Month: June 2014

Worth Your Valuable Time: Obvious Child

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When we talk about movies that come out in the summer, we are usually talking about HUGE movies; blockbusters, with special effects out the yang, fast food tie-ins, and, more often than not, a screenplay that is several shades stupider than it really needs to be. And I’m FINE with that. I like those kinds of movies. For example, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction opened this weekend. I will probably see Transformers 4: Age of Extinction because I am a big fan of watching robots fight each other, and when said robots TURN INTO DINOSAURS FOR SOME REASON… well shit, I’m only human.

But we’re not here to talk about aggressively loud and dumb blockbusters today (though again, those kind of movies are OKAY; I am no advocate for change). We are here to talk about the OTHER kind of movie that comes out in the summer… the counter-programming to the fighting robots, fighting superheros, and fighting 50’s doo-wop groups that exists because occasionally you want to be entertained by something that wasn’t created solely as a means to sell action figures.  Specifically, we are here to talk about Obvious Child, a movie that is the exact opposite of Transformers 4 in every conceivable way. It is showing, hopefully, at an art-house cinema somewhere near you, and you really need to go throw your money at it. And make your friends throw their money at it too. MAKE IT RAIN on Obvious Child. Because Obvious Child isn’t just a great movie (though it IS that, big time). It is the very essence of independent cinema.

These are the three things that you need to know about Obvious Child:

Obvious Child is about abortion, but it isn’t an ABORTION MOVIE -Plainly put, this is a movie about a woman who… after getting pregnant from a drunken, one-night stand… decides to have an abortion, and is okay with that decision. The decision itself is at no point in question during the course of the movie, and… though it is what drives the engine of the plot… the act of this woman getting an abortion is kind of beside the point. Now… I will concede that not everyone will be entirely comfortable with that idea. As far as hot-button issues go, abortion is one that, when pushed, can launch nuclear bombs. There are going to be those that will not care for seeing such a weighty, divisive topic handled… not lightly, per se… but with heaping handfuls of comedy and good-nature. “It’s about abortion!  There should be weeping! Wailing! Gnashing of teething, and maybe a little rending of garments for good measure!” If that is what you’re looking for, then Obvious Child is maybe not the movie for you. Although, I think you should watch it anyway… different points of view are a good thing. An enriching thing, even. So just be cool… just everybody be cool.

Obvious Child is devastatingly funny – I am about to make a big, bold statement, but… hell, this is my website, and if you can’t be bold in your own house, why even bother HAVING a house. You might as well live in a puddle. Anyway, here goes: Obvious Child is the funniest movie of the year. Period. I just don’t see anything out there that’s going to beat it. Now, granted, I haven’t seen EVERY comedy that’s been released since January, nor will I see every comedy that gets released before the end of December. But… call it a gut feeling, or a hunch, or, screw it, call it a ROCK-HARD FACT. You are not going to find a funnier movie than Obvious Child in 2014. And now that I have made this big, bold statement… because I am a inherently a worrier at heart… I feel like I am dangerously close to overselling Obvious Child, which would be doing the film a major disservice. But whatever; you need to learn to manage your own expectations, anyway. Consider this an object lesson in doing that. Because I really believe in that big, bold statement… Obvious Child is simply hysterical. It is funny in a vital, honest way that I haven’t seen on the big screen in a long, long time.

Obvious Child SHOULD make Jenny Slate a very big star – Jenny Slate is a comedian who mostly does stand-up, but who also has a decent side career going appearing in small roles on popular TV shows. Bob’s Burgers, Parks & RecThe Kroll Show… she’s been around, but never the main event. Obvious Child is going to change that. Or at least it SHOULD. Sometimes the world just doesn’t recognize a talented entity, because the world isn’t a fair and just place. And it would be PARTICULARLY unfair in this case, because the performance that Jenny Slate gives in Obvious Child is as textbook a definition of the term “career-maker” as there has ever been. Slate is electric in Obvious Child. Hers is a performance that is completely, refreshingly free of actor-ish pretense, and one that crackles with energy and life. Watching Slate in Obvious Child makes you want to watch her in everything else, forever. If the world proves itself once again to be that unfair, unjust place, and she never really makes an impact on the larger world of cinema… it will be a fucking shame wrapped in a miserable bummer shrouded in lameness. And it will also be the world of cinema’s loss.

Now, to wrap this thing up, I feel like I need to justify something I said earlier, that Obvious Child is the essence of  independent cinema. When I wrote that, I hadn’t really thought out exactly what I meant by it. It sure SOUNDED good… real film critic-y… so I patted myself on the back for being quite the insightful lil’ wordsmith, and then I moved on. But, pulled directly from my butt or not, the statement isn’t without truth. “Independent cinema” is a catch-all phrase that generally means, “movies with small budgets that aren’t about fighting robots.” But what the phrase REALLY means is, “movies that are small, but powerful, and mostly about humans that could be real, but it just so happens that they aren’t.” That is Obvious Child, to the letter. It isn’t a huge, epic film… it makes you feel real feelings (joy, heartache, delight… all the good ones)… and everyone in it SEEMS like they exist in the real world, even if they actually don’t. Obvious Child IS independent cinema, and all that it strives to be, boiled down into a tight, 90 minute package.

So, again… I’m not saying you should skip the Summer Blockbusters. I would never try to take dino-bots away from you (or from me, for that matter). I’m just saying that you should ALSO make a little room in your schedule to take in a screening of Obvious Child. It is most definitely worth your valuable time.

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Immediate Reaction: The Hella-peno Burger

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NOTE: Earlier this month, Jack in the Box released a new, limited edition burger called the “Hella-peno.” It contains a taco-flavored cheese sauce, jalapenos, and cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers, as well as the usual meat (“meat”) and bread. In order to get an immediate reaction from the novelty burger enthusiasts in our area, we mic’d up the dining room of our local Jack in the Box on the day of the Hella-peno’s debut. Here are the transcriptions of that recording session’s highlights:

“Mmm… that was pretty good. Whoa, I just started shitting. I don’t think I’m going to be able to stop. God, it feels like a wild bobcat clawing its way out of me…”

“What fucking retard made this burger and didn’t put Ranch on it? Bush league moves like this is why America is basically a Third World Country now. Thanks, Jimmy Carter… this started with YOU.”

“The Hella-peno is the perfect thing to eat before we go hunt for Bigfoot, because it’s making my sweat smell like that of a hairy man-ape that lives in the forest. I’m the bait!!!”

“I feel like my entire face is covered in cheese. Oh, it is? This is very embarrassing. My wife is watching me… why is she taking off her wedding band…?”

“The jalapeno poppers really hammer home the point that I’m a shitty person who doesn’t deserve love, nor shall ever receive it.”

“Give me another! TWO WAS NOT ENOUGH. Oh god… Sharon… why did you leave me…”

“This is the best burger I’ve ever had. But then again, I have recently escaped from a death cult in the South American jungle where we subsisted primarily on bugs, a little bit of wheat, and the salty tears of our glorious leader. This cheese sauce tastes EXACTLY like his tears.”

“Is the Hella-peno supposed to be screaming at me? Because this son of a bitch is screaming at me. Still pretty tasty.”

“This is NOT the same as a steak dinner, Gary. You lied to me… again. When will you stop lying to me? We have CHILDREN, Gary!”

“It’s making me really uncomfortable that all the cashiers have guns in their mouths and are weeping uncontrollably.”

“I love this burger and also I’m a serial killer!”

A Definitive Ranking of Every Song From Grease 2

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Grease 2 gets a bad rap. People shit on it because it’s “so inferior to the original” and “awful in every way imaginable,” and… okay… sure… if you hold it up to conventional standards, Grease 2 is definitely going to be found sorely lacking in, among other things, overall quality. HOWEVER… if you choose to look at Grease 2 like I do, as a very colorful, peppy multi-car pile-up where nobody gets out alive… then you will start to come around to the fact that Grease 2 is actually a strange blend of madness, camp, good intentions, and sexual metaphors that deserves your attention. Your DRUNKEN attention… don’t try to watch Grease 2 sober, you guys, seriously. Grease 2 only fully blossoms when the viewer is hammered. Sorry… should have mentioned that up top. Nonetheless, it’s true… Grease 2 is an underrated movie. A hidden gem, if you will, provided your bar for the phrase “hidden gem” is firmly locked into the lowest setting.

Now, having outed myself as a Grease 2 apologist, I feel like I should also admit up front that the only thing I really like about the movie is the songs. The script, the acting, the way that everything kind of looks cheap and flat… yeah, it’s all pretty bad. BUT THE SONGS. Some of them are top-notch! And soooo bizarre. I can only imagine the breathtaking majesty of the mountain of cocaine that was required to come up with some of these production numbers. They are, mostly, truly entertaining. So… as a way to honor Grease 2… and to maybe get some other people to watch it, so I’m not like the ONE person holding down the Grease 2 table in the Great Hall of Fan Enthusiasms… let us now take a hard look at the songs from Grease 2, ranking them from worst to best, and reveling in their weird-ass glory.

A Definitive Ranking of Every Song From Grease 2

12. Who’s That Guy In a movie that has its share of dead spots, this is the deadest. When a mysterious motorcycle guy appears on the scene (SPOILER ALERT: it’s a plot contrivance!), the entire cast sings a song wondering… hey… who’s that guy? That’s it. That’s the sum total of the song. Its reason for existing in Grease 2 is so that we, the viewers, will understand that the characters on-screen would like to know who that guy is that just showed up. Pointless! And also poorly constructed as a set-piece! During the song, the mysterious motorcycle guy does a bunch of tricks and stunts on his motorcycle to embarrass a gang of thugs, and also to evade the police. Grease 2, it seems, did NOT have the budget for a motorcycle stuntman of any real caliber, so the tricks and stunts are massively awkward, slow, and about as awe-inspiring as a Boy Scouts pinewood derby.

11. Charades Technically, THIS is the worst song in the movie. It’s drippy, poorly sung, and there’s so much reverb added to actor Maxwell Caulfield’s voice that it’s hard to understand exactly what he’s droning on about. However, Maxwell Caulfield… though a few quarts low in the charisma department in Grease 2… is the same actor that plays everybody’s favorite rock n’ roll lady-killer, Rex Manning, in Empire Records. Nothing involving Sexy Rexy can ever be the worst… so “Charades” gets a bump up the list by default.

10. Rock-a-Hula LuauThis song is so unnecessary to the plot of Grease 2, I couldn’t even find a clip of the production number on YouTube. Think about all the garbage that’s on YouTube. There’s a whole galaxy of useless crap on there, yet “Rock-a-Hula Luau” doesn’t make the cut. That’s pretty sad. Anyway, this song’s sole purpose is to establish that the characters are at a Luau. And, hey, it does establish that pretty thoroughly! Essentially, the song goes: “We’re at a luau, hey look… we’re at a luau. Do you understand where the characters are at? A luau!” And then there’s some vaguely racist stereotyping of Hawaiians. Good fun, though… again… totally unnecessary.

9. We’ll Be TogetherBy the time this song rolls around, I’m usually pretty drunk… so… I don’t have any specific memories of it being awful, or wonderful, or anything at all. My guess: It explains that all the characters will be together, giving us, the viewers, peace of mind that everything’s going to be okay once the credits roll. That’s very thoughtful of the Grease 2 creators, thinking of our needs like that.

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8. Love Will Turn Back The Hands Of TimeMichelle Pfeiffer’s second big solo number (we’ll get to the first one in a minute), “Love Will Turn Back the Hands of Time” is a ballad that her character sings after she thinks that her mysterious motorcycle lover guy is dead. It’s kind of a whatever song, but it’s elevated by a fantasy sequence that takes place in MOTORCYCLE HEAVEN, which I have put in all-caps to denote my enjoyment of such a stupid concept. Said mysterious motorcycle lover guy appears on a pile of crashed, white motorcycles in a shiny, silver version of his bad-ass biker ensemble, and then they dance around in the output of a whole fleet of fog machines. It’s very silly, but it’s played SO straight-faced. MOTORCYCLE HEAVEN IS REAL, YOU GUYS, STOP LAUGHING.

7. Back To School Again The big opening number! And, for an opening number, it’s kind of… I don’t know… unfocused, I guess? I mean, there’s certainly a lot going on. Everyone in the cast is involved, plus SO MANY EXTRAS. The “Back to School Again” ensemble makes the Helms Deep battle from Lord of the Rings look like several guys hitting each other with pillows. The entire high school population is out there shaking their butts, sometimes together… sometimes not… sometimes in big groups… sometimes in smaller groups. Everyone is just kind of everywhere doing their own thing, and the overall effect is sort of like a very rhythmic rush hour at Grand Central Station. Also, the song is sung by The Four Tops, who are not at any point on screen during this number. So all the teenagers are just dancing around to disembodied voices, which breaks like eleven rules of the Cinematic Musicals Universe. Not a great way to start things off, Grease 2… ah, but you’ve always been an outlier. Doing things your own way. Rascal.

WARNING: From here on out, the songs get extremely catchy. ZFS is not responsible for whatever tune gets stuck in your head like an errant lawn dart. Proceed with caution.

6. Girl For All SeasonsThis is the song that the Pink Ladies, a girl gang, sing at Rydell High’s talent show. In the world of Grease 2, the annual talent show is the Super Bowl, or at the very least, the Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. It’s a BIG DEAL, mainly because the grand prize is “100 long-play records.” Which I guess is something to get excited about? Man, the 60’s seem like bummer. Anyway, “Girl For All Seasons” is a perfectly fine song… pretty, pleasantly melodic… plus, the girls dress up in some wacky outfits to denote the different months of each season. One has a giant catcher’s mitt on her head. Another is dressed up like some kind of weird, George Washington/quarter thing that looks the the result of a Seth Brundle telepod mishap. It’s all very strange, particularly when you consider that these are supposed to be teenagers, yet they have the costuming and makeup budget of an Off-Broadway production.

5. Cool RiderThis is Michelle Pfeiffer’s big, showstopping solo number. It is about her desire for a “cool rider,” which sounds like a very unpleasant sexual maneuver involving Icy Hot, but is actually just a dude with a motorcycle. The song itself is catchy enough, but it’s made that much better by Pfeiffer, who totally commits to the cause. You are TOTALLY on board with her needing a cool rider in her life. Look at how she climbs, then straddles that really tall ladder like it’s a motorcycle! BOLD ACTING CHOICES. The best part of the song, however, is the ending. As “Cool Rider” fades out, Pfeiffer dances off into the middle distance, still quite involved in selling us this number, as everyone else just goes about their business while totally ignoring the fact that a crazy person is currently boogieing across the quad to a song that is presumably in her own head. Or maybe they CAN hear the song, and are just totally over it. “Oh hey it’s that girl who’s super into Cool Riders. What’s that again? A sex thing involving sno-cones and a BMX bike? I wish she’d stop singing already; we’re trying to have outdoor study hall over here!”

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4. Prowlin’This would be the T-Birds entry into the Rydell High talent show. The T-Birds, by the way, are the male equivalent of the Pink Ladies, i.e. what passes for a gang in the early 60’s. They are, to say the least, about as a threatening as a kitten licking a marshmallow, which would be fine… I don’t look to movie musicals for gritty street gang realism much like I don’t look to Boys N The Hood for jazzy tap numbers… if they weren’t posited throughout the entirety of the movie as the baddest motherfuckers on the planet. The T-Birds make the Jets and the Sharks from West Side Story look like the Ching-a-Ling Nomads, but whatever. As for their big song… “Prowlin'” could easily be filler for a Brian Setzer Orchestra album, plus there’s some nifty shadow work towards the end. A respectable theatrical effort from such tough-as-nails bikers.

3. Score TonightThis song is about bowling, but it’s REALLY about fucking. They’re gonna score tonight! GET IT. “Score” means “fucking.” Anyway, this is where Grease 2 moves into Aggressively Cheesy territory. “Score Tonight” basically beats the shit out of you, the viewer, with a cinder block forged from pure, uncut campiness, and yet it’s all palatable because the cast is SUPER into it. I don’t know if they all really believed they were crafting the next, great Hollywood musical, or if they’re all just like Daniel Day Lewis-levels of committed to their performances but… yeah… I believe that THEY believe that they’re going to bowl/fuck the ever-loving shit out of tonight. Oh, and a special nod here to Lorna Luft as Paulette… she gets to sing like six lines in the whole movie by herself, but she sings each one of those six lines like Ethel Fucking Merman as Mama Rose. You go, girl! NO SMALL PARTS!!!

2. Do It For Our CountryEasily the best song ever written about a guy using nuclear war as a method of getting into a girl’s pants. Seriously though, this song is greatness. It’s clever, funny, and just generally working on a higher level than the rest of the movie. It really does feel like “Do It For Our Country” time-warped in from a better, more cohesive musical, and I feel like if that musical actually existed, it would be my favorite musical of all time. Instead, we have this perfect castoff of a song… one excellent musical number in a movie that most of the time tops out at mediocre. So why is it on the list at number 2? Because number 1 is…

1. ReproductionIs “Reproduction” the absolute best song in Grease 2? No. But it secures the number one spot because “Reproduction” IS Grease 2. It is its essence, boiled down into one extremely silly, radioactively catchy, bad-idea of a song that is made excellent by a game cast with zero sense of shame. Look, this is another song about fucking, and it’s essentially just one long lyrical string of sex jokes and innuendos. On paper, this is the stupidest song ever written outside of “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.” But when the full-force commitment of the Grease 2 ensemble is put behind it, “Reproduction” just… works. It REALLY works. For a few giddy minutes, you forget that you’re watching a pretty terrible movie. That’s all you can ask for from a musical number in this context. And having us forget that we’re watching something awful because of something SO GREAT… that’s all that Grease 2 can ask of us. 

3/3/3 – Monsters

3/3/3 is a new series on Zombie Fights Shark where we take a look at the top 3, bottom 3, and most overrated 3 entries in a given category. The categories will cover the entire spectrum of pop culture, plus food & beverages, and even simply life itself. Let’s have some highly subjective fun, shall we?

MONSTER SQUAD

Top 3 Monsters

3) Aliens – Look, if something’s going to eat me to death or, at the very least, stab me into a pudding-esque consistency, I want it to be something FROM THIS PLANET. Maybe that’s me being outer spacist, but I don’t care. Ugh, and aliens are usually so slimy, too. And they’re weirdly textured, and some of them have eyes that are like, “What? HOW ARE THOSE EYES, THEY LOOK LIKE BUTTHOLES???” Alien butthole-eyes chill me to my very core.

2) Kaiju – You know, like Godzilla, or the thing from Cloverfield… big-ass monsters, is what I’m getting at. SO SCARY. SO MUCH STOMPING. Having to fight something that’s the size of a building is kind of the apex of terrifying. You have to use like bombs or giant robots to kill them, and that’s assuming that they can even be killed! Some of them just don’t die. Plus, movies don’t ever talk about Godzilla poop, but you have to KNOW that’s a major issue.  I don’t know, man… I’ll take a Freddy or a Jason chasing my sexy buns around a dreamscape or a campground any day.

1) Ghosts – Ghosts are the number one top monster because you can’t see them. That’s all it takes, folks… if you want to be the king, you need to be fucking terrifying (a given), but also you need to have invisibility powers! That amplifies the terrifying-ness by 1,000,000. Because the thing is, ghosts are invisible… until they’re not. SUDDENLY THEY’RE VISIBLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. Not joking, I got fear shivers just Googling for that image. Stupid fucking scary ghosts. Last piece of evidence: You know how I know ghosts are the most scary? Because in all the Paranormal Activity movies, they made daytime, static shots of empty suburban living rooms THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES because there was a possibility that there might be a ghost somewhere in there amongst the tasteful furniture and fancy home electronics. Turning the ordinary into the horrifying: The hallmark of an excellent monster.

3 Most Overrated Monsters

3) Zombies – I love zombies. See: This website’s name. So please know that it kills me to put zombies in the “overrated” category. Literally, typing these words is draining out my lifeforce. LITERALLY. But they never said blogging about monsters on the internet was easy; sometimes you have to make the hard calls. Zombies are done. DONE. They were scary, but they’re played out now. Case in point: They have an app for phones where you can go for a jog and the app pretends that zombies are chasing you. I mean… once you’ve crossed into the health & fitness merchandise realm, you’re not really a scary monster anymore. You’re a brand, and brands aren’t scary. Okay, Ronald McDonald is a LITTLE scary, but that’s only because clown makeup dissolves your soul.

2) Frankenstein – Or “Frankenstein’s monster,” whatever. You know what I mean. Greenish guy, bolts in the neck, made from OPP (other people’s parts). That dude. Cool in concept… anything having to do with grave-robbing is inherently spooky… but, I don’t know, there’s something kind of lame about how they always try to make him the good guy. “Oh, he’s not evil, he just wants a friend!” “He’s just lonely, let’s make him a wife!” “He’ll help the Monster Squad by dragging Dracula into the time portal (SPOILER ALERT FOR A 30 YEAR OLD MOVIE)!” I mean… monsters aren’t supposed to have childlike souls that just want to love and be loved. Just not very monstrous.

1) Vampires – People shit on Twilight for turning vampires into buttwads, but… let’s be real, here… Twilight was just the last step in a long process of buttwad-ification that started decades ago. If anyone is REALLY to blame for vampires being overrated, it’s the man who mired them in a swamp of psycho-sexual lust in the first place: Bram Stoker. Have you ever actually slogged your way through Dracula? It reads like a Halloween episode of The Bold & The Beautiful, and it is SO. GODDAMN. BORING. Anne Rice didn’t really help the vampire’s cause, either… goth-ing them all up, and making them “erotic.” Look, vampires are creatures that EAT BLOOD. That’s fucking awesome. All vampires should be like the ones in Near DarkMean. Nasty. Evil as fuck. Real-deal monsters, in other words. Vampires shouldn’t be swanning around in velvet, inspiring waves of lonely nerds to buy scented candles. That’s too Hot Topic-y for an undead thing.

Bottom 3 Monsters

3) Sasquatch/Bigfoot – A monster that lives in the woods is okay as far as concepts go (I guess), but man… the shine has really worn off the Bigfoot name, lately. Have you seen that reality show about hillbilly goobers that are actually, in-real-life spending their free time and money hunting through the forests of the Pacific Northwest looking for Bigfoot? And do you realize that things are so dire,  I should be specifying WHICH Bigfoot-themed reality show I’m talking about, because there’s like 147 of them. Including one hosted by Dean Cain!!! UNACCEPTABLE. If there’s a line that a monster shouldn’t cross, it most definitely involves aligning yourself with a former cast member of Lois & Clark.

2) Werewolves – Unless we’re talking about Teen Wolf, werewolves can get the fuck out of here. OOOH, I’M POWERED BY THE MOON. So are the tides. You’re basically just hairy water. Teen Wolf was cool, though, because it proves my whole point about werewolf powers. In the film’s grand finale, Michael J. Fox discovers that the much-needed, game-winning basketball skills were inside of him all along! HIM, as a human person. Not the titular teen wolf side of him. He didn’t NEED the werewolf powers at all. Ergo, werewolf powers are bullshit. Teen Wolf says so. Also, sorry about spoiling another 80’s movie for you guys. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.

1) Mummies – All you need to know about mummies is this: They only attack you, or curse you (or whatever), if you dig them up and/or disturb their tombs. Essentially, mummies are old-ass burglar alarms. That’s it. They’re not out hunting… they don’t feed on you… they don’t DO anything. They’re just like, “oh hey, you’re here… whelp… I guess you’re cursed now. Have a nice day.” Most of the time, they’re just napping in some sand. It gets no lamer or less frightening than that. Plus, they make me think about dirty Band-Aids. EWWWW.

Rejected American Ninja Warrior Obstacles

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Last week marked the beginning of the new season of American Ninja Warrior, a.k.a. the greatest obstacle course-centric television show ever created that isn’t Double Dare. However, not every obstacle that is created for the show ends up in the actual course. For every “Spider Jump” and “Quintuple Steps,” there are hundreds of obstacles that are rejected by the producers of ANW for being too hard, too easy, too violently destructive of shinbones, too obvious a rip-off of old Price is Right games, and/or too reliant on the contestants knowing the names of all 50 US state capitals. Here now, a sampling of rejected American Ninja Warrior obstacles:

The Dragon’s Den – Flexibility and grip-strength are tested as the contestants scramble over several walls of varying heights in an attempt to elude an angry dragon. This one got all the way through to production, until it was pointed out by an intern that dragons don’t exist, and that our “dragon”  was merely Roy, another intern, wearing green pajamas and smoking a Swisher Sweet. A good laugh was had by all.

The Hellfire Executioner – Just a flight of stairs that are slightly damp. Cut from the obstacle course for wasting everyone’s time.

The Dong Shredder – Self-explanatory.

The Flightpath – The contestants play chicken with an airplane, attempting to stay within its path the longest before bailing. Scrapped due to the pricey jetpack requirement, as well as FAA officials being real butt-munches about everything.

The I’m Going to KILL Steve for Setting Me Up With Her – Contestants must navigate an awkward blind date with Sheila Bronkowski, a recently divorced kindergarten teacher who laughs a little too loudly at their jokes, then cries when they suggest ordering dessert (desserts make Sheila sad, as she once walked in on her father eating cheesecake off the thighs of a neighbor lady while her mother was attending a scrapbooking conference in Tampa). Nixed when Sheila moved back upstate to just, like, clear her head, you know?

The Blended Defense – Contestants must explain why Adam Sandler should still be allowed to make movies, despite the fact that everything he has been involved with for the last decade has been absolute dogshit. Cut due to a complete lack of successful completions.

The Mid-Obstacle Course Chili Chug– An ill-fated attempt at capturing some of the magic surrounding the “extreme eating” fad, the aftermath of this obstacle proved too challenging for the production company’s janitorial budget.

The Lazy Busboy – Apparently, no one wants to watch contestants attempt to clear several meals-worth of dinner plates from our faux-restaurant set while a manager in a polo shirt screams “You got time to lean, you got time to CLEAN” directly into his or her face.

The Flowers in the Attic – Contestants must enter into an incestuous relationship with a sibling, all while cowering in fear from a terrifying grandmother figure.  Unfortunately, some contestants are only-children, and didn’t much care for being paired up with our stand-in creepy sisters and brothers. The whole thing ended up being nothing more than a waste of a good, carefully-worded Craigslist ad.

The Guilt – Using their finely-honed parkour skills, the constants must justify to their parents why training for American Ninja Warrior was more important than settling down and giving them grandchildren. Though fun to watch, it was eventually axed because filming old people getting their hearts broken started to really bum out the cameramen.

Girl Drink Drunk

Girl Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “girly drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you. Enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen, to start off this edition of Girl Drink Drunk, I have enlisted a couple of actors from the local repertory theater to put on a little playlet regarding the beverage we are spotlighting. Enjoy…

THE GIRL DRINK DRUNK PLAYERS PRESENT

Summer of Thirst

Bob: Greetings, Bill! Thanks for inviting me to this outdoor barbecue! My, what a glorious summer day!

Bill: Bob, you old rascal… welcome to my humble home. You’ll see that it is MUCH nicer than yours. You should feel bad about that. Hey can I get you something to drink?

Bob: Sure! Something that reflects the summer-y atmosphere would be a joy. I’m sure you have something high-class and fancy in YOUR refrigerator, seeing as how you’re my boss and I am basically the juice that collects at the bottom of a garbage can.

Bill: I don’t understand the reference. The help takes out the garbage at my house. I am sorry that you’re poor. Say, how about that beverage!

Bob: Thank you, sir, for thinking of my thirst on this hot day when I’m SURE your brain has millions of actually important things with which to concern itself. I am further humbled. I am nothing.

[BILL exits. BOB does some light pantomime, perhaps some juggling]

Bill: Here we are! A tasty beverage for this fine summer afternoon!!!

Bob: Sweet salvation! Surely you have brought me manna from Heaven; a libation unlike anything that have passed between these working-man’s lips! HOSANNA, HOSANNA!!!

Bill: It’s Coors Light with some fruit in it.

Bob: I’m… sorry…?

Bill: You know… Coors Light? The beer of choice for deadbeat dads and people who long ago lost their sense of taste to a war injury or what have you? It’s that, but there’s some chunks of fruit in it. Oranges, lemons, limes… it’s fine.

[BOB hesitantly takes a sip. His face becomes a mask of confusion and rage. BILL begins to flop-sweat profusely]

Bob: I’m sorry, I… must be going… you see… I thought you were a man of refinement and style. I guess I thought this because you are my boss. But now I see that you are just some dirtbag that owns a sawmill. Not even a GOOD sawmill. We have to cut logs with repurposed sporks. SPORKS. Sporks are plastic, you bastard!!! But I guess I should expect as much from someone who would serve Coors Light with fruit in it to his guests on a hot summer day! I’M THE SAWMILL BOSS NOW!!! I HAVE TAKEN THAT FROM YOU!!!

Bill: All is lost. I am now the one who is nothing. OH, THE TWISTS OF FATE!!! Coors Light with fruit in it… you have taken everything away from me. Curse you. I CURSE YOU!!!!

[BLACKOUT]

FIN

Wow. Well… that was… sort of on-topic. Also, not sure exactly what artistic purpose was served by performing the play nude. So much penis flailing…

Anyway…

The Girl Drink

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Today, we’re looking at Coors Light with fruit in it, basically. Well, fruit juice. Sorry… “fruit juice.” I feel like the relationship between this beverage and actual fruit is, at best, a passing one. The fruit juices in Coors Light: Summer Brew are basically the taste equivalents of the fruit smells you find in scratch-n-sniff stickers. But that’s okay! We don’t NEED fresh-squeezed juices in our beers! Or, if we do, we can squeeze them ourselves and mix them into beers like the goddamned industrious Americans that we are. So… no fault to the Coors brand for wizard-ing up some chemical compounds that taste like citrus run-off. They’re just doing their job.

That job being, of course, to create something that is pleasant-tasting and summery enough to steal the casual drinker away from the booming craft beer business that is currently acting as a thorn in the side of BIG BREWERY. I mean… the Anheuser-Buschs of the world are making their money, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not making ALL the money, as a certain subset of the population has realized that beer can be amazing when it’s made with care and an eye towards quality (as opposed to quantity). This pisses off Big Brewery to no end. JUST DRINK YOUR CHEAP HOBO SPIT AND LIKE IT, CONSUMERS. But that mantra isn’t working quite so well any more. So they have to get creative. Not to put too punny a point on it, but, they have to get crafty.

And so we get stuff like Coors Light: Summer Brew. And you know what… it doesn’t suck. It’s not GREAT, mind you. It’s not going to replace your favorite summer ale from your most-beloved local brewery by a long shot. But it does, in fact, taste a whole lot better than it should. Breweries, it seems, have finally gotten a handle on the whole “putting citrus into beer” game. Gone are the days of Tequiza (which tasted like a book of matches splattered with lime jello) and Miller Chill (which tasted like a lime took on human form, got hammered, then pooped on your tongue). Coors Light: Summer Brew is a reflection of just how far the industry has come with regards to citrus beers. It kind of tastes like, well, cheap beer… no getting around that… that’s been fortified with a few spritzes from a box of Five Alive. Honestly, there are plenty worse things to shotgun on a hot day than Coors Light: Summer Brew.

So if you’re looking for something to drink on the beach, or to quaff with your wife in the backyard while the kids cannonball into the above-ground pool as Jackson Browne’s “Lawyers in Love” drifts in from the living room stereo system… GET SOMETHING FROM A LOCAL BREWERY, DAMMIT. That should be like “nip-slip on the red carpet” obvious. But if that’s somehow not an option, then… sure… why not.. get some Coors Light with fruit in it. It won’t change your life, but hey… not all plays make it to Broadway. If you know what I mean. I’m looking at YOU, cast of “Summer of Thirst.” Don’t quit your day jobs.