Hollywood, stop the reboots and remakes!

By Dan Buffa, Special for WAL

Attention Hollywood: Let's put an end to the bad idea train of thought. It shouldn't be in the best interests of the make believe land to resort to the recycling bin to create a piece of entertainment that they expect the cinema addicts to dish ten bucks for. This is becoming a real problem. 

Who am I to complain without citing evidence or providing examples? I may not be a lawyer but I can probably play one for a 10-15 minutes here. I OBJECT! You see, I got the hang of it real quick. 

Exhibit A: Point Break

No one and I mean no one screamed for a Point Break remake but Hollywood said why not and made a trashy hollow piece of garbage and just for kicks, they released it on Christmas last year. They couldn't even show self-respect and cast the lesser Hemsworth brother, Liam, and instead put a guy in there for Keanu Reeves' part that should be selling me board shorts in Santa Monica instead of acting. Edgar Rameriz isn't a bad actor(and plays Roberto Duran this weekend), but he didn't do Bodhi any better than the late Patrick Swayze. The man was rolling in his grave thinking of a remake. 

Why mess with Oscar nominated director Kathryn Bigelow's pulpy action flick that was so good that Gary Busey still gets work based off his wild FBI agent? No need. Stop it. 

Exhibit B: Ghostbusters

First of all, Melissa McCarthy isn't that funny. She's built a career off fat jokes, and let me tell you Chris Farley did this gimmick way better. The rest of the cast is a big old batch of "meh" and the studio lost so much money after its release that a sequel was cancelled. Good or bad flick, move on. Stop remaking or rebooting. Get creative.

Exhibit C: Ben-Hur

The film crashed immediately after takeoff this past weekend. It cost over 100 million to make and grossed just 11 million domestically. You don't release summer films with Jack Huston(Boardwalk Empire) as the lead and you don't remake films that won Best Picture! It was a bad idea from the start. Stop it. Imagine if this money was put to better use than remaking or rebooting good to great films. 

There's more. Lethal Weapon is getting rebooted for a TV show. Sickening. War Games is getting remade. The Arnold Schwarzenegger cheeseburger Commando is getting a remake. Jumanji. Who will tell these people these are bad ideas? 

Why not make small films with big hearts like Hunt for the WIlderpeople. Captain Fantastic, and Midnight Special? Real, fresh, and original pleasures. Well, a need to remake a good film made that way 20 years ago is why folks. It's troubling and a sign of why film is overall taking a hit. 

Sequels may not be a good idea for some franchises, but at least they are continuations of a story line and not recycled clumsy money making pretenders. 

Ben-Hur will be an abomination at the box office and even worse, it's just a bad movie. 

Where is the white towel, Hollywood? Please throw it into the ring right now. 

8/15/16 Express Dose: Tyron Woodley stands tall for Ferguson and MU

By DAN BUFFA, Columnist  

Let's not waste any time this afternoon with this latest Express Dose. 

~All hail Tyron Woodley, the University of Missouri, Columbia fighter who just flipped the UFC on its head with a surprising victory over Robbie Lawler. Woodley didn't just beat Lawler, who is known for having a chin partially made of concrete. He knocked him out in the first round, kicking off another round of uncertain future fights for Dana White to deal with. How about this 34 year old kid from Ferguson, Missouri?

He doesn't just win but he wins big and shines a fine light on MU as well as his violence torn hometown. Woodley is the third MU wrestler to win a world title. Michael Chandler, a native of High Ridge, won a title for Bellator MMA earlier this summer. Former Bellator title holder and current ONE championship welterweight champion Ben Askren, a 32 year old MU grad, is 15-0 and thriving. Great MU fighters winning world titles on a global scale is the proper way to salute the school where it all started. 

~Cancer sucks. Truly. Yesterday, my dear friend and trusted rebel Troy Siade would have been 51 years old if Non Hodgkin Lymphoma didn't take him over 10 years ago. Siade loved the Cardinals and more importantly, loved watching Jim Edmonds play center field. The two of us ruled over the old Busch Stadium from the Manual Scoreboard up top the terrace level. We saw it all and had the best of times. In his regular job, Troy was one of the best lawyers in St. Louis.

After the 2003 season ended, Troy started to feel very sick. By April of 2004, he was gone. That's how quick cancer can become a real asshole and create all kinds of pain. Wherever and whenever you can donate to fight it, do it. Whether it's buying a shirt, wrist band, or participating in a run, don't hesitate. Young kids dying from cancer is the worst. Losing trusted friends in the their 30's is just as bad. I wish Troy was around to see these Birds win two World Series championships. 

~Ron White makes Showtime's Roadies great whenever he is on screen. The comedy legend plays a veteran know it all story filled stage hand who spins tales about old rock n' roll bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd. During Sunday night's episode, White's Phil told the young crew about his friendship with Ronnie Van Zandt, the lead singer who died in that 1977 plane crash that claimed three members of the original band. It was a highlight of the season and another reason why Cameron Crowe's ode to the hard workers on the road works so well. It's a sleeper hit because no one's life is in jeopardy and there are no swords and high drama. It's a simple pleasure show about life on the road and the immortal love people have for music, whether it be a new band or an old departed group of musicians. Crowe may or may not get a second season, but Roadies is a true pleasure and White is one of the big reasons why. 

 Showtime 

Showtime 

~Joe Maddon isn't an asshole, folks. He's simply playing a heel to the end of the road and back. As the captain of a young rebellious Cubs team, Maddon has left his old warm and fuzzy grandpa Tampa Bay routine in the shed and pulled out this pop culture activated skit that plays so well in the Midwest. He enrages Cards fans with his comments and fires up Cubs fans. The National Media loves him so much they would gift wrap a World Series to the Cubs just so they could start production on the Netflix original film about his 20 year coaching career. I don't hate the Cubs, but Maddon appropriately pisses me off. He's playing a role and playing it well. 

~Who gets the bottom of my boot this week? Drivers who slow way down before they change lanes or make a turn. Please, for the love of The Nutcracker's scotch bar, make the move. I am not a road warrior. I don't drive 20 over the speed limit. I mostly obey the rules. No one completely follows suit out there but I try to every day. These asshats try to slow it all down while they depart the road into the nearby parking lot and guess what? Most of the time, they slow down on purpose just to make the person in route behind them mad. It's true. It shouldn't take an act of Congress to make you change lanes. Be better tomorrow. 

That's it. Five quick express doses. Boom! A final word of advice for my We Are Live Radio Live Blog reading homies: Don't let uncertainty drown your ambitions. If we were all unafraid of uncertain futures, nothing would get done. Dreams would be complete fairy tales. Keep pushing, lady and gent friends. Nothing is handed to you in this life or guaranteed. You have to go out and get it. You have to work hard and bust your ass in the pursuit of something others will you is unattainable. Forget tomorrow. Win today. 

As the great Henry Rollins said, "There's no such thing as down time. There's only life time."

Thanks for reading and do me a favor. Go kick Monday's ass. Tuesday may just blink. 

 

 

 

The Return to St. Louis: Falling back in love with my city

By DAN BUFFA, We Are Live Radio columnist

There's really no place like home, ladies and gentlemen. The familiar saying carries weight all over the world, and it cuts deepest with where one calls home. That may not be where they live at the moment. Our apartment may just be a place for our stuff and to sleep. Our home may be a different place. Somewhere that takes a little effort getting back to. 

On July 5th, I moved back to St. Louis with my son Vincent after spending nearly 19 months in Little Rock, Arkansas, a place worth waving off as you head down I-55 for Memphis. It wasn't an easy decision. There was an opportunity to kickstart a career back in The Lou while my wife finished up work down south. Any single parent can attest that the difficulty in charging after a dream job and taking care of a wildly energetic four year old is truly running with the wolves.

I was up for it for one simple reason. St. Louis is pretty awesome. 

Sure, it's not for everybody and has turned into a violent inhabitant of hate during the past two years. The shooting death of Michael Brown sparked a deadly outburst in North City that hasn't lost a flame two years later. When you mention St. Louis these days, people try to look away or wonder what is going on there. They ask you why you stick around. I tell them it's not perfect. It's just home to me. 

I grew up South City. Tholozan and Kingshighway. Right next to the Hill. I ran around those streets as a kid and run around them today as an adult catching his fitness fix. There's a familiarity that I look forward to when I drive down Chippewa and that includes all kinds of memories. The days of watching Jean Claude Van Damme in Nowhere to Run three times on a Saturday at the Avalon for a total of fifteen cents. The days of treating 7-11 like a pit stop during my adolescent years. Driving to the Esquire 8 for a flick with my dad and hoping they put the new release in the main auditorium, which was my cathedral to pray to the movie gods for a week spent in school. 

There are so many things about this city that don't exist elsewhere for me. When you spend nearly two years away from your hometown, there is a re-connection that happens upon your return. It's like plugging your phone into the one outlet in the house that actually works. Here are a few of the things that I have done in the past five weeks since my return to St. Louis. 

~Drink a cup of coffee at Shaw's Coffee. When I leave my radio show at seven in the morning, I drive over to Shaw and Marconi and get a real macchiato. Something Starbucks simply doesn't understand. You tell a "barista" at the Bux to make you a macchiato and fail to say caramel or latte in front of it and they look at you as if you mentioned quantum physics. The lady at Shaw's knows exactly what I want and throws four shots of espresso and some foam into a small cup. I nod to the table of old wise men and depart. That's my place. It's getting hit as hard as one can with espresso and getting a mood boost out of it. 

~A sandwich at Mom's Deli. The beloved Dolores Vago, the Mom of "Mom's Deli", passed away this week at the age of 92. If the world works the right way, her deli will be open another 92 years. There's nothing like it. Sorry LeGrand's and Amighetti's. You don't compare nor stand a chance to the simplicity and ferocity of a Mom's Special. A Subway club type sandwich but made with fresh ingredients and warm lovely bread instead of dry meat and stale bread. Add a special sauce that brings it all together. I've eaten there at least 30 times and it never changes. Love at first sight is one thing. Quality over seven years is quite another. 

 Riverfront Times

Riverfront Times

~A run down Fyler. I step outside my house and take off. Up Mardel avenue, across Wabosh/McCausland, and down to Fyler. I run down all the way to Kingshighway and around to Chippewa. Along the way, I see a cast of people that could get screen time on The Walking Dead, Sopranos, and The Wire. That's my city. It smells a certain way and that isn't just the fresh cut grass as you run up the sidewalks of Tilles Park off Hampton and Fyler. It's a six mile trek that kicks my ass and reminds me that home is a simple pleasure. The streets never change. They welcome you without a stop watch but a demand. Say hello and be kind to the next patch of pavement. Most importantly, come back. 

~A game at Busch. My second home. My girlfriend on the side. A ballpark wrapped inside a building. A place where sorrow and happiness play a chess game that lasts seven months and includes up to three seasons of weather. It doesn't matter where I sit. If I am inside Busch watching Adam Wainwright spin curveballs towards the plate and seeing Yadier Molina command the field like Dutch in Predator, I am home. I can lean back in my seat and close my eyes. Listening to the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd. It's a visual stunner or a trusted book on tape that requires no headphones. The Cards can go 40-122 or 100-62 and I will be addicted no matter what. 

 STL Magazine

STL Magazine

~Smoking a cigar in the lounge with my dad in Richmond Heights. My dad is a cut the shit cigar smoker. He transformed his garage into a cigar parlor complete with a sliding glass door, fan, and big screen television. There's nothing like lighting up a brick packed cigar with my old man and watching a movie for the 55th time. We recite dialogue before it comes out of the actors mouth, crack jokes about it, and say a few inappropriate things about the females that makes my wife elbow me in the ribs because Vincent repeats everything I say(and I mean everything). We can sit there and unplug. I can stop thinking about what I need to do tomorrow and if Vinny is okay. My dad can hang out with his friend. At 34 years old, no one is a closer friend than my dad. Cigars and a cup of coffee as strong as an ox are usually included. 

What is home to you? A place or an experience? Both? For me, it's everything about St. Louis. Driving down Manchester at 10 o'clock at night. Hanging out with my St. Louis Game Time colleagues and diehard Blues fans before a game. Riding the metro. Going to La Cosecha Coffee in Maplewood. So many places, memories, and things. I grew up here. I got married here. My son was born here. I'll die here. 

St. Louis isn't just my home. It's a part of my DNA. A book with pages that mean something different to me. 

Do you have a place like that? If not, find one and never let it out of your sight. 

8/8/16 Express Dose: 'Stranger Things' is the real deal

By DAN BUFFA, We Are Live Columnist 

Welcome to the Express Dose of Buffa. Before the week can officially kick off and register, I unleash quick hot takes from the South City corner of cyber space. You can read this in between exiting work and taking that first sip of your preferred evening beverage. Follow me to the unfiltered hills. 

STRANGER THINGS is the real deal. The Netflix series is the latest mind blowing experience on your TV's and smart phones. If you bump into somebody on the street because they weren't looking, take it easy. If you see someone watching something on their phones in between sets at the gym, give them a break. They are watching this science fiction sonic blast of our childhoods that won't soon leave the mind. Remember the Duffer Brothers. They created this gem. Celebrate hard working actor and recent We Are Live Radio guest David Harbour's breakthrough(at the age of 42) performance as Jim Hopper. Appreciate the slow boil story, the eye boner cinematography and also the redemption of WInona "I used to shoplift" Ryder. So good. 99 times out of 100, the hype lies. Welcome to the other time. 

 Netflix

Netflix

ICHIRO and 3,000. Hat tip to the Japanese hitting sensation. At the ripe old age of 42, Ichiro Suzuki tripled off the wall Sunday afternoon for his 3,000th hit. Back in April of 2001, Ichiro made his debut against Oakland and collected two hits at the age of 27. Fast forward 15 years and he has put together a legendary career. A pure hit machine, Ichiro accumulated 10 consecutive seasons of 200 hits to start his MLB career and a lifetime average of .314. While he hasn't had over 150 hits in a season since 2012, the man can still play. In a part time role for Miami this year, Ichiro is hitting .319 with a .390 on base percentage. The man is the epitome of age merely existing as a state of mind. 

THAXTON SPOKE EASY TO ME. On Friday night in downtown St. Louis, a group of trusted cool peeps assembled in the historic Thaxton Speakeasy. It may not look like much on the outside, but when you step into the door, it transports you back to the 1930's. They could film a scene from HBO's Boardwalk Empire in this room and not lose an ounce of authenticity. There were special cocktails made. Free whiskey and brisket(my pants just came off). Lovely ladies in beautiful dresses. Men dressed in suits. Smiles. Laughs. Easy fun. All set up by We Are Live Radio's Chris Denman and Travis Terrell. Feel free to give them an ass grab this week for their hard work. They are changing STL radio one day at a time.

NFL SABOTAGES PACE SPEECH. Every day that goes by, I hate the NFL more and want to lease less time of my life in their business. They can't spell integrity. When they uploaded Orlando Pace's Hall of Fame speech, where he thanked St. Louis several times, they cut out the St. Louis part and later said it was a technical error. I call utter bullshit. They left it out on purpose. I'm not sure why St. Louis a target these days. The Rams were taken out of our city after a decade of miserable play on the field and it's okay to take shots at us. I hope Roger Goodell gets a bad rash in an uncomfortable area on his body because that is what this league is starting to resemble to me. I'd pay to see Roger try to literally block Pace from doing something. Talk about pure comedy. An infection that won't stop taking swings at a healing city. 

WINTER CLASSIC DETAILS. Tuesday at Busch Stadium, NHL Commish/Dick Gary Bettman, Cards President Bill DeWitt III, Blues rep Colton Parayko along with other members of the committees putting this event together will have a live press conference discuss details of the event that is scheduled to take place on January 2nd, 2017. I'll be in attendance. Asking questions, snapping pics, and tweeting out of the St. Louis Game Time account. It should be a lot of fun. This event is a huge highlight of the 2017 calendar for St. Louis and should be an historic event. It's also less than five months away. 

What else? Paul McCartney is playing Busch Stadium soon. I'm not a huge fan, but it sounds like a big deal. Roadies on Showtime is having a quietly very good season. Ray Donovan is spinning its wheels a bit. The Rock's Ballers is an easy going treat and Andy Garcia doesn't hurt. Gleason, the story of Saints football player and ALS victim Steve Gleason, opens Friday at the Tivoli and should be great. Check it out. 

Keep tabs on me over on Twitter @buffa82 as well as my work at KSDK and St. Louis Game Time. Matt Whitener and I will be hitting it hard every morning on CBS Sports Radio 920 AM from 5-7 AM this week. Listen in or find Dose of Buffa on Itunes. 

Thanks for reading and goodbye for just a little while. 

Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan: Hope for action addicts

I grew up on action films. The memory of watching Arnold, Sly, Willis, Van Damme, and Seagal kick ass and take names in the name of justice doesn't fade decades later. Action adventures aren't as easy to produce as some think. You don't simply blow shit up, stage a car chase, and find a group of good looking actors to carry out the stunts.

You need a certain level of authenticity to authorize the experience. A reliable face and mind behind the action. Someone you are convinced could kick that guy's ass, save the girl, and drop a one line smoke bomb before exiting.

Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan represent hope for action addicts and have made a pact to get it right. 

This past week, the two friends and collaborators formed the production company, War Party. The goal behind it is simple. Make reliable and worthy action entertainment. 

Take Wheelman, the Netflix original film shooting this fall that the duo are producing, for example. This isn't just any script. It's written and directed by Jeremy Rush, one of the hottest young names in the business. He won an award for screenwriting and Netflix didn't waste a second scooping up his first mainstream film. That's because Rush treats his work like a fresh pint of Guinness. Sip and savor, ladies and gents. 

The plot is simple. Grillo plays an expert driver that is betrayed by his crew and he must race against time to save his family. In other words, he's going to kick lots of ass, rock a five o'clock shadow while doing it, and drive like a mad man. Think Drive, but with a bigger horse behind the wheel. That's all the plot you need for an action movie. 

Folks, these people aren't reinventing the wheel or challenging Daniel Day Lewis' shoe cobbling. It's about entertainment. Getting what most moviegoers assume is conventional and turning it into something original and fresh. It's all in the details. How precise will the stunts be? What kind of cars will they use? Who is behind the wheel? Who is overseeing the operation? Is the script good? 

The answers. Grillo. Carnahan. Rush. Netflix. BOOM! Sip and savor the event folks. 

It's easy to trust Carnahan. He directed one of the most soulful, captivating, and underrated cop films in Narc. He tossed Liam Neeson and Grillo out into British Columbia and pitted them against a pack of wolves in The Grey, a film that resonated deeper than most expected. He created the wild B-side to Pulp Fiction with Smokin' Aces, giving Ryan Reynolds his first role with teeth. He helms Bad Boys 3 next year. The man doesn't work unless the work is worthy. Paychecks don't stack up anywhere near integrity. 

Grillo is the action hero audiences deserve. Talk about a guy who exudes confidence, swagger, and the ability to convince. He's an avenging, purging, and the ultimate purveyor of poetic justice. A tightly clinched fist wrapped around a heart of authenticity that can't be bought. The 51 year old star of AT&T's hit series Kingdom and star of the highly successful Purge series is riding a high that hasn't stopped since 2011's Warrior, the blueprint behind Kingdom. 

Put those two together with an ambitious guy like Rush and it's the makings for a madness that may just blow the roof off the streaming service's potential. Instead of going through a distribution deal that may not do the film justice, Carnahan and Grillo hooked up with Netflix, ensuring that creative freedom was attained along with the film being released around the world at once. How about that for precise?

Action isn't an easy enterprise these days. Everybody has seen the revenge flick, cop drama, or wild bunch gesture. It's all in the details. Think of a chef in a kitchen. You take an authentic actor, mix in a talented director with some producing muscle, and a pinch of style in order to create something endlessly entertaining.

Grillo and Carnahan give hope for action addicts who need a fix. Wheelman is just the beginning. War Party is getting warmed up. Who needs awards when you have pure entertainment?

Thanks for reading. Listen in to the We Are Live Crew Monday from 7-8 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday from 7-10 p.m. If you are up early, catch me every Tuesday through Friday dishing A Dose of Buffa from 5-7 a.m. Podcast it all at a later date if you have to. 

Sincerely,

@buffa82