Five Things you need to know about

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Calvin James Pynn

cpynn@radford.edu

Film:

“The Mad Max Series”:

From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, the post-apocalyptic genre was revolutionized as a young Mel Gibson tore across the desolate Australian landscape, fighting off leather clad marauders. “The Mad Max” series chronicles the world’s gradual descent into violent madness, witnessed through the eyes of Max Rockatansky, a heroic highway cop fighting to survive in the ravaged, barren remains of Australia. 1979’s “Mad Max” shows the downfall of society to savage motorcycle gangs, as well as the iconic slaughter of Max’s wife and child. In the 1981 sequel “The Road Warrior,” the world has all but ended, and Max roams the landscape in search of fuel, only to end up helping a struggling colony under threat of a sadistic warlord. The third film, 1985’s “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” takes place 15 years after “The Road Warrior” as Max comes across a civilization dependent on methane, and is forced to take part in a gladiator-style battle before being exiled and subsequently becoming the impromptu savior to a society of orphans. The films are a staple of science fiction, and became a career-defining vehicle for Gibson, who was unknown at the time. The fourth film, titled “Mad Max: Fury Road,” is in the works, with Tom Hardy taking over the title role.

Television:

I Just Want My Pants Back

The idea of a scripted show on MTV seems like an idea doomed for mediocrity, based on other recent attempts the network has made to diversify an unfortunately trashy lineup. On the contrary, I Just Want My Pants Back presents an enjoyable and clever premise. Based on the novel by David Rosen, the series follows a group of young college grads trying to get through life in Brooklyn. The focus is placed on Jason Strider, a Jewish writer trying to find a woman with whom he shared a one-night stand (as the show’s title subtly indicates). Despite a seemingly superficial young-in-the-city premise, the show’s dry humor and pleasingly neurotic characters help it stand out amongst MTV’s normally melodramatic and uncultured programming. The network may want to take a hint from I Just Want My Pants Back when considering future projects.

The River

The found footage genre has made its way to network television. Realistically, The River could’ve gone either way when it aired on ABC two weeks ago, and the results have been mind blowing. The show recounts a lost expedition into the Amazon to find Dr. Emmett Cole, the famed host of a 1980s nature show who went missing six months prior. A documentary crew follows his estranged wife and son, the ship’s maintenance man, his clairvoyant daughter, a malignant mercenary and others as their search quickly yields to the paranormal. Relentless invisible forces, constant ghoulish presences, and the eerie Morcego tribe test their group’s fortitude, as Dr. Cole’s dark purpose in the jungle is gradually revealed, and  dangerous secrets among the group threaten their survival in an evil wilderness. The River breaks new ground for horror-themed shows, and could very well be the scariest show ever broadcast on television. No less could be expected from creator Oren Peli, who cemented his reputation as the director of “Paranormal Activity.”

Website

“Ghetto Hikes”:

“Ghetto Hikes” follows the adventures of a man known only as “Mr. Cody,” a 28-year-old with a full time job taking inner city kids of all races on nature hikes. As one could probably guess, these kids are profoundly amazed by the wonder of the great outdoors, and Ghetto Hikes’ daily posts indicate their hearts and minds will never leave the city, no matter where they are. Simply, Mr. Cody posts everything these kids say on the hikes, and the result’s hysterical. The kids’ urban quotes range from comments on wildlife to outdoor survival and so on. The sidesplitting quotes can be found on ghettohikes.tumbler.com, although preferably, the Twitter feed (@GhettoHikes) is the way to read them.  If you don’t have a Twitter, Ghetto Hikes would be a good reason to start one up. This is hands-down some of the funniest stuff you will ever read.

Music

Ever Forthright:

The future of metal is upon us, and with the rise of djent and success of bands such as Periphery and Animals as Leaders, there seems to be a new appreciation for musicianship in a new age of progressive music. Among the many independent bands embracing the new genre, Ever Forthright stands out as the next potential pioneering force. The band mixes the industrial bellow of eight string guitars with textured rhythms and dreamy ambience, layered with alternatively harsh and clean vocals – the standard formula for the young genre. However, they innovate by incorporating pure elements of modern jazz into their songs. For their more relaxed sections, vocalist Chris Barretto trades his death growls and falsetto harmonies for the smooth hum of a saxophone, joining the rest of the band in their jazzy departures before the transition into a technical metal. Ever Forthright bears a sound that will never bore their listener. While progressive metal often soars over the heads of common listeners, their melodic incorporation of jazz makes for a musically stimulating experience.