Thursday, February 28, 2008

Step Up 2, Takin' It to ......... the Rain-Soaked Alley?

We welcome our first guest contributor, STJ. He'll introduce himself in greater detail, but we here at The Popcorn Trick have a few standing policies. One of which is that anyone who willingly pays $9 to see Step Up 2 AND watches the whole thing should be given a semi-regular soapbox from which to pontificate.

If anyone else can make that claim, send us your ticket stub, and we'll send you a password.



I'd like to welcome myself to The Popcorn Trick. As a long time listener/reader, first time poster I'm pleased as a pig in shit to have been asked by the esteemed Goose and Cline to add my expertise on things pop culture. For a little introduction, I'm a young professional livin' it up in Philly who spends most of my time building buildings and playing Ultimate. Here's a brief list of the primary pop culture subject matters discussed in my PcD dissertation (Pop culture Degree):
  • Pro Wrestling (pre WWF-WCW merger)
  • Transformers
  • 80's cartoons in general
  • Chick Flicks
  • Jerry Bruckheimer movies
  • The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies
  • 8-bit Nintendo games
  • Transformers
  • Awesomely bad dance movies.
Which brings us to the topic at hand.

If you've been making a habit of tuning into the local urban stations over the past couple of weeks you might recognize some of these songs that are been played approximately once an hour.

Low - Flo Rida
Killa (feat. Young Joc) - Cherish
Hypnotized (feat. Akon) - Piles

What you might not know is the reason you've been bombarded by these rhythmic geniuses. "Step Up 2: Takin It to the Streets" the sequel to that stellar 2006 release "Step Up" came out recently. Now I know you're thinking to yourself, STJ probably saw that the day before it came out. Nay friends, that Friday I had an Ultimate game, this movie had to wait til Saturday when I saw it with a lady friend who might actually have a similarly bad taste in movies as yours truly.

The plot of this masterpiece centers around Andie who the viewer is led to believe is the step sister of Tyler Gage (from Step Up). Her name in that one was Camille. I'd say it's a gaping plot wound, but it's conceivable that she was just some tough girl he met as a foster kid. Anyway, Andie is a member of the group of dancers known as the 401. They're a bunch of street hooligans known for pulling off elaborate dance stunts, filming them, and putting them on YouTube. Their group is constantly practicing for a secret underground dance competition in Baltimore called "The Streets". One random night a year every "underground" dancer gets a text message telling them where to show up and dance their multi-cultural rear ends off for Respeck (the 'k' denotes how hard they are).

Of course Andie gets in trouble with her foster mom because she's been hanging with the 401 so much. Her mother is going to send her to live with her aunt in Texas. Andie gets pissed and leaves for the night where she runs into Tyler at a dance club (sadly his only appearance in the movie). He challenges her to a dance battle. If he wins, she has to tryout for the Maryland School of the Arts. He kicks her ass in a dance complete with trampolines in the floor and she has to try out. Damn trampolines!

Long story short, she meets the kid brother of the stuck-up teacher at her school (Chase Collins) who is also in love with "The Streets." Conveniently Andie's work as MSA causes her to be kicked out of her crew for not keeping it real. This upsets Andie. Chase, however, sees this as an opportunity. And if you didn't see where this was going, you probably watch movie in "art" theaters. They decide to form their own group comprised of all the MSA misfits who are, luckily for her, awesome street dancers.

What we as movie goers need to realize is that all these movies (Save the Last Dance, Step Up, Stomp the Yard, etc) are is a thinly veiled attempt by the music industry to allow multiple rap artists the chance to release multiple songs all at once rather than releasing one single at a time. Throw in some sweet dancing, and you've got yourself a movie made for under $10 million that will make more than that in the theaters (its already above $40 million in ticket sales). It's a brilliant move by Hollywood, really.

As for Step Up 2, the acting is pretty horrific. Step Up (the original) worked because Channing Tatum is hot, and because he can pull off the brooding white kid from the streets of Baltimore. He is miserable in his every day life until he finds the outlet of structured dance classes at MSA and gets his life in order. In Step Up 2, Andie really can't pull off this same act. She seems like a lost girl trying to be tough. The producers went so far as to make her voice sound hoarse to add to her street persona. Also, lets be honest, when it comes to street dancing that's very reliant on explosive flipping, jumping, head spinning, etc., guys have the significant advantage of generally just being stronger. And really, girls have got lots of rhythm and can look good while dancing, but they don't really have any "dropjaw", to steal a word from Bill Simmons.

In the end, the dancing aspect of the movie were enjoyable. You get to see most of "The Streets" competition which has some pretty sick routines. And of course ***Spoiler Alert*** the MSA crew goes to the Streets (after a dramatic (or corny) show of solidarity) and the other groups don't want to let them perform. So Andie jumps up on stage and gives a ridiculous speech about how the Streets should be for everyone and if their group can't perform in the competition, they'll be outside showing their stuff where the Streets began. Conveniently it begins to rain. Some guy opens up the trunk of his Caddy to reveal a giant speaker system. They start playing "Bounce" by Timbaland, and of course the MSA crew pulls out an incredibly nasty routine that pretty much makes the whole $9 you just spent worth it.

In summary: Dance movies shouldn't center around female characters (which is why I didn't go see How She Move). White guys can dance, they just have to work a lot harder to look good doing it. And the whole movie is made worth it by the end dance scene.

When is Stomp the Yard 2 coming out?


Link of the Day

What a perfect idea for a blog. So trivial, yet so captivating, it's something we here at The Popcorn Trick strive to achieve. And maybe someday, when we realize no one reads anymore, we'll achieve it.

But this blog is simply genius. The Guess My Crime blog is not only perfect for our voyeuristic society, it turns our peeping tom tendencies into a game. The premise is brilliantly simple. It shows mug shots of people with a list of possible crimes they could have committed. The visitor then guesses what crime the "alleged" criminal performed.

And yet it's so much more than that. Please come take a look at some of my favorites so far...

This lass is far too amused to have been arrested. She should be out partying still. That the cops killed her buzz obviously hasn't sunk in yet. If I had to guess, I'm gonna say she was picked up with some herb in her pocket. Her cheeks aren't sallow enough to have it be heroin.

Just a suspended license? This girl looks a lot more mischievous than that. I'm thinking more of the criminal mastermind actually. I bet she has a gaggle of boys ready to do her bidding. That she got caught will only fuel her wrath against these henchmen, for not taking the fall for her. That, or she just mouthed off a little too much and she got run in.

No proof of insurance? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that probably goes a little further all the way to no insurance whatsoever. Strangely, he doesn't seem to concerned about it. Also looks as though he's been in this situation before.

Ok, c'mon. You can't tell me I was the only one who thought this guy was sneakin into to little Sally's room at night. But no, just a simple DUI. At least this time. Something tells me when the cops do a little digging they're gonna find a few more things to charge him with.

So what have we learned other than I love this blog? 1.) People out there don't seem to take being arrested as seriously as you see on Law & Order, and 2.) If I were single, I think I'd be hanging around the jail looking for some easy strange to pick up.

Regardless, please visit the Guess My Crime blog and support them as much as you can so I can keep getting my crime fix without actually having to commit a crime.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Hidden Hollow Files

The Hidden Hollow Files is an attempt to recount the golden era (1991-1994) of Hidden Hollow Swim Club, a pool facility nestled in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Boredom was the enemy.

My friends and I, realizing we had to start thinking about making money and other "grown up" responsibilities thought it would be a great idea to find jobs devoid of any physical labor whatsoever. Since we didn’t live close to any turnpikes where we could collect tolls, we turned our attention to the next best thing: lifeguarding. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize our choice would lead to some of the dullest moments in our lives. Daily excitement consisted of occasionally blowing our whistles to stop overexcited six-year-olds hopped up on pixie sticks and soda from running around like dehydrated ravers. Other than those brief moments, we were left to our own thoughts for hours on end, sitting, watching the pools, pondering mortality, dreaming of future success, debating the issues of the modern era, or in our case, trying to figure out how best to use the swim club facilities to hurt ourselves.

Perhaps there is some sort of psychoanalysis that explains why we were so eager to create new ways to experience pain, but at the time none of us could even spell psychoanalysis. We just looked for cheap thrills to break up the Sargasso Sea we called our day. And sometimes, when the sun is hot, and your sitting in a pool of your own sweat, genius can strike. Out of some forgotten guard’s crazed, sun-drenched delirium the game of 1 Foot/2 Foot Football was born.

The game was only played on rainy days when the pool closed early, due to the fact that it took over two entire pools at the club. And it was not the type of game that too many people would approve. Much like the fight club in the basement of your local church, it was spoken of in hushed tones and reverence. So every time the skies were a gray, flinty color and the heavens rained their displeasure down on us, someone would grab a ball and go about rustling up the few remaining guards still around.

The game played like a poorly thought out version of football, with two distinct differences. First, a volleyball was used instead of a football. I’m not sure how many people reading this have ever tried to catch a volleyball thrown at them but it’s not nearly as easy as it seems. Throwing one up in the air and catching it is one thing; catching one launched at you while sludging through at least a foot of water, in the rain is another beast altogether. The second difference was that it was played in a pool. In fact, 1 Foot/2Foot Football got its name from the venue where it was played.

The "field" consisted of two circle-shaped pools, separated by a crudely tiled, cement wall. The wall came to the same level as the water of both pools, which allowed a person to simply step over it to cross back and forth between them. One pool had a depth of one foot, the other, a depth of 2 feet. The wall acted as the 50-yard line.

Teams stood at opposite ends of the "field," to receive the kickoff. To score a goal, a team had four plays to get the ball over the 50-yard line wall and to the far end of the opposing pool. Naturally, the opponents tried to stop this. Being tackled in the 2 foot wasn’t too bad, because there was a lot of water to cushion the fall. Being tackled in the 1 foot was a different story. Being tackled when trying to clear the 50-yard line was time for someone to run to the office and call for an ambulance.

Playing 1 Foot/2 Foot Football felt like a prison riot, where rules took a backseat to survival. I played in a number of these games, starting when I was just a young, 15-year-old doe-eyed rookie guard. The first time I played I felt excited that the older guards accepted me into their fraternity. Every time I played after that I was happy i survived. Mixing water of different depths, a wall that took up vital real estate in the game, and lumbering teenagers with varying levels of coordination and motivation, concocted a recipe for tragedy. I look back on those times right now and can’t figure out how I never spent a summer day dressed in black staring over the grave of a fellow guard, or in a pine box myself. We had a string of uncanny luck with this game, and no one ever got seriously hurt.

Yet I remember one game vividly, played during an unusually strong, steady downpour, that may have been the pinnacle - and demise - of 1 Foot/2 Foot Football. It depends on who is reminiscing. I’ll never forget the day and the one instant where I thought I might actually have to use what little lifeguard training I had.

It involved two unique personalities that set up residence on the opposite ends of the social spectrum. Mark Klapchick, and Jack Mowenz. Mark Klapchick was the resident "worm-under-your-skin" guy; a chatty guard who took pleasure in annoying people. If you weren’t on the receiving end of his barbs, he was tolerable, if only for a few minutes. Worse yet, he knew he what he was doing, and enjoyed it. You couldn’t take him aside and tactfully tell him to shut up. You had to take him aside and beat him to get him to shut up. And even then there were no guarantees. He knew what buttons to push. It was a gift; a filthy, irritating gift born out of growing up with three sisters, which he cultivated into a sharp, bitter, constant attack.

Jack Mowenz on the other hand was a quiet, sullen, man. At least 3 years older and about 100 lbs. heavier than Klapchick, Mowenz was the head guard of the pool. Quiet and aloof, he walked about the swim club with a deliberate bouncy gait, head held low. He took his job seriously, and tried to manage using fear and intimidation tactics (perhaps the wrong approach when dealing with uncaring teenagers). He didn’t like his orders to be questioned, and he didn’t put up with much. Tiny things could set off his rage. Anger boiled beneath his skin. As head guard, he felt he should command respect.

He made the ideal target for Klapchick’s ribbing.

At first Mowenz tried to laugh off the insults, but his acting was just short of Oscar worthy. Klapchick was an expert; an amateur Rickles without the wit. Mowenz then shifted gears and tried retaliation in the form of simple, crude pranks, but never truly found complete, successful revenge. Worse yet, this opened the door for Klapchick’s own set of pranks, which usually bested Mowenz. The tension between the two grew.

So what better place to settle things than an arena where Death hovered over the proceedings like a hobo at an Old Country Buffet? A place where someone stood in the swim club's office with the 9 and 1 already dialed, finger poised over the last digit to expedite the ambulance’s arrival. That’s right – 1 Foot/2 Foot Football!

Mowenz lived for things like these; events where rules were little more than an afterthought and the tangle of male bodies was the norm. While I would give Klapchick the slight nod in intelligence (neither were banging at the door of the Mensa club) I would give Mowenz the distinct advantage in size. Mowenz probably outweighed each of us by a good 75 pounds. And he certainly used that to his advantage. In 1 Foot/2 Foot Football, big pretty much trumped brain. You didn’t need Bill Walsh’s offensive genius for this. When we entered the pool, we were in Mowenz country.

So they we were, with nothing else to do on this grey day, the 10 of us walking down to the pool to play. Of course, with his almost obsessive-compulsive notion to annoy, Klapchick could not stop babbling about his expertise at 1 Foot/2 Foot Football, and how he was about to dominate the game - as though it were even possible to do so. It was pretty much the same story whenever we did anything with Klapchick; we listened to him go on and on about his prowess about whatever, and then watched as he made a fool of himself. No one really put much stock in his boasts, and we barely threw an ear at his nonsense. However, a few of us could sense the air was heavy with more than humidity and foul weather. Mowenz was quieter than usual, and though not a man of many words to begin with, he usually at the very least cracked a smile and grabbed one of the younger guys to throw in the pool to get his juices running. But that day he appeared unusually focused, a strange emotion to carry into such a tattered concept of a game. Looking back, maybe we all missed this sign for what was to come. It’s unclear if the events leading up to the incident were coincidence, or a Machiavellian string of plans Mowenz set in motion to give him his chance for true, complete vengeance.

Klapchick and myself ended up on the same team, with Mowenz opposing us. The teams lined up facing one another, and we started. The usual roughhousing began and the game fell into a meaty, bruised rhythm. Tackles thundered with their usual ferociousness. Every game of 1 Foot/2Foot had a number of near drownings, and this one was no exception. For some players, watching someone claw to the surface and gasp for a breath after getting crushed in the stomach gave them reason to play.

The game went on; the score bounced back and forth. I think one or two people bled from scraped knees and elbows. With the day winding down, we suddenly found ourselves with the ball and a chance to extend our lead and possibly end the game. We were in the 1-foot, trying to make our way over the wall and through the 2 foot to score. We huddled, called some ridiculously intricate play that clearly had no shot of ever working, and trudged to the line. The quarterback hiked the ball, surveyed the scene, and slung a short pass out to Klapchick. He caught it, turned, and saw some open space. Only two things stood in his immediate way – the wall, and Mowenz. Any other time I would give the edge to Klapchick scoring at this point. He was quick and unusually wiry in the water, and squirrelly enough to out maneuver the larger Mowenz. But for this one play, ability got thrown out the window. All game Mowenz had been waiting for this opportunity, circling the peripheral of the rules, to land at this moment. He had made no questionable tackles throughout the game; highly unusual for him. Up until this moment none of us had thought too much about that, but as we watched this series unfold, everything seemed to click. We realized what was about to happen.

To this day, I am certain Mowenz felt he could kill Klapchick right there in the pool and get away with it, using "terrible accident" as his trial defense. Just as Klapchick began to cross into the 2 foot over the wall, we all saw what was about to happen. Instead of going for the dunk tackle, or sportingly (ha ha) allowing him to perhaps get over the wall before tackling him, Mowenz struck. Throwing himself out of the water, Mowenz launched his 250-pound body at Klapchick. It looked like an elephant’s corpse being shot out of a cannon. And the elephant corpse landed a direct hit. Klapchick had nowhere to go.

The sound wasn’t a crack, so we thought it was possible nothing instantly shattered. It was more of a hollow thump, the way a semi-inflated basketball sounds hitting the floor after being dropped from a considerable height. Mowenz hit Klapchick just as he was stepping over the wall, and his weight carried him right against it. I think what saved Klapchick’s life was the fact that he hit the wall more with his gut, and not with his chest, thus preventing shards of cracked ribcage to riddle his lungs and heart with holes.

It looked like it hurt.

Klapchick’s body crumpled against the wall, yet somehow he clung to consciousness. I’m not sure that was a good thing. There he lay, his body, half-dangling in the 2-foot pool, half splattered atop that 50-yard line wall. The ball of course came loose, and Mowenz tried to argue that it was a fumble. The other eight of us involved all looked around, trying to focus on anything else than the mass of skin and bone that was still Klapchick imprinted on the wall. It felt like a scene from a poorly constructed Lynch movie: A man closer to death than I’ve ever seen, another man holding a volleyball over his head and running through a pool with a maniacal grin on his face, and 8 guys standing around in the rain trying to look busy and disinterested enough so as not to be the one who ran to get medical help.

Somehow, Klapchick got up. He stumbled out of the pool and collapsed onto the concrete, desperately trying to catch his breath. No one really knew how to react; we all knew Klapchick had something like this coming to him, but also thought the violence of the attack may have been a tad excessive. Perhaps some of us were trying to commit the act to memory, so we could recall it on the witness stand should Klapchick not make it, which we all thought was inevitable. But Klapchick was tough, and he actually got up in a few minutes after the actual incident. Without a word – but a lot of wheezing – he slowly walked up to the office and sat there.

And I’m pretty sure that was the last time 1 Foot/2Foot was ever played.

Luckily, for all of us, and especially for Mowenz, Klapchick had no serious, visible injuries from the hit. Who knows, it may have caused massive internal trauma, but Klapchick seemed surprisingly ok about it. Oh sure, there was an eerie silence whenever the two happened run into one another for a few days after that, but eventually that came to pass. And Klapchick of course retaliated with some sort of prank, involving the gunk you find at the bottom of a trashcan and a personal item of Mowenz’s, but that was to be expected. In fact, I dare say the event gave them a certain amount of unspoken respect for each other. Mowenz found a way to defend his pride, and Klapchick didn’t press charges. The pranks with each other continued, but luckily the majority of them didn’t directly involve the intent to injure. And that was a good thing.

I think we all lost a little bit of our innocence that day, and there was no way to get it back. Some idiot tried moving the game to a 4-foot deep pool, but I never participated in that folly. Like it or not, I had become a 1 Foot/2 Foot veteran, and no goofy, toned down substitution was going to appease my appetite for the raw thrill of grabbing Death by the collar, shaking him and sticking my tongue in his face. As the summers went by occasionally there were murmurs about trying to revive the game, but by then it was more legend than anything, and to taint those memories would be disrespectful to all the players who stepped into the scrums. 1 Foot/2 Foot had played itself out, and slowly sunk to the bottom of our psyches, anchoring our souls to the memories of the times we shared in those pools together. Plus, it freed up the guards’ time to devote their attentions elsewhere, such as preparing for the onslaught that is called Bathroom Tennis.

Now that’s a good game.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars with a grouch

Since there are so many people out there "live blogging" the Oscars, I decided to take a much simpler route. Ok, it has nothing to do with the live blogging and more to do with laziness, but that's neither here nor there. What is here are a few of my thoughts on the Oscars last night. I jotted them down as the telecast went along, at a pretty decent clip I might add. In fact, I was a little annoyed that the speeches were cut so short. I understand we want to eliminate rambling incoherent, political statement-filled speeches (actually I'm all for them) but would it kill them to give everyone a little more time. Some of these people will never be up there again.

Anyway, onward...

First off, Gary Busey is awesome, and no one can change my mind about that. Not even the luscious Jennifer Garner. Shame on you, Mrs. Affleck, for not embracing the love that Busey was giving last night.

At first I thought Tommy Lee Jones was simply biding his time, waiting for the right moment to kill Jon Stewart. I think Stewart saved himself with the Iraq war joke, the only time Mr. Jones smiled.

Was Cate Winslett there with Forest Whittaker? Do you think she asked him how he dated that dude in The Crying Game?

Garner still looked shaken up from her encounter with Busey during her award presentation.

You'd think the winner of best costume design would have worn something a little snazzier than her living room drapes.

Good old school Elliot Gould sighting during the out-of-nowhere Streisand moment.

Charlie Chaplin could speak? I always thought he was a mute.

How does Philip Seymour Hoffman get to sit next to Helen Mirren? Who decides these things?

The animation winners just quoted Disney. Wasn't Disney a nazi supporter? Are these guys the lost Boys from Brazil?

Cuba Gooding Jr. His career in a nutshell: Oscar winner - Boat Trip - Jordan's gay friend in Hane's commercials. Is there any type of insurance actors can buy to avoid that trajectory?

Jennifer Hudson looked really comfortable up there.

Pretty sure Javier Bardem's date was the nun from Oz.

Did the Oscars really show a clip from Fletch?

Can someone get Keri Russell an In & Out burger? Actually, can someone get me an In & Out burger?

Not sure why System to Get Down was snubbed tonight.

Bee movie? Really? I need to see an awful promo for this stupid thing at the Oscars?

Cool to see David Bowie win best supporting actress.

Anyone else know Josh Brolin's dad is batshit insane? James Brolin pretty much believes 9/11 was an inside job.

Nicole Kidman looked like she was spooged on by a diamond eating monster.

Friday, February 22, 2008

PODCAST RECAP - Episode 4.0

As our technical difficulties subside (thanks to Studio Engineer Bruce's brilliantly subtle idea of swapping USB cords), we're beginning to gel. Our oats are raw from being felt so much, not to mention our stride filing a restraining order against us from being hit so hard.

The ones & zeros of Episode 4.0 is now available via iTunes. Get yo' Popcorn while it's hot!

Topics we covered this week:
  1. This blog and how "blowin' up" it is.
  2. The Best - My $7 haircut vs. Goose's Conspiracy podcasts.
  3. Musical Interlude - Talkin' Baseball with no references to Griffey's immensely swollen head.
  4. A brief Lost discussion of who we'd want on our island.
  5. Spooky Internet sounds - Laurie Anderson takes on Bigfoot.

Streaming Audio:

* Rucker/Sweet covering The Beach Boys is totally unrelated to the podcast. Just thought it was cool.


  1. A Lost theory so dense, I "jokingly" (quotations needed in case any bloodsucking lawyers are reading this) offered my car and/or house if they could explain it to me:
  2. Cutter's Corner (home of the $7 haircut) -
    1. A new Google Map of places we've mentioned -
  3. Conspiracy Podcasts
  4. Bigfoot site -

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lost on an island with...?

In anticipation of tonight's episode, I've decided to devote a little time to those crazy cats on the Lost island. You already know my theories about what's going on (Time Loop!) but what you don't know are my thoughts on the "inhabitants" of the island. Well after the break, that's about to change...

This list breaks down, in order, who I'd want to be stranded with on the island. The person that I can gain the most from, and can help me get the most out of the island, whether it's escape, living there forever, or whatever. The formula is fairly complicated, and will change from week to week. With that said, here's the list:

1. Desmond

Ladies, am I right? Ok, we'll ignore his sex appeal and go with the facts. He can tell the future. And that ultimately led to Charlie's death. I wouldn't be able to thank him enough for getting that annoying little dragon chasing imp outta there.

2. Ben

Seems like one subplot to season 4 is "Ben gets beat up." Seriously, between Jack, Sawyer and Locke, this guy just can't catch a break, And that's a shame, because he is currently making Machievelli look like a teenaged girl trying to impress the stud quarterback. And that my friends, is a good enough reason for me to stay on his good side.

3. Sayid

His teen wolf impersonation last week got me on board. It also doesn't hurt that he's currently an assassin.

4. Locke

I'm still with him because he seems to know some things, but please, tone down the "oops" attitude. Would have been lower on the list if he didn't orchestrate the brilliant Hurley-in-a-closet-gagged plan to take the upper hand against Kate, Sayid and Yelly.

5. Kate

She's hot, but not above stabbing you in the back for your last peanut butter cracker. Still she's hot, and seems to know how to survive.

6. Jack

He's been under a lot of stress, since everyone looks to him to save him. (That's why I never became a doctor - everyone always looks to the doctor in times s of trouble. I don't need that aggravation.

7. Sun/Jin

Jin used to be cool when he cracked skulls for Sun's dad. Then he got to the island and he's boring. Then he kicks more butt. Then he gets boring. And Sun has always been boring.

8. Sawyer

Used to be the bad ass but now wants to play house? I know it's Kate, but c'mon. Get back to calling Ben a furby and let's go.

9. Claire


10. Just about everyone else, except for...

1,000,000. Hurley

Hurley's death will be a party at my house. Too bad we see he made it off the island. When we find out this whole thing is a figment of Hurley's imagination, you'll all join me in the hatred.

I'm holding judgment about the 4 new characters until we see a little more of them. Of course, other than Miles they all seem cool and would probably rank pretty high on the list. Of course, with this show that means Miles will save everyone awesomely and the other three will plot to kill Desmond.

Please feel free to agree (and to a lesser extent disagree) with me in the comments.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Little Giants 2 (f. Daisy as IceChest)

VH1's transcendent, infuriating, head-scratching Rock of Love 2 is like the awkward kid brother who follows his cooler older brother to high school. He's mostly vanilla and suffers by comparison to his predecessor. But he shows enough flashes of talent, that you're pulling for him to realize his potential.

The metaphor collapses when you realize that the kid brother is STD-free and has no desire to bang a bandannaholic like Bret Michaels.

But that doesn't mean you stop watching...

The original Rock of Love had an unbeatable threesome of characters in Biker Heather, Lead Hologram Jess and Batshit-Crazy Lacey. When someone named Rodeo is the 6th or 7th-most intriguing character, you've got a deep roster. And I'm not even giving Sam, Brandi M., or Tiffany ("Don't threaten me with a good time...") the time they deserve.

There was drama, but none of it seemed forced, and there were actual confrontations, usually thanks to Lacey.

And EVERYONE got drunk and partied, sometimes to vomitous excess.

This year, all of the "drama" is over-hyped, staged, and boring. Nothing ever happens, someone ends up crying anyway, and then they get to talk to Bret in his room. Hey, remember when you had to perform sexual acts to get in there last year? Now, there's a key hidden beneath a fake rock outside the door.

The girls idea of "partying" this year is some white wine by the hot tub. Christ, my parents throw down harder than that. Granted, on the first night someone got ossified on whiskey and was in a light coma during the first elimination ceremony. Maybe that scared some girls straight. But how are we going to get a drunken catfight or make-out session if these whores don't start pounding some tequila?

I was hoping the season turned a corner last week with the unbeatable combination of Bret's Eye-talian catchphrase ("Whatsa-goin-on?") and a never-ending stream of horrible Aubrey decisions:

  1. Nagging Bret for not paying enough attention to her.

  2. "I host karaoke. I know... people."

  3. Not removing her Fangoria-esque make-up & hair from the pinup session.

  4. Sacrificing herself for Kristy Jo, when she was going to get booted anyway.

  5. Acting like KJ was her dejoined Siamese twin instead of a nude model who she's known for 2 weeks.
But Episode 5 ("Mud Bowl II") just continued the maddening mix of awesome and suck.

First, the awesome:

Mud Bowl 2

Holy crap, there was more drama and heart in this game than most Eagles games this year.

Now that Collinsworth & the gang over at Inside the NFL aren't doing anything, can they break down this game?

First there was kinda-old, kinda-hot, kinda-misspelled Ambre doing an Adrian Peterson impersonation in the first half for the Sweethearts.

But no runner can succeed without a great offensive line, and AD is no exception. Watch her second TD (when she got tackled at the goal line by Daisy (more on her later), and Catherine springs her by sealing off the edge by blocking 3 of the Fallen Angel defenders. OK, maybe she held a little, but what Big John doesn't see, Big John can't call. It was a veteran move, and if there's one word that sums up Catherine, it's "Veteran". Or maybe it's "Shoe-Leather-Faced-Elvira-Impersonator".

The Fallen Angels made some Belichickian adjustments at halftime and realized that the Sweethearts had no one besides Ambre, so they concentrated on stopping her. They did just that, as she was held scoreless the rest of the way.

As the game wore on, I can only guess that one of Daisy's funbags was punctured and began leaking HGH. She went from having never played football to a fearsome combination of Ladanian Tomlinson, Christian Okoye, & Spike Hammersmith in a couple of hours. It was a second half for the ages, as Daisy showed some of the fighting spirit in her blood (she's somehow related to Oscar De La Hoya) by repeatedly earning tough yards and moving the chains.

So the Fallen Angels tie it at 2-2 as the clock hits zero in regulation thanks to Bret's Ukrainian Love Bus, Inna.

The Sweethearts get the ball to start OT, and Bret "The Lost Manning" Michaels actually calls a run-pass option play. In a game preceded by him claiming his godhood because Big John could trigger rain, snow, wind, & locusts by pushing a button. This really happened.

Now we're down to the most controversial play of the entire game. It's a hand-off to All-Day Ambre who breaks a couple of tackles and has one skank standing between her and immortality. So what happens? Her own player appears to knock the ball out of her hand and it's a FUMBLE! I'm guessing there's some Earnest Byner in Ambre's gene pool.

One commercial break, several slo-mo montages, and a distorted sound effect collage later, we see that pint-sized dynamo Daisy recovered the fumble. She's of course down by contact because of the mass of bodies going for the ball. Right?


Nope. Big John must've been fixing his do-rag because the whistle never blew. The whistle. Never. Blew.

Daisy, bless her little silicone heart, picks it up and runs it back for the game-winning score.


If any of these girls had a clue about football, the Sweethearts would have gang-tackled Big John and used their fists & beaks to open several new orifices.

I'd put this game up with the 82 Miami-San Diego playoff game, the 2004 Pats/Rams Super Bowl, and that episode of Double Dare where the one family with the ugly daughter finished the Obstacle Course with a second to spare.

Still with me? Good. Here's the suck:

Everything Else

Mud Bowl II annoyances:

  • Each TD is worth 1 point?!? This isn't soccer. You don't need to kick extra points, but just make them all worth 7.

  • Speaking of kicking, what's with the thrown "kickoffs"? Bret couldn't punt the length of the approximately 20 yard-long field? Weak.

  • In order for anyone not named Ambre to catch the ball, Bret had to use a special limp-wristed throwing style that could only launch delicately thrown shot puts.


All the promos promised a big Megan/Peyton (Rodeo Jr.) catfight b/c Megan unapologetically (to the camera, anyways) took down not 1, but 2 of Peyton's horrible notes for Bret. Peyton talked a big game, but never even got in Megan's face, even when Bret said the Megan was the only one who left him a note. Maybe the payoff's coming later on. I was hoping Peyton would use that giant set of balls her manly visage indicates she has, and start stirring some shit.

Backstage Pass Ceremony

Terrible. I hate when reality shows don't have the guts to follow their own rules.

Bret seemingly kept ugly-pajama-wearing Catherine & Peyton (who I *think* Bret played the Biz Markie card on earlier in the day) and jettisoned hot, slutty, but maybe kinda annoying Daisy. Yes, Mud Bowl II MVP Daisy. The same one.

Daisy was legitimately (and understandably) crushed that 2 women with at least 80 miles of bad road between them were staying, while she was getting the boot.

But no, Bret decides to Peyton-out and not eliminate anyone. What the fuck? I know it's a stupid reality show, but that seemed needlessly cruel and manipulative towards Daisy, even by stupid reality show standards.

So a gutty, gritty Mud Bowl II was followed up by all kinds of pussing out. Come ON.

Quote of the Night (paraphrased):

It, like a looming hysterectomy, belongs to Catherine:

"My heart was racing so bad, it felt like I had arrhythmia!

Neither the first, nor the last time that crone's experienced a heart condition. Here's hoping none of the challenges involve microwaves because her pacemaker probably can't take it.

Still, I can't wait for next week, when Rodeo returns, and the cowboy-themed challenge "all comes down to the greased pig competition".

Has anyone seen this...?

I'm referring to this curious little video. (if you want to stay pure, I would recommend not clicking on the link. I'm classifying it as a spoiler, though it speaks nothing to the future of the characters on the show. Hopefully I'm being vague enough here.)

In the world of Lost, I'm pretty sure this is solid evidence that the island has something to do with manipulating time. And I'm bringing this to your attention so I can gloat. If you scroll down just a little bit, you will see I thought that waaaay back in 2005. And many of you (you know who you are) scoffed at me. Well who's doing the scoffing now?

Time Loop!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh boy...

I'm nervous.

More nervous than before.


Because I just watched this.

That's right. It's the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie. Never mind that just about half of it is scenes from the first 3 movies. I'm nervous because I'm not sure how Spielberg and Lucas are going to handle this thing. All I can go by are the clues they have decided to show and tell us.

Take this article for instance. It seems the whole thing is doing damage control - before the movie has even come out. That doesn't bode well.

And then there's the truck scene from the trailer. I won't spoil it so hurry up and go watch it. Ok, I don't have problem with the action, and the stunt looks cool, UNTIL he falls into the cab of the truck, and gives us the clever quip.

Compare that to the truck scene from the first movie...possibly the greatest action sequence put to film. Now, we all know that the truck scene is completely unbelievable, yet the action and tension of the scene work perfectly. My heart races for the entire sequence even though I know the outcome.

So now, when I see this new truck stunt (admittedly only a snippet in the trailer) and I hear the corny line, it gives me pause. Why do that? Why release the tension of the scene?

And that's why I'm nervous.

It certainly isn't going to keep me from seeing the movie. But these 2 things have made me take pause, and keep my expectations grounded (never mind the rumored storyline I keep hearing about). I know there can never be another Raiders of the Lost Ark, I just wish some of that magic could be recaptured.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Popcorn Trick 3.0 - Bacon, Strippers, & Not-At-All-Crazy Lost Theories!

Studio Engineer First Class Bruce O'Neill seems to have ironed out the kinks with the recording setup we spared all kinds of expense to create. After recording (and re-recording) an entire Episode 2.0, we decided to shelve it because the echoes & static were too much for even our mothers to sit through. The content is hard enough to take without your ear being assaulted with non-verbal tyranny.

But those sordid details are firmly behind us, and we heed the advice of Christopher Lee in Dragnet: Ever Forward.

Episode 3.0 covers a wide range of topics. "The Best" encompasses Bacon Martinis and a hot-blooded volcanologist with great hair and an even better hunch. Goose rambles on about beard theory and how it affects Lost. And we discuss what songs you don't want to hear while a single mother rubs herself on you for money.

I did neglect to mention my least favorite moment of the strip club experience, the memory of which was triggered by "That Smell". Of course I'm talking about when the dancers have finished their shift upon the pole. Often they are then obligated to grab a spray bottle of some kind of disinfecting fluid. They spray down the pole, and dry it with a paper towel. I understand that it's a necessary and hygienically imperative step to take. I do. But it takes you out of the moment and totally kills the romance. Kinda like condoms in porn.

SeeqPod - Playable Search

This song wasn't covered in the podcast but it just missed the cut for bad strip club songs. I randomly heard a dance remix of this on one of Sirius dance channels on the morning of the podcast recording. It was pretty awesome, mostly Yoko Ono saying "Let me take my pants off... No! No! No!" The combination of Yoko Ono saying anything, much less asking if I wanted her to remove various articles of clothing, then saying "No!", as if there were a chance I would say "Yes!" is enough to make anyone's vas deferens shrivel and reverse course. Apparently the remix made it to #1 on some obscure Billboard list:,_No,_No_(Yoko_Ono_song)

As a reminder, you can access our podcast in iTunes by searching for "The Popcorn Trick", or more directly.

Please contact us at with any comments you may have. We'd love to hear your "The Best", thoughts on Lost, and some more bad strip club songs.

See you soon for Episode 9.0!

Cline (and Goose)

Anthony Bourdain @The Double Down:

Dante's Peak lava scene:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not JAFO, that Roy Scheider

I was 3 - it was back when movies stayed in the theaters for years on end. Especially the good ones. In a stroke of liberal parenting (the one time my parents chose this avenue) my mom and dad took me to see Jaws. And I'll never forget it. Missing only 2 scenes (old Ben Gardner making his last appearance in the movie and Quint's boat slide) because of my dad's shielding hand, I fell in love with the movie. And even though I refused to touch my bedroom floor at night for weeks, the movie (obviously) left a lasting impression on me. Martin Brody was a true american hero in my eyes and one I tried to emulate for years (and probably still try. Because I'm weird).

The French Connection...Blue Thunder...The Seven-Ups...heck even 2010 ("Piece of pie") they're all great. Godspeed Mr. Scheider. You will be missed.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Want a little Lost? Well you get a lot!

It's no secret that we here at The Popcorn Trick are huge fans of Lost. So much so, that for the past three years, I have take a moment here and there to joy down my ideas and theories of just what the heck is going on on that island. And now I pass them along to you!

Unedited, rough - it's just the way I want to share them, so you can scoff at the errors, laugh at my foolishness and be dazzled by the potential of the predictions coming true. Be warned - it's a bunch of stuff and you ADD freaks will probably wine about the length, but I didn't want to edit anything in case it actually comes true. So without further ramblin'...

My theory on Lost
November 2, 2005

The island has 6 stations. They correspond to the Dharma Initiative. The Swan station, is the electromagnet one. Apparently there was an incident. I believe whatever they found (be it magnetic properties or something else) basically can create a fold in time. So this station is actually still based in the 70s or 80s, when the project started. That explains the old feel of that bunker. Every 108 minutes, the numbers have to be entered so that this fold in time still exists. If they aren’t, maybe time folds in on itself and destroys the world. No idea about that. Still working on it. Anyway, the rest of the island is in the present. Reasoning? The hatch where the tail survivors were seemed run down and dilapidated. Basically it appeared as though the project was abandoned and the hatch hadn’t been used in years.

A lot has been made about the food in the hatch. Why there wasn’t a lot more in there, or where it came from in the first place. Could supplies be being air dropped or something? But why would a company continue to drop supplies to an island if they abandoned the other projects? Well that’s where the time loop comes in. If it’s a loop, the same period of time could be being repeated over and over. So maybe supplies are being dropped – but it’s always the same supplies being dropped over and over, because time is now in a loop.

So now the plane crash…well what if continually pushing the buttons causes the loop in time? And what if at one point about 44 days ago (not 100% accurate on this) Desmond didn’t put in the exact sequence? What if he missed it or typed it wrong? And that had an effect that would cause a plane to crash? And once he realized it, he went back to punching in the numbers. So now the castaways are caught in this time loop?

It would explain the weather predictions (Locke seems to know when it might rain, he might have possibly recognized the pattern) and maybe it sent the lostaways back in time which might explain Locke being able to walk? Almost like he now exists before he lost the use of his legs? And puts Jack in a position to see people he already met in his past? Maybe grabbing at straws here.

And maybe children are so important to get out of there because they haven’t been born yet at this point in time? So they shouldn’t exactly “exist” on the island? I’m just trying to force some of the stuff that’s been going on into my theory.

The numbers could also play a part because if there is something to do with time, possibly someone could know the numbers from the future and use them in the past which would mess stuff up. Like the lottery or something. Maybe you can’t use the numbers out of place in time, and if you do, bad stuff happens. I know that doesn’t explain a lot of their placement in the rest of the series.

Another thing I read on a forum is that the people on the boat that grabbed Walt, is that they could possibly be the De Groots, the couple that were in the video seen developing all these initiatives at U. of Mich. Now, what if they got sucked into the present somehow on the island, and are trying to get back to their time? But they can’t find the hatch, and so they’re just trying to survive on the island. They know no one will come save them because they put the island because Dharma left years ago (that’s the present) so they’ve basically gone crazy.

The theory isn’t fully fleshed out, and there are obvious holes, but it’s fun to speculate. I’m at least leaning toward time warp/loop/fold. It also explains the pirate ship in the middle of the island. And then maybe the monster is a dinosuar, even though they said it wasn’t.

The time loop also helps explain the monster, and the appearances of the monster. What if the monster was a dinosaur? Perhaps a dinosaur happened through the magnetic field that surrounds part/all of the island and was therefore around to rip the pilot out of the plane and chew up his body. And then maybe it somehow walked out of the loop. Or the code in the computer controls the loop, and therefore if it wasn’t punched in a couple of times, the dinosaur went back to its present time. The rest of the incidents on the island could actually be a “security system” as Rousseau said the monster was, or it could be things coming in and out of the time loop.

Theory on Lost – revised

Ok, some of the time loop stuff might be true and some of it might be a little far fetched. Of course the appearance of Locke’s dad could suggest that there is a way to travel from the island to the “mainland” (for lack of better term. Assume it means the real world) through a wormhole or some other rip in the fabric of time. Who knows? That might be a giant leap of faith.

Anyway, I think the show currently is heavily leaning toward the idea of the fathers of the castaways somehow being involved in what is going on on the island. Aside from many of the main characters having daddy issues (Jack, Locke, Sawyer, Sun, Kate), this could also go a long way into explaining how these specific individuals got on the island. And it could stem all from this one theory:

Jack’s dad is Jacob.

Last night, we saw Ben hold Jacob in very referential tones. There was a lot of “Jacob can fix this.” But we have yet to see Jacob, which suggests that he is either not on the island, or he at least travels back and forth from it. The island seems to have a real world presence, and so this could be where Jacob spends most his time. It seems that Jacob has some background in medicine (as does Jack’s dad) and Jack now has another connection that was given a lot more priority last night (he’s Claire’s dad, who is now the only person on the island who seems to have had a kid there.) Did he manipulate things to get her there?

The other meta idea of Jacob controlling things is the idea of the plane crash. While the Others seemingly had no idea it was going to happen, it’s entirely possible “Jacob” orchestrated it and neglected to tell them (reasons unclear still). This would explain how these people could have all been on the same plane.

I’m suggesting that there is a cabal of people made up of the fathers’ of the main characters. Whether they sit on the board of this biomedicine company or whatever – they seem to have the means to get all these people on the island. Kate’s dad was military, Sawyer’s dad (who it is speculated could be Locke’s father (whether or not they’re brothers or that guy is scamming Locke will hopefully come up later), Jack’s dad (obviously) and Sun’s father (would he send his daughter to the island for research – especially if he knew her baby wasn’t hers? I’m assuming if these fathers are in cahoots with the Others, they can gather the same intel and know things that even the characters might not know about themselves).

Furthermore, with these parents behind some of the stuff, it only makes sense that they might want their children to either be part of something big, or to take over eventually. Ben and the Others at this point might not be anything more than “guardians” to whatever the island holds – and the company wants to continue the research.

Obviously there are a lot of holes here and other things that aren’t taken into account. I just came up with this on the fly.

Theory on Lost – 2/7/08 (before Season 4: ep. 2 aired)

One show into Season 4 and my theory changes – but not as much as I thought it would. I still think fathers may be involved… mostly Jack’s dad at this point. I’m not buying the whole, “well I’m messed up on drugs so I think my dad is still alive when he isn’t” moment from last year’s finale.

I believe the island is some sort of portal – and that the Jacob character may be stuck between the 2 moments the portal connects. Yes, I said “moments,” because I still believe it has something to do with time.

The big question now is what happened to make Jack want to go back to the island from his flashback. I’m guessing it has something to do with guilt (he’s got a lot of that) that slowly eats at him.

On the island time stops. It’s kinda like it’s held outside of time. That’s why Ben’s friend (forget his name – the one that talks to Locke about killing his dad) and Ben for that matter don’t seem to age. Now, Ben did age from teenager to who he is now, because he has gone off the island (for whatever reason) and then come back.

Now, because of what happened to Desmond (the explosion of the button and dharma station) he has somehow found himself back in “current” time – meaning time is moving for him. This is suggested by his beard growth. His beard grows, yet no one else’s does.

This is also evidence of the time loop. One can be effectively created by traveling on and off the island.

I also got a weird “Tyler Durden” vibe from Charlie in the premiere. The shaved head, glasses and different clothes seemed to give a nod to Fight Club and the TD character. Is that a hint that everything is in Hurley’s mind? Is he just play acting all the characters? I don’t think so, but then could it have been a red herring the producers love to put in the episodes?

Once again it seemed rain is something significant. It happened at a pretty climactic moment in the premiere.

One thing that is weird is how much Locke is working to make sure Jack stays on the island. This could lead to Jack’s dad having some sort of evidence. It has been suggested (and backed up with screen shots) that Jack’s father is in the cabin with Locke in the premiere. If these two are having a powwow, or have been for a time, that could explain why Locke has been doing all this crazy stuff to keep Jack on the island (specifically blowing up the submarine. Otherwise why should Locke care if people leave the island. He can stay.)