Theater Student Wows Entertainment Industry With Incredible Visual Effects

Julian Bass Effects
(Twitter/thejulianbass)

One of the great benefits of social media and the rest of today’s easily accessible technology is the opportunities afforded to regular joes. Thanks to the internet and smartphones, we no longer need big bucks to create a dream project, and thanks to Twitter and Instagram and TikTok and the like, it’s easier than it’s ever been to get exposure for those projects.

Create something clever and blast it out online and people are going to see it, and if it’s good and someone enjoys it, they’re going to make sure other people see it, with nothing more than a click of a button. Suddenly you can go from making stuff in your bedroom for your friends to getting hired by Lucasfilm or Pixar or Marvel to make stuff for them, and for the world.

That may be exactly what’s about to happen to Julian Bass, a 20-year-old theater student in Atlanta who created a fun visual effects video displaying his skills and posted to Twitter in the hopes that someone – in his case, Disney – might notice it. Well, Disney noticed, and so did many, many other big wigs in the entertainment world. They’re impressed and for good reason.

In the video, which has over 20 million views, Bass stands in a room and suddenly, seamlessly, transforms himself into a Jedi, the animated character Ben 10, and finally, Spider-Man. It’s quick, creative, and you can’t see a single string.

Check this out:

The caption reads: “if y’all can retweet this enough times that Disney calls, that’d be greatly appreciated,” and while we don’t yet know if Disney has called him, they were among the people who noticed, via former CEO Robert Iger.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and Scrubs star and Garden State director Zach Braff were impressed:

Sony noticed:

Bass spoke to NPR about who else he’s heard from, saying, “The first one for me was The Lonely Island. And then I started seeing Josh Gad, Matthew Cherry. I saw Mark Hamill liked it. I mean if Mark Hamill likes it, I’m a Jedi now.”

Based on the supersized reaction his talents have caused – he’s also heard from HBO Max and Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito – he may soon be a real Jedi, at least behind the scenes.

“Yeah to be a fan of something and then to see people want you to be a part of it, that’s a chance that I will not ruin for myself whatsoever,” Bass said. “If they pass on it, look, that’s OK, there’s plenty more opportunities. But I feel like I’m ready to take my shot and that’s truly what it’s all about right now.”

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, Baseball’s Longtime Home Run King, Passes Away at 86

RIP Hank Aaron
(Getty/Tom Lynn)

There aren’t a lot of heroes these days, not in a world in which everyone’s lives are on full display, flaws and all. And now that baseball legend Hank Aaron has passed away, we’ve got one less.

The legendary slugger from Mobile, Alabama got his start in the negro leagues, and went on to become a mythmaker from baseball’s golden age, capturing the all-time home run record long before steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs started inflating numbers and sullying the record books. Aaron, 86, played for 23 seasons, 21 with the Braves (first in Milwaukee, then Atlanta), and hit 755 home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth’s record and hanging onto his own place in the books for 30 years (before finally being broken by Barry Bonds in 2007).

Aaron did it while black, in an era when black baseball players, especially one on his way to dethroning one of the game’s earliest icons, provoked anger and violence in the form of hate mail and death threats.

“On the field, Blacks have been able to be super giants,” he once said. “But once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again.”

Aaron’s perseverance in the face of racism and work as a civil rights leader are as much a part of his legacy as his athletic prowess, as were his efforts to support his community and his commitment to philanthropy, facts acknowledged by the Braves organization in their statement.

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank,” Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a statement. “He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn’t just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.

“We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci and his grandchildren.”

When he eventually broke the record, the footage became almost as legendary as the moment, with a pair of fans running onto the field to congratulate Aaron as he rounded the bases, before he arrived at home plate to a mob of teammates and family.

Aaron was the National League MVP in 1957 — the same year the Braves won the World Series — a two-time NL batting champion (1956, ’59), a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field (1958-60) and a record 25-time All-Star.

Another Game of Thrones Prequel Series May Be Coming To HBO

Tales of Dunk and Egg
(Jet City Comics/Bantam)

Game of Thrones fans are still waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish the last two books in the Song of Ice and Fire saga, and without the mega-popular HBO series to hold them over (even the bad seasons), they must be going crazy. But we have some good news.

Not only is HBO moving full speed ahead with the House of Dragons prequel series, which focuses on the Targaryen dynasty centuries before Daenerys arrived on the scene (the show has been adding to the cast and plans to start filming soon), now there is news of another prequel series in development.

According to Variety this series, still in the very early stages, will be based on George R.R. Martin‘s series of novellas, Tales of Dunk and Egg, which takes place a mere 90 years before the first HBO show that lit the world, and the ice zombies, on fire.

There have been three novellas in the “Tales of Dunk and Egg” series so far: “The Hedge Knight” in 1998, “The Sworn Sword” in 2003, and “The Mystery Knight” in 2010. They were collected and published together as “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” in 2015.

The series follows the misadventures of Ser Duncan the Tall (aka Dunk), and a young Aegon V Targaryen (Egg), two figures who end up becoming very important to Westeros. Dunk is the eventual Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and Aegon eventually ascends to the throne as the future king of Westeros.

Whether this series actually makes it all the way to our TV screen is yet to be seen, but it’s clear the HBO wants to stay in the Game of Thrones business.

Arcade1Up Is Adding X-Men, Killer Instinct & Dragon’s Lair To Cabinet Collection

(Arcade1Up)

I have fond memories of spending all my (parents) quarters at the local arcade when I was a kid.  Classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter II & Mortal Kombat would take up my free time and I long for those days again.  Unfortunately, time machines haven’t been invented yet, but Arcade1Up is doing the next best thing.  They have been re-releasing these timeless & nostalgic arcade games for the masses to scoop up, and it looks like X-Men, Killer Instinct & Dragon’s Lair will join their gorgeous officially licensed cabinet collection.

Announced during this year’s all-digital CES, each cabinet has been faithfully recreated and features the original artwork along with some extra games.  There currently aren’t any prices attached to these, but I assume they’ll go for $369.99 USD like the other ones in Arcade1Up’s roster.

Here’s what comes with each cabinet:

X-Men includes:

  • X-Men
  • Captain America and The Avengers (used to play that on Sega Genesis)
  • The Avengers in Galactic Storm

Killer Instinct includes:

  • Killer Instinct
  • Killer Instinct 2
  • Battle Toads Arcade

And finally, Dragon’s lair includes:

  • Dragon’s Lair
  • Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp
  • Space Ace

If you’re not fond of the Dragon’s Lair cabinet, a Space Ace version that features the same games is also an option.

I think it’s really cool to see these classics getting the red carpet treatment so if you are interested, be sure to sign-up on Arcade1Up’s website to be notified when pre-orders go live because I’m sure these will go fast.

Father Figures: Most Rewarding Job

“This is my husband, Ian.

He used to spend his days and evenings producing amazing work for clients as a graphic designer at a small design firm in Chicago. He went to fancy industry parties, worked on nationally recognized projects, and loved his job.

But, since having our first baby five and half years ago, he exchanged his dream job to be a stay at home dad. Four kids total, and he’s been rocking this gig with patience, grace, lots of coffee, and love.

Ian isn’t a normal stay at home dad guy, though, he’s always taking them out to coffee shops, parks, bike rides, library, dance classes, and does it all with a smile on his face.

Being a stay at home parent is extremely hard, but he says he wouldn’t change it for the world and it’s his most rewarding job he’s had.”

– Michelle Merrill

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

12 Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week 1/22/21

Funniest Parenting Tweets 1-22-2021
(Getty/Photography by Rayleigh, Twitter/CrockettForReal)

The parents of Twitter are back with another round of hilarity. Every week, the parenting corner of Twitter is filled with the most memorable (and sometimes, the most questionable) parenting moments, and we’re here for it all. The hilarious, the cringe-worthy, and the just plain ridiculous – here are 12 of the funniest parenting tweets this week.

Painfully relatable

We have to take full advantage before the inevitable day that they beat us fair and square

Even Alexa is tired of your shit

And then in a couple years, throwing down the “draw four” in Uno

This dad joke unlocked the skill, “Super Sneeze”

What’s it like raising a genius

Parenting is a dang conundrum

Has to be the truck, right? Right?

*Tearing up* It’s gotten so big

Game night is canceled until further notice

Hire kids to fix the world. They can do it

It’s nice to dream

Did you miss last week’s funniest parenting tweets?

Family Takes Turns Sleeping on Couch With Senior Dog Who Can No Longer Use Stairs

Family takes turns sleeping on couch with senior dog
(Instagram/spikethespringer)

The only bad thing about dogs is that they don’t live as long as humans. It’s impossibly hard to reconcile the fact that we used to have to gate off the kitchen so our sneaky pups couldn’t jump up on the counter and steal snacks – it seems like yesterday, but before we know it, they struggle to even climb the steps to the front door.

Nine years ago, Catherine Morris and her family adopted an adorable dog named Spike. Young Spike was nimble and energetic – in fact, he decided early on that he preferred to sleep with his humans. The determined pup jumped the gate every single night until the Morris family stopped trying to prevent him from crawling under the covers with them.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

But at 14, Spike has slowed down considerably. In recent months, he suffered two strokes that forced him to re-learn how to walk. His family tended to him, cared for him, and worked with the elderly dog to gain back some of his strength. Though Spike no longer needs to be carried around, he is still unable to climb the stairs.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

After nearly a decade of sleeping side-by-side, the adjustment to sleeping downstairs was challenging for Spike. Fortunately, he didn’t have to do it alone.

“We take turns to sleep downstairs with him,” Catherine Morris said on Instagram. “He’s happy because he still gets his cuddles, and we’re happy because we still get our cuddles.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

Morris shared a video on Instagram showing the adorable arrangement. Some days it was her snuggled on the couch with Spike, and other days her dad slept peacefully by his side. Despite two strokes and the typical struggles that come with aging, Spike is still one lucky dog.

Mahomes’ Mom Gets Into It With Browns LB on Twitter for Injuring Her Son

Mahomes' mom twitter
(Getty/Jamie Squire)

Hell hath no fury like a protective mom, even when she’s protecting one of the best players in the league!

Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson learned as much when Patrick Mahomes‘ mother went at him on Twitter after Wilson’s sacked him in Sunday’s divisional playoff game. It left Mahomes dazed and sitting out the bulk of the second half while entering the NFL‘s concussion protocol.

Patrick’s mom Randi called out Wilson’s jersey number – and called him evil! – in her tweet:

Obviously, mom was worried for her son and fired off her tweet in a bit of a state, but Wilson probably didn’t appreciate being called evil.

To his credit, he responded calmly and assured Mrs. Mahomes that he was just playing hard, as one does in a win-or-go-home game during the NFL playoffs.

He closed his tweet with a compliment, and his opponent’s mom thanked him and squashed the beef, admitting she was merely speaking as a concerned mom who loves her son.

You can’t really blame Mrs. Mahomes for overreacting, though calling one of her son’s opponent’s ‘evil,’ was a bit much. Kudos to Wilson for responding respectfully, and for Randi for admitting her emotions got the best of her.

If that game was any indication, this might not be the last time her son crosses paths with Mack!

Bindi Irwin Recreates Her Parents’ Sweet Maternity Photo With Husband Chandler

Bindi Irwin recreates parents' maternity photo with husband Chandler
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

As we grow up, we start to understand and relate to our parents on a whole new level. Experiencing life’s milestones often allows us to grow closer to our parents, using their knowledge to guide and reassure us and sharing in the amazement of it all as a family. But when you’ve lost one of your parents as Bindi Irwin has, you’re forced to find other ways to include them in those joyous moments.

The Irwin family had to master the skill of including Steve in their lives in a new way abruptly, after tragically losing him in 2006. They’ve treasured his memory at every turn and held him close to their hearts – especially during life’s big moments.

Bindi Irwin and her husband Chandler are expecting their first baby, a baby that would have been Steve’s first grandchild. Bindi has followed in her dad’s footsteps, giving the world glimpses into her personal life and inviting us to celebrate with her.

Recently, Bindi shared an adorable throwback photo of her own parents – Terri Irwin stands, visibly pregnant and smiling, as Steve and little Bindi kiss her baby bump (aka, the now 17-year-old Robert).

Now well into her own pregnancy, Bindi recreated the adorable photo with her husband Chandler. She captioned the photo, “Recreating a very special moment. Third trimester love.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

Like any family who has mourned the loss of a loved one, the Irwin family likely thinks about Steve every single day. But during important milestones, they find creative ways to include the late Crocodile Hunter in their celebrations. Steve loved every second of being a father, and though he isn’t here to see it in person, he would undoubtedly be ecstatic about his growing family.

After Bindi announced her pregnancy, Terri said on Twitter, “While I wish that Steve was here to share this beautiful moment, I know that he would be so proud.”

Upcoming Game Releases You (and Your Kids) Can Look Forward To in 2021

Big Gaming Titles to Expect in 2021
(Nintendo/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Insomniac Games)

2021 is going to be a big year for video games.

I say that every year, but it’s especially true this time.  Nintendo has a great line-up of titles for their ever so popular Nintendo Switch and Sony & Microsoft, while focused on releasing plenty of exciting next-gen gaming experiences for their new consoles, will still be supporting their previous PS4 & Xbox One systems.  With love for current and next-gen gaming, this just means a year full of entertainment.

The list I’ve put together here contains a variety of new games releasing (or rumored to release) in 2021 that you and your kids could enjoy playing, a couple that are pure speculation (oh, I just love to speculate), and a couple “mature” titles that us adults can be excited about.  There’s something here for everyone to look forward to.  It’s also crazy to think we’re only in January and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to find time to play all of these.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I’m so glad that Nintendo decided to finally port this over to the Switch.  My kids and I absolutely loved Super Mario 3D World when it originally released on the Wii U, and it’s right up there as one of our favorite Mario games of all time.  The levels are well-paced and the co-op is a ton of fun (unless your son keeps picking you up and throwing you off a ledge for a good laugh).   This game seemed to inspire Sony’s PS4/PS5 exclusive Sackboy: A Big Adventure, which is another great co-op experience to check out.  With this updated Switch release, it includes the “Bowser’s Fury” add-on, which contains Baby Bowser as a playable character (if the newest trailer up above is suggesting that), new levels, and a giant Bowser vs giant Cat Mario battle.  It looks awesome.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury releases for Nintendo Switch on February 12th, 2021.  You can pre-order now.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Sony’s Ratchet & Clank series has always been something special.  The characters are lovable, the world is vibrant, the weapons are wacky, and the humor always has its tongue placed firmly in cheek. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is coming exclusively to the Playstation 5 and will be the 10th entry in the main storyline.  This new adventure includes new features such as a playable female character and interdimensional warping mechanics.  If you haven’t kept up-to-date on your Ratchet & Clank lore, don’t worry.  Developer Insomniac Games says ‘Rift Apart’ will act as a sort of standalone story, so newcomers won’t be completely in the dark.  For Ratchet & Clank enthusiasts though, I’m sure there’ll be lots of references to the other games for us to appreciate.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will release on PS5 in 2021.

New Pokemon Snap

This is a nostalgic surprise!  The original N64 Pokemon Snap was such a cool concept.  It was a unique and relaxing experience taking photos and trying to discover all the Pokemon in each area.  You could unlock different items like fruit, which you could toss at the Pokemon to get them out of hiding for that perfect photo.  With this new game, it includes an assortment of Pokemon from all the games in the franchise.  The only thing missing from this version is the ability to print off your pictures at the local Blockbuster Video.

New Pokemon Snap releases for Nintendo Switch on April 30th, 2021.  You can pre-order now.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition

Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley (and film adaptation by Edgar Wright), Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is a co-op, side-scrolling beat em’up that takes its inspiration from classics such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight.  It also features a great, old-school inspired soundtrack by Anamanaguchi.  Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Scott Pilgrim game was originally available digitally on PS3 and Xbox 360 but was de-listed from their online stores and just never showed up again… until now.  It does suck that I’ll have to purchase this again, but it’s totally going to be worth it.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was originally supposed to release on October 20, 2020 but was unfortunately delayed until 2021.  It will adapt all nine entries in the Skywalker saga of films, so there’s going to be lots of content to get through.  Judging by the trailer, it looks like it’s going to be the best Lego Star Wars game yet, and I’m not ashamed to admit that a Lego game trailer gave me chills once that classic Star Wars main theme kicked in.  Gets me every time.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S in 2021

God of War: Ragnarok

The God of War franchise started out strong when it released back in 2005.  Over the years though, Kratos became a stale character.  Luckily, the developers of 2018’s God of War felt the same way. It still featured the same over-the-top action we loved, but it added a new element to Kratos by giving him a son that was actually a part of the moment-to-moment gameplay.  Immediately, I had a connection with him, as I wanted to do everything I could to keep Atreus safe. I didn’t always agree with how hard he was on his “boy”, but when Kratos started to become more caring and open up all dad-like, man… did it hit me right in the feels. I cannot wait to see where their journey takes them with this next installment.  Hopefully, it can live up to everyone’s expectations.

God of War: Ragnarok will release on PS5 in 2021.

Halo Infinite

Originally an Xbox Series X launch title, Halo Infinite’s reveal last summer was met with criticism. Fans didn’t think this looked quite like the next-gen Halo game they had been waiting for, so Xbox took that criticism very serious and delayed its release to Fall 2021.  This extra time allows developer 343 to really polish it so it can live up to the quality of the other titles in the series. Now, with a set release date, Xbox fans can really start to get excited for their “killer-app”.

Halo Infinite will release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One & PC in Fall 2021.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

All we have is this cryptic teaser trailer from 2019, but we know it has been in active development since then.  I’m thinking we’re going to get a new trailer this year with a holiday 2021 release date.  Breath of the Wild was a wonderful departure from the usual Zelda format, and while this one looks much darker in tone (like Majora’s Mask), I hope it still retains the massive open-world exploration and clever dungeons that made the first so refreshing.  Also, the Zelda franchise turns 35 this year.  Wouldn’t 2021 be a great time to announce the release date for this new one?  Maybe we’ll just get an Ocarnia of Time remaster on Switch instead, I’d be cool with that too.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 will release on Nintendo Switch.

The Elder Scrolls VI

Ok, this last one’s just for fun.  Sorry to get your hopes up.  This “Official Announcement Teaser” trailer we got two years ago was about as bare-bones a trailer as we could have got. Publisher Bethesda obviously just wanted everyone to know that a new Elder Scrolls game was in the works, but it has been two years since they made the announcement.  Either they’re saving a big reveal for 2021 and planning a holiday release, or we might have to wait until at least 2022 to jump back into the single-player world of Elder Scrolls. Considering everyone is still playing Skyrim though, I assume they’re in no rush and we’ll just have to keep waiting patiently.

The Elder Scrolls VI will release sometime this century, as long as Bethesda doesn’t keep re-releasing Skyrim.

So this is just a handful of big releases to look out for this year, and who knows what other unannounced projects will pop up in the meantime.  Yeah, 2021 is going to be a big year for video games.