The Flash – “City of Heroes”


That episode flew right before our eyes. “City of Heroes” is the first episode of The Flash, the CW’s second superhero themed drama. From what I saw tonight, I can say with confidence I’ll be tuning in for the rest of the season. Arrow slowly molded into the show it is now, the pilot leaving much to be desired. Here though, the show runners knocked it out of the park. It has a different vibe from the bow wielding counterpart’s, being a bit more lighthearted. Grant Gustin absolutely nails Barry Allen. I wouldn’t be opposed for him to join the DC film universe, this episode was all it took!

The background information on Barry was taken care of nicely, short and sweet. The characters on the show do kind of resemble some of the ones over on Oliver’s side of town. You have the cop dad of a possible love interest. Barry has his helpers in a secluded lab that help with all the science. Although I will concede that the residents of Central City aren’t as good looking as Starling City. I was especially impressed with the special effects in this episode. I mean, how about the tornado, huh? The slow motion is done well. My only gripe with how they showed his powers is when it’s a close up on his face and he’s running. Other than that I thought they did a great job of handling everything, considering the budget they must have had.

I’m not well versed in Flash comics, but I do know certain characters like Eddie Thawne and Iris West. I like it better that way so I’ll be more surprised, but the whole mystery with who killed his mother just turns into a waiting game for me. True, I still may end up surprised, but there are few who can go that fast. The Stephen Amell cameo was glorious. Some corny dialogue exchanged, as to be expected from this channel, but I love how they both respected each others abilities. I’m hopeful DC can create a whole TV universe where these characters can interact and pop up in each others shows.

One of the shows strengths is clearly the casting. Jesse L. Martin plays Joe West. Martin is clearly no stranger to playing cops, as is known from his time spent on Law and Order. He’s able to ground the show and pull at some emotional strings. A believable father figure to Barry, and I’m glad they made the choice to have him aware of Barry’s powers. A more surprising casting success, was Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells. Known more for his comedy, I was blown away by the presence in the pilot. I’m used to seeing him torment J.D. from my monthly Scrubs binges. Just a great performance, and one of many to come as it seems he will have a big impact on the show going forward.

Congratulations to the CW for another hit. Gotham could take a few (million) notes. I have no doubt this will eventually get the ratings Arrow does, sooner rather than later as The Flash is a bigger character, and I believe has the possibility of being a higher quality product. Excited to see what the rest of the season has in store. Equally ramped up to see how this DCTU unfolds over the years.




Some of the most overlooked songs play once a movie ends. Oh sure, now every one stays after to see some sort of Marvel Easter egg. But I’m not talking about those Disney movies. If you’re leaving the movie with goosebumps, you know it did its job. Take the latest Hobbit film for example. Right after the screen goes dark, we are hit in the face with this beauty of a track by Ed Sheeran. If the movie wasn’t enjoyable enough (for me it was), this end credits song put it over the top. These five aren’t the only post credits songs on the list, but they are all bunched together. And that makes them a crew. Let’s take a listen, shall we?

115. Where The Dream Takes You – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Strangely enough, I don’t think this song matches the tone of the film at all. I mean yes, it’s about a dream taking you someplace. I’m guessing they mean Atlantis. Okay, fine. I’ll allow it. More importantly, Mya kills it. She could be singing about murdering all the inhabitants of Atlantis and I’d still be nodding my head from side to side. Her voice is the definition of soothing. Whatever happened to Mya? Was this song before or after “Lady Marmalade”? I’m hoping for a comeback, but if not, we’ll always have this smooth jam.

114. True To Your Heart – Mulan

There’s only one way 98 degrees can top N’SYNC. And that’s if they add Stevie Wonder to their gang. Is this the weirdest musical pairing ever? It’s still probably David Bowie and Bing Crosby, but this has to be top five. Also, please watch the entire music video. I yearn for all out “weird” in music videos. Someone bring back The Box! I’m more upset about their cancellation than Firefly. I would go back to paying ridiculous amounts of money for cable if they revived The Box. And/or “Whose Line Is It Anyways” WITH Drew Carey. Until then…internet only. 98 degrees doesn’t have much to be proud of, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t great music.

113. The Time Of Your Life – A Bug’s Life

Possibly Pixar’s most underrated film, A Bug’s Life gives us our second big dose of Randy Newman. It’s weird. No matter what Randy Newman is singing, I start thinking about Toy Story. I’ve got to take (imaginary) points off their score. I mean, that can’t be a positive can it? Maybe for the Toy Story franchise, but not for our favorite bug movie……………. Nobody? Not one person is going to stick up for Antz? It has Stallone! Ah, screw you guys.

112. No Way Out – Brother Bear

When I set out to make this list, it was so I could bring attention to smaller songs and movies people might not be aware of. This is one of those movies. It has everything you would want from a Disney flick. Joy. Sorrow. Pain. Relief. Redemption. Vengeance. Understanding. I don’t have a deep vocabulary, but you get the gist. It also is the second Disney film Phil Collins highjacked. “No Way Out” is in the sorrow and pain category of this film. It depicts the protagonists low times and nails it. The first comment on the video’s Youtube page is “DEM FEELS!!!!”. Truly, I could not have said it better.

111. Something That I Want – Tangled

First off, this fan made music video is top notch. Well done, sir or madam. Second, this is my favorite post credits song of all time. It may not be the most popular, but for me, it’ll never be topped. It is impossible not to enjoy your day while this song plays. Go ahead. Take your wheels for a ride and pop it in. You will not regret it. It’s my go to whenever the world is throwing too many “first world problems” my way. There’s just something so uplifting about it. This song is not something that I want. It’s something that I need.

Well that was….something? For as low a ranking I gave them, I enjoy these five songs immensely. I’ll just always give the nod to songs that are in the movie. Doesn’t take away from these babies. So next time you decide to skip the credits just remember, you might be missing the next great musician mash-up (I’m predicting Tyler the Creator and Blake Shelton collaborate on the next Pixar film).  We’re going old school for 110-106.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Saturday morning I woke up to one of the toughest decisions I’d have to make all year. Do I go see the highly anticipated Captain America sequel? Or do I follow my heart and see “Sabatoge”, another box office bomb starring my hero Arnold. I’ve been through thick and thin with the big man recently. Hell, I even saw “The Last Stand” on opening night (it’s on Netflix now. Worth a watch, but Johnny Knoxville is horrendous. And I love Knoxville). With betrayal omitting off me like my daily B.O, I saw the early Cap 2 screening.

First off, Captain America is my least favorite Marvel character. At least out of all the major ones. Quicksilver will probably be my new “most hated” after watching DOFP. I don’t have to wait until the movie comes out you say? There’s a terrible Hardees commercial he’s in already? Yep. He’s the worst. Anyways, the point is I’m not very patriotic. I feel the same way about religion and sports “fandom”. If I was born farther north I’d be yearning for a Captain Canada, farther south a Captain Mexico. Just because I grew up in Philadelphia means I HAVE to root for the Phillies? Even if the whole team raped a ten year old boy (akin to those in high positions in the Catholic church), you would have imbeciles from that city sticking up for their team out of loyalty. It’s asinine.

There were a few things from the movie that I couldn’t let go of. It was everything I hate about patriotism. That 1940s propaganda bull. Plus the casting of Agent Smith as Red Skull rubbed me the wrong way (he’s already been in enough iconic roles with the Matrix and LOTR. You couldn’t have found anyone else?). Young CGI’d Steve Rogers took me out of the film every time he came on screen. It angered me more people weren’t talking about that. He looked ridiculous. But I openly acknowledge these are my feelings on things other than the film itself. Another solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sure. But it in no way compares to The Winter Soldier.

Right off the bat I could tell the tone of this film was different. As a country we are having trouble trusting. Not being able to trust our government. Missiles aimed at any one of us at all times. Hacking in to our computers, phones, etc. I was on board from the get go. Cap’s trust in SHIELD starts to waver throughout the beginning of the movie and we begin to see it is not unfounded. There have been HYDRA plants all throughout SHIELD (including Gary Shandling, who has a scene that is laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately that was not its purpose) like a virus. Nick Fury is killed by the Winter Soldier himself and (no surprise) comes back near the end to reveal he faked his own death. The head of SHIELD is Pierce (Robert Redford) who quite clearly is the bad guy in this game. Anthony Mackie makes an awesome sidekick in Falcon. If you read his recent interviews about the role you know how enthusiastic he was about being cast as a superhero, and it shows. ScarJo is almost a co-lead in this film. She is great as usual, although she’s in that “too hot to watch” zone for me. It’s difficult for me to enjoy films she’s in because of how attractive I find her. It’s a curse. Lastly, we have Bucky himself (played by Sebastian Stan). You could say he did A LOT with a little. Most people have said that actually. I’m just reiterating it. He’s not on Loki’s level as a villain (and in the Marvel universe, who is?) but I immediately wanted to see more of him. Luckily for me, Stan recently signed a nine picture deal.

Technically this was the first summer blockbuster to come out. So that might be why I enjoyed it so much. But there were definitely other things. I’ll throw some Pros/Cons out there.

Pro – Fight Sequences

All credit given to the Russo brothers on this one. The fight sequences were phenomenal. You felt the force of Caps blows. I loved the scene where he’s running so hard that he bangs into a wall and the shield leaves a dent. Black Widow had the moves we’ve come to expect from a super spy. George St. Pierre makes a cameo in the beginning of the flick and has an awesome fight off with Evans. He had a few good moves, but was easily taken down by CA (Black Widow hindered Cap more than GSP). Quick note. I’m glad they showed him easily taking out the henchmen. This dude just wrecked hundred of aliens in The Avengers. You’re going to tell me some french martial art boat captain can beat up Captain America? I’m not buying it. Captain America should give a beat down to twenty people in an elevator. Even with one arm trapped to the wall by a magnet.

Con – Rewatchability

A few of you might disagree with me on this. The film is pretty long (136 minutes not counting after credit scenes). A while the pacing is great, there isn’t many reasons why I would go back to watch it. I thought the best scenes were with Bucky and they were few and far between. TWS just beat out a certain movie for Aprils biggest box office hit. That movie? Only one of the most re watchable summer blockbusters of all time. That’s right folks, FAST FIVE. I’ve watched F5 dozens of times. Why? Because I’m in awe during that train scene. Because the ground shakes every time during the second greatest handshake ever (Diesel picking Rock up. Obviously behind the one in Predator). And because…

Pro – Chris Evans becomes a leading man

You could argue he became this in The Avengers, but I still wasn’t buying it. I think Evans has greatly improved, not on his acting, but on his presence. I honestly don’t know how one improves that. It’s like how Mel Kiper talks about “upside”. We both just tend to throw these words around. But Evans really shines in this one (and he should. He’s the star of the film). By the time Avengers 2 comes out I’ll believe that he can go toe to toe with Robert Downey Jr (or Tony Stark).

Con – Cap and Black Widows relationship

I feel like I should be saying this for every Pro/Con, but hear me out. Yes. It was appreciated that they weren’t forced into another silly romantic relationship. First off, she has Hawkeye (if they ever want to use him again). And secondly, it would have made that scene with old Peggy Carter less meaningful. But the back and forth about her getting him a girlfriend or a date was grating. Why couldn’t their relationship be more like Legolas and Gimli from LOTR? She is clearly badass. I’d love to hear them arguing about who takes out more henchman. And you could still have the “I don’t trust you” storyline.

Pro – Post Credit Scenes

This should be a Pro for every Marvel film. But this may have been the best one yet. We finally get a glimpse of Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. The REAL Quicksilver. They look menacing. And unstable. And I’m even more pumped for Avengers 2 than I was yesterday. I’m always curious as to if Whedon directs these himself. The Guardians of the Galaxy teaser at the end of Thor 2 definitely looked like someone else was behind the directors chair. But alas. Also we get to see one of the new villains for AV2 and what appears to be Loki’s mind control stick? Correct me if I’m wrong. Then the second (and usually plain dumb) scene featured Bucky visiting the museum to see his little WWII memorial. It probably could of just been put straight into the film, but it was nice to show Bucky realizing that Cap wasn’t lying to him. Perhaps he could….trust Steve Rogers. It wasn’t great but it was better than Thor 2’s second post credit scene.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a worthy two hours spent at the movies. I would go so far as to say it’s the BEST movie of the summer! Take that as you will.

1st. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2nd. N/A

3rd. N/A