Nicky Deuce — Sopranos Meet Gibby

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What happens when you stir in HBO’s Sopranos,  iCarly’s Gibby, a classic actress and a Degrassi cast member together?

 

You get Nicky Deuce, the latest Nickelodeon channel movie.  So is this movie really any good?

 

First off, it is a short movie clocking in at roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes long (1 ½ hour with commercials).  This really makes for one of the channels shortest movies and with the expansive cast, things get confusing quickly.

 

The movie stars Noah Munck best known as Gibby on the now cancelled popular show iCarly.   While this role isn’t a total stretch for him, it is good for him to play a smarter character than the one on iCarly.

 

The cast also consists of several people who appeared on the HBO show Sopranos.  While I never watched that show, it seems that this was more like a reunion for them than a movie.  We also get a highly unrecognizable Rita Moreno as grandma and Cristine Prosperi most notable from the teen series Degrassi as Donna, the new flame in Nicky’s life.

 

For those who love the Sopranos, this may be the perfect gem of a comedy crime movie.  The same could be said of fans of the iCarly as well.  However, the number of characters in this movie is hard to keep track of and thus makes it a little overwhelming if not impossible to keep up with what is going on.

 

While this movie is a standard type mob movie, it is lightweight with a decent amount of comedy mixed in.  Certainly not a perfect movie, but it is better than Nickelodeon’s previous movies of “Fred” movies, “Best Player”, and the somewhat good but uneven “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”.

 

I was never bored watching this film but it was way too short and seemed rushed to get to the end.  This movie definitely needed 2 hours to tell its story, but I believe that the casting put a huge strain on the show’s limited budget.  Maybe there will be an extended version of this movie at some point, possibly even on the forthcoming DVD already slated for a mid-July release.

 

In conclusion, this movie is not perfect with what seems to be mostly stunt casting with the mobsters from Sopranos.  It was still enjoyable as is, but a yearning for more is not out of question.

 

The show premiered last Monday (Memorial Day night), but as I write this there is no scheduled airing in the next few days, which means that this will be a matter of searching for it across the Nickelodeon networks.  I expect this movie to turn up on Teennick before it airs on the parent station again in the near future.  One final plus as with most of Nickelodeon movies lately (unlike their TV shows) is that it is being shown in widescreen format, not the standard pan-and-scan version.

My Score:  7

 

Summary:  Good family entertainment, but just too short.  Better than past movies on the network.

 

 

Time Warner Cable Small Upgrade, Big Ad Missteps

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In my other blog, I write about the scams that companies like Staples produce and have produced.  Now it seems that Time Warner Cable are becoming liars and scammers as well.

However, before I discuss that, let me say that last night TWC pushed through a mini update to their navigator system.  Not much changed with this minor upgrade except that DVR Compensation is now gone.  I am very thankful for that because this feature was more confusing than helpful.  In case you never heard of it, the feature basically controlled how far the DVR would advance when going from fast-forward to play.  The choices were normal, more, less, and none.  No indication was ever given how much time these times actually were which led to the confusion of this awkward feature.  I will not miss this feature whatsoever.  However, now going from fast-forward to play could either be a sudden change or put your position a little further ahead from where you want it.  I have seen both of these scenarios happen in the last few hours since this update.  It also appears that the phantom recording bug has been fixed as well.

 

Now onto the scams and lies:

Besides being nickel and dimed to death with charges for modems, cable boxes, and now even the simple remote control, it seem that TWC has now introduced some misleading and false advertising.

The first television ad features Emily VanCamp from the ABC show “Revenge”.  It is promoting the “Start Over” feature of their system.  The problem is that ABC television DOES NOT SUPPORT the “Start Over” feature and neither do any of the other major networks.  In fact, only a handful of cable channels support this feature.

Another ad touts the “Look Back” feature.  However, like the previously mentioned feature, it only works on some cable channels, but their website states that NBC supports it, but here in Maine it is not supported.  In fact, many of the channels on this list don’t have the feature enabled.  Is this a scam or just misinformation? It could be possibly a little of both or maybe jumping ahead in anticipation of future support.  I don’t think TWC should announce features until they have been firmly implemented because changes seem to put TWC further behind the competition all the time.

 

So, overall is TWC working in the best interest of the customer?  My answer as with Staples is overwhelmingly NO!  What should be real isn’t in any way real, but instead is based on speculation on hopes that the customer won’t notice the difference.  problem is that this customer knows the difference and is getting good at spotting the scams.

 

 

 

The End of American Idol?

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Here we are at the end of another year of American Idol.

Personally I am glad it is over.  This has been a very bad season for the show.  This is especially true if you were a guy.

Week after week, the guys got knocked out of the competition until there was nothing but 5 girls remaining.  Was this a setup or was it just coincidence?  My belief is that people purposely voted all the guys out just because they were just no good at all.  The only exception to this was Curtis who I believed could have won it all.  Surprisingly, he was the first one to go.  However, I found it ironic that Nicki Minaj didn’t hear his performance and didn’t show up until the second person performed.  Coincidence or purposely done—hard to tell what the truth really is.  No matter what it was still strange nonetheless.

After the guys were gone, we saw other better girls like Janelle and Angie exit leaving us with Kree and Candice.  So who will win?  My money is on Kree winning it all, but it will be very close no matter what.

The next big question is who will be next year’s judges.  Randy is already got his bags packed to leave and the others will probably get their walking papers soon (hopefully).

Here is who I think should be considered judges:

  • Kelly Clarkson – Who better than the original idol being a judge?  A perfect fit as far as I am concerned.
  • Pink – Her songs are used regularly on the show so why not put her in a chair?
  • Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus — A daddy/daughter reunion from two different genres would certainly shake things up.
  • Harry Connick Jr. — He has been a mentor several times so it’s time for a chair.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – She is hot and cute and I wouldn’t mind looking at her every week.  Who cares if she is Canadian?
  • Any Disney female star – It’s worked on “Dancing with the Stars” and “X Factor” so why no this show?

 

And now for those who should never be a judge:

  • Elton John – Too much British.  Too much diva.  Just too much.
  • Ke$ha – Too much glitter everywhere, but I still love her.  Just leave the glitter at home please.
  • Any former judge from Idol – Please no rejects from years past.
  • Anybody NOT in the music business – On the road judges have seen some interesting choices none of whom would know enough about music to be a real judge for the show.

 

I believe wholeheartedly that there should not be an unlucky 13th season to Idol as paranoia would settle in on everyone.  Let’s end it now at an even dozen and call it a wrap.

 

Lastly, I must comment on the season-long building of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song of “Take a Picture”.  It was hard to understand without closed-captioning turned on and overall was a mess.  This should be a lesson:  NEVER LET THE PUBLIC WRITE A SONG EVER!!  My ears and eyes are still bleeding over that song.  Certainly not her best work.

 

Seacrest out and done…

 

Skype Thrashes and Crashes; TWC DVR problems

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Last week I discussed my hatred to Skype.  Apparently the program has ears.  On both of my test computers, Skype crashes regularly.

No, make that daily and it is not a simple crash.  It is reminiscent of the kind of full system crashes that I haven’t seen since Windows ME.

The crashes involve stealing all the system resources and taking every other program with it that you may want to run after the crash.  Closing the program before a crash doesn’t help as apparently it still doesn’t want to free its resources leading to problems.  I haven’t seen this much misbehaving programs since back in the day of the old terminate-and-stay resident (TSRs) of the DOS era.  But then again, this is now a Microsoft program anyway.  This program needs to be replaced back to the old Messenger program ASAP.

 

On a separate unrelated issue, a month ago Time Warner Cable upgraded their DVRs to version 6.  At the time, I gave the upgrade a 7, however, in the past few days, problems have been rampant.  Among the problems are:

  • Recording starts on shows recorded days earlier.  I have had as many as 3 shows (?) recording at once from totally different times of day.  Two from mid-afternoon and one from early evening all going at the same time.  Every time I stop the recordings, minutes later the recordings start again and keep doing this cycle.
  • Inability to receive some channels without rebooting the box.
  • Partial recordings starting halfway through or ending at the halfway point.
  • Constant breaking up of picture on some channels.

Overall, TWC needs to fix these issues and send out a fix ASAP.  We can’t wait 6 months or so for the next upgrade cycle.  These need to be fixed now.

 

So here we have 2 of the country’s largest companies with faulty software sent out to the masses and then failing.  Does anybody do quality control testing anymore?  It doesn’t seem that way at all.

 

 

Microsoft’s Latest 2 Mistakes

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Imagine going into your local hardware store.  You want to buy a new hammer and the salesclerk tells you that the hammer has a lifetime warranty.  All you need is just bring it back for an exchange if anything ever happens to it.  Simple, right?  Not if Microsoft ran the store.

The first product that Microsoft gives to you for your broken hammer is a wooden pencil.  Their claim is that they are both made of wood, but the store no longer carries hammers so they can’t give you a new one.  Unfortunately, you are forced to take the pencil in exchange and try using it like a hammer with very little success. 

Welcome to the disappearance of the long-lasting Windows/MSN Messenger.  Last week, Microsoft forced everybody running their Messenger program to suck up to their inferior product of Skype.  Unfortunately, Skype is NO Messenger.  Here is a list of items missing that I use that SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN Skype:

  • Hotmail email notification. 
  • MSN Today (their newsfeed in a startup area)
  • Microsoft group contacts — these just disappeared with no way of recovering these connections/people.
  • Connections to multiple services – only Messenger and Facebook are accepted, forget all the others.

I really wonder why Microsoft released this product to the masses with so many missing features.  Apparently I am not alone with these missing features as many people have commented on Microsoft’s forums on these omissions.  Their response is that they may show up in a future release.  For now I am stuck with an unusable program with no features I can use.

 

The second product that Microsoft can give you for your broken hammer is a giant inflatable hammer.  Their claim is that it is a hammer despite not being made of wood.  Good luck on using nails with that.  This is exactly the way Microsoft upgraded customers from Hotmail to the lamer and ad-ridden Outlook.  Previously I called it “promising” now I call it “cluttered with ads”.  Don’t get too close to the edge of the screen otherwise ads will pop up and invade screen space.  As far as speed is concerned, it is a little faster than Hotmail, but the ads definitely are a turnoff.  Of course I could spend $20/year to have these ads eliminated, but who wants to give Microsoft more money?

Neither of these products are great and unfortunately both are forced on customers whether they like it or not.  Both needs a lot of work to make them workable and being a useful hammer.

 

My score: 

  • Skype:  2  (Not recommended but forced upon those who used MSN/Windows Messenger)
  • Outlook.com:  3 (A drop from my previous beta grade because of the irritating ads that take precious screen space.)

In conclusion:  Maybe someday Microsoft will give us a REAL hammer for the wooden ones we lost recently.