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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments: Runner-Ups

As with virtually any list I’ve put together for this blog, there were more than a few entries I regret not having found a place for.

I suppose I could’ve changed the list from a “Top 10” to a “Top 15,” however I think we can all agree that Top 15 just doesn’t have the same ring to it; hence my reasoning for cutting things down to 10.

Anyway, finishing the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments last night really whooped my ass something fierce, so in the interest of sparing my brain cells; I’m gonna’ try to keep this short.

That being said, without further ado I give you the Top 5 Runner-Up Man Moments:

#5. Tremors – The Wrong Goddamn Rec Room…

Few would deny that Tremors was an awesome movie.

While the franchise that would follow in it’s wake would ultimately be hit and miss at best, the original Tremors succeeded largely on the shoulders of it’s colorful cast of characters; not the least of which being Burt Gummer and his wife.

While Burt’s survivalist shtick never really made him out to be as MANLY a MANLY-MAN as some of the other characters on this list, his vast arsenal of weapons; and the child-like glee he exhibits at the thought of getting a chance to use them, are qualities that made him perhaps the MANLIEST MAN in the Tremors series.

In short, watching Burt and the missus put several hundred rounds into an extraordinarily ballsy Graboid as it tears it’s way into their underground bunker was a thrill that brought me great joy in my youth.

#4. The Killer – Mickey Mouse and Dumbo Have… A “Moment.”

Um..... Manly(?)

The Killer is John Woo’s best film, bar none.

The gunplay, while not as over-the-top and explosive as Hard-Boiled; is staged with a beauty and grace that few films can rival, not to mention the story and writing are probably the best Woo has ever had to work with.

While the action component of The Killer is ultimately what made it come to mind while compiling this MANLY list, in truth; the moment in the film that puts it among the runner-ups involves no violence whatsoever.

There’s a moment at the end of the film, during the church shootout; when Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee have a truly bizarre, and mildly homoerotic “moment” as they exit the church.

Basically, some over-the-top and totally out of place MAN music starts blaring as our heroes strut through the doors in slow motion.

If that wasn’t MANLY enough, we then cut to close-ups of the 2 MEN cracking goofy-ass smiles, at which point we are treated to back-to-back awkward freeze frames of the 2 men.

It’s a weird sequence, and is indeed very much out of place given the circumstances; but in some mysterious way it just seems utterly MANLY to me…

#3. Independence Day – Russell Puts A Plane Up The Alien’s Assholes

This one’s a no-brainer.

Randy Quaid saved the world from the aliens by giving his life.

I would’ve put this one on the Top 10 proper, but the Whitmore Speech just seemed so much bigger to me.

In the interest of restricting myself to a “one moment per movie” rule, I felt it was wise to put Russell in with the runner-ups.

#2. Bloodsport – Frank Dux Makes Chong Li Smell His Feet

The only reason this one didn’t make the list is because Rocky IV basically did the same thing, only better.

In short:

I like Stallone better Van-Damme.

Apollo died, whereas Ogre only got a concussion.

The actual fight in Rocky IV was both choreographed and shot better.

Rocky Balboa fought for AMERIKUH and ENDED COMMUNISM, while Frank Dux won “honor” and a toy sword.

In my book, the finale of Rocky IV is definitely the MANLIER moment, though I love both films with about the same passion

#1. Yojimbo – 5 Seconds of Mayhem

(Note: The clip above isn’t the actual moment in question, rather it’s simply a compilation of awesome Mifune moments.)
As mentioned elsewhere on this list, Toshiro Mifune is pretty much the most awesome human being.

The man was pretty much a modern day samurai, not to mention the living embodiment of the MANLY ideal of Japanese MAN-DOM.

That being said, of all the awesome moments he had in his illustrious film career; I can think of no MANLIER a sequence than when he cut down virtually every major villain in Yojimbo in the space of a few seconds.

Utterly devoid of flash, and about as no-nonsense as you can get, this sequence stands as a testament to the SAVAGERY of advanced iaido techniques, and the paragon of pimp that is Toshiro Mifune.

Anyway, that’s all for the Azn Badger’s list of the Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Check back tomorrow for something not related to MANLINESS!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #1: The Last Stand Of The Wild Bunch

There’s something particularly heroic in the act of sacrifice.

While the term “hero” largely refers to individuals of admirable or extraordinary traits, courage and bravery; the ability to rise up and act in the face or adversity, are characteristics that define the word just as well.

Of the past 9 MANLY moments we’ve explored up to this point, most, if not all of them have involved instances wherein heroic individuals had to put their lives at stake for a cause greater than themselves.

In fact, in the case of our 6th and 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments, (Jim Brown’s suicide run in The Dirty Dozen and Optimus Prime’s battle with Megatron in Transformers: The Movie respectively) the MANLY MEN involved in said moments ended up losing their lives despite their accomplishments.

Martyrdom is indeed a powerful form of heroism and MANLINESS, and unsurprisingly; it just happens to the kind of MANLINESS that makes the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s turn of the century Western classic, The Wild Bunch; THE MANLIEST MAN MOMENT IN ALL OF FILM:

Unlike the vast majority of the movies on this list, The Wild Bunch is a legitimately great film.

That’s not to say Transformers: The Movie and Commando aren’t quality films in their own right, I for one fucking love them; however it’s hard to deny that they aren’t of the same caliber as a classic like The Wild Bunch.

That being said, when it comes to films with themes like brotherhood, redemption, and MANLINESS; there are few better examples I can think of than The Wild Bunch.

The finale of The Wild Bunch involves the main characters, a band of somewhat amoral hired guns; recognizing a need for justice in a wartorn Mexican community.

Not lawful justice mind you, just plain old fashioned MAN-JUSTICE.

Initially working for the local warlord and his German arms provider, the Bunch complete the task assigned to them and collect their reward; but at the cost of having their comrade Angel, a Mexican revolutionary; taken from their ranks and brutally tortured.

The Bunch react to this atrocity with disgust and anger, however they ultimately end up gritting their teeth and walking away.

Some time passes however, and their collective consciences rouse their spirits to take action.

In an awe-inspiring act of MANLINESS, the remaining members of the bunch, consisting of Willam Holden’s Pike, Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch, Warren Oates’ Lyle, and Ben Johnson’s Tector; march through the town and towards the warlord’s compound with fire in their hearts.

Pictured: The Pimpest Pimp-Walk in all of Pimp-Dom.

Arriving at the compound, the Bunch confront the warlord amid an entire mess hall worth of troops.

The warlord, at this point severely inebriated and thusly unaware of the seriousness of the situation, casually asks them what it is they want.

To this, Pike responds with a single demand:

"We want Angel."

Retrieving the battered and beaten Angel, the warlord seems to be willing to comply with their request.

Unfortunately, the warlord draws a concealed knife and ruthlessly slits Angel’s throat, prompting the Bunch to gun him down on the spot.

There is an awkward moment as the warlord falls, a calm before the storm.

Both the soldiers, and the Bunch themselves; stand in silent awe of the utter insanity of what has just transpired.

The Bunch have ample time to run, and yet for whatever reason; they stand their ground.

Slipping a deviously knowing glance between one another, the Bunch recklessly assault the army of Mexican troops; resigning themselves to the lethal eventuality of the overwhelming odds before them.

I don't know guys, that's A LOT of Mexicans...

Scores of Mexican troops are slaughtered as the Bunch wildly spray fire into the crowd, laughing maniacally at the sheer ridiculousness of the predicament they’ve willingly thrown themselves into.

As the initial surprise of their attack begins to fade away however, the soldier’s sheer numbers begin to wear on the Bunch; resulting in nearly all of our “heroes” receiving serious bullet wounds at some point.

Direct quote.

A major turning point in the conflict occurs when one of the Bunch manages to get ahold of a mounted machine within the base, increasing the Bunch’s attack power 10 fold.

Unfortunately, even a machine gun isn’t enough to turn the tide completely, as one by one the Bunch begins to fall apart.

Pictured: The Gorch brothers die.

At the end of it all, only Pike and Dutch remain, with Pike dieing a heroes’ death manning the machine gun as Dutch is gunned down trying to come to his aid.

Pictured: Pike and Dutch die.

In the end, The Wild Bunch isn’t really a story about good guys and bad guys.

As mentioned earlier, the Bunch is made up of brigands and outlaws; making them questionable as traditional heroes.

Despite their somewhat underhanded nature though, in the final act of the movie; the Bunch manage to redeem themselves by demonstrating a clear belief in the concept of moral decency and justice.

Everything they do throughout the movie, especially in the finale sequence, could very easily be viewed as “wrong” or unjust; however in going back for Angel, and thereby adhering to their personal form of MAN-CODE; they gain a very small, but meaningful degree of redemption.

In essence, the Bunch gave their lives not for glory, or even necessity; but simply for the purpose of being MEN both in life, and in death.

In that sense, I can think of no MANLIER act of MAN-NESS in the pantheon of MANLY cinema.

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves.

I for one seriously need a break from all of this MANLINESS business, as all of this writing has pretty much pushed me to the brink of MAN-SANITY.

Maybe I should watch some Ugly Betty or something, cleanse the palette…

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #2: “Megatron Must Be Stopped. No Matter The Cost…”


When I was a kid, I had a small handful of movies I’d watch almost every day.

Among those movies, were Son of Godzilla, Secret of NIMH, and Transformers: The Movie.

As much as I adore everything that is Godzilla, and as much as I enjoy watching intelligent rats stage crazy-ass sword fights; Transformers: The Movie was far and away my favorite of these movies.

While some (read: Orson Welles) would criticize Transformers: The Movie as being an hour and a half long toy commercial, for kids who grew up watching it; there’s no denying that it had a charm to it that made it truly special.

More than that, Transformers had a severity to it, a real sense of life and death stakes that made you, especially as a child; truly give a damn.

Say what you will about it being a feature length marketing device, in my book any movie that goes out of it’s way to kill off nearly every major character in the franchise within it’s first 20 minutes has at least some semblance of legitimate dramatic merit.

Hell, of all the retarded-ass kid’s movies that I used to watch, Transformers: The Movie was one of the only ones my mom was willing to sit down and watch with me.

Unlike Scooby Doo. My mom fuckin' HATES Scooby Doo...

Combine the film’s rather morbid tendency to be cruel to it’s main characters, with decent animation and a kick-ass glam rock soundtrack; and you’ve got a recipe for success.

It’s interesting to note that, for me at least; Transformers: The Movie represents most of what I know and love about the original Transformers cartoon.

I was born a few years after Transformers began to fade from the mainstream, and as such; I really didn’t see much of the TV series outside of a re-runs on the “Power Cube” every once in awhile.

If it weren’t for me having an older brother that was around to experience the Transformers phenomenon first-hand, I don’t think I would’ve had nearly as strong an association with the Generation 1 stuff.

Thank God for my brother, otherwise I would’ve been denied the pleasure of growing up watching the 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies EVERY FUCKING DAY!

While one could (and indeed should) argue that the live-action Transformer movies are overlong and meandering piles of tripe Elmer’s glued together with eye-fucking CG and rejected elements from the National Treasure movie’s scripts; the 1 thing I think we can all agree they did right, was Optimus Prime.

PIMP.

Optimus Prime is one of the most admirable and heroic characters in all of fiction.

Steadfast and noble, he is the picture of stoicism and bravery that we all wish we could live up to when the chips are down.

Peter Cullen’s voice breathed life into the character of Optimus Prime much in the way Kevin Conroy did for Batman in the Animated Series.

In short, Cullen is Optimus Prime.

While the live-action movies flipped the charming minimalist aesthetic of the Generation 1 cartoon on it’s head, and often failed to allow him the opportunity to speak with the same regality by feeding him hokey lines; just hearing Peter Cullen’s voice come out of the CGI Optimus Prime was all I needed to see that even Michael Bay couldn’t completely fuck up his character.

... However he proved himself all too capable of ruining Devastator.

As shitty as the live-action Transformer movies are, at least 5 minutes of them contain scenes of Optimus Prime being just as I remembered him.

That doesn’t forgive the 2 and a half hours+ worth of crap contained in the rest of the film’s running times, but even so; it counts for something.

That being said, our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moment is perhaps Optimus Prime’s finest moment, that of his heroic, and tragic; last stand against Megatron and the invading Decepticon forces:

Words can’t describe the EPIC MANLINESS of this moment.

At this point in the movie, the Autobots are really taking a pounding and don’t know how much longer they can hold out.

The vast majority of the Autobots from the first season of the TV series are killed off during the conflict, leaving Ultra Magnus and a ragtag group of Autobots, both young and old; to defend Autobot City.

Just as the cities’ defenses begin to crumble at the hands of Devastator, a lone shuttle swoops in from above; dropping Grimlock and the Dinobots in to pacify the rampaging Constructicon.

Pictured: The face of a winner.

As the Dinobots struggle in battle, Optimus Prime steps from the shuttle; grimly surveying the destruction of his people’s Earthbound sanctuary.

With any eerie sense of finality lingering the air, Optimus Prime transforms and rolls out; for perhaps the last time.

Pictured: JUSTICE on Wheels.

CUE AWESOME FUCKING INSPIRATIONAL ROCK SONG.

Pimp that he is, Optimus’ first move in battle is to RUN THE FUCK OVER Thrust.

From that point forward, the difference in power and capability between Optimus and the rest of the Transformers becomes readily apparent.

Still in truck form, Optimus is fired upon by several Decepticons; with all of the incoming laser blasts having no effect other than maybe singeing his paint job.

Leaping into the air and simultaneously detaching his trailer, Optimus does a MANLY gravity defying flip through the air, all the while CAPPING THE FUCK out of every Decepticon in sight:

Way to put a hole in Soundwave's face there Prime.

Make no mistake, this is Optimus Prime at his PIMPEST and most BADASS.

With the majority of Megatron’s heavy hitters out of the picture, Optimus corners the evil robot and issues perhaps the MANLIEST of MANLY ultimatums:

Despite that EPIC-NESS, the 2 continue to exchange AWESOMELY MANLY remarks until, inevitably; Megatron claims he will kill Optimus with his bare hands, then proceeds to spear Prime’s ass to the ground.

As the 2 legends of Cybertron exchange blows, the young Autobot, Hot Rod; surveys the battle, itching for an opportunity to step in and prove his worth.

Cutting back to the fight, Prime manages to toss Megatron into a wall, whereupon the devious Decepticon takes an opportunity to go back on his previous declaration and toss a sharp rod into Prime’s hip.

Immediately capitalizing on his opponent’s moment of weakness, Megatron lifts his arm blaster and fires several volleys at Prime.

Deftly slipping the incoming blaster fire, Optimus rushes Megatron and cracks him with a wicked right cross, knocking the Decepticon leader to the ground and severing the blaster from his forearm in one fell swoop.

Take his heart Prime! Take his heart!

Ever the sneaky bastard, Megatron once again makes use of a foreign object, picking a beam saber off the ground and swiping it across Prime’s stomach.

Pictured: Megatron and Prime re-enacting the infamous "Taun Taun Scene."

Sparking from the gut, Prime clutches his wound and staggers backwards, prompting Megatron to leap into the sky and initiate one of the single coolest shots in cinema history:

With an AUTOBOT SHORYUKEN, Optimus manages to counter Megatron’s overhead assault, only to end up being mule kicked in the chest by Megatron’s immediate retaliation.

With both fighters off-balance, the 2 robots slam into each other and tie up in a grapple.

As Megatron threatens to tear out Optimus’ eyes, our hero nevertheless manages to overpower the evil robot, grab him BY THE EARS; and toss his ass a CITY FUCKING BLOCK.

With Megatron severly injured and face down on the ground, Prime retrieves his blaster rifle and points it at Megatron.

Acting very much out of character, the ruthless and dastardly Megatron pleads for mercy.

Rightfully suspicious of his nemesis’ uncharacteristic behavior, Optimus is ultimately robbed of an opportunity to gauge a proper course of action as Hot Rod jumps in from out of nowhere and tries to subdue Megatron, only to end up being held as his hostage.

Pictured: Why Hot Rod isn't exactly my favorite Transformer...

Grabbing a blaster pistol he found hidden amid the rubble nearby, and with Hot Rod now being used as his human shield; Megatron fires a volley directly into Optimus exposed stomach plate.

Too strong and too brave to take a knee, Optimus withstands the first shot, only to be felled by the 3 that follow.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Optimus Prime's life...

Ditching his hostage, Megatron stands over Prime and taunts him at gun point, with the words:

“It’s over Prime…”

With those words, Prime; summoning the last of his strength, rears back and uncorks the MOTHER OF ALL DOUBLE AXE HANDLES directly into the Decepticon emblem of Megatron’s chest.

Pictured: Far from the best Wednesday of Megatron's life...

His chest plate shattered to pieces, Megatron falls off the nearby ledge, bounces off the balcony below, and crumbles onto the ground below.

With their leader utterly defeated, the battered and beaten forces of the Decepticons flee from Earth; leaving the Autobots to tend to their own.

Shortly thereafter, Optimus Prime would die, and Megatron would begin life anew under the guise of Galvatron.

Anyway, this has been our 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments in all of movies.

Check back tomorrow for the reveal of moment #1!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #3: The Whitmore Speech

Independence Day is an awesome fucking movie.

I remember being carted off to the theater to see it on opening day, despite not even knowing it’s title.

You see, acronyms were kind of big back in the mid-90’s, and as such; Independence Day was marketed as “ID4,” so as to be enigmatic and therefore “cool.”

To this day I really don’t get how the whole “ID4” thing worked out, but by golly; IT FUCKING WORKED.

Sure, the plot’s kind of corny and there’s definitely 1 too many coincidences in how all ensemble cast all relate to one another; but even so, it’s hard to dispute the fact that Independence Day is an exceptional popcorn movie.

The CG effects are kind of lacking by today’s standards, but for my money the explosions and miniature effects still hold water; as does the decent script that utterly blows the ever-loving fuck out of anything Michael Bay’s done in the past… Well, ever.

Pictured: The closest Michael Bay's ever gotten to doing it right. A little Sean goes a long way...

A product of the monument smashing duo of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is hardly the MANLIEST of MAN movies, however it certainly has it’s fair share of outstanding MANLY moments.

First off, there was about 2 hours of Jeff Goldblum being neurotic and vaguely Ian Malcolm-like:

They could make a movie about Ian Malcolm taking out the garbage for 2 hours and I'd still fucking watch it.

Then there was that one time Will Smith deployed the “universal greeting” to an alien’s face:

And I guess there was also that one time when THE ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET WORKED TOGETHER TO WAGE THE LARGEST AERIAL BATTLE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND:

*Spoiler*: We won.

Oh yeah, and I suppose Randy Quaid killing himself to save the planet was pretty MANLY too, though not nearly as much as THE LARGEST AERIAL BATTLE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.

Anyway, despite all the flash and special effects of Independence Day, in truth the MANLIEST; and easily most inspired moment in the entire movie, came in the form of a simple speech.

A speech delivered by the pimp-ass fighter pilot/PRESIDENT OF THE FUCKING WORLD, Thomas J. Whitmore:

LONESTAR!!!!!!

Bill Pullman’s Tom Whitmore is in many way the Hot Rod of the AMERIKUHN presidency.

Like Hot Rod, he’s young, driven, and more than a little arrogant, resulting in his reception with the general public being somewhat divided.

Despite this, when it all comes down to the wire and shit gets real, his MANLY worth shines through and everyone rallies behind him.

Hot Rod had his moment in the sun as he assumed the title of Rodimus Prime, opened the Matrix of Leadership and took out Unicron… and then later became a total douche by catching a case of the “hate plague” and forcing Optimus Prime to pwn his ass.

What?

You mean you don’t remember that?

*ANYWAY* Whitmore’s moment ultimately came as he rallied THE ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET to face the aliens head on, securing his place in the annals of MAN-HISTORY by selflessly riding into battle alongside the troops.

On a side note, President Whitmore’s finest moment during the final battle in Independence Day, came when he used his MANLY PRESIDENTIAL POWERS to magically summon an extra missile during the final battle.

I can’t find any pics to back it up, but next time you watch the movie; pay attention to how many missiles President Whitmore fires during the dog fighting.

Truly, it was a feat only a MANLY FUCKING PRESIDENT could achieve.

Which brings us to Tom Whitmore’s greatest achievement of all, and our 3rd MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies.

Today, we celebrate, The Whitmore Speech:

Special thanks need to be given to David Arnold for a composing the background music of this speech.

Seriously, if ever there was an example of music being used to enhance the power of a scene, this would have to be it.

I think the turning point in the speech, where it goes from being calming and uplifting in spirit, to a fuckin’ MANLY-ASS call to arms; is where it really grabs you by the balls and makes you realize just how awesome it is.

There’s just something about the way Bill Pullman growls that one line, “We will not go quietly into the night!” that makes this speech so fuckin’ awesome to me.

Anyway, thanks for reading, check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #2!

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Top 5 Boxers I Wish We’d Seen More Of

I’d like to kick things off this evening by saying that every fighter included in the following list had very long and fruitful careers.

This is not a list of fighters that never lived up to their potential, or guys who retired too early.

Many of the guys on this list were unfortunate to have died as young men, or worse yet; via unnatural causes, however the point I’m trying to make here is this:

Boxing is a violent sport that has the potential to permanently damage or injure it’s participants.

Regardless of how many fights a boxer engages in, whether it’s 1 or 100; serious injury or loss of faculties are a risk one always faces in stepping into the ring.

For what it’s worth, this is me saying that I understand it’s silly to ask more, even in jest; from men who already gave so much.

That being said, the following is a list of 5 fighters who I could watch forever; and thusly wish I could’ve seen in action just a few more times.

#5. “Baby” Joe Mesi

Despite retiring undefeated, Joe Mesi was never the best fighter around.

He was relatively small for a heavyweight.

He was more than little pudgy.

More importantly though, he never really got around to fighting anyone of note.

On paper, he sounds like kind of loser, doesn’t he?

Well, despite the fact that “Baby” Joe made his livings chewing up guys from the bum of the month club; he was in fact at one point the #1 contender in the heavyweight division.

He never won a legitimate world championship, but he made it all the way to Wladimir Klitschko’s doorstep; and gooddamnit, that counts for something.

“Baby” Joe was the Rocky Marciano of his day.

Sure, he didn’t have power, grit, or tenacity of The Brockton Blockbuster; but he was a short white guy in a division packed with… well, really tall white guys from Europe.

As it continues to slip out of the mainstream, boxing is always in need of a people’s champion, and for the American public (or at least Buffalo, New York); “Baby” Joe fit the bill.

I’d never claim him to be a great fighter, but I’ll never deny how much fun I had watching him climb the ranks and come away with inexplicable win after win.

Half of the fun of watching “Baby” Joe, was having to come into every fight knowing it completely possible that he’d get flattened.

Every time he’d get in trouble, my brother and I would scream with mock passion: “BABY JOE! NOOOO!!!!!”

“Baby” Joe effectively made his exit from the sport in 2004 when he suffered a subdural hematoma at the hands of former cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov.

Many speculate that the current state of the heavyweight division would be considerably more colorful had “Baby” Joe not been forced into retirement prematurely, and I’m inclined to agree.

While I’d never wish for him to fight on after his injury, (note: he did anyway, though only in small venues due to difficulty finding licensing) however after watching his climb through the ranks, I wish I could’ve seen him challenge for a title.

#4. Edwin Valero

At first glance, one could call Edwin Valero the Kimbo Slice of professional boxing.

Underneath the surface though, it becomes evident that Valero was far more talented than the events of his career might have suggested.

Forced to fight out of Japan due to licensing issues associated with spotty brain scans, the vast majority of the buzz in U.S. surrounding Valero’s career was generated via internet streams of his fights.

Originally from Venezuela, Edwin Valero was a Southpaw fighter possessed of an uncanny punching power that would ultimately cement his place in boxing history.

In 27 fights, Valero managed a 100% KO ratio, with his first 19 bouts all ending inside the first round.

While it could be argued that the vast majority of his opposition was indeed severely over-matched, none can deny that Valero legitimately achieved this world record feat.

Coming across as a brick-fisted brawler utterly devoid of any sort of technical skills, it’s interesting to note that Valero was in fact a supremely talented boxer.

The truth of the matter is, that Valero was so in love with his incredible power; that throughout the majority of his career he simply chose to swing for the fences all the time because he knew he could get away with it.

Though in his later fights, against more solid opposition; inklings of Valero’s brilliant footwork and jabbing skills would begin to shine through, for the most part, the guy was perfectly content to leave his bag of tricks in the gym.

Sadly, Valero committed suicide just last year shortly after going to prison for murdering his wife.

Clearly possessed of some serious personal issues, it nonetheless makes me sad that Valero would never get a chance to test his mettle against top flight talent, particularly Manny Pacquiao; who he shared weight classes with for much of his career.

#3. Salvador Sanchez

Salvador Sanchez is one of my favorite boxers of all time.

His entire career took place years before I was born, but everything I’ve seen and read about him has me convinced that he was a truly special fighter.

Hell, when I was a kid I used to think he was cool purely because of his poofy hair.

A technical fighter if ever there was one, Sanchez nevertheless showed all of the grit and toughness that Mexican fighters are known for around the world.

Not exactly that big of a puncher, his expert footwork and extraordinarily fast-paced rhythm allowed him to befuddle his opponents; often luring them into KO traps by way of the disparity in their technical competence.

To this day, Sanchez’ battles with Danny “Little Red” Lopez and Wilfredo Gomez rank among some of my favorite bouts of all time.

Despite having a very fruitful career, Sanchez ended up dieing in a car crash while still in possession of the featherweight title.

He was only 23 years old, and a had one of the brightest futures in boxing that one could imagine.

#2. Rocky Marciano

Oh give me a break, you knew this was coming; right?

Rocky Marciano represents one of the greatest stories in boxing history.

I love him to death, but it’d be foolish of me to claim that he was the best of the best.

It feels weird saying it, but I’m one of those guys that, in the Muhammad Ali vs. Rocky Marciano simulation; would definitely be rooting for Marciano, but ultimately expecting Ali to win.

He was a tough son of a bitch, he trained twice as hard most of the people he fought, and he could punch like a mule kicks; but in the end Marciano was just a tiny heavyweight with a lot of guts.

Nevertheless, he was a tiny heavyweight that never lost, and rarely failed in knocking the fuck out of his opponents.

In the current age of sports science and giant heavyweights, I don’t think Marciano would do to well; but in his time, he was the king of the castle.

When Marciano retired, and abdicated his title; there were a handful of guys that likely would’ve wanted a crack at him.

Archie Moore, who was Marciano’s last opponent; still had a few good fights left in him.

Tommy Jackson was a solid competitor who held Floyd Patterson to a split decision.

And of course, Floyd Patterson himself would ultimately be the one to claim Marciano’s vacant title; which of course would be the biggest (and most plausible) “what if” match I wish we’d seen in Marciano’s career.

Of course, Marciano would retire, and stay retired in 1956; only to tragically die in a plane crash in 1959.

I’m pretty sure The Rock made the wise decision in retiring when he did, however I don’t think I’m alone in wishing that he turned that 49-0 record into a 50-0 one.

Records are always easier to remember when they’re in multiples of 10…

#1. Arturo Gatti

I didn’t even need to think about this one.

Arturo Gatti was singlehandedly responsible for converting boxing from a sport I used to watch to spend quality time with my dad, to something I obsessed about and became emotionally invested in.

Boxing writers and commentators like to throw around the term “blood and guts” warrior when talking about fighters that lay it all the line every time they step into the ring.

Everyone who was fortunate to have seen Gatti in action during his prime knows that he is the man these people are thinking of when they use this term.

In the ring, Gatti was the definition of toughness and heart.

Originally from Montreal, but adopted by Jersey City, New Jersey, he’d take 1,000 to give you 1, and more often than not; he’d ending up beating you in the process.

My brother and I used to joke that Gatti’s face would start swelling on the ramp, before ever stepping into the ring.

That’s just the way he was.

While his epicly poor weight management was likely the culprit responsible, if Gatti wasn’t cut or swollen by the end of the night; then it wasn’t a Gatti fight.

That’s like a Steven Seagal movie without an instance where he doesn’t flip some poor son of a bitch by the wrist.

It just doesn’t happen.

While I know it sounds like I’m some immature fuck who’s into boxing for the blood and violence, when it came to Gatti; the real reason we all watched was just that:

We wanted to see him, win or lose.

He was the real life Rocky Balboa or Little Engine That Could.

He was that guy that always seemed to have the cards stacked against him, yet somehow he’d always come behind a surprise us all with something magical.

Even when he didn’t win, there was just something about him that made us love him.

When he lost, there were no feelings of disappointment or anger.

We were just happy to have seen the (no doubt, spectacular) show that he put on.

I’ll never forget what he said when asked why he was going to win his ill-fated match with Floyd Mayweather:

“Because I’m a nice guy!”

Even though I’ve read plenty of reports to the contrary of that statement, it was stuff like this that made Gatti one of the most endearing fighters of his time.

The last few years of his career were less than stellar, in fact it was kind of sad; but you better believe I tuned in regardless.

Such was the power of Gatti, that he could continue to show up, a complete shadow of his former self; but still draw hopeful crowds regardless.

When Gatti was utterly broken by Alfonso Gomez in his last fight, everyone knew that was how it had to end.

He was starting to look pretty bad by then, but short of dieing in the ring; I don’t think anything could’ve stopped Gatti from slipping on the gloves one last time for his fans.

As I’m sure everyone is aware, Arturo Gatti was murdered in Brazil, allegedly by his wife; in 2009.

In leaving boxing, Gatti left a void that I scarcely believe will be filled in my lifetime.

HBO likes to call every tough fighter with heart the “second coming” of Gatti.

That’s bullshit and they know it.

4 Fights of the Year and countless classic battles are not something achieved by just any bum with a chin.

The sad part is that you can tell that they want a Gatti for their network so badly; that they callously throw his name around any time a decent fight starts to brew.

That’s how much boxing misses Gatti.

That’s how much we all miss Gatti.

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies

Today we’re gonna’ be talkin’ about SAD SHIT.

SAD SHIT as in The Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies kinda’ SAD.

Please take note that everything contained in this list is a product of the Azn Badger’s childhood; so don’t expect any movies on here to be made anytime past the mid-90’s.

Anyway, let’s get thing’s rollin’, shall we?:

#5. The NeverEnding Story – Artax Eats Some Mud. Check That, A Lot of Mud…

The NeverEnding Story was a tough movie for me to watch as a kid.

It was long, I didn’t really get it, there was a lot of unintentionally scary imagery, and oh yeah, it was long.

Pictured: One of the INTENTIONALLY scary parts of The Neverending Story.

So long in fact, that I never really finished it as a kid, resulting in me thinking the whole thing ended with the end of the world at the hands of The Nothing.

Pretty fuckin’ sad, am I right?

Thankfully, I went ahead and saw the rest of the movie a few years ago, thusly patching up a few childhood scars in the process.

That being said, while this death doesn’t really count as a death; ’cause if memory serves, Artax is still alive and well at the end of the movie, to the young Azn Badger the fuckin’ horse died in the mud hole.

Anyway, this death marks probably the first and only time the Azn Badger ever felt any sort of emotion in reference to a horse.

It was the fuckin’ kid that got to me, that girlie-boy Atreyu.

Hah! Father Time kicked his ASS!

They’re both standing in them mud, and the fuckin’ kid is blowin’ his lungs out screaming at his fuckin’ horse to “not give in to the sadness of the swamps” n’shit.

Meanwhile, the music is swelling and gettin’ all sad and crestfallen n’shit.

The whole thing was just too much for me as a kid, and for the life of me; I bought into it.

"Artax, you're sinking!" Oh God, make it stop!!!!

While I didn’t really “get” the Neverending Story back then, little episodes like Artax bitin’ the big one stuck with me on a visceral level; in this case, making me very sad.

Fun Fact – The only reason I remember that damn horse’s name is because of his death scene when Atreyu yells it about 50 times.

Repetition:  It works.

#4. The Lion King – Mufasa Gets 50,000 Wildebeasts Rammed Up His Ass

Who's featured most prominently on the poster? That's right, MUFASA.

Mufasa was a pimp.

You take the raw power of James Earl Jones’ voice, and transplant it into the body of the biggest, baddest, most pimp-as-fuck lion in all of existence; and you’ve got Mufasa.

"This, is CNN..."

Needless to say, in my youth; Mufasa’s death hit me pretty hard.

As I hope we all know, Mufasa met his fate at the hands of the combined force of a stampeding herd of wildebeast, and the nasty claws of Jeremy Irons.

Wow. Believe it or not, I think Irons just topped himself...

Any less, and I’m sure his pimp-ass self would’ve survived somehow.

Anyway, Mufasa; pimp that he is, rushes headlong into the stampede to save his pussy-ass son, Simba.

'The fuck was up with kid in the 90's anyway? He was EVERYWHERE.

While he is successful in rescuing the boy, Mufasa takes some serious shots from the fuckin’ wildebeasts, the kinda’ hits that would fold a lesser lion in half.

All the while, Hans Zimmer’s music was goin’ crazy, and all the kids in the audience were either pickin’ their boogers, or hoping against hope that ‘ole Mufasa was gonna’ pull through and not fall prey to “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

That’s right Disney, don’t pretend that us kids don’t know about “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

Disney: Teaching kids that their parents are gonna' die.

Just as Mufasa’s managed to escape the stampede for just a few seconds, out strolls his brother; Jeremy Irons.

Slimey prick that he is, Jeremy Irons busts out his freshly manicured nails; and digs them puppies into Mufasa’s paws; but not before saying something creepy and vaguely savage like:

How ironic that the pimpest of all lions would be felled by a bunch of wildebeast AKA the butt of every Discovery Channel predator/prey joke…

To make matters worse, Mufasa’s death has the added impact of having a 40 minute guilt trip attached to it.

Jeremy Irons tells Simba, straight to his face; that the whole thing was his fault.

This of course results in Simba running off into the wild for the next 10 years to eat bugs and talk to clouds.

Talking to clouds: Useful for convincing one's self to go out and kill their uncle.

Oh well, guess we all have to cope somehow…

#3. The Land Before Time – Littlefoot’s Mom Gets Sharptooth-ed

I betcha' this movie wouldn't have done half as well without the T. Rex on the cover.

The Land Before Time was a special movie for me back in the day.

Come to think of it, while I’m sure how it all worked out, Don Bluth movies were all some of my favorites as a kid.

Not this one though... This one was just plain awful...

While the Secret of NIMH was definitely the cream of the crop, even back in the day, (sword fight!) The Land Before Time had dinosaurs and Spielberg-ian funding, making it a close second.

Although it wasn’t a Disney production, rest assured Mr. Bluth saw fit to work some “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome” into the mix in the form of Littlefoot’s Mom.

Much like the Lion King after it, Littlefoot’s Mother meets her fate partially due to the actions of her son.

Stop smiling, you killed your mother!

In short, Littlefoot and Cera are dickin’ around in the wild, they piss off Sharptooth, Littlefoot’s Mom shows up to save the kids, does so, but is mortally wounded in the process.

Easy to see why, look at that beast! He's a fuckin' Pimp-A-Saurus Rex I tells yah'!

Cue lengthy and heartbreaking death scene wherein parent reminds child that “they’ll always be with them.”

While the actual battle with Sharptooth was awesome to the young Azn Badger, instead of horrifying as it may have been intended to be perceived, the death sequence afterwards was just plain tough to sit through.

Oh no, it's happening again!!!

Even now, I bet I’d have a tough time getting through it without biting my lip or taking a deep breath or 2.

#2. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Captain Nemo Succumbs To His ACTING TALENT

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, was one of those terrific “old movies” that as a kid; I never knew was “old.”

I watched the both of them about a million times, and I don’t think I ever got close to getting tired of them.

While Robin Hood had swashbuckling and and ungodly amount of merry laughter, Leagues had Kirk Douglas and a GIANT FUCKING SQUID.

You have no idea how many times I sat through this entire movie just to get to this part.

The epic-ness of these 2 factors made for one of the single most spectacular and enchanting films of my childhood.

That being said, despite Kirk Douglas’ Ned Land being my favorite character, James Mason’s Captain Nemo was a pretty close second.

SO fucking pimp...

Even as a kid, I loved his pimp-ass beard, and the curious way in which he spoke.

His voice was awesome and all, but I loved the pace of his speech, how it was just a half beat slower than everyone else.

Appropriately, it made him seem enigmatic, like you’d never be able to figure out what he was thinking in a million years if you tried.

Anyway, while 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was yet another movie that I didn’t quite “get” when I watched it as a kid, Captain Nemo’s death was something that I understood all too well.

As with seemingly all deaths on this list, the music made all the difference.

Captain Nemo is running atop the Nautilus, dodging incoming gunfire from the dudes that want his technological secrets.

He jukes left, he jukes right, and all the while the strings in the orchestra are goin’ fuckin’ nuts.

Suddenly, just as he’s within feet of the entrance to the lower deck of the submarine, his body spasms and the music crashes to a halt with a horrifying *DOOOOMMM!*

No squib, no blood spurt, just James Mason’s ACTING TALENT and the power of a music cue.

From there, the rest of the movie has Nemo, resigned to the fate of his eventual death; lurch and stumble his way through the submarine to a couch next to an undersea viewing window.

Nemo’s last moments are spent gazing into the deep blue that he loved so much.

While the death was pretty epic, it was the initial gunshot that hit me as a kid.

As soon as that music cue hit, my tiny heart sunk down to my toes.

*Sniff!* I honestly thought he was going to make it…

#1. Transformers: The Movie – Optimus Prime Becomes One With The Matrix

FUCK YES.

This may seem like a cop-out to some.

A predictable, bandwagon-y ploy to get the nerds to read the blog; however if any of you genuinely think that, then you obviously don’t know the Azn Badger.

As mentioned several times on this blog, I watched Transformers: The Movie, quite literally nearly every day of my early childhood.

My older brother did the same.

Transformers: The Movie was one of those magical films that just did it for me as a kid.

I loved Godzilla movies as kid, but that was because I loved Godzilla as a character.

Man, what I would give to have been one of those kids...

Transformers: The Movie was a case of me simply loving an individual movie more than any human child should.

While I was a little bit too young to have enjoyed the Transformers TV show while it was first airing, The Movie served as my ambassador to the series; giving me a crash-course on the Gen-1 stuff before I even started watching the re-runs.

That being said, the opening battle on Cybertron, that takes the vast majority of the original cast of the show and kills them off in favor of new toys, I mean characters; was truly a thing of beauty.

The battle on Cybertron worked because it had actual stakes.

Lives were lost on both sides of the conflict, such that you truly got the sense that everyone was fair game.

Hell, Ironhide was one of my favorites from the TV show, and he got his head blown off in the first 10 minutes.

"Such heroic nonsense..."

Not only that, Prowl died a few seconds earlier via some hot chili; and Wheeljack, fuckin’ Wheeljack wouldn’t even get the respect of having an on-screen death.

Should probably cut back on those habaneros Prowl...

These were big name guys, characters that were at the forefront of the action in every episode of the TV show, and here they were gettin’ their clocks cleaned in the first 20 minutes of The Movie!

Then they went and killed Optimus Prime.

If the battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the beginning of Transformers: The Movie is one of the best fights in cinema history, then the death of Optimus Prime is surely one of the most dramatic deaths.

I love the subtlety of the death sequence.

Everyone is gathered around Prime, their facial expressions communicating far more than words could hope to.

Aw, Kup's sad face is sad!

Perceptor, the closest thing the group has to a doctor, presents his diagnosis with a simple:

“I’m afraid the wounds are, fatal…”

With the silence broken, Daniel; the child of the group, is the first to speak his mind:

"Prime, you can't die!"

From there, the whole thing just gets more and more epic.

We have the passing of the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, the not-so subtle symbolism of Hot Rod catching the Matrix, and Optimus Prime just plain being awesome, even as he’s moments from death.

"LIGHT. OUR DARKEST. HOUR."

At the end of it all, the hammer of childhood trauma drops as Optimus Prime’s entire form turns black, a decidedly fatalistic percussive music cue hits; and Prime commits his final act as his head limply turns to the side.

Shit just got real.

That, my friends; is how you kill an icon.

... And thank you Michael Bay for showing us how NOT to do it.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Chinese Edition)

Yep, that’s right, we’re doin’ this again.

Give me a break will yah’, work was particularly brutal today…

Anyway, today we’re gonna’ be taking a look at the Top 5 Chinese Songs That Keep The Azn Badger From Stabbing People.

Unlike the previous 2 iterations of this list, this time around there’s an extra rule involved in my selection process.

Said rule would be:

No Jackie Chan.

Being as I have a fairly extensive collection of Jackie Chan songs, I think it would be best to save them for a list of their own at a future date.

Remind me to get back to this at a future date, as I genuinely like a lot of Jackie’s songs, and would love an opportunity to talk them up at some point.

Anyway, that being said; let’s get to the list:

5. Babylon In The Orient – Shanghai Restoration Project

You know this is gonna’ be a fucked up list when I start things off with a joke entry.

Babylon In The Orient, while sung in English (barely…) by a Chinese person; is the quintessential Azn song.

Mind you, that’s “Azn” not “Asian.”

The difference being defined by the amount of hair gel and “street” sensibilities present in the Asian person in question.

Consisting of little more than the words “holler” and a few extra tidbits here and there, the song captures the sound and feel of the Azn archetype so perfectly, that it’s tune springs to mind every time I see (or hear) a rice rocket or Asian guy dressed like a 300 lbs. Black guy.

Needless to say, Babylon In The Orient is a song that makes me laugh on account of how insanely Azn it is.

While it’s indeed a shitty song, the point of this list is that it consists of songs that keep me from stabbing people I.E. make me happy.

Babylon In The Orient makes me happy, though in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.

In my book that counts for a lot.

4. Into The Future – Andy Lau

Ah, the “Great Un-Aging One,”  Andy Lau.

Andy Lau is like the Tom Cruise of China.

He’s been consistently playing handsome, energetic and suave young men throughout his entire career despite being about 10 years too old to do so for, well, over 10 years now.

Truth be told, I haven’t really seen many Andy Lau movies, but the man has one helluva’ a reputation; as is evident by my knowledge of him despite having little to no interest in his career.

That being said, I think it’s funny that #4 on this list comes from the soundtrack of a movie I haven’t seen, and is sung by an aging pop-star I barely know of.

That’s right folks, the kung fu movie obsessed blogger that is the Azn Badger has not seen Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer.

Know what else is fucked up?

I haven’t seen Kung Fu Hustle either!

Despite this, I stumbled across the theme song for Shaolin Soccer at some point, and while it doesn’t make me want to see the movie any more than before, it’s an energetic and fun song that always puts a smile on my face.

Someday I’ll see Stephen Chow’s movies, but until then; I’ll settle for listening to the soundtracks.

3. Shan Shan Re Ren Ai – Elva Hsiao

Elva Hsiao is yet another artist I ran across while perusing the now defunct Azn music forum I used to frequent.

Near as I can tell, she’s basically the Taiwanese equivalent to Madonna, only prettier and without the nasty gap in her teeth.

Oh yeah, and I’m guessing she doesn’t live out her days pretending she’s English like Madonna either.

Anyway, I only really ever heard 1 single of Elva Hsiao’s, called Diamond Candy.

Being as it was a single, there really wasn’t a whole lot to listen to, but the songs “More More More” and Shan Shan Re Ren Ai (whatever the fuck that means in Mandarin…) struck me as surprisingly catchy dance songs.

While “More More More” got brownie points from me on account of featuring Wu Jing in the music video, ultimately I felt Shan Shan Re Ren Ai was the better song.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up listening to more of Ms. Hsiao’s work in the future.

2. Huo Yuan Jia – Jay Chou

In case you haven’t noticed already, many of the songs on this Top 5 come from the soundtracks of Chinese movies.

Huo Yuan Jia just happens to be the theme song for the movie of the same name, otherwise known in the U.S. as Jet Li’s “Fearless.”

It also happens to be a song by the juggernaut of Taiwanese pop music, Jay Chou.

Unlike most Asian pop-idols, I happen to like Jay Chou.

He started out his career as a writer, and as a legitimately accomplished musician behind the scenes, he’s definitely earned his stripes.

Despite all that, the point is:

I like his sound, and he’s made more than a few songs I happen to like, so he’s cool in my book.

I can’t say I’m terribly excited about his recent forays into action cinema, most notably in the upcoming Green Hornet movie; however despite that, he’s still cool in my book…

… Provided he doesn’t make a fool of himself in that movie.

Anyway, Fearless was a pretty spankin’ movie, but the one memory I’m able to carry with me wherever I go, is the tune of this song.

Man, I wish American movies would have badass theme songs like this one…

1. A Man Ought To Be Strong – CHINESE PEOPLE

Really, how could a kung fu movie obsessed person like myself make a Chinese music list without throwing A Man Ought To Be Strong into the top spot?

As a Chinese folk song, as well as the theme of the seemingly endless Once Upon A Time In China film series, A Man Ought To Be Strong is, from my perspective, the spirit of China in song form.

While there are scores of versions of this song, (including 1 by Jackie Chan) this version, sung by a choir as opposed to a single vocalist, is easily my favorite.

As I said, this song basically symbolizes China in my eyes, making it all too appropriate that the best version of it be sung by a bunch of anonymous Chinese as opposed to some pop-star.

Anyway, this song is awesome.

Everyone should hear it at some point in their life, so if this was your first time, I’ll just say, “You’re welcome.”

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Korean Edition)

Hello all, and welcome to another edition of the Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People!

Last time around we tackled the Top 5 Japanese songs, and in keeping with the “Azn” portion of the title of this blog; today we’ll be delving into the realm of Korean music!

Before we begin, let me just say this:

I don’t speak Korean.

I know how to answer a phone, say “thank you,” and rattle off a handful of ethnic slurs, but that’s just about all the Korean I know.

Huh, that’d be one hell of a phone conversation:

“Hello?  You *bleepity bleepin’ BLEEP*!  Thank you! *CLICK!*”

Anyway, my interest in Korean songs springs almost entirely from hanging out with my Korean (between the 2 of us, we refer to Koreans as “Krns” pronounced “Kerns”) buddy from up the street.

He used to have an extensive library of Krn music, much of which I acquired from him at one time or another.

As a result, much of my favorite Krn songs are slightly outdated, being that they’re from the early 2000’s.

That being said, let’s get to the music:

5. Freaky Game 108 – Soul Dive


This song was one I stumbled across about a year ago when I was perusing an Azn music forum for new tunes.

I got a lot of great music out of that forum, and Freaky Game 108 was one of my favorites.

The album as a whole was shitty, but the one song was pretty freakin’ sweet.

Regardless, I love the pumping, almost dance track-like beat of this song, coupled with the rap style lyrics.

Like every other song on this list, I don’t have a fuckin’ clue as to what the lyrics entail; however this has never been a problem for me as long as the tune is good.

Remember, I’m a hummer not a singer.

4. Get Them Hands Up – 1TYM


I fuckin’ love 1TYM.

Ever since my Krn buddy and I used to pretend we were cool by cruising around in high school blasting their music through the speakers of his Corolla, 1TYM has been one of my favorite Krn music groups.

Sure they’re “happy rappers.”

Sure they look ridiculous.

Sure they’re a shitty rap group that were popular for 5 minutes.

Despite all that, I’ve got more of their tracks in my library than any other Krn band, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Of those tracks, Get Them Hands Up is easily my favorite, right next to “Hello!”

It’s got an awesome and fairly intricate beat, a nice flow; and most important of all, one of the catchiest and most satisfying choruses I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, I can’t recite it worth shit, but you better believe I’ve caught myself trying to in the shower every now and again.

3. The Last Scene – Roller Coaster


This song is what my Krn buddy and I used to refer to as the “Abercrombie and Fitch” song.

I dare you to listen to this song without picturing, even for a moment; a fuckin’ clothing commercial or fashion exhibition.

It just fits too well.

Despite this, the toe-tapping, yet surprisingly mellow beat, coupled with the smooth, yet vaguely emotionless voice of the lead singer, make for a song that as easy to lounge to, as it is to cruise down the highway to.

It’s a wonderful song, and is actually one of the very few mellow tunes that I keep on my Ipod.

2. Jeez! – B2Y


Jeez! was another song that I acquired from that one Azn music forum awhile back.

As a 2 girl, 2 boy band, B2Y is just what you’d expect:

A generic Azn pop group.

Despite the stigma surrounding this, (one that I happen to subscribe to in most cases) I’ve gotta’ say, Jeez! is a really fun song.

Just like 175R’s Yume De Aeta Nara from the other day, Jeez! is very much a disco-pop song, although in this case the disco element is very much at the forefront of things.

In my book, that’s a very good thing.

The energy of this song is just so goddamn cotton candy sweet, that’s it hard for me to think of any legitimate reason why anyone wouldn’t like it.

Oh yeah, and did I mention is has a really fuckin’ catchy chorus?

1. Champion – PSY


FUCK YES.

Beverly Hills Cop beat + Silly Krn lyrics = KRN GOLD.

From what my Krn buddy told me, Champion was just about the biggest fuckin’ song EVER when it first came out in Korea.

Honestly, I forget how I ran across Champion, but boy am I glad I did.

It’s kind of funny though, my favorite version of this song is actually a sped-up remix, however I wasn’t able to find it to share with you guys.

Oh well, the original version is epic enough as is I suppose…

Let it be known:

Any home graced with the sounds of Champion, shall henceforth be known as a “stab-free zone.”

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Runner-Ups of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, Part II!

After an entire week’s worth of posts, today we’ve finally reached the conclusive, ultimate and last post in the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks event!

Today we’ll be unveiling the Top 5 of the Top 10 Runner-Ups, so get ready kids, ’cause we’re:

*Ahem!* Pardon me, I found myself suddenly overcome by meatheaded-ness…

Anyway, let’s get down to the Top 5 Runner-Ups!:

#5. Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

“Theme of The Double Dragons”


As mentioned in the Top 25 NES Tracks list, as well as numerous other articles posted on this blog, Double Dragon is THE SHIT.

Pictured: Watered-Down Shit...

I’ve loved Double Dragon series ever since I first played the second one with my brother in my early childhood, and it’s a game series that I continue to treasure to this day.

Chief among my reasons for loving the Double Dragon series, is of course the fact that it possessed one of the most memorable and enduring theme musics in gaming history.

It’s a tune that’s been used in nearly every game in the series, with each iteration making slight changes to the table.

 

*Sigh* And then there's Double Dragon V...

While Double Dragon 2 is definitely my favorite game in the series, I feel I should go on record and say that my selection of it’s version of theme for this list added no bias to my decision.

Believe me when I say this, I went out of my way to listen to all of the NES versions of the Double Dragon Theme back to back just to come to this conclusion.

The original version was too uppity for my tastes, feeling more appropriate as the background music for the 2 player game mode than a theme music for a pair of characters.

The version used in Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones was extremely well-composed, with the most intricate instrumentation of the 3 NES versions of the theme, but honestly I felt that this resulted in it having a somewhat cluttered and “loud” sound to it that was a little bit too overbearing.

Unlike the game, which as you can see, was kind of bare...

The version featured in Double Dragon 2: The Revenge, the slowest and most laid back version of the Double Dragon Theme on the NES, and yet it feels most right.

Unlike the original version that feels too fast, the Double Dragon 2 version of the theme has a more subtle instrumentation to it, but as a result it sounds the most like a theme music for Billy and Jimmy Lee as opposed to a single scene in the game.

 

Congratulations Billy and Jimmy Lee, you have awesome theme music!

Anyway, those are my thoughts, hopefully they make sense…

#4. Journey To Silius

“Stage 1”


Journey To Silius is yet another Sunsoft game.

More specifically, it’s a Sunsoft game I’ve never played.

In fact, the first time I ever heard of Journey To Silius was less than a year ago, when I stumbled across a video about produced by LordkaT for his Until We Win series.

Pictured: LordkaT, in all his glory!

Speaking exclusively from what I saw in that video, I thought the game looked pretty fun.

The jumping mechanic, as described by Lordkat, sounded somewhat Castlevania-ish to me though, so chances are I’d probably hate it if I played it…

Anyway, while watching that video of the game, I happened to notice some of the background music playing over Lordkat’s narration.

While he is known to sometimes use music tracks from other games in his videos, I obviously didn’t recognize the music, resulting in me Youtube-ing the Journey To Silius soundtrack to find out what it was.

Sure enough, it was the “Stage 1” theme.

While this is indeed an amazing piece of NES music, I felt it inappropriate to list among the Top 25 due to my lack of history with the game.

Even so, making the Top 5 of the Runner-Ups despite me never having played the game is still quite an accomplishment.

#3. Mega Man 2

“Dr. Wily’s Castle 1”


Among Mega Man music, this one is my #2.

#1 was my pick for the Best NES Track EVER, as well as part of one of my favorite game series ever, so I feel it goes without saying that being my #2 of the Mega Man series is not far from being #2 in all of 8-bit music.

 

Lookit 'im... Bein' all smug n'shit...

This track was, in many ways, the reason why I instigated the “1 track per franchise” for this list.

Even so, though I like both tracks just about equally; deep down I knew which is one was better, and therefore most appropriate to represent Mega Man on the Top 25.

That being said, “Dr. Wily’s Castle” is an exhilarating piece of game music that was incredibly complex it’s time, and still holds up to this day as one of the better gaming compositions throughout history.

#2. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest

“Bloody Tears”


Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest, like Journey To Silius, is another game on this list that I have never played.

That’s actually kind of interesting to note, as back in the day Simon’s Quest was regarded as one of the finest games on the NES.

I can still recall my one issue of Nintendo Power and how it sang the praises of Castlevania 2, even going so far as it award it the “Nester” award for Best Graphics and Sound of 1988.

 

Pictured: Nester. Damn I feel old for knowing this shit...

Despite actually wanting to play Castlevania 2 in my youth, like many great games back in the day; I ended up passing it over in favor of repeatedly renting Snow Bros. every weekend…

Regardless, sometime in high school I took the time to check out the soundtrack of Simon’s Quest, and lo and behold, there was gold in them there hills!

While the game might have a bit too much of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sound to it, (understandable, seeing as Konami was cranking out those games like crazy back in the day) like any Castlevania, it truly has an awesome soundtrack.

“Bloody Tears” was my favorite track I ran across in the soundtrack for Castlevania 2.

I have no idea what point of the game it’s used for, but it’s a simultaneously energetic and haunting tune that was this close to usurping the original “Vampire Killer’s” position on the Top 25.

 

Thank you hipster doofus, for providing us with a visual indication of exactly how close "this close" means. Douchebag...

Like Journey To Silius though, I simply couldn’t justify placing it on the list without ever having actually experienced the track in-game.

#1. Ninja Gaiden

“Ending Theme”


Is it just me or do the Ninja Gaiden games on the NES all have fuckin’ brilliant ending themes?

Ninja Gaiden 3 had a pretty decent ending theme, which was appropriate given that it was a “pretty decent” game.

Beautiful? Yes. Fun? Yes. Half as good as what came before it? Not a chance.

Ninja Gaiden 2’s ending has the distinction of holding the #2 spot on my Top 25 NES Tracks list.

And the original Ninja Gaiden’s “Ending Theme” gets the #1 spot among the Top 10 Runner-Ups!

The composers over at Tecmo deserve a pat on the back, ’cause damn they did a great job.

The “Ending Theme” of the original Ninja Gaiden was a fantastic piece of music that I only recently rediscovered.

I heard it when I was very young, and I remember liking it, but for whatever reason I simply didn’t remember it.

Boy am I glad I did, ’cause it is one hell of a roller coaster ride of 8-bit goodness.

As much an action piece as it is an ending track, the “The Ending Theme” of Ninja Gaiden is a terrific composition that really gets your blood pumping.

 

Uh.... Ryu Hayabusa everyone!

Honestly, if not for Ninja Gaiden 2 having a slightly better ending track, this tune would’ve made the Top 25 in a heartbeat.

Damn sequels… Bein’ all better n’shit…

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list(s) of the Best NES Tracks!

Tune in tomorrow for… Something other than NES music!

Seriously man, I’m done with Nintendo music for awhile

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The Top 10 Runner-Ups of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, Part I!

Before the dust settles on the epic event that was the unveiling of the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 25 NES Tracks, I feel it’s my duty to take a moment to discuss some of the tracks that almost made it on the list.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, today we’re going to be talking about the:

“Top 10 Runner-Ups of The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks.”

Epic fucking title, am I right?

Anyway, hopefully the following ruminations will help shed some light on my process for selecting the tracks for this list, as well as hopefully uncover a few hidden gems for the less game music savvy among us.

That being said, let’s get to it!:

#10. Zanac

“Stage 1”


Zanac is a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up that I received as a gift in my pre-teen years.

You see, despite the Playstation and Nintendo 64 already having risen to prominence by this time, my father; good intentioned thrift store shopper that he is, saw fit to give me NES games up until around my 13th birthday, when I’m pretty sure he gave up giving me gifts altogether.

 

 

Pictured: Birthday's at the Azn Badger's house...

 

While this was admittedly kind of strange, looking back I think it helped me to better appreciate the older generation of games, not to mention my dad’s yearly efforts to go out and get me something unique and different every birthday.

Thanks dad, for, uh, bein’ my dad, and filling my room with goofy outdated shit that only you and I can appreciate.

 

 

Dad's most recent random gift: A VHS-C camcorder!

 

Anyway, Zanac is a game I know nothing about, other than the fact that I played it a lot during middle school.

It’s reminiscent of Space Megaforce on the Super NES, with sharp graphics and a surprisingly action-packed experience despite the limitations of the NES hardware.

Anyway, the details of Zanac are a mystery to me, but it was tons of fun and “Stage 1” had awesome music that was this close to making the lower-tier of the Top 25.

#9. R.B.I. Baseball

“Game Music 1”

*TUNE TO :23 FOR THE PART OF THE MUSIC THAT MADE THE LIST*

My brother LOVED R.B.I. Baseball.

A neighbor of ours owned the Tengen “black cart” version of the game (my dad also gifted it to me at some point…) and most of my memories of the first 5 or 6 years of my life involve watching my brother play it.

In fact, despite being able to play it at our neighbor’s house basically whenever he wanted, I can actually recall several instances where my brother went out and rented it.

Let it be known boys and girls, my brother loves him some baseball.

 

 

A logical hobby for him given that he fuckin' IS baseball.

 

I never really played R.B.I. Baseball.

To be honest, I’ve never really played any baseball videogames besides the occasional game of Base Wars or Super Baseball 2020.

 

Boobies, Robots and Baseball: FUCK YEAH.

 

Something about robots playing baseball just tickles my fancy…

Anyway, up until Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball on the Super NES, I can recall no other sports game that had my brother so engrossed.

Perhaps the best memory I took away from R.B.I. Baseball, was the music, which would loop constantly throughout every game.

That and the delightfully rotund players, whose husky builds and slow-footed nature fit the music perfectly.

 

 

SOOOOO FAT!!!!

 

It may not be the most intricate or bombastic of tunes, but nostalgia goes a long way…

Even if your only experience with the game consisted solely of watching it over your older brother’s shoulder.

#8. Gauntlet

“Title Theme”


This one was suggested by a friend of mine.

Honestly, I’ve never actually played Gauntlet on the NES.

I own Gauntlet 2, (another random gift from dad) but I never liked or played it much.

I played a lot of Gauntlet Legends in the arcade, mostly because it was fuckin’ hilarious; but that’s a story for another day…

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the heroes of Gauntlet Legends!

 

Anyway, while I was compiling this list, I took the time to look up the Gauntlet “Title Theme,” as I honestly couldn”t recall the melody.

To my surprise, my buddy made a pretty good pick.

It’s a nice little diddy, reminiscent of a medieval minstrel’s tune, making it all-too appropriate for a sword and sorcery game like Gauntlet.

I actually had this one on the Top 25 up until my final revision, where I removed it in favor Super Dodge Ball.

Listening to them side by side, I feel I made the better decision…

Sorry buddy, had to go with my gut on this one.

#7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project

“Super Shredder’s Theme”


The reason for this particular track being on the Top 10 Runner-Ups list is kind of silly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project was a game I played exclusively at one of my spoiled friend’s houses, and just happens to be the game with the longest fucking title on this list.

While in many ways superior to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, Turtles III was the unfortunate victim of being released around the time most of us were just starting to jump platforms to the, at the time; brand spankin’ new Super NES.

 

 

"Bummer dudes! Your game came out 2 years too late!"

 

Like I said though, it’s a great game, actually better than #2, it just didn’t get enough exposure is all.

Anyway, the reasoning behind the selection of this track for the Runner-Ups being silly, is the fact that it’s only on here because it’s the original version of “Super Shredder’s Theme,” which would go on to be remixed for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time.

 

 

2nd Best Beat 'Em Up EVER.

 

“Super Shredder’s Theme” from the Super NES version of Turtles in Time is HANDS DOWN one of my favorite boss themes of all time, making the original 8-bit version, while in fact vastly inferior; still pretty fuckin’ good.

Here’s the Turtles in Time version for reference:

Anyway, it’s not deserving of a spot on the Top 25, but it laid the ground work for what would become one of my favorite pieces of game music EVER, and as such such it gets a nod in the form of a spot among the Runner-Ups.

#6. Little Nemo: The Dream Master

“Mushroom Forest”


I fuckin’ loved Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland back in the day.

I didn’t find out about the old comic series, or Winsor McKay until sometime in middle school, but regardless; that was a great fucking movie.

The world was colorful and inviting, the songs were pretty decent, and Nightmare Land and all of it’s denizens were suitably creepy and stunningly well-imagined to boot.

 

 

Jesus fuck this guy was awesome...

 

Because of my love for the movie, naturally I went out and rented the game at some point.

While the game was not nearly the work of genius that the movie was, it was a pretty solid platformer nonetheless.

The monster costume gimmick was cutesy and fun, and the scepter was very much a thinly veiled Mega Buster, but the thing I remember most; was the music!

The music was, like the movie, whimsical and grand in scale to an extent that few NES games aspired to, let alone movie tie-in platformers.

While the Nightmare world theme and the Final Boss themes were pretty fuckin’ spankin’, like most memorable game tracks, the best piece was from the first stage, the “Mushroom Forest.”

Don’t be surprised if you see a Let’s Play of Little Nemo posted here someday…

Wow!  This post ended up being a whole helluva’ lot more involved than I was expecting it to!

That being said, I’ve decided to split it in half, so tune in tomorrow for the Top 5 Runner-Ups, as well as the ultimate, absolute and final post in the Top 25 NES Tracks series!

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