The Sisterhood of the Traveling Jersey is a Gaslamp Ball community project that chronicles the Padres' season through the lives of their greatest fans and an old jersey.
This installment of SotTJ was supposed to come before the Beantown adventure, so much of the material rides from last month, with some edits to fit in with current announcements which fit in with one movie review. Mostly though, I was afraid that this might be the first installment of the SotTJ Fanposts that will seem very boring, mostly due to I didn't take very many pictures (the food pictures are from earlier on in the semester) and I didn't travel to very many places. After over a month of procrastination and Dex's persistence that I write the damn thing, I present to you my adventures with the Dave Stanton jersey. My apologies for the delay and I hope you enjoy reading it.
I don't know sports like I know movies. I love sports, and I support my hometown teams, but I'm what you'd call a "casual" fan. I don't read-up on stats as much and I know fuck-all about sabermetrics, which I guess, is the new way of reading player stats. My knowledge of what's happening in the MLB comes down to listening to Hacksaw and Hayworth in the morning (don't judge me), Darren Smith in the afternoon, and watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN. I'm no stat nerd like Wonko, and I'm not the eternal optimist like our resident Jodes. And i'm hardly one to get inside jokes or pick up on sarcasm which seems to be everyone else on here. But I do know movies. Or at least more than the average movie goer. And I review them, on my Twitter account, and on my blog, Mr. Brown Verses. Over the course of a week, the Jersey has been to more movies than It will go to during its travels, and for that I'm very proud.
The journey started on Tuesday after class had ended and I had been let go from my shift early at McDonald's. Waiting for me, on my porch step, was the package from Evil Sammy. Of course, I opened the package to find the Dave Stanton Jersey and it's even cooler up close: there's patches and badges everywhere, from the Texas Tech emblem all the way across the pond where the Hogwarts crest on it's back. Hell, this thing's been all the way to King's Landing, for Pete's sake!
Seriously, how else do you explain the mark of the King's Hand on the Jersey? Anyway, the Jersey is in my possession for over a week and a half, and I intended to make the most of it.
Wednesday's are my days off for this quarter, so with plenty of free time on my hands and a pass for a free movie that's over two weeks old, I made my way to the Regal Rancho del Rey 16 to watch The Hangover Part III because, apparently, I'm a glutton for punishment.
Review: Remember the first Hangover movie? You know, where overgrown frat-boy Phil (Bradley Cooper), neurotic dentist Stu (Ed Helms) and man-child Alan (Zack Galifianakis) took the the groom-to-be, Doug (Justin Barthra) on a boys' trip to Vegas before he gets married? Remember the crazy madness that the trio got into after they lost the groom, from getting tazed by disgruntled Vegas cops, to Alan getting knocked out by Mike Tyson, to bargaining with Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), the wild Chinese gangster? Remember how much fun you had watching that take on the morning after the bachelor party? Well, director and co-writer Todd Phillips sure doesn't remember, because he spent $80 million trying to tell the same joke again in The Hangover Part II in 2011 to less laughs and trying to duplicate what worked in the 2009 film and go bigger; and in 2013 any form of sheer wild-ass joy that was in the first film, and sort of there in the second outing has all but disappeared in Part III, leaving the audience with, well.....a hangover. The Wolfpack are taking Alan to a mental facility when they are rammed off the road by mobster Marshall (John Goodman) who takes Doug hostage, stating that if they don't find Chow in three days, he will kill Doug. Add more screen time for Jeong, a trip to Tijuana, gold bricks, and a final showdown in Vegas, and what you have is a dark comedy that isn't really funny or even enjoyable, but rather a bitter finale that's run out of ways and gags to keep the material fresh and the fun rolling. It's a shame that even Cooper, Helms and Galifinakis look tired to keep this successful franchise going, because their chemistry in the first Hangover movie was the glue that made it, in my opinion, one of the best comedies to come out of the 00's. Part III, much like the Matrix sequels and the Pirates franchise, should have stopped after the first film.
* star out of ****
Ever eager to get the taste of bad comedy out of my mouth, I ventured to my local bar, Chili's, which is a good spot to have a frosty mug of Bud Light or Stone's IPA. The bartenders are friendly and really cool people, so if you're in the mood to watch a sporting event, have a cold one and be around friendly people, go to the Chili's on Paso del Rey.
Thursday was my longest day at the culinary school I'm attending, The Art Institute of California - San Diego. I had a Math class at 8 in the friggin' morning, and a Culinary Management & Supervision course (which is, essentially, learning how apply for a job, and what to expect in a kitchen.) at 3 in the afternoon. Between the times of 12 and 3, I have downtime. Unfortunately, the majority of that downtime was spent on finishing my Action Plan for the final cooking test, but I gave myself some breaks while finishing up my assignment for my Culinary Skills class, So I decided to take a picture of the faux restaurant classroom, "The Pallet", where culinary students get a chance to put everything they've learned to the test, as they get fist hand knowledge of what it's like to work in a restaurant during service. There's also a student lounge where we can grab a bite to eat and relax between classes, and play video games on an arcade and on the Nintendo Game Cube.
The break room used for students and faculty Mostly students, though.
The Palette faux restaurant. It maybe a training-guide for the more experienced aspiring chefs, but the food is really well done!
After my long day at AI, I'm headed back to the Regal 16 to watch the apocalyptic comedy, This Is the End,. I even got a picture taken with two of the film's starts, Danny McBride of HBO's Eastbound and Down, and Jay Baruchel,of She's Out of My League and How to Train Your Dragon! This jersey's really gotten me lucky, as it will prove again in the distant future, but i'll come to that later on. Here's my review on the stoner comedy:
Review: Up until I watched This Is the End, the summer movies have been kind of a letdown. Sure, I enjoyed Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, but even with those movies, I still thought they didn't fully live up to it's hype. And the less said about crap like After Earth and The Great Gatsby, the better. Going into this movie, I was really hoping this comedy would live up to expectations, because I don't know how many more letdowns I could take from this crop of summer flicks. Almost two hours later, I couldn't stop wheezing or laughing at all the madness that happened on-screen. Seth Rogen and his Canadian buddy Jay Baruchel are invited to James Franco's new pad for a party, which is filled with plenty of familiar faces, like Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, Aziz Amsari, Jason Segel, Kevin Hart, Michael Cera, among others. The fun comes to an end when the guests are suddenly fall into a crack in the middle of the earth, leaving Rogen, Baruchel, Franco alive, along with Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride. They stock up on supplies, barricade the fortress and try to wait it out, but there are forces at work during the End of Days, that threaten to tear them apart - mainly well-endowed demons, winged beasts, an axe-wielding Hermione Granger and their own inflated egos. That's all you're getting from me about the plot, because you have to see to watch This Is the End in order to believe any of it.
(***1/2 Stars out of ****)
Friday and Saturday are my cooking final. If I want to be technical about it, Friday was the day I take my test, and Saturday is just me helping out the other students. The test consists of demonstrating knife skills, fabricating a chicken, and making two plates of food: Two Pan-roasted chicken breasts with pan sauce (white wine, a thinker, like heavy cream or a roux, and mushrooms); two small servings of steamed broccoli with Hollandaise sauce; two servings of rice pilaf; two small servings of glazed carrots; and a cream of mushroom soup. Did I mention all of this had to be done in under 4 hours? Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of me in action (mostly because the instructor won't allow the use of camera phones until after the testing is complete), but I do have photos of stuff i've made over the 11-week course I can tease you with.
As for the test itself? That was an obstacle course of dishes that I was (for the most part) able to get through. I wasn't able to make the soup, but everything else was rather simple to make.
To celebrate my final day of class, the family and I went over to the Island Prime/C-Level Lounge for an afternoon lunch. Perhaps the best feature about the restaurant is the view itself: there's a fantastic view of Downtown San Diego, along with the Navy base on North Island, the U.S.S. Reagan, the Midway, The Star of India, and other boats are the idly wading in the water, or are being used by family and friends. It truly is one of the more lovely sights you'll see.
Sunday was the day I finally get to watch the Superman-reboot, Man of Steel, so the Jersey and I took in the earliest screening available at 11:55. Sundays at the Regal 16 are usually packed because of the $5.00 movie discount, so it's best to come early, about an hour in advance. Trust me, theaters and parking get packed fast. Before I watched the movie, I read the reviews on websites like Rotten Tomatoes, or Metacritic, which compiles all the reviews from the top movie critics and audience ratings to give a score. MoS's score was less than what I had expected: a 56% rating on RT (which means "Rotten", or in my opinion, mixed reviews) and a similar rating of 55 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews." So how how does Man of Steel turn out? Let's find out!
Review: Look, up in the sky! It's a Bird It's a Plane! No, it's.....a community of fanboys and Internet movie critics who are more pissed off than they were when Superman Returns was released! Kal El may no longer be a deadbeat dad, but that hasn't stopped the hordes of outraged fans of DC's iconic superhero from wanting to shove a hunk of Kryponite up director Zack Snynder's (Watchmen, 300) and screenwriter David S. Goyer's collective asses. From Jesu Otaku's rant on Twitter and Brad Jones and the Walker Bros. bashing the movie in lengthy Vlogs on That Guy with the Glasses.com, people are not thrilled with the final product. Mixed reviews should indicate that Warner Bros., and DC Entertainment, still scrambling to deliver their answer to Marvel Studios superhero team up The Avengers with the long-awaited Justice League movie, would have a serious problem getting a second sequel off the ground, especially with the polarizing views on how the Snyder/Goyer project worked out. Nope! Man of Steel has made back it's reported $225 million budget, has grossed over $600 million world wide, and the studio has ordered a sequel that will be set for a 2015 release date (Hell, they're even throwing in the long-awaited team-up between Superman and the Dark Knight himself!) in time to compete with The Avengers: Age of Ultron. So the question remains: if the film has all this much success going for it, why the near-outrage from the Internet critics and the fanboys?
The answer, I believe, lies in the film's second half. And boy it is one hell of a second half. I won't spoil what goes on but here are the just the crib notes: General Zod (played with equal parts mirth, menace and scene chewery by the great Michael Shannon) comes to Earth to bring a message to its people: surrender Kal El, or he will destroy the planet. Kal El is Clark Kent (played by Brit actor Henry Cavill) a son of the late planet of Krypton and of Earth, from which he was sent by his father, Jor El (Russell Crowe). Kent surrenders himself to Zod, but of course, he has no intention of keeping his word. Zod's plan is to terraform the planet and rebuild Krypton so his people can thrive again. From this point on, it's one CG-ladened action set piece after another, from the brawl in Kent's hometown of Smallville, to the fight between Zod and Kent that damn-near levels Metropolis That's right: Superman, the protector of Earth, the shining beacon of what humanity can become, Mr. Truth, Justice and the American way himself.....almost levels an entire city. Not to mention the loss of life that probably spans thousands of people and towers that are reduced to ash heaps or are barely standing.
Look, I know that a superhero fighting a super-villain will inevitably cause collateral damage, but let's take a look at previous superhero fare, Thor and The Avengers in contrast: In Thor, when Loki sent the Destroyer to kill his brother from returning to Asgard, the God of Thunder evacuated people and kept them at safe distance. The fight itself was to keep the metal monster distracted so that people wouldn't have to come into the line of fire. In The Avengers, Captain America told his team that the priority was containment until they could figure a way to close the portal. They even worked with the NYPD and the military to keep people away from the fighting that was going on in Downtown Manhattan, for Christ sake! Superman and Zod just go at it, with little regard for the countless destruction that's unfolding. Also, Snyder falls into the same trap as many action directors do; He has this grand action sequence, and he keeps trying to hold that same note throughout the rest of the film. Not only does this kill the pacing, but the action scenes themselves become boring and tedious to watch. Snyder doesn't show any restraint from this point on, which is a shame because everything leading up to the last leg of the movie was really good, and very well-done.
Snyder does a great job highlighting two philosophies of two fathers: Jor El believes his son will become a symbol of hope and the shining beacon of what humanity can achieve, Jonathan (a warm, touching performance by Kevin Costner) believes that Kent's powers will isolate him from the rest of the human race. The director also does a great job of catching the turmoil within Kent - that he is a son of Krypton and of Earth, but belonging to neither. In Henry Cavil's hands, he makes this God-like superhero something I felt Superman was missing: being relatable. There's also great work from Amy Adams, playing Lois Lane, a step above Kate Bosworth's bland performance, and Costner and Lane as Kent's foster parents give wonderful performances as Kent's moral center. For all that I've said in this review, Man of Steel isn't the terrible piece of crap it's being made out to be. It's flawed for sure, but It's the first time I've ever been interested in this otherwise boring and, in my opinion, overrated superhero. For better or worse, Snyder's reboot is exactly what it took for DC Entertainment to get off it's ass and start developing their movie universe: in addition to Superman vs. Batman (or is it Batman vs. Superman? Goyer isn't sure about the title yet), they've also got an adaptation of The Flash that's due out in 2016, and the long-awaited JL movie one year later.
(*** stars out of ****)
And here's a picture of me, waiting in line for my popcorn and soda.
Monday may have been the first day of my summer break, but I still have obligations; mainly my weekday shifts at the McDonald's on Texas St. I'm usually upfront taking orders, or I'm at the back of the kitchen, making burger patties and frying chicken patties for the McChicken sandwich, or making McNuggets. I usualy work between 3 1/2 half to a full 8-hour shift, given how my managers make the schedule. Like I said before, this thing works miracles, as I arrived home, still wearing the Jersey, watching and going on the Game thread for the Padres and Giants. You all know the story: Will Venable makes the diving play of the year to save a run from scoring, and our boys come back late to force extra innings in the Bay area, and won it 5-3!
Wednesday was haircut day, but this was no ordinary haircut. You see, I have a hair stylist by the name of Trish Hernandez, and she runs the fabulous Salon Cabana on El Cajon Boulevard, I've been going to her with my hear for well over 6 years, and there's no one else I trust more in terms of making me look great than her. Some of you may know that I've been spouting a new trend called the fro-hawk (an Afro merged with a Mohawk.) That day, I decided to ditch the look for something more polished and sophisticated,.
This is my hair stylist, Trish Hernandez, who is also rocking the Jersey. She is, hands down, the best hair stylist in the 619. If you ever feel like getting your hair cut, or like to try a new style for your hair, go to Salon Cabana, located at 2200 El Cajon Blvd., 92104. For more information on Salon Cabana, go to the salon's Facebook page to find out more!
Thursday night was sneak preview night, and I decided on World War Z, the Brad Pitt-vehicle about the middle-aged pretty boy fighting against a zombie apocalypse that has spread thought the planet, and i've been looking forward to seeing this particular movie for months now. The finished product was a surprise, to say the least.
Review: As I stated before in the opening, I don't know sports like I know movies, and if you follow movies, you'd know that World War Z has one of the more well-publicized production troubles in recent memory. To start, the early draft of the script, which was penned by J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, was re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, who previously wrote The Kingdom in 2007 and State of Play in 2009, which delayed the project for several months. Originally, the early stages of the script were supposed to follow the source material about a UN Ambassador who travels across the globe to interview survivors of the zombie war that has decimated numerous governments and changes the world, from the economic to the social aspects. Once the story was re-worked to fit the studio's liking, production began, and where the troubles kick in. Re-shoots were issued in October of 2012 after the studio watched footage from the original cut, only to realize that the story towards the end made no sense. Paramount Pictures originally hired Damon Lindelof to help re-write the film's ending, but due to his work on co-writing Star Trek Into Darkness, he passed, only to give it to his friend and fellow writer on ABC's Lost. Drew Goddard. A climatic set piece was delayed by a Hungarian counter-terrorism unit when they raided a warehouse which held gun props for the shoot the morning before the scene was to be filmed. the budget of the film, which started out at $125 million, ballooned to nearly $200 million, most of that going to re-shoots.
In short, this thing was destined to be a disaster. The kind of bad movie that lives on in infamy, like Revenge of the Fallen, or The Room. A movie that seemed destined for RiffTrax glory. Imagine my surprise that the finished product wasn't a complete clusterfuck of epic proportions, but rather, a fun and at times, exciting popcorn movie which manages to deliver the goods and still be an intelligent thriller. Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, the UN Ambassador who is among the survivors of the zombie attack in Philadelphia, along with his wife and three children. He is called on to investigate where the infection of the zombie outbreak began and find a way to prevent the virus from spreading further by government officials, and in exchange, his family will stay aboard a carrier in the Atlantic, far away from the zombie plagued Eastern seaboard. His travels takes him from one place to another, from a completely dark North Korea, to the walled-off city of Jerusalem, desperately trying to put the pieces together...or, at least, that's what the movie implies for the first half.
Afterwords, the screenwriters give up on looking for the point of origin of the outbreak, and move the efforts to discovering a cure. The reason I say this is because it's not mentioned again.Maybe they're saving that bit for the sequel, which, given it's returns, there may well be one in the works. Besides that nitpick about a plot point, the other bitch I have about World War Z is the fact that the violence is tamed and nudered to get the all-important PG-13 rating, get teenage buts in the seats and to maximize the film's box office returns. In the past, i've complained that horror movies like Saw and Hostel have been nothing but a poisonous influence on the genre, as more horror films follow the Saw-playbook and include endless scenes of sick, sadistic bloody violence and torture as a cheap gimmick to gross out and scare the audience, but in the case of World War Z, the movie would have had more of an impact and been more effective if we had seen the brutal nature of the war, and had seen zombies do what the undead do best: tear at flesh as if it were a rib eye steak! I'm not saying they pull out the buckets of blood and gore, but I'd rather them be frank about the depictions of the savagery of the zombie plague, than tame and simper on the ugliness of it all. Having said all that, World War Z is a respectable entry into the zombie movie canon, anchored by a solid performance from Pitt, a smart script, subtle social commentary, exciting set pieces to spare and it's one of the few mainstream pleasures I've seen come out of an otherwise, lackluster summer movie season.
(*** stars out of ****)
The 6th and the 21st are easily the best days for me, work-wise, because it's the day when we get paid! Payday is even better when it falls on a Friday, or on a weekend because the check comes in on a Friday, so it was off to collect my check, cash it in to my local credit union, and, what else, go see a movie! This time, since I was in the Mission Valley area, I went to the AMC Fashion Valley 18 and took in a afternoon viewing of The Internship, starring funnymen Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Review: In 2005, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson stared in Wedding Crashers, a movie where two scheming Lotharios crash a high-end wedding for a politico's daughter, only to have Wilson's character, John, break several rules of the crashers' code, including falling in love with one of the bridesmaids, Clarie (Rachel McAdams) , whilst Jeremy, Vaughn's character, deals with a "stage five clinger" in Gloria (Isla Fisher). That movie was was a huge hit, both with critics and with audiences, as the film went on gross over $200 million domestically, becoming the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time, up until 2009 where The Hangover took over the coveted title. In 2013, the pair reunited for the first time since Wedding Crashers with The Internship, a movie which Vaughn himself wrote and produced. For the first five minutes, it looked like the comedic charisma between Vaughn and Wilson would be as solid as ever, with some funny jokes about Nick (Wilson) getting pumped for a big sales pitch by listening to Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", and a charming sequence as we see Nick and his partner, Billy (Vaughn) in action, trying to sell a client custom-made wrist watches. It's at this point where Billy and Nick confront their boss, Sammy (John Goodman) about being out of jobs, and where Nick uses the Terminator movies to make a point that people don't fully trust technology, that we realize this is going to be a dated, fish-out-of-water comedy, and that it's not going to be that much fun to watch.
The duo apply for an internship at Google, because the company is known for hiring middle-aged men who know jack about computers or how to write and program code, and by the power of comedic contrivance,not only are they accepted, they're paired off with the outcasts of the summer internship program: Stewart, the sarcastic smart-ass who rarely ever looks away from his iPhone; Yo-Yo, the stereotypical Asian-American boy who's a math whiz and has an overbearing mother; Nela, an Indian-American girl who vaguely mirrors Alyson Hannigan's Michelle from the American Pie series, as a geek with a kinky side; and the team leader, Lyle, a member of Google who tries way too hard to act hip and cool in front of everyone. As bland and unoriginal as the supporting characters are (Including the rival intern, Graham, played by Max Minghella of The Social Network fame), Wilson and Vaughn have it worse. In Wedding Crashers, their comic chemistry was infectious, and it made the characters of John and Jeremy more likable than they probably should have been. Their delivery was on-point and the jokes were hilarious because of it. In The Internship, the charm and the comedic interplay rarely shines through, and the comedy and pacing suffer as a result. Scenes of Vaughn and Wilson giving pep-talks to their teammates are frankly irritating and obnoxious to listen to, as they throw out vague motivational spiel and obscure 80's references to mask how woefully useless they are to their given assignments and tasks. It makes one wonder how they got into the internship in the first place and why don't they ask to dump their asses half-way through the movie and have done with it. (HINT: they begin to bond and they're usefulness really only comes towards the end with, you guessed it, sales and advertizing!)
There's plenty of geek and sex jokes (including one where Billy and Nick take Yo-Yo out for a lap dance and ends up ejaculating in his pants several times over -- really), but there's no wit; there's no sense of playfulness with the delivery. They're so routine that one could easily spot the joke coming from a mile away. And the less said about the film's blatant product placement of Google, the better. The Internship is a recycled and uninspired comedy, coupled with a preposterous premise of two, late thirty somethings who get the chance of a lifetime to work for the most well-known search engine site, banking on the easygoing interplay between Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn to carry the film, when all it end up doing is reminding you that you should ditch the duo's follow-up and watch Wedding Crashers instead.
(* 1/2 stars out of ****)
I held onto the Jersey for another week, but I'm going to cut to the day I parted with it, because I'd be repeating myself and everything I've done, which is go to work, make dinner/hone in on my culinary skills and watch and review movies, and I think you get the picture about me already: I love cooking, and I love movies. Those are the two passions of my life, and I'm happy that over the course of the time with the Dave Stanton jersey, that I got to share it.
The tag on the Jersey is actually my name tag, showing that I am employed with the company. I was going to find a patch with the Superman logo as a symbol of one of the movies I watched during that time, but I couldn't find any, so the name tag got thrown in there at the last minute. Also, I issue a challenge to anyone else who wears the Jersey: I have watched a total of 8 movies with the jersey, three of which (The Bling Ring, Dirty Wars, and Monsters University) did not make the cut due to this already long entry. I challenge you to beat my record.and give a mini review of your thoughts. Good luck.