New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.64: Captain America

“Oh, you’re from Paramus now? You know it’s illegal to lie on your enlistment form. And seriously, Jersey?” – Sgt. James “Bucky” Barnes 
Prior to becoming The First Avenger, the meek Steve Rogers lied on his enlistment forms in his many attempts to get into the army. His various physical issues disqualified him from serving military duty in World War II. I love that Captain America himself lied and said he was from New Jersey to get into the army. Captain Paramus just doesn’t have the same ring.

Prior to its release, the concept art and trailers for Captain America were enough to sell me on the Marvel Studios film. Still, that didn’t mean I would be motivated enough to actually venture out to the movie theater to see it! Unless it’s a huge event for me, I wait for Redbox or Netflix. Sure, Captain America looked awesome, but it didn’t get me as psyched as you would’ve thought. Last Friday I finally sat down to view the film on bluray, better late than never, right? It turns out that I didn’t fully agree with the majority considering it has a fresh rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In my world, one of the cards stacked against Marvel is that I’ve always been a DC guy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy Marvel characters, comics, or movies, but I’m just more into DC comics. Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk were both brought to the screen in a very cool way. Shit, I even liked Fantastic Four! Although, during the time Thor was in theaters, all I kept hearing was how bad it was from friends of mine. After I finally saw it, I thought it kicked ass! It was so much better than I had heard. It wasn’t the greatest super hero film ever, but it was definitely a fun movie. After seeing Thor, I got pumped for the upcoming Avengers film and wanted to make sure I saw Captain America next.

As exciting as it originally seemed, Captain America fell a bit short of my expectations. I was convinced that this would be Marvel’s best superhero film thus far, but Iron Man still holds that title. That’s not to say Captain America was bad at all, in fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems that it was everything it could have been. The fact that it’s an origin story held back the action. Just the thought of a sequel sounds more exciting than the first. The casting of the film was fairly dead-on. Chris Evans played Cap perfectly, Hugo Weaving was killer as Red Skull, and Stanley Tucci was awesome as Dr. Erskine. The only exception for me was Hayley Atwell who was pretty bland as leading lady Peggy Carter. All the elements were there, but it still wasn’t a complete home run for me.

Overall, the film lacked the high level of adventure that Iron Man and Thor had. Again, that was most likely due to the hindrance of having to tell Cap’s origin story. If you are comic geek like me then you can do without origins because we’ve heard them all before. Reintroduction of these iconic characters is a necessary evil though. Many folks in the country don’t even remember TV’s Captain America from the late ’70s and Albert Pyun’s take on the character from 1990. Finally, we have a definitive Captain America film that looks superb on bluray, so, mission accomplished Cap! Now onto The Avengers!

Best Posts of 2008

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season impaired my blog consistency. Between Christmas shopping and work I nearly wanted to vomit when I thought of creating quality posts in the last few weeks. I don’t know how some bloggers can post up to 6 times a day when I feel like it’s a fairly big deal to create just ONE well put together post. Well, here’s another classic copout of a blog post: THE BEST POSTS OF 2008! The following is an exhaustively egotistical look at all of my favorite posts I wrote throughout the year, which somehow translates to the “Best Posts.” If you enjoy coming to this site, I appreciate it very much! For new visitors and long time friends, New Jersey is still a mess of swamps, toxic waste, and a ton of pop culture garbage, so have no fear, 2009 will not let you down! 

Our Trip to Monster Miniature Golf

As sports go, I’ve never been truly good at any of them. I have my moments in basketball but my talents are better suited for thinking of outlandish ideas and growing slimy Captain America’s in my kitchen.

I always thought I was above “par” at miniature golf, but that one got shot down the other night when The Sexy Armpit took a trip to Monster Mini Golf in Fairfield New Jersey. I discovered this place on a Google search with my boss during lunch at work. We were thinking out loud and wondered if any indoor miniature golf places existed in New Jersey. What if it was raining one night and we just had an urge to go mini golfing? Damn, we’d be shit out of luck! So, as Google always does, it came back with plenty of helpful search results.

To my surprise, one of the results lead to Monster Mini Golf which looked awesome. I couldn’t believe I never heard of it before. Apparently it’s a chain across the country. Monster Mini Golf is basically the miniature golf version of a dark ride. I don’t see how anyone could not think that is one of the coolest things ever invented. It’s right up there with the advent of Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Not enough places take the time and effort into making their establishment original. Remember the quirky places you loved as a kid? Between the Showbiz Pizza places and Razmatazz, they all had charm. After a while there wasn’t one place that was brave enough to stand out. What happened to the “show,” and the “spectacle?” I think all people, especially kids need to escape the real world and be reminded that life is fun, not all business. I love the over the top animatronics and spooky displays that you see in dark rides and in amusement parks. It’s a mystery to me how we don’t have a place inspired by Magic Kingdom in the tri-state area. Besides Great Adventure, Sesame Place, and Chuck E. Cheese there’s nowhere to bring your kids for a fun time. Until now.

Finally there’s a place that reminds me of the type of place I loved to go to as a kid. Monster Mini Golf is the kind of place that makes a kid’s jaw hang open in awe for a while. I’ve posted a few pictures of some of the phantasmic displays you’ll see as you’re trying to put the ball in the hole in under 5 attempts. (Something I occasionally had difficulty with.) I’m usually easily amused by glow in the dark stuff and blacklights, so perhaps I was distracted?

When you’re finished with the game you can head over to the game room and play some air hockey, shoot hoops, and even get a taste of the boardwalk with some ski-ball. All the games will spit out some tickets that you can cash in for some creepy little monster toys. We all opted for the Goblin rings. We were a few points shy, but the the guy at the desk was nice enough to give us all rings anyway.

This trip was a lot of fun and if you live far from Fairfield, N.J, I recommend you plan a little trip to Route 46. You won’t be disappointed, and afterward there’s no shortage of restaurants and malls in the surrounding area. Go with a group or bring your kids and you’re sure to have a good time without spending a lot of money. If you’re apprehensive to take a far ride, then at the very least you should plan to go before Halloween. It’s one of those places that definitely has personality, and I commend the owners for being brave enough to open one in New Jersey and for having such a courteous, helpful staff.

Also, you may want to stop by Jose Tejas after the big game for some Tejas Chicken. They are the best Tex-Mex restaurant in existence and it’s authentic atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in From Dusk Til’ Dawn or something. Ever wonder about the “meat on a stick” conversation in There’s Something About Mary? Well, Jose Tejas listened and created boneless chicken on a stick with a semi-hot buffalo type sauce. After a knock down, drag out game of Monster mini-golf, they were a perfect way to end the night.
With my silly little Sony Cybershot camera I took some video and edited it up real nice for you! Take a look and leave a comment if you enjoy it! Perhaps next time I’ll take a crack at Women’s Beach Volleyball?


Captain America: Back to Life and in My Kitchen

Don’t ask me what the fuck Marvel did with the Captain America storyline. For those who aren’t aware, Marvel comics decided to kill off Captain America and bring him back with a new alter ego. What can I say, I’m a purist. I felt like I needed to resurrect the original Captain America so I attempted a “Weird Science-like” experiment. Even with the advent of miniature super heroes that grow six times their size when you throw them in water, I never thought Captain America would actually be in my condo. After it was all said and done, I was grateful for his visit.
If I can reincarnate a super hero on my kitchen counter, think of the host of other possibilities that my kitchen counter can be used for! I might actually cook something one of these days, except probably not in the bowl that Captain America was incubating in so you have nothing to worry about.
I was once told that if I ever had a seed I should definitely plant the seed, nurture the seed, till the soil, and give it encouragement, attention and love. Instead of all that crap, I used the same enhancing serum that the U.S government used on the original Captain America: Steve Rogers himself. I came into a shitload of it when it fell off a truck in near Lyndhurst, NJ. Actually, I’m totally lying to you, I really copped out on this one. I used plain New Jersey tap water…I figured that was radioactive enough to make him grow and give him super powers.

In case you weren’t aware, when you want to grow your own Super Hero, all you need to do is take it out of the package and toss it in a bowl of water and leave it alone for 72 hours. What kind of a children’s amusement toy is this? My father actually wondered how a kid would even enjoy this. There’s no immediate satisfaction! “Here ya go kid, throw this in water…then come back in 3 days…this is FUN isn’t it!?!?!” Damn I know when I was a kid I had more fun taking out my mother’s pots and pans from the kitchen cabinet.

His legend precedes him, but Captain America was much smaller than I first thought. He might’ve been smaller than a freakin‘ Smurf, but his eyes were similar. In fact, he looked like a retarded Claymation figure. This is not what I was expecting from an American Hero.
Captain grew nicely, and when I took him out after 3 days, he was all gross and slimy. To confess, I really didn’t want to touch him at all. He looked and felt like a really nasty sea creature. I did drink the water after I took him out of his little mineral bath though. It was delicious. This water serum that I concocted proved just as effective as Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus pit, but of course, he lost his power after a while. Judging by his appearance in the last picture…Cap is shrunken, shriveled, and apparently doesn’t have much staying power. Maybe I shouldn’t have messed with Mother Nature?