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Movie Review Monday: The Hangover Part II



Mike Finkelstein took a trip to…somewhere…  When he got there, he…um…not sure, actually…heh.  Damn…I’m sorry…I just woke up and I can’t remember a thin—AHHH!!!  Where did this tattoo come from?!?  AHHH!!!  (My review for “The Hangover: Part II”.)

PLOT: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are at it again.  In Thailand for Stu’s wedding, the wolfpack has a single drink on the beach, and wake up the next morning in Bangkok.  But this time, the stakes are raised when it isn’t Doug (Justin Bartha), but Stu’s bride’s little brother that goes missing.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: THE HANGOVER was one of the biggest comedy hits of 2009, let alone the past decade.  It grossed $467 Million worldwide, and was appropriately called “The CITIZEN KANE of bachelor party movies.”  So when a sequel is put out a mere two years later, praised by the cast as wilder and crazier than the first, could it live up to the hype?

Sadly, it does not…

The boys are in Thailand for Stu’s wedding.  After one drink on the beach, they wake up in the middle of Bangkok with Stu’s bride’s 16-year-old brother missing.  Alan swears he didn’t do any drugging this time, so away we go, on the same trip as Las Vegas, except in a different country.

That’s the first big issue.  PART II is an exact mirror of THE HANGOVER.  You know you have a problem when the best part of the film comes during the setup before any plot kicks in.  Everything before Thailand was great.  It was original, new, and showed the boys in a new environment.  But then, in Thailand, take the structure of the first, replace any mention of “Las Vegas” with “Bangkok”, and “Doug” with “Teddy”, and you got the movie.  (This mashup shows just how serious I am…)  Granted, this isn’t anything new…HOME ALONE 2 and BACK TO THE FUTURE II are just a few examples of other movies that have done the same…but even those sequels went off the path at certain points and made you wonder what was going to happen.  Here, there is no change.  If anything, at least try to fool your audience into thinking something is original.  You know exactly what is going to happen, you know where the story is going, and like anything that lets you have the prize before you get to the winner’s circle, you just don’t really care anymore…

But, you ask hopefully, at least we can enjoy the hi-jinks, right…?  Even with that same structure as the first, everything just felt too damn farfetched and forced. In Vegas, everything that happened had a trail.  It may have been crazy, but you could see how the boys connected the dots and got from point A to point B, both the previous night and while figuring it all out.  That explanation is what made it so believable and fun.  This time, the story almost felt like a pumped up caricature of its former self…like Phillips was trying to think of the most ridiculous things the Wolfpack could do, and just plug those into the grid of the first script.  One incident with Stu, especially, which has already caused some controversy, completely shut me off.  All I can say is there were only gasps in the theater at that moment, and I was absolutely disgusted.  There’s a difference between pushing the limit and crossing the line, and that crossed the line.

But then what about the characters we love, you ask?  Stu, Phil and Doug are all back and great (especially Phil, who takes a much more responsible turn this time around).  Even Mr. Chow comes along for the ride (with some of the best lines, mind you).  But what the hell happened to Alan? In the first movie, he was a bumbling idiot who just wanted everyone to have fun.  This time, he’s just mean.  The stuff that he says to his mother is wrong…”I guess we don’t do dessert anymore”?  This movie is a guy’s movie through and through, so it doesn’t particularly need a feminine equal, but I completely agree with Nikki Cove’s editorial…that doesn’t mean you have to degrade women either.  That mixed with the way Alan legitimately wants to hurt Teddy just paints him as an obsessed psycho.  I’m sad I had to see him in this light, because I really won’t be able to look at him in Part I the same again now that I know what he’s capable of…

So with all these flaws, was there anything really good about the movie?  Don’t get me wrong, THE HANGOVER PART II definitely tried its best.  Todd Phillips knows how to make his movies look beautiful, and there are some decent laughs throughout that would make me buy it on DVD. (I especially loved the pictures at the end again.)  It’s just that they were overshadowed by all the bad.  You could tell that everyone came back had a blast filming, and I have no doubt that in all the interviews, Helms, Cooper and Galifianakis weren’t lying when they said they thought it’d be amazing and top the original.  But sadly, when the stakes aren’t there and your best friends are only figments of what they once were, there is no way to have lightning strike twice…


Mike’s LIKES:

1) TEDDY: Teddy was one character that was so simple and nice.  Nothing phased this kid, and he was just chill.  You couldn’t help but like him.

2) STU, DOUG, and PHIL: These three are back in form as usual.  It was nice to see the familiar characters, and their reactions to what they’re going through.

3) MIKE TYSON: I know the cameo was tacked on as a complete “Look at me, I’m making fun of myself” moment, but it was still amusing to see.


1) ALAN: I’m sorry, but this time around, the guy really isn’t likeable.  In the first one, he’s a bumbling idiot who cares, and he drugs everyone because he wanted them to have a good time.  This time, he’s just plain mean.  There really wasn’t anything about him that was redeeming in this movie, and that’s sad.

2) STU’S RENDEVOUS: No, I’m sorry…This wasn’t funny for one second to me.  There was a line that was crossed for the character, and that was the moment where I said “I’m done”

3) NO REPERCUSSIONS: In the first HANGOVER, the things that happened could be fixed.  Here, there were things that couldn’t be fixed…unless it’s conveniently in movie land, and all you need is an inspirational speech.

4) WEAK WEAK REASONING: I’m not surprising anyone when I say the movies are identically structurally, but with such a weak “OMG” moment, you’d expect more.


1) Mel Gibson was supposed to play the tattoo artist, but the idea was dropped following protests from the cast and crew. He was replaced by Liam Neeson, but when Todd Phillips wanted to reshoot Neeson’s scene, he was unavailable, due to filming of WRATH OF THE TITANS.  Nick Cassavetes now plays the tattoo artist.

2) Despite rumors, Bill Clinton does not have a cameo in the movie.

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VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’



You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign



As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!


Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!



Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!


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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)



Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst



Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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