Articles, Book Reviews

Revival by Stephen King Book Review

Stephen king
Revival by Stephen King

I was working on a novel about revivals, and then this book hit the stands. This is the second time someone has usurped my idea, so I stopped working on that novel. I finally sat down to read this book, and it was fascinating. If you have read other Stephen King books, then you can expect a similar scope of writing. King knows how to pull you in with a good opening, then slowly leave you with bread crumbs in a forest full of truth and lies. With the release of “Revival”, King branches into a story that mixes what you would expect from Mary Shelley and Nikola Tesla. That’s about as much as you need to know without getting too much into the plot.

Fast Moving Religion

I loved the way that Stephen King creates a smoking gun of religious intent. The religious elements in this book are fascinating, as they fall in line with my own experiences, and changes. The obsession, the death, the life, and the belonging that you wish you had. This book takes on Christendom in such a subtle way, but it doesn’t mock faith, and it doesn’t charge it as a bad thing. It’s a fascinating look at our humanity, mixed with a science fiction horror tale that really does work well.

Taking On Frankenstein

If you’re a fan of “Frankenstein”, then you are going to feel like you’re reading a spiritual sequel. King navigates a lot of arenas that are similar, and then turns into a Lovecraftian writer. I loved it. There are moments towards the end that even reminded me of “Shocker”. If you love Mary Shelley, then you will no doubt love how King has used the source work of her writing and turned it into an even greater element. This is a mix of horror, science fiction, and religious elements. This all works well.

Revival Flies By

“Revival” by Stephen King is a fast-moving book. It’s breezy, it has a simple premise and then unravels into chaos towards the end. The finale may leave you stunned, but the buildup is great, and fun to read. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend picking it up if you’re a fan of Stephen King but don’t want to journey into some of his older books.

You can buy “Revival” by Stephen King by clicking here.

Articles, Clickbank Reviews

Clickbank Review: The Pool Hall Startup Guide and Business Plan

Start Your Own Pool Hall Guide
Start Your Own Pool Hall Guide

In my many years as a freelancer, I’ve been approached with a variety of business ideas. One of them came to me in Koreatown, Los Angeles. I had moved there and my friend lived in Silverlake. One night we were looking to get some late-night food, which is nothing new in Koreatown, when we ran into a pool hall. It was a Korean pool hall and it has 11 pool tables in a strip mall location next to a ramen shop. We walked in and immediately, everything stopped. Taking into account that we were both not wearing suits, and didn’t have our own pool sticks, it was obvious that we had treaded on some bad turf. The owner came up to use from behind a counter and was actually friendly, but they didn’t usually see non-Korean players come in, so they were a bit shocked. Once he spouted off something in Korean, everyone went back to playing pool. It was then that the idea to start a pool hall business was born, and to my surprise, I ran into a Clickbank product today that talks about starting your own pool hall today.

Why Start A Pool Hall Business?

It’s not just Koreans that love to play pool. Today, I’m writing from Indianapolis, and no less than 2 miles away from my home is a bar that has a lot of pool tables. Usually I would not think to start a pool hall business, but this bar has been flooded with Burmese people, and they love pool. Ok, so you may be asking yourself, “so what”? Well, that’s not all. I’m Mexican, and one of the things that I noticed while living in Pomona, California was the proliferation of Latin American pool halls! The more I thought about this notion to start a pool hall business, the more I realized that people of all backgrounds love billiards in one way or another. Heck, there’s pop culture movies, television shows and more that feature pool all the time. But why would anyone want to make money with a pool business? Well, there’s several reasons:

  • You can make a lot of money if you start a pool hall business
  • You love pool halls, and love playing pool
  • You want to start a business
  • You only want to cater to adults
  • How To Start A Pool Hall Business

Here’s the thing, when my friend and I went into a Korean pool hall, we didn’t know one thing about how to start a business. We were both freelancers, and we were both right out of college. If you asked us to start a pool hall business, we would not know how to answer you. At the same time, you may be thinking about starting your own business, and pool is your game. Well you will need to get help with your pool hall, and that’s not always easy. You can’t just ask your friends or family about how to start this type of business, which is why finding a niche solution that caters to this idea is so critical.

That’s where this guide, “The Pool Hall Startup Guide”, comes into play.

Free Pool Hall Startup Guide Plus Consultation

The big resource that I found while looking online was a Free Pool Hall Startup Guide, which you can pick up by clicking here. You will get a free consultation as to how to start a pool hall, and how to make money with pool. Now, you may think that the notion of how to make money playing pool is only about hustling, but that’s not true at all. In fact, I was surprised by the information that you get when you sign up, as well as the options that you get when you look at this resource closer.

Get your Free Pool Hall Startup Guide by Clicking Here

Getting A Proven Pool Hall Business Plan

Let’s say that you’re not just looking to make money playing pool, but you want to start your pool hall. Well, that’s where business savvy is going to come into play. If you have never started a business before, and you’re not sure what the numbers look like when it comes to starting a pool hall at all, then you will need to look for a business plan. Without a business plan, you cannot secure funding from a bank, you cannot figure out your startup costs, your profit and loss margins, as well as all the ins and outs of overhead, running a business and more.

Yes, you can get a free sample online through other sources, but they will not be pool hall business specific, and that’s where the strong of this clickbank option comes into play. If you’re looking for a Proven Pool Hall Business Plan, then you’ll want to click here. This will have all the information you need to make money with pool, and actually build a solid business.

Final Word on The Proven Pool Hall Business Plan (clickbank)

I’ve started and failed a lot of businesses. I didn’t start a pool hall in Koreatown, but what I can tell you is this, you can make money if you love pool and you want to start your own pool hall in your city. Before you throw money at it, however, get some advice and consulting. By going with a Proven Pool Hall Business Plan here, you could get that and more. You can even get FREE advice if you just supply your name and email address on the page.

Bottom line, is it worth it? Well, if you’re trying to make money playing pool, and don’t want to “hustle”, then yes. Start a pool hall, but get the right information first. It’s worth it.

Click here to pick up the Proven Pool Hall Business Plan mentioned in this article, and get your FREE guide as well. It’s worth it.

Articles, Book Reviews

The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX Review

Nofx Hepatitis Bathtub Book Cover
Nofx Hepatitis Bathtub Book Cover

This year has started out with reading a lot of non fiction. That includes reading books for school about historical research. Unlike “Tranny” this book was heavily accessible, and easy to read. I loved the honesty that is shown by the band and it really is a refreshing book about punk rock. Although, there are some predictable moments, and some things that I already knew. There are also other elements that make this one of the most brutally honest reads I’ve had the pleasure of going over in a long time. The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX is not just a book for fans, it’s for anyone that wants to read about the exploits of punk rockers that come into millions after hard work for about 20 to 30 years.

Brutally Honest

This is not the Motley Crue story. This is not “Airheads”, this is a strong book with a lot of deep cuts. Within the first few chapters there’s a story that had me switching gears. I had to stop reading. The story about molestation hit me hard, and it made me cry. Then there were stories about sexual problems, deviance, and so much more. Growing up misunderstood, a punk, in west Los Angeles and so much more was detailed in the pages of the book. I can relate. I grew up in the west side of Los Angeles, and I wanted to fit in. I never fit in. I still don’t fit in. I’m a weirdo even now, and it’s a sad thing. This book is refreshing as it is brutally honest, and it’s fascinating.

Punk Rock Money

I once had a post of mine go viral when I said that NOFX had sold out. A lot of fans came out and told me that I was an idiot. At the time I held fast to my belief that Fat Mike had sold out. However, after reading, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX, I get it. Mike and his band didn’t make a lot of money for 20 some odd years. In fact, they got no respect, and they were going through some serious problems, even if they did get to have sex with girls, do drugs, and enjoy the rock lifestyle at times. I still don’t like the notion of punk rock celebrity status, but eh, it happens. There’s a lot more introspective stories than just talk about how rich they were or how cool they are. There’s a brevity to it, and there’s lucid moments from all of them, including notes from Dave, the original member of the band that had to leave. Dave’s not here, is an interesting moniker that you see here and there.

Star Rating For The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX

At the end of the day, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX is a great read. If you’re a fan of the punk band or not, you’ll love the honesty and elements found in their stories. The fact that the band was so open to several things, including telling about their childhood, and their regrets is great. I loved this book far more than Laura Jane Grace’s book. These guys wrote something that felt genuine, and didn’t seem like they were going for a cash grab. Even so, it’s not perfect. It’s not accessible to just anyone, you have to really know or want to know the band, otherwise, you won’t be interested in what a bunch of idiots have to say about their punk rock days. With that in mind, I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Did you read The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX? If so, drop me a line below.

You can buy The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX by clicking here, because you should and reading is fundamental.

Articles, Record Reviews

Jimmy Eat World Clarity (1999) Review

Jimmy Eat World Clarity
Jimmy Eat World Clarity Cover

1999 was a hard year for me. That was the year that I went to the suburbs for the first time. I moved from West Los Angeles to the Santa Clarita Valley. My parents were trying to work things out and a new house and a new neighborhood was their secret to success. It felt apart. I was thrown into a new pantheon. I was raised in private Christian academies and then was thrown into public school. I made exactly 0 friends. No joke. I didn’t make one friend at all. I tried, but it didn’t work, I don’t know why people didn’t accept me. What I did have was a growing record collection, and I grabbed anything that I could, and that included Jimmy Eat World’s “Clarity”. This release from 1999 showed progress for the band, which had put out a drowning album with “Static Prevails”, which I reviewed here. This was different, this was interesting, and yet it still rang of Sunny Day Real Estate, and the modern emo scene that was starting to become bigger and bigger.

The Radio Single Album

Perhaps the biggest thing that you will denote from “Clarity” is the fact that the band was able to get one hell of a radio single from it. “Lucky Denver Mint” is one of the best songs that the band has ever written, and it’s featured on this record. The rest of the songs don’t have the same caliber of catchiness, but they are still good. In fact, I love the opener, which reminds me a little of Plankeye’s releases as they grew on Tooth and Nail Records. “Table For Glasses” was a slow moving, melodic song that breaks into the drums of my favorite song from the band. From there, the album carries on over an hour of music that really impresses, especially if you got the expanded edition which clocks in at 1 hour, 10 minutes.

Lyrically Balanced, and Alternative To The Alternative

1999 was the same year that a lot of punk bands put out records. Turn on rock radio and you heard a lot of noise coming from the Epitaph Records line up, Reprise Records, Atlantic, and more. Those labels were churning out anything pop punk that they could, meanwhile Jimmy Eat World was an alternative escape for fans of rock music. This record would have been a huge hit in 1992, when all sorts of bands were getting to test the waters on MTV and more. Instead, it got stuck in the midst of punk rock’s pop phase, and didn’t get as many fans as I think it should’ve. Of course, they would build, and build until “Bleed American” would bring them to the mainstream in a whole new way. “Clarity” feels polished at times, and it feels like the band’s trying to break the mold, yet aren’t quite as catchy or “radio” friendly as they could be.

Star Rating For Jimmy Eat World “Clarity”

Jimmy Eat World “Clarity” is a great record. It features a lot of highs and lows, and some introspective lyrics that helped me understand teenage angst and more. It is a heavy album in terms of lyrical elements, and it has a lot of great guitar work. It’s a pop, emo, indie album that was released on a major label. It’s the same kind of pathos you’d expect from Sunny Day Real Estate, and it’s a much easier to swallow recording. It never strays from the path of the Jimmy Eat World sound, and it paves new landscapes through several tracks, including “Lucky Denver Mint”, “A Sunday”, “12.23.95”, and even a demo of “Sweetness”. Overall, this is a great record, but not yet their best, so it gets a 4 out of 5.

You can download Jimmy Eat World “Clarity” by clicking here.

Did you like “Clarity”? Have you heard it lately? Does it hold up? Drop me a line and let me know.

Articles, Movie Reviews

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) Review

Electric Boogaloo Documentary
Electric Boogaloo Documentary

I watch a lot of movies, hence the moniker of Video Store Blues. I have spent a lifetime watching movies of all types, and one of the mainstays that I’ve focused on was schlock. The reason why was because when I was a child I lived in the ghetto. My father and I would sneak out to watch movies, and the only theater in our area played double features, with mostly Cannon productions in place. So growing up, I saw a TON of movies that I wasn’t supposed to watch, and remembered Cannon fondly. When I grew up, I was going to work for Cannon! That didn’t happen, but alas, we get this documentary about the studio and all the things that went on. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is an exciting documentary about a studio that you may know, or may not know, but is all interesting in the historical context of cinema.

Bad Movies Fast

The one thing that I got from the story of Cannon’s productions is that there was a passion for movie making. At all costs, the brothers that were involved with creating movies for the brand, just wanted to put out movies at all costs. They did so with a frenetic pace, and that has been my mentality about writing. I didn’t and don’t care about quality, I care about quantity, and have been pushing myself a lot to make enough money to get by. That’s the big thing about making money online and working with writing, you have to publish a lot. Well, the Cannon guys were doing the same, with movies. They were going with quantity over quality and hiring people left and right to do things faster than anyone else. If you are a fan of the movies they put out, then you know just how good and bad that sort of push was.

Brothers In Arms

The reason why Cannon worked and eventually didn’t was because the main heads of the studio wanted to make movies above all else. They just loved movie making so much, the passion drove them into a whole new level of creation. You don’t see that today. People don’t love things with the same passion, and that’s why you don’t see a lot of great movies in Hollywood. Golan and Globus are fascinating characters and amidst the schlock that comes out, they were able to do something as a team that we all can aspire to.

Great Editing, Great Story, Fascinating History

As I study history for my masters degree, I find myself wondering about motives and more. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a great documentary and the motive behind it wasn’t to paint a bad picture. The production is really even handed, with a lot of interviews, a lot of clips from the movies, and a lot of insider information. Cannon was a wreck, but man did they put out some good movies. Without Cannon, I don’t know if I would’ve become a video store clerk at all.

Star Rating For Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

At the end of the day, this is a great documentary for those that love movies. If you are a fan of movies, then you will be fascinated by the story told in this documentary. There’s so much to it, and you’ll find that there’s a cautionary tale wrapped up into this discourse of gonzo work ethics, movie operations and so much more. I loved it. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a fascinating look at movies that didn’t make the mainstream more often than not. I have fond memories of a lot of the movies Cannon produced, that’s for sure. I wish I could’ve worked for them.

You can buy or download “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films” by clicking here.

Did you see Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

Articles, Book Reviews

Tranny by Laura Jane Grace Review

Tranny by Laura Jane Grace
Tranny by Laura Jane Grace Cover

The full working title for this book is Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace. At first glance, I was shocked that someone that hated the term would use it to name her book. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. In interviews across media, Laura Jane Grace addressed the naming convention, coming down with the notion that it’s not only something to not be afraid of, but rather something that would stand out, and in not so many words, sell more books. Well, it worked because this has become quite the hot seller, and I was able to track down a copy of it, since I admire her in some ways. Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace is NOT what I thought it would be, and you know what? I’m conflicted about the whole book, which was hard to finish.

Don’t Feel Sorry For Tom Gabel

The first thing that I got from this book was that there is some regret, but more so glorification of the punk rock lifestyle. At times, there is a sense that Grace is in fact sorry for the past, and maybe she is. However, some of the stories seem to be glorifying the past, including the joys of drug use, the joys of casual sex, infidelity, and living the rock star life. I was surprised to read how easy the elements were for Tom Gabel, who would become Laura Jane Grace down the line. I absolutely was surprised by how easy it was to read about sexual exploits in a fashion that was more akin to Motley Crue than to punk rockers. I say that as a former punk rocker myself, and former record label owner, with not even 1 girl to go to bed with. I guess I’m just an ugly dude. Regardless, Grace writes with a flowing pen, and doesn’t seem to be full of remorse at times, but then makes it seem like she knows she was bad, but had a lot of fun. I guess you can have it both ways?

No Surprises

I’ve been listening to Against Me for a long time. I have read the lyrics, read interviews, listened to Laura speak, and nothing surprised me about this book. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. The linear path that she writes on is fascinating to some, but for me, it’s old news. A lot of it was already explored, and a lot of it was self-inflicted wounds and elements that she knew she was doing and did them anyways. There’s a lack of pathos here. I can’t have empathy for someone that writes in a way that just seems formulaic at times. I guess that’s my own problem, but the book reads like an A to B formula of regular mental issues, not necessarily transsexual elements. That being said, there are some things in the book that don’t make sense. The stories just seem convoluted, or forced, and perhaps embellished.

The Struggle Is Real

Peel away the rock stardom, the money, and you get a human look at the singer from Against Me. I appreciated the honesty at times, but some of it didn’t seem so genuine to me. There were moments where it was just “matter of fact” type of writing. As a writer, I can tell when someone is polishing the truth with a little bit of shimmer, and that’s what you get at times. I know we all struggle, and I’m not diminishing Grace’s journey as a transsexual, but when you write about certain things in a way that just seems disingenuous, it comes out wrong, in my opinion. Now, that’s not to say that she’s not being honest, I don’t know her personally, but from the way this is written, there’s some disconnects.

Star Rating For Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace

Ok, I had a hard time with this book. I wanted to love it. I find Laura Jane Grace to be amazing, or did. This book really did a lot to make her “human”. She is and she is great, but you can tell that money, and acceptance has changed who she is. The elements of this book that didn’t fit well with me aren’t killers, but at the same time, they derail what I thought of Grace. I pictured a struggling artist looking for acceptance, but instead, found another rich person that glorifies some “fun” from the past, only to struggle with fame, fortune, and more. I don’t know. I didn’t love the book, but didn’t hate it either. With that in mind, I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. Unless you’re in love with Grace and her music, you won’t find this book to be necessary for your collection. It wasn’t that good, to be honest, and I struggled with finishing it. Grace doesn’t come across as a sincere person sometimes, but rather just another punk rock icon, with a lot of money, and happens to be going through the transitions of a transsexual. Maybe I need to read it again, but right now, I’m working on other books. I don’t recommend this for everyone, I just don’t. But then again, maybe you may like it, I don’t know.

You can pick up Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace by clicking here and ordering it online.

Did you read Tranny by Laura Jane Grace? Drop me a line below and let me know.

Articles, Record Reviews

Jimmy Eat World Static Prevails (1996) Review

Static Prevails
Static Prevails 1996 LP

As we begin a new year, I am going to be dumping in a lot of reviews from my record collection, movies, and books as well. To start things off, I’m going to be going through the chronological catalog of Jimmy Eat World. If you are not familiar with the band, this will be a treat for you. We go back to 1996, as we skip the debut record from this perennial hit maker, because I didn’t get the first record, I got the second one first. I’ll go back to the 1994 self titled release eventually, but let’s start with “Static Prevails” which was the major label debut of the band. I recall the first time I ever heard about the band, Carson Daly said that this was the hardest working band in rock, and with that, I had to look into their records, and picked up this option on vinyl.

The Little Brother of Sunny Day Real Estate

This record stands tall against the rest of the records from Jimmy Eat World. They sound more like Sunny Day Real Estate on this record than anything else. Long from the late 1990s sound that would make them a household name, there’s a lot of slow jamming on this record. Some reviewers noted that the record company held them back, but I’m going to disagree with that notion. The main reason is because Capitol Records also released Less Than Jake records, and they were not held back. Why hold back here? The songs are not upbeat, if that’s what you were expecting, and in some moments they drone on and on.

50 Minutes of Alternative Rock

If you’re fan of distortion pedals and shoegaze, than “Static Prevails” is one hell of a record for you. Combine the influences of Poor Old Lu, Starflyer 59, and Sunny Day Real Estate, mix them well, and you get 50 minutes of alternative rock that doesn’t sound like a Jimmy Eat World record at all. In fact, try to even get in the mood with this album on, and you’re going to get shut down cold. I would know, I’ve been rejected plenty of times, thanks to my emo, and indie loving soul. What does work well here, however, is the constant flow of sounds, static even, and songs like “Claire”, “Call It In The Air”, “Episode IV”, all work well to elevate the record to a whole new level of integrity.

Star Rating For “Static Prevails”

All Music blog gave this a 3 out of 5, and I think that All Music sucks. This isn’t a 3 star record, and it is not a 5 star record. After listening to it a few times today, I can give it a solid 4 stars. The main reason is simple, it’s a band evolving into an alternative sound. They aren’t radio friendly yet, they are putting together the pieces, and it’s a great major label debut when put into the context of records that came out in 1996. I like it, and dare I say love some of the tracks. Still can’t get any affection from the ladies with it, but hey, not every cassette tape you put into the dash is going to get you head.

You can download Jimmy Eat World “Static Prevails” by clicking here, or pick up the vinyl LP here.

Did you like “Static Prevails”? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Articles, Movie Reviews

Next Friday (2000) Review

Next Friday
Next Friday Poster

Steve Carr gets the nod as the director of this sequel to the classic hit “Friday”, and while most people look fondly at the first, many forget about the second and of course my favorite, the third one. If you’re a fan of urban comedy, then you have to check out what Ice Cube and DJ Pooh come up with in this direct sequel of the 1995 cult classic. In reviewing this movie, I wasn’t sure how to frame it in a way that others haven’t done so already, so instead of going through a play by play, and trying to do the critical analysis, I’ll stick to what made me laugh the most about this movie, which may be different from others. Of course, your taste profile may be completely difference than mine.

Stereotypes Rule The Premise

In the 98 minutes of this movie, Ice Cube uses all the urban stereotypes that he can, but plays them up to a cartoon level. This includes the cholo stereotype that had me laughing really hard. Lil Joker is a great character, which made me laugh each time he was on the screen. Mike Epps joins the cast and he’s hilarious in the role of “Day Day”, which he turns up to an all new level in the next movie. In this one, he goes through a lot of emotional issues with a baby mama, getting fired from Pinky’s Records, and of course stealing from the cholo across the street. The stereotypes here aren’t offensive, they are just funny.

Pinky Steals The Show

One of the best parts of this movie is the role played by Clifton Powell. He plays Pinky and he does an incredible job at playing the gangster, record shop owner. The fight with him and Ice Cube also gets played up well here, and I really liked how it all came together. Pinky’s part here is great, and like I said, Clifton Powell puts together a great showcase for the character.

Star Rating For Next Friday

“Next Friday” continues the story of Craig. He moves with to his uncle’s house in Rancho Cucamonga, meanwhile Deebo breaks out of jail and wants to take him out. The story then takes a lot of comedic, sexual, and stereotypical turns before landing into the final moments. Overall, this movie is a stellar sequel, if you ask me, and Ice Cube plays off of Mike Epps so well, that you can’t help but laugh. John Witherspoon and Don “D.C” Curry play brothers so well that you will forget that they aren’t related. I’m giving “Next Friday” a 3 out of 5. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great follow up to the 1995 original. I don’t like it as much as the next sequel that hit theaters in 2002, but this was good for a laugh over the holiday break.

You can pick up “Next Friday” by clicking here, if you don’t already own it. If you’ve seen it, drop me a line on what your favorite parts were.

Articles, Movie Reviews

Shut Eye Television Show Review

Shut Eye Hulu Review
Shut Eye Hulu Review

I normally don’t review full television shows, but I caught this one and literally watched it in two days. I’ve been sick this past few weeks, and am still hacking up a lung, so between articles, I’ve managed to catch some television here and there. This show started as a guilty pleasure, and slowly turned a screw in my imagination. I love magic, so the notion of a failed magician absolutely had me going. “Shut Eye” is a show that is available on HULU, and I recommend getting it for a month just to watch this showcase of drama. You’ll be surprised what is going to come through.

I Do Not Like Burn Notice

First and foremost, I don’t like Jeffrey Donovan’s previous show. I found it boring, and couldn’t watch it. This show was going to suffer the same fate, but Donovan performs in such a manner, that he had me believing that he was in fact a fake psychic. The show is about a failed magician who is now working as a psychic in Los Angeles. The story is a slow starter, then goes into a completely insane world of gypsies, psychics, and the mafia. Each character you’re introduced to has something to gain, an ulterior motive for what they are doing, and where they are going. Everything is not what it seems, and when Charlie Haverford finds a mark that could very well give him nearly 2 million dollars, he decides it’s time to get out of the psychic game.

A Beat Down That Gives Visions

Early in the show, Charlie gets a beat down so bad that it gives him visions of the future. It helps him figure out a plot to steal money, turn against the gypsies in his life, and so much more. Meanwhile there are other characters that play off like mobsters, and lots of different little things to mention. David Zayas as Eduardo Bernal is a scary turn for the detective that was in “Dexter”, and Angus Sampson plays a seriously great hothead as Fonzo. The rest of the cast do a great job in my view, but it’s Donovan’s vulnerability that makes this one so compelling, especially in the last few episodes, in which he has to figure out whether or not the morality of stealing is worth saving his son’s life over.

Like A Magic Trick

The visual design flow of “Shut Eye” is great. I loved the vivid colors, the lighting, and the acting. The camera rolls, and balances so well here, as you are dramatically taken into the world of psychics, gypsies, and a little magic. If you liked “The Prestige” then you’ll like how the whole show is framed, with a little bit of a twist here and there, and violence to throw down enough dramatic flair. This is no kid’s show that’s for sure, and HULU really did well working with TriStar Television, and others to get this going. Even with a limited cast, this show really put on a lot of elements that work so well visually, which lead up to a finale that I didn’t see coming at all.

Star Rating For Shut Eye on Hulu

Since you cannot buy this outright, I will have to settle to just letting you know that you have to get a Hulu subscription to get this show. I recommend it. As far as star ratings are concerned, I’m going to give it a 4 out of 5. It starts a little boring, slow to boil, but once it sets off, you really feel entangled in the morality, despair, and even puppy love that is sewn throughout. “Shut Eye” is a sexy drama, with a lot of elements that make you question just how fake psychics are, and just how much money is made in those parlors with the cool lights. I loved it. It has a few flaws, like pacing, but in 10 episodes, it won me over, and hopefully it won others over enough to get a second season. I recommend “Shut Eye”.

Record Reviews

Peg And The Rejected 4th Wave (2016) Review

Peg And The Rejected
4th Wave Out Now

If you’re a fan of ska music, reggae, and of course punk rock, then you’re going to love this latest release from Peg and The Rejected. With the release of “4th Wave”, the band has put their names on the short list of the best ska and punk bands yet again. Imagine the power of Rancid with the precision of The Skatalites and a little bit of Two Tone thrown into the mix. The energy found within the tracks here represents a new movement for the band, formerly recognized as The Dingees.

A Mixed Bag of Ska

I throw the term ska around a lot, but honestly, that’s the best way to describe a majority of the songs. This becomes especially true with the use of horns throughout, especially on “Sound So Soothing”, and “Sing It Out At Street Level”. However, there is a lot more here. The bass lines and the focus on rocksteady really pushes the envelope a little, leaving the banner of just “ska” and turning into reggae and a more two tone approach that you’d expect from the UK. This is very evident on “Language of Lies” which is great turned up to 11, with the bass line and horns mixing a reggae and jazz element that you won’t find with a lot of mainstream music today.

A Dancing Record

Just when you think that the boys are going to go soft with their mix, the band puts together some dancing songs including “Still Don’t Know How To Party”, which has that stellar punk/ska mix that you’d expect from the third wave ska movement that made so many rich. That’s not all, through the latter half of the release, you get a lot of great points of interest, with lyrics that are very much political at times. There’s a lot to this record, and while I say it’s danceable, it’s far more than that. It’s a throwback at times, it’s a forward leaning record, and it really does encompass the sound that many bands keep trying to pull off, but fail. My hope is that this record lands on the same map as The Slackers “Red Light”, and The Pietasters “Awesome Mixtape #6”, because it’ definitely in there as far as mixing punk, ska, reggae, and even a little rocksteady, if you ask me.

Star Rating For Peg And The Rejected “4th Wave”

I wish I had a lot of money. I wish I had a record label, or power within the music industry. Peg and The Rejected has put out one of the best ska/punk records of 2016, and I can only hope that people actually listen up. You have to give these guys credit. “4th Wave” is a stellar record, recorded with a great sound, focused and rejuvenated with a sound that is refreshing. You can’t go wrong with this one, which is why I’m giving it a 4 out of 5. It’s one of my personal favorite records of 2016, and I have one of the best jobs in the world, freelance blogger and idiot. (ghost writer actually)

You can pick up “4th Wave” via Amazon.com by clicking here, it’s well worth your time.