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.