Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saga Sunday: Obi - Wan Kenobi Vs Darth Vader HD



70's lightsaber fights move nice and slow. Not like the fast lightsaber based lifestyles of today. -Stephen 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kliq Bait: Derrick's Top 10 Wrestling Matches of All Time


There are so many things that go into making a wrestling match great. The workrate, the psychology, the story, etc. Every serious wrestling fan has opinions about what those things are and which matches are the greatest. Some are purists who think the wrestling stands on its own. Some care more about the stories being told than anything else. For me, it's a delicate balance between several factors:

Storytelling

One of the things that makes kayfabe professional wrestling unique is its ability to tell stories in a way that no other art form really can. It is one of the most heavily physical forms of storytelling, with so much having to be communicated with mere movements and facial expressions. It is also one of the most improvisation-based forms of storytelling, with so much of what the wrestlers say and do in the ring being unscripted. It has all the rich, compelling narratives of all the major competitive sports and--at its best--orchestrates these narratives in the most compelling and dramatic ways in order to engage its audience.

For me, the story leading up to the match and the story being told within the match are equally important and have to be logically consistent. Really, everything has to be logically consistent. I think it was Ted DiBiase whose advice to the younger talent was something along the lines of: every single thing you do in the ring (and outside it, for that matter), you have to be thinking about WHY you're doing it. Characters and their motivations have to be clearly defined and every single action of those characters has to be logically consistent with both their character and their motivations.

Wrestling

While I firmly believe that a wrestling match can't be truly great without a good story, the opposite is equally true. After all, at the end of the day, it is all about the wrestling. But what goes into "good wrestling" and what does it look and feel like? Certainly most wrestling fans are familiar with the usual indicators of "good" wrestling: workrate, move set, technical ability, athleticism, selling. But there is so much more that goes into making a wrestling match great and I feel like a lot of it is much more subtle stuff that the average wrestling fan doesn't necessarily notice, at least not consciously.

Perhaps the most important of these is realism--that is, how much does this look like a real athletic contest (or a flat out fight, depending on what you're going for) within the rules and logic of the match and how hard do the wrestlers appear to be trying to win (or just beat the shit out of each other)? Selling is a big part of this but there's more to it than that. It's also related to workrate in a way--how much do the wrestlers stay on each other, do they look like they're going 100% on every move or can you tell they're holding back, how diligently are they trying to win the match and how well are they using the logic and rules of the match to their advantage, how stiff are they working? Kayfabe wrestling, at its very best, should legitimately look as much like a real fight happening in real time as possible.

There are also other elements that are often underrated if not overlooked. Timing is a major one--the ability (and the chemistry between wrestlers) to put your body and your movements in exactly the right place at exactly the right time (and for the right reasons). Visual imagery is another one--how the moves and the spots look, the fluidity of motion, the creation of images and "moments" and telling of stories using only movements and facial expressions (and sometimes words that the audience can't hear--although with modern television production technology, those words are able to come across more and more). Psychology is a bit more well known, though more complex than perhaps many realize--particularly the importance of wrestling in character even when doing so doesn't look like "good wrestling."

Importance

This is a category that can be easy to overlook but that I think I place more emphasis on than most. So much of modern kayfabe wrestling is about "moments" and, like the major sports, legacy is incredibly important. One of the things that can really tip the scales to certain matches in favor of others is when those matches contain important moments in the canon in which they exist. A first championship of a legendary wrestler, a match that launches someone's career, even the culmination of a truly all-time great story are moments that live forever. And then sometimes (well, once, as far as I know) a match transcends professional wrestling and becomes something more.

Crowd

Some people might object to this criteria and that's totally valid. Great matches have certainly happened in front of terrible crowds before. Just look at Chris Benoit v. Dean Malenko at WCW Hog Wild 1996--which took place at a motorcycle convention, for some reason, and featured a crowd that had absolutely zero interest in watching wrestling happen unless Hulk Hogan was involved. Still, I have to admit that a big part of what makes a match great is the crowd's reaction to it. For one thing, connecting with a wrestling crowd in order to elicit a specific response is an art and one that is a whole hell of a lot more difficult than it might seem. When they do it right, there is an energy it creates that is like nothing I've ever seen before. When they don't, things can get real ugly, real fast. But there's nothing better than a great match where the crowd is completely jacked and popping huge for big moves and chanting "this is awesome" and biting down hard on nearfalls. There's nothing like it in the world.

So, then, what do I think are the ten greatest wrestling matches I've ever seen?

Morphin Monday: Billy Morphs into the Gold Zeo Ranger


It should've been forever. -Stephen host of the Vundacast

Friday, June 16, 2017

Filmmaker Fandom Friday: Desperado - Ten Minute Film School



Robert Rodriguez is a film god around these parts and this Ten Minute Film school has captured my imagination for so long. -Stephen

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Get Stuff Done: Any Given Sunday Al Pacino Pre-Game Speech



Now for a moments inspiration. Al was recently cast as a football coach, but this is the type of coach I will always remember him as the best Miami Sharks head coach in history. - Stephen host of the Vundacast

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Irreverend D-Rock's Sunday Service -- Unraveling and Reweaving Christian Theology in Kevin Smith's "Dogma"



There are so many interesting theological concepts and questions being explored in this movie that it’s almost hard to know where to start. So perhaps it’s best to start where the movie starts: Bartleby and Loki. Bartleby and Loki are two fallen angels who have been banished from Heaven (to Wisconsin) for insubordination after Bartleby convinced a drunken Loki to throw down his sword and resign his post as Angel of Death. The thing I find most interesting about this is that, when Loki tells Bartleby he thinks he should resume his post, Bartleby reveals a very salient piece of information: there hasn’t been an Angel of Death since Loki resigned. So, while Loki was banished from Heaven for resigning the post, and Bartleby is banished for merely convincing Loki to resign--God ultimately decides that they were right; there should be no Angel of Death. It brings up a lot of questions about the idea of a God that would banish someone for refusing a command, subsequently conclude that they were wrong to issue said command--and, therefore, Loki (and, by extension, Bartleby) was right to disobey said command, and yet continue to punish this disobedience.

Bartleby and Loki certainly aren’t the only interesting characters in this movie.

Saga Sunday: 40 Years of Star Wars Panel Full - Star Wars Celebration 2017 Orlando



Still enjoying Star Wars celebration from afar. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

VUNDACAST ch 93 No Fatties No Furious

On this edition of the Vundacast Danielle and Stephen rev their engines about the ludicrous evolvation of a franchise that has become the F8 of the Furious(This what the title should have been-Stephen).  We also talk about The Last Jedi Trailer and celebrate Xena's 2nd Birthday. Duke sleeps through out the episode. Follow us on twitter @vundacast and @vundablog and on instagram @vundablog and also @dukexenalife for dog content. Also make sure to subscribe to us on iTunes leave us a review every bit helps.


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

VUNDACAST ch 92 Go Go Colonel Klutz!

On this edition of the Vundacast Stephen and Danielle live happily ever after discussing some current films like Kong: Skull Island and Power Rangers. We also reminisce on sleeping in movie theaters, how wedding planning kills podcasts, and the comedic exploits of Vundacast war hero Colonel Klutz.


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VUNDACAST ch 91 Interview w/ Michel Mulipola & Mr. J's Morphin Time


On this edition of the Vundacast Stephen begins by interviewing artist/Pro-Wrestler Michel Mulipola. They discuss his current Kickstarter for the comic Headlocked. Michel also talks about tag teaming with wrestling legend Haku, drawing, and living in New Zealand. The second half of the episode has the morphenomical Mr. J breaking down Power Rangers with Stephen.



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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happy 24th Birthday to Tool's "Undertow" Album





It's really kind of amazing to think that this album was released in 1993--and many of the songs on the album were written several years before that. This album is so incredibly ahead of its time, it's unreal. So much so that, until recently, even I--one of the biggest Tool fans on the planet--could never really get that into it. I especially recommend tracks 5-8--Crawl Away, Swamp Song, Undertow, and 4°--but the whole album is just brilliant.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

VUNDACAST ch. 90 The Wedding and The Wrestling

On this edition of the Vundacast we open with audio from the marriage ceremony of Stephen and Danielle our Vundacast-hosts presided over by honorable Vunda-blogger D-rock. Dani and Stephen talk about the wedding for 30 minutes or so before the intro song and then you get a long and delicious wrestling podcast where D-rock and Stephen unite their powers to commentate and watch an all time classic WWE match between Cactus Jack and Triple H.



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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Soundtrack to the Resistance (YouTube Playlist)



I've been thinking a lot lately about what I can do to resist for the next four years (can't even think about the possibility of eight; don't make me) and the thing I keep coming back to is the arts and what an important role they have to play in justice movements. I know I want to make music and write words that challenge and subvert the current state of our world but I think it's also important to just share awesome art and music and film and media with each other, if only to give one another something to cling to (and, certainly, to critique, where appropriate) when times are hard and to inspire us to keep fighting. So I put together a YouTube playlist of 50 of my favorite protest songs--including songs with political/social commentary, songs that represent perspectives of oppressed or marginalized groups, etc. This is, by no means, a complete list and I definitely welcome suggestions of many more "Songs to Fuel the Flames of Discontent" (-Refused) but I hope these resonate with you in some way, shape. or form.

Friday, February 10, 2017

#FBF -- Fake Fighting Frenzy -- Monday Night Raw Episode #1 (January 11th, 1993)


"WELCOME EVERYONE TO MOOONDAAAY NIIIGHT RRRRRAAAAAWWWWWWW!!!"

This is the first in what will hopefully be a continuing series wherein I go through and literally watch every single episode of Raw from the beginning and share some (hopefully) amusing and (possibly) interesting thoughts on each episode. These early episodes are really kind of hilarious and ridiculous and wonderful in their overwhelming 90s-wrestling-ness and if you have the WWE Network, I highly recommend going back and watching them as they are maybe one of the most entertaining things on the Network. And so, without further ado...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fake Fighting Frenzy: Raw LIVE in Portland (feat. BROCK LESNAR)

view from my seat
For the first time in three and a half years, Vundablog was LIVE in attendance at Monday Night Raw! OK, admittedly, it's kinda hard to be THAT excited about going to a Monday Night Raw considering the shitshow it's been for the last several weeks/months but hey, it's live wrestling! This show had a lot of potential based on the card and while it didn't quite live up to all that potential, it was still a pretty damn good show. Let's get to it...