Ninja Turtles New Jersey Art and Thoughts On The New TMNT Movie

Artist and New Jersey lover Scott Modrzynski of Mojo’s Work, has quite and interesting life story. You can check it out for yourself, but he’s got a ton of love and respect for New Jersey AND The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, two forces combined and strikingly illustrated in his TMNT/New Jersey art featured here. What a killer combo from Scott! He’s got so much more at his site with his NJ Badass series which are mash-ups of our state AND characters like Deadpool, Scooby Doo, Mario & Luigi, Superman, and Spiderman just to name a few! Now, onto my thoughts on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, in theaters now.

Don’t call this a comeback. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been here for years and haven’t really ever gone away. Nickelodeon grabbing full rights to the property a few years ago has been a dream for fans. Since the latest cartoon series premiered, and now the new feature film is hitting theaters, we’re in the midst of Turtle fever all over again with new toys, special edition sodas and perhaps the most logical, pizza tie-ins.

Michael Bay has modified a few details of the Turtles here and there, most notably, the look of our beloved pizza devourin’, Foot Clan fightin’ Turtles. What scares me is that regardless of what true die-hard Turtles fans feel about this film, if it does big business at the box office, which, from a curiosity standpoint it’s basically guaranteed to, Bay’s alterations will probably stick around for the long run.

Very early on, well before critics actually saw this film, I was put off by promotional photos and rumors. Now that people are finally seeing it and tweeting such flat, lackluster feedback about the movie, I’m even less compelled to go to the theater to see it. I can wait for this one to hit Redbox. Meanwhile, I’ll watch my DVDs of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film from 1990 which remains one of the best movies of the superhero genre as well as The Secret of the Ooze which is still badass too!

I remember seeing the 1990 original in the theater as well as the sequel, and I enjoyed both films immensely. The only minor issue I had with the original was the casting of April O’Neil. From a performance standpoint I had no complaints about Judith Hoag, but I couldn’t help feeling that there was a more appropriate actress for the role.

At the time, the ’80s were still lingering around and a logical choice for April would’ve been an actress who starred in one of the quintessential kids movies from the ’80s. I always felt that Jersey’s own, Kerri Green, who played Andi in The Goonies, would’ve been an awesome April O’Neil. If anything, she would’ve embodied the cartoon April perfectly. Think about it. This leads me to the hotly debated issue of Megan Fox. Stunt casting at its best.

Having Angelina Jolie shoved down our throats for so many years was always a similar topic of discussion for me. I was never so crazy-obsessed with Jolie from a physical standpoint nor was I ever seduced by any of her films. Conversely, Megan Fox is super hot and it’s a near fact that her acting ability is not on par with other actresses of her age range, but admiring her (not her wacky thumbs) might be the lone reason for me eventually giving Ninja Turtles a watch.  

Admittedly, I was even a fan of TVs The Next Mutation when it first aired, mainly because it was cool to see a live action offshoot of the TMNT movies, no matter how Power Rangers-esque it was. Judging by what I’ve seen and heard about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, I might just be better off watching my bootlegs of The Next Mutation this weekend!

Head over to our friend The Sewer Den to read his expert opinion on the 2014 Ninja Turtles film:
http://www.thesewerden.com/2014/08/tmnt-2014-movie-review.html

Kickstart “Pretty Fine Things” A New Jersey Horror Film by Ryan Scott Weber

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv4ZX18BfIY?rel=0]
From fellow Jersey guy, Ryan Scott Weber, the writer and director who brought us the Mary Horror trilogy, comes a new independent horror/thriller called Pretty Fine Things. Here’s the basic plot as highlighted at the films Kickstarter page:
“When the search for a missing girl turns up empty, her friends encounter 3 serial killers that may be involved in her disappearance.”
The movie will be fully shot in New Jersey and judging by the teaser and the promotional shots, this one is sure to be creepy as hell! The campaign ends on 8/19 so you only have a short time to be a part of this film. There are several tiers of donations available for everyones price range that offer different incentives. Some options include an official t-shirt while others include the opportunity to actually appear in the movie itself.
Ryan is on a mission to make this the best production from Weber Pictures yet, but they’ll need a decent budget to work with first. For more information on Weber Pictures, visit http://weberpicturescompany.com/ or you can go directly to the Kickstarter page listed above.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol. 81: Last Vegas

It never fails! It feels like every damn thing I watch has some sort of New Jersey reference. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but sometimes it feels pretty surreal. Apologies in advance, but Wyoming doesn’t get that same kind of noise.

Anyway, you ever see one of those, holy shit we’re getting old so we need to stop acting like a bunch of stuffy old men and go out and have a good time movies? It’s a very specific genre. Last Vegas is that type of movie, but set in Vegas. Recently I watched it – Miss Sexy Armpit’s choice.

Last Vegas is the Justice League of retiree-aged actors. It’s got DeNiro, NJ-born Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. All of these guys enhance the movie in their own way. Many times, throwing a bunch of famous actors into the mix is a recipe for disaster, but in this case, it worked.

A group of old friends from Brooklyn, now in their 60s, get the gang back together. It’s not just to throw back a few beers at their favorite old watering hole either. The setup centers around the group’s last single friend, Billy (Douglas), who proposes to his girlfriend half his age and wants his old buddies from the neighborhood to be there for his wedding…in Vegas.


It turns out getting everybody together isn’t easy. These guys are leading their own lives and settled in to their respective homes in various locations. One of them, Archie (Morgan Freeman), has been long retired from the Air Force and lives with his family in Englewood, NJ. He feels like he’s living in a prison, overprotected by his family as if he was a toddler. Archie has to sneak out the window of his ground floor bedroom to meet his friends before heading to the airport. He also conjures up a story about being on a church retreat to stave off his son from becoming overly concerned. Ultimately, he arrives in Vegas armed with $15,000 from his pension fund ready to play blackjack.

In Sam’s (Kevin Kline) case, he’s lost his sex drive. After learning of his upcoming trip to Vegas, his wife gives him a Viagra and a condom and basically tells him to do as he pleases while he’s on his trip in hopes of reviving his libido. So he’s got a free pass. Meanwhile, Paddy (DeNiro), is grumpy and bitter after losing his wife years earlier. He can’t be bothered by much of anything, but with some coercion from Archie, he grudgingly agrees to join them on the trip.

Some old bad blood resurfaces. There’s a bachelor party. A new love interest comes into play. There’s a few dramatic moments which made the film take a serious turn, but overall it didn’t get bogged down in them too much. Some of the films best moments include Morgan Freeman’s jibber-jabber after a slew of Red Bull and vodkas, and while on his mission to use his prophylactic device, Sam (Kevin Kline), mistakenly hits on a transvestite Madonna impersonator from New Jersey.

Sam is scoping out the ladies at a bar when he noticed a possible hottie from behind. Without even seeing her face, and the fact that he was told not to wear his glasses to appear younger, he started coming on to this seemingly attractive woman. All he saw was the back of a head with ’80s hair. Once he realized who he was actually hitting on his reaction was priceless:

SAM: “You’re a…Trans…planted New Yorker?”
MAURICE: “New Jersey.”

The actor who plays Turtle in Entourage, Jerry Ferrara, basically reprises his Turtle role again here, but he was more endearing when he was chubbier. Also look out for hottie April Billingsley, not sure if she’s related to Peter Billingsley, but hey, it’s Hollywood, the nepotism capital of the world.

I wouldn’t say I adored Last Vegas, by any stretch, but it was a mildly fun time and it was exactly what it claimed to be. Miss Sexy Armpit wanted to see it, and I definitely prefer something like this over some dumb romantic comedy with Zac Efron or Tad Hamilton. It was more than worth it for me considering all these great Jersey moments. Even in the wrap up Atlantic City is mentioned as an option while rattling off places they could go next year. There’s not much of a shot that a sequel in Atlantic City will go into production, but if that happened, I’d be way more interested in seeing that now that I’m familiar with the characters. If any of this sounds appealing to you, give it a go. I rented it from Redbox, but I’m sure we’re not too far away from it premiering on HBO.

JUST FRIENDS: 25 Days of SHITMAS

I’m excited to announce my participation in SHIT MOVIE FEST’S 25 Days of SHITMAS 2013! Tom over at Shit Movie Fest asked if I’d like to be a part of the festivities this year and I was honored! Naturally, I couldn’t throw myself into the mix without discussing a film that screamed JERSEY. After seeing some of the DVD’s that Tom picked up to review himself, I noticed one that I’ve been meaning to write about literally for years here at The Sexy Armpit and that is 2005’s JUST FRIENDS. I coerced Tom into letting me take on Just Friends and he was happy to oblige! Thanks Tom! Click the link above to head over to Shit Movie Fest!

The Misfits: Horror Punk Masters or Matinee Idols?

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The Misfits have been the main entity of the horror punk netherworld for 36 years. Like many of you reading this, I play the Misfits all year round, not just during Halloween, and it’s always a requisite for me to bring them up at least a couple of times during each Halloween countdown. In this post we’ll be showing you an aspect of their career that you may not have known about.

There’s always been some crossover between the icons of rock, punk, and metal into Hollywood. Lots of musicians and lead singers have appeared in multiple TV shows and films. Here’s a few rock stars who have dabbled in acting (and some who still do): Alice Cooper, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Meatloaf, Henry Rollins, Courtney Love, you get the picture. The Misfits probably didn’t even come to your mind as I was rattling off that list. Well, I take that back. It probably did because it’s the subject of this whole post as indicated by the title and the introduction.

There may be no Golden Globe awards in their future, but that was never their mission. Once the mid-’90s rolled around, the public and Hollywood were realizing the impact that Misfits have had on music and pop culture. Their logo was everywhere, even nearly twenty years later at that point. Not only did their music still sound hard edged and haunting, but they were such a visual band that it just made sense to get them into films. It was about time to exploit them to the next generation of kids with their brand new, young lead singer Michale Graves. Their first appearance right around that time in 1995 was in the movie, Animal Room, about a former drug user (Nail Patrick Harris) in a drug rehab program at his high school gets tormented by a bully (Matthew Lillard).

Animal Room was the debut film of NJ-born and raised writer and director Craig Singer. If you’re a long time Sexy Armpit reader, you might remember when we talked about one of his later films, Dark Ride which, as I look back at it, I was probably way too harsh on that movie. Perhaps I’ll go back and watch it this Halloween season. Back to Animal Room – it was billed as a drama and science fiction film and according to Wikipedia, it was a “modernized version of A Clockwork Orange.” The movie was filmed in Asbury Park and Glen Rock, NJ. Here’s a pretty badass scene from Animal Room starring The Misfits which also winds up being surprisingly grisly:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqVjZSTx-_k?rel=0]

Next up for The Misfits was a quick scene in the Insane Clown Posse movie, Big Money Hustlas in 2000. It’s a pretty whimsical scene and not one you’d expect to see the ghoulish Misfits show up in, but that makes it even more surreal and memorable. The movie stars Harland Williams who appears in this scene which takes place in a Donut Hut, a diner situation whose logo combines Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts. Here The Misfits are seen enjoying a few cups of Joe and chucking a donut at a cop. Punk cred still in tact.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNXoHL-6rFk?rel=0] 

In, Bruiser, the 2000 DVD thriller directed by George A. Romero, a man always getting shit on by people awakens on day to find that his face is now a blank, white mask. Note that the bullying theme was also present in the previously mentioned, Animal Room. Maybe we need to call WWE and let their Be A Star campaign Superstars talk to these bullies.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60bL8921szw?rel=0]

The last film is one that I’ve had waiting patiently in my collection for me to discuss during a Halloween Countdown. It may very well have been one of the first DVD’s that I planned on featuring for a countdown, but for reasons such as occasional lack of motivation and then the inverse, when sometimes idea overload sets in and boggles my mind. 2001’s Campfire Tales will eventually get discussed in more depth, but for right now, let’s take a look at The Misfits appearance in the film. The performance footage used in the movie was shot at the legendary Gingerbread Castle in Hamburg, NJ, a fairly tale castle which was once like the Disney Cinderella Castle of northern New Jersey. For a while, the Castle turned into a night club in order to maintain some kind of cash flow. Jamie Lynn Sigler stars in Campfire Tales and in his first film role you’ll notice Always Sunny’s Charlie Day.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBTi407H8z0?rel=0]

The Misfits were always known for being punk outcasts, but I have no objections to seeing them sneakily appear in a few movie cameos. None of these were big movies by any stretch, so you can’t accuse them of selling out to do these films. If they appeared in Soul Plane, we might all think a little differently about their career decisions, wouldn’t we? 

The Misfits’ history of kicking ass has far surpassed any punk grading system that people might hold them to, and their brand has risen above the divisive fan base including those who are Danzig loyalists and the true Fiend Club members who still appreciate the band today still as macabre looking and monster movie loving as ever.

Friday the 13th HAS COME BACK to BLAIRSTOWNNNNNN!!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcJYZl46NH0?rel=0]

“The night HE came home” refers to the tagline used for Halloween, but here in New Jersey we are awaiting the homecoming of our own iconic horror film to the big screen. Filmed in Blairstown, New Jersey, the original Friday the 13th is being shown at the historic Blairstown Theater on Friday September 13th, 2013. 9-13-13 sounds like a day destined to be filled with bad luck, but it’s quite the opposite for Jersey area horror fans.
Sporadically in the past several years, the Blairstown Theater has presented a screening of Friday the 13th on the actual date of it’s namesake, but they haven’t done so in a couple of years. I keep an eye on their website frequently to make sure I don’t miss it like I did the last time.
It’s a bit of a pilgrimage for local horror fans and fans of the F13 franchise. There’s something special about flocking to the theater to relive one of the most prominent slasher films of all time, right in the town where it was filmed. There’s something in the atmosphere, similar to visiting the Goonies house in Astoria, Oregon.
Unlike many of the loose connections I point out here at The Sexy Armpit, New Jersey shares a very clear, indisputable kinship to Jason, his psychotic mother and Camp Crystal Lake. The original Friday the 13th was filmed in Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco (Camp Crystal Lake), Hope, and Hardwick Township, NJ. *Information provided at a few sites including a site called Nation Master claims it’s never specifically pointed out that New Jersey is the setting for the Friday the 13th films. One only has look back at previous posts here at The Sexy Armpit to see plenty of evidence to the contrary.
 
Click the link below to purchase tickets to the screening (advance tickets are discounted)

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments 74: The Cannonball Run

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Check out the old NJ State Police Cruiser from The Cannonball Run (1981) !!

You may not remember this quick scene, but the cross country car race depicted in the 1981 comedy The Cannonball Run made a stop in New Jersey. In a humorous scene, incognito racer J.J McClure (Burt Reynolds) and mechanic Victor Prinzim (Dom DeLuise) are caught speeding at 120 miles in their ambulance when they are stopped by two New Jersey State Troopers.

Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing (Jack Elam) and the young photographer Pamela (Farrah Fawcett) are in the back of the ambulance. We assume that Dr. Van Helsing administered some sort of drug to Pam since she’s babbling and giggling as he formulates a tall tale to the police about her having cysts on her lungs that require urgent care in L.A, but only via a cross country drive, not a flight.

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J.J:
“Let me explain something to you, we have to get the senator’s wife to California in 72 hours,
do you understand what I’m saying?…We have to get the senator’s wife to California in 72 hours.”
VICTOR: 
“We’re very close”
NJ STATE TROOPER: 
“As long as you’re in New Jersey, I want you fellas to take it easy…you got that?”
VICTOR
“We sure do, thanks a lot”

NJ STATE TROOPER:
“I’m glad there’s no cupcakes like that in New Jersey”
NJ STATE TROOPER 2:
“You haven’t met my brother in law Ralph”

GREAT GEEK GORGE #7

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OZ The Great and Powerful

I can’t claim that I’ve read every single OZ book like our friend Pax at Cavalcade of Awesome, but I’ve been a huge fan of the OZ films since I was a little kid. The Wizard of OZ and Return to OZ have always been a couple of my favorite films of all time. I was also fortunate enough to see Return to OZ at Radio City Music Hall when it first came out for a Disney Summer Magic Spectacular which was an incredible day at Radio City in New York. So, I was pumped when I heard a prequel was coming out. I fought the wintry weather in Jersey and headed to theater with great anticipation.

I was looking forward to seeing if this talented cast could pull of some magic of their own. They did indeed. With the directorial efforts of Sam Raimi, they did what I never thought was possible by bringing an awesome OZ film to the big screen.The key aspect that was a major element for me is if they could make me feel like I was watching a movie that was presented on a grand scale. During the film I was truly sucked into the world of OZ, albeit one that was fully fleshed out with CGI and not made up of painted backdrops. The effects were fantastic and they weren’t overdone to the point where everything looked fake. There was fantasy, scares, and a lot of jokes. There was also many nods to the original film, most importantly for me was to see how the movie would transition from B&W to color. They didn’t go for the sepia tone that is used early on in The Wizard of Oz, but the B&W contrasted even better with the vibrant world of OZ.

The cast was strong and each actor brought an authentic performance. *Spoiler* I wanted to love Mila Kunis in the role of the Wicked Witch, but I had a hard time buying her as a demonic looking evil witch since we are used to seeing her as a sweetheart as in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and even when she’s a materialistic airhead like Jackie in That ’70s Show. I felt like her role would’ve had more impact if she didn’t look like a demon. Apparently, from what I’ve read, they weren’t allowed to use the specific green color makeup used on Margaret Hamilton, but if Kunis’ makeup was a little more natural looking, it may have worked better, but I’m still satisfied with the result. Also, I’m not sure if Kunis recorded the Witch’s cackle or not, but it was pretty dead on.

Aside from the standout performances by James Franco as Oz himself and Michelle Williams as Glinda, the highlights of the film is the Garden Stater Zach Braff as Frank and OZ’s sidekick Finley the flying monkey and Joey King as China Girl. Also mentioned prominently is that OTHER Wizard who Oz admired…”The Wizard of Menlo Park, NJ,” Thomas Edison! New Jersey was represented well in this film and that was genuinely cool since I didn’t expect there to be any NJ love coming from the magical land of OZ. Even better news is that thanks to a strong opening weekend, supposedly a sequel is already being formulated at Disney.

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Marvel Alliance Action Figures

In past installments of this sporadic column, I’ve warned myself not to get into collecting another series of collectibles, but in this case I was powerless. Many of you know me as a DC guy, but I’m not against Marvel in any way. As a kid I was a huge fan of the Secret Wars figure line. Come to think of it, I always use Secret Wars, Star Wars, and Super Powers as the measuring stick for all other action figures.

I haven’t been collecting toys and figures as much as I used to since it’s all getting too expensive. But on a recent trip to Target for my niece’s birthday I ran into a sweet Punisher figure from the Marvel Alliance series. Also, for my birthday Miss Sexy Armpit got me Black Widow and Ghost Rider from this line.

These 3.75 inch figures are way overpriced at around $9.99, but the whole series is sculpted with much detail and they are meticulously painted, so they didn’t give me much of choice. We’ve come a long way from the Secret Wars line in terms of detail, but there was a sleekness and simplicity in those Mattel figures. Considering the size of these it feels like they were reaching out to me telepathically claiming “We’re the modern day equivalent to Secret Wars…COME PLAY WITH US!”

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Cracker Jack’d “Snacks With Impact”

Has anyone ever told you that you have a serious impulse control problem? Why yes Riddler, I’ve been told that many times. In fact, I told myself that at Hess Express on Saturday when I bought two bags of new Cracker Jack’d snacks. I must say, the branding is what made me curious enough to take the shot at buying them. If I didn’t have fond memories as a kid of eating Cracker Jacks that my Dad bought me I don’t think I would’ve give these new Jacks a second thought.

After tearing into the Chocolate Mocha bites first, I really enjoyed the flavor. These are little chocolate covered nuggets of what almost has the interior texture of chocolate crunchies from an ice cream cake or some wafer-like cookie, but with a flavor of strong coffee, like an espresso. These little bites also contain real coffee beans and are caffeinated. The problem with them is that due to the chocolate they are pretty high in fat. If you don’t care about that then I recommend these because they are tasty. I actually did feel the effects from the caffeine whereas a few other reviewers around the Internet claimed they didn’t get even a minor caffeine buzz. There’s also a vanilla mocha flavor which I didn’t see at the store or else I would’ve picked it up.

As for the other bag, the Spicy Pizzeria flavor (Intense Mix) were pretty mundane. There’s a bunch of pretzel type bits in the bag along with a bunch of other random and nondescript pieces of other snacks or nuts dusted with Pizza flavoring. The flavoring is questionable. It’s definitely not reminiscent of pizza flavoring from Combos or Keebler Pizzarias unfortunately. Pass on this one.

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Doritos Jacked Ranch Dipped Hot Wings

Skip these. Just skip them as furiously as possible. If I had the time traveling means of Bill & Ted I would’ve had my past self to visit me in the present day at the local Target to warn me NOT to buy these silly things. They “Jacked” Doritos are masquerading as real Doritos when in fact they are a completely different and extremely less enjoyable tortilla chip. The flavor varieties are great, but they don’t pull them off well. I didn’t find the ranch dipped hot wings to taste authentic at all. The hot wings OR ranch flavor didn’t really hit me. As I stated in my last post about these, they are too large. I always find myself having to break them into pieces to actually eat them. In addition, they are too hard and too crunchy. If you’re the type of person who loves snacks that have the potential to break your teeth, then get these, but they should not exist as Doritos. You can never go wrong with the regular line of Doritos. The Jacked should cease to exist.

HOLD THE JELLO!! STILES IS FROM JERSEY!

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Look, are you gonna tell me you’re from Jersey? Cause if you’re gonna tell me you’re from Jersey, I don’t think I can handle it. But if you’re gonna tell me that Stiles from 1985’s Teen Wolf is from New Jersey, now that’s more like it! Yes, it’s true! Jerry Levine hails from New Brunswick, NJ! HEY LEMONADE GIVE ME FIVE MAN!

I should’ve known all along. The outlandish friend. That guy who brings the party everywhere he goes. You know him. He has an endless array of witty comments, an infinite collection of quippy t-shirts, and he’s a legendary urban surfer. A guy with that description must be from New Jersey. Reason being – if he was from California he wouldn’t have to surf on top of his best friend’s father’s hardware store delivery van. We all need a Larry Dallas type in our life. He’s the type of friend who pushes the limits. He helps us live life to the fullest. And he never has any money. Same with Stiles. In fact, we may think he was even an honorary Goonie at some point: “Never Say Die!”

Stiles was a character who we might never have been acquainted with if not for Damone and Spicoli from Fast Times. More modern, a bit more refined, Stiles was a hero amongst many of us kids when Teen Wolf came out. Sure Scott Howard was cool, but Stiles had that natural charisma. He had the cool shades, the funny story about the shop teacher, and the always chic “What Are You Looking At Dicknose” t-shirt.

Scott needed the wolf to be cool, while Stiles just acted whatever way he wanted to at any given moment. He didn’t care if people hated his red pants or if the whole basketball team viewed him as an annoyance and wondered why he was hanging out in their locker rooms after the games, even if he was supposedly just trying to score some cash. At parties, Stiles was the master of ceremonies. Or if Dana Barrett ran into him she might say “You don’t act like a zany best friend, more like a game show host…”

Stiles is the type of friend who goes to great lengths to bring you a keg…of beer. And these. He will also dump jello down a former Playboy Playmate’s shirt and make Chubby eat it all out. That sounds like bowls of fun. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Stiles? In fact, we all probably have a friend like Stiles already. If you do, go right now and see if he needs help sniffing out his stash in the garage.

*Jerry Levine graduated Highland Park High School in Highland Park, NJ

*Thank MTV for making me specify “1985’s Teen Wolf.” Ridiculous! Cancel that shit.

The New Jersey Oscar Contender that Could Have Been…by N.J Holden

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Always on top of his game, our featured writer N.J Holden (@exiledinNJ) uncovers something you may not have known about Silver Linings Playbook.

When Matthew Quick’s debut novel Silver Linings Playbook was published in 2008, I’m sure few envisioned the multi-nominated film that would follow it in 2012. With a dynamite cast (Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro) and a proven director (David O. Russell), it should have been a celebration of the Garden State since the book takes place there. But the film, like so many adaptations, deviated from the source material, most notably moving the characters and plot from New Jersey to Philadelphia. While audiences and the folks at the Academy Awards have applauded and nominated the film for five Oscars (including Best Picture of the Year), I think we should look at the book, a celebration of family, football, mental illness, and New Jersey.

Pat Peoples is a former history teacher who returns from an extended stay at a Baltimore mental hospital to his childhood home in Collingswood, New Jersey. With his wife, job, and home all gone, Pat is a broken man who believes in “silver linings”, or a series of positive beliefs that he holds true to in hopes of winning back his old life. Following a strenuous exercise regiment and reading his wife’s school reading list, Pat tries to rebuild his life while under the care of his emotionally drained mother and emotionally distant, Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed father. In addition, Pat forms an odd relationship with Tiffany, a disturbed person in her own right who blackmails Pat into a dance competition with the hopes of reuniting him with his wife. Pat must also endure his precarious mental state which is always on the verge of snapping, especially by that wicked musician who haunts doctor and dental offices all over…Kenny G! The novel alternates between drama and comedy, with Pat’s humorous attempts at adjusting to life outside the hospital and his dark, growing obsession with finding out why he lost it all, something that he blocked from his mind. 
While the movie dealt with all of these issues in a more lighthearted, comedic way, Quick kept the focus on Pat and his quest for the happy ending that eluded him. In addition, the setting would make any native to NJ happy and proud, with its beautiful descriptions of towns and places that people south of Exit 130 on the GSP would recall. The book stays true to the spirit of the Garden State, embracing its quirkiness and tough attitude and love of food. Some have criticized the handling of mental illness; with Pat and Tiffany’s relationship being contrived since both of them are the only ones capable of understanding one another since they are disturbed. But the relationship is only a little bit of the novel, with a majority of it focused on Pat and his journey to a better life, however ludicrous or unrealistic it may seem. So before that day in February when we get to see who will take home a gold statue, be sure to give this book a read and remember that it could have been a celebrated New Jersey film…only if.

– N.J Holden