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Celebrity Apprentice – Season 12 Episode One

The show opens demanding that we know they’re in New York. The Donald gets out of a car and reminds us that the show is all about charity, then the celebrities are introduced. I talked a lot about who they are earlier.

Next, we get the montage of celebrities showing how important their causes are. I get it, but I hope this isn’t part of the opening every week. We’ll hear enough about that during the episodes if the celebrities are at all passionate. Look at Meatloaf’s breakdown last year, when he realized that the enormous amount of money he made for The Painted Turtle, a camp for children with chronic illnesses, may go to another celebrity’s charity instead. I was happy to see The Painted Turtle walk away with over $200 grand, but I also enjoy seeing drama. That’s why this is on TV; imagine how dull it would be if we were watching normal charities try and collect normal funds the normal way.

Then again, maybe there’s a show in following a group of door-to-door petitioners trying to beg some cash. Of course, they all have to live in the same house. Contact me if you want to produce it – I’m game.

Next comes the montage that makes us want to watch the most. People start yelling at each other, calling each other out and creating drama. I notice that it looks like it will start out boys against girls again. I already have my two picks ready and I intentionally worded the last sentence to reflect my attitude that we’re picking favorites in a schoolyard game of dodge ball but with higher stakes.

Everybody shows up on set, some inspirational and amusing soundbites are given and the game begins. There’s a band on stage playing the intro music. Okay, a 19 or so piece orchestra can be called more than a band. It still costs less than what most of the celebrity musicians onstage would charge for one performance, so it isn’t quite as impressive as you might think. Nice try, though. A+ for effort.

Donald, because his first name is enough, reminds us that the building they are in cost a billion in donations to renovate. That’s a lot of loot and there’s a good debate in there over whether it was a good investment, but that’s for another article. For now we listen to the celebs tell us a little bit about why they’re relevant or what they care about or why they’re ready to fight. Arsenio takes an early shot at Clay Aiken and you should already be sad you missed the show. He’s still got chops. Here’s his show interview, from ScreenTeamMedia where he takes a shot at LaToya, admits to expecting to regain attention and sizes up his competition:

Dee Snyder cuts into the New Jersey housewife and tells us all that he thinks like we do when he says he’s waiting to see her flip a table. Is that a first act gun? I remember someone flipping a table in that montage we just saw. Lisa Lampinelli takes a shot at Donald by remarking on the lack of color on stage. Adam Carolla makes a joke.

Then Victoria Gotti calls out my girl. Debbie Gibson will destroy you, miss overly severe persona. (Please don’t have me killed, kthanxbai)

I was right. We’re going boys versus girls to start. Teams have to split up, pick the most popular kid and come up with a team name. Here’s where we pick our two winners. Since it is early, I’ll pick a runner-up, too. Those could change if people don’t live up to expectations.

Dudes, I’ll have to back George Takei on this one. I follow the dude on Facebook. I can’t say that about any of the other celebrities in the game. Penn and Arsenio are tied for runner-up.

Ladies, Debbie Gibson for the win. The rest of the field is made up largely of people I’m not familiar with or don’t care about. Lampanelli has been funny – I’ll pick her for my safety.

The men make a lot of jokes, and then Penn makes the brilliant connection between team naming conventions and the obvious and the boys are dubbed unanimous. Nobody disagrees.

Gibson is brainstorming names and Gotti reminds us that she doesn’t like the Pop Idol. Nobody cares because Gibson throws out the word Forte and Gotti is the only one that shows even an iota of disappointment.

Patricia Velásquez takes the project manager role. I discovered that she’s the first Latin supermodel. She’s playing for The Wayuu Taya Foundation. They’re an organization dedicated to helping indigenous Latin American people preserve their culture while still competing in the modern world.

Lou Ferrigno lets everyone know that he has a hearing problem. From this point on it should be a nonissue. It didn’t work out quite so easily for Ms. Matlin last season, but she was the last woman standing in the end so we know that even if the celebs make it a problem, it isn’t for The Hulk. Paul Teutul steps up as project manager, surprising everyone and speaking for the first time since the show started.

We’re told that the Andretti that isn’t present (I hadn’t actually noticed) is being by the Andretti that I’m actually expecting because of a fatal accident. That sucks, what’s the challenge?

Our celebs will be making sandwiches. Last year they made pizzas pretty early on. The men will win this one. Paul probably has more experience running something like a sandwich shop than Patricia and the guys seem to get along better. Plus, this season’s women seem to be more of the waited on variety than the men.

Paul (I’m sticking to first names from this point on) says he can pull a half-million in donations. Penn rallies the troops behind making mass amounts of good sandwiches, which is good because everybody else will “save their guns for later (Clay).” They’re branding the one day deli around Paul, and the sandwich is to be dubbed The Chopper.

Gotti starts chopping into ideas off rip. Things start getting catty when recognizabilty comes into question and Aubrey is offended because she has more Twitter followers than anyone in the group. She mentions a group she belonged to but I still don’t know who she is. She reminds me of Snookie a little bit; I should really look her up.

A feud is set up between Paul and George. They do have drastically different personalities, so I can see it. I like them both at this point, but it is a competition so we’ll set phasers to kill if it gets too vocal. Ivana shows up and points out that Paul is an everyman and she plans on holding his feet to the fire. I’m not too worried for him.

Patricia gets on the phone. Dayana does the same because she was directly inspired by Patricia. Also, she’s a team player. Other people get on their phones, too. Gotti does her own business and Lisa notices.

Debbie Gibson looks hot in what looks like workout gear.

Michael shows up. He’s ready to go.

Teresa is an awesome cook. I forgot about her. She’s got two cookbooks out and they’re both bestsellers. She’s just become golden this round and more interesting. Plus, Debbie seems to get along with her. Cheryl seems to be on some kind of mood diminisher.

Victoria doesn’t show up in the morning. She shows up late and announces that her eye is hurt and she’s prescient.

George is enamored with Lou. The guys are energetic. Hot girls curse in a group.

The girls are fun and Wyclef shows up to show some support. He drops $15k. Numbers are becoming important. Wyclef and Debbie jam. Aubrey trills a little and it doesn’t sound too bad.

The hot females bring $5k to the men’s table.

Big donors start loading up the ladies. Russell Simmons shows up, along with some others. Everyone starts scrambling to find him a vegan sandwich. Cheryl asks him if he wants to take the chicken out of a chicken sandwich and she’s done. Time to go home, girl.

Young Donald inspects the girls. He’s impressed.

The guys seem to be struggling. They’re entertaining, but the store is empty.

Patricia and Paul get a call from Donald. They’re supposed to go to Rachel Ray and get a pile of cash. Paul sends Adam and Arsenio. Patricia sends Victoria and Lisa. Rachel discusses the men’s ratio and the women’s chew. Arsenio points out correctly that a sammich is more delicious than a sandwich.

Clay reminds us that the guys aren’t making any money. The girls get another 20k. The stores close and the challenge is over.

In the boardroom, Patricia lauds Dayana. No surprise. Tia is also given commendations but she says something stupid and has to be put in check. Cheryl and Victoria are called out.

Paul gives Penn the thumbs up, which is absolutely deserving. Paul doesn’t want to throw anybody under the bus, but calls out George and “maybe” Arsenio. He uses the word “meek” to describe George, which will probably prove to be his downfall. Music gets serious, Paul apologizes for his choice of words, game continues.

Rachel Ray picked The Chopper. Guys get $35k. Lou is still in great shape, but smaller. Donald owns Miss Universe. I knew that but I forgot to care enough to remember. Paul was a great leader.

Patricia made over $120k. It’s a record. The men scored over $350. It’s a bigger record. It’s still shy of the $500k we were promised. I’m happy to see Paul keep the big donor anonymous.

The girls spread out. Dayana, Teresa and Aubrey all brought in money. Debbie defends Victoria, which shows me she’s thinking. She throws Cheryl under the bus. Cheryl deserves it.

Donald loves Diddy. He’s a good guy. Aubrey doesn’t like Victoria’s negative energy. Tia can defend herself. Ivanka thinks she was flippant. Tia would whoop her ass.

Lisa is turning out to be a sweetheart. She still calls out Victoria for her personal business and Cheryl for being unfocused. We’ve reached a decision, people.

Patricia, Victoria and Cheryl are the three left. Cheryl will leave, Victoria will be mean.

I’m wrong. Victoria gives a small pep talk to Patricia, reminding her not to show weakness.

Everybody held back donations. Cheryl has to go home, because she essentially gives up.

Next week Victoria will go home. You heard it here.

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The Cast of Celebrity Apprentice: Part Two

No need for a long introduction. This is the second have of the cast list for season 12 of The Apprentice. You can read about the first half here.

International Actress and Philanthropist Patricia Velasquez
Another person I’m not familiar with. She’s a woman with philanthropist as part of her title, so I’m sure she’ll be on point during her tasks. She’s also beautiful, which doesn’t hurt having to watch her on television. When I’m done writing this, I’ll be checking out her IMDB page to see what gems are buried there and how stupid I’ll look for not recognizing her.

Best-Selling Author and Daughter of the Mob Victoria Gotti
Snooki is also a best-selling author. I tried to watch Growing Up Gotti, but couldn’t handle it. She has the type of personality that I don’t enjoy, even as an antagonist, so I’m rooting for her to be one of the first out. She could surprise me and end up being a black sheep favorite, but I seriously doubt it.

Indy Car Legend Michael Andretti
Indy racing is something I know very little about, even though I’ve been to live events and known a couple of drivers. It really does absolutely nothing for me. I’ve heard of this guy, though, and even though he’s taking up the “token athlete” position in the cast I think he might pull something off based on his general reputation. If nothing else, we’ll get to see what one of the people that makes a living out of turning left is like.

The Original Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs
Can those of us that do our homework agree that if Lisa Fonssagrives wasn’t the first supermodel, she was one of the women that came before Cheryl Tiegs and enjoyed that moniker. I honestly forgot this woman existed except in decades-old Sports Illustrated issues. Her name is attached to some stuff related to beauty and whatnot, but I don’t know if that is just because it helps the brand. I don’t expect her to make it long.

American Idol Superstar Clay Aiken
I really don’t know what to make of his inclusion here. They didn’t even mention him as a musician, just as an American Idol contestant. I’ve heard his first CD and then he dropped off my radar. From what I know of him, he seems like a good dude. Right now, I’m tepid about him. It’ll be interesting to see how my opinion of him forms throughout the season.

Pop Star Aubrey O’Day
Now I know I should feel stupid. I have absolutely no idea who she is, which means she probably sings some song that is stupid famous and I should have heard of. She is pretty with really bright hair – that’s about all I got.

The Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno
He was also the World’s Strongest Man! This man is one of my favorites in the field. He’s thoughtful and driven, which is a wonderful mix, but he’s also well-spoken – a fact that is missed by many because of his speech impediment. In these high-stress situations that could make for some entertaining drama.

New Jersey’s Favorite Housewife Teresa Giudice
I’m assuming she’s on The Real Housewives of New Jersey but I don’t know what to expect. Although she was abrasive and annoying, Nene Leakes was one of my favorite celebs last time. This woman may provoke a similar reaction, but I wouldn’t put money on it just yet.

Television Icon, Star Trek’s George Takei
The whole reason I turned in in the first place. I was planning on skipping it when I realized he was going to be on it. I follow the man on Facebook, have participated in discussions on his blog and admire the man for what he’s done and what he stands for. He’s my current favorite in the field. Also, this:

Who do you want to see win it? Stay tuned for a recap of each of the episodes, along with some interesting insights from yours truly!

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The Cast of Celebrity Apprentice: Part One

This year’s cast of The Apprentice is going to be fun. I’m a pop culture junkie and watching the people that have created some turning points and high points in that which I love make fools of themselves in the name of charity is amusing. Some of the people on the show are less famous that others, and each has their own niche so I thought I would break them down as they’re introduced in episode one.

Some of these people I’ve never heard of. I’ll give you each “player” from my point of view, which might just make it easier to relate to future posts. Or not, but I’m doing it anyway.

Master Illusionist and Vegas Superstar Penn Jillette
One of my favorite celebrities, I watch Bullshit regularly. I don’t always agree with him, but this dude is funny, intelligent and passionate. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a big guy. Will we see a Meatloaf reenactment from him this year?

Pop Icon Debbie Gibson
Debbie Gibson’s title says it all. She wasn’t a singer – she was the blonde belter of a generation. She’s barely relevant, knows it and doesn’t care enough not to have fun with it. This woman starred in ‘Mega Python vs. Gatoroid’ and it doesn’t bother her one bit. Just a few years ago, she performed in Massillon. People like me know that she’s never stopped working, has more talent than most and deserves to have the spotlight remain on her. I’m in full on root mode.

Comedian and Internet Trailblazer Adam Carolla
I’m not a huge fan, but this guy gets respect. He does what I do but in a much more successful way. He’s famous because he has a big mouth and very little filter. This guy is going to be stirring the pot when he gets the chance, and since he’ll be stirring bruised egos and bad attitudes, it’s sure to be enjoyable.

Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza
Never heard of her. First impression – she spells her first name interesting. Where is she from? When did she win Miss Universe? Will someone please get her into a bikini? I mean, hey, the only thing I know about her is she won a really important beauty contest so let’s build on that!

Late-Night Legend Arsenio Hall
Some of late-night’s shining moments were produced by this man. His stage was set on fire and Bill Clinton played sax on his show. My favorite spot was when he interviewed Jim Henson, a man that the whole world misses, whether they realize it or not.

Movie Star and Grammy Award Winner Tia Carrera
Many of my adolescent dreams were occupied by this woman. I didn’t know that she was ever nominated for a Grammy much less won one, but now I’ll have to learn a new piece of trivia because I’m interested. I also wonder why she is still relevant – not because I’m surprised that she is but because I’m surprised I didn’t know. Maybe she’ll come back to my dream world.

Rock Star and Twisted Sister Frontman Dee Snyder
This guy is pretty awesome. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s on the show, after he did a guest spot on the last season. Most people think he’s bat-shit crazy, but he’s been known to be able to keep it together and make good decisions. This will be an interesting environment for him.

The Funniest Woman in America, The Queen of Mean Lisa Lampanelli
She’s going to be fun. This is an outspoken and opinionated woman who believes in many of the same things I do. I don’t know much about her, so I’m interested to see whether I’ll root for her. There’s the potential that she has a personality that could rub me the wrong way. In a lot of ways, she’s the female Adam Carolla – they’re both potentially annoying and impressive at the same time.

Star of American Chopper Paul Teutul, Sr.
Look at that mustache. Look at it, I tell you! I’ve never seen American Chopper but I’ve known more than my fair share of bikers in my lifetime. This guy better take no shit, tell it like it is and do the work of three regular celebrities to get my vote – but if he pulls that off without reenacting some of the more egregious biker stereotypes then he has my vote.

Since there are 18 contestants and I don’t want to make each article too horribly long, I’ll stop there. You can find the second half of the contestants here.

For now, I’ll leave you with the promo for this season.

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Supertoast Episode 0: The First Pancake

This is a test episode for a podcast I’m currently developing with a friend. Note that it is missing a proper intro and background noise, and there are a few instances of mic bumps and the like because I was still getting used to the environment. Every space you work in is different, and sometimes it takes time, yo.

That being said, if you have a minute take a listen and tell me what you think. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. Just drop it in the comments. That being said, here’s the show:

Supertoast Episode 0: The First Pancake

Show notes:
First track: Mr. 101 – Brain the Cerebral BalanceDelightful

Beyonce gave birth, don’t you know?

Bezow Doo Doo Zopitty Bop-bop-bop

Second track:

Tattooed girls are beautiful.

On her forehead – seriously!

Boone still hasn’t seen this:

Track the third:

(we really were dancing)

And we’re out. What did you think?

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“Perfidy” Kickstarter Project

We’ve started a Kickstarter project to try and help fund our little film. There are a few incentives, and we can use all the help we can get.

If you’re interested in helping out, check out the project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jerichomccune/perfidy-a-short-film-canton-ohio

Any size donation is appreciated, even if it is only a buck.

Also, don’t forget – tomorrow (July 26th) we’ll be auditioning down at Instant Karma, in downtown Massillon. Even if you’re not an actor, you may know one so don’t be afraid to spread the word.

More updates coming soon!

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Calling All Artists and Techs – “Perfidy” Short Film in Pre-production

“Perfidy,” a short film written by myself, has gone into pre-production. We (my team and I) are looking for anyone that would like to help.

Currently, we are searching for all areas of expertise, with a special focus on Sound, Make-up and Talent.

We are casting for six to seven roles. We need 3 women and 3-4 men, mid-twenties to early thirties. The lead female and lead male will have highly emotional roles, but the others have some charge to them as well.

I will post more details in the near future. If you are interested in being involved, contact me via Facebook, leave a reply to this post or call me if you have my number.

Also, if you can support us monetarily, check out our Kickstarter Project.

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This Post Is Derivative (Like Hollywood Movies)

Increasingly, sequels seem to be popping up everywhere. People have been complaining about the number of remakes, reimaginings, reinventings, rehashings and straight-up sequels that Hollywood has produced, especially within the last few years. 2007 was already knighted as “the Year of the Sequel,” and 2011 is set to trump that all to hell.

Generally, when people discuss this trend, the conversation leads to how unoriginal Hollywood is. The amount of movies that are part of a franchise or brand show that Hollywood finds the idea of making money more important than the idea of making movies. It is up to independent and foreign craftsmen to keep the cinema alive as a place to see art. Occasionally Hollywood gets it right, but it takes a unique auteur like Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, or the Fargo brothers to get ‘er done.

Friends, Hollywood was birthed in 1910 when a guy named D.W. Griffith decided he wanted to see what was up the hill from a bunch of orange groves. By 1914, sequels became the bread and butter of the movie business. The 2010 movie, “The Green Hornet,” owes its very existence to the serial mentality of the entertainment business, even if it got its start on radio – along with certain soap operas, westerns and detective shows.

None of that, of course, means anything. “Oedipus Rex” was part of a trilogy, and was reimagined by a French guy. That fact does not change the face of Hollywood today, and the fact that Hollywood has become an unoriginal movie machine. Romantic comedies feel like they are written from a MadLibs style cheat sheet. Thrillers just aren’t thrilling, because you know what’s going to happen. Everything feels derivative.

Do you remember the discussion in “Swingers” about films being derivative? Go back and watch it again. Later. After you finish reading this.

In one conversation around the poker table, the boys discuss how crazy it was to shoot part of “Goodfellas” in a casino because of the cost, how awesome the walking scene from “Reservoir Dogs” was, and how Tarantino stole all of his lighting techniques from Scorsese. Immediately after, we cut to a slow-mo of the five guys walking down the alley, a la Tarantino.

“Swingers” is one of the darlings of indie cinema. It was shot on a $250k budget (even though the first third of the movie is set in a casino) and had a great cast, with a script by Jon Favreau that was pure money. Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau were lean and hungry, and it showed. Even though parts of the movie were in-your-face derivative, the movie was very well received by critics and audiences. Jon Favreau would go on to direct “Elf,” one of the most imaginative and creative holiday films in recent history. He would become a household name for directing the two Iron Man movies. This year, he’s directing “Cowboys and Aliens,” which is sure to spawn an eventual sequel if it makes as much money as the studio expects.

Another genius of the holiday movie is Tim Burton, who made me want to sing holiday songs again with the “Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack. He made some of the most original movies my generation had the opportunity to grow up with, including “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetle Juice.” He also made two Batman movies, a Planet of the Apes movie (another, by a different director, is due out this year), and is currently filming “Dark Shadows,” a movie that is based on a television show from 1966. After that, he’ll work on “Frankenweenie,” a film based on a short film that was originally made by… Tim Burton.

He isn’t the first director to do this. Alfred Hitchcock released “The Man Who Knew Too Much” in 1934, then directed it again in 1956. Does this mean he ran out of ideas? Of course not, it just means he wanted to revisit his old ideas and try and do something better, or at least different. Ron Livingston hits the nail on the head when he introduces the aforementioned walk with “everybody steals from everybody, what’s the big deal?”

The word derivative is thrown around too easily, by too many people so intent on complaining about the things they don’t like they can’t take a minute to appreciate the things they do like. Was “Grifters” derivative of “Oedipus Rex” because Angelica Houston tried to get her some John Cusack at the end? Was “O Brother, Where Art Thou” pure crap because it was lifted from Greek drama? Is “Larry Crowne” going to be derivative of “American Beauty” because Tom Hanks loses his job at the beginning of the movie, just like Kevin Spacey did?

The bulk of performance art has always, and will always, be derivative. The Metropolitan Opera is performing “Faust” and “Macbeth” this year. Because nobody is original any more. The Boston Symphony Orchestra will be covering Mozart at the beginning of October. Because they can’t come up with any new ideas.

Broadway is famous for its revivals. This year is host to “Anything Goes” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying,” among others. It is also host to “Book of Mormon,” one of the most unique musicals. Ever.

Next year, Clint Eastwood will direct a movie starring Beyonce, called “A Star Is Born.” It is a remake of a 1976 film that starred Barbara Streisand. That version was the second-highest grossing film of the year, behind “Rocky,” a then-unique sports-underdog movie. Everyone loved Babs in the movie, but many purists still think she didn’t do nearly as well as Judie Garland, who starred in “A Star Is Born” in 1954. That role was credited as helping revitalize Ms. Garland’s career, even if she did seem a little out of it in a few (more than a few) of the scenes. Of course, the original film was produced in 1937 and was nominated for seven Oscars, which means none of the others should have ever been made in the first place.

A prediction: the new version will be hammered because it’s “another Hollywood remake” and “further proof that Hollywood has run out of original ideas.” 2012 will see plenty of franchise movies and sequels of its own. I count over 45. If you look close enough, though, I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

The never-ending stream of Hollywood sequels and reboots is just that – Never Ending. Hollywood turned into the movie-making mecca it is because of serials, and nothing is ever going to stop that. And nothing is ever going to stop filmmakers from creating art when they feel the urge. Perhaps it’s time for the two camps to learn how to live together.

What do you think about all of the reboots and remakes in Hollywood?

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