On Friday’s LeBrain Train we discussed the Top Animated Films of all time. The National Film Board of Canada came in with “The Sweater”, a classic short about a young Habs fan who receives a dreaded Leafs jersey instead. It’s beautiful to look it, wonderful to watch, and heartfelt. It’s only 10 minutes long so please enjoy “The Sweater”.
A few weeks ago, Mrs. LeBrain was on her way home and she stopped at her regular Tim’s to get her evening coffee. Unfortunately the OHL team the Erie Otters were in town, were thirsty, and arrived at Tim’s first. Standing in line were about 30 big-kid coffee orders waiting to be made.
Unwilling to go home without her Tim’s, and already planning to take a cab the rest of the way, she came up with a plan to cut the line.
Within minutes her cab had arrived…and she was ordering her coffee in the drive-thru. Meanwhile inside, Tim’s were were still taking orders from the Otters’ defence.
Pretty clever, I’d say!
It’s an obscure but not unknown fact: I kind of like the Boston Bruins. I don’t do it just to be a contrarian; I genuinely like Zdeno Chara and enjoy the team. I especially liked them when Rene Rancourt used to sing the national anthem. When the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t playing, I’m “allowed” to cheer for whoever I want. Obviously I was cheering for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.
The day after the Bruins lost to the St. Louis Blues, I found the paper below taped to mt computer screen at work. Please note the misspelling of the word “your”. Pointing this out to the gloating perpetrator, I sort of turned my loss into a small victory!
Thank you Netflix for saving the Trailer Park Boys. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but ever since the Boys returned to Sunnyvale with the excellent Season 8 (remember Orangie?), the show has continued unhindered by cast defections. Season 11 is the first without Lucy Decoutere (Lucy) and Jonathan Torrens (J-Roc). After already losing such favourites as Trevor (Mike Jackson) and Ray (Barrie Dunn), I can understand why some fans may have said enough’s enough. Every show has its peak. For some that would be the first three seasons of Trailer Park Boys. For others, we have rolled with the changes. Not all fans were unanimous in the acceptance of newer characters such as Col. Dancer, Don/Donna, and Candy. For this season, those characters have been dropped. The core park residents are now Ricky, Julian and Bubbles accompanied by Randy, Lahey, Sarah, Cory, Jacob and Trinity. Little baby Motel is around, as is Barb Lahey.
Continuing a storyline from Season 10, Julian has vanished. Bubbles is doing well now, having gone legit selling his own brand of organic pizza sauce. It’s a hit, and a restaurant owner is willing to pay wholesale. He has the whole park working together growing vegetables, contributing to the well-being of Sunnyvale and its residents. All is well, but Bubbles does miss Julian. Jim Lahey is sober and supervising, having truly changed this time. He and Randy are planning to get married, while Randy is vying to get on the police force. The absence of Lucy and J-Roc is explained satisfactorily.
When Ricky and Bubbles (now mobile with his own little truck) discover that Julian is now a lobster fisherman (or is he?) living in a shipping container, they go to confront him. Ultimately, Julian’s return brings what it always does: crime back into the park. Snoop Dogg calls and wants weed, and lots of it. Julian decides to hijack Bubbles’ pizza sauce business and convert it to a grow op. As usual, Bubbles is driven near to the breaking point as the stress builds.
In Season 10, there was a revelation that Lahey may in fact be Ricky’s real father. This is fully addressed in Season 11, via a lightsaber dual (hockey sticks and brooms subbing in for laser swords) and dialogue taken directly from The Empire Strikes Back. Director Bobby Farrelly (Bobby fucking Farrelly!) must be given credit for the perfect Star Wars homage in Episode 4, “Darth Lahey”, right down to the action beats. Brilliant stuff — a highpoint episode for this show.
There are cameos by celebrities and past characters. Look for Susan Kent from 22 Minutes, and NHLer Nathan MacKinnon, first overall draft pick and rookie of the year. A few old adversaries have returned as well, to cause problems for our three lovable idiots. Speaking of idiots, Ricky and Julian manage to bring the stupidly to new levels, but simultaneously, Ricky has a Yoda-like ability to trick cops. Meanwhile, they have also managed to keep up with modern technology. Cell phones, cameras and GPS now figure into the plots. There are references to the Walking Dead and changing times. This manages to keep the series feeling fresh.
After 11 seasons, it is understood that a show rarely hits the highs it once did. Season 11 is a worthy effort; not in the Top Five, but certainly good enough at this point.
GETTING MORE TALE #521: DVD Recorders
Obsolete and outdated technology can be fascinating to look at. For a long while, it looked like everything was going to go DVD. Even music. There was talk of box sets by bands such as Led Zeppelin or the Beatles that could fit the entire catalogue on one disc. The Digital Versatile Disc all but completely took over from the VHS tape for viewing, so why not for simple household TV recording too? Enter the DVD recorder. This was not the same as a DVD burner for your computer. It was a standalone unit for your home entertainment system, connected to your cable box and ready to go. As you can guess, it failed gloriously. Why? Uncle John’s daily calendar tells us it came down to cost:
While it is considered obsolete now, the DVD recorder had one slight advantage over the typical PVR that you can rent today from Rogers Cable. That is keeping a recording permanently. I’ll give you a great example.
In 1994, my future father-in-law won tickets to go see the Toronto Maple Leafs during the playoffs facing off against the Sharks in San Jose. My future wife came with him, bearing a sign that said “DOUGIE G. FOR PRIME MINISTER”. This is of course a reference to legendary Toronto Maple Leaf center Doug Gilmour. Then my wife saw the unmistakable Canadian hockey broadcaster Don “Grapes” Cherry in the lobby, with his colourful suit and camera crew. She shouted out “GRAPES!” Nobody else in California would have known him as “Grapes” so he knew it was a fellow Canuck. He saw the Dougie G. sign — his favourite player from Kingston, Ontario. He asked her to come on down. That’s how my wife got on Hockey Night in Canada back in 1994. We have a copy of this on video tape, but when the game was re-run a couple years ago, we recorded it including the part with my wife on our Rogers PVR.
It was nice to have it digitally but we always knew we’d lose it if the PVR busted. There’s no way to retrieve a recording from it, according to Rogers. So when it finally kicked the bucket, we lost the hockey recording. No matter; we’ll just wait for the next re-run.
If we only had an old-fashioned DVD recorder, however, we’d have a hard copy that we could have kept safe and sound forever!
It is with great sorrow that I have finally come to review Season 9 of the Trailer Park Boys, released earlier in the spring. After the unexpectedly hilarious Season 8, I had only expected more from Season 9. The 8th season left us with so much promise. Not only had the show bounced back with one of its best years yet, but some fresh ideas and characters promised to rejuvenate it going forward. Unfortunately the ball was fumbled.
Even though they had written in a bottomless supply of lookalike “Orangies”, Ricky’s pet goldfish and one of the highlights of the last season, Orangie was essentially dropped in Season 9. On the bright side, Ricky replaced Orangie in his heart with a goat he found in a barn he spends some time living in. He names the goat Willy.
Even though the character of Don/Donna was a major new introduction last year, Don has been dropped (supposedly travelling, according to the online-only Season 8.5). This leaves Donna, unexplained and creepy, working in a rub-and-tizzug based out of Julian’s old trailer! He/she works with T, who doesn’t particularly care for his job. T much prefers driving his Tiz-axi.
Even though Sebastian Bach returned at the end of Season 8 for a rip-rolling close, there are no celebrity cameos in Season 9. (Although with the recent announcement and photos of Snoop Dogg appearing in Season 10, all will be remedied soon!)
The premise of the season goes thusly: Julian and Ricky are out of jail again, to find the park has been turned into a senior’s residence called Sunnyvale Villas! Jim Lahey, sober as a judge, has retired and hired ex-S.A.S. officer Col. Leslie Dancer, a “highly decorated war hero”, to run the park and enforce the rules. Liquor is forbidden. And so is Ricky. And pointedly, only Ricky.
Bubbles runs a local business in the park, a food stand that serves Taco Tuesday pretty much all week, because the seniors don’t know what day it is most of the time. Julian returns very disappointed, that Bubbles could let the park turn to shit so quickly. It’s not really Bubs’ fault though, since Col. Dancer (a former alcoholic himself) runs the place like an army barracks. But there’s something fishy about Col. Leslie Dancer. His war stories don’t add up. Was he really a Colonel?
The season takes a good number of episodes to get going. Even the awaited birth of Trinity’s first child (Ricky’s first grandchild) was underwhelming. While a good number of laughs comes from this situation, such as Ricky having to buy baby supplies, it ultimately just leads to more confrontations between Rick and industrial cock inhaler George Green, who is still banging Lucy. Corey and Jacob remain a funny team, but J-Roc is sidelined by a son he never knew. Unfortunately this too was an unfunny situation that didn’t do anything for the season or characters. Only after the boys went hunting for a Sam-Squanch did I really have some belly-laughs.
Ricky’s best line: “I’m in charge of fuckin’ over the park when it gets appraisaled today. As luck would half it, it’s piss jug season.”
As usual, the ultimate stakes for the residents is control of the park. This means getting Lahey back on the liquor, and subverting Col. Dancer. Does Julian have a plan, and if so can he pull it off? You’ll have to make it to the end of the season in order to find out. Unfortunately this is something that some of my friends have failed to do.
While Season 9 ended better than it started, I was left confounded by the unfunny episodes and storylines. I think Season 9 could actually be the first truly disappointing season. Here’s hoping for better in the 10th.
TRAILER PARK BOYS – Season 8 (2014 Netflix)
Thank Santa’s tits! It was with tremendous joy that I watched the long-awaited Season 8 from the Trailer Park Boys this past weekend. I watched five episodes on Saturday night, and five more Sunday morning. Then on Monday, I re-watched my favourite episode, “Orangie’s Pretty Fuckin’ Tough”. As a long time fan, to say that I am pleased is an understatement. I am thrilled. Knowing in advance that a couple characters weren’t coming back (Ray and Trevor are no longer on the show), everything I wanted out of the show was there. There are even a couple new characters, who look like they may be important in the already finished Season 9.
As if there was no pause at all, Season 8 feels like classic Trailer Park Boys, immediately. Some new characters are introduced, such as Don, who joins Randy as the new Assistant Supervisor. “Officer Highcock”, another new face, is no George Green. He’s smart. But fear not, George Green is back too, although Lahey is approaching retirement.
Trinity is tending bar at Julian’s new in-park club/gym, “The Dirty Dancer”. Bubbles is building his “Shed & Breakfast” for humans and cats. Julian and Ricky have numerous schemes on the go. Ricky’s growing dope at a mad rate, and refining it into honey oil, by special order of Sebastian Bach. He’s also realized that he can use hash as currency almost anywhere: on the bus, at the hardware store, or the dentist’s office. Seems just about everybody accepts Ricky’s $2 hash coins!
There’s also plenty of shady horsecockery. Cyrus and Sam Losco are working together again, and they want to buy the park and bulldoze it to the ground. The only solution is for Julian and Barb Lahey to work together to keep it. Needing capital, Julian sets into motion businesses and schemes galore. Steve Rogers returns for a hell of a bachelor party at Julian’s bar, attracting the attention of the cops.
Ricky’s life is complicated by some unexpected news. The only thing holding him together is Orangie. My buddy Chris and I agree on this: the best element of Season 8 has to be Ricky’s goldfish, Orangie. Ricky loves to party with him, and takes him everywhere in a bowl with ORANGIE scrawled on it in magic marker. Ricky’s car now has a sun roof (of sorts), which functions as Orangie’s swimming pool after it rains. Ricky wakes one morning to find Orangie unresponsive: “Orangie, you finally passed out in the pool, did you buddy?” When Bubbles asks what happened, Ricky explains: “We got fucked up on hash tokes and shooters. Orangie’s pretty fucking tough. Woke up this morning with my fucking pants down and my hands on my cock, thanks to Orangie.” Now it’s up to Bubbles to replace Orangie before Ricky realizes the fish is dead. As if minding a goldfish isn’t enough, Ricky also decides to turn his trailer into a hockey rink.
Bubbles’ doesn’t have it easy either. Due to a complex series of events regarding Steve Rogers, hookers, crabs, and Bubbles’ shed(s), he goes nucking futs at a drug store and is sentenced to community service. Where Ricky has Orangie for support, Bubbles turns to his new puppets…Bobby Turkelino, and little Ricky! And you know what happens when you mix Bubbles and puppets.
The story arc in this season was hilarious, with only one dud in the bunch (I’ll let you figure out which). Some story points hint at what may be coming in Season 9, and that has me anticipating more hilarity. Hopefully, Orangie will make an appearance in Season 9. With a few more trips to the pet store, Bubbles should be able to make that happen. Trailer Park Boys is off to a hell of a new start, and with the progress made in Season 8, I see no need to stop.
Review by LeBrain with contributions from Chris Thuss.
My series of Trailer Park Boys TV reviews:
Part one: Seasons 1 & 2
Part two: Season 3
Part three: Season 4
Supplimental: “Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself”
Part four: Season 5
Part five: Season 6
Part six: Season 7
Part seven: “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys”
RECORD STORE TALES Part 246: Dancing Steve
One of our best customers at the original store was Dancing Steve. I’ll get to why he’s named Dancing Steve in a minute, but I first met Steve when I started at the store. Steve would come in or call looking for various cassettes (never CDs), and put them on hold until he had $150 or $200 worth, and buy them all in one shot. That’s just how Steve rolled. Normally we would never stockpile so much inventory for a customer for so long, but Steve spent so much money and was so pleasant that it was a special arrangement just for him.
Steve would call looking for songs. I can remember putting a Gina Vannelli tape on hold for Steve, and I also remember him looking for Rod Stewart’s then-recent song “This”. I found that song on Rod’s latest, the excellent A Spanner in the Works. It was always so nice dealing with him, he was so friendly, and even if we didn’t see him for two months at a time, he was uber-reliable.
I knew Steve was a hockey fan as he would often wear a Kitchener Rangers hat or jacket. What I did not know was that Steve was legendary among Rangers fans! Steve often wrote (and I think he occasionally still does) long letters to the editor of the local newspaper, cheering on our Rangers and offering his strategic advice.
T-Rev and I found ourselves at a Rangers game one weekend. I don’t remember the circumstances. We may have got the tickets for free, but neither of us were particularly fans of the game back then. The Rangers scored, the crowd cheered! Then, T-Rev noticed some commotion in the seats of one corner of the auditorium. To our left and down was a man in a Rangers jacket and hat, dancing. It wasn’t a sophisticated dance, it was a bit of an awkward shuffle, in that big warm Rangers jacket. The crowd loved it, cheering him on! It was none other than Steve, our Steve. I found out his actual nickname in town was Dancing Steve, because he had seasons tickets and rarely missed a game. Steve would get up and dance any time something good happened: a goal, a power play, whatever!
To this day, I feel cool that a local legend like Dancing Steve was one of our earliest, most loyal customers. In fact we didn’t lose Steve until 1997, when we discontinued carrying cassettes. Steve didn’t make the transition over to CD. He was crushed when T-Rev had to tell him we weren’t going to be selling tapes anymore.
I have been to a couple Rangers game since, but not seen Steve. I know he still goes though, as I’ve heard tell that Dancing Steve dances on at the Aud. I would like to dedicate this chapter to Steve, an example of a jolly good fellow if there ever was one!
TOMORROW: Something exciting.
Sausagefest is an annual all-dude, all-meat, countdown of rock. Five of us from the old Record Store attended! This year, there were 110 songs (75 countdowns plus 35 “tributes”). #1 was Max Webster — “Toronto Tontos”. Other artists who made the countdown included Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Rush, and Tenacious D among others. For the history of this event, check out Record Store Tales Part 30.
And of course, thanks to Tom our host, and Uncle Meat, Seb and Dr. Dave for the music.
Uncle Meat will be providing me with the full track list. Stay tuned for that post, too!
“Knowledge of non-knowledge is power. “ – Dean Murdoch
FUBAR II (2010 Alliance, directed by Michael Dowse)
Most sequels aren’t worth owning. Fubar II is. Plus, it comes with a bonus disc: Fubar, the original complete film. This was a total surprise to me. I had no idea it was going to be in there. I’m a little bummed that I bought the original film on blu shortly before this. I gifted it to my buddy Cliff at work who also adores the exploits of Terry and Deaner.
Synopsis: 5 years after surgery, Deaner is celebrating these years of good health. Even though an eviction is looming, he and Terry have no real worries. During a drunken house-trashing party, Tron tells them they have jobs waiting in Fort McMurray. Terry and Dean pack up their meager belongings and head to work in the oilsands.
As with the first Fubar, tragedy must eventually strike. Terry and Dean come to blows over a girl, Trish, who Terry has moved in with. Dean gets some bad news, and Terry gets even more unexpected news from Trish. For a while, Fubar II becomes much darker than the first film.
Unbelievably, a stroke of scripting genius turns Dean’s tragedy into triumph. This ending was as satisfactory as it gets. I ended Fubar II with a huge smile on my face. This sequel does something very unusual: it is funnier than the original, it has more emotion than the original, yet it doesn’t copy it. I have to say this is one of the best sequels I’ve seen.
The footage of the oilsands is really cool. It looks like a cross between Vegas and the Mustafar system – a whole other planet. One thing about this movie, you can tell it had a budget this time, compared to the original. There are some really nice looking shots, and the movie itself looks great. The graininess has been replaced by slick production. The documentary style has been mostly dropped in favour of more traditional storytelling, although a few interview segments are scattered within.
For music geeks, Justin Hawkins of The Darkness has a vocal cameo near the end. You’ll know it when you hear it! The movie also features excellent tunage by Ronnie James Dio & Black Sabbath, The Gun, and Dean’s own classic “Whale Hunter”.
I mentioned the bonus disc with the entire original film, bonus features intact. Other special bonuses in this set include a ton of deleted scenes. While some were overly long and you can seen why they were edited or pared down, others add to the story and comedy. There were several regarding Dean’s illness that might have worked well in the movie. One, “Mixing Meats,” was a shorty that just had me howling. Also, like the original film, this one comes with a commentary from Michael Dowse and others. Better though will be the in-character commentary by Terry and Dean. This was a real treat on the original film, and I’m sure this one will be too. I’ll have to check that out on next viewing.
Pick this up. Just give’r.