With the Pacific Division travel, we are prone to having some long bus trips. In years past, I’d pass the time during the long Ontario trip with music or podcasts. I’m actually a big Bill Simmons fan so I listened to the B.S. Report until ESPN took him off the air. Then I started listening to his new show.
I also was turned on with stick taps to former Thunder centerman and Garnet Hathaway college teammate Jack MacLellan to Serial, which I’m sure some of you are familiar with, but if not, and you like crime dramas and have a long commute to work or a trip, download season one and listen. Then start on season two which is also fantastic.
However this past Christmas my parents got me one of the best gifts I could’ve gotten, an iPad, to which I began to rent movies from iTunes and watch on those long rides to and from Ontario, San Diego and even Bakersfield.
So I thought it’d be fun to rundown my favorite five I’ve rented this year. Now there are certain movies I’ve seen countless times and eventually bought for my iPad that I won’t include on this list. I think to make this fun, and potentially lead you to a movie you haven’t seen before that you might like, I’m only going to talk about movies I saw for the first time on my iPad during a bus trip so sadly, that means I cannot include Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Rest assured, this would’ve been on this list though) because I saw it multiple times in theater before it came out on Blu-ray and I put it on my iPad. They can be older movies, but to be included I could not have watched them previously anywhere else, be it in or out of theater.
In reverse order:
5. Ride Along – Rated PG-13
I realize I’m a bit late to the party, seeing as Ride Along 2 came out this past hockey season too, but I really enjoyed this action comedy on the road.
I’ve always been a big fan of Ice Cube, but Kevin Hart has been one comedian I’ve gotten really into in recent years, and oddly enough, one of my favorite things featuring these two was a Conan O’Brien sketch where the pair, along with Conan, drive in a Lyft car.
It’s one of those movies that may not have the best plot in the world, but if you enjoy the brand of comedy, you’ll still probably enjoy the film. Hart is funny, plain and simple, and I think he and Cube play very well together.
Hart is a wannabe cop who’s dating Ice Cube’s sister. Ice Cube plays a similar role to the one he plays on 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street.
Would I recommend this to everyone? No probably not. I think you’ll have to be a fan of Ice Cube and/or Kevin Hart to really enjoy this movie, but if you do like them, as I do, I think you’ll not only find the film entertaining but also fairly funny.
It’s not Stepbrothers or Wedding Crashers, but it does have its moments.
4. Being Evel – Not Rated
So I’m a big fan of good documentaries and earlier this year, iTunes had a sale on documentaries for 99-cent rentals and a documentary was made produced by Johnny Knoxville, probably one of the best (and certainly most well-known) daredevil of my generation, paying respects to the original daredevil himself, Evel Knieval. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched it but it was very interesting to me to see his story unfold and to learn about the man behind the stunts.
I remember Robbie Knievel (Evel’s son) replicating a jump of his fathers at Kings Island (which happens to be in my backyard in Mason, Ohio….I used to be able to watch the fireworks from my house until the town turned into one of the most rapidly growing cities in America) and they even talked about Robbie’s career and what made him different than Evel, and that was most interesting to me (don’t want to spoil anything).
However the most fascinating part of the documentary for me was who Evel inspired. An entire “daredevil” culture spurned from this man which helped form the culture that makes up extreme athletes of all ilks and creeds. It was a solid watch and I’d recommend it.
3. Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys – Not Rated
Once Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, boy all I wanted to do was watch it on the road, over and over again. However, the movie just recently came out (which I do now have on my iPad) however it doesn’t qualify on this list since I saw it two times in theaters, which may actually be three…I can’t remember.
So while I waited for the movie to come out, I looked for anything Star Wars related (that I didn’t already own on Blu-ray…seriously….I’m not paying 20 for Empire Strikes Back when I already own it!!!) and I found something that may not have sounded as interesting as watching a lightsaber duel, but turned out to be one of the best films I’d watch all year.
Plastic Galaxy was all about Star Wars toys, how they were made, the concept behind them, and how they really inspired EVERYTHING that’s available at Target and Walmart now!
It was fascinating to see how brand’s passed making these toys but Kenner Toys (which I didn’t know was based in Cincinnati, Ohio and another odd tidbit I didn’t know, my father’s current employer used to use the old factory that those toys were made in) took a chance and made millions of dollars off the rights and single handedly paved the way for other movie based action figures into production.
Watch the concepts of what made good toys, how the business changed and of course the collectors who gobble up anything interesting they can find. Highly recommend to anyone who’s a Star Wars fan and who played with these toys back in their childhoods, be it back in the day or back in my day!
2. Creed – Rated PG-13
Boy when it got to my top two favorites this season, it was a tough decision but Creed could have easily been my number one.
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an interesting story in the Rocky storyline of Adonis Johnson, who happens to be famed boxer Apollo Creed’s son. Now we all know Apollo and his relationship with Rocky, so when Adonis looks to get out of his desk job to be a fighter, he goes looking for Rocky to train him.
The drama and action in this movie is just fantastic. It’s truly a story of overcoming odds and setting your mind on a goal and achieving it. The boxing action was fantastic to me, definitely looked better than some of those old Rocky movies (not that I didn’t enjoy those too) and the drama, which is actually not one of my favorite genre’s of films, kept me on edge (and awake) on those long bus rides home after games.
Look I don’t want to spoil the plot here for anyone but if you liked Rocky you must watch this. If you like boxing, you must watch this.
Put it this way. I told boxing fanatic Dustin Cowell that he had to watch this movie and that he would love it. He opted to purchase the movie instead of renting, putting the pressure on my recommendation and now he too loves it and is happy he’s bought it. It will certainly be a movie I’ll buy sometime soon as well.
1. Straight Outta Compton – Rated R
While I say it was tough between my one and two this year, in the end, this is the only movie of the five I purchased and that I’ve seen probably 5-10 times since. Straight Outta Compton is the story of the rap group N.W.A. that had it all. Action, comedy and drama.
I’ve been a fan of N.W.A.’s for quite some time so the soundtrack (not only the N.W.A. songs but the other songs too) was awesome. The cinematography was incredible (I loved the lighting in much of the film) and the acting superb. In particular Oshea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube’s son) who played his father was nailed. Mannerisms, the look, the dialect and the charisma was spot on in a role that could’ve been much tougher to play than one would guess.
Seeing the views that these young men had, put it on a record, and the backlash against them at times in their careers was enough to keep watching. How the business side impacted friends, how the news skewed coverage to make them look bad, and ultimately how each character grew over the course of the film.
Plus if you are a fan of hip hop, seeing your favorite personalities (mind you not the real person but the actors portraying them) pop on the screen and know what was coming next. For example, seeing Tupac in the booth with Dr. Dre, you just knew that “California Love” was being worked on, and you just got excited. Heck even seeing Easy-E in the booth for the first time and how he went from being the financial backer only to one of the critical members of N.W.A. got me excited.
Highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of hip hop, N.W.A. or music biopics. This is not a movie for the kids though I’ll tell you that!
So those are my Top 5 from this past year, however, I know that there are plenty of other good movies out there, and I always have a hard time knowing what to rent and what not to (Daddy’s Home…ugh…not the best Will Ferrell movie I’ve seen). So I hope that you’ll have some good recommendations for me for what should amount to some heavy air travel this summer leading into another long season of bus trips up and down California. Have some good ones? Shoot me a note and I’ll be sure to tell you how I think of it after I watch!
I’m closing out all of my blog posts with a jersey or logo in the sports world. I love sports jerseys (I collect them) and I love logos and what goes into making a brand.
I’ve maintained for years now, since I’ve been with the organization, that the Stockton Thunder logo was one of the best in minor league sports. Not only that though, but for the countless number of teams named the “Thunder”, it was BY FAR the best depiction in pro sports.
Well how about this one I found of the Tallahassee Thunder of the Arena Football League 2, the same league the Stockton Lightning were in.
First off, compared to many other “Thunder” teams, kudos on doing something that wasn’t just a word mark. They obviously had a similar idea that the Stockton Thunder would use with a god as their main logo.
In this picture, it’s not inherently clear who this is though. It looks Greek to me, but Zeus is typically depicted with a beard, but he is the god of thunder in Greek mythology.
Colors are awful by the way…
However the best part about this is that when you looked down the comments you see “Still a better logo than the OKC thunder.”
That is word for word the comment and isn’t that the truth. Just look at that brutal logo. Honestly, that might be one of the worst logos in all of current sports.
I’d rather they reworked something like this, changed the football to a basketball, slap a beard on that guy, update him to look like he’s been drawn this decade and change that awful logo they have now.
Makes you really glad that the Stockton Thunder, now Adirondack Thunder, logo wasn’t just a wordmark cop out like 99% of the other Thunder teams out there.
Brandon Kisker is the Heat’s Director of Broadcast & Media Relations and will be entering his fourth season as a broadcaster in Stockton and second for the Heat. He yells a lot when excited, but that yelling is genuine, and typically fist pumps when goals are scored or big saves are made. He thinks Rick Jenerette is really top shelf…..and that is where mama hides the cookies. He’s getting married in less than 80 days. Follow him on Twitter @kiskerbc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.