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Gilbert Reviews Teri Wilson’s Romantic Comedy, ‘Royally Roma’

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Have I mentioned how much I enjoy being the senior writer for Biff Bam Pop? I get to interview the most talented people. Lately, I’ve been doing book reviews for the site, and while I’ve enjoyed reading all the books assigned to me, Royally Roma by Teri Wilson has been my favorite by far. Set in the eternal city of Rome, Teri Wilson takes her readers on a spectacular adventure of mistaken identity. Meet me after the jump for the review. Read the rest of this entry

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True Crime Corner: Richard Speck

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According to an Internet dictionary, a mass murderer is described as “a person who kills several or numerous victims in a single incident.” Slaughtering eight innocent student nurses at one time certainly fits this criteria. Who was the monster responsible for such a heinous crime?  Find out in this installment of True Crime Corner.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Have Yourself a Dystopian Christmas


Well. It’s been some year, hasn’t it? Vilified and maligned, 2016 has been the honey badger of years. But even as we give it the award for zero caring, speeding onto the charts with a bullet is young 2017. Watch that one. It’s gonna be a doozy. In the disjointed reality of gleeful holiday cheer as the world breaks an axle and goes careening into the ditch, I give you a Christmas list for surviving troubled times. Give these to friends, or give ’em to yourself. Santa doesn’t care either. He’s hiding in a bunker, sweating as the ice melts, wondering if Trump’s tax break will finally enable him to install A/C. At least now he can bust that pesky elf union.

VODKA


America, it’s time to embrace Russia’s favorite drink. Your President’s about to hop into bed with Vladimir Putin, and that’s some shipping no one needs to picture. So have an ice cold drink to steel your resolve. There’s a billion different flavors of vodka now, and the easiest part is they’re pretty much all horrible. So pick anything. You couldn’t do worse than, oh I don’t know, an election.

BRAZIL


Legendary windmill tilter, director, and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam dropped Brazil on the world in 1985, one year after the fateful arrival of 1984. He doubtless wanted it to come out a year earlier, for the sheer Orwellian synchronicity of it all, but Gilliam being Gilliam, he was late to his own party. The movie is stunning, visually brilliant and a scathing satire which blends eighties society with the dystopian bureaucracy of 1940s fascism. It’s George Orwell’s prophetic totalitarian novel 1984 in a funhouse mirror. Jonathan Pryce (superb as the High Sparrow in the last season of Game of Thrones) stars as Sam Lowry, a hapless bureaucrat trying to sort out a paperwork snafu that led to the execution of the wrong man. He runs afoul of the bureaucracy himself and falls in with the rebels, led by handyman Harry Tuttle (a hilarious Robert De Niro, over a decade before Analyze This). There’s two cuts of the film, a studio edit dubbed Love Conquers All, and Gilliam’s cut, running over 40 minutes longer at two hours and 20 minutes. In Gilliam’s superior version, love conquers considerably less.

ANIMAL FARM

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Speaking of Orwell, his other classic novel is a fine pick to mull as we enter the uncharted waters of countless conflicts of interest and gobbling at the trough. Written as an allegory for Stalinism in Russia, there are plenty of parallels to be found in the animals’ struggle to run their own farm. Napoleon and his fellow pigs stage a revolution over the human farmer Mr. Jones with the help of all the farm animals, but soon they’re enriching themselves and putting down the other beasts. A great short read, and the 1954 animated version packs a punch, too (better than the more recent 1999 version).

TEQUILA


Cuz you’ll get tired of vodka. And also, once Donald engages in a full-on trade war with Mexico, as the wall (fence) goes up from sea to sadly bemused sea, tequila could be a fabulous investment. Cash in your retirement savings and buy Patron. Even if the market skyrockets and Trump is the best president ever, you’ll still be able to sit in your underfunded nursing home with no drug plan and liquidate your portfolio. And tequila just erases everything.

DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB


Lest you worry, it’s a non-stop love-in with Russia for the next four years, Trump’s explicitly said he wants to start a new nuclear arms race to bolster American power. He could be full of it, or we could be entering a new phase of multilateral rearmament with China, North Korea and the Saudis joining the fun along with Europe, Russia and hey, maybe Japan can join, too! Kubrick’s early farcical masterpiece is a hilariously bleak and wacky take on an out of control military-industrial complex, bent on global immolation through  bureaucratic stubbornness and insanity. Peter Sellers is brilliant, playing three separate roles as a British colonel, the American president and an ill-disguised former Nazi rocket scientist. As an added bonus, it’s black and white, just like everything in contemporary life!

A BOMB SHELTER


Kind of a companion gift to Strangelove. Keep it well stocked and enjoy these books and movies in its cozy confines. Maybe pick up 10 Cloverfield Lane to watch while you’re down there.

MAUS


Art Spiegelman’s classic comic allegory of the Holocaust is equal parts touching and terrifying. In this surreal story, the Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice. But the narrative is deeply personal, a young comic artist describing his fraught relationship with his survivor father, as it delves into their history and his father’s darker experiences. It’s truly an outstanding story.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE


Margaret Atwood’s speculative sci-fi masterpiece might yet prove eerily prescient. Especially if Vice-President Mike Pence ever gets to sit in the big chair. American society’s freedoms are dissolved by an authoritarian coup, and before you know it, Christian fundamentalists have taken over the government. Women basically become chattel for marriage and procreation. It’s a dark and unsettling vision, told with cool precision. The book is receiving a new adaptation which will appear on Hulu next year, so that’s gonna be one to watch for sure.

TIME TRAVEL


The latest book from James Gleick delves into the cultural history of the twistiest of wishful scientific endeavors. The author of Chaos (another mind-bending field of sciencey pursuit) returns with a playful look at time travel in literature, pop culture and philosophy. But how’s it dystopian, you ask? Figure out the mysteries of time travel and you could be the hero of our age, going back in time and shooting, well, someone. Several someones? Time travel’s tricky stuff. Maybe stick to the tequila portfolio.

If you want to dig further into our dysfunctional maybe future, you might dig all the way to China. There’s The Hunger Games and the now-on-Netflix Brazilian mashup 3% (which is quite good). Children of Men will really bring you down, and I haven’t even gotten into the vast swathes of zombie metaphor for modern collapse.

Maybe everything’s gonna be hunky dory. Or even great again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. So enjoy your egg nog and the folks around you. Next year the American government goes full gonzo reality show, and you won’t like the guys producing the scripts. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Comic Book Collections Part 3

art-of-atariOver the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted a series of comic book collections that would make ideal gifts for your comic book loving friends and loved ones this season.

You can find the first part of our trilogy of lists here, which showcases a number of more affordable trade paperback collections.

Last week, the second installment focused on hardcover collections, although slightly more expensive. You can find that list right here.

Today, we’re getting into the crème-de-la-crème of comic book collections. Save these for someone you really care for…or for even someone like yourself! Who wouldn’t want these tomes wrapped up?

With only a few days to go before Christmas, and without further ado, here is the final installment of our list of comic book collections for the 201 6holiday season!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Gift of Reading

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One of the things we love here at Biff Bam Pop! is books, probably because we’re all writers as well as readers. Therefore I’d like to suggest some books here that folks who regularly read our website might also enjoy reading, perhaps because some are by us, and some by friends, and some we just really dig. Meet me after the jump for the Gift of Reading.
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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Six Books To Stuff Into Stockings*

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Being literate is especially important in our current post-truth, post-facts world. And it’s especially significant when you need to take a break from reality, look into the roots of current affairs, or just expand your horizons a little.

Here are six books that fit the bill.
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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: For the “Hamilton” Fans In Your Life

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Merry Christmas! Look, if you’re one of the high class tastemakers that visits BBP regularly, you’ve likely got friends and family who are fans of the single greatest musical to hit the stage since Webber decided to put dancers in cat suits. And by that, I mean Hamilton: an American Musical.

But once they’ve stepped across the threshold of artistic genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about the founding father without a father, what the heck are you going to get them?

Hold onto your tricorn, friends, because after the jump, we delve into the perfect gift list for the Hamilhead in your life.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: WWE 2K17 and the WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment

If you’re holiday shopping for wrestling fans out there, there are two certifiable A+ products that are absolutely worth picking up to guarantee you won’t be going through a table when it’s time for said fans to open their gifts.

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I’m writing this entry in our Holiday Gift Guide the day after WWE 2K17’s cover star Brock Lesnar was decimated in less than two minutes by the game’s original pre-order character, Bill Goldberg. The duo locked up for the first time 12 years, which also happened to be the last time that Goldberg had actually wrestled a match. Fans were talking about how the fantasy warfare that WWE 2K17 had provided was suddenly coming to life. And for a brief moment in Toronto, Canada at the 2016 Survivor Series, it did.

There’s a lot more to WWE 2K17 than fantasy warfare to make it a solid present for sports entertainment video game fans. The game has an incredibly deep roster, ranging from wrestlers of yesteryear from WCW and WWE to the newest crop of talent making their names in NXT. The renderings of wrestlers range from just ok (Bret Hart) to absolutely stunning (Samoa Joe might be their greatest video game wrestler I’ve ever looked at). After last year’s grievous oversite, The Four Horsewomen have made their way to a WWE video game as well, including Bayley, the NXT favourite who recently made her way to their main roster along with Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.  Read the rest of this entry

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Rock Out With Your Book Out

It’s back: Biff Bam Pop’s annual Holiday Gift Guide! We’re featuring what we think a pop culture fan would like to get under the tree or Hanukkah bush this year – everything from movies and music, box sets, video games, VR and more. Oh, and books. Lots of books.

There are so many great reading choices this holiday season, especially for those of us that are classic rock minded. On that note, we’re kicking off this year’s Holiday Gift Guide by listing some of the most notable music-related releases that any fan would love to receive:

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Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster): The Boss proves to be as lyrical with long form words as he is with lyrics. His first book traces the singer-songwriter from his beginnings growing up in Asbury Park, New Jersey through his breakthrough success as “the new Dylan” and his status as one of rock’s greatest icons. More than anything else, Born To Run helps to humanize Springsteen, thank’s to the author’s willingness to open up about his personal struggles with depression, demonstrating that he’s not that different from the rest of us.  Read the rest of this entry

An “Anne Of Green Gables” Superfan Watches The Latest Adaptation

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I’ve been obsessed with Anne of Green Gables since I was a kid, and I’m always a bit nervous when new adaptations appear. I never want to see anything that ruins my Anne, so as I sat down to watch the PBS Holiday special, I crossed my fingers, and did my best to keep an open mind.

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