Posted tagged ‘Jersey Shore’

What’s Overrated in New Jersey?

November 22, 2015

Everyone loves to spit on and shit on New Jersey so much that it can be easy to forget all the good things about the state. But on the other hand, there are certain people, places, and things to emerge from the Armpit of America that are, for reasons beyond comprehension, held in undeservingly high esteem. Which is a long-winded way of saying some shit about this state is overrated.

In a recent article for NJ.com, Peter Genovese, a prolific writer on all things New Jersey, listed what he perceives to be the 10 most overrated things about the state. He certainly hit the proverbial nail on the head with many of his selections. Case in point – pork roll – that hodgepodge of various piggy parts most widely enjoyed nestled between a bun with egg and cheese. As Genovese widely points out, who wouldn’t want bacon instead? He also lists the entire city of Hoboken, which indeed is just one big pile of yuppy/hipster overratedness.

And as with any good, provocative opinion piece, there are certain things I’d have to disagree with. Most notably, the inclusion of full-service gas stations. What’s not to love about sitting in your car and having someone else do the dirty work? [While we’re on the subject, I’m pleased to share that after nearly three years of living on Long Island, I am still on track to fulfill one of my life’s goals of never pumping my own gas. It certainly helps to have a full service gas station around the corner (well worth the extra few cents they charge) and a very understanding wife.]

Anyway, Genovese’s post got me thinking about what I would consider the most overrated things about New Jersey. So, here we go:

  1. Saltwater Taffy: Sure, it’s one of the most iconic treats of the Jersey Shore, but does anyone actually like it? It’s always stale and impossible to chew, and all the muted flavors taste pretty much the same. Want something chewy that will rot your teeth? Stick with Starburst, Laffy Taffy, Now and Laters, etc. and don’t waste your money on this boardwalk staple.
  2. Bon Jovi: From what I can tell, Jon Bon Jovi is a wonderful person, generous philanthropist and proud New Jerseyan. But face it, his namesake band is overrated, and their songs that bring to mind images of big-haired 80s Jersey mall brats do this state no favors.
  3. Grease Trucks: Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of the Grease Trucks of Rutgers University and their legendary “fat sandwiches” stuffed with whatever you can think of. But let’s face it – those things just don’t taste good. Sorry, but fries on a sandwich are not a good idea – especially when they’re cold, unsalted and shoved between various meats.
  4. Asbury Park: Just like Hoboken to the North, Asbury Park is an overpriced, overrated mix of high-end boutiques, unnecessary fusion restaurants and a level of pretentiousness that has no place on the Jersey Shore.
  5. Bar A: Oh Bar A – the place where summer supposedly never ends. While this Belmar landmark was the location of many fun nights in my younger days, it has transformed into a weird hybrid of a swanky New York City Club, with its long line to get in and $500 a bottle table service, and a Miami Beach night club, with its cabanas on the sand – albeit a sand volleyball court.

 

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Movie Review: Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!

January 17, 2015

Almost two years ago, I took one for the team and watched – and reviewed – the craptacular movie known as Eddie and the Cruisers, the 1983 film about a fictitious Jersey Shore band that was a complete rip-off of Mr. Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band. Though I was less than impressed with the movie and its dumb plot, it did capture the spirit of the Jersey Shore pretty well. And though I swore back then that I’d never watch it again, I did feel compelled to watch its sequel, 1989’s Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! – admittedly for no other reason than to have something to blog about.

To understand this film, I’ll first give a brief recap of its predecessor. Back in 1963, we’re introduced to singer/guitarist Eddie Wilson and his band, the Cruisers. They play the Jersey Shore bar scene, make an album, and get popular. Then they make a second album, but the record label didn’t like it, so the overly sensitive Eddie freaks out and steals the tapes, hides them, and kills himself. After an excessively long and drawn out plot, which hints that Eddie could have possibly faked his own death, his former bandmates find the lost tapes and sell them to the record label.

Fast-forward 20 years to when Eddie and the Cruisers II: Cruise Control takes place, and the band’s music is more popular than ever. That makes things weird for a particular construction worker in Canada who – spoiler alert – is really Eddie! Turns out he didn’t kill himself and just wanted to escape the spotlight by taking a blue-collar job in some alternate version of Montreal where no one speaks French and everyone has an American accent. To blend in, all Eddie has to do is grow out a pornstache and change his name to Joe West, and no one has a clue about his former identity.

Eddie looking just like a porn star...or gym teacher

Eddie looking just like a porn star…or gym teacher

However, his little secret is getting harder to keep. Not only did the record label release the album that they originally hated, but they also released the super secret tapes that Eddie recorded without his Cruisers. So, now that his music is all over the radio (and discussed on TV by special guest stars Martha Quinn of MTV fame and a rather spry 1989 version of Larry King), Eddie’s tough exterior is starting to crack. He even confides in his new love interest, Diane, about his real self. (more…)

Movie Review: “Jersey Shore Shark Attack”

July 13, 2014

Two years ago, the Syfy network, purveyors of such cinematic classics as Sharktopus, Dinocroc vs. Supergator, and Mongolian Death Worm, premiered its newest masterpiece, Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Somehow, I didn’t see this gem until last night. In all honestly, it was as bad as you would probably expect, but I did the dirty work of watching this literal horror show so you don’t have to.

The movie follows the wacky hijinks of a group of overtanned, oversexed 20-somethings living together in a house in Seaside Heights. If it sounds like MTV’s Jersey Shore, that was intentional – the main characters are directly inspired by the cast of that show: you have The Complication (The Situation), Nooki (Snooki), J-MONI (JWoww), Donnie (Ronnie), etc. And just like the show, they’re obsessed with drinking, fighting, sexing and creating their own stupid abbreviations; rather than GTL, the guys proclaim how they are going to go out for some ASS – Alcohol, Sun, and Sex.

And while our gang is just trying to have fun, there are some significant wrenches thrown into what is supposed to be a carefree summer at the Jersey Shore. Some real estate developer wants to create a luxury country club and displace the guido population, they get into some brawls with preppy rich kids, and, worst of all, there is a school of rabid albino sharks prowling the water. And that’s pretty much the entire plot. Oh yeah – I forgot about another aspect of the movie – everyone’s looking forward to the “big” 4th of July concert by former *NSYNCer Joey Fatone, who plays himself in the film. Don’t know how they dug him up – I guess JC Chasez must have been busy that day.

Anyway, the whole movie is like a bad combination of Jersey Shore and Jaws. Some scenes are even almost exact replications of scenes from the latter. Like when local fishermen catch a shark, though not necessarily the shark, and everyone thinks it’s safe to be in the water. Or when the police chief desperately tries to convince the mayor to close the beach on the 4th of July. But as Jaws itself was based on real New Jersey shark attacks (that occured in my hometown), I guess that can be forgiven. There are also elements of dumb high school shows like 90210 or Saved By the Bell; you have the rivalry with the preppy kids, the local hangout of Captain Sallie’s bar (akin to the Peach Pit or the Max) and Captain Sallie himself who serves as a mentor to the gang (just like Nat or Mr. Belding).

And then there are the effects, which I refuse to call special. These supposed blood-thirsty sharks are rendered as crappy CGI fish with faces that look like the cave trolls from Lord of the Rings. They even make the fake shark from Jaws look real. Moreover, the characters constantly refer to the sharks having red eyes – but the effects people obviously missed this detail. Also consider how our gang tries to kill the sharks by throwing fireworks at them – fireworks that somehow remain lit under water in some weird SpongeBob SquarePants type of logic.

No wonder the effects sucked; half the budget went to fake tanner and earrings.

When all this is combined with a cast of bad actors with over the top New York accents, a few too many Italian stereotype jokes and a cameo by Jersey Shore’s Vinnie (playing a news reporter as unconvincingly as you might expect), this movie just sucks. And no, not in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. It sucks in that you find yourself rooting for the ugly CGI sharks to just eat the entire cast already. Unfortunately you have to wait two hours to see that they all survive.

Like this review? Check out my other movie reviews for Eddie and the Cruisers and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, or my recap of the classic Jersey Shore episode of South Park!

5 More Songs about New Jersey

February 2, 2014

As everyone knows, the Super Bowl is being held in New Jersey tonight. For some reason, though, New York is getting all the credit as the host city, and New Jersey gets the shaft once again. Although I wish I could provide a more in-depth analysis of the big game and its repercussions on the Armpit of America, my knowledge of football and interstate economics are pretty limited. So, I’ve decided to write about something I’m only slightly less ignorant about: music.

One of the most viewed posts on this blog was this one: Top 5 Songs About New Jersey, where I shared my thoughts on some songs about the Armpit of America. (In a total coincidence, that post appeared exactly four years ago today!). I figured it was time to highlight some more songs about New Jersey. Just as in the first list, this one will not contain any Bruce Springsteen songs – those were included in a separate post, which I may revisit as well.

Enough with the introductory banter; here are five more songs about New Jersey. If you don’t like them or think there’s something I missed, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

1. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Bon Jovi.

Wow – despite my total indifference to this guy, he sure shows up a lot on this blog. Anyway, say what you want about the guy, I do respect his loyalty to New Jersey, emphasized by this bittersweet anthem to the state. Sure, he lacks the more finessed and less obvious songwriting approach that his compatriot Bruce has mastered; just consider the first verse of the song:

“I spent 20 years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn’t replace
I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done thatand I ain’t lookin’ back on the seeds I’ve sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone”

What takes Bon Jovi a whole flowery, metaphor-strewn paragraph to convey, Bruce can sum up in a simple, three-word phrase: born to run.

Despite my grievances, the song does fully capture the experience of longing to get out of New Jersey – and then the longing to return once you finally leave. As a recent dropout of New Jersey who still comes back home like every other weekend, I fully understand both sides of the coin.

2. “Never Going Back to Jersey” by Less Than Jake

Speaking of songs that hit me personally, this one again sums up my own (and many other New Jersey residents’) love-hate relationship with the state. Up until recently, I would have been happy to spend the rest of my days in Monmouth County. But when the opportunity to relocate out of the state arose nearly a year ago, I wasn’t too unhappy to leave – maybe even excited to finally get out. And though I can’t say I never go back to Jersey, there are times – like when the traffic on the Long Island Expressway is particularly bad – when I wish I never had to go back! (more…)

The Cast of Jersey Shore: Where Are They Now?

January 4, 2014

ImageIt wasn’t long ago that almost 90 percent of my blog posts were about MTV’s Jersey Shore. But it wasn’t just me – those greasy, orange STD magnets were everywhere: chatting on talk shows, hosting events at clubs, doing commercials – and even appearing in Christmas ornament form. But my how the mighty have fallen – and I’m not just talking about drunkenly stumbling in their six-inch heels on the way home from Bamboo.

As is often the case, MTV built these people up and then forgot about them, just like so many of the network’s previous flavors of the minute: Avril Lavigne, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, etc. One day you’re being interviewed by Kurt Loder on the red carpet at the VMAs, and the next day you’re googling yourself and thrilled to see that some second-rate writer mentions your name on a rarely updated blog about New Jersey. Will the same hold true for the cast of Jersey Shore? While I previously showed where they’ll be in 20 years, let’s take a look at where they are right now as they desperately cling to those final fleeting seconds of their 15 minutes of fame.

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Movie Review: Eddie and the Cruisers

February 10, 2013

eddieWow it’s been a while.  Between long days at work, a hurricane, and more long days at work, I haven’t been able to blog as much as I’d like.  But last night I saw a movie that got my bloggy juices flowing again: 1983’s Eddie and the Cruisers.

Let me start by saying this isn’t the greatest movie, not by a long shot. It moves incredibly slow, it’s impossible to identify or sympathize with the characters, and the plot is kinda dumb.  So why blog about it?  Because the movie takes place in New Jersey!

Starring a young and fresh-faced Ellen Barkin (before she became an old yet still oddly fresh-faced Ellen Barkin), and a bunch of no-name character actors from the 80s, the film tells the story of Jersey Shore bar band, Eddie and the Cruisers.  Though briefly successful in 1963, the band disbanded when lead singer Eddie Wilson seemingly committed suicide after the record label refused to release their second album, because it sucked.  Eighteen years later, with the re-release of the band’s premier album, Eddie and the Cruisers are more popular than ever.

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Age Progression Images of Snooki and Friends in 20 Years

June 12, 2012

Making her first appearance on this blog is Patricia “Tan Mom” Krentcil.  For those who don’t know about Tan Mom, this overly tan New Jersey woman was accused of taking her daughter into a tanning both with her. While that has yet to be proven, one thing we know for sure is that she goes tanning a bit too much.  But 20 years earlier, she was quite the looker.

After viewing these before and after pictures and seeing the drastic changes that excessive tanning has caused to this once attractive woman, it got me thinking about the cast of “Jersey Shore” and what they will look like in 20 years.  Using the most advanced age progression technology (Google image search and Microsoft Paint), I have created some images of what I think Snooki and friends will look like after two decades of tanning and partying. Enjoy!

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Snooki

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Paulie D.

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