Tuesday, February 28, 2012


What’s up people?  Somebody asked me this question on my FB page a while ago.  I wanted to take some time to address it, so you might begin to understand and appreciate the true complexities of the mundane.

“Here's something I was wondering: Is there a specific song or album that made you think "Damn, I want to do this one day!" and which you give credit for inspiring you to do music yourself? :)”

I’ve got to say, there have been many things that inspired me to perform music throughout the years, but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the song…you guessed it…“Top of the World” by The Carpenters.  I’m pretty sure you didn’t see that one coming, but you have to put yourself in my place for a moment. 

The year was 1973… (Cue the harps) I was a young man, of three years, who was naive to the ways of the world.  I really have to give credit to my parents for that. Well, we didn’t get out much, but when we did, the AM Radio was crankin’ out the “Hits of the 70’s”.  “Top of the World” was a chart topper at the time and was on regular rotation at our local station.  Look, whatever your opinion might be of this song, you could do a lot worse, as a three year old, than commit it to memory.  Well that’s what I did, and I would sing it for just about anybody who would listen.  I was what you might call a “Hammy McHammington”, and I haven’t really shut up since.

I know that it’s not exactly METAL, but I thought you guys might enjoy singing along with that fresh faced kid from long ago…


Such a feelin's comin' over me
There is wonder in 'most everything I see
Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes
And I won't be surprised if it's a dream

Everything I want the world to be
Is now comin' true especially for me
And the reason is clear, it's because you are here
You're the nearest thing to heaven that I've seen

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Somethin' in the wind has learned my name
And it's tellin' me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me

There is only one wish on my mind
When this day is through I hope that I will find
That tomorrow will be just the same for you and me
All I need will be mine if you are here

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around
Your love's put me at the top of the world

Hope you guys enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  I will be answering more questions in the coming days, so keep it right here…BARLOW-OUT!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here’s the thing…I was perusing one of my fan-boy / geek sites (superherohype.com) earlier, and they had a query for their avid followers.  The pollsters asked the question “Do you think that Warner Bros. should reboot the Batman franchise after The Dark Knight Rises?”  The possible answers were; “Yes, as soon as possible!”, ”Yes, but not for a long time.”, “I’m not sure either way.”, “No, I’m tired of Batman movies.”, and “No, they can’t top these films!”.  The majority of the folks polled picked the latter, and quite frankly, I was a bit surprised.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of an “Uber Batman fan”...me!  First, as some might assume, my answer to the question was “Yes, as soon as possible!”  I will clarify my opinion by first pointing out that I have both “loved” and “hated” some of the offerings that WB has given us from the Batman franchise.  As for the obvious misstep (I dare not speak it’s name, but it rhymes with “Shatman and Knobin”), I’m pretty sure a lot of WB execs got shown the door on the back of that one.  With that exception, I have not “hated” any of these films.  Some have certainly been better that others, but I feel that they really progressed with the times and lead to where we are today.  I certainly understand why people like Christopher Nolan’s vision for the character.  “Batman Begins” is by far, my favorite film in the franchise.  I feel that, with David Goyer’s script, Nolan did a fantastic job in telling an origin story and making me believe that Batman was the true savior of Gotham City. 

Then came “The Dark Knight”.  Granted, it was “gritty and realistic”, but overall I felt the story was a bit disjointed and I was somehow jipped out of my “Batman is a total bad-ass!” moments as in the first one.  Watch them back to back, and I’ll bet you’ll get what I’m saying.  Also, I don’t really care how “realistic” a comic/superhero movie is, as long as there is some explanation as to how or why these characters can do what they do.  For instance, the guy is a gazillionaire/ninja/smarty-pants and he can do whatever the (expletive) he wants.  I’m cool with that!  I think (again, with the opinions) that we all got a little wrapped up in the emotion of the real life drama surrounding the movie, prior to its release.  I won’t go into that any further, but you know what I’m saying.  All that being said, however, I will be first one in line to see “The Dark Knight Rises”.  “Why?” you ask; because I’m a Batman fan! 

This is my take on it (and when WB steals my idea, you will all be subpoenaed for the civil suit), I think that we should be given as many visions and versions of these characters that we can.  Much like the actual comic book titles do.  Here’s how it would work; the studio would coordinate with different writers, directors, producers, and etc.  They let those creative teams come up with their own unique take on the characters, while remaining true to the core material.  They would all coordinate so that there’s no repetition in the details; such as, villains, plot, or specific themes.  The films would NOT be part of a trilogy, quadrilogy, or whatever.  They would be STAND ALONE stories that would be in the 2 ½ to 3 hour range.  These films would be released every year, or every other year, depending on what other DC characters are being brought to the big screen.  These movies would not be origin stories, either.  We all know who Batman is, and why he is, who he is.  I would not begrudge, however, the occasional use of a flash back sequence or montage to grab the mood.  Yeah, I get that it would probably be a logistical nightmare, but if WB/DC took a couple of cues from MARVEL they could see how well you can coordinate these creative teams for a central goal, ala “The Avengers”.  It’s not rocket surgery people!

Anyway, I understand that my “vision” will most likely never come to fruition.  Until then, I’ll keep dreaming of a day when guys in $3000.00 suits aren’t kicking puppies, and trying to figure out new ways to F’up the things that I love!    Barlow-Out!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance" Review

Well, this will mark my first time reviewing a movie, so I hope you guys dig it.  As stated in my previous post, my lovely wife took me to see “Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance”.  You know, going into the movie, I wanted to have a completely open mind to what the co-directors had in mind for my beloved childhood icon.  I saw all of the trailers for the film and I thought it looked really f’n cool visually, and I was really excited to see if the writers could give me a story worth the character’s time.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking at some other reviews prior to watching it.  I don’t normally give movie critics a whole lot of merit.  Mainly because I picture them typing away in their mother’s basement (btw-my mother doesn’t have a basement).  Anyway…some of the other guys just seemed to have a bad attitude going into the thing.  It was either “Nicholas Cage is over the top and forced” or “the story is too thin” or “there were too many slow points”.  I should have done this immediately after reading those reviews, but let’s just critique the critic’s for a moment.  First, Nick Cage is “always” over the top and forced.  Cases in point are “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Con Air”.  One of them won an Academy Award, the other won a job as my beer coaster.  Two, the story is about a guy who sold his soul to the devil and now seeks redemption.  I think we can all relate to that.  Three; I kind of wonder if the guys that had a problem with this movie’s slow points were also the ones who could not stop sucking Nolan’s wink finger while reviewing “The Dark Knight”.  I’ll get back to that later.  The co-directors (Neveldine and Taylor) are the guys that made “Crank” and it’s follow up, so you kind of get where they are coming from visually.  They have a very unique “I’m really a camera man on crack” feel that lends itself really well to the comic book genre; especially that dark, “Marvel of the 70’s” variety.  Keep in mind I saw this in 2-D, so I don’t know how their style would translate in 3-D, and I’m almost afraid to find out.  There were also some really cool animated scenes that were used for quickly and neatly explaining some of the back story (for those who don’t know how Johnny Blaze got to this point) and to introduce some other characters and concepts (like what the “Spirit of Vengeance” was originally) .  I thought it was nicely done and was strangely reminiscent of segues used in “Kung Fu Panda”, except more adult -less panda.  The CG here was also impressive, and I applaud the film makers for going outside of the “creature of the night” box with this one.  My point being; there are some great visuals that take place in broad daylight that would have not been as effective in a dark environment.  For instance, the black and “toasted” skull effect and look of “The Rider” is really killer because you can see a lot of detail in the lighted scenes.  Also, the smoke effect is what really makes the CG blend with the practical effects and it makes all the difference.  As I stated before, the story is much like others in the genre.  If you are O.K. with the retelling of concepts (I am btw) than I don’t see you having any problem with the narrative or the pacing of this film.  It was written, in part, by a guy named David S. Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight…yeah that guy), probably one of my favorite comic/movie writers.  I think that this movie falls squarely and surely into the “Marvel Knights” line, certainly more so than the last “Punisher” movie.  “Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance” kept me interested the entire time.  There were no slow spots for me.  Whether the directors were dousing me with visuals or the writers were giving me some new points to ponder, I was thoroughly amused.  Look at it this way; I worked a twelve hour shift, had a nice big dinner, and caught the 9:45pm showing and was still talking about it afterward.  That’s a hell of a lot better than my first viewing of “The Dark Knight”, which I’ll admit is probably more of a thinker…but still.  Hope this  review was entertaining, if not entirely helpful.  Barlow-Out!