A LOVE LETTER TO BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO.

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Dearest Blockbuster,

On behalf of current society, TNUC would like to apologize for a large majority of us (not Uncle T) who acted like total PRICKS when the announcement came that Blockbuster Video had sadly passed away. The once reigning, defending, undefeated, undisputed champion of video rental stores had closed it’s doors for good and much of what could be heard by former fans/customers was nothing but negative comments and complaints. Instead of thanking Blockbuster for providing countless movie browsing memories, people took to the internet to whine and bitch about their “nightmarish memories” of late fees, customer service and other complete nonsense. It was demented and sad to see people so quick to bash a place that opened our eyes to so many classic and wacky film discoveries.


As for the independent mom-and-pop video outlets, we love em’ too, but Blockbuster was JUST as goddamn magical. Entering under that blue & yellow canopy and walking into an overwhelming movie paradise with racks of videocassettes stacked high and low was something truly special. I remember during one of my initial trips roaming through the ‘Action/Adventure’ genre section and seeing out of the corner of my eye two giant, tanned, almost-naked, oily freaks on the front of a VHS box with the words The Barbarians across the top. I was never the same.

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Just like so many others, the biggest impact came from the almighty ‘Horror’ aisle. The endless array of VHS covers with monstrous artwork featuring demons, beasts, maniacs with blades, women in terror and neverending nastiness made young imaginations run wild. I remember doing several laps around the store just to walk by these titles for a second and third time before having to choose and movie and go home. In prepubescent TNUC days I attempted renting horror movies but usually changed my mind last minute and rented Beetlejuice for the 9th or 10th time that month.

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This letter of love wasn’t meant to bash our current times or make anyone bummed. Uncle T has no problem with movie streaming services and downloads. What we do have a problem with is unfair Blockbuster bashing. To those ungrateful pricks who haven’t let Blockbuster rest in peace: Guess what? Now there’s NO place to walk into and stare at boxes with strange and over the top artwork featuring masked psychopaths, seduced women, kid-friendly talking beasts and exploding-muscled, renegade heroes. There are NO aisles to roam down and get lost under the fluorescent lights and stale popcorn aroma. We know you miss this experience…and if you claim you don’t…YOU WILL.

With loving memories and deepest sympathy, Thank you Blockbuster.
-Uncle TNUC

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*If you have fond memories of Blockbuster and can still close your eyes at night and smell that VHS clamshell plastic, share your thoughts below!*

FEBRUARY’S LOST LEGEND OF THE MONTH: VAL VENIS.

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How we’ve neglected to induct a professional wrestler into ANY of our monthly countdowns is seriously beyond me. Well disciples, I wholeheartedly apologize and promise that this all changes today. Please give a warm, TNUC welcome to February’s Lost-Legend-Of-The-Month, WWF/WWE’s very own forgotten sleazeball…VAL VENIS! Before reading any further, it’s absolutely imperative that you revisit his classic entrance video:


The drill. The blooming flowers. The purple hard hat. THE HOT DOGS.

I know many of you are saying to yourselves right now – “Val deserved a rightful spot on last year’s Deadbeat-Of-The-Month, shame on you Uncle T”. Since we flat-out forgot he even existed, this sleaze-beast is being placed into the “Lost Legend” category in 2015 because to put it simply, it’s the right thing to do.

Dubbed by most as the “pornstar wrestler”, Val Venis made his WWF debut in 1998, immediately presenting himself as a sex-obsessed lovechild who looked like he just walked off the set of a mid-90’s Skinemax shoot. The only person who could possibly give Val a run for his money with a video this amazing would be Leslie Nielsen and his fornication-explosion montage in Naked Gun 21/2: The Smell of Fear.

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The Big Valbowski was introduced to the wrestling universe in a string of promo videos which featured the wrestler either in bed or frolicking in the jungle with real-life pornstar Jenna Jameson. From there on, wrestling fans were treated (or tortured) to Val’s ring entrance which involved him tearing off his tiny white towel and groping himself in front of sold out WWF crowds. Midwest Harley moms went wild for the man, while others were slightly disgusted. However, this was during WWF’s “Attitude” era, a time when Vince McMahon constantly tested people’s limits to gain higher ratings. However people felt about the man, he always got a reaction, which is the #1 objective with all wresting characters and storylines. His skills in the ring were solid, but his backstage sexual exploits were really what put him in the spotlight. Big Val was caught up in a series of affairs and scandals in which he slept with some of wives and girlfriends of WWF wrestlers. Many of these women fell victim to and were helpless against his seductive powers. This lead to a series of brawls and dramatic moments with wrestlers ready to beat the living daylights out of our Lost Legend. This became a recurring story but ultimately peaked with one of the most unforgettable moments in WWF history..

tumblr_m86vc97KLh1roeel4o1_500“I choppy, choppy your pee pee.” (actual quote)

On the August 3rd, 1998 edition of “Raw is War”, Val was dragged out of the ring by the Kaientai because he’d slept with wrestler Yamaguchi-San’s wife. They tied him up backstage, unleashed a samurai sword and almost castrated him. Who saved Val from having his Venis severed off? John Wayne Bobbitt himself! He also reported the following week that he was saved by “a little shrinkage” as well.

Sexuality, nudity and castration were themes Val Venis brought to the world of wrestling entertainment and we can’t thank the WWE/WWF for finding such a cool guy. We’re not sure what Val is doing these days, but I fear and assume it’s nothing as triumphant as anything talked about here today. So until further notice, he’ll remain in our minds…a Lost Legend. *I do pray he’s living large off a string of strip clubs he owns in South Florida, riding around in his 87′ Monte Carlo SS in only his white towel which has never been washed, with big plans in 2015 of starting a female mud wrestling league to pack gymnasiums all around the USA in the summer.*

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[Lost-Legend-Of-The-Month is a heartwrenching chronicle of forgotten iconic warriors who were wiped off the face of the planet for some reason or simply never got the chance to “peak” during their short-lived careers. We cherish these individuals and devote an entire month to celebrate their impact on society. To see the rest of em’, go here.]

VIDEO LUST.

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Room8_VL3 Sharpen your claws and get ready to descend into an erotic-audio-abyss for the animal in us all with Room8’s VIDEO LUST. February is of course the month of love…and lust. Uncle T reminds us that themes of ‘lust’ aren’t strictly for satisfying only those typical, sex-craved appetites. Often times instead, couples can experience what doctors call VIDEO LUST: moments of romantic obsession for video memories of the past. This could be a simple case of sharing a bottle of Pino Noir on your black satin covered couch while re-watching Cat People (1982). Or setting up that Panasonic Video System Hi-Fi Recorder on your red velvet, rotating waterbed to make a few memories of your own…
 

 
Our fellow Los Angeles brethren Room8 aren’t here to smack you over the head with obvious, sexually-desperate tracks but instead pull from a plethora of horror, fantasy and sci-fi soundtracks that work magically together. This mix arrives right on time for Valentine’s Day and should be used to guide you in whatever direction your night takes on the 14th. Even if a quiet evening at home is your plan, we hope this 40-minute selection inspires you to explore the VIDEO LUST genre of your video library or cable network. You know the ones. Everyone knows the best time to catch these films is at 3:00 a.m. when you’re half asleep.

Make no mistake, this mix is no bedtime story. Especially for you younger audiences. We recommend getting your parent’s permission before you browse the exotic aisles of VIDEO LUST. Just kidding. Press play and indulge.

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1. Tenebre Main Theme – Goblin (Tenebre)
2. Christine – Ralf Hennings (Christine)
3. StarDancer – Klaus Schulze (Body Love)
4. Love Theme – Giorgio Moroder (Superman III)
5. The End (Disco Version) – Splash Band (Assault On Precinct 13)
6. Patrick Theme – Goblin (Patrick)
7. The Dead Walk – John Harrison (Day of the Dead)
8. Igloos – Greg Hawkes (Anna)
9. The Dukes Arrival – John Carpenter (Escape From NY)
10. Gimme Some Lovin – The Blues Brothers w/ Jake Blues (The Blues Brothers)
11. The Kitchen/The Unicorn Theme Reprise – Tangerine Dream (Legend)
12. The Terminator Theme – Brad Fiedel (Terminator)
13. Jennifer – Goblin (Phenomena)
14. Justice For One Instrumental – John Farnham (Savage Streets)
15. Sequence 8 – Fabio Frizzi (Zombi 2)
16. Charly The Kid – Tangerine Dream (Firestarter)
17. We Don’t Need Another Hero – Tina turner (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome)
18. Love Theme From Thief of Hearts – Harold Faltemeyer (Thief Of Hearts)
19. Let’s Spawn – Michael Perilstein (The Deadly Spawn)
20. Titles – Vangelis (Chariots Of Fire)
21. StarDancer – Klaus Schulze (Body Love)
22. Desert Drive – Tangerine Dream (Wavelength)
23. Starman Leaves – Jack Nitzsche (Starman)

- – –
From the creators:

“There are two musical focuses for ROOM8’s studio work. One is our electronic pop songwriting and Collabs with other artists and the other is our love of film and soundtracks. We love and are inspired by many of the synth soundtracks of the past and we are influenced by them in our work. To this end we bring you, Video Lust. A mix we created digging through vinyl with our friend, Herschel Gaer. We hope it inspires filmic daydreams and night fantasies for you all.”

Ezra and Nic,
ROOM8

MACHO LUNCH.

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Brute strength. Immense power. Blockbuster explosiveness. Hot lunch.

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Just the other day this take-out pizza menu landed on my doorstep, featuring some of TNUC’s favorite action gurus sitting on top of an I-beam munching on burgers, fries, pizza and calzones. I could sit here with a straight face and attempt to tell you that it had arrived from some other dimension, a version of “heaven” if you will, one that’s home to action’s top macho men hanging out on construction sites eating junk food. Truth be told, the menu came to me from our friend at It Came From the VCR, who got it from someone in France.

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Aside from Van Damme who looks really pissed off, everyone else is in good spirits, eating lunch and probably talking about working out, their favorite 80’s robots, who had the best montages and how many of them slept with Brigitte Nielsen. Schwarzenegger looks the most accurate, evoking the spirit of that big goofy foreign worker who shows up to the jobsite his 1st day wearing massive overalls and nothing underneath. He’s a little dumb but works hard and is happy to be there. Mel Gibson just looks high and Jack Nicholson is wasted beyond belief. Sly Stallone looks to be their fast-food-foreman, swinging around the iron like Tarzan with one hand on a suspension cable and the other on a pizza box.

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The menu is in French so the only words I can make out are some of the combination plates, which include “La Chuck Norris” (tomate, fromage, boeuf hache, poulet, chorizo, olives, origan) and a pizza called “La Stalone” (Creme, lardons, oignons, fromage, olives, origan). The artwork is wacky but impressive. Whoever came up with this concept must have dreamed of it being presented beyond a 1″ x 6″ take-out menu. But then something came to mind…

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It took me a few minutes before realizing this photo looked familiar. If you’ve ever visited a contractor’s office, you’ve probably seen this classic photo from 1932 which is called “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper”. The photo shows New York construction workers taking their lunch break up hundreds of feet in the air above the ground while building Rockefeller Center.

Doing a little research on the action hero version will guide you to a German artist by the name of Serdar Hizli, who was inspired by the original photo to paint his own version, (seen here in full), which sold over 3,000,000 copies worldwide in 1995. While the full version features 13 of the film industry’s biggest stars, it inspired Uncle T to come up with his own rendition. Here’s who would show up on the official TNUC poster…

From left to right: Patrick Swayze, Malibu (American Gladiators), Dolph Lundgren, The Barbarian Brothers, Santa Carla’s Vampires, Brian Bosworth (w/ pet Komodo dragon), Beer Wolf, Chainsaw & Dave (Summer School), Big Mike and The Manimal.

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