10 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far)

Hi Guys!

We’re almost half-way through 2017 and already we’ve had a few great radio hits. Here is my list of the 10 best songs of the year so far.

10. Kissing Strangers – DNCE ft. Nicki Minaj

DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” was a massive hit last year. “Kissing Strangers” contains all of that summery dance feel with a sweet hook and a great rap from Nicki. It’s pure fluff, but it’s fun fluff.

9. Slow Hands – Niall Horan 

Harry Styles “Sign of the Times” may be the bigger hit with its Beatlesy sound, but I prefer this song by another One Direction alum Niall Horan. It’s great for a weekend drive, so clap along right with the lyrics.

8. Low – Todrick Hall ft. Ru Paul

At #8, I want to give a shout-out to Todrick Hall for his song, “Low.” This is a strong dance number with intelligent, hilarious lyrics surrounding a Wizard of Oz theme. Plus, it features RuPaul!

7. Cloud 9 – Jamiroquai 

Most people know Jam (yes, I’m calling him “Jam”) from his 90s hit “Virtual Insanity.” This upbeat, funky tune is a great showcase for his unique sound and a good song to dance to.

6. I Feel it Coming – Daft Punk ft. The Weeknd

Daft Punk always finds a way to breath life into repetitive dance tunes. They did it again here with The Weeknd. Perfect for a slow-dance under the stars.

5. Bom Bidi Bom – Nick Jonas ft. Nicki Minaj

From the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack, this Nick/Nicki collab is just ripe for shakin’ those hips! It didn’t get released as a single, but this stands as one of the sexiest songs of the year.

4. Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft. Anne-Marie and Sean Paul 

Clean Bandit always offers great music. From their first big hit with “Rather Be”, I’ve seen them spawn strong dance tunes ever since. This one, with its message about the lengths a mother will go to provide for her family, is another solid entry. Anne-Marie’s vocals add a nice touch. Can’t wait to hear more from them!

3. Stay – Zedd and Alessia Cara

Honestly, I don’t like either Zedd’s or Alessia’s music separately. But when they came together, they created this catchy little gem. The chorus is strong, and it captures the direness of the singer’s plea to keep her lover with her. I’m sure this one will “stay” on the charts for awhile.

2. Shape of You Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is probably the biggest hit of the year so far, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s catchy, it’s unique, and it’s by Ed Sheeran. Luckily, this song is only a taste of how great his album “Divide” is. Definitely check it out!

1. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez

And finally, we get to my pick for the best song of the year so far — “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez. Talk about catchy! If you’re not singing this chorus after hearing it, you must be deaf! It’s so fun, Selena sounds great, and there’s so many twists and turns in this pop gem, it’s worth a few listens. And I ain’t lyin’!

 

What do you think? What’s your favorite song of the year so far? Tell me in the  comments!

 

More fun. . .coming soon!

Top 5 Underrated Animated Films

Hey Peoples!

What are your favorite animated movies? The Lion King? Frozen? Shrek, maybe?

Rather than harp on how great these films are (and they are), I thought I’d talk about 5 animated movies that deserve more credit. While not all of these films are perfect, they have moments of brilliance. These moments are definitely enough to deserve another look.

To show you what I mean, underneath each film, I list the element that makes each of these films worth a watch. Then, I follow that up with some discussion. And away we go!

 

5.) Strange Magic

 

Best Part: Unconventional Romance

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What is this movie doing here? It’s got terrible reviews and was a complete bomb for George Lucas (yes, the George Lucas.) The bland cover songs don’t help either.

However, it’s the core love story that makes it worth a watch. Strange Magic is an animated re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.” The movie is full of magic and misdirection. Charming romantic entanglements elevate it from its basic plot-line and characters.

The main love story is the one that stands out the most. No spoilers, but our heroine Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) falls for the guy you least expect. This creates a really fun twist that benefits the movie overall. So, for the combination of good CGI-Animation, an assortment of average-but-nice songs, and a satisfying surprise, Strange Magic is worth checking out.

 

4.) Hercules

 

Best Part: Meg’s Story

Most people would say The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s most underrated films, primarily for its darker tone and bittersweet ending. I agree, for the most part. However, Hercules has one thing Hunchback doesn’t. . .Meg!

In my opinion, Marvel’s Thor films are better when seen through Loki’s eyes, rather than Thor’s. The story is more compelling, and the stakes are higher. The same goes for Hercules. After Hercules gets his goal of becoming admired by the world, there’s nothing left for him to do. That’s where Meg steps in. Without her, the movie would just fizzle out.

Meg is a slinky, sarcastic vixen who, despite her manipulation, cares deeply for Hercules. She’s not a typical good-two-shoes Disney princess, which already makes her stand out. But it’s her backstory that is so fascinating. In the movie, she pledges herself to Hades to save the man she loves from death, who ultimately ends up dumping her for another chick. Now, Meg is eternally bound to serve Hades. She gets the opportunity to be released, if she can just lure Hercules for Hades to destroy. Too bad love gets in the way.

It’s Meg’s motivation, it’s her goals, it’s her doubts, and it’s her sacrifice[s] that make this movie better than it seems. If you have seen Hercules, or if you haven’t, focus on Meg the next time you watch. I think you’ll find it to be a much more rewarding experience.

 

3.) Anastasia

 

Best Part: Soundtrack

I mentioned this movie’s soundtrack on My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks list, and there’s a reason it shows up again here. The music is amazing! Every song pops. The tracklist is so memorable, it makes up for the movie itself.

Anastasia is almost as good as a Disney princess movie. Almost. The heroine is likeable, there’s romance, and thanks to Bartok (voiced by Hank Azaria), there’s humor as well. My problems with the film stem from the animation of the characters. The art style is fantastic – when it pertains to the environment. It’s less impressive with the character models of Anastasia and Dimitri. Their faces just aren’t right.

But, luckily, where the movie stumbles in animation, it makes up for with its soundtrack. In fact, the soundtrack is so good, Anastasia is now a Broadway musical. Just take a listen to my favorite song off the soundtrack, “At the Beginning”, a duet sung by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis and you’ll see what I mean:

Next time Anastasia catches your eye, don’t watch. Just listen!

2.) Rise of the Guardians

Best Part: Jack Frost

If you haven’t seen Rise of the Guardians, this holiday season, it’s time. When I first saw R.O.T.G. it didn’t impress me. I found the character interpretations rather strange. A Russian Santa Claus? An Australian Easter Bunny? Odd, don’t you think?

That is, except for Jack Frost.

Jack was the sole saving grace of this film at the time. While few movies have utilized the character of Jack Frost (my favorite being Martin Short’s devilish version in Santa Clause 3), R.O.T.G. has the definitive version. Jack is charming and mischievous, and has a strong back-story.

In the movie he’s a teenager who falls into a lake trying to save his sister and becomes the cold mischief-maker that is Jack Frost. He joins the Guardians to help take down Pitch, a villain bent on bringing eternal darkness to the world. A solid plot-line that’s enlivened by Jack Frost’s involvement.

Another thing that really brings Jack to life is his voice actor. Chris Pine voices Jack, and he completely sells it. Due to the age difference, Chris’ voice makes Jack sound older than he is and he captures that sarcastic spirit that makes Jack so lovable. Honestly, he wouldn’t have been my first choice, but after hearing him, I wouldn’t want anyone else.

Overall, it’s one character that makes this movie well-worth a watch. Next time Christmas comes along watch Rise of the Guardians and try not to fall in love with Jack Frost!

 

1.) Megamind

 

Best Part: Love Story/Emotion

My #1 underrated animated film is this little gem that came out 7 years ago. Megamind is a criminal, and his movie is criminally overlooked. His case is a case of bad timing. In 2010, the year Dreamworks released Megamind, Illumination Entertainment also released the first entry in their juggernaut franchise, Despicable Me. Not only that, Despicable Me came out months ahead of Megamind. Both films revolve around two supervillains who undergo a dramatic change.

What works in Despicable Me is the familial bond between Gru and the little girls he comes to love. What works in Megamind is the romance. When I first saw both of these movies, I actually preferred Megamind for two reasons.

1.) There was a love story. Sure, Gru gets the girl in Despicable Me 2, but I never felt his relationship with Lucy (whose name I had to look up, I couldn’t even remember it) was well-developed or memorable. That’s not the case with Megamind and Roxanne Ritchie. These are two people who need each other. Megamind wants to be loved and Roxanne doesn’t want to be alone in a time where evil is reigning over the city. When Megamind disguises himself as a human, we get a glimpse of his own humanity and this shows the character for who he really is, which leads me to my second reason.

2. Emotion. We get so much emotion from these characters, it almost breaks your heart. When Roxanne discovers Megamind has tricked her, when Megamind discovers Tigthen is truly evil, when Minion (yes, ironic, huh?) worries about Megamind and their crumbling friendship, sadness is visualized so often. You really start to care about these characters because they care so much about what they’ve done and who they’ve hurt along the way.

That’s why I love this movie. It could be funnier at times, yes, but Megamind works far better as a animated dramedy than a pure comedy. The humor is sporadic and light, dashed over the drama at its heart. And this movie has a lot of heart. So watch it with fresh eyes and you’ll find a much deeper story lingering under a blue disguise.

 

What’s your favorite underrated animated film? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! See you again, real soon!

UNDERRATED SONG: PEARL

Hi everyone,

In honor of Katy Perry’s new single, “Swish, Swish”, and her upcoming album, Witness, I thought I’d go back and give you what I think is her most underrated song. It’s called “Pearl.”

 

From her album, Teenage Dream, “Pearl” is a charming ballad that shows Katy’s softer side. Never released as a single, it nevertheless holds a place in my eyes as one of her best songs. Katy sings about a girl that was ruined by a guy, a girl that was once as beautiful as a pearl, but allowed her relationship to change her. The mood is cold and dark to demonstrate the girl’s sadness.

The twist? Katy’s that girl! Despite this revelation, it ends on an empowering note, that she’ll move on and get stronger, and other women can too.

 

What do you think? What’s your favorite underrated Katy Perry song? Tell me in the comments.

See you later!

UNDERRATED SONG: THE FALL

Hey everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an underrated song, I know. It has been on my mind. So today, I’ve got a whole new song for you. Well, a whole old song, but one you hopefully will enjoy as much as I have. It’s from, you guessed it, ELO. Wait, did you actually guess it? Props!

This gem is taken from the Xanadu soundtrack. For those who don’t know, Xanadu is an 80s disco musical starring Olivia Newton John. It flopped big-time at the box-office, but the soundtrack is actually really great. One of its biggest hits is the song “Magic” by Olivia herself.

However, my favorite song off the album is “The Fall.” ELO provides a few other songs for the soundtrack, but even though it was never released as a single, I love this one the most. It’s about a relationship that’s gone under and the singer is the one taking the blame for it, or rather, “the fall.” The tune is melodic, and yet comes with those chorus punches that get you right in the gut. It reinforces the idea of being awoken from the dream of a wonderful relationship – POW! And it ends on a strong note too.

Whether you’re familiar with ELO or not, this is a beautiful song that deserves more attention. I hope you’ll “fall” in love with it like I did.

What do you think? Do you have an underrated ELO song? Tell me in the comments!

See you again, real soon!

 

Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer

Hey everyone!

The Thor: Ragnarok teaser trailer came out today. I am freaking out! No words. It is so good!

Check it out:

Bullet Points:

 

  • Insane Intergalatic Action
  • “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin, because, of course
  • Hela – Dark and Demented as ever
  • LOKI! YES!
  • And of course, Hulk, with a dash of humor thrown into the ring

 

Can’t wait until November 3! AHHHHHH!

Top 7 YouTube Channels

Hey guys!

Today’s post is going to shift focus a bit. I’ve been talking a lot about movies. Favorite this, underrated that. But I also like to watch YouTube videos. Don’t you?

I don’t tend to watch films on YouTube, but there are a few channels I love watching throughout the week. Today, I thought I’d present what I think are the funniest, most enjoyable channels to tune in to. Who knows? You might just want to subscribe!

But before I get to my Top 7, I wanted to give an honorable mention to one channel in particular:

Honorable Mention: WatchMojo

WatchMojo would have made my list (likely at #2) had the quality of their videos not dropped in the last year. I used to watch their videos all the time. They really are the definitive Top 10 list YouTube channel, so if you love Top 10s, definitely check out their older videos.

They also have an affiliate channel called Ms Mojo which makes up for some of the lackluster content. However, it doesn’t the change the fact that WatchMojo’s videos have dulled recently. They proudly proclaim they’ve been “running out of ideas since 2006.” I think they finally have.

 

Thank you for your patience. Your Top 7 List will begin momentarily. BEEP!

7. JelloApocalypse

This is a channel I discovered while I was making this list. As a huge Pokemon fan, I came across one of their videos titled So This is Basically Pokemon on my Recommended page.

I’ve provided the video below. If you’re a fan, please watch it.

It’s amazingly accurate, right? I’ve been playing Pokemon for more than a decade and JelloApocalypse totally gets it. He also does other videos in the So This is Basically line such as Overwatch and Adventure Time. If you really like the content, you can go to his Patreon page and help him create more videos just like these. Also, I recommend his short Welcome To. . .series. Welcome to YouTube is hilarious!

6. PhantomStrider

This YouTube channel is all about animation – Worst Cartoon Characters, Best Nick Shows, Worst Animated Sequels. If you want you’re Top 10 list on a strict diet of cartoons and kid’s shows, then PhantomStrider’s got you covered.

Now there are a lot of Top 10-based YouTube channels on the web (*cough*<Watch Mojo>*cough*), but what I like about PhantomStrider is his goodwill towards all shows. He knows his list is full of personal opinions, not facts. He may hate something you love and vice-versa, but as he says, these are just his “silly opinions.” He’s just a sweet Australian/Canadian (you read that right) who likes to talk about cartoons, including international cartoons.

If you’d like a peak at what he does, here’s a short video:

5. BlameitonJorge

BlameitonJorge is sort of an acquired taste. It’s an odd mash-up of List videos discussing lost media and urban myths. Basically, if you want to know about what happened to that episode of Ren and Stimpy that you haven’t been able to find anywhere or you’re really into that Japanese creepypasta someone told you about, then this is the website for you. Once you’ve seen what he has to say about “A Day in the Life of Spongebob”, you’ll never look at the show the same way again.

Here’s a link to one of his most popular videos, 40 Lost or Banned Episodes of Kid Shows – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HuEtZH6WDw. The voice-overs may often be a tad ominous, but the info is so fascinating, you can’t help but come back for more.

4. REACT

For kids grossing out over disgusting food, for teenagers struggling to remember the name of that popular 90s song, for people of all ages trying hard not to laugh at hilarious viral videos, this is REACT. It’s a channel decided to people’s immediate reactions to various aspects of pop culture, from movies, to music, to games, to television. Whether happy, sad, surprised, or just plain confused, we see all ages learn something about themselves and the culture we live in.

I mainly watch it for the segments titled “Do They Know It?” which are a series of videos asking millennials how well they know pop culture from the 80s, 90s, and 00s. They quiz adults on modern culture as well, but the teenagers give the greatest reactions. You realize how little they know about the time just before they were born.

There’s also another series in which REACT staff members battle each other to see how fact they can guess songs and movies. In that case, the inverse is true. I’m shocked at how much they do know! And how lightning-fast! Sometimes they know a song after hearing 1-second played. I can’t do that and I know a lot of songs.

What makes REACT so great is the ability to test your knowledge against your friends and family. In a way, it’s inteREACTive!

Try it out for yourself:

3. Dorkly

Dorkly is an odd amalgam of discussion videos with strange titles such as “10 Inappropriate Scenes in Kids Cartoons” and “7 Creepy Movie Sex Scenes that will Scar You For Life” and what they call “Dorkly Bits.” In these videos, they take gaming’s most iconic 8-bit characters, such as Sonic and Mario, and recreate their worlds to poke fun at them. These videos are so clever and so short too. Most are less than 2 minutes.

I keep coming back to Dorkly is because of their Pokemon Dorkly Bits. I’ve already mentioned I’m a huge Pokemon fan, and Dorkly does it right. They know Pokemon in and out and it shows. Here’s an example:

In addition to the Dorkly Bits, one of their most popular series involves a Pokemon trainer named Rusty who strives to become a Pokemon Master. However, his adventures are less admirable and more deplorable in nature. But they’re funny! Recently Dorkly has resumed his exploits in the Kanto region so check those out as well!

2. ERB (Epic Rap Battles of History)

Have you ever wanted to see Elvis Presley take down Michael Jackson in a killer rap battle? How about Batman facing off against Sherlock Holmes? If you answered yes, then ERB is the perfect channel for you.

Collaborators Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter take on the personas of dozens of historic and pop-culture icons, in a throw down of shady rhymes that will leave you gasping for air. Their name says it all – their raps are EPIC! Sadly, you have to wait for their seasons to start which often takes a year or so. Oh well, it’s worth the wait!

Note: Please be advised their videos often contain explicit language.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite videos:

And without further ado, my absolute favorite YouTube channel of all time. . .

  1. Screen Junkies

I am a certified Junkie! This is the absolute best movie-inspired YouTube channel ever. Hal, Dan, Nick, and the rest of the gang highlight a series of 3 weekly videos, each just as awesome as the last.

First, are there Honest Trailers, clever critiques of films that are quite funny and very truthful. You’ve probably seen at least one, but if you haven’t, here’s one of my favorites:

Next, is the Screen Junkies Show. This is a show hosted by Hal Rudnick who discusses best/worst movies and often-times interviews celebrities about their films. Once you’re hooked by the Honest Trailers, it’s a great way to get to know the group (and they’re awesome!)

Last, are Movie Fights. Movie Fights pits 3 members of the group against one another to debate such pressing questions as “What’s the Best Spielberg movie?” and “What’s the worst remake?” The videos tend to run over an hour, but luckily you can skip to a particular fight with links at the end of the video.

If all of this isn’t enough and you want a little more Junkie, you can pay $5 a month and access tons of content as a Screen Junkies Plus member. These are exclusive videos you can’t get on YouTube. That’s definitely a plus.

Overall, if you love movies the way I love movies, check out Screen Junkies. You won’t be disappointed.

 

So that’s my list. What are your favorite YouTube channels? Tell me in the comments.

I’ll see you next time!

 

 

 

Overboard Remake – Anna Faris Joins the Cast!

Hi everyone

2017 is already two months over and some of the biggest movie announcements thus far are. . .

1.) Donald Glover will voice Simba in the Lion King live action movie.

2.) Matt Reeves isn’t, no wait IS going to direct The Batman.

and

3.) Hayao Miyazaki is coming out of retirement to direct one final picture.

 

But one announcement has just made headlines today and it’s a doozy.

Anna Faris has joined the cast of the Overboard remake!

Image result for anna faris

Yeah,  that was my face too when I found out! If you saw my previous post about this film, I said Anna Faris would be in my dream cast. And look at that! She’s now part of the film. Dreams do come true!

MovieWeb* reports that Anna Faris will not only be joining actor Eugenio Derbez in the film, but that the roles will be gender-swapped. In other words, Eugenio is going to play the rich playboy and Anna Faris is going to be the hard-working mom that tricks him into thinking he’s her husband.

I think this new angle could play out really nicely. It could also tackle some of the criticism that the original was sexist, despite its popularity. With the combination of two funny comedians at the helm, Overboard is getting the modern face-lift it never knew it needed. Looking forward to it!

No release date is confirmed, but I expect to see it out sometime in 2018.

*Source: Gallagher, Brian. “Overboard Remake Happening with Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez.” movieweb.com. 6 Mar. 2017.