Bleh with Barry

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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Dracula: My Hypothetical Movie Casting

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Today in the Gothic Literature class I’m in, we started our discussion of Dracula by Bram Stoker. While we did the usual discussion of Jonathan Harker’s uselessness, Mina Murray’s man brain, Dracula’s foreignness, and the many ways in which one can read the text, we additionally talked about the four prominent movie adaptations of the book:  Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), Horror of Dracula (1958),and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). However, after listing these movies, we discovered that an adaptation of the novel hasn’t come out in the past 20 years that even tries to be faithful to the original story (there was the ill-fated Dracula 2000 with Gerard Butler… but yeah…). So we were tasked with casting a movie if we got the opportunity to pick anyone to be in our version of said hypothetical movie. Therefore, my list that I am posting below was born. I think that each of the actors that I’ve placed in certain roles would be able to bring a certain truthfulness to the movie that would resound well with the novel itself. Moreover, I know that some of my choices are a little odd, but I feel that each of the people that I picked would something to the characters that would make them memorable in some way. I hope you enjoy thinking about this as much as I did. 🙂

Dracula Cast List

Dracula— Michael Fassbender

Jonathan Harker— James McAvoy

Dr. Seward— David Tennant

Lord Arthur Holmwood— Matthew MacFadyen

Quincy Morris— Robert Downey Jr.

Abraham Van Helsing— Ian McKellen

Lucy Westenra— Rachel McAdams

Mina Harker— Gemma Arterton

Renfield— Andy Serkis

Bride #1— Kiera Knightly

Bride #2— Natalie Portman

Bride #3— Claire Danes

I have my reasons for placing certain people in certain roles. Moreover, I know that some of them could occupy many different roles in the grand scheme of things.

Tale of the Body Thief the Movie, or “Oh God, Please Don’t Let It Be Another Queen of the Damned”

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By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today on Anne Rice’s facebook page, she announced that Imagine Studios have gotten the rights and are developing a Tale of the Body Thief (TOBT) movie based on her book first published in 1992. On her page, Rice said, “Nothing makes Lestat happier than making news! Here’s the Hollywood Reporter story on Imagine optioning Tale of the Body Thief for a motion picture, with more names and details.” While I am excited by the prospect of a new vampire movie based upon one of Anne Rice’s books because I love the intricacies of the vampire world, I am additionally apprehensive as a result of Queen of the Damned (2002) starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, which was awful… just awful… especially when compared to the success of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. However, this movie could see a return to that of the first film with Cruise and Pitt which might be a good thing, but there are somethings that might need to be thought about / changed.

1) The scope of this film will be relatively more focused than that of the book Queen of the Damned (QOTD). While the movie of Queen of the Damned resembled nothing of the book that Anne Rice wrote other than character names… and some chosen events, the book of TOBT takes place with very few characters actually taking part in the full of the action (mainly Lestat, David Talbot and, Raglan James). Moreover, if the adaptation does not lend itself to compression of other novels… whereas in the QOTD, this book and The Vampire Lestat were condensed into one movie that didn’t even reach the two hour mark… please….

2) Whereas QOTD (the book) is filled with intricate subplots and creates a new vampire mythology that the filmmakers didn’t seem to want to deal with and used multiple characters to narrate the complexity of the story (again filmmakers didn’t deal with), TOBT is pretty straightforward in terms of its plot. SPOILERS: Lestat being bogged down with his life… undeadness…. vampiric nature… decides to off himself in the desert,

By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

which doesn’t work considering he gobbled up a lot of Akasha’s blood (making him as powerful as most of the old ones…). So, he gets an offer from Raglan James to switch bodies for a day… Lestat, being the brat prince that he is, cannot resist the chance of being human and agrees. Long story short, James won’t give back Lestat’s body, and Lestat and David must fight for it to get it back. Pretty easy to follow and streamlined…. one would hope that it would not be hard to plot… all I’m saying…

3) Most of the book deals with human Lestat rather than a passel of vampires. In QOTD, a crap ton of vampires appear due to many circumstances surrounding Lestat’s music, the Queen’s rising, and story time / planning session with Maharet. Thus, it would be difficult to get the characters right considering that by Rice’s third book we know a lot of the characters that are cavorting very well… Also, the additional problem of the vampires themselves and the powers they have institute themselves. In TOBT, however, Lestat is a human most of the time, and David is too. Thus, this should be a moot point… yet, I somehow still believe that it can be screwed up… possibly with a flashy action scene on a freeway in California, involving a car chase with human Lestat and Raglan James in Lestat’s body…. Ugh…

4) A new Lestat would be nice. While Tom Cruise does a serviceable job as the evil, non-complex Lestat from the first movie (i.e. Louis’s perspective of him), I don’t know that he could do the truly complex nature of Lestat as a stand alone character very well. Additionally, I hated Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat…. I feel that he did not carry the brat prince charm and the overall charisma of the character (this could be because it was a horribly written movie… “You’re a vampire?” line from the goth / punk / glam band member complete with southern twang comes to mind). Maybe we could see someone bring a little class to the role… also remember too that there have to be two Lestats in this film which complicates it… the one real body Lestat and the displaced body Lestat. This adds another level to the difficulty of casting this film… (God help me if I see Johnny Depp put into one of these roles either… I couldn’t stand to see a quirky Lestat with Goth make-up and weird hair… I just couldn’t…). I think that they should cast someone who is naturally blonde too… that’s just a pet peeve of mine…

5) Well, I haven’t really got a five… I’m not going to lie… if this purported film turns out to be anything like the QOTD movie, I might have to hurt someone… yeah… possibly Ron Howard since Imagine is his production company…

So there you have it, I look at this with much apprehension, but I am also hopeful that Lestat will once again get to live big on the theater screen… Hopefully, this reincarnation of Lestat (whenever the film may be released) will be better than the best that we have at this point. I look forward to the film and to Anne’s new book that will come out later this month.

Nine’s Unusual Way

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So, I’m just going to say from the beginning that I’m not familiar with the musical Nine. I know that it has been on Broadway recently with Antonio Banderas, Laura Benanti, and others leading the charge. I know that a movie version has been released with Daniel Day Lewis as the main male lead and Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and others as the women who surround him. Honestly, that’s about all I know… I haven’t done my research on this one yet… I will be doing research in the next little while to rectify this hole in my knowledge, but I thought it important to share a beautiful song from the show with you all.

The song is called “Unusual Way” and has been performed by various of the Broadway elite due to its significant lyrical and musical themes of love, longing, and loss… Moreover, its haunting melody sticks with you as the simple but clear lyrics illustrate what it “means to be me looking at you,” as the song itself says. The version I am leaving you with is performed by Laura Benanti (an actress that I knew more for her comedic role in Women on the Verge) and Antonio Banderas. Early on, Benanti’s character professes what it’s like to be the person in a relationship where they appear to be codependency of sorts on another who does not necessarily need them. Her voice is both beautiful and haunting (I know I’ve already used this word earlier… don’t shoot me over it), and when Banderas joins her, his harmony solidifies the emotion of the piece as their voices blend perfectly… So I leave you with “Unusual Way.” I hope you enjoy.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

February 1, 2012 at 2:07 am

Pondering Gothic / Vampire Songs for my Class

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I am in a pretty cool graduate class if I do say so myself. It’s called “Spectral and Sublime: The Gothic Tradition,” which is offering me the chance to read fun things like Dracula, Jane Eyre, Carmilla, and many more stories (a lot of them dealing with vampires that are my favorite). While the books themselves are pretty awesome, the professor also asked us to think of some songs that are related to the Gothic or to vampires. So I have been on the interwebs looking for songs that I feel represent these two aspects; however, the few songs that I have here are only a smattering of what I’ve found… and what may be locked away in the deep recesses of my mind.

The first is “Moon Over Bourbon Street” performed by Sting. This song is about the vampires that appear in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles with an emphasis on Lestat. In the song, it is imagined Lestat is going down Bourbon St. in New Orleans with the moon high overhead and existing much as vampires do: stalking their prey and enjoying the immortal life.

The second song was played during the credits of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992). Performed by Annie Lennox, “Love Song for a Vampire” is beautiful and chilling and embodies the emotions of love and loss that seem to be common themes throughout the whole of the film. Moreover, it’s easy to hear how Annie Lennox continues to get work singing for films as she is a sultry siren.

Finally, “I Would Do Anything for Love” performed by Meatloaf and written by Jim Steinman is not a song that is particularly Gothic or vampire-y in a lyrical or musical sense. However, the video itself is quite Gothic with the large architectural feature of the gloomy mansion and the fact that the he is a monster that is in love with a beautiful young damsel. Additionally, he is transformed in the end by the power of their relationship (mayhaps… this is really unclear to me). The fact that he will not do something for love also makes it interesting to a large degree.

Vampires, the Gothic, and music mixing makes me a happy camper because they are all things that excite and interest me. However, I do not think that this is even the tip of the iceberg for these kinds of songs. And to any readers out there, I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have to help me compile songs for my professor’s list.

If I Formed My League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

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So, a friend just posted on my facebook wall asking me if I made my own League of Extraordinary Gentlemen using only characters from books (not the comics or movies). Immediately, I asked the question “Can I use villains and they play well with others?” because this is important in forming my group. This simple face can change the usefulness of some characters drastically. So, I suppose I will try to make my group considering that the villains have to work with the heroes for some reason or other…so with that in mind, here I go.

* Sherlock Holmes– With his powerful deductive mind, Holmes would make a good addition to any group’s intelligence

By Sidney Paget(1860-1908) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

factor. He would be able to break down analytical problems and move through them with a speed that others might not have.  He would also be good in a pinch when in a situation where he was fighting because he can break down the most effective route for dealing with people (no, I’m not thinking about the movie here…even though, he does it to an almost preternatural degree).

* Frankenstein’s Monster– I would be making this choice for two reasons. First, the monster would begin to round out the muscle of the group. He is preternaturally strong, agile, and durable, which would make him a good asset. Second, he has a knack for learning and appears to be pretty intelligent himself. So, he could serve a two-fold  position as both the brawn and, potentially, the brains.

* Merlin– Scary powerful sorcerer…need I say more. He can do a lot and help in a tight situation in many ways. Brains and power…

* Muldumarec– A shape-shifting knight from the medieval lai of “Yonec.” His ability to morph into other things would make him the perfect person to infiltration and espionage. He would probably be okay in a fight because of his abilities and his skills as a knight…I’m also talking about him without being killed by his lover’s jealous husband…

By Edward Reginald Frampton (1872-1923) (DĂ©mons et Merveilles (E.Brasey)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

* Titania– Another magic user and fae to boot, she would round out the group. Her femininity would help balance out the group of men and would allow her to seduce the opposing forces. Her magical abilities would also be handy in tight situations because she is the queen of the fae. Moreover, she can be quite frightening depending upon the folk tales / literature that she appears in. Her near immortality and invulnerability would also be handy in a lot of situations…

* Pandora– No, I’m not talking about the figure from Greek myth that unleashed pestilence upon the world. Rather, I am referring to the 2000 year old vampire from Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles (this is my guilty pleasure add). Pandora is sexy, provocative, intelligent, and powerful (she waxes philosophical but also rips out a man’s heart to drain it). With her telepathy, she could be the communicator of the group talking to the others mentally. Her pyrokinesis and telekinesis would also make her deadly from afar, and her other vampiric abilities such as immortality, super strength and speed, and near invulnerability would make her quite a force to be reckoned with… she would also play well with the other members of the group (unlike some of Anne Rice’s other characters).

So, there you go…I think that this would be a fairly balanced team of hard-core literary characters. I’ve tried to balance brains and brawn; moreover, I’ve also tried to create a middle ground of characters that can go either way. Overall, I think they would make an interesting group with a diverse array of powers.

Horror and Halloween Movies that I Will Be Enjoying at Some Point This Season

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Long title aside…sometimes, I can be a little verbose when I’m writing a title… or maybe it comes from the fact that all my professors say that the title of a piece should tell us what’s in the paper itself…while I know this isn’t a paper, this is a possible reason. Anyway, Halloween is a season that brings out the scary and seasonal movies to my DVD player. However, there are always a few that seem to make their way to be watched at least once during the season. Also, most of these movies may contain images, language, nudity, etc. that may not be for the faint of heart…

1) The Exorcist– A movie that may have helped launch Max von Sydow’s career which deals with the demonic possession of a little girl (played by Linda Blair…which may have dampened her career) by Captain Howdy. Moreover, two priests come in to exorcise the demon with scary and deadly consequences…(I’m going to give shortened reviews because I have quite a few). Contains disturbing images and language.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/

2) Hocus Pocus– A film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as three witches executed at Salem that claimed on day they would return. A young boy lights their black flame candle and releases them. So, he, his sister, his crush, and a bewitched cat that used to be a boy must keep them from fulfilling their evil plot to suck the life from the children to Salem so that they may live forever. Overall, I enjoy this movie simply because it’s a throw back to my childhood and it’s just all around Halloween fun. Safe for children.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107120/

3) An American Werewolf in London– A werewolf movie that reenvisions the werewolf story to a large degree. David, an American guy touring the moors of England, is out with his friend, and they are attacked by a werewolf. His friend dies, but he suffers a fate that is worse than death because he becomes a werewolf and stalks the streets of London. A great movie which invokes the horror and the mystery of the werewolf legend while playing up some elements that other movies do not (such as the lack of a cure and the lack of humanity within the beast itself).  Contains disturbing images and nudity (including male full frontal because some people are more bothered by this…you’re going to see peen from a distance).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082010/

4) Nosferatu– The silent era’s Dracula because F. W. Murnau could not gain the rights to the novel from Stoker’s family. This movie is creepy as shit because of it being silent and Max Shreck being the rat-toothed Count Orlock. I find the deliberateness of movement and the overall lack of dialogue (and yes, I know that it’s a silent movie) to be very disturbing…Creepy…not too much else going on.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/

5) The Walking Dead– Alright, I know that it’s not a movie… however, this show is probably one of the best zombie projects that I’ve seen in a while; moreover, it’s based on a graphic novel. Mainly following Rick Grimes  a police officer as he tries to keep a group of made of friends and people met on the road, the human drama of this is the stuff that makes you wonder if you could survive something serious like a zombie apocalypse. Along with effects that rival that of any zombie movie (given zombie movies are usually low budget…but that’s beside the point), it just holds ones attention and keeps the air of creepy and unsettledness throughout. Graphic violence and some sexuality.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520211/

So, there you have it. A list of movies that I recommend to those out there looking for movies to watch this Halloween season. Some fun, some spooky, some disturbing, but all fun for one reason or another. I hope that you might like them as much as I do and that maybe they’ll enter your Halloween rotation as well.

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Movies of the Summer that I’ve Watched: Good, Bad or Mediocre

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So, it’s been a while since I have blogged…I’ve been a little tied up with things including watching the movies :). Anyway, here’s my opinion of the movies that I’ve watched over the course of this summer in only a few words or more…yeah…

Thor- 7/10: I thought that it was well done and fun. Good acting, solid script, interesting comic book characters, and mythology (even though it was a little skewed).

X-Men First Class- 8.5/10: Good look at the X-Men’s leaders before the main conflict of the first two films. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Keving Bacon were amazing. Good story.

Green Lantern- 5.5/10: I enjoy the Green Lantern storyline…however, it could have done with some updating…the script sounded like it might have been written in the 70’s…I enjoy some of the casting choices…but yeah…also, the pacing of the film was off (partially because it felt like it was just a setup for the next film).

Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon- 6.5/10: I’m not a huge fan of Michael Bay…with that said, the movie was better than the second one (Giant angel robots…all I”m saying…), but this movie was fun and action-tastic, even though it could have been shortened by 30 minutes (it was 2 and a half hours…). Moreover, I think that the movie should be about the giant robots, but they tried to make it about the human drama…I don’t have to see the humans triumph, not what I came for…

Harry Potter 7 Part 2- 6/10: It was a solid movie…there were just sooooo many things that I would have done differently…yeah…and I feel that it was over-hyped for the end result of the film.

Captain America The First Avenger- 7/10: Enjoyable ride…however, we know that Chris Evans really can’t act because most of the scenes he was truly in were action-tastic (maybe I should coin a word…I’ve used it twice already)…he was serviceable as Steve Rogers…I did like Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving (best casting choices of the movie). I’m excited to see the Avengers movie in 2012…

So yeah, there’s my recap…I might expand upon them at some point. So, there you go. 🙂

X-Men First Class: What I Thought (Possible Spoilers for Some People)

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So, as most X-Men fans out there,  I went to a midnight showing of the new movie and now want to share with you what I thought. To start, I thought that the movie was pretty fantastic overall. I enjoyed the plot of the movie and thought that for the most part the acting was pretty wonderful too. I thought that it brought back the heart of the first two movies and blended in perfectly with what they set up to be the conflict of the mutants in the world that they lived in. I think that a lot of this has to be due with Bryan Singer being brought back on board as a writer and story creator. Honestly, I believe that he is the reason the first two films were as true to the comics as they were and feel that he had a real sense of what the true feelings of the story was.

Positives:

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are amazing and fill the shoes that Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan left for them. They play the younger version of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr in such a way that make them a lot more down to earth and human than the figures that we see as Professor X and Magneto. They flesh out the characters in a way that their older counterparts could because they allow us to see the men before the leaders.

 

The villains were a good choice. Bringing the Hellfire Club into an X-Men movie is no easy task especially since they are quite a scary bunch of villains. However, I believe that Kevin Bacon does a good job of breathing life into Sebastian Shaw the Black King of the Club. He is a formidable foe and even with him being a bit overpowered (i.e. manipulating energy to be put back out in the form of explosive energy…which is not his original powers). He was especially great with all the different languages and other things that were required of him.

The integration of the movie into actual historical events makes me quite happy. I like how they spun the Cuban missile crisis to make it a moment for the X-Men / Brotherhood to start to develop as groups and individuals. I like how they used this as a point of origin for the groups and for the rivalry that springs up between the friends of Xavier and Magneto.

 

The music was fantastic as well. Thanks to Henry Jackman. The score punctuated the movie quite well and made it more enjoyable.

Weak Points

January Jones as Emma Frost left something to be desired for me. Emma is supposed to be one bad-ass, devil-may-care uber bitch. However, Jones comes off as a very flat portrayal of this most of the time. Now, I’m not blaming this entirely upon her. Matter-of-factly, she does have a few moments when she pulls of the character quite well. For instance, when she is in the CIA interrogation room and cuts a hole in the glass with her diamond finger, she gave me a bit of the chills that the real Emma Frost. There were also a few other of the more minor characters that I feel like could have given more.

I could have used the real original group of X-Men. I liked most of the characters that they used for the movie. However, I wanted there to be at least Jean and Scott…those are the real heart of the team, and I feel that they should have been there…other than that the characters were fine. (Except for the Wolverine cameo…I could have really done without that…that’s all I’m saying).

No extra scene at the end. I’m disappointed in Marvel for having them in every other movie but not in this one. Really Marvel? That was what I thought when I saw this…or didn’t see it rather.

Parting Thoughts:

Overall, I think that the movie works well especially with the first and second X-Men movies (I complete discount the 3 or any of the Wolverine Origin movies). I think that they chose a good place to fit them into the real world. I think that they chose a good cast to portray the characters. And they did the ideals that the X-Men stood for justice. I enjoyed it very thoroughly (as one can tell from me seeing it twice on the opening day) and hope that it might mean something for the X-Men franchise in the future.

Marvel Comic Movies of the Summer: X-Men First Class

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So, with the huge success of Thor (I totally loved it…I recommend seeing it if you haven’t), I am beginning to wonder what will happen with the new X-Men movie that will be coming to theaters next month (June 3 to be exact). Honestly, I’m remaining hopeful for the movie because it has two really good actors play Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and others that look equally promising. However, I am also apprehensive about what story arch they may be following in order to produce the movie.

My biggest reason for my apprehensions lies in the world that the filmmakers have created if the other four films are taken into account… Honestly, I’m hoping that this movie marks the reboot of the X-Men movie franchise. If not, I am irritated by the manipulation of character ages that seems to exist within the film. For example, Mystique is way older in the grand scheme of all the comics…and it appears that she would be in the movies…However, my biggest example of this would be Emma Frost. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, she is a teenager; yet, in this movie she is a thirty something year-old who is a full-fledged member of the Hellfire Club…Yeah….I don’t like when things like this happen. Moreover, I am already skeptical about the “First Class” idea because this isn’t the first class (this group includes Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Angel, Iceman, and Beast).

So, yeah, I’m anxiously awaiting the release and keeping up with new trailers and such. My biggest hope is that the movie is over two hours long…to me, this is an indicator of whether or not I should be hyped before I go into the theater (I will regardless….the X-Men is my comic book baby…). If it is over two hours, I can expect something at least because let’s face it a comic that has been around for 40+ years will not be adequately represented in less than two hours….So, I hope that you all are as excited / apprehensive as I am…Here’s hoping for the best. I also hope you enjoy the teaser trailers looking at a few of the mutants in the film.

I’m Barry, and I’m an IMDB.com Addict

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So, recently, I have become enamored with the imdb.com website. Now, it’s not that the website is new to me because we all know that people go overboard when they come into contact with new things. However, this is not the case for me. I have known about imdb.com for at least a couple of years if not more, and in that time period, I have not been nearly as engrossed as I have become in the last little bit. Why you might ask is this even possible? Well, let me enlighten you how I’ve been drawn in.

 

1) Ease of access– Ever since I got my first smart phone in November, I have had the imdb website at my finger tips. This accessibility has allowed me to look up my every query right when they happen. Was Billy Bob Thorton married to Angelina Jolie (purely hypothetical question…I know that they were…down to some of the creepier details)? I can find out at the touch of an app button.

2) Being in Grad. School– Now, I know that this one might seem a little counter-intuitive, but I have looked up more things as a result of working on papers and things simply because of my writing process ( I have to have something on in the  background to be able to work). Sometimes while I’m watching/ working, actors and actresses will suddenly connect up in my mind in some weird way, and I must find out things about them.

3) The Game of Connections– One night when I was a little bored, I developed a game on the website. Usually, it started by looking up an actor or actress and then finding a movie they were in. Then, I went to the movie and looked for other actors and actresses that I recognized. Then, I clicked on them and found a movie and repeated the other step. I would do this until I couldn’t find someone or some movie that I knew (this was without repeating movies or stars…). Honestly, this game is kind of addictive….you should try it and see.

 

So, yeah, I have become an addict of imdb. However, it keeps me involved in the movie world, and I get to have some fun doing it. Plus, I’m willing to bet I know some facts about celebs / movies that would boggle your mind. 🙂

Written by uncannynerdyguy

May 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm