Why You Need To Watch Apocalypse Now, Er, Now

(Empire Online)

Most people have vivid moments of cultural consumption in their teenage years – an hour watching some movie or hearing some band for the first time – that shake your brainbox upside down and change the world forever. Mine was reading Kerouac’s On The Road, listening to Harvest by Neil Young and even more memorably, watching Apocalypse Now! with my dad.

I was fourteen, sitting on our living room floor, when a denim-clad rockabilly film critic with a greased up duck’s arse hairdo (that’s an actual haircut, and the critic was Mark Kermode, and he still has that haircut) came on the telly, looked at the camera, and said, “You’re about to watch the most indulgent, extravagant and exciting film ever made.”

I put down my Gameboy.

The ominous shimmering opening of The Doors “The End” faded up through our wood-paneled television as a ceiling fan swooshed over Martin Sheen’s harrowing face – woosh woosh WoooOOOOSH – suddenly the ceiling fan was a Chinook helicopter blade whirring ominously over swathes of pristine Vietnamese jungle.

source – giphy 

At this moment my dad shuffled in his reclining chair, looked a bit excited, and said, “Oh, you should watch this, watch the beginning, then watch it all.”

Seemed like a logical progression for movie watching. But why was Dad so roused? The last time he had been excited about a film on TV was when Channel Four showed Showgirls.

I dragged my arse over the shagpile carpet towards the TV and stared. Jim Morrison screamed, “Mother I Want To Rape You!!!” as the pristine jungle erupted in a fiery napalm hell. I could almost smell the gasoline. I was scared of this movie. 

source – giphy 

The next two hours were the greatest movie watching experience of my life.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s insane that you haven’t seen this movie yet. I mean really, it’s right there on your big shiny smart tv. It’s like two fat thumb clicks away. Turn the lights down and turn it up (actually finish this article first).

The production of Apocalypse Now was more than making a movie, it was literal war. Francis Ford Coppola hired the Philippines army helicopter pilots to shoot the famous Valkyrie beach attack, as they were embroiled in a real civil war a hundred miles away. They would often have to stop shooting so the pilots could fly south to actually engage some insurgents.

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Laurence Fishburne played seventeen-year-old Clean when he was only fourteen because he was just that good, which is weird as these days thirty-year-olds play seventeen-year-olds.

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Marlon Brando demanded a million dollars, shaved his head and made up all his lines for his iconic role as Colonel Kurtz. He’s on-another-planet mesmerizing, muttering about snails crawling along razorblades and “making a friend of horror.” Sometimes I have nightmares about Marlon and his shiny blood-splattered dome lying next to me in bed whispering…

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There’s a scene before Martin Sheen gets his mission where he smashes a glass mirror with his fist, drunk and half naked in a Saigon hotel room. That’s a real mirror, Sheen was really drunk and that’s his real blood. Sheen later had a breakdown and heart attack on set.

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It’s cool. I mean it’s maybe the coolest movie ever made. You can be cool too, by watching it. When I was young I smoked cigarettes because I was cool. There are a lot of cigarettes smoked in Apocalypse Now, and the power of suggestion was strong in me. When I was 18 I got the opportunity to see it in 35mm on the big screen, I went to Leicester Square with my mate Tom to watch the premier of the new Director’s Cut. It’s nearly four hours long. This version included playbunnies making out in crashed helicopters, a bizarre colonial french family and even more surfing. When we stepped out into Leicester Square, our minds blown, Tom lit me a Lucky Strike. “This is the best cigarette you’ll ever smoke.” he said. He was right.

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The film also led to the greatest movie documentary ever made, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, in which Eleanor Coppola documents her husband’s descent into movie making hell.

There are so many other reasons to watch Apocalypse Now and I’d happily tell you them all, but for now take my dad’s sage advice: watch it, watch the beginning, then watch it all. You won’t regret it. 

source – giphy 

NASA Dads Killed Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls

NASA Dads Kill Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls
(YouTube/AmericaSpace Twitter/Enterprise_Flt)

Imagine you’ve spent the last two months in space. You made history by being the first astronaut to travel to the International Space Station in a commercially-built spacecraft, and you’re finally back on Earth counting down the seconds until you can see your family. You’re bobbing up and down in the Gulf of Mexico after a successful splashdown, and the only thing left for you to do is kill time while the crew inspects your capsule. What do you do with that time? This was a question astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley faced on Sunday as they became the first astronauts to travel to the International Space Station and back on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule. The choice was pretty easy for these dads – may as well make some prank calls.

During a Houston welcome-home ceremony, Hurley recalled, “Five hours ago, we were in a spaceship, bobbing around, making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get ahold of. Which was kind of fun, by the way,”

You don’t have to take Hurley’s word for it. Several people who were on the receiving end of the pair’s prank calls stepped forward to back his story. One of those people was Anthony Vareha, NASA’s 91st flight director. He stated on Twitter, “I received one of these calls at the flight director console. It started with an opening line like ‘Hi it’s Doug and Bob and we’re in the ocean.’ I think my response was ‘Yeah, I can see that.’”

Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, and Behnken’s wife was another recipient of the unexpected phone call. She stated, “On my phone it said ‘Spam Risk’. Glad I answered anyway!” which is pretty unfair, considering how many times I’ve answered a “spam risk” call and never once has it been from an astronaut.

After nine weeks in space, these NASA dads fully deserved to blow off some steam. Apparently, prank calls truly are the universal time-wasters. Next time you’re about to send a “spam risk” call to voicemail, maybe do a quick check to see what the people at NASA are up to that day.

Teens Losing it Over Phil Collins is The Wholesome Content we Need

Teens Losing it Over Phil Collins is The Wholesome Content we Need
(YouTube/TwinsthenewTrend)

There is something so pure about watching kids discover things for the first time. Whether it’s a type of food, an activity, or a song, seeing a kid learn something new and wonderful about the world is unparalleled. Without the reserved and often jaded filter that comes with adulthood, we’re left with the wide-eyed innocence of a child experiencing pure, uninhibited joy. Twins Tim and Fred Williams from Gary, Indiana recently filmed a video that gave us a much-needed dose of that pure, wide-eyed excitement.

The teens post YouTube videos where they react to songs as they hear them for the first time. Want to feel old? Head on over to their channel and watch them discover songs you’ve heard no fewer than 1,000 times. We (mostly) forgive them for making us feel like ancient beings because their videos are just so dang wholesome.

Last week, the twins filmed their reactions as they listened to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the very first time, and let me tell you, they were into it. The second Collins started to sing, Tim threw his hand over his heart so quickly it seemed involuntary. The video continues as the twins bop their heads to the beat, and we all waited breathlessly for the iconic drum fill. The boys’ reactions did not disappoint – Tim gasps, both teens’ mouths drop and their eyes go wide as they soak it all in. After taking a few seconds to collect himself, Fred says, “I’ve never seen nobody drop the beat three minutes in the song!”

It’s easy to see why the internet has fallen so hard for this video. With over two million views in just a week, watching the teens listen to songs we love for the first time feels almost like we’re discovering them all over again. It’s reassuring that a generation who laughs at special effects in movies that were cutting-edge when we first saw them can still appreciate non-new (I’m not saying old. It’s not old. We’re not old) music that totally slaps.

The 10 Best Comments of the Month: July 2020

Best Comments of the Month

Every month we pan for comedy gold in the comments section of our Facebook posts. If your comment cracks us up (or warms our hearts) we’ll showcase it here!

Here’s last month’s roundup of the 10 Best Comments:

1. Trippin’

2. Lying Gosling

3. Game Hair

4. Lettuce Laugh

5. Sneeze Power

6. Watts Up

7. Turn it Down

8. Guilt Trippin’

9. Mac Daddy

10. Twisted

Check out the previous edition of the best comments of the month here.

How to Throw a Baseball Harder Without Throwing Your Arm out

how to throw a baseball harder
Universal Pictures

Let’s take a guess at what’s happening in your life right now. Did you get suckered into joining your company’s softball team? Or maybe you inadvertently signed up to coach your kid’s little league? Either way, in the era of dad, you’re suddenly remembering you’re not 20 years old anymore.

So, you’re asking yourself (read: The internet) how to throw a baseball harder. You know, as you did in the good ol’ days…whilst not immediately landing yourself on the injured reserve list. First, we’d like to leave you with one seriously important note: Accuracy is far more important than speed. Think of all the famous first pitches you’ve seen over the years. The ones that stick out the most are the ones that were lobbed twelve feet to the right of the pitcher. Not the ones that simply fell short.

However, if strength and speed are what you’re looking for, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you ace your triumphant return to throwing a baseball.

Always Warm-Up

Starting your pre-game with a laid back, steadily increasing game of catch is the key here. You need to warm up your arm before you go balls to the wall during the game.

We get it. The last thing you want to do when you hit the gym is to spend 15 minutes doing a brisk walk on the treadmill. In that same light, the last thing you want to be seen doing is lackadaisical tossing around the ball pre-game. But, my dude, you’re going to have to do it. You’ve seen plenty of shots of million-dollar pitchers warming up in the bullpen.

Work On Your Form

Wanna end up in the hospital with a strained or torn rotator cuff? Nope. Just like when you’re playing golf with the boys, tossing a baseball is all about form, too. From where you place your feet to how you hold your shoulders, everything matters. Having the best posture and form will make a ton of difference in what kind of velocity you put into that pitch.

Pay Attention To The Release

There’s a ton of things to think about as you rock back and then push forward with your pitch. Once you perfect your posture, though, think about how you’re standing and when you’re releasing the ball. As the coach mentioned above, you pitch with your whole body and not just your arm. Moving your body behind the ball will give it more push forward. Furthermore, noting where you’re letting go of the ball is also important. If you release the ball too far back, you’re not giving the full push behind it and if you release it too late, you’re pushing the ball downward.

Run Some Drills

You’re already telling your kids how important it is to practice, practice, practice, right? Same goes for you, Pops. Drills are the absolute best way to perfect your form, keep your muscles warm, loose and, of course, increase the strength and speed of your pitch.

You Go Pro Baseball has ten easy, popular pitching drills to try. Our suggestion: Do several sets of 2 to 3 of these each night of the week. It shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes but over time will greatly improve your pitch and reduce your chance of having do visit Dr. James Andrews.

 

 

Big-Hearted 8-Yr-Old Mows Lawns for First Responders and Single Moms

Big-Hearted 8-Year-Old Mows Lawns for Single Moms First Responders
(Facebook/Helping Footprint)

While some kids spend their days training to be Twitch streamers or hope to be record-breaking YouTubers, 8-year-old Greyson Winfield is working on a very different kind of dream. Instead of spending his days playing video games and watching TV like many kids his age, this young hero has a far more productive hobby. Greyson dreams of one day being a Navy SEAL, and to prepare, he spends his days making the world a better place. Greyson feeds the hungry in his spare time and mows the lawns of single moms and first responders so they have one less thing to take care of during their already packed days.

Greyson told CNN that aside from his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, there are several other motivating forces in his life. Both of his parents are former firefighters, so Greyson grew up knowing the importance of helping others in his community. A slightly more unexpected role model for someone his age is none other than former president John F. Kennedy. Greyson explained, “helping others is the right thing to do. Also, JFK was in the Navy before becoming president and I want to follow his lead.”

Greyson and Garrett
Greyson (left) and his brother Garrett (right) doing what they do best, helping out. (Facebook/Helping Footprint)

Helping those in need is so important to Greyson that with his parents’ support and assistance, he started his own charity called Helping Footprint. The website explains, “Helping Footprint consists of two brothers on a mission to help the community. Founder, Greyson Winfield leads the way, with collecting gift cards to help those in need of food. He also saw the need to ensure seniors, differently-abled persons, single moms, veterans, and our busy first responders have their lawns cut for free.”

Though Greyson’s effort to help others is undoubtedly impressive, perhaps more incredible is his mindset. Greyson states, “I want to help people. There are other people who have nobody to help them and it’s the right thing to do.” Logically, we all know that helping people is the right thing to do, but the sad reality is that many of us don’t act on it as much as we should. Fortunately, the next generation seems to be in good hands with Greyson’s Helpful Footprint leading the way.

Knowing Is Half the Battle: G.I. Joe Returns as a Retro Collection

G.I. Joe Retro Collection
(Hasbro)

Like many kids who grew up in the 80s, I loved G.I. Joe.

I loved watching the cartoon and playing with the figures, most of whom were at my best friend’s house next door because his parents bought him every single toy in the world. I remember seething with jealousy when he got the massive G.I. Joe aircraft carrier for one of his birthdays.

Eventually, I grew up and forgot about all of this angst over Eric Pepe’s luck, and my parents’ refusal to go broke buying me action figures, but recently it all came rushing back when I heard the news: Hasbro was bringing their classic GI Joe figures back.

The news actually broke in June, when the toy company announced their G.I. Joe: Classified Series as part of their relaunch of the iconic GI Joe brand.

Their awesome new website has all the details, including the 50-year history of G.I. Joe and a list of all the characters that have been reimagined for this relaunch of 6-inch figures. The first six to be released are Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Destro, and Cobra Commander.

Hasbro

On top of the website and these new versions is Hasbro’s launch of G.I. Joe’s Retro Collection, which means I can go snatch up all action figures my next-door neighbor had in his playroom, complete with old school packaging. (Hasbro did the same thing with their Star Wars vintage line.) The first three being released are Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Baroness.

You’ll be able to snatch them up at Walmart in October, provided Eric Pepe doesn’t get their first!

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

It’s impossible to imagine celebrating life’s most exciting milestones without those you love the most, but it’s something many of us have to face. Bindi Irwin, daughter of the world’s favorite Crocodile Hunter, has had to face this difficult reality time and time again after losing her dad at just 8 years old. Though Steve’s absence is undoubtedly felt by his family on a daily basis, they have done an amazing job over the years making sure to honor and commemorate him at every turn. Bindi was extremely close to her dad and has posted touching tributes to him on occasions like Father’s Day, her birthday, and even her engagement.

In the 14 years since Steve Irwin’s death, his memory hasn’t faded. To us, he will always be the Crocodile Hunter – a man with a big personality and an even bigger heart. To Bindi and Robert, he will always be their beloved dad. During Bindi’s wedding at the Australia Zoo, Steve’s blown-up picture was displayed right next to where the couple exchanged their vows giving the appearance that he was standing right next to Bindi’s brother and mom.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Our wedding day. ❤️ Reflecting on these beautiful moments with the love of my life.

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Although Bindi’s wedding was several months ago, she recently received an extremely meaningful gift which she shared on her Instagram page. Artist Debb Oliver created a piece based on a picture taken on Bindi’s wedding day – but this talented artist gave the picture an incredibly special addition. Between Bindi and her mom Terri, Oliver added a beaming Steve. His arms appear to embrace his wife and daughter, and on his face is a look of pride and joy any dad would have on their daughter’s wedding day.

In Bindi’s Instagram post, her family holds the beautiful gift, looking down fondly as if they’re reminiscing over a fond memory – it’s extremely fitting, because to the Irwin family, it’s as if Steve was right there with them celebrating Bindi’s wedding. The photo is captioned, “‘To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.’ ― Thomas Campbell. Thank you @the_monkey_brush for creating this spectacular piece.” The quote Bindi chose is the perfect embodiment of how the entire Irwin family has lived their lives since losing Steve. Although he is no longer here physically, to the Irwin family, he will never really be gone.

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide
(YouTube/Newstoday.)

Some of the best movies of all time revolve around superheroes who put their own well-being aside to help others. They risk everything, time and time again, to make sure the world is safe for the rest of us. We find reassurance in those stories, because though they are extreme, those heroes remind us that there is so much good in the world. There are real-life dad heroes, and they deserve to be recognized as such. Last Sunday, 36-year-old Jonathan Stevens died a hero while saving the lives of his children.

In a story so heartbreaking it’s truly hard to swallow, we see a real-life example of the infinite depths of a father’s love. Jonathan Stevens was visiting Barmouth beach in Wales with his family on Sunday when he noticed three of his children struggling in the water. As any dad would do, he rushed to save them. Thinking only about the well-being of his children, Stevens worked frantically to pull them to safety and out of the grips of the riptide. Even in the direst of situations, Jonathan Stevens didn’t forget for a single second that his goal was to protect his children, to make sure they were unharmed at all costs.

Jonathan did it – he did his job as a dad, making sure no harm came to his children. In a devastating twist that nobody could have anticipated, Jonathan himself was caught in the current. He was pulled from the water by a rescue team and airlifted to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Tragically, Jonathan passed away at the hospital.

34-Year-old Laura Burford, Jonathan’s partner, was home when this unimaginable situation unfolded. A relative provided North Wales Live with the heartbroken woman’s statement. “All seven of his beautiful kids have lost their dad. He died saving his kids’ lives in the sea,” Burford said. “There are no words to describe the pain. I will always be grateful to (him) for bringing our babies back. I love him, always have, and always will.”

A friend set up a GoFundMe to help support Jonathan’s family during this incredibly difficult time. The page states, “I’m Mel, a family friend, from Telford who set up this fund page to help this poor family who sadly lost Jonathan (Joff) whilst he was saving his children in the sea at Barmouth beach. The funds raised will go towards any funeral costs, to each of his 7 children to support and to have a memory gift from their Hero Father and to Laura to help along the way with any costs that may occur.”

Jonathan Stevens’ very last act was being a dad. He protected his children at all costs, bravely and selflessly putting their safety before his own. Jonathan Stevens died a hero.

1980s Classic “Knight Rider” Is Being Rebooted as a Movie

Knight Rider Movie
(NBC)

If there’s one tried-and-true path to success in movie and TV entertainment, it’s that everything old needs to be new again. Sure, sometimes it fails (Star Wars prequels), but sometimes it’s awesome. Either way, nostalgia is a big play right now. This is why 80s TV classic “Knight Rider” is being revived for the big screen.

News broke this week that Furious 7 director James Wan (he also directed Aquaman and co-created the Saw franchise, among other hits) was attached to helm the movie reboot of the TV series classic. So if there’s someone who can do an epic car movie, it’s someone from the Fast and Furious family.

If it’s before your time, Knight Rider was an awesome show in the mid-1980s starring David Hasselhoff and an artificially intelligent talking car, K.I.T.T. If it sounds absurd, it was! And that’s why it was great. I mean, come on, how great is this intro?

Knight Rider ran for 90 episodes, and had a few forgettable spin-offs and made for TV movies that fizzled, but this movie reboot has been picking up heat as the project moves forward. The series with the memorable theme song became a cult classic through years of syndication.

At this time, there is no information about who will be starring as K.I.T.T. The film will reportedly be set in the present, so K.I.T.T. will likely be a different vehicle than a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

There has been no comment from Hasselhoff on the news, but it’s unlikely they could truly do the franchise justice without including the co-star of the show (let’s be real, the car was the real star) in some fashion.