Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Casting Call: The Joes Part 2

As promised Cody and I have put together our rag tag bunch of heroes that we hope will someday, make it to the silver screen. Cody will also be featuring his list of new Cobra recruits in a solo post, very soon, but for now let's get to our new 6 for GI Joe 2!

Nicky Lee - Rank: Sergeant (E-5) Codename: Tunnel Rat (by Jeff)
This guy would be an interesting addition to the Joes given that he is not your typical big muscle bound hero that saves the day by charging headlong into a mess of Cobra forces. This is the guy they send in covertly either over the fence or, if Tunnel Rat had his way, under it. His primary job is explosive ordinance disposal, but he's also apparently a combat engineer. This is the guy who activates your plan B when plan A has gone to shit. He's short but don't let his height fool you he's wicked smart and he was trained by the best, the Rangers. Honestly I really don't have that much info about him, I don't really recall reading many of the comics with him involved in the storyline. Although I have extensive knowledge of his character from the G.I. Joe animated feature from the 80's. Tunnel Rat is of Asian descent and seems to have a knack for getting into trouble. He was sort of goofy, almost the class clown, which I think could work in the film but he would obviously need to be someone who can go from humorous to clutch handyman without much hesitation. I've thought about this one for a while and honestly I only have one good candidate, his name, Aaron Yoo. The guy has made the rounds in big movie fare from Disturbia, 21, Nick and Nora and Freddy Krueger. The guy can be genuinely funny without it turning into a caricature. But I do have a wildcard if they were intending to make Tunnel Rat a bit more of a badass guy who slinks through the tunnels and leads the dirty missions that other Joes may wish to avoid. Ian Anthony Dale, in my mind would be that guy. I've been watching the Event on NBC and I really like his secret double agent character. Not sure if the guy can bring the funny, but I would say that if you wanted to elevate Tunnel Rat to a more heroic leading role. Dale would probably be your guy.
Ian Anthony Dale

Aaron Yoo

Wayne R. Sneedon - Rank: Command Sergeant Major (E-9) Codename: Beach Head (by Jeff)
For some reason I have always had a deep affinity for this tough as nails drill Sergeant, not always sure why, although I always thought he just looked like a total badass with his green mask and bulging biceps. This is a guy you wouldn't want to cross, seriously, yes I know his mask was bright green but it worked. Beach Head is the guy who whips the Joes into shape, with drills and combat tactics. This guy is extremely smart and a excellent tactician. This is pretty well established on the G.I. Joe cartoon from the 80's. The comics implies that although he is a consummate professional he tends to have some contempt for Protocol. This is a guy who leaps headlong into a mission without much consultation with the higher ups, which apparently has hindered his ability to rise further in the ranks. Now for the film it would be tough for an actor to have to wear that mask the entire film, I mean you already have one Snake Eyes. I assume he would only wear it into battle, but the question is who could play this tough talking tough guy from the mean streets of Auburn, Alabama. If only Steve "Stone Cold" Austin were just a bit younger, he would be the perfect Beach Head. So my next thought would be someone slightly younger but still old enough to be a drill instructor and I came across Kevin Durand. The guy has made a habit out of playing slimy assholes, but there is no denying he's a bad ass. Watch his soldier of fortune on Lost and tell me that guy didn't make you almost wet your pants. But he can play a good guy too as displayed in Robin Hood next to Russell Crowe. I think the guy is deserving of a big screen action role and what better to play a no-nonsense Southerner in G.I. Joe. If you need an example of his Southern twang look no further than 3:10 to Yuma from a few years ago.

Lonzo R. Wilkinson - Rank: Sgt. Major (E-9) Codename: Stalker (by Jeff)
Stalker is technically the first Black G.I. Joe, he makes appearances in the original cartoon but is usually only there, unfortunately, to fill the color quotient. It was in the comics that Stalker was allowed to shine as a leader of the Joes and an effective and lethal member of this elite squad. In the comics he came up through the ranks with his best friend Snake-Eyes and makes it near the top as the second in command to General Hawk and is heavily involved in recruitment and dangerous missions. This high command diminishes once Duke takes over the squad but he is still integral in tough missions and is usually placed in the thick of it with his good buddy Snake-Eyes. Now if I had a time machine Carl Weathers in my mind would be the perfect Stalker but Carl is pushing into his late 60's so that ain't gonna work. Now there are quite a few guys I can think of that could pull off this tough guy from the streets of Detroit who turned from his life of hustling to join the U.S. Army. After doing a thorough search I feel pretty confident that Stalker would be best in the hands of Anthony Mackie. The guy can act and he's comfortable playing soldier from the Hurt Locker to Eagle Eye. He also has street cred playing Tupac Shakur and a tough boxer from Million Dollar Baby. Plus I can see him sporting the beret, not an easy feat for anyone.

Ettienne R. Lafitte - Rank: Gunnery Sgt. USMC (E-7) Codename: Gung-Ho (by Jeff)

Gung Ho, in a sense, is G.I. Joe, this guy just always seemed to me to be the face of the Joes a tough bruiser but kind and heroic. He's been a staple on the show and the comic book since the beginning. Used as the muscle and comic relief on the show ( no one apparently wanted to eat his Gumbo), but in the comic he isn't really given the storylines his character probably deserves. He's usually just part of the Joe squads, peppering the story arc with his humor. He is the first Marine on G.I. Joe and he deserves to play a role in the next G.I. Joe movie in a pivotal way. Now if Steve Austin could speak a cajun accent he also would be a perfect fit for Gung Ho, but again he's too old. Honestly I'm going to take a chance, this guy is a great actor, but I'm not entirely sure he can pull off a southern accent much less a Cajun one. But still he can fit the look, Tom Hardy. He played a great con man in Inception and an even greater bad ass loon in Bronson. But I think he could bring something interesting to Gung Ho. I mean the guy is going to be Bane in the next movie, so someone with some authority, other than me, thinks he can play a muscled bad ass.

Courtney Kreiger - Rank: Specialist (E-4) Codename: Cover Girl (by Cody)
I felt strongly that we should have included Cover Girl in our original G.I. Joe Casting Call two years back, but it had already been decided that Jeff would take the Joes and I would take Cobra. And obviously, Cover Girl did not make Jeff's cut. I can understand why. Of the original three Joe ladies she never had the screen time of a Scarlett or a Lady Jaye who always seemed to be at the forefront, always involved in the most important, most exciting missions. Of course we all know why, don't we? It was because they were shacking up with their superior officers! Cover Girl was always her own woman, never tied down. She was brassy but flirtatious, often trading frisky barbs with Shipwreck or stealing a kiss from Duke (much to Scarlett’s chagrin). She was very much a guys gal, always more a part of the Joes' boys club, than ever really one of the girls.

What always intrigued me most about the character was that she was this absolute knockout who leaves the cosmopolitan world of fashion modeling to join an elite military force and drive a motherfucking tank instead. That is pretty badass. And I really don't care that the 2009 film features a character that, I GUESS, is supposed to be Cover Girl. She was played by real life supermodel Karolina Kurkova, who is super hot and super Czech, but super bad at acting. Like most of the characters in the ‘09 film, "Cover Girl" (w/air quotes) is completely mishandled. However, she's barely in the film and I'm not even sure she's ever referred to by her codename. So I say let's just pretend it never happened (like the movie as a whole). Let's reboot the character properly for the sequel. To do that we need an actress who is hot, very important, but she also needs to be tough, equally important. I think the perfect fit for the new Cover Girl would be Swedish model and actress Mini Anden, best known for playing Carina Miller, spy friend and C.A.T. Squad teammate of Yvonne Strahovski's Sarah Walker on the show CHUCK. Fans of the show can attest to Mini's badassedness. And the look, well... it speaks for itself:

Ronald W. Tadur - Rank: Corporal (E-4) Codename: Dusty (by Jeff) 
When Cody and I discussed the possibility of revisiting the casting call for new Joes for the sequel the first name to come to my mind was Dusty, and it was partly after watching Channing Tatum's performance as Duke in the first film that inspired this thought. I kept thinking he really feels like he (Tatum) deserves to be on the Joe team, but just not as it's leader--I just couldn't see him leading these guys into battle. He certainly has the look of a soldier but he played him kind of naive and green which made me think, hmm, he really would have made a great Dusty. But of course, he can't be Dusty now that he's going to be Duke again, so we have to find someone else.
Now to give you some background on the character. Dusty was another favorite on the TV show he could be extremely naive in who he chooses to trust but the kid had heart and he was always the moral center of the Joes, he was always trying to do the right thing no matter what. Now in the comic book, Dusty gets some new specialties. Not only is he trained in Desert warfare he can speak Arabic and can be used as a tracker and survivalist in the extreme heat. Not to mention the guy can fix your air conditioner and your Fridge when it goes bust. No I'm not kidding you, he's an expert. It would be best to get someone who can pull off the inexperience without being annoying yet also be a skilled fighter and of course has to bring pathos and the moral perspective to the group. I do like Anton Yelchin for the role but he's played in so many pop culture films of this type, I think it may be time to give him a rest, also I'm not fully convinced even after he's played the young Reece from the last Terminator movies that he can someday be a badass, he's just too small. I think after careful consideration I'm going to go from the gut and go with Native Australian Liam Hemsworth for Dusty. He's a big kid, he looks posterboy Military but from the few roles I've seen of him, and they are few, he has an innocence about him that I think would work great for Dusty. Now he's mostly known, at least in this country, for doing Miley Cyrus and that movie of hers, but I think this could be his chance to get out of Miley's drunken shadow and his elder Brother Chris "Thor" Hemsworth by taking on a bad ass role equal to the mighty God of Thunder--Dusty.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sweet 16 and the Final Four Matchups 2011 - Revisited

Well, the first weekend of March Madness is behind us and a lot of brackets have been busted.  We always expect there to be upsets in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but most were still surprised when we reached the Sweet 16 after Sunday Night.  My national championship pick, Notre Dame, was indeed sent packing to the shock of many as well as myself.  Florida State looked as though they belonged among college basketball’s elite.  The Seminole team that showed up to play on Sunday night was not the same team that the committee felt was no more deserving than a 10 seed.  They held Notre Dame to just 30.6% percent shooting.  Anytime it looked as if the Irish were going to stage a comeback, the Seminoles immediately ran in transition and scored a basket or got a foul in the process. A great weekend for the Seminoles and they look to keep it up this weekend.
When looking at the Southwest Region, hardly anyone could predict we would see three double-digit seeds moving on to the Sweet 16.  The committee raised a lot of questions among the sports world when VCU was given a spot in the tournament over their neighbor Virginia Tech.  Well the committee was bailed out of that controversy as VCU took down Georgetown and steam – rolled Purdue, very impressive job by the Rams.  In making matters worse for Virginia Tech, Richmond also made the round of 16 by squeaking by Vanderbilt, but got a gift in playing Morehead St in the 3rd round.  Once again Virginia Tech was left out of the tournament for the 4th year in a row, but two of their neighbor schools are shockingly in the Sweet 16. 
In the Southeast bracket, Saturday night’s game between Pittsburgh and Butler had everyone on their heels.  We all saw last year what Butler and coach Brad Stevens did for the mid major teams.  Not too many people thought Stevens and the Bulldogs could bring their magic from last year into this year.  Well guess what, they once again find themselves surviving into the 2nd weekend of the tournament after defeating the number 1 seed.  Yes, the referee’s calls towards the end of the game were controversial, but the calls were not one sided.  So that’s the end of that and we move forward.
The only real surprise in the West region was that Texas lost a nail-biter to Arizona, a team nobody thought could make it to the Sweet 16.  Rick Barnes has proven once again that he has all the talent in the world, but yet can’t get them over the hump.  Maybe it is time for a coaching change in Austin.  This doesn’t take away from the performance of Arizona’s Derrick Williams who was quite impressive in leading the wildcats to victory.  Duke got back Kyrie Irving, but he saw limited minutes in both games.  After almost blowing a 15 point lead to Michigan, Irving sealed the deal with a crucial basket that put the Devils back in the lead with only seconds remaining.  It will be very interesting to see how many more minutes Irving gets in the game against Arizona. 
In the East, We saw more referee controversy the following day in a great game between North Carolina and Washington.  The non – call on the goal tending at the end wouldn’t have mattered anyways because it was a two point shot.  How much time should have been on the clock?  Well, I don’t really know but maybe Washington shouldn’t have thrown it up from half court to put them in that situation in the first place, but it was a great victory for a young North Carolina team. Ohio St looked like the overall number one seed with a impressive performance in 1st round and a blowout against George Mason in the 2nd round.  A lot of dramatic games overall for the entire 1st weekend and I can promise it’s only going to get better as action kicks off tonight.  My bracket predictions have already been busted so I am going to start from a clean state and go through each region and give my picks once again. 
Ohio St over Kentucky
North Carolina over Marquette
REGIONAL WINNER – North Carolina

Duke over Arizona
Connecticut over San Diego St

Kansas over Richmond
Florida St over VCU

Butler over Wisconsin
BYU over Florida

Duke v. North Carolina – Wow, the two teams have never met in the NCAA tournament but I think this is finally going to be the year that it happens.  Many fans do not want to see this happen, but as a die-hard North Carolina fan, I would love it.  The loss could be devastating for either club if they were to go on and win a national championship.  Coach K would be going for the all time wins record over Bobby Knight.  Wouldn’t that be great for Heels fan if they were the ones who made him wait an entire off season for that to happen. 


Kansas v. BYU – A lot of people are assuming that Kansas would be a lock for the national championship game.  Well, they are going to have to get by a BYU team, who has an unbelievable player in Jimmer Fredette.  I do think the absence of Brandon Davis will be too much for them to handle.


North Carolina v Kansas – Roy Williams will face his former team once again in the national spotlight.  They met in the 2008 national semifinal and Kansas handled the Tarheels, eventually cutting down the nets that year in a great win against Memphis.  These two powerhouse programs will play for it all, but will the young North Carolina team have what it takes especially after the semifinal game against their arch – rivals?  Well, I believe this team has something magical going for them.  They have been a different team ever since Kendall Marshall has taken over the point guard position.  A year ago this team didn’t even make the NCAA tournament, a huge disappointment to all the coaches, players, and fans.  Well………..order is going to be restored and they will be partying all night long on Franklin Street baby!!!!!!

Patrick Warco
Guest Columnist

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GI Joe Casting Call: Part Deux

GI Joe has been in the news recently as Paramount is gearing up to make a sequel to that POS that was released in 2009. I had hoped that after a little time had passed that they would rethink the approach and just reboot again but it seems like they'd rather take the lazy predictable approach and just continue forward with part 2. The first film boasted the worst casting I've seen in quite a long time.Obviously they didn't consult the Bucket and our casting call cause if they had I can guarantee the film would have been much better. Sienna Miller as the Baroness? Please. Marlon Wayans as Ripcord? You have got to be kidding me. The good news is that Stephen "Craptastic" Sommers has been booted from the second one, the bad news is that they hired that guy who directed the Justin Bieber movie. WTF? Director Jon Chu is also known for those Step Up Dance movies. I read an article where he said something like this, "Because of my background in dance and choreography, my love of movement. I can do a lot with an action movie." Right, they do move a lot in dance movies but that doesn't mean you can direct a hard charging military action flick. Although he did say GI Joe needed to be tougher and not kiddie, so he does have that going for him.

So what we are going to do is revisit the mistakes of the first film and what Chu and Paramount should do to at least try and fix the sequel since they are unwilling to start from the top. We are going to add 5 more new Joes to our casting call and 4 new Cobra characters. Cody is going to do a special new casting for one of his favorite Joes, Cover Girl, who was totally botched in the first film. So pay attention this time Paramount, Cody and I know what were talking about we know what makes GI Joe tick so if you truly want a successful and awesome GI Joe movie then you really need to listen to what were saying and make those changes, and hey you've got the best deal we're not gonna charge you a dime. It's a win win for all. (We'll be posting our picks over the next couple days)
 The first film focused mainly on Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) and those God awful accelerator suits.  Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were pretty cool but not in it enough. The romantic plots between Duke and the Baroness (Sienna Miller) and Ripcord and Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) was just god awful. Never have I seen so many pairs of mismatched people in my entire life. And of course Destro (Christopher Eccleston) and Cobra Commander (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) were just--painful. Especially after Cody put Eccleston down perfectly as Dr. Mindbender. He would have been a great one had they gone that route. He's not menacing enough to be Destro even with the helmet. And we're not even going to discuss General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), it just hurts to think about how horrible he was in the movie. So the question is what can we do to turn this shitfest around. Let's start with what they have done right so far. Getting rid of Sommers is a key step, that guy couldn't direct his way out of a paper bag. Adding the writers of Zombieland could be a good move. I did like that movie and thought it was well written and funny, but I'm not sure if that translates into a solid GI Joe action movie. They also are not asking back any of the original cast except for Duke, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. This is certainly an improvement but I hope it doesn't mean that there won't be a Cobra Commander, Destro, Baroness or a well rounded Joe team. I certainly don't trust Paramount with the keys so they are going to have to do quite a bit to convince me they are capable of making a kick ass GI Joe film.

Now in the original Casting Call for GI Joe I chose 8 of my favorites that I thought would be great in the film. Three and a half of those actually made it into the movie: Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes and technically Roadblock even though he was called Heavy Duty (Who was really just a Roadblock ripoff on the show anyway). (You can also check out the 8 Cobra's cast by Cody if you click right here.) I still stand by my call that Kevin McKidd would make a great Duke and Amy Adams would have been a really excellent Scarlett, but I doubt you could get her now since her asking price went up after the Oscars. I'm hopeful that they give Shipwreck a try for the next film since he didn't make it in the first one. Josh Holloway is perfect and he seems to need some work so help a guy out and get him for the next movie as Shipwreck. As for Flint and Lady Jaye, it could be overkill especially if you have Duke and Scarlett but I still think they would be great for any ensemble especially if you get Nathan Fillion as Flint and Morena Baccarin as Lady Jaye. They have such great chemistry together from their stint on Firefly that it would be a shame not to let them sizzle up the screen with their sexual tension.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness Begins 2011

Let the Craziness begin. This year is going to be harder than ever to figure out who is going to make it in the Big Dance and because of this extreme difficulty I have called in a Sports Professional my good friend Patrick to help us sift through the top teams and figure out who is overrated and who is going to possibly win it all. I have a feeling that he may be onto something with these picks.  Enjoy!

The Ides of March is upon us and most are becoming anxious for the start of spring.  People are thinking about the weekend getaways to the beaches, the nice boat rides while enjoying the beautiful sunset, but most of all the warm weather.  Yes, we all love when the frigid temperatures and terrible winter weather is behind us.  Though, let’s not forget the real excitement that accompanies the month of March and the madness that is about to ensue in the world of sports.  It’s the month that is College Basketball’s grand stage.  An event in which so many people want to participate in filling out a bracket that they make their picks based on which mascot is better, or which color uniform they like the most.  When the word “Cinderella” is heard all over the city and everyone knows you aren’t referring to the folk tale.  Every alumni packs their local bars to cheer on their alma mater in hopes their team survives to live another day.  A time when office pools are popping up everywhere and work production hits its lowest point of the year.  CBS offers every game in live streaming over the internet with the infamous “boss button."  Let’s all be serious though, your boss is probably not going to come check to make sure you aren’t watching because he/she is too busy watching it themselves. That’s right ladies and gentleman, MARCH MADNESS is finally here!  

A lot of you have been researching teams and studying the brackets the minute they were released on Selection Sunday.  Some of you might think that your picks are golden and you are confident you have the winning bracket. You probably have the traditional #12 over #5 seed upset that occurs every year, even some have #13 over # 4, #14 over #3, and MAYBE a #15 over a #2. I am going to go through each region and give you some possible upset picks as well as possible Cinderellas, and of course my winner for each region.  This will lead me to my final four and eventual 2011 National Champion!

When CBS released the brackets on Sunday, they first started with the East.  I didn’t even have to look at the other brackets to know the East was going to be the most difficult.  Ohio St., North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky are the top 4 seeds.  Ohio St has been hot all year long, and North Carolina has turned it around since mid – January with the presence of Kendall Marshall at point guard.  Kentucky is riding high after defeating Florida in the SEC championship game, and Syracuse is always a danger with the zone defense. 
Possible 1st round Upsets-

Clemson over West Virginia: Fatigue might be a factor for Clemson after playing in the opening round against UAB on Tues Night…but with a forceful defense and the way they are shooting as of late, Clemson very well could win.
 Marquette over Xavier:  A very popular upset pick from what I've been reading and what people around me are saying…but Xavier has proven they can play come tournament time..if you are going to go with this one…do so with extreme caution…I believe Xavier could knock out Syracuse in the 2nd round.
Possible Cinderella: #7 seed Washington.
East Regional Winner: Ohio St over North Carolina - I believe the experience of Jon Diebler and David Lighty…along with the great post play of the freshman Jared Sullinger is going to be too much for a young North Carolina team….Should be a fantastic Elite 8 matchup.

Possible 1st round upsets –
Oakland over Texas: Yes, Texas has been one of the top teams in the country throughout the year, but they have shown recently with losses to Nebraska and Colorado, that they have vulnerability.  Oakland has played seven teams in that are in the field this year.  This very well could be the upset that have people talking.)
Missouri over Cincinnati: The Tigers have a very athletic team with a Coach that has experience in the tournament.  They have a very aggressive defense that will allow them to shut down the Bearcats offense.
Possible Cinderella - #5 seed Arizona.
West Regional Winner – Duke over UConn -  Let me set the record straight.  Connecticut is a very good team, as they showed by winning five straight games in the Big East Tournament.  Duke is returning two starters, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, and if the Freshman guard Kryie Irving is healthy, this team has a shot to win it all.

Possible 1st Round Upsets –
Richmond over Vanderbilt: Richmond beat Purdue at the beginning of the season which showed people that they can compete with powerhouse schools.  Vanderbilt played in a weak SEC conference this year.
Florida St over Texas A&M: The Seminoles have a great defense and it will be interesting to see if Chris Singleton can rebound from an injury in mid – February.  If he comes back to play, this team could be a dark horse in this region.
Possible Cinderella: #10 seed Florida State.
Southwest Regional Winner: Notre Dame over Kansas -  Ben Hansbrough is the Big East Player of the Year and the three point shooting of Notre Dame has been lights out coming into post season play.  The leadership and intensity within Hansbrough will surprise most and lead this team to the Final Four in Houston.

Possible 1st Round Upsets –
Utah St over Kansas St:  Kansas St has played erratic over the course of the entire season and Utah St. has only lost three games.
Belmont over Wisconsin: The Badgers inability to score as was seen in the Big Ten Tournament when they scored only 33 points spells trouble for this team.  Belmont has five seniors that average double digit points and only lost four games the entire season.
Michigan St over UCLA: Don’t bet against Tom Izzo when it comes time to play in the tournament in March.  They have made back to back Final Fours, including the championship game in 2009. I know they had 14 losses during the season, but the experience of Kalin Lucas and Draymond Green could lead this team to a 3rd consecutive final four.
Possible Cinderella: #10 seed Michigan St.
Southeast Regional Final: Pittsburgh over Michigan St - The Panthers have a well balanced team and might be one of the most complete college teams in the nation.  Jamie Dixon is a great coach and is trying to get over the hump and finally make a Final Four.  Brad Wanamaker is a senior guard who will lead this team to Houston.

Ohio St over Duke
Notre Dame over Ohio St
Notre Dame over Ohio State -  Yes, they will be celebrating a championship in South Bend, Indiana, BUT NOT FOR FOOTBALL!!  Ben Hansbrough will join his brother Tyler, as a National Champion!

Patrick Warco
Guest Columnist