Documentary Review: Ferrell Takes the Field (2015)

Release Date: September 12th, 2015
Directed by: Brian McGinn
Music by: John Jennings Boyd, Brian Langsbard
Cast: Will Ferrell

Funny or Die, Gary Sanchez Productions, Major League Baseball, HBO, 49 Minutes

Review:

This is a documentary of something real but being that this is focused on Will Ferrell, he plays it up almost as if it’s a mockumentary. I get that he feels the need to be funny but I think this would have been cooler had it actually documented this event with a more realistic approach.

Still, this is fairly entertaining.

I’m pretty sure that HBO wanted to make this into more of a spectacle for ratings purposes and I guess it works for Ferrell fans.

This short film follows Will Ferrell as he plays ten different positions for ten different Major League Baseball teams over five Spring Training games in the Cactus League. The purpose behind the stunt is so that he can raise money for cancer charities.

For fans of baseball, especially Spring Training, this is pretty cool to watch, as you see Ferrell travel Arizona and visit different ballparks. Being a Floridian, I would have rather he done this in the Grapefruit League but Arizona is cool too.

It’s fun seeing Ferrell interact with real MLB players and managers but as a documentary, this doesn’t do much to make me care about his charitable work and the true meaning behind this publicity stunt. I’m glad that Ferrell and company looked to be enjoying themselves but something more organic and natural probably would have benefited the film’s audience and the charitable work more.

I get that Will Ferrell is a funny guy but he didn’t need to be “in character” from start to finish. Show your human side, man. Be natural for once and show the world why this actually means so much to you. We can still laugh along the way because the humor still would have surfaced.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: Will Ferrell’s sports comedies.

Comic Review: Whoa, Nellie!

Published: 1996
Written by: Jaime Hernandez
Art by: Jaime Hernandez

Fantagraphics Books, 60 Pages

Review:

I’ve known of the Love & Rockets comic book series for quite some time. However, I wasn’t aware of this spinoff title until I saw Jim Rugg talk about it in an episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe (a YouTube channel that every fan of the comic book medium should be subscribed to).

This looked like my cup of tea, though. I love indie comics, I love ’90s comics and I love old school territory wrestling before Vince McMahon bought the entire world.

Whoa, Nellie is a lot of fun but overall, the story is a bit short at only three issues. I would’ve liked to have gotten to know these characters better but it still told a good, self-contained story over those three issues.

I really like the art style of Jaime Hernandez, it’s clean, crisp and the way he captures action, primarily all wrestling holds and moves, is pretty dynamic and damn accurate. He’s got a good sense of anatomy, even if he uses more of a cartoonist’s style than a more highly detailed Marvel or DC style.

Even though this is over twenty years-old, it feels like a comic from a bygone era before that. It respects its subject matter and it also seems to exist in a world that’s very true to it.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Love & Rockets comic book stories.

The Modern Sports Media Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2014.

Back in the day, I was an avid ESPN watcher. A morning before high school wasn’t complete without at least fifteen minutes of SportsCenter squeezed in. I also enjoyed the short-lived CNN SI, which was more straightforward with the sports news and less about entertainment.

The entertainment factor is probably why ESPN continued to dominate and CNN SI only made it a few years. Sure, CNN SI was fairly boring but it was about the news and not about cheap pops and a humor-driven shtick. Personally, I always loved ESPN’s format and style but somewhere along the line, it got distracted.

It isn’t just ESPN though, the largest sports shows, magazines and websites out there also got distracted. I’m not sure how it happened but over the last ten years or so, sports news became less about sports and more about gossip and bullshit. The modern sports media has become TMZ, the National Enquirer and Extra. ESPN has become E! for men.

I tune in because I want scores, highlights and stories about the sport. But I want it all and I don’t have a lot of time. What I get though, is two funny motherfuckers flying through highlights just so they can hurry and get to a ten minute segment about how Athlete A sent mean tweets to Athlete B. I shit you not, I forget which show I was watching but they once spent fifteen minutes discussing Tim Tebow being seen throwing a football into a garbage can. And don’t get me started on the scandals involving Tiger, Kobe or anyone else with a tricky dick. That’s all these ass clowns cared to talk about not just for weeks but for months. Hey assholes, there were games last night, I’d like a fucking recap, please! ESPN has become the Fox News or MSNBC of sports programming. It’s all opinion and bullshit from people who seemingly have about as much actual knowledge as a dog turd.

Now there are people on ESPN who know their shit but they are becoming few and far between and are generally overshadowed by the loudmouthed dickbags who have to shout and soak up all the airtime. Maybe I’ll make a list of the biggest dickbags on ESPN but that will be at a later date.

Moving past ESPN, we have the magazines and websites. Some of the leaders out there are Bleacher Report, SB Nation, DeadSpin, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, FanSided, Sporting News, Yahoo! Sports, Fox Sports and Rant Sports. There are many more but these seem to be the sites with the most traffic and biggest social media presence.

These magazines and websites take the whole TMZ aspect of sports media even further. I can’t tell you how many times per day I want to punch my monitor for displaying so much bullshit in my news feed. Let me list some recent headlines to paint a better picture:

“Joel Embiid’s pursuit of Kim Kardashian via Twitter hasn’t stopped now that he learned she’s married”
“Cardinals Fan Drops Beer On Fans Below”
“A Bride Whose Father Passed Away Walks Down the Aisle with Miami Hurricanes Mascot”
“Rob Ryan Carrying 3 Pizzas and a Stuffed Animal in Airport”
“Pouty Husband Sends Wife Spreadsheet Detailing Sex-Life Dissatisfaction”
“Derek Holland And The Rangers Play A Game Called “Fart Bottle Roulette””
“Tiger Woods is cursing, throwing clubs, and ready to leave the British Open”
“Finding the best 1980’s NFL quarterback based on rap lyrics”
“Zach McAllister Channels His Inner Carly Rae Jepsen on Extremely Wild Pitch”
“Joel Embiid Is Really Good At Twitter – Let’s Not Ruin This”
“Tour de France rider has diarrhea, uses fan’s roadside RV”
“Here’s a giant, inflatable colon outside a Triple A ballpark”
“What Are New York City’s Most Popular Dog Names?”
“Kentucky man gets arrested, orders 5 pizzas to police station”
“Dwyane Wade replaces LeBron James with this alley-ooping dolphin”

Jesus, some of those don’t even have anything to do with sports.

Anyway, this is the type of shit sports sites are promoting and putting out. Real sports news is secondary. Maybe it’s because no one really cares anymore about sports. Yes, they watch them and they buy the merchandise and go to games but people seem to be more into the celebrity aspect of sports. And if it isn’t that, they’re so focused on fantasy sports that they aren’t fans of the game in the same way they used to be. Also, with a lot more women becoming sports fans in the last few decades, some of this stuff has to cater to what they want. Since, tabloids and TMZ are generally absorbed by women, sports media jumps on that bandwagon.

Expanding their product to fit a larger demographic, many sports media outlets have become these gossipy bullshit beasts. I’m sorry but I want good sports journalism and coverage, not gossip and fashion posts. On television I want highlights and insight, not assholes screaming over one another about whether or not gays belong in sports – they do. I also don’t need a bunch of dickbags telling me that I don’t understand x, y and z because I’ve never been in a locker room and experienced that culture. Fuck you, I’ve been in a locker room and fuck you, your bullshit argument holds no weight. Frankly, I’m just tired of know-it-all motherfuckers who really don’t know shit. They get paid to waste my time and would be better suited hosting Entertainment Tonight. An epileptic cat that only understands French could give better analysis and insight than most of these clowns.

Men today seem to be eating this shit up. The pussification and emasculation of the American male has crossed over into the sports world and they don’t seem to notice. Yes, I have friends I’ve talked to who see these trends and, like me, have pretty much stopped watching this nonsense. The problem though, is that there aren’t alternatives, as this sports tabloid programming has now become the norm. We’re basically forced to watch it or nothing at all.

Man the fuck up, sports media.

Zubaz Are Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2014.

Zubaz. God, just the name of these atrocious pants sends a tsunami-like wave of horror and nausea down my spine. Born in the late ’80s and popularized in the early ’90s, these ugly, baggy, zebra vomit covered polyester/cotton blended abominations have been in my nightmares since I first saw some idiot in my middle school walking around the cafeteria in them. They’re worse than a fucking eyesore and have been known to induce migraines and instantaneous diarrhea in those with just little-to-moderate fashion sense. There is nothing good that has ever come from these fluorescent parachute faux animal pelts.

To give a bit of history on these awful things, they were invented by the mega-successful wrestling tag team the Road Warriors a.k.a. the Legion of Doom. For those who don’t know or remember, these were the big meathead guys who ran around with mohawks and spiked football pads. While quite alpha and intimidating in their appearance, they probably shouldn’t be designing fashion for the general public. In doing so, they have created the worst fashion statement possible in an era that can only be described as the worst fashion era in the history of the world.

Go back to the late ’80s and early ’90s and check out what people were wearing. Look at the bullshit that was the most popular: Hypercolor t-shirts, Baja hoodies, Z. Cavariccis, Skidz, No Fear shirts, overalls with one strap down, Cross Colours gear, hip-hop Looney Toons shirts, Starter jackets, Mossimo shit, Stüssy shit, patterned vests over t-shirts, Blossom hats, sweaters as hip-warmers, Bugle Boy, denim button down shirts, the list goes on and on. However, if you put all that shit in a big cauldron and mix them into a big horrible fashion stew, they still wouldn’t be as bad as Zubaz.

Zubaz were designed by big meathead guys with no fashion sense for other big meathead guys with no fashion sense, all in an effort to give them fashion sense while still feeling alpha badass and cool. Well, from a fashion stance they failed… miserably.

That doesn’t mean that dude brahs all over didn’t rush out and buy these things like they were a guaranteed golden ticket to alpha eliteness. These horrible pants were hugely successful as far as sales go but then, so is Nickleback. Despite looking like a Tiger Force G.I. Joe toy, gym rats and middle school boys had to have them and couldn’t get enough.

In fact, Zubaz started producing pants in every sports team color combination available. When that wasn’t enough, they evolved from zebra and tiger stripes to even more atrocious designs. Within a few short years, males and even females were walking around with puffy pants that looked like magic eye posters (another horrible ’90s cultural turd).

Luckily, Zubaz died out not too long after they peaked and were washed away like other fashion disasters from that era. All was fine with the world and I was sure that I’d never have to see them again. Then some sort of weird resurgence happened. Sports teams started resurrecting them and had Zubaz nights. Even my beloved Chicago Cubs had a night last season celebrating these horrible fucking pants. The Cubs even gave them away! What the fuck is wrong with the world?

I’d like to state that I feel like the resurrection of Zubaz in sports is a curse to those who buy into it. In 2008, independent baseball team the St. Paul Saints wore Zubaz during a game. They were shutout by the Sioux City Explorers. The Russian curling team wore Zubaz in the 2014 Winter Olympics. They finished 7th out of 10 with a record of 3-6. This year the Detroit Tigers were dominating the American League, then they wore not just Zubaz pants but Zubaz jackets. They are now in 5th place overall in the AL and 2nd in their division behind the Kansas City Royals. Going back to last year’s Cubs team, they weren’t great when they celebrated Zubaz night but they were improving. As soon as they gave Zubaz away at Wrigley Field, the Cubs plummeted for the remainder of the season. The proof is in the pudding and sports teams should steer clear of the Zubaz Curse.

I hope that this Zubaz resurgence stays small and quickly fades away. I don’t need my favorite athletes looking like cougars wearing leopard print hoochie dresses out on the prowl for young meat. Essentially, that is what Zubaz are. They don’t make a man look tough and badass, they make him look like a sloppy man cougar who doesn’t understand fashion expiration dates. Besides that, no one has ever said, “Damn, that motherfucker looks sexy in his Zubaz.” And no one ever will.

Retro Relapse: The Modern Hockey Nickname

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Hockey has been over for a little while now. Granted, for me, it was over when the Chicago Blackhawks lost in overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Kings. I’m still pretty sour about it but I know that my team is a budding dynasty and will win several more, assuming they keep their core together over the next few seasons. But whatever, I miss hockey and can’t wait for October to roll around. In order to curb my impatience, I figured I’d write about hockey, even though it is the offseason.

There has been something going on in the modern era of hockey that I find somewhat annoying. It is the modern hockey nickname. Before I get into it though, let me run off some of the badass and creative hockey nicknames belonging to the legends of the past: Bones Bromley, Mario the Magnificent, The Hammer, Mister Zero, The Stratford Streak, Murder Murdoch, The Bulin Wall, The Boogey Man, The Finnish Flash, Mr. Hockey, Cobra, King Kong Korab, Cujo, The Messiah, Boom-Boom, The Puck Goes Inski, Battleship, The Eel, The Rocket, The Russian Rocket, The Pocket Rocket, The Roadrunner, Tiger, Chico, Bugsy, Grapes, Moose, The Rat, Cheesie, Cowboy, The Missing Link, The Flower, Ching, Gump, Jethro, Radar, The Algonquin Enforcer, Captain Crunch, Suitcase Smith, Apple Juice Mott, Le Gros Bill, Gratoony the Loony, The Dominator, The Entertainer, The Chicoutimi Cucumber, The Jet, The Golden Jet, The Golden Brett, Leapin’ Lou, The Big Whistle, Pie, Captain Video, The Eagle, Never Beaton/Seldom Beaton, Lucky Luc, Taz and so many others.

All those names are awesome. The names today are not. Well the vast majority of them anyway. Just on my Blackhawks, I see the nicknames given to these beasts and snipers on the ice and it makes me shake my head. I work in a creative field for a living and what I see here, from those who have coined these modern nicknames, is a severe lack of creativity. Also, they don’t sound menacing or awesome. Nowadays, hockey players are given nicknames that are just their real names simply modified, usually with an “er” or “y” added to it. On the Blackhawks we have Kaner, Toewser (Tazer), Sharpy, Smitty, Crow, Hoss, Duncs, Seabs, Leds, Saader, Shawzer and a few other uninspiring nicknames. Keep in mind this is just on one team. Granted there are still a handful of great nicknames but the rest of the league pretty much follows this lack of creativity.

I blame the announcers and the press. I mean, they’re the ones who usually manufacture the awesome names that we’ve called players since the beginning of time. Are these communications and journalism degree holders not taught creativity anymore? Or are the wrong types of people pursuing these careers. Now I am not knocking their play-by-play, announcing or writing abilities but c’mon, man!

It’s gotten to the point that when I see a new hockey star coming up, I can look at his real name and guess with about 100 percent accuracy what his nickname is going to be. Oh, his name is Doug Jones, how about Jonesy? This kid’s name is Gene Michaels, how about Genie? Hey, what about Drake Thomas, hmmmm… Draker or Tommy? These are all just made-up examples but regardless, this name game has gotten fucking stupid.

I guess some of the blame can be out on the drunken assholes on Twitter who lack the creativity to come up with cool shit. They just start playing the naming game by adding “er” and “y” to everyone with a hashtag and next thing you know, these stupid nicknames are trending. Everyone else in the Twitterverse jumps on the bandwagon and next thing you know, we’ve got another great warrior of the ice with a wimpy name he is certainly not worthy of.

Why can’t Patrick Kane be the Buffalo Soldier since he’s from Buffalo or just something else more creative than Kaner? Toews as Toewser (or Tazer) at least sounds somewhat cool but he could have something better than that too. But Shawzer for Andrew Shaw? C’mon, he deserves the name of a badass beast! Call him something tough like the Belleville Bruiser. And Patrick Sharp should be the Sharpshooter. Maybe some of these names have been used but you can always do variants like all the different “Rockets” and “Jets” that have been in the NHL throughout history.

It kind of mirrors professional wrestling where in the old days you had the Ultimate Warrior, Hercules, the Masked Assassin, the Outlaws, the Blackjacks, the Iron Sheik, Rowdy Roddy, Mr. Wonderful, the Junkyard Dog, Jake the Snake, the Undertaker, Cactus Jack, the Taskmaster, the Barbarian, the Warlord, the Legion of Doom and so many others. Today, wrestlers are named shit like John, Randy, Daniel, Heath, Justin, Evan, Seth, Zack, Jimmy, Dean, Dolph, Adam, Curtis, Bo, Bray, Eric and Luke. Granted all these guys could kick my ass but if someone said to me, “Hey would you rather fight Heath or the Masked Assassin?” Without knowing anything other than their names, I would pick Heath in a heartbeat.

Hockey is a tough as nails sport. It just doesn’t sound as tough today when you got guys nicknamed Seabs and Saader compared to the Cobras, Tigers, Murderers and Boogey Men of the past.

The Pro Bowl Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2016.

I don’t write enough articles in my “bullshit” series, I know. But here is a new one! Because I have to talk about the biggest bullshit in sports, the Pro Bowl.

I love the Pro Bowl like a germaphobic neat freak loves explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea from a naked hobo hiding in their kitchen pantry.

From what I hear, the popular opinion agrees with me. Then again, this stupid fucking game still generates decent enough ratings so maybe I’m insane and everyone else is lying to me. I guess that’s what the comments section is for.

Anyway, I turned the Pro Bowl on late yesterday, as I was watching the superior NHL All-Star Game, which saw the all-star journey of John Scott come to a fitting and amazing conclusion. The NHL also gave us a fast-paced 3-on-3 tournament with teams broken down by division. The NHL got away from that shitty fantasy draft bullshit for their All-Star Game. The NFL still does that fantasy draft bullshit and it sucks giraffe cock.

So when I tuned in, the scorecard at the bottom didn’t read NFC and AFC, it read Rice and Irvin. What the fuck is that?!

Now I know that this format has been used before yesterday but I hate it. It is stupid as fuck. I really want to see the NFC duke it out with the AFC to determine which is the most talented conference in American football. When I watch the MLB All-Star Game, I want to see the AL against the NL, not Team Dunderfuck against Team Shitpickle. It’s supposed to be a braggin’ rights contest between leagues or conferences, not a real life version of DraftKingz with teams picked by old dudes, one of which is really unlikable.

Everyone knows how awful it is when your buddy talks about his fantasy team in a league you’re not even in. Well, that’s what this is, except it is on television and is backed by millions of dollars that could probably be used much better – like maybe, helping out overly concussed old men with their mountainous medical bills.

But again, people watch this bullshit. People even watched the two-hour long draft special on ESPN a few nights ago. Because I guess anything related to football is better than watching an actual game in any other sport. ‘Mericuh loves its football like it loves its reality television, Chipotle and obsessing over dickbag celebrities. Why’d I bring Chipotle into this? Because fuck Chipotle!

Back on topic!

The Pro Bowl is a waste of everyone’s time except the NFL’s bankers. Is it even really worth risking injury to a player when the conferences aren’t even fighting each other over who is better? What is the goddamned point, here?

I guess the MVP gets that cool trophy but is there just the one? Does he have to give it to the new MVP next year? Does he hand it back after the game? Does Michael Irvin hold on to it? Fuck Michael Irvin! Or maybe Roger Goddell takes it home and pretends it’s a large robot vagina?

But what’s the team get? I guess they get to keep their ugly as fuck Pro Bowl jerseys. But then the NFL probably takes those back and then auctions them off.

The National Football League has become a circus. The Pro Bowl is the NFL at its most circus-y, even more so than the Superbowl because at least that’s a game that means something.

I’d be more interested in a Pro Bowl that went back to the NFC vs. AFC format and was also held after the Superbowl, as it should be. And I like the Hawaii thing but maybe it isn’t working because I’ve heard livelier crowds at Blues Clues On Ice.

Maybe the game would be better with landmines, booby traps and pits full of alligators but then the prima donnas would complain about potential injury over a pointless game. Wait… that’s already an issue. So then yeah, we might as well embrace the booby traps.

Look, I don’t know how to fix the Pro Bowl, really. So maybe just kill the damned thing.

I was surprised I was actually able to get through twenty minutes of it last night before throwing on the Royal Rumble. Yeah, the Royal fucking Rumble… the start of WrestleMania season! Which gets overshadowed by a stupid game with no stakes and no point. And people call wrestling fake!