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Movie Review: Our Idiot Brother



Mike Finkelstein was working so hard to make something of himself, that he lost focus of who he was.  Then, a kind soul named Ned came along.  He wasn’t the brightest guy, but he definitely made a hell of an impact.  Here is Mike’s review of “Our Idiot Brother.”

PLOT: After being arrested for selling marijuana to a police officer, Ned (Paul Rudd) tries to get back on his feet with the help of his uptight sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer).  Soon enough, though, his innocent and almost childlike personality begins to drastically interfere with both their personal and professional lives.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  There’s something about Paul Rudd.  I don’t know what it is, but I feel like one night hanging with him at a random dive bar would be the coolest night of my life.  From Andy in WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER to Brian Fantana and Peter Klavin, he is the ultimate wingman/stoner/improver, and all around nice guy.  And now, we have another classic character to add to his list: Ned, the loveable, naïve, good intentioned stoner in OUR IDIOT BROTHER.  Doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t have its problems…

We start off the film with Ned at his fruit stand at a farmer’s market (he’s a biodynamic farmer…fits perfectly) being duped by a uniformed police officer into selling him some weed.  Ned at first smartly denies, but when he feels the cop really had a bad day, he flat out gives him the pot, and the officer insists on giving him something for it as a thank you.

This moment defines Ned through the movie.  Needless to say, it was a trap and Ned is arrested (most cooperative inmate four months running), but despite the incident, his purity and incorruptibility stays intact.  He greets everyone he meets with open arms, tries to do right in every situation (Jimmy Stewart multiplied by 1000), and literally, his ONLY goal is to get his dog, fittingly named Willy Nelson, back from his ex.

The rest of Ned’s family, however, is a different story.  Yes, we have his mother (Shirley Knight) who is just as naïve as him, but then, there are his three sisters, each of which have been jaded by reality and have their own life problem to deal with.  Liz (Emily Mortimer) is a housewife stuck in a loveless marriage to cheating, arrogant, and manipulative filmmaker, Dylan (Steve Coogan).  Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) is an aspiring writer for Vanity Fair who would sell her soul and morals for a cover story, and is blind to the fact that she’s perfect for her best friend and neighbor, Jeremy (Adam Scott).  Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) is the bohemian, live-for-the-moment type who cheats on her long-time girlfriend, Cindy (Rashida Jones) all because of personal insecurities.  Issues much?

Don’t get me wrong…OUR IDIOT BROTHER isn’t a bad movie by any means.  More of a THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT/DAN IN REAL LIFE comedy, it delivers a number of smart, funny moments, and is actually quite charming in its innocence and message instead of the usual Judd Apatow/Kevin Smith raunchiness. Rudd, usually cast as a cynic the past few years, constantly steals the show with how unaffected he is and you can’t help but smile and be motivated to try and treat life the same way.  At the same time, the dynamic between the sisters is very convincing and real, almost to the point that you could see your family in them.  It’s just that in its jumping back and forth to flesh out all these huge issues (all three of which seem strategically placed and conveniently completely different from one another), you can’t help but feel like you’re being directed.  Suddenly, you become aware of the steps of every character to get where they need to be, and it’s hard to believe everything could be wrapped up in such a neat little bow.

But you know what?  Maybe that doesn’t matter.  Maybe that’s not the point.  Because when you live in a rat-race type of world where everyone is trying so hard to find their way and find out who they are, maybe sometimes you need to sit back and enjoy the little things.  Maybe you need a bit of that Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra sugar sprinkled throughout.  That’s the message of OUR IDIOT BROTHER, and it’s a good one.  And while the movie may have its flaws and may seem contrived and may drag at points (guilty of all three), the script feels real, every actor makes every character seem real, and it delivers its message without any fart or sex joke overload.  I respect that as a decent movie made.


Mike’s LIKES:

1) Innocence/”Rise to the Occasion”: While everyone else is lying to themselves about who they are and their morals, Ned is the epitome of innocence.  All he gives is love, and he genuinely believes that if you just give a person a shot to do something good, they’ll “rise to the occasion”.  In comparison to everyone else around him, it’s beautiful to watch.  Which brings me to number two…

2) Knowing Your Identity: We are living in such a fast moving world today, that it’s hard to even find yourself without feeling like you’re being trampled by everyone else around you.  Here, we see those issues: lying to oneself, compromising your morals, etc, and confronting them head-on.  Put this with number one, and we have a beautiful message in the story

3) “Congrats on Your Win”: An adorable line that brought a smile to my face.  Ned is open to anything, and even at moments of complete ridiculousness, he still focuses on the best aspect available.

4) Willy Nelson: The dog is named Willy Nelson!  The dog is named Willy Nelson!  Soooo cute!

5) TJ Miller/Candles: Forget a female…These two are meant for each other.  The sequence completely reminded me of “You know how I know you’re gay?” except in a sweeter, naive way.


1) CONTRIVED AND DRAGGING: Maybe it was because it kept switching between three sisters, their “significant others”, and all of Ned’s associates, but the film did drag at points.  Also, while all three sisters gave us something different, it almost seemed a bit contrived and too perfect…


1) At least three scenes from the trailer were not included in the final film.

2) The title character was written with Paul Rudd in mind.


Editor's Pick

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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