivered to the head of the Elite Hunting Club.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Top 5 Underrated Disney Songs

Top 5 Underrated Disney Songs
By: Brian Cotnoir

Let’s talk about Disney again, shall we?  Equally as Iconic as the films themselves, Disney has given us some of the most memorable film soundtracks of all-time.  From the soundtrack of “Snow White” which not only was the first full-length animated feature made, but also was the first commercially issued film soundtrack made available for sale to the public, to the Academy Award Winning works of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.  Disney is responsible for some of the most memorable and beloved songs of all-time.  However, for every song in a Disney film like “Pinocchio’s” “When You Wish Upon a Star” or “Frozen’s” “Let it Go”, you’ll end up with one that falls flat like “Scrumps” from “Sleeping Beauty”, and then every now and then there’s a song that isn’t disliked, but it just somehow becomes forgotten.  Maybe it was because the film wasn’t well received or maybe it got outshined, by another more popular song from the film, but for whatever reason these are my Top 5 Underrated Disney Songs.

5.) Higitus Figitus from “The Sword in the Stone”

     I truly believe that this is the most underappreciated Disney film out there today.  For all the talk of Disney Princess’s there is on the internet, you rarely ever here anyone talk about a Disney King’s.  Yes Kings have played some minor roles in Disney films, but “The Sword in the Stone” is the first film that’s main character actually becomes a King, and he didn’t start out as a Prince like Phillip, Eric, or Hans, he starts out as an orphan peasant and becomes a King!  Probably the best song in the “Sword in the Stone” has to be a fun little song called “Higitus Figitus” sung by the wizard, Merlin.  Merlin sings the song when he’s packing up his home.

4.) Everybody wants to be a cat from “The Aristocats

     I’m not going to lie; this is one of the most boring films Disney has ever created, but “The Aristocats” isn’t without some merits.  It’s strongest (and probably only good part of the film) is the song “Everybody wants to be a Cat”, a song that starts off as a smooth Jazz number, before transitioning into a real swinging party song by the end.

3.) Let’s get Together from “The Parent Trap” (1961)

     I only knew of this song from a “Disney Sing-A-Long Video” that my grandparents had when I was a kid.  My older sister and I used to sing this song when we were younger.  Yes, long before the days of Lindsay Lohan, Disney had an earlier film version of “The Parent Trap”.  I’ve never seen the original, but I still remember this song after all these years.  The plot to the film is pretty much identical to the remake Disney did in the 90’s with Lindsay Lohan.  The actress was Haley Mills, who would later go on to appear in an TV show called “Good Morning Miss Bliss”, which would later be renamed as the more popular, “Saved by the Bell”.  I must say though just judging from this one scene in the film that I know, Lindsay Lohan’s fake British accent is a thousand times better than Hayley Mills fake American accent.

2.) The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind from “The Great Mouse Detective”

It is said that Disney Studios created Professor Ratigan in “The Great Mouse Detective” specifically for Vincent Price.  I’ve also heard reports that Professor Ratigan was Price’s favorite role.  It should come as no surprise that someone who was so invested in a role gave one of the Best singing performances in any Disney film.  Yes, the Villain’s in Disney films typically do get an awesome song, but Price’s delivery in the song “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” truly makes it one of the best Villain songs ever.  Just listen to Price sing, he clearly loves how bad his character is in this film.

1.) I’m Still Here (Jims Theme) from “Treasure Planet”

     I remember this Sci-Fi version of Robert Louis Stevensons Treasure Island for two reasons: 1.) I am a Steampunk Hobbyist, and there is definitely a great deal of Steampunk influence in “Treasure Planet” and 2.) The Amazing song written and performed by John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls.  Rzeznik was no stranger to writing scores to films.  His song “Iris” which he wrote for the soundtrack to the film “The City of Angels” helped propel his band into the spotlight.  Years later he would be hired by Disney to write a title track and Theme song for the films main character, Jim.  While “I’m still here” wasn’t as popular on the charts as “Iris” (possibly because it was written for a kids for a film), it is still a great song, and in my opinion the most underrated Disney Song ever recorded.

Monday, August 22, 2016

My First Album (Part I)

My First Album
An Article Compiled/Edited by Brian Cotnoir

The other day when I was at work, we were listening to the radio when “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield started playing.  My boss immediately exclaimed with enthusiasm that the first album she ever owned was a Rick Springfield album that her older sister bought for her.  Then that got me thinking; what was the first album I ever owned?  I had to think about it, like really really have to think about it.  Then it came to me, and then it got me thinking that there are probably many other unique and interesting stories about people’s first exposure to music?  Who did they listen to? How old were they?  What memories do they have of that first album? Do they still like that kind of music?  So here I am with a new music segment on the blog that I like to call “My First Album” where people come to share the memories of the first album they ever owned.  I’d like to thank all my participants, and without further delay here is the story of my first album and many other peoples.

PERSON: Brian C.
FIRST ALBUM: Slam Dunk (Da Funk) (Single) by Five
FAVORITE SONG on it: Slam Dunk (Da Funk)
MEMORIES OF IT: My older sister gave it to me. It used to be hers, but she told me I could have it.  I liked it because the CD had a basketball design on it.  I didn’t have a CD player at the time, so I would always have to borrow my older sisters in order to listen to it.

PERSON: Karen J.
FIRST ALBUM: “Herb Alpert’s Ninth“ by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
FAVORITE SONG on it: The Happening
MEMORIES OF IT: My parents bought the album for me when I was 13. I remember playing the air trumpet along with them…you know like air guitar.  I thought I sounded like Herb Alpert.

PERSON: Robert D.
FIRST ALBUM: Godsmack (Self-titled)
FAVORITE SONG on it: Voodoo
MEMORIES OF IT: Getting a portable CD Player and having the album on repeat the whole summer [of 1999], when I visited my father as we traveled to Cape Cod and places
DO YOU STILL ENJOY LISTENING TO IT?: Godsmack isn’t the same to me now.  I listened to that a similar amount of times a few years later.  It was really when they were fairly new, but not as it came out.

PERSON: Lauren E.
FIRST ALBUM: SGT Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles
FAVORITE SONG on it: She’s Leaving Home
MEMORIES OF IT: [I remember] listening to it over and over with my parents and sister and lip synching into the TV remote like it was a microphone and the [albums] cover.  I would always try to figure out who all the people on the cover were.

FIRST ALBUM: Tragic Kingdom
FAVORITE SONG ON IT: “Just a girl”, but I was only about 4 when I first heard it.
MEMORIES OF IT: Sitting in the back seat of my mom’s gold Pathfinder then rediscovering the album in 8th grade and thinking I was punk as hell, but it was a gateway to better punk to be honest.
DO YOU STILL ENJOY LISTENING TO IT?:  I haven’t in a while because it’s not my thing anymore, but it still brings back fond memories.

FIRST ALBUM: Bat out of Hell II by Meatloaf
FAVORITE SONG on it: “I would do anything for love”
MEMORIES OF IT: I would do anything for love, but I can’t do that
DO YOU STILL ENJOY LISTENING TO IT?: Yeah when I hear the songs [because] I lost the CD

FIRST ALBUM: Abigail by King Diamond
FAVORITE SONG on it: Abigail
MEMORIES OF IT:I tink attempting to hit the high notes on the beach where I used to live every morning.  I’ll never be as good as the King!
DO YOU STILL ENJOY LISTENING TO IT?: Every week! And I got to see the album in its entirety played live last year as well.

FIRST ALBUM: Oops...I did it again by Britney Spears
FAVORITE SONG on it: Stronger
MEMORIES OF IT: My Uncle gave it to me when I was 7.  I used to try to act the songs a lot, like choreograph dances and scenes for a video
DO YOU STILL ENJOY LISTENING TO IT?: I haven’t listened to it in a while, but when I hear songs from it, I still get fond feelings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

5 MORE songs you've probably forgot about until you read this article

5 More Songs you’ve probably forgot about until you read this article

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Is there any more enjoyable feeling than riding in a car listening to a radio, when all of a sudden they start playing a song that you loved, but haven’t heard or thought about for 10-15 years?  I think not!  It’s amazing how quickly a certain song can bring back so many fond memories of a time not-so-long-ago.  Maybe it was a song you remember hearing for the first time at a school dance or was playing when you had your first kiss, or maybe you just have fond memories of riding in the car with your friends singing these song lyrics as loud as you can, for whatever reason, these songs often get shuffled into the bottom of the CD pile, but are easily remembered when heard for the first time in a long time, and I am here again to count down 5 more songs that you’ve probably forgotten about until now.

1.) Everywhere by Michelle Branch

Somewhere between Liz Phair & Alanis Morissette and Taylor Swift & Adele, there was Michelle Branch.  She was cute girl with an acoustic guitar before that became a genre of music.  In many ways you could consider her to be an Indie Artist, but she was much more than that.  Her debut single “Everywhere” off her album “The Spirit Room” launched her into the mainstream music scene. Michelle Branch had some moderate success in the early 2000’s.  She even won a Grammy in 2003 for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for her performance of “Game of Love” with Rock N Roll Legend Carlos Santana.  However, this was also a time when the most popular female recording artists were Pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. And unlike other similar artists—such as Avril Lavigne and Nelly Furtado— who jumped on the Pop Princess bandwagon, Michelle Branch stayed true to herself and unfortunately faded into obscurity.  

2.) Back Here by BBMak

It should come as a surprise to no one who reads my music Top 5’s, but I am quite fond of Boy Bands.  I just think they’re really awesome.  I’m not sure if BBMak technically counts as a Boy Band, but for arguments sake, I’m going to say that they are one.  BBMak wasn’t like other Boy Bands at the time; there were only 3 of them instead of the usual 5, and they were British.  Their debut single “Back Here” made swarms of young girl’s hearts melt, and I think this is one of the most underappreciated songs released by a Boy Band.  I’m dead serious when I say this, Boy Bands are so old they’re retro now, and they’re making a comeback on radio, and I think it is solemn duty call our local radio stations and request that they play more BBMak, and hopefully that will lead to a much overdue BBMak reunion tour.  Maybe they can go on tour with 5ive? or Take That?  I’d pay money to see that show.

"Back Here" - BBMak music video

3.) Hero by Chad Kroeger ft. Josey Scott

It seems like each time I do one of these music reviews, I’m a little bit nicer to Chad Kroeger (but somehow get even more cruel to Avril Lavigne, but enough about her), and I think one of his few positive contributions to Popular Music is his song “Hero” which appeared on the “Spiderman” movie soundtrack.  “Spiderman” was released in theaters only a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and since the film was set in New York City, this film became a must see for many grieving American’s.  I don’t know whether or not “Hero” was planned to be included on the soundtrack before or after 9/11, but this song became an Anthem for many Americans (myself included).  “Hero” is not only a song for a superhero like Spiderman, but it also echoed true with America’s admiration for its real life superheroes, the members of the NYPD & FDNY. This song was the biggest deal when it was released and it’s ashamed it doesn’t receive as much attention as it deserves.

4.) C’Mon N’ Ride it (The Train) by Quad City DJ’s

I’m not really a fan or Rap or Hip-Hop, but if I had to pick a favorite subgenre, I’d have to say it’s definitely Miami bass.  Bands like Tag Team, 2 Live Crew, and Quad City DJ’s have produced some of my favorite dance tracks.  Tracks, like “C’mon N’ Ride it (the Train)” by Florida’s Quad City DJ’s is one of those tracks.  This is a pure party song, and I can remember hearing it fondly being played down at my local roller rink, and everyone skating and having a good time.  We need more DJ’s to play this song not only on the radio, but at weddings, high school dances, house parties, and everywhere else.

5.) It Happens Every Time (Dream Street) by Dream Street

The final nail in Boy Band Coffin of the late 90’s and early 2000’s has to Dream Street.  They were one of the last boy bands to have success radio stations began to shift away from this kind of music in favor of Rap and Hip-Hop Artists like Eminem, 50-Cent, Ludacris, Outkast, and many others.  Unlike, other boy bands at the time that featured grown men in the early to mid-20’s, Dream Street consisted of actual teenage boys, the most popular and famous of which was Jesse McCartney, who would later become Disney’s early 2000’s version of Zac Efron, before a company like Disney knew what to do with a Zac Efron.  Unlike other Boy Bands who broke up after they became famous, Dream Street broke up just before they became famous, because the parents claimed that the groups producers exposed them to things like booze and pornography. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Character Analysis: Indominus Rex

Character Analysis: Indominus Rex

By: Brian Cotnoir

Who doesn’t think dinosaurs are cool?  Seriously, they’re just one of the coolest and most fascinating creatures to have ever walked the earth.  It’s such a shame that we as humans didn’t get to exist at the same time.  Fortunately for us, we have been blessed with awesome Action/Adventure “Jurassic Park” films, based off of the popular novels by Michael Crichton.  I’ve been debating for some time which character I wanted to write an analysis on there are so many memorable and important characters that I could have picked, but I have finally decided which one, I’d like to write it on, and it’s not one of the human characters, but rather one of the memorable dinosaur characters, Indominus Rex from “Jurassic World”.

CHARACTER:Indominus Rex from “Jurassic World” (2015)

Indominus Rex from "Jurassic World"
Indominus Rex is the creation of Dr. Henry Wu (with heavy encouragement and funding provided by Simon Masrani).  Indominus Rex in combination of a few dinosaurs; Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus, Majungsaurus, Rugops, and Therizinosaurus.  Indominus Rex also contains elements of modern animals like cuttlefish, tree frogs, and viper snakes.  Its name means “Untamable King”.  Indominus Rex is a female, and was born with a sibling, but killed her sibling as soon as they hatched.  It’s rumored that she also at her sibling, which would make her a cannibal.  Indominus Rex is unlike any other dinosaur.  While most carnivorous dinosaurs at Jurassic World hunt in order to survive, Indominus Rex hunts for sport.  The I-Rex is also a very strategic hunter.  It can camouflage itself, it can lower it’s body temperature to make it appear invisible and it’s body can withstand blasts from the most powerful manmade weapons.  I-Rex can also run at speeds up to 30MPH.  It is truly, an animal that is the absolute top of the food chain.      


There is no Voice Actor for Indominus Rex.


There are a number of different characters that I believe the Indominus Rex is similar too, as I already mentioned above it’s DNA is a combination of several other dinosaurs and animals.  Sticking with other characters from the franchise, the Indominus Rex is very similar to Velociraptors from “Jurassic Park”, both Indomious Rex and the Velociraptors, are kept in high security paddocks because of their advanced intelligence, and extreme danger to humans.  They spend the majority of the early parts of their respected films plotting their escape, testing their security’s strengths and weaknesses, and they both eventually do manage to escape and run amuck on the Island.     

    I also think that Indominus Rex shares similarities to Bruce the shark from Steven Spielberg’s Horror Classic “Jaws”.  Like Bruce, Indominus Rex is a lone killer who is a fast and efficient killer who strikes fear in all that see them.   
    Thirdly, I think Indominus Rex also shares similarities with Mewtwo from “Pokemon: The First Movie”; both are created in labs using a combination of DNA from other powerful members of their species.  Both were created to serve and entertain man, and both rebelled against their creators, and escaped to spread a path of death and destruction.  I personally, think that Indominus Rex is on a much higher level of thinking than the other dinosaurs, which leads me to my last character similarity the sharks from “Deep Blue Sea”.          

     In “Deep Blue Sea”, the scientists are trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and they do this by performing experiments on the sharks brains, and as a side effect of all this experimentation, the sharks became smarter, and better hunters.  I can’t help, but wonder if Indominus Rex is going through a similar thing.  Is it getting smarter with each kill, is it truly the ultimate predator?  Does it have thoughts or emotions? Or is it just a mindless killing machine?


After escaping form it’s paddock and unleashing massive amounts of destruction and devastation, not to mention many countless injuries and deaths of both humans and dinosaurs, it all comes down to one final epic showdown, between Indominus Rex, a small group of surviving humans, and a trained velociraptor.  One of the top officials at Jurassic World orders that the Tyrannosaurus Rex be released from its paddock in hopes that it may be able to stop or kill Indominus Rex.  The T-Rex, Velociraptor, and Indominus Rex take part in an epic battle before it is knocked into a protective gate and dragged deep into the water by a gigantic Mosasaur, where it killed and (presumably) eaten.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Character Analysis: Sean

Character Analysis: Sean

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Deep down in the very pit of my soul, I’m still a Punk at heart.  I grew up listening to bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Green Day, Black Flag, and as I got older I became more involved in the Straight Edge Scene and local hardcore scenes.  Even today, I make an attempt to attend every local punk show I can.  I hope someday to look back on my Punk days with fondness, like how I look back at James Merendino’s 1999 Indie Classic “SLC Punk”.  I’ve enjoyed this film ever since I first saw it in college, and now fans of “SLC Punk” have been blessed with a sequel, “Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2”, and much to our delight, many of the original cast members have showed up to reprise their roles a whopping 17 years later.  So today I’m going to pay homage to my favorite character from those films, Sean.

CHARACTER: Sean from “SLC Punk” (1999) and “Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2” (2016)

Sean in "SLC Punk" (1999)
We are first introduced to Sean through a flashback told by Heroin Bob. The year is 1985, Sean is a high school student at Southeast High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He is a former Mod, who later became a Punk (with giant spikey green hair and everything).  He sells acid to Mods for money.  After being chased by the schools resource officer, Sean runs across the soccer field where his pants get soaked by the automatic sprinklers.  All the acid in Sean’s pants melts and dissolves into his skin.  Heroin Bob claims that Sean got the equivalent of 112 hits of acid all at once.  All that acid fried Sean’s brain and caused him to suffer hallucinations.  He is found sitting out on a chair in his front yard in the snow by Heroin Bob, who Sean believes is actually Jesus.  Sean tells Bob that Satan is in his house and killed his mom and turned her into a bull.  We later see that Sean’s mom has called the police and has her son arrested.                 
    The next time we see Sean he is living on the streets begging for loose change. He sees his other friend Steve-O, and tells him about how much it sucks being homeless, and how he’s struggling to find work.  You can clearly see that Sean is still suffering from some pretty severe psychological effects as a result of absorbing all of that acid into his body.

Yeah, but not much else going for you, Sean.


Sean is played in both films by Actor Devon Sawa.  Sawa did a great job with the role in both films and managed to be one of the most memorable characters in the film despite having a very limited screen time.  What’s even more impressive is how Sawa managed to portray Sean in two completely different ways with almost 20 years in between films.  I’m going to be a little bit bias and say that Sawa did a much better job in “SLC Punk” then in “Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2”, but that’s just my opinion.  An interesting side note: Sawa was one of the Co-producers of the sequel.

Is it just me, or does Devon Sawa look like the 
offspring of Jeremy Renner and Dolph Lundgren?


I can’t think of any characters in film that Sean is similar to or inspired by.


Sean(L) and John the Mod (R) in "Punk's Dead"
In “Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2” we see that 20 years later, Sean has finally gotten his life together.  He finally got the psychological help he needed and is working for an Unnamed State Senator at the Capitol in Salt Lake City.  When he’s not working at the Capital he’s usually hanging out at Warrior Music, a Black Metal music shop owned by his good friend “John the Mod” (who is no longer a Mod).  Sean tells Trish (the mother of Heroin Bob’s son, Ross) that he used to swing by his office every now and then and ask him for advice and for him to tell him about the father he never met.  Sean is the one who figures out where Ross most likely went to in the sequel, and at the end is the voice of reason to help out Trish and Ross work through their differences and emotional turmoil’s.