Author: Craig Zablo

Play That Funky Music

A couple of days ago I posted The Sanford Townsend Band’s “Smoke from a Distant Fire?” I thought it might be cool to see what other 70’s songs I might find linked to it.

I looked and came up with Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” I hope ya digs it.

I wonder where the next link will take me?


Day of the Dead [2008]

The Pitch: “Day of the Dead” updated with fast moving zombies and no George Romero.

The Good: The idea of a town being quarantined by the military. The chaos when the zombies begin attacking. Ving Rhames. Mena Suvari is a cutie. Several zombies jumping in unison out second [third?] story windows to get a people on the ground.

The Bad: Not enough Ving Rhames. Zombies climbing sheer walls and across ceilings. Zombies exploding when set on fire. Characters repeatedly making stupid decisions: [“Let’s sneak back into the city full of zombies that we escaped from so we can hold up in a room full of windows.” “Let‘s keep a zombie alive because he follows orders.”] Smart zombieszombies firing guns — a zombie not attacking people because he is a vegetarian!

The Ugly: The alternate ending. Boy, if they’d have used it the movie would have been even worse.

The Summary: “Day of the Dead” is a remake of my least favorite Romero zombie movie. If you’re a real fan of zombie movies then you probably won’t mind some of this movie’s badness [and I don’t mean badness in a good way]. If you’re just a passing fan of the genre then you ought to pass on it.

Eastern Promises

The Pitch: “The Godfather” with a Russian twist.

The Good: Viggo Mortensen owns every second he is own the screen. Armin Mueller-Stahl quietly demands to be watched and heard in every scene — which is exactly what is needed as the kind restaurant owner, family man and head of a Russian mob. The killings in the public bath — brutal, but believable. The twist near the end — I totally did not see it coming and loved it.

The Bad: The movie is slow to get started and then moves at a steady pace. The violence is there, but not as bad as you may have heard.

The Ugly: “Okay. Now I’m going to do his teeth and cut off his fingers. You might want to leave room.”

The Summary: “Eastern Promises” is a brutal look at the Russian mafia. Viggo Mortensen gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the “driver.” The violence may put some off, but it grounds the movie’s reality. I have a feeling that this one is going to grow on me as time passes.

Smoke from a Distant Fire

The Sanford Townsend Band‘s biggest hit was “Smoke from a Distant Fire.” You may not know the band, but I bet if you’ve heard the song once, it made an impact with it’s perfect blend of lyrics and music. How can you not be pulled into a song that opens with:

“You left me here on your way to paradise
You pulled the rug right out from under my life
I know where you goin’ to I knew when you came home last night
‘Cause your eyes had a mist from the smoke of a distant fire…”

Here’s a link to a live performance of “Smoke from a Distant Fire.” No lip syncing or recorded instrumental tracks, and The Sanford Townsend Band doesn’t miss a beat. It makes me wonder why they weren’t better known, because they sure could play.

UFC 86 Results

Okay, let’s take a look at last night’s UFC results:

* Light-heavyweight title fight: Rampage Jackson vs Forrest Griffin: Forrest fought an extremely smart fight and was able to win a unanimous decision and the title. He hurt Rampage early with repeated hard leg kicks. I gave Rampage the 1st and 3rd rounds and Forrest the 2nd, 4th and 5th with the second being a 10 – 8 round. There will no doubt be a rematch down the line.

* Ricardo Almeida vs. Patrick Cote: Cote won via a split decision.

* Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau: Joe Stevenson won via a second round submission.

* Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle: Josh Koscheck won via a unanimous decision.

* Marcus Aurelio vs. Tyson Griffin: Tyson won via a unanimous decision.

Congrats to Joey “Bartledoo” C. for picking every fight right!

UFC 86 Predictions

Okay, let’s take a look at tonight’s UFC card:

* Light-heavyweight title fight: Rampage Jackson vs Forrest Griffin: the smart money is riding on Rampage and the “heart” money goes with Forrest. I’d bet on Rampage straight up, but I’m pulling for Forrest.

* Ricardo Almeida vs. Patrick Cote: Alemida is in his second fight after a three year layoff and Cote is on a three fight win streak. I’ll take a chance that Cote pushes the streak to four.

* Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau: I like Big Daddy Joe Stevenson and that’s reason enough to pick him against Tibau.

* Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle: Josh Koscheck is talking about dropping weight and taking on BJ Penn in a title fight, first he’ll need to win against Lytle. I think he will.

* Marcus Aurelio vs. Tyson Griffin: This will be an exciting and explosive match. I’m predicting Tyson Griffin will find a way to win.

Here’s to great fights with more fireworks than we saw last night!

How I Spent My 4th

I love used book stores. My buddy, Rob, has been telling me about Chamblin’s Book Mine in Jacksonville, Florida for some time now. Today, I knew I would be in the area and so I made it a point to go there. My wife and I were excited about hitting Chamblin’s. If it was half as good as Rob described it, we’d get some great books at great prices.Funny thing is… I didn’t consider that they’d be closed on the 4th of July. They were. Arrrgh! We’ll try again the next time we’re in the area.In the meantime, have a Happy 4th of July! We’re off to see the fire works and then back home to catch some episodes of Twilight Zone Marathon on the SciFi Channel!

Top Westerns

The Western Writers of America recently posted their list of the 100 Top Westerns. You just know I had to use their top 100 to come up with my top 20:
  1. The Searchers
  2. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  4. The Wild Bunch
  5. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  6. Tombstone
  7. Open Range
  8. The Cowboys
  9. True Grit
  10. Shane
  11. The Magnificent Seven
  12. Dances with Wolves
  13. Stagecoach (1939)
  14. Unforgiven
  15. The Ox-Bow Incident
  16. High Noon
  17. The Shootist
  18. Red River
  19. Silverado
  20. The Long Riders
After The Searchers a lot of the order is subject to change depending on my mood. Also some of the movies that made their top 100 didn’t fit my definition of a “western.” Sure, “Blazing Saddles” is a great COMEDY set in the west, but is it really a western? “The Last of the Mohicans” is a great adventure/romance, but where are the cowboys? In other words, I left off what some might consider to be classics because to me, a western is cowboys and Indians.

– A tip of the hat and a hearty “Hi Ho Silver!” to Bill Crider for the link!


Goon Optioned

I’ve been an Eric Powell fan for years. His Goon is one of my favorite comics currently published. [I’d have said that even if Eric didn’t draw one of my all-time favorite Stallone pieces!]

Eric recently announced on his website that David [Se7en] Fincher has teamed with Blur Studio and optioned the rights to the Goon for a CG animated feature. Dark Horse Entertainment, the publisher of the Goon will also be involved.

This is great news for Eric and Goon fans everywhere.

Only One Cooke Needed

Darwyn Cooke is one of my favorite comic book creators. I was lucky enough to get a Stallone sketch from Darwyn at MegaCon 2007. It was the last sketch that he did on the last day of the show. Whew!

If you read this interview with Darwyn posted today at Newsarama you’ll begin to understand why he’s a fan favorite.

If you read Darwyn’s The New Frontier; Batman: Ego and Other Tales; or his take on Will Eisner’s The Spirit Volume I and 2 you’ll know why.

Heck, anyone whose favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz [my all-time second favorite movie] has got to be alright in my book!

MMA Update

On June 19th I suggested that Dana White reconsider his tolerance for the drunken destruction that is encouraged in the house during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter. The following day, Ken Iole, who covers the MMA for Yahoo Sports posted similar thoughts.

Guess what Dana White announced today?

“Fighters of Season 8 – which completed filming last week and will begin airing in September – were told they’d have to pay for any damage they did.”

White also announced that Jesse White will fight C.B. Dollaway on the July 19th card headlined by Anderson Silva moving up to light heavyweight to fight James Irvin.

Check out Ken Iole’s column for the full story!