Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park Europe Review

Out of the Park: Europe is a spin-off series. Swearnet gives The Boys a free trip to visit seven cities in Europe. Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are joined by their Swearnet appointed chaperone Tom Mayhue. Everything is hunky dory until they realize that they have to earn money for booze, food, and drugs. Every day Mayhue gives them a new set of tasks that must be completed. Each of these tasks will reward them anywhere from $25 to $1000.

The Boys are watched like a hawk so they usually end up failing their tasks or only completing the smaller, cheaper jobs. Each episode takes place in a different city, except for the season finale, which is two part episode in Amsterdam. The other cities visited are London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki. A tour bus takes them to each city where they spend a full day touring the sites and performing tasks. Even though they are on another continent, they still find ways to get up to their usual shenanigans.

This series follows a different format than the main show. It features the main characters and a similar sort of humour, but it relies on the cultural shock The Boys face while visiting new countries. There’s also all the missing characters it can’t rely on so a lot of pressure is put on the three main guys. Every episode features a cameo, usually from somebody native to the spotlight country.

I found this show to be funny and it offers the viewer something different than the usual Trailer Park Boys situations. Though, I feel it may not be for everybody. Die hard fans will want to check it out to see Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles navigating cities in Europe. It’s not perfect but it does have some funny moments and I feel it is worth a watch. The season is only eight episodes long. And based on the ending, they plan on doing more with the Out of the Park series.

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McDonald’s Poutine Review

McDonald’s poutine has been out for a few years,  I believe, but I did not get around to trying it until today. When it first came out, I was wary about trying it because my brother said it was surprisingly small. The other day I decided to search a few pictures online to see if it looked any good. I came across pictures that showed very little cheese on top so I remained undecided. As you can see by my pictures, there is a suitable layer of cheese curds on top. Now, it may depend which restaurant you go to, but you should get a decent amount of cheese curds on your McD’s poutine. I won’t say much about the fries because if you are reading this you have probably eaten fries from McDonald’s. The gravy is good but not as tasty as the kind KFC puts on its poutine. The cheese curds are good too and comparable to other fast food curds. This poutine costs $4.00 plus tax and if you choose to get one with a combo they will charge you an extra $1.60. I’d say the portion size is satisfying for the price you pay. I was expecting it to be a lot smaller. I would suggest you get this with a combo as opposed to eating it by itself, unless you just want a snack or have a small appetite. If you already like McDonald’s fries and like poutine, I recommend you try this the next time you visit the Golden Arches.

Stranger Things Season 1 Review

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Stranger Things is the latest home run produced by Netflix. Winona Ryder headlines the cast but it is really an ensemble effort. Everybody does a stellar job, even the child actors. Sometimes kids can be hit or miss in films and television. Ryder is increasingly frantic and haggard which is a great portrayal of the mother of a missing son. The show blends multiple genres including horror, science fiction and mystery. It takes place during 1983 in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Everything is a throwback to the 1980s especially the movies of the decade. Films such as Jaws, The Evil Dead and The Thing are featured on posters. At least three references to Stephen King are made, that I can remember. My favourite is a shot of the kids walking on the train tracks in the forest which I hope is a reference to Stand By Me. The music on the show is great and it fits well with the atmosphere of the series. It has a catchy theme song too. Each episode’s title screen moves towards the screen. It reminds me of something that would appear in the opening credits of an 80s horror movie.

The main story is about the disappearance of a young boy named Will Byers. He leaves his friend’s house one night and seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth. His mother Joyce(Ryder) does not notice him missing until the next morning. Search parties are organized but not many traces outside of his bicycle are found. Will’s three best friends, Mike, Lucas and Dustin start their own investigation into his disappearance.

The US Department of Energy conducts experiments at a secluded lab in Hawkins. One of their biggest projects involves the development of a human weapon. A young girl named Eleven possesses strong telekinetic powers. She spends most of her life performing various tasks for a man named Dr. Martin Brenner. Eleven escapes the lab and crosses paths with Mike who takes her to his house.

Sheriff Jim Hopper works closely with Joyce on the case. His searching leads him to startling discoveries. The killing of a restaurant owner who first finds Eleven is mistakenly connected to Will. After Will’s “body” is discovered in a local quarry, Joyce protests that is it not her son. Hopper breaks into the morgue after hours. He cuts open the body to find it is full of stuffing. His partnership with Joyce is formed after this discovery. They speak with a woman who claims Dr. Brenner stole her child. The mother also believes her daughter has special powers. This influences Hopper to prod the local laboratory for a look around the property.

Simply put, Will is stuck in another dimension or universe (referred to as The Upside Down) that is a twister reflection of his own. He can communicate with his friends and family but only through special circumstances. Joyce is able to talk to him through lights set up in her home. Eleven helps the boys contact Will through walkie talkies as well as a HAM radio. The connection between the two worlds is usually spotty and short lived.

An alien creature from the other world stalks Hawkins for prey. It is attracted by the scent of fresh blood. The kids refer to it as a Demogorgan. It can easily travel between the two worlds. A few times it actually pushes it self through Joyce’s wall as if it were a plastic membrane. The Demagorgan is fairly resistant to gunfire and melee attacks. Being set on fire doesn’t even stop it.

Will is not the only person to go missing from Hawkins. Barbara, who is a friend of Mike’s sister Nancy, is snatched up by the Demagorgan. Nancy teams up with Will’s brother Jonathan to search for her. They stumble upon a gateway to the Upside Down world before any of the other characters. Nancy is stuck in their briefly while trying to avoid the monster.

Hopper sneaks into the Dept. of Energy Laboratory one night. Dr. Brenner and his team have found a portal to The Upside Down. He manages to make his way deep into the building and discovers the room with this gateway. Eventually, they catch him, drug him and Hopper wakes up the next morning at his trailer.

Joyce, Hopper, Nancy, Jonathan and the four kids convene together on a plan to rescue will. A deprecation tank is constructed at the school so Eleven can contact Will. Once they find his location, Hopper and Joyce head to the laboratory to enter the portal to The Upside Down. Nancy and Jonathan try to kill the Demagorgan but it survives the attack. Hopper and Joyce are caught at the facility. He gives up Eleven’s location in exchange for safe passage into the other world. The government agents storm the school with Dr. Brenner to corner the kids. Eleven is able to kill some of them but the doctor catches up to them. The Demagorgan shows up and attacks the men. All four kids seek shelter in a classroom. They are trapped by the monster. Eleven gives up herself to remove the Demagorgan from this world. Will is saved by Joyce and Hopper, and brought to the hospital where he is greeted by all his friends.

An epilogue takes place one month after the the night of the rescue. Will has dinner with his family. In the bathroom it is revealed that he might be infested with some kind of bugs from the other world. Elsewhere, Hopper leaves some food in a box out in the woods including some Eggos(Eleven’s favourite food).

The show ends in a way that sets up for a second season. If it were not brought back for another year there would be a few loose ends. The biggest ones being Will’s sickness and the hint that Eleven is still alive. It has been well received so I don’t see why they wouldn’t bring it back. Lesser shows have been renewed by Netflix so I would be surprised if it got canceled.

If you haven’t yet seen Stranger Things, I highly recommend it. The season only has 8 episodes so if you are a binge watcher it won’t take you long to burn through them all. And then you will feel lost until season 2. Fans of 80s movies should especially like it. The next time you’re searching for a show to watch on Netflix give Stranger Things fair consideration.

Suicide Squad Film Review

This review contains spoilers.

Five criminals are given the chance to reduce their sentences. Deadshot, Harley Quinn, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc are being held at a high security prison. Amanda Waller is forming a secret team called Task Force X whose sole purpose is to take on missions that nobody else can handle. The group is being led by a military man named Col. Flagg. He is supported by his subordinate soldiers as well as an expert swordswoman named Katana. The sixth recruit is a witch(Enchantress) who possesses the body of an archaeologist named Dr. June Moone, Flagg’s girlfriend. Everybody in the group is kept in line by nano bombs injected into their bodies. Enchantress is controlled by Amanda Waller who keeps the witch’s heart in a locked box. She manages to escape and free her brother Incubus from a statuette. The two siblings vow to create a machine that will wipe out humanity. People all over the city are transformed into faceless creatures who are bound to serve them in battle. Harley has her own plans to meet up with The Joker. Deadshot wants to get out of prison so he can spend more time with his daughter. El Diablo is trying to live a peaceful existence after all the horrible things he has done, which includes killing his family. Enchantress’s army is wreaking havoc in the city. The squad is summoned for a rescue mission but they don’t know the target is Waller. After some squabbling amongst themselves, as well as between Deadshot and Flagg, they eventually make it to their destination. Progress is halted after the target is revealed. Harley escapes with Mr. J on a hijacked aircraft. It is shot down shortly after the departure. Quinn manages to jump onto a rooftop but Joke is presumed dead. Flagg comes clean about the enemy they are fighting which inspires the group to continue their mission. Everybody puts in a great effort to defeat Enchantress and her brother. Diablo is lost in the battle but Dr. June is saved despite the death of her possessor. In the final scenes, Deadshot visits his kid and Joker breaks Harley out of prison. Waller talks with Bruce Wayne during the after credits scene. There is reference to the Justice League.

Suicide Squad is a fun comic book film. I got pretty much what I was expecting. The concept of villains being grouped together for a dangerous mission is an exciting plot. Usually comic book adaptations feature a hero protagonist, but a villain/antihero protagonist group is refreshing. Some viewers may not be familiar with the characters but they are given plenty of backstory on screen. Margot Robbie is delightfully crazy as Harley Quinn. A fine fit for the character in my mind. Jared Leto will probably not please everybody with his performance. It is hard to follow an act like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, so his appearance will be heavily scrutinized. Leto took the character in a different direction than we might be used to. He did his own thing but the risk was worth it. Joker was frighteningly psychotic. Though, he will still be compared to Ledger, Nicholson and Hamill. This is a solid film in my mind. Those who have enjoyed most comic book adaptations will probably like Suicide Squad.

Star Trek: TOS “The Man Trap” Review

My familiarity with the Star Trek franchise is next to nil. I have seen the reboot trilogy but beyond that my knowledge is limited. All six Star Trek series are available to watch on Netflix so I decided to start watching some episodes from across the franchise. The Man Trap is the first episode of the original Star Trek TV series.  We’re are shown what the crew of the Starship Enterprise is all about and the kinds of situations they will face. From what I can I remember, neither Scotty or Chekov were seen in the episode, but all of the other regulars were featured. Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy have to check in on an archaeologist and his wife who are working on a desolate planet. The wife is an ex-girlfriend of McCoy whom he hasn’t seen in over 10 years. Her name is Nancy and we soon find out she is actually a shapeshifting alien whose people once roamed the planet. It is the last remaining member of its species. This oddity is first hinted at early on when McCoy sees a young version of Nancy and Kirk sees an older woman. A third crew member sees a completely different woman, a blonde. The alien requires salt to survive. She sucks out salt of the third crew member while nobody else is around. A couple of other people are killed by the alien and its existence is soon found out. It gathers pictures of people from the minds of others which it uses to shapeshift. The archaeologist is brought on board to help track down the alien but he refuses to help. He sympathizes with its need for survival. In the form of Nancy, the alien pleads for help from McCoy. Kirk makes it to McCoy’s room where a struggle ensues. The alien starts to suck the salt from Kirk. McCoy is hesitant to shoot the alien which resembles his former lover. It does revert back to its true form briefly. McCoy shoots the alien and it crumples to the ground. The costume for the alien looks pretty creepy. It has these suction caps on its hands. Overall, it is an enjoyable episode. It is a good introduction to the universe of Star Trek.

McDonald’s Delectable Bacon & Cheese Burger Review

This burger is part of McDonald’s summer promotion “Great Canadian Taste Adventure.” It’s available between July 20th and 26th but I believe it was released a second time earlier this year. There is a beef patty topped with mozzarella, bacon, lettuce and Hickory Seasoned sauce. And it’s all on a “braided-style” bun. I bought the combo and the grand total was $9.59. The braided style bun is nice and soft but it seems like only the top side is different while the bottom bun is the typical one used in their other burgers. Bacon tastes good and isn’t too floppy. The sauce is decent too. Overall, the burger is worth trying but if you do miss it then it isn’t a big deal. It’s not something you need to rush out and try.

dbc burger

People Places Things (2015) Review

Jemaine Clement stars as a divorced cartoonist who is trying to rebuild his life. Will(Clement) also teaches a college course about graphic novels. His wife Charlie has sole custody of their twin daughters and lives in the house they once shared. He is still trying to work through his feelings for her. Most of the film takes place a year after he finds her cheating on him, with a man named Gary, during their daughters’ birthday. She drops the bomb that she is pregnant with Gary’s child and plans on marrying him. One of Will’s students(Kat) tries to set him up with her mother(Diane). They date for a little while but Will’s feelings for Charlie end up destroying the relationship. Eventually, Gary and Charlie do get married. Will shows up to the wedding in what is probably an attempt at some closure on the divorce and his lingering feelings. At the end of the movie, we see Will taking some flowers out of his jacket, which are presumably for Diane. We do not see their reunion.

This film is a even mixture of drama and comedy. There are plenty of funny little scenes throughout the movie. If you enjoy Clement’s style of comedy, you’ll find some laughs here. It deals heavily with the effect of divorce on everyone involved. Will is fairly miserable but finds joy through his daughters and teaching. Later, he finds happiness in his short lived fling with Diane. He mentors Kat who is obviously his favourite student. Kat shows the most passion for the subject. She idolizes him and is disappointed when he screws up his relationship with her mother. Will looks over Kat’s graphic novel which she has worked on for a long time. He is inspired to give Kat a selection of his work to look over. Kat gives him some constructive criticism which helps him with both his graphic novel and his life in general since it is highly autobiographical. The drawings are a nice addition to the movie. It is interesting to see the story represented in a second medium within the film.

I suggest watching this movie if you’re looking for a light dramedy or are a fan of anything starring Jemaine Clement. He does a fine job and I like seeing him in roles outside of Flight of the Conchords.

Doritos Dinamita Nacho Picoso Review

Dinamita

If you have never tried any of the Dinamita style Doritos, they look like a chip that has been rolled into the shape of a taquito. These chips are a lot crunchier than regular Doritos because they are rolled up so tightly. They taste fairly similar to the Nacho Cheese variety with some added spiciness. Nacho Picoso roughly means spicy nacho so that makes sense. The heat level is enjoyable but not overpowering. This bag was about 80 grams so it works out to be about one third of the big bags. It’s enough for one sitting. If you’re looking for a Doritos flavour that is spicier than the regular lineup, then I recommend these chips. However, they are not my favourite Doritos, but they are decent.

 

Pepsi Ginger Cola Review

I believe in the States this drink is marketed under the 1893 product line. Though, I could be mistaken. In Canada, it is simply called ginger cola. Based on light research, it looks like this stuff has been out since March of this year. Ginger cola looks slightly lighter than regular Pepsi. It smells quite nice. You can definitely detect the ginger. The label claims the drink is made using real ginger. This drink tastes like a mixture between ginger ale and Pepsi cola. I didn’t know what to expect, but it does taste great. It’s a good way to mix up the current soda line up. Fans of Pepsi products will do themselves a favour by trying a bottle of ginger cola. Go out and try it before it’s gone.

$100,000 Pyramid Review

Pyramid has had several different versions which date back to 1973. TV icons such as Dick Clark and Donny Osmond have hosted the series over the years. It has returned for the 2016 season as part of ABC’s Sunday Game Night. A revival of the show Match Game and Celebrity Family Feud will be joining it on Sunday nights this summer. Michael Strahan is the newest host of Pyramid.  He has had plenty of experience through hosting Live! with Kelly Ripa and on Good Morning America. If you have never seen the game before it has similar rules to Password and the more recent Celebrity Name Game. Contestants are paired with a celebrity partner. There are two teams and the celebrities switch partners halfway through the show. Players choose between six different categories. One of the partners gives clues based on a given word. The only rule is you cannot say the word or use any kind of rhyme. Each category consists of 7 words. The team with the most correct words at the end of the round gets to play for $50,000. If you win twice, you could potentially win $100,000. The $50,000 round has stricter rules. Contestants cannot use their hands to explain clues and can only say words or phrases specifically related to the categories. In fact, in this version of the series, people actually have to strap their hands to the seat. I don’t recall that being used in the show when it was hosted by Donny Osmond. The series premiered with a 2 episode block and they will probably continue showing two episodes every week. Some celebrities are better players than others. If you’ve ever seen the episode of Friends where Joey is a contestant, you can see how bad they can perform. Though, they aren’t usually that bad. Actress Kathy Najimy was a stellar player in the premiere. She was on the show a few teams before she became a celebrity, so she is quite familiar with the format. Pyramid is an entertaining game show and I’m glad they brought it back. Your enjoyment of the show may depend on your opinion of the featured celebrities, but aside from that it is a fun premise.