Snoop Dogg

REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – Season 10 (2016)

TRAILER PARK BOYS – Season 10 (2016 Netflix)

There is a reason we missed reviewing Season 10 of Trailer Park Boys when it came out last year.  A dark cloud hung over the season.  Mike Smith (Bubbles) was incorrectly arrested on domestic violence charges; charges that were swiftly dropped.  The damage was done, and this caused Lucy Decoutere to leave the show.  Even though Season 10 was quite great, we just couldn’t produce the gumption to write it up.  Better late than never.  With this long over and resolved, let’s take a fresh look at Season 10.

As usual, much has changed between seasons at Sunnyvale.  Julian now owns the park and is happy with his two girlfriends (Bambi and Dakota — shades of Charlie Sheen here), and his own casino/bar.  The house band:  Bubbles and the Shitrockers.  Ricky runs his Drugs Store, with all the weed and edibles you can imagine.  His daughter Trinity has been raising baby Mo with Jacob Collins, proud parents now ready to get married and make it official.  All this baby stuff has made Lucy itch for another one, so she’s been getting Ricky to bang her non-stop.  J-Roc is raising his son M.C. Flurry, and has brought back a new girlfriend from Mexico.  Randy’s supervising the park, and Lahey has left.  He’s living in a camper in a park next door, and “pacing” his drinking.  He’s using a breathalyzer to keep himself at a steady 0.120 blood alcohol level…but does he have the discipline to maintain that?

There’s a new three-headed nemesis in town.  Fresh out of jail is former park owner Barb Lahey, and she has backup.  Donna/Don (Leigh MacInness) has also been hardened by jail time.  And they’ve brought the tough-as-nails Candy (Candy Palmater), with her bright pink baseball bat to make sure they get their way.  They are determined to get the park back, and it looks like they have the legal means to do so.  So now the boys need lawyer money.

It’s illegal schemes again, one involving ripping off a former caveman, now “Denture King”.  This side-splitting sequence will leave you wondering how far they’re willing to go to save the park.  They need money bad.  Julian’s been letting everyone drink for free at his bar, and nobody’s paying the lot fees.  Finally Julian decides to turn Sunnyvale into a “all-inclusive” vacation resort.  Bubbles puts together an online ad, which goes viral and catches the attention of Jimmy Kimmel himself.

The first half of Season 10 is actually a little dull.  It’s a bit of the same old, same old.  Breaking the law, almost getting caught.  Bad luck and dumb fuck-ups.  Once the special guests arrive, the season takes on a whole new life.

 

A fleet of gangsta cars pulls into the park.  It’s Snoop Dogg, Doug Benson, and Tom fucking Arnold!  Snoop and Doug are there for the “all you can smoke” weed, but Tom has come for the superfan experience.  Turns out he’s a huge fan of the show (remember, Trailer Park Boys is a “documentary” on Julian!) and has a bucket list of things he wants to do at Sunnyvale:  driving the Shitmobile, sleeping in Bubbles’ shed, and banging Lucy!  “I can’t believe it!  We’re in Sunnyvale fucking Trailer Park!  I’ve seen every episode of your show, man!  It’s even shittier in real life!  I love it!”

As for Ricky, he’s happy just to “get high as fuck with Snoopy Doggy Dogg Dogg”!

As you can imagine, the presence of Snoop and his posse leads to many hilarious scenes and encounters.  Will J-Roc lose his shit completely upon meeting his idol?  Will Ricky be able to say Snoop’s name right?  The one thing fans would have expected out of a Snoop Dogg guest shot is seeing him rap with J-Roc or Bubbles, and you won’t be disappointed.  Episode 8 “The Super Bling Cowboy” has the musical scene you’ve been hoping for.  In fact it’s safe to say that Season 10 changes completely upon meeting Snoop.  The arc of the season takes a back seat to the guest stars, and some of that big star millionaire money might resolve a few plots.  However, at the same time, there is some ambitious writing going on.  Early on, we learn that Jim Lahey has a secret that he’s been hiding all along, that only Barb knows about.  This secret provides Barb some blackmail leverage, but it’s also setting up a storyline that will run for at least three seasons including this one.  Jim’s secret was explored in Season 11, but not fully resolved, presumably leaving it to also impact Season 12, coming in 2018.  (Post your fan theories in the comments!)  This kind of multi-season story arc has never been attempted on Trailer Park Boys before.

Keeping a show like the highly formulaic Trailer Park Boys fresh can’t be easy after 10 years.  Snoop, Doug Benson and Tom Arnold helped distinguish Season 10 as one of the most fun.  You can always count on Ricky, Julian and Bubbles to put themselves in some pretty ridiculous situations, and usually drag everybody else into their web of shit.  The guest stars offer a temporary pause to that, and allow our characters to have a bit more fun than usual.  And when they have fun, so does the audience.  However the ending has a sad note, accompanied by a familiar melancholy song.  It’s a strangely emotional denouement.  “There’s a voice, that keeps on calling me.  Down the road, where I always seem to be.  Every stop I make, I see my old friend…”

Maybe tomorrow, they’ll want to settle down…in the end, it’s about the characters, who are just a big family we’ve now known for 10 seasons.  Randy said it best:

“I love you Ricky!  I love you like a brother. I don’t like you at all, but I love you!”

4/5 stars

 

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REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – Season 11 (2017)

TRAILER PARK BOYS – Season 11 (2017 Netflix)

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.

4/5 stars

 

REVIEW: Trailer Park Boys – Season 9 (Netflix)

NEW RELEASE

TPB9 BOXTRAILER PARK BOYS – Season 9 (2015 Netflix)

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!)

SNOOP DOGG WITH BUBBLES

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.

HUNTING FOR SAMSQUANCH

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.

3/5 stars

REVIEW: Method of Mayhem – Methods of Mayhem (1999)

METHODS OF MAYHEM – Methods of Mayhem (1999 Universal)

Tommy Lee’s vision was to marry guitar riffs to sick beats, and he quit Motley Crue in order to do it.  As his first album outside of the band he helped make famous, Lee enlisted many guest performers and producers: Kitchener Ontario’s own Scott Humphrey at the console, with Mixmaster Mike (Beastie Boys), George Clinton, Kid Rock, The Crystal Method, U-God (Wu-Tang Clan), Lil’ Kim, Snoop Dogg, Fred Durst, Phil X (Bon Jovi), Chris Chaney, and even Randy Jackson on bass.  Tommy also teamed up with a guy named TiLo and called him the other half of Methods of Mayhem.

Guest appearances like these don’t do much for me.  Methods of Mayhem must stand or fall on its songs.  Sick beats are one thing, but in my world you need songs too.  Could Tommy Lee and Scott Humphrey deliver?  Fresh out of jail with new ideas, Tommy set to work.

Tommy was clearly relishing the chance to act all gangsta after his much-publicized arrest and incarceration for assault.  The album opens with a recording from L.A. County Jail, and Tommy Lee trying to make a collect phone call.  Then the heavy riff of “Who the Hell Cares” crashes.  It’s extremely reminiscent of the kind of guitar riffs that Motley Crue were writing for their 1994 self-titled magnum opus.  I like Snoop Dogg’s trademark smoove style on it.  To me it’s not about the rapping, but the snaky and stomping guitars. In honestly, “Who the Hell Cares” sounds more like Motley Crue than a lot of New Tattoo!  This melds straight into “Hypocritical” which has a similar “Motley Rap” sound.  “Anger Management” (an obvious reference to Tommy’s personal issues) has yet another one of those heavy Motley riffs, making me question just how much Tommy wrote on that 1994 album.  Quite a bit, I’ll wager.  As much as I wanted to hate the album, I can’t.

The single “Get Naked” (with Clinton, Durst, Mixmaster Mike and Lil’ Kim) is really annoying.  Tommy references his porno tape, whoop de do.  This song sucks, especially lyrically.   Thankfully “New Thing” with Kid Rock is better, even though Kid uses the guest appearance to boast that he’s gone “five times platinum”.  Musically the song sounds like one of the ballads on Generation Swine…but marginally better.

“Proposition Fuck You” makes me laugh, but I’m easily amused.  This one is just straight rap, no rock. Cool techno hooks on “Crash” helps the song work its way into the skull.  I get the impression that this kind of song is where Motley Crue were trying to go on the aforementioned Generation Swine, but for some reason this is much better.  Same with “Metamorphosis” which sounds like, but surpasses most tunes on Generation Swine!

Milking his jail time once again, “Narcotic” opens with a phone recording with information about parolee’s upcoming drug tests…and then the sound of a joint burning.  It’s a tiring cliche.  “Forget about rehab! Gimme another one! The justice of my ass!”  These are some of the lyrics.  “Mr. Onsomeothershits” (ugh, come on) and “Spun” end the album on a so-so note.  Lots of beats and sounds, not a lot of songwriting.

It’s a rollercoaster affair, Methods of Mayhem.  It’s much better than you’d expect, but when it sucks, it sucks!

MOM ICONThe CD is enhanced, with screensavers, music videos, and a brief thing called “Making of Mayhem” which sheds little light on the actual creative process.  It’s no more than just a collage of people posing for the camera in the studio, unfortunately.  You will learn nothing about the making of the Methods of Mayhem album by watching the “Making of Mayhem” featurette.  Don’t you hate stuff like that?

3/5 stars

MOVIE REVIEW: Snoop Lion – Reincarnated (2013)

SNOOP LION – Reincarnated (2013 Vice films)

Directed by Andy Capper

What the hell?  It’s not April 1.  Are you on the wrong site?

Nope, it’s me, LeBrain.  And today we’re going to be talking about a Snoop Lion movie.  Snoop Lion, aka the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg.

It may surprise you to learn that Snoop Dogg/Lion entertains me.  It was one of my old staff guys, Matty K, who exposed me to Snoop’s music.  I enjoyed the humour in the lyrics and his smoove voice.  He’s funny. And, let’s face it, who didn’t think he kicked ass as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch?

Reincarnated is a documentary that chronicles Snoop’s transformation from gangsta to peaceful Rasta.  This process included a visit to Jamaica, to record his first ever Reggae album (Reincarnated) with such talented artists as Bunny Wailer, Damien Marley and Stewart Copeland of The Police.  (Snoop: “We got the drummer from The fuckin’ Po-lice!”)   He also had the last surviving Wailer.  The creative process of the album is observed, and it’s always fascinating to me, to watch songs evolve.  Snoop’s singing voice does well with Reggae.  He is a natural fit, and he had some damn good guidance there in Kingston.

Snoop discusses his early adult life as a pimp bluntly and honestly, but says that he wasn’t comfortable with that lifestyle and image any longer after his friend Tupac Shakur was killed.  The night Tupac died is described in full detail; a heavy moment in the film.  After this, Snoop decided on a change of lyrical direction, under the guidance of Master P of No Limits records.  Louis Farrakhan became a guiding force to Snoop at this time, and Snoop was inspired by the Nation of Islam to clean up his act.  The process of transformation led him to many moments of epiphany, but the death of his friend Nate Dogg in 2011 really hit him hard.

I won’t lie to you, there’s a shit-ton of weed in this movie.  One memorable scene involves a trip up a mountain with some local Rastas (where they grow the herb) to smoke the herb.  While climbing down the mountain, Snoop’s cousin falls down laughing, and can barely stand, having smoked so much.  You will even see Bunny Wailer smoking a pipe made out of a carrot, I shit you not.  It’s there, it’s part of it.  If that’s not something you need to see, fair enough.

As fascinating, sincere and transformative the movie seems, I did wonder if Snoop has maintained his Rasta values and practices?  Or if this too was a phase?  In researching for this review I found that Bunny Wailer has since accused Snoop of “outright fraudulent use” of Rastafari.  This issue comes up in the film itself in a segment with Bunny.  He does not seem to like the commercialization of Rastafarian culture, through popular music, images and style.  It seems that since the movie, he lumps Snoop into that category.

Be that as it may, I’m only going to review the film, regardless of that controversy.  I enjoyed it, quite a bit actually, and I’m putting the album on my Amazon wishlist.

4/5 stars

Part 207: Make ‘Em Say UHHH

RECORD STORE TALES Part 207:  Make ‘Em Say UHHH

Working in a used CD store, not only did we get to see lots of cool stuff, but we got to look inside.  Anything that appeared remotely interesting, cool, amusing, or weird, you could open up the booklet and have a look.  Some of the oddest things that amused us were the ads inside releases from No Limit Records.  No Limit is a rap label.  They heavily cross-promoted all their artists, and their roster once boasted Snoop Dogg himself for a couple albums.  You’d see ads for all their albums (all the art obviously done by the same people), and…sometimes…an ad for the talking Master P doll!  “Make ‘Em Say Uhhh!”, as seen below…

Uhhh! Na na, na na.  Uhhh!  Na na, na na.

Next time on Record Store Tales….

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