The ShoutDown Review : A Star Is Born

I have been a casual fan of both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. This movie has pushed me into fan realm of both. Great performances by both are the key and magic that makes this movie shine.

I believe the story resonates with anyone who is a fan of music. No matter what genre you are fan of, this movie is about the music. It is about the passion that goes into making it. I encourage any music fan to check this fan out.

The movie serves as a commentary on the creative process. It pushes all the boundaries needed to make the good into great. Also has some biting criticism of the modern music business. Questioning the soul of the business which should reside in the artist but sadly is still controlled by executives who have no talent or passion beyond making money.

Strong supporting performances make the movie rich. Sam Elliott is solid as always. Dave Chappelle’s short appearance is a fun addition. Andrew Dice Clay plays it just right, I expected over the top but he played the role great. Not surprisingly though since it is true to his real life[consult the evidence here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmcrARZ06pcud7uG7oCPX0Q/videos%5D.

It was missing an additional female supporting cast member. There are women in the movie, sure. But none that are integral to the story.

The music is superb. The performances have such soul and heart backing the voices. They sound rich just like you are at the concert.

The really cool part is, Bradley Cooper is doing the singing and he is good. It is not a con job. It is not dubbed. He is singing. He wrote not just the movie but the music as well. It is soulful to the core.
Lady Gaga obviously nails the music. I think even people who don’t like her music can acknowledge her chops. She also has to act and she nails the performance. She transforms from bud to a vibrant flower in the course of the movie. I was impressed by that aspect.

These two artists having to live in the normal habits of the other. It was something to see. I thought they both nailed it.

Worth the money to see in a theater. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Though the end will rip your heart out a bit, it is worth the ride.

Enjoy!!

Rating 5 out of 5.

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The ShoutDown Review : A Simple Favor

I am glad I went to see this film. I expected less of this movie. I thought it would entertaining. I was not expecting the twists that were in story. Though a bit cliched, they did make for a fun story. Kept me on my toes though that might just be a lack of my imagination.

I know this move is based on a book. I did not read the book. Jessica Sharzer got to adapt Darcey Bell’s story for the screen. I can’t be sure how faithful it is to the text. Though I can say it was a fun story to watch play out on screen.

Anna Kendrick was very strong. She is the main character and focus of the film. Pushing you along as the narrative plays out. She has a fine performance.

Blake Lively’s role seems like it was more fun to portray. She got to say what I always wished I would. Zero concern given for who is around her or what the consequences might be. By far my favorite character.

Last is Henry Golding. He is the pawn in this story. Manipulated both forcefully and unknowingly alike. I made him both suspect and sympathetic. But things are happening to him in this story. Strong performance but not much meat on the character’s bones.

The others in the film support these three on their journey. But they are window dressing. The real meat of the story revolves around them. It is a wonderful spider web to dance on.

Paul Feig tells a good story. He is better known for his comedies. [Bridemaids, The Heat, Spy] This is a thriller with teeth. The mood is appropriately cultivated to keep things tense. Music is a fantastic compliment to the story. There are plenty of funny moments that his direction brings out well. His work in the future will likely balance drama and comedy in another fine feature.

I expected less and I should not have. I stand corrected. This film is a good time. With so much coming out right now, if you missed it, you missed out. Make sure to catch it on digital service or redbox.

Rating 3 out of 5.

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The ShoutDown : Craziest and Out There and Completely Nuttiest Game of Thrones (GoT) Hypotheses for Season 8

Disclaimer: This post will discuss both the TV show Game of Thrones and the book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Be warned, I will be discussing topics that reveal what has happened on the show for the past 7 seasons and written series for the past 5 books. I will discuss characters that are in the books and not the show and vice versa. This discussion will include all storylines. It is riddled with information from both sources.
The following hypotheses are some of the crazy thoughts I have had about Game of Thrones. None of these thoughts are properly researched like would be needed for school or a news article. I have used some embedded notes as de-facto citations where and when appropriate. I have tried to be true to what is my thought and what is someone else’s. If I have been at fault; I do apologize. If someone writes or comments, I will make sure to update this post.
These thoughts are not supported by any spoilers, pictures, leaks or other data. I did not see or search to see if anyone else has purposed them elsewhere and if I am repeating any I apologize. I just thought about some things in regards to Game of Thrones the television show and came up with these hypotheses. Just the basic premises that I jotted down off the top of my head. All of them are linked to the 8th and final season of the television series.
I have never read anything in the books. Not one word. I am not a book hater by any means. I started with the show. I thought about reading the books but by the time I had time; the show was already changing things. I wanted the show to be somewhat “pure” if not canon. Because I always guessed the show will be completed before the books. Not really a stretch since the series started as a trilogy in the 1990s and is now onits fifth book of seven without any idea when even the sixth book will come out.
I will read the books after the show’s 8th season is complete. Any book information I have included is from wikis or articles about A Song of Ice and Fire. I also listen to a bunch of YouTubers who comment on both show and book series. To name a few: Secrets of the Citadel, GrayArea, Azor Ahype, GOT Academy, The Order of the Green Hand, In Deep Geek, Alt Shift X, Emergency Awesome and Preston Jacobs. There are more but those are the ones I enjoy the most.
That said, if you don’t want book information/”spoilers” please stop reading. (It is not a spoiler because the books have been out for years and some for decades. That is not a spoiler. Hence the quotation marks.) Also I will be talking about events through season 7 of the show. Basically anything that can be considered official by the book or show series information that is already out is fair game. You are warned.
On to my own personal form of mental greyscale. They are listed as they came into my skull not in importance. I think the most wildfire hypothesis is the last one. Bring on the hypotheses!

1. Five year jump in show from season 7 to 8. The characters were already aged up for the show, somewhat none uniformly. For a variety of reasons but I think that was a good move. I read somewhere that George R.R. Martin wanted to make a 5 year gap from book 3 (A Storm of Swords) and book 4 (A Feast for Crows) http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/FAQ/Entry/What_happened_to_the_five_year_gap_that_was_supposed_to_follow_ASoS/. It is possible to do the same in the show again.
a. Possibly could resolve some storylines quickly in the beginning of the season. Like marriages, kids or other things that have changed. Different way to show the horrors of the war in a beginning prologue or through “flashbacks”. Possibly the entire Long Night, just kidding. But it would be a shock to start out the season that way for sure. And the show is ready to shock you at all turns and corners.

2. The Dornish Plot was terrible (my opinion) and the TV show just exposed that as the truth to book readers. And Dorne has nothing to do with the endgame of the show. Not sure if that is the same in the books though. Most of what I know about the books treatment comes from Preston Jacobs YouTube series “The Dornish Master Plan” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TBfdd_xNVo&list=PLCsx_OFEYH6uvfZSfec35DXBEpvA9fpm0&index=1 . I acknowledge there may be something I am missing so this may be controversial to say.
a. In my opinion, there are two good Martell characters; Oberyn and Arianne. And the show runners omitted Arianne, which was a mistake even though I am not sure where she would have fit into the show now. They could have found her a place, I guess. Maybe she is in Essos with her mother and comes home as the new Princess of Dorne?
b. The Sand Snakes are better in the books (so I have been told) but are they necessary to the TV story? The rest of House Martell is used inproperly as is the whole kingdom of Dorne (more on that later). The Dornish Army is both fresh and completely untested. As such everyone should be suspect on its effectiveness. The show just made that very clear since their Prince, Heir and finest Captain were all felled with ease.
c. Doran’s “Master” plan is the same as marrying/sacrificing Elia and her children to Rhaegar Targaryen.
I. Marrying Arianne Martell to Viserys Targaryen (the unworthy beggar king), who would have been a terrible king (much like his father). Arianne is portrayed as a tough woman who seems like she could take care of herself. But to get her in line, Viserys wouldn’t sully his own hands. He would have a group of men abuse her. Since it would happen far from Dorne, it would not be easy to stop. So not that solid a plan. Especially after she bore him an heir.
II. Marrying Quentyn (or Trystane) Martell to Daenerys Targaryen. How? I think this plan comes in well after the first book was complete. As such is not part of the original canon story. Khal Drogo is her husband. Even if Viserys is gone when the Dothraki come to Westeros; why would Drogo let her marry again? He may leave her in Westeros to go back to Essos. But he would see her again. He would come back to impregnate her at the very least. After he is dead, no one is sure she is alive. Then she is married to Hizdahr zo Loraq. So how is this a solid plan?
III. None of these plans would have worked if Robert would have had a legitimate heir and strong backers like Stannis Baratheon who is a tested battle commander. Probably could rely on the honorable Randyll Tarly as well. Either of whom would be up to the task against the untested Dornish army.
d. Plus none of the plans strike at their Doran’s real enemy, The Lannisters. Twyin ordered the sack of King’s Landing. He ordered the Mountain to kill Elia and her children. So The Lannisters and Cleganes are his true enemy. How was Doran going to defeat them?
e. Last, Dorne was not in the original outline. http://watchersonthewall.com/george-r-r-martins-original-plan-game-thrones/ . Counterpoint is neither were the Greyjoys and the Iron Islands and Theon was in the first book. Still I am not sure if Dorne is in the first book based on it not really being mentioned in the first season of the show. Outside of Elia Martell and Ashara Dayne, I think those are the only mentions of Dorne at first. It is afterthought (my opinion) addition to the richness of the A Song of Ice and Fire world. Same as most of Essos. But George R.R. Martin’s original outline letter addressed the main characters and storylines and Dorne was not a part of it.

3. The real martyr/ missing piece of the Dornish plot is House Dayne. (This is the later Dorne mess referred to earlier in 2a)
a. We showwatchers got Arthur Dayne for an epic sword fight scene. His dual wielding was fantastic even if the sword Dawn was a let down. But that was it. Seriously !?! Arthur sounds like one of the truly epic characters of the story. He got very minimal screen time. I would be surprised if it was more than five minutes. I assume that he is more nuisanced and discussed in the books.
b. I was hoping Ashara would play a bigger part in the show and story at large. To no avail as the showrunners skipped that potential intrigue altogether. This is a love story that is very interesting telling the unrequited love by Barristan Selmy and Ned Stark who both cared for her. Not to mention, who did Ashara care for? I don’t think we know. We won’t get more because none of the GoT spin-offs will address The Tourney at Harrenhal (aka The Seduction of Lyanna Stark a-la the current young adult formula of two guys lusting after one woman. That would be present for both Ned, Barristan, and Ashara as well as Robert, Rhaegar and Lyanna).
c. Also Edric Dayne should be with Beric Dondarrion. But when Beric ran across Arya Stark, no Ned (his nickname) Dayne was introduced.
d. As a result, we showwatchers have seen very little of House Dayne and that stinks.

4. Lord WildHeart – Beric Dondarrion gives his “last kiss” to Tormund Giantsbane. A Wildling not a stone hearted half-a-wight. Because Tormund maybe that important to the endgame. Plus when The Wall fell, we didn’t see them die. But Tormund might need Beric’s “gift”.
a. More likely though; Beric gives his “last kiss” to Daenerys Targaryen after she dies as a result of Lightbringer being driven through her heart Nissa Nissa style. After it is forged and wielded by Gendry, The Last Baratheon warrior.

5. Book character “Fake” Aegon comes to Westeros with the Golden Company and is the Valonqar (which translates to little sibling since High Valyrian pronouns don’t delineate sex. I hear little brother all the time and speculation about which little brother but the word is in fact sibling/sex neutral. Like Darilaros which means heir not prince. Meaning that the translation from High Valyrian to English of Kivio Darilaros is The Heir that was Promised.) I say this because prophecies are rarely right on the nose. So many have misinterpreted prophecies (Melisandre much?). “Fake” Aegon will be the only Aegon, Jon won’t change his name. “Fake” Aegon will be the Captain/Commander of the Golden Company. He will converse directly with Cersei. All the while plotting against Cersei.
a. Daario Naharis will also come to Westeros with the Golden Company.
b. Maybe others too?

6. Bronn secretly freed Tyene and Ellaria Sand. They go south and reestablish power in Dorne. Bronn eventually comes south with money to be with his bad “female cat”. This is wildfire out there theory. Based mostly on my enjoyment of Bronn as a character in particular Jerome Flynn’s portrayal of Bronn.

7. Sam and Bran will not want to tell Jon about his parents.
a. Gilly will tell Daenerys by mistake. Probably when Daenerys says Rhaegar name. They will have an odd conversation.
b. Daenerys will confront Jon. Maybe when Jon is with Sam who will be very embarrassed despite Daenerys roasting Sam’s father and brother. Jon will say it doesn’t matter, they all need to focus on the battle at hand. Though secretly he will tell Sam it does matter to him.

8. Jon Snow knew the whole time that he did not need to persuade Cersei but rather Daenerys. He tells Daenerys this at some point. Possibly pillow talk. It makes them closer.

9. The correction to the “Wight Mission” / “Straight Outta Eastwatch” crew from Season 7 Episode 6 is a good one in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrLLqeGO4w&t=2s. But I do not believe Daenerys would have spared Jaime Lannister. She would have killed the man that killed her father, like she was going to let Drogon do in Season 7, Episode 4. Instead, have Randyll Tarly go to convince Cersei Lannister to surrender. Also he would go with them as a skeptic who believes the Starks are liars telling fairy tales about the White Walkers.

10. Littlefinger is going to come back to life. Just as a wight when they leave his body to rot instead of burning it. That would be total fan service.

11. Cersei Lannister will not die at the hands of the Valonqar. Prophecies are often incorrect. She will live out a short life at Casterly Rock.

12. Instead of Bran Stark just saying things that Jaime Lannister said when Bran isn’t there at 1:21.20 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oToWccCD8hQ; Bran says things Cersei Lannister said about Jaime (maybe to Qyburn) when Jaime was away. Reinforcing Jaime’s action to leave and fight. Jaime’s bravery will be properly documented in the “new” white book.

13. Ghost and Nymeria will both be in Season 8. They will both be a part of the War for the Dawn. Not sure they will both live though. I would bet Nymeria lives if either. Her pack will survive!

14. The Night King has a mission. Going to Winterfell is not part of it. Neither is Castle Black although some Night’s Watchmen will fight, lose and turn wight. The Others mission is bigger than simply killing people. It is about honoring an old pact. At some point, a new pact will have to be forged.

15. Oldtown will be burned or destroyed. Historical Link to burning of the library in Alexandria, Egypt. Leaving little knowledge of the past. Making Samwell Tarly poetic sounding “Song of Ice and Fire” the basis for the new history.

16. In an avant garde turn; one episode of season 8 is completely in Valyrian.
a. Maybe subtitles, maybe not?
b. Have you been studying your Valyrian?

17. If I ran HBO, the season 8 premiere would be January 1, 2019. Starting at midnight Eastern Standard Time. I doubt they will be ready with the season by then.
a. HBO should start the episodes when it is wintertime. That way the Westeros winter corresponds to our winter. I know that screws over the Southern Hemisphere fans. Still it is what I would do. But I am media monster so be glad I am not in charge.
b. And I can’t imagine they will wait until 2020, that is just too long. But the way things are going plus no information has come out. I fear it might come to pass for 2020. That would be crushing though. I think the most realistic time frame is May-June 2019 for the 6 remaining episodes.

Those are the thoughts I have about the final season of Game of Thrones. Will any of it come true? No idea. But speculation is fun from time to time. Based on an unreliable and non-scientific study of events to this point. I despise spoilers, set leaks or pictures and otherwise trying to learn about the season prior to its release.
I do like to think about what is to come. Maybe propose some outlandish thoughts too.
Let me know what your favorite thoughts are too. Please refrain from spoilers, set leaks or pictures. Because…..
“Not everything written will be filmed. Not everything filmed will be in the show.” Who said it? Me.

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Al Michaels Super Bowl Challenge

Justin Timberlake just wants to see Al Michaels shake his booty. Start at 2:22 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rCmai_UTtA . #AlMichaelsShakeYourBooty. This can not be too difficult.

How can this become a real thing? Not just a Booty Cam, which should be something a corporation should fund and give money to a charity for. Maybe simulcasting to their corporate website and picking up traffic or something.
How can this be a fundraiser too? I know nothing about raising funds like that. But someone should be working on this. Something that can help kids or cure cancer or even better cure cancer in kids.

I am not sure how to make this happen. But it is something that could be a good opportunity. Let’s show our unity with BootyCam.

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Super Bowl Replacement Announcers

I am a pretty big football fan. I am not a fan of the NBC announcing crew. Not really any combination they have is satisfactory to listen to during a game. Chris Collinsworth is the base as color commentator with normally Al Michaels and on some Thursdays Mike Tirico. I am not a fan of any of these combinations. If they put someone else with Al Michaels; I think I could enjoy the game. As is, I often opt for mute as I watch intently switching to sound only for penalties.

Unfortunately though; NBC has the rights to broadcast the Super Bowl this year. As it rotates between Fox, CBS and NBC. A regrettable occurrence every three years. Super Bowl 52 (or LII if you prefer) is the latest to be marred by the NBC announcing crew.

As an aside, I wish ABC/ESPN would get a chance in the Super Bowl rotation. The reason is what they are doing with ESPN multiple channels for the College Semifinal and National Championship Megacast. If you are unaware Megacast are alternate broadcast crews commentating on the National Championship game. http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2016/01/espns-megacast-returns-for-college-football-playoff-national-championship/

Also these broadcasts are more entertaining. My personal preference vacillates between the coach’s roundtable (depending on the coaches involved) and the Homer Telecast (where two alumni going back and forth on their respective sidelines). The coaches usually give credible insight into the pace and calls in the game. The Homer Telecast last year was 2 guys in the 20s enjoying their alma mater’s. Barrett Jones and Tajh Boyd “repped” their schools in 2017 in a very fun way especially considering the end of the game.

CBS joined in with Team Stream during the Final Four and National Championship using TNT and TruTV to expand one crew per school. They are missing an opportunity by not also utilizing TBS. I would put a play-by-play announcer with the two coaches from the NIT championship on TBS. But they only did them from 2014, 2015 and 2016 and not in 2017 with no word on this coming year. But they could go to a more neutral broadcast like the Megacast. http://awfulannouncing.com/ncaa/no-team-streams-ncaa-final-four-cbs-year.html

NBC has a dedicated sports network (NBCSN) they could do an alternate broadcast on. I have not heard if that will come to fruition. Would be great to have a solid play-by-play announcer along with maybe a coach. Could even add in a few players, at least one offense and one defense. There are many ways to do this broadcast. However they come up with it; an extra broadcast should be a consideration.

Other Universal properties could be leveraged like USA, G4, SyFy, Bravo, Chiller, CNBC, even the Olympic Network if need be. They do it for other things like the end of the Premier League season. Why not the biggest All-American sports event that is being beamed worldwide. I could set it up in the two weeks before the game. It would be simple and I know almost nothing about TV production. They will likely have all day coverage with the Today show and other hosts. Why not do this. It works. The space and necessary equipment is already there. Just bring in a Project Manager like me and I will figure out the specifics and line up talent.

In lieu of that; are there any suggestions for an alternate radio crew?

I don’t listen to radio during games. But if there is someone out there who does; I would be glad to hear about it. I hope to get information from all over. So any information on who play-by-play announcer, color commentator and if possible radio network they work on.

I need a better option. Any help that I can get would be good. I also need to start trying out which ones are both available in my area and workout best.

Thanks!

It would be easier to find in my local network with the following information –
play-by-play announcer:
color commentator:
and if possible radio network:

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Sports Fans Please Donate

Any sports fans who are not feeling as sporty as usual, I have an alternative.
Donate your tickets to https://www.vettix.org/.
This is where you can put a smile on lots of faces. Veterans and their families can put those tickets to good use.
Please don’t burn, tear or otherwise destroy the tickets you do not want. Instead donate and let a veteran and her/his family’ enjoy a nice diversion for a few hours.
Doesn’t have to be just sports either. They take concerts and other tickets too. Halloween related events are popular right now https://www.vettix.org/feedback.php.
This is a way to give something to those who support and defend the Constitution. Possibly give you a sense of accomplishment.

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ShoutDown Review of American Assassin

This the ShoutDown Review of the movie American Assassin. This is a good action movie. I am glad that Alamo Drafthouse picked it for the distinction of a special screening including a Question and Answer (Q&A) session after the credits. Credit goes to the producers and distributors getting this film out there this summer.

I saw this film as part of a Victory member screening on 9 August 2017. I went to Mainstreet Theater in Kansas City, MO to view the film. This is more of a preview since the film does not wide release until 15 September 2017.

This is an operative’s story. This story replaces the shine and polish with grit and wit. This story talks about how you train like an operative. This story shows how you get to be an expert with combatives, weapons and knowledge. These are all things that James Bond would have done in mostly while in the Naval Reserves. We get to see how Mitch Rapp becomes a bad-ass. It is worth the time to show how the character becomes his true self.

This is not a spy story. While Mitch Rapp does use some subterfuge, one weapon from the spy arsenal. However he does not seem to care who sees what he is doing. He is not using any espionage or covert action that are a spy’s true tradecraft. He has his agenda and he sets sole purpose to completing his mission. It is nice to see straightforward storytelling that is also full of action.

This is an obvious attempt to create a movie series. Mitch Rapp is an interesting action character that operates within the realm of reality. It serves as a good start to a series. Moreover this is an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s origin story not his first Mitch Rapp book. I think that is a good strategy. As long as they stay grounded in reality with a tinge of current events; this could be a profitable series indeed. Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar and Michael Keaton all are awesome in supporting roles. As long as they keep the story and support fresh; this could be an entertaining series of movies indeed. Shall see.

The Q&A after was lively. One anecdote that was funny was about the extras. Two of the movie’s stars [Dylan O’Brien and Taylor Kitsch] talked about how the extras tried to get more screen time much to everyone else’s chagrin. By everyone I mean the rest of the cast and crew of the movie. Also both stars had a beer both before and after the film which seemed to lubricate their jaws to give honest answers. Creating a fun session that added well to an enjoyable movie.

In my opinion, this film is worth the time and money to view.

Rating 3 out of 5.

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