Sunday, July 20, 2014

Funday: You Had Your Shot, Now Gimme Mine

So let me paint the scene for you: Saturday night, and I am working on Funday like I do every week.  Trying yet again (and failing) to find inspiration for a good intro whilst like a genuine American, I watch the Rocky marathon on television.  Then, promptly at 8pm, it hits me, right when the title montage of Rocky III hits my eyeballs.

It's time people, to settle things.  To proclaim the greatest Rocky villain of all time.  Clubber Lang.

Fuck a Drago.

Blasphemy you say?  You are out of your mind you say?  To that I retort: FUCKING WRONG.

To begin to explain we have to set the scene for Rocky III.  Rocky has finally beaten the incredible odds stacked against him.  Through the power of his will and heart alone, along with a sweet nickname, the Italian Stallion is the genuiiine CHAMPINE OF THE WORLD!  Beating the absolute hardass and impeccable mustache wearer Apollo Creed in the previous film.

So what happens to ol' Rock now that he has it all?  He becomes like every other person who has made it, he forgets everything about what got him there.  Rocky is no longer talking to turtles and trying to woo the exceedingly hot pet shop worker.  He now bangs the hot pet shop worker every night inside of his mansion at night, and spends his days making the GQ cover and appearing on The Muppets.  When he does enter the ring, he is getting stomped in charity matches against Hulkamania.  (Technically "Thunderlips" but it is just Hogan.)

Rocky has lost his edge, he has everything he could ever want, and boxing is in his rear view.

Enter The Clubber.

Lang is the number one contender in the world, a unorthodox fighter with a mohawk and an attitude.  He is everything that Rocky was, and on top of that he has a sweet mohawk and feather earring.  Whilst Rocky spends his days rubbing elbows with Kermit, Land spends his days waking hour punching a duct-taped heavy bag in a dirty basement.  Then he spends his nights suffering no fools, demolishing people in the ring, with Mick at ringside watching all the while.

All he wants is the title, his entire existence is to own the title.  He wants Balboa, he needs Balboa.  When he finally gets to see Rocky in the streets, we get perhaps the greatest verbal thrashing in movie history:


Did you see that?  In a few short minutes Clubber Lang just took over this whole movie.  And the best part?  Everything he said, short of the insults, is completely true.  The world doesn't want to see a champion like him, who doesn't need the adoration that Rocky loves to revel in,  Rocky has been ducking him, he is the number one contender, and he does deserve his shot.  He probably could show Adrian a pretty good time.  He would show her his heavy bag and chin-up bar, or something.  Hell, he even has a better nickname than Rocky (Southside Slugger is the ultimate.)

Here's my heavy bag, and over here is the picture of your husband that I yell at....

His retirement deprives Clubber of everything he had been working for.

So what does ol' Rock do?  He grants the match, he is supposed to rise to the challenge, he is the hero.  But what happens next is even more telling of how badass Clubber Lang is.  Right when Rocky takes the fight, Mick his most trusted confidant and supporter bails on it.  The man that is the closest thing to the personification of a real life Popeye doesn't want anything to do with Clubber.  Rocky isn't ready for him, and Mick knows it.

I drink whiskey for every meal Rock, and this guy scares me!

So what happens?  Rocky convinces Mick to stay the course, and proceeds to train just like he is living his life: real easy.  He rents out a theatre and sashays for the adoring press.  Meanwhile Clubber is doing arm dips in that basement without any lights on.

Cut to the match, and can you guess what happens?  Clubber demolishes Rocky, becoming the champ, but not before delivering another incredible verbal beat down.  This time to Carl Weathers.


Did you see that?!?  The way he practically hisses at Apollo, slapping his hands away.  Apollo was dethroned by Rocky, which in Clubber's eyes means he is completely irrelevant, and again, he is right.

As for the rest of the movie, it plays out how you would imagine: Rocky returns to his roots and comes back to win.  Which leads me to my final point: Clubber was screwed.

Anybody who watches boxing knows that two matches which end in a win for both competitors immediately calls for a rubber match, to determine by best of three who is really the greatest.  Once again Clubber never gets his shot, which could have made for another great film in my potential alternative universe Rocky IV script.  (Which would benefit everyone as it would push Rocky vs. Drago to Rocky V, thereby erasing the cinema fart that is the actual Rocky V.)

So pour one out for the Southside Slugger, the baddest of them all.


Juicy J f/ A$AP Rocky

Last year Juicy offered a $50,000 scholarship for twerking, and then gave it to a girl who refused to twerk for her money.  This year he has a new music video for "Scholarship" which is about paying strippers' tuition money.  It's kind of a theme for him!  Juicy enlists ASAP Rocky in a pretty atmospheric video that is much more effective than shooting in front of a green screen in a studio.  Take notes other music videos.

The Afghan Whigs

I have two words to describe this song/video: SUPER FUNKY.  Okay, I have more to say about it.  Besides being equally slick and funktastic, this is a moving tribute to all the awesome people who dance for change on the subway.   What a great idea for a video, and what skills.


PND continues the campaign to be the next version of The Weeknd, only this time with more traditional catchy song structures, and way less d-baginess.  Despite not even putting out nearly half the material as his fellow Canadian hitmaker, I am in, full throttle on this one.  How can you not dig on the "Sorry my whip smells like dank, but I been rolling with skunk all day" line?  Who else as well has the charisma to break mid-song into a Migos ripoff flow (like so many other rappers jack) and get away with it?  Not too many other folks.


Here is a good tip to find out if the music video you are about to watch is gonna be great.  Scroll through it until you find the credits and see if it says "Directed by Nabil."  If it does, then you are in for a treat, regardless of subject matter.  This time Nabil does his own take on The Hunger Games set to the incredibly atmospheric alt-J soundtrack.  I am very glad Nabil has a take on The Hunger Games.


I used to think Merchandise was a total joke.  That they spent more time practicing their sunglasses wearing pouty face poses in the mirror than working on their crappy pop music.  Well, I am here to say that Merchandise has gotten their shit together.  This is the kind of song that would be on heavy rotation at dance goth nights if they still existed.  (Do they still exist?)

Perfume Genius

Not to end this section on a serious note, but I just had to.  An absolutely surreal and devastating video.  Mike Hadreas has levels of screen presence that should shame almost anyone in the Indie music scene.


Madden Rookies

What happens when you take the newest draft class of rookies and ask them what their Madden ratings will be in the new game?  A whole bunch of over-exaggeration. Congratulations EA Sports, you just made the best Madden commercial you have made in years.  Also, WHO DEY!

Acoustic True Detective

Band The Handsome Family play an acoustic version of their song "Far From Any Road" from perhaps the best television intro sequence ever, that of True Detective.  While it lacks any vocals, it still manages to be awesome.

Shoe to The Face

Not tying your shoe so that it smashes the face of the man keeping you alive while skydiving, not a good look.  Catching the shoe though, totally redeems you.  

Forest Man

Don't think that you as one person can do anything to impact the environment positively?  WRONG.  One man and 30 years planted a forest bigger than Central Park.  What do you have to say now?

Bonus Clip

That's it, get on out there and "Clubber" your week folks.  See you next Funday.

What did you think dear reader?  Let your opinion be heard in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe, like and follow the blog if you like what you see. Or contact me on Twitter @LucasBlaine

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