Here Is A Photo Of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Looking Really Bummed Out At Disneyland

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Disneyland is known as the Happiest Place on Earth, and that just might be true unless you are an alternative rock icon whose world is well documented to being a vampire. Yes, Billy Corgan (who wants to be called William now, but like how I’ll never call Jimmy Carter “James,” Corgan will always be “Billy”) was photographed on what looks like a totally fun ride in the theme park were dreams come alive with a look on his face that feels like he’s about to burst into tears at any moment.

The photo was posted by Us Weekly, with this pun-filled description:

“From a rat in a cage to the House of Mouse! Smashing Pumpkins rocker Billy Corgan took his Mellon Collie self to the Happiest Place on Earth, aka Disneyland, where he traveled back in time to the Wild, Wild West of the 19th century.”

To be fair, it does look like Corgan was not sure just what they had in store, almost as if he didn’t even care to shake those theme park blues. And other “1979” references. Whatever, it’s Friday.

 

Michael Jackson Wanted To Play Jar Jar In ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’

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In a moment that speaks volumes to the mind frame of Michael Jackson in the mid-90s, it seems that the King of Pop was interested in playing the role of the symbolic straw that broke the camel’s back of George Lucas’ creative integrity — otherwise known as Jar Jar Binks — in “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.”

According to Ahmed Best (who would end up with the unfortunate role) in an interview with Vice, it appears he was there when Lucas broke the news to Jackson:

“That’s what George told me. Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids—we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as “Jar Jar” and I was like, That’s kind of weird. Michael was like, “Oh. OK.” I thought, What is going on? After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I’m having a drink with George and I said, “Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?” He said, “Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller.'” George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”

It seems like Jackson just might not have been as crazy as we thought with that whole prosthetics and makeup idea, since that CGI tactic used by Lucas ended up being kinda part of the problem with those prequel films in the first place — and why J.J. Abrams has gone to more practical special effects for the new “Star Wars” film coming out in December.

It also shows that George Lucas is kind of a dick for breaking the news to Jackson like that.

Best’s interview also had some nuggets in the fallout after fans aired their grievances about the first prequel — a vitriolic hatred that would ultimately turn young a Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side in real life.

It’s a very American thing to take somebody down when they’re at the top and a lot if it had to with that; people really wanted to see George crash and burn. Unfortunately, this character was so new, so experimental; he became a lightning rod for all that. It was me, and it was [original Anakin Skywalker] Jake Lloyd who took a lot of the heat for the movie. Fortunately, I was in my 20s. I wasn’t eight years-old like Jake, who I think took it worse. Jake had it far worse than me. I’m a 20-year-old from from the Bronx; I’ve seen and I’ve done things that were a lot harder than criticism in that newspaper. Although it hurt me emotionally and it was hard to take at the time, it wasn’t debilitating for me. I just put my shoes on and went back to work. But Jake had a difficult time.”

So, there you have it. Michael Jackson wanted to play the character that nearly destroyed a franchise, and George Lucas denied him that honor in front of the guy who would play the part.

What The Hell Happened To Adam Sandler?

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In the mid 90s, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Adam Sandler made two films that would not only make him a household name, but would help him ascend to stardom and a box office name for at least a decade. Those films, “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” also touched a nerve with me (just into my young teen years at the time) with their irreverent and absurdist humor. I didn’t think much of him when he was on “SNL” because he mainly played characters with goofy speech impediments, and felt like each was recycled from the one before.

This should have been a strong red flag for what was to come with his career. And in hindsight, it really was.

The Good…

But I, like many, found that Sandler can be funny with those two films. His first two comedy albums spoke to the crass and juvenile humor I loved at the time (they really didn’t age well at all for me after I turned 15) and for a short time there in that grungy, flannel-clad and self-obsessed era of Gen. X angst in the 90s, Sandler made it OK to laugh at weird, weird stuff — it didn’t have to make sense, as long as it was funny.

The thing I loved about “Billy Madison” (and to an extent, still do) was that despite the fact it has a ridiculous plot (grown man repeats every grade in school so he can take over his family’s business), that plot really takes a backseat to the absurd jokes and one-liners that make the film memorable. Hell, it seems they wrote the story’s plot around scenes like this one just so it could be in the film:

The same argument can be made for its follow-up, and perhaps Sandler’s best film, “Happy Gilmore.” While this was certainly more plot-driven than what came before, it still balanced weird, absurd humor with its story. I still quote lines from this film randomly in conversations and on Facebook and Twitter.

And maybe what really made these two films work was the fact that Sandler himself really isn’t the funniest part. For the most part, he’s the straight man to the weirdness around him with the other characters. And it worked very well for the films. Those side characters work well in the small doses we get of them, and brought some chaos to these worlds.

He followed these up with “The Wedding Singer,” which was also pretty good, but fell short in what I loved about his films: the weirdness. This would also be the last time I could call an Adam Sandler movie “pretty good.”

The Bad…

I started really questioning what Sandler thought his audiences thought was funny with “The Water Boy.” This, looking back, was the beginning of a downward spiral of Sandler films that  felt like he was there for the paycheck and giving the people a cheap knock-off of “Madison” and “Gilmore.” Sure, it was absurd. Sure, it had funny moments. But on a whole, it fell flat for me. “Big Daddy” also did nothing for me.

In 1999, he started his own film company, Happy Madison Productions. Despite being named after his two best works, it has ultimately proved to be a garbage machine that craps out terrible films for what feels like every other month. It still does, and now it will toss heaping piles of hot garbage upon Netflix.

The last Sandler film I got a chuckle out of came out soon after this company was started. “Little Nicky” showed a glimmer of hope that Sandler still had the chops to make a ridiculously fun movie. I remember not being impressed with it, but not necessarily hating it. That hatred of Sandler films would come not too much later.

The Ugly

It was when I walked out of the movie theater after seeing “Anger Management” that I vowed never to pay to see another Sandler movie again. I had seen “Mr. Deeds” not too long before, and was quite possibly the first time I got pissed off for paying to see a movie. “Anger Management” took that anger, and multiplied it ten-fold. He wasn’t even hiding the fact he was simply phoning it in, and his films were becoming the worst garbage I am embarrassed to even admit I have seen.

I had the unfortunate experience to catch “Eight Crazy Nights,” his animated travesty of a film that somehow made me despise Sandler more. That was then I decided that I simply could not stand his films to the point that even watching them for free was too much of a chore. How could someone who obviously does not care what he slaps his name on still be making such box office hits? It was like he was openly daring people to hate him, like he wanted us to despise anything he did. He was just doing those terrible, one-note goofy voiced “SNL” characters again, but making feature length film about them.

The Exception

In the middle of his wretched output, Sandler did put out a film that was not only good, but that I thought was great. That would be “Punch Drunk Love,” a film by Paul Thomas Anderson that I had put off from seeing on the sole fact Sandler was in it. But outside the clutches of Happy Madison and his own control, and in the guidance of a very, very good director, Sandler gave a very impressive performance that almost made me forgive him. Almost. I realized that Sandler can do good work, but he openly chooses not to. He hasn’t been in a decent film after this, and rarely in a film outside his own production company.

Conclusion

Maybe Adam Sandler never really changed, and I just grew out of his tired shtick. Maybe. Maybe I look back on “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” through those rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia of my youth. Maybe. The problem with that theory is I still find those early films funny — not as funny as when I was just a little snot of a teenager, but still amusing. I recognize that my taste in comedy have evolved since my early teens, and that’s a good thing. Yet, it feels like Sandler’s taste in the comedy films he makes has devolved over the years. Probably out of laziness more than anything, because we have proof he can make a funny movie.

What the hell happened to Adam Sandler? He doesn’t make it a secret he really doesn’t try anymore, and sees making a film as a goof-off vacation for himself and his buddies. His movies are generally considered terrible, and yet he continues to pump them out even when the films seems to disrespect an entire culture for no real good reason. He appears on TV interviews in sweat pants, looking like he’s given up on life.

My best guess is that once he was financially comfortable, he no longer cared what he did as long as it kept him in that comfort zone. Whatever the case may be, there was a time when he actually made funny movies, and he can at least look back on his very checkered career and know that he once did something of worth.

Here Is The Trailer For The Second Season Of ‘Fargo’

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Well, it sure feels like Christmas in July because the first full trailer for the second season of “Fargo” has been released. And from what we see, it sure looks like we are in for a doozy.

As has been written before, some of the second season will take place near my old stomping grounds in southwest Minnesota in the city of Luverne (while the first season took place in my current stomping grounds of Bemidji). It takes place in 1979 and follows a young State Police Officer Lou Solverson (played by Patrick Wilson this time) getting tangled in a web of crime so disturbing that he is still haunted by it in the first season — almost 30-years later in the series.

From the trailer, we see some sort of violent altercation takes place at the Waffle Hut (just a perfect name for a small town Minnesota diner). A paranoid town lawyer Karl Weathers (played by Nick Offerman) comparing the crime at the Waffle Hut to the Watergate break-in. Jesse Plemons and Kristen Dunst’s characters seem somehow involved (with a stranger hiding in their basement who apparently attacks Plemons’ character). A campaign photo of Bruce Campbells’ Ronald Reagan dons the walls in a scene. And the tail end of the trailer plays Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time” — a song which perfectly epitomizes a lot what happens in the world of “Fargo.”

And we get more of the goofy Minnesotan accents. It wouldn’t be “Fargo” without those accents.

The new season of “Fargo” is set to air in October.

I Want An Email From The Gritty New Hamburglar, Just Like Someone From UPROXX Did

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Like an enigma wrapped in a riddle and inexplicably deep fried like what that nutjob did to a Big Mac, the gritty new Hamburglar’s social media campaign struck a jarring chord in the online blogging community in May. Like emailing manifestos that answer prevailing questions, like UPROXX’s 50 Questions About The New McDonald’s Hamburglar. Yes, imagine the chilling feeling of opening your email, only to be mocked and have your questions answered by a man who lies about going to the Party Store to his own wife.

And then he went silent. Now, more than two months have gone by without a peep from this hardened burger thief. And I want answers.

I can only imagine the terror that gripped UPROXX’s Danger Guerrero’s mind when that ominous email arrived in May — knowing somewhere in the dark underworld of a crime-ridden city that Mayor McCheese has lost all control of, the Hamburglar is reading these articles and responding. It is a horror that just might haunt Danger Guerrero and others’ dreams for generations to come.

And since I’ve written two (this makes three) articles on this masked madman who is determined to strike terror into the hearts of the noontime lunch crowd,  I would like a response from him. Any response, I can take it. Hamburglar, it’s been too long and if you are reading this, I dare you to respond. My email is jfroemming(at)bemidjipioneer.com — the ball is in your court.

Wilco Just Released A Free New Album Called ‘Star Wars’

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Dropping new albums randomly online seems to be the thing to do these days, since the Internet is basically infinite and bands no longer play by the record label’s draconian rules of old when they forced people to wait for Tuesdays to get new music like chumps. No, bands will seemingly release albums whenever they damn well please. It’s even better when bands offer such things for free, because in a world where streaming music for peanuts is the norm, not everyone can be a Neil Young and pull their music from Web-based streaming services.

And that’s what Wilco did today. They released a new album called “Star Wars,” and it features a cat on the cover, because if there are two things myself and others in America love, it’s cats and “Star Wars.” And it’s free at their website, all you have to do is submit an email address and confirm that email address.

Here is the track list:

1. EKG
2. More…
3. Random Name Generator
4. The Joke Explained
5. You Satellite
6. Taste the Ceiling
7. Pickled Ginger
8. Where Do I Begin
9. Cold Slope
10. King Of You
11. Magnetized

Neil Young Says He’s Pulling His Music From Streaming Services

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It’s been a busy year for Neil Young. He unveiled his PonoPlayer, which was clouded in junk science at best for high-resolution music streaming. He got into a little dust up with GOP presidential candidate hopeful — legendary man of calling out Bozos — Donald Trump over use of his song “Rockin’ In The Free World.” He released an anti-Monsanto protest album with some of Willie Nelson’s kids that was hit and miss in terms of quality — which makes it a typical Neil Young record.

Now, he’s on the warpath with the quality of sound with streaming services like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music. In a couple of Facebook posts, Young pretty much says he’s had it with these services with their sub-par sound quality.

Streaming has ended for me. I hope this is ok for my fans.

It’s not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent.

It’s about sound quality. I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It’s bad for my music.

For me, It’s about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that.

When the quality is back, I’ll give it another look. Never say never.

Neil Young

The other post is similar.

I was there.
AM radio kicked streaming’s ass.
Analog Cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming’s ass,
and absolutely rocked compared to streaming.

Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history.
If you want it, you got it. It’s here to stay.
Your choice.

Copy my songs if you want to. That’s free.
Your choice.

All my music, my life’s work, is what I am preserving the way I want it to be.

It’s already started. My music is being removed from all streaming services. It’s not good enough to sell or rent.

Make streaming sound good and I will be back.

Neil Young

A recent check on Spotify shows his catalog is still available for streaming, but for how long is up in the air. You got to give the guy credit, he’s sticking to his guns in how he wants people to hear his music. Granted, it seems like most people use streaming services while driving or while working — and in those situations, the quality difference between CD and streaming is probably hardly noticed anyway. But it’s his music, and he can do what he wants with it.

 

Hip Comic Book Character Archie To Meet The Ramones

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Next year, the comic book “Archie” will turn 75 years old. That’s 75 years of the kids of Riverdale thumbing their noses to the norms of society, and most importantly, The Man with their wacky hijinks and lazing about Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe like a bunch of punks.

Now, those anti-establishment folk heroes will meet another gang of ruffians when punk rock legends the Ramones stop by to stir things up for Archie, Jughead and the gang with a cross-over event called “Archie Meets Ramones.” Though probably not as disturbing as the time Archie met other questionable characters like The Punisher, the Predator and so forth. It may also be less disturbing than that time they killed Archie off to gritty up the world of Riverdale like a Christopher Nolan Batman film.

According to Comics Alliance, this colliding of worlds came about because the “Archie” staff are also huge Ramones fans as well. The 75th anniversary also happens to fall on the same year as the Ramones’ 40th anniversary, so the timing happened to work out for all the parties involved.

The crossover event is set for next year.

Archie-Meets-Ramones

Here’s The Trailer For ‘Suicide Squad’ With Jared Leto’s Joker

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The big trailer from San Diego Comic-Con last weekend was “Batman v Superman,” but that was just the first of Warner Bros. one-two punch for next year’s superhero extravaganza. Also making rumblings was the fact there was an airing of a trailer for “Suicide Squad,” a film which pits many of the villains from Batman’s rogues gallery together to work on behalf of the government to save the world. But more interesting is the fact that we get to see Jared Leto’s take on the Joker.

It’s a pretty dark trailer, with an eerie cover of The Bee Gees’ “I Started a Joke” played over the scenes. Also, Harley Quinn is floating in her prison cell for some reason. And Killer Croc is given the Hannibal Lecter treatment of being shackled and sporting a face mask, because he is a crocodile-man after all. It certainly looks promising.

Leto’s Joker is mainly at the end with him apparently torturing someone. Creepy? Certainly. But he still kinda looks like a Juggalo. We will have to wait until the film comes out before concrete judgement can be made of his performance.

The film is set to be released next summer.

 

Here Is A New ‘Batman v Superman’ Trailer

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From the new trailer for the upcoming showdown between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, we have been shown a little more info as to why these two comic book icons are going toe-to-toe on the Silver Screen. It appears that Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis when the battle between Zod and Superman occurred in “Man of Steel.” He sees the destruction and tries to save lives as the superhuman aliens battle it out. This obviously does not end very well, otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a movie.

So we have a lot of anti-Superman rhetoric, politicians who want to legislate (?) Superman out of the picture, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor with a ridiculous haircut and a very angry Batman scowling at things. There are plenty of Easter Eggs throughout, like a Robin costume with (presumably) the Joker’s graffiti on it, poses reminiscent of the art from Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” and others.

It looks visually impressive, but given that it is a Zack Snyder film, that might be the only impressive thing about it. The movie is set to be released next year.

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