Archive | April, 2014

Bizarre Discoveries, Crazy Exes, and the Worst Use of Fried Chicken Ever

29 Apr

The world is a strange place, which is why I don’t get surprised by stories like these.

The first story is about a 70-year-old Italian man who did get a surprise. The man was feeling in the mood for a little female company, and thought he would hire an escort. In an attempt to be discreet, he decided to look outside his home city of Treviso and find an escort in the neighbouring city of Vicenza. When he met the beauty he received a bit of a shock.

The escort was his son’s girlfriend.

Two things need to be pointed out at this juncture. Firstly, the man did not have a fatal heart attack, which surely would have been on the cards. Secondly, the surprised pair wisely decided not to go ahead with their ‘transaction’.

Given that his son had been under the impression that his girlfriend was a waitress, the man decided to let him know that her employment involved serving more than just pizza and pasta. How did the son react? By fighting his father. Talk about shooting the messenger.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of all is that four years later, the father and son are now in court, because the son is suing the father for injuries sustained during the fight. Finding out your girlfriend is a hooker and getting beaten up by a 70-year-old man? That, my friends, is what you call a bad day.

A little further north, another elderly man made a shocking discovery. Fisherman Bjorn Frilund, 64, caught himself a lovely 5kg cod in the waters off his hometown of Eidsbygda in western Norway. When gutting the fish, Bjorn removed the usual items from its stomach, such as half-digested food, but also removed something he had not seen in a fish in all his years in the trade: a bright orange dildo.

It’s unclear whether the dildo belonged to the fish, the Italian escort, or some other third party, but it certainly gave Bjorn something to talk about at the pub that night. Interestingly, Bjorn told reporters that, “the dildo looks like what the fish eat”. Um, what are they feeding fish in Norway? Or perhaps I should ask what kind of kinky fish do they breed there?

Next time Bjorn, please wear some gloves, okay?

The reports didn’t detail what happened to the dildo. I imagine Bjorn has it tied to the end of a fishing rod in an attempt to catch more cod.

Here’s a tip for anyone wanting to get revenge on an ex-lover: don’t do what Torz Reynolds did. The Londoner had to say goodbye to her boyfriend of two years, Stuart ‘Chopper’ May, because he had to move to Alaska for work. Or so she thought. Soon after their teary airport farewell, she made her own shocking discovery: that Chopper was still living in London, with a girl with whom he had been having a 6 month affair.

Now, it’s fair to say Reynolds made a few mistakes. The first was not changing her name the second she turned 18. (Torz? Really?) The second was dating a guy nicknamed ‘Chopper’. The third was to get a tattoo on her arm that read, ‘Chopper’s Bitch’ (at least she got the apostrophe in there). But her greatest mistake was how she sought revenge on her cheating ex.

Reynolds sliced off her tattoo – skin and all – and mailed it to Chopper.

As Reynolds explains, “I packaged it up so it really did look like a present. I even used different handwriting so he’s have no idea that it was me…I can’t imagine what his reaction was. I wish I could have been there to see it.”

I’m no expert, but my idea of getting revenge does not involve self-mutilation. She didn’t even use anaesthetic! And the worst part is that if her ludicrous actions had any impact on Chopper, she would never know because she wasn’t there to see it.

Photos of Reynold’s ‘gift wrapped’ tattoo. Anyone else surprised she actually got the apostrophe correct?

She says she now has closure, and that Chopper knows “never to mess” with her. Why is that, in case she mutilates herself further? I’m starting to understand why Chopper concocted an elaborate tale of moving overseas to avoid this woman.

Perhaps their relationship would have lasted if this following new product was available when their love was flailing. A florist in Kentucky, US, has partnered with KFC to create a product that frankly should have been on the market for years: a KFC chicken corsage.

In case you are wondering whether your instincts are incorrect, it is exactly how you imagined it: a corsage for the girl to wear to prom that has beautiful baby breath flowers – and a piece of deep fried chicken.

“It goes well with your French fries necklace.”

Whilst your first question is no doubt, ‘Why?’ (if it’s ‘Where can I get one?’ then we have a problem), the next might be, ‘How would you match the corsage to your dress?’ Well there’s good news on that front; the corsages come in Original Recipe, Extra Crispy, or Kentucky Grilled Chicken, so you can accessorise with ease. What I want to know is what happens when you finish eating it. Do you spend the rest of the night with greasy bones dangling off your wrist? Not a good look.

More to the point, what message, exactly, are young men hoping to send their dates with this product? Here’s some chicken to stick to your arm because I know you can’t last until dinner without some saturated fat?

Hopefully the chickens used for the corsages aren’t from Norway, otherwise when the young ladies bite into them, they might discover something inside that will send them an entirely different prom night message.

Movie Predictions: The Biggest Films of 2014 – Part II (Cont.)

13 Apr



As we discussed in part one of this post, there are few safer strategies for profitable movie making than to release a sequel to a successful film, which is why studios green light so many of them (for example, I think we’re up to Fast & Furious 19). The main reason for this is that you can leverage an already existing audience, and expand from there. It’s a similar theory behind rebooting franchises: studios hope that there is a readymade audience upon which to build, and therefore a higher chance of a strong return on investment. There are a couple of reboots coming out this year for just that reason, one of which is Godzilla.

The last iteration of the story of this beloved building-destroying giant lizard was a much maligned and quickly forgotten effort in 1998. Nonetheless, that film earned $379 million (the third biggest worldwide earner of the year), meaning that this year’s Godzilla has every chance to break the bank. The Godzilla character is well known worldwide, and international markets are a lot bigger than they were in the 90s. The floor for this reboot has to be above the last remake, and the ceiling could be anywhere if they get it right. As long as Godzilla doesn’t destroy it first in a fit of rage.

Prognosis: Godzilla will smash skyscrapers and box office receipts alike. $500 – $600 million.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In 2007, Michael Bay took a popular ‘80s cartoon called Transformers and adapted it for the big screen. He made a ton of money and three sequels, the most recent coming out this year, and so he’s decided to do it again with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Even though Bay is only producing and not directing, TMNT looks like it’s going to follow a similar format to Transformers with lots of action and lots of special effects. Heck, it’s even got Megan Fox starring as April O’Neil.

How will it do? Like Transformers, TMNT will hope to get viewers from multiple markets, namely fans of the original series and movie, as well as current youngsters who have enjoyed a resurgence of the radical reptiles in their most recent cartoon incarnation. However there has already been negative backlash from a vocal number of fanboys, particularly when Bay announced that the ‘mutant’ turtles would in fact be ‘aliens’. Can’t you read the name of your own movie?!? Bay quickly changed his mind with that, but criticism still followed, most notably about the look of the turtles. Nonetheless, I’m sure the film will do well, if not Transformers well.

Prognosis: With two big films out, it’s going to be a totally tubular year for Michael Bay. Cowabunga! $400 – $500 million.

Teen Fiction Adaptations

Some of the biggest movies in recent years have been adaptations of young adult novels, and studios are searching ever more keenly for a successful book series to alchemise into a film franchise. And why not? The five Twilight films brought in almost $3.5 billion, and the Harry Potter franchise a whopping $7.7 billion.  Yowsers.

The problem is, for every booming success, there are dozens of others that rank between middling efforts and abject bombs.

Will there be a new Hunger Games this year, or just a series of fizzling projects that fail to take flight? I think there will be two films that could, if things go right, approach the half billion dollar benchmark.


This film is based on the first in a trilogy of dystopian young adult novels centred on a world that divides people into five different factions. The protagonist, Tris, is secretly a Divergent: she doesn’t fit properly into any faction. This means, of course, that the bad guys will want her dead. Oh dear.

There are some similarities between Divergent and The Hunger Games, which is no doubt why the producers took interest, and what they hope to emulate in terms of box office takings. Both have a young heroine, both are set in a futuristic dystopia, and both are based on trilogies that were recently published and successful almost immediately (Divergent was published in 2011).

And if any young adult novel adaptation is going to catch fire as much as The Hunger Games, this will be it (the studios are banking on it – the remaining two films in the trilogy are set to hit screens over the next two years). However that is a very high standard, one I don’t think it will reach.  I wouldn’t worry too much though, it will still make plenty of money.

Prognosis: The future may look grim for Tris, but not for the studios. $500 – $600 million.

The Fault in Our Stars

This could be a big year for Shailene Woodley. Not only does she star as Tris in Divergent, she is also starring in the adaptation of the John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars. The films couldn’t be more different, however, The Fault in Our Stars following two teens who fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.

The book debuted at number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List in January 2012, and the film rights were sold in the same month, so needless to say, the fan base is there. However, generally speaking studios will have a tougher time making money out of a straight romance novel than an action thriller. Still, if the film is executed well, and receives positive reviews and word of mouth praise, it could build a strong audience that sustains over a long screening period. That’s a lot of ifs though.

Prognosis:  $200 – $300 million.


A Million Ways to Die in the West

If superhero sequels are the luxury items of movies, then comedies are the generic brands: they are cheap to finance and quick to make meaning that while they usually produce a good return on investment, they rarely bring in huge box office totals. Every now and then, however, a comedy resonates with the public in a big way, and joins the action blockbusters at the box office big boys’ table.

One such movie was Ted, the first feature film by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. That potty-mouthed teddy bear turned a $50 million budget into $549.4 million of box office receipts. That’s extremely impressive, and MacFarlane hopes to do it again with his follow up project, A Million Ways to Die in the West.

This time, MacFarlane is putting himself on camera as Albert, a cowardly farmer in the wild west who develops a crush on the new woman and town, only for her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, to arrive on the scene.

One thing this movie has going for it is the cast. Joining MacFarlane is Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick-Harris, and several other big names. Will that translate into Ted level success? I’m going to guess no, and put Ted down as lightning in a bottle.

Prognosis: This town ain’t big enough for the both us. $250 – $350 million.

22 Jump Street

The only other comedy that has any chance of making significant money is 22 Jump Street. The original movie, 21 Jump Street, was a surprise hit (although it was a reboot of sorts, so maybe that should have tipped us off). Somehow, turning a TV crime drama from the ‘80s into a modern action comedy film – starring a guy who basically hadn’t done a comedy before – actually worked. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill had undeniable chemistry, and they’re back for the follow up.

Unlike action sequels, comedy sequels are hard to get right. Even if 22 Jump Street does manage it, which it well could, it will need to more than double the earnings of the original, which took in $201.6 million. I don’t see that happening.

Prognosis: The sequel’s earnings will jump from the original, but not by enough. $250 – $350 million.

The Scoreboard

We’ve looked at exactly 20 films to see how they’ll fare this year, and if I’m right three will join the billion dollar club, eight will make half a billion, and another four could gross half a billion if things go right. Only time will tell whether my predictions will be close to being correct, but one thing’s for sure: with the amount of money flying being spent at the box office I should quit my day job and become a movie producer.

Do you agree or disagree with the predictions? Any films you think should have made the list? Comment below!

Movie Predictions: The Biggest Films of 2014 – Part II

10 Apr

In Part I of this post we looked at some films almost certain to top this year’s worldwide box office rankings, and possibly join the billion dollar club. We also looked at some big sequels which should earn half a billion and beyond.

In Part II of this post, we turn our attention to a few other movies that are hoping to give the half billion dollar mark a nudge, including some fresh blockbusters from big name actors and directors, some reboots, some young adult novel adaptations, and a pair of comedies.


Edge of Tomorrow

Here’s a figure that might make your head explode quicker than the bad guys’ hideout at the end of an action blockbuster: $3,213,000,000. That’s how much money Tom Cruise’s films have grossed over the course of his career.   Just in America. I would do the maths on his worldwide numbers but my calculator doesn’t go that high.

Needless to say, whatever your opinion of the man might be, Cruise is as big a box office lock as any actor of the last 40 years. He’s hoping to do it again with this year’s Edge of Tomorrow.

Edge of Tomorrow is a sci-fi pic centring on Cruise repeatedly reliving the same day of a war against alien forces. Think Groundhog Day except if Bill Murray was blasting extra-terrestrials with plasma rays (I’d totally watch that movie by the way). 2012’s Oblivion managed a decent $286.2 million worldwide, and it wasn’t long ago when Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol raked in almost $700 million, so Cruise can still bring people into the cinemas. He’s also surrounded by a solid cast, including Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Jeremy Piven, so this film should work.

That said, I think there are too many must see blockbusters this year for Edge of Tomorrow to make a huge impact. It should top Oblivion, but not by much.  Although there might be a huge demand to see Tom Cruise die over and over and over…

Prognosis: This film will be on the edge of blockbuster successes. $300 – $350 million.


Someone else who has been box office gold in recent years is Christopher Nolan. The writer/director’s last three films (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, The Dark Knight) grossed almost $3 billion between them. Will his latest project, Interstellar, be just as successful?

The odds are on his side. As is usual with his films, the cast is stellar (or should that be interstellar?). Some of the usual suspects are there – Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine – and they are joined by the likes of Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, and reigning Academy Award Best Actor Matthew McConaughey. That’s pulling power.

The trailer doesn’t give much away, but that’s how Nolan likes it.  Based on resume only, you’d have to assume this will be a hit.

Prognosis: The movie will be astronomical in name and earnings. $500 – $600 million.

Jupiter Ascending

Another sci-fi blockbuster, Jupiter Ascending is the latest effort of the Wachowski siblings. Unlike Nolan, the Wachowskis’ stock has stagnated since an extremely promising start; although 2012’s Cloud Atlas did respectfully in foreign markets, it bombed in the US, barely scraping in $27 million at the box office. Will Jupiter Ascending capture audience’s imaginations, like bullet time in The Matrix? Or will it simply confuse audiences, like the Architect’s speech in The Matrix Reloaded?

It’s not easy to tell. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis should attract viewers, and the trailers look beautiful, but they also show that the plot is likely to be as unconventional as Cloud Atlas. That might be a problem, given that audiences shunned that film for more familiar and easily digestible superhero movies and sequels. If I had to guess, I’d say the returns will be an improvement on Cloud Atlas, but not in the same class as others on this list. However ultimately I wouldn’t be surprised with any figure.

Prognosis: It could go any way, but in all likelihood, Jupiter won’t ascend all that far. $200 – $400 million.


This one will be interesting. In a vacuum, an action/disaster movie starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Nick Nolte and Anthony Hopkins, with a budget of $125 million, and written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, would seem like a sure fire candidate to make half a billion dollars. However Noah, of course, has an added element: it is a tale lifted from the Bible.

And by lifted I mean ‘the basic premise of the story of Noah has been taken and adapted into an action film’, if the trailers are anything to go by. How will audiences react? Will Christians shun it as blasphemy? Will non-Christians ignore it as a religious film?

Well the initial box office returns have been strong, and the last time we saw a controversial religious film on the big screen The Passion of the Christ ended up being the a huge hit, particularly in the US, where $370.8 of its $611.9 million were earned.

Noah could have bombed badly, and it’s clear that it won’t, but I’m not convinced it will be a story for the ages.

Prognosis: Aronofsky’s prayers will be answered, and Noah won’t drown. $400 – $500 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel has been meticulous with their film planning over the last decade and getting the most out of their cache of characters. As we’ve seen, the results speak for themselves, with any recent movie associated with their name coming with a blank cheque from the box office. So it’s nice to see them take a bit of a risk, which is exactly what Guardians of the Galaxy is.

Guardians does not have any of Marvel’s big name characters, and it’s adapted from a comic that not many people have heard of. It is also a little more out there than most of Marvel’s films to date, with aliens that look like trees and talking racoons. So will audiences be interested?

Guessing the ceiling on this one is tough, but I’m well and truly in the camp that wants and expects this to be a hit. If anyone can afford to throw some money into marketing, it’s Marvel, and the trailer looks extremely fun. Chris Pratt is perfect to play wise guy Peter Quill, and the likes of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voice some of the other characters. I’m saying that Guardians hits the mark as a fun space romp and gives Marvel another hit.

Prognosis: Marvel at this money making machine. $400 – $600 million.

Check back in soon for the next page of this post