Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Five Movies of 2012

Brett likes the movies. 

He also likes talking about the movies. 

Now, top five movie lists (or anything to do with taste) always should be taken with a grain of salt because, generally, we tend to put more value into recent experiences because they are fresher in our minds.  I'm human, so I am no exception, though I truly believe most of the good movies that were released in 2012 came out in December.

With all that said, let's do the TOP FIVE MOVIES OF 2012.

But before we go into the list, just a couple of thoughts on some popular movies I omitted that people may grouse about.

1) Lincoln -  There was once a time when the entire movie going society would engage in a collective nutswing over anything Steven Spielberg attached his name to.  Even if the film was a complete piece of shit (A.I., for example), we'd follow our thoughts on the movie with a litany of excuses that suggested we probably didn't love it simply because we were too stupid to get it.  Steven could do no wrong, after all.  This line of thinking has gone by the wayside, but Lincoln deserves its due.  It's both beautifully written and directed, and has some of the most memorable performances of the year.  My main issue with the film is that it didn't know what story it was telling.  It vacillated between an interesting political movie on how Lincoln manipulated congress to end slavery and a biopic.  Yeah, we all know Lincoln gets shot while watching a play, but that's neither here nor there within the context of the movie.  So why show it at all?

2) Django Unchained - Cue the annoying Tarantino fans!   Listen, the guy is extraordinarily talented. I get it.  He makes unique movies.  I'll fully give him that.  But there's a reason this fuck is still single.  He's so fucking in love with himself that no one will ever be able to match up.  I've long thought Tarantino writes his movies with his right hand on the keyboard and his left firmly grasping his wiener.  And every other sentence he looks over his shoulder as if someone is standing behind him admiring his work.  And, to me, it shows in virtually every scene of his movies.  I just can't get past it. Also, thanks for putting your fat ass in the movie.  Try a salad.  Again, he's very talented.  I'm just sick of his "smartest guy in the room" routine. 

3) Les Mis - Didn't see; don't care.

Ok, so now that we have that settled, let's get to the top five. 

5) Perks of Being A Wallflower - I first read this book while killing time in my old office many moons ago.  It's a short book you read in one sitting and then rush to tell friends about.  I honestly don't remember much about the book other than it affected me emotionally (and something about the Rocky Horror Picture Show), but I'll say the movie did a great job of pulling at those same exact strings.  A great coming of age story in an age where coming of age stories are growing epically tiresome.

4) Argo - Cue the Affleck haters!  The many many Affleck haters!  Yeah, yeah, I don't give a fuck if anyone could have played the main role in this movie, or if Affleck looked nothing like the main guy in real life (when he filled out the rest of the cast with lookalikes), it's incredibly tough to make a gripping thriller when the audience already knows the outcome, but he managed to create those edge-of-your-seat moments anyway.  Ben Affleck has officially become a director whose movies I'll see simply because he directed them.  I'll be first in line if he ever releases a movie called "Watching Paint Dry."  And, of course, he has my vote when he runs for President. 

3) Life Of Pi - I'm a sucker for well-done movies where humans and untamable (Is that a word?  Is now) animals become friends.  I can't even think of another example, but well, it's a good formula.  You've all heard the accolades for this movie: "A visual triumph!"  "A masterpiece for the senses!" and it probably deserves all that.  It's a well told story that's as emotionally satisfying as it is visually, even if they skipped over a very important detail: Where did the tiger shit?  And don't give me this crap bout the tiger sticking its ass over the side of the boat.  It's a tiger, it wouldn't do that.  And if Pi was deathly afraid of the tiger, and spent most of his time on his makeshift raft next to the boat, then no one could clean the tiger shit.  Yet the boat remained immaculate.  No shit anywhere to be found.  That's the first question I would have asked Pi while picking apart his story.  Regardless, you can't go wrong with this movie, though I'll bet you'll be thinking about tiger shit while watching it now. 

2) Silver Linings Playbook - Admittedly, a tailor-made Brett movie.  But it delivers.  In fact, it's worth seeing for one scene alone which will make you forgive Robert Deniro for the slew of shitty movies he's starred in over the past decade.  Yeah, the film hits all the cliche indie notes, it might feel a bit familiar, but it's worth it. And kudos to Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper for pulling this one along.  It may have dragged in lesser hands. 

1) Zero Dark Thirty - It's hard to make a 2 hour and 45 minute movie that you don't want to end.  I'm not ruining anything, Osama Bin Laden dies at the conclusion of the film, but I probably could have watched the main character do a victory lap for another 30 minutes where everyone who ever doubted her shook her hand and told her she did a good job.  Kinda like that scene at the end of Armageddon where William Fichter requests to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man he's ever known.  But seriously, it's difficult to find a movie where not even a second is wasted.  It's perfectly paced and incredibly tense even though, similar to Argo, you know the conclusion before even stepping into the theater.  I really thought The Hurt Locker was overrated (Bigalow's last movie), but Zero Dark Thirty delivered everything you could possibly want in a film.  And that's why it's my top movie of the year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Five Things I Watched While Having The Flu

I had the flu.

For six days.

It sucked.

I watched a lot of TV.

There's a lot of shit on TV

Thank God for endless channels...

...So I could watch ALL THE SHIT on TV. 


5)  49ers Vs. Patriots - Sunday Night Football.

Normally, I suck at Fantasy Football.  Seriously, I suck at it.  Which is ironic because of how much I love football.  But this year, I didn't suck at it.  My team was rather good. In fact, so good that I found myself in the semi finals.  Now, generally I don't care too much about fantasy football (which might explain why I'm shit at it), I'm much more concerned with the plight of the Denver Broncos, but when the money is in sight, well you start to care.  Anyway, during this semi-final match, the score was tied going into the Sunday Night game.  I had Wes Welker going, he had Frank Gore. I thought I had it in the bag.  I didn't.  And each time Gore touched the ball, there was a nice, sharp pain in between my testicles.  Fuck fantasy football. 

4) Sister Act Two: Back In The Habit

And this was on a few times. 

I haven't seen this movie since it was originally released on cable, and its amazing how much I retained.  Probably because I think the last line of the movie is one of the best closing line's in movie history.  I'm being serious.

Essentially the sequel is about Las Vegas lounge singer, Whoopi Goldberg, once again, pretending she's a nun to get a pack of rabblerousing, yet talented inner city teens in line to become a functional choir (or something like that).  And then by the end of the movie, Whoopi has them rappinig "ya down with G-O-D, yeah you know me!" Yeah, seriously.  But it was the early 90's, so totally acceptable.  Anyway, after the kids win the competition, one of them, Ahmad or something, calls out Whoopi and asks if she's a "Las Vegas showgirl" and Whoopi gets all Whoopi on him and says, "I am not, nor have I ever been, my dear Ahmad, a Las Vegas a headliner."  And she does this with a confident twirl of her finger. It was the ultimate "dont fuck with Whoopi moment."  Then it fades to an end credits scene where the kids sing, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Another tidbit about this movie:  When I originally watched in on cable in, say 1994, my father didn't believe the main girl's voice was real because "if it was real, she'd be famous."  The girl is Lauryn Hill.  And, of course, she become famous.  Nice one, Dad.

And now I've officially written more about Sister Act 2 than anyone has in like 20 years.

3) Re-Runs of Seinfeld

Nuff said.

2)  Catfish: The TV Show.

You guys ever watch Catfish: The Movie?   If you liked that, you'll LOVE Catfish: The TV Show.  It's my current obsession.  Essentially, it's about poor innocents who fall in love with dubious people online, and then with the help of the filmmkers behind the show, finally confront them.  Oh, and they are always so optimistic, the poor things.  But of course, the other person is always lying about their appearance (they are generally fat). It's amazing to me that people, adults, have these all encompassing online relationships full well knowing that, at some point, the truth will come out and it'll all fall apart.  And its equally amazing to find there are actually people who think they're talking to supermodels that have a dysfunctional Skype. 

1) This Real Sports Segment

Remember Dominique Moceanu?

Now you do.  And Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel relayed this amazing story about her.

During Dominique's quest for gold in 1996, there was a young girl named Jen that idolized her.  So much so that she wanted to take up gymnastics just so she could be like Dominique. Just one thing:  Jen was born without legs.  But, despite her limitations, she took up gymnastics and quickly figured out how to tumble.  In fact, she got so good at it that she went on to become a tumbling champion of some sort. 

That's not the amazing part.

It turns out that Jen had been given up for adoption after birth (because her parents didn't want to deal with a special needs child).  When she was a teenager, she became curious about her birth parents and asked her mother and father if they knew anything about them.  Well, they did.  And it turns out that her original last name was Moceanu, and that Dominique was her biological sister.  Fucking weird right? What are the chances your childhood idol is actually your biological sister you've never once met? Now, go to the Google and watch the segment. 

There ya have it. 

I probably should have just rented season one of Homeland so people would get off my back for not watching it.  Oh well..

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top Five Hostess Cakes

I meant to write this post a couple of weeks ago during the fake outrage and sentiment over a bunch of crappy, fattening snack foods no one even eats anymore, but got lazy and forgot about it until now (which seems appropriate somehow. I equate Hostess with apathy because who ever gets excited about eating these things anyway.)  All that said, Hostess Cakes were definitely a part of childhood, for better or worse, so I wanted to pay tribute to these sugary, and always uninspiring snacks that were never as good as they seemed.


5) The Baseball Cupcake

"But Mom, it has a baseball on the top!  I like baseball!  It's gotta be good!"  I doubt I ever uttered those words, or any like them, but I'm sure I found the idea of the baseball cupcake more appealing because I liked baseball.  Sorta the same reason we all wanted Air Jordans when we were younger; we wanted to be part of some club that marketers sold us on, but didn't really exist.  Unless the club was "children of annoyed parents who wish their kids would shut up about baseball cupcakes."   Anyway, regardless of all that, the vanilla flavored cake was eons better than their signature chocolate cupcake, despite the fun swirl on the top of those.  It's hard to fuck up a chocolate cupcake, actually, I would have argued it's impossible, save for the fact I've eaten enough Hostess chocolate cupcakes to know they are fucking terrible.  So, it's very possible. 

4) The Devil Dog

Technically a Drake Cake, but since Hostess owned Drake, we'll include it.  I believe Devil Dogs were limited to the east coast because when I mentioned them once to west coast born co-workers years ago, they had no clue of what I was talking about.  I had my mother send me out a box, which we all ate together, then shrugged and said "OK, that happened," before we got a drink of water and felt guilty.  My parents would often put Devil Dogs in my school lunch as a dessert, and nine times out of ten, my turkey sandwich would crush the snack to make the whole eating experience a complete mess.  Plus, the cake had a horrible habit of sticking to the top of my mouth, which drove me crazy.  And they kinda look like turds.

3) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie

I suppose this was the Ecto Cooler of cakes. You gotta love food and drink that are colored green so they appear radioactive. That's gotta be healthy. I remember I bought my first turtle pie with Danny McGarry back in elementary school.  We both loved the ninja turtles, and now suddenly we had a green filled pie to celebrate our appreciation for all their ass-kicking efforts.  And, of course, it sucked, and I barely got halfway through it.  I don't remember exactly what it tasted like, as I'm sure "ass" wasn't the intended flavor, but for Brett not to finish something sweet, you know it's complete shit.

However, a little later on in life, these pies made for great projectiles when throwing them at friends' cars (don't judge).  You'd throw, they'd splatter and stick, and everyone would have a good laugh.  Save for the person who found their car the next morning covered in the green goo of turtle pie.

2) Twinkies

I have to admit I did like these overly sweet snacks (even the shitty tasting low-fat version), though not as much as the smell of them.  I suppose they were like popcorn in that sense, the scent was more enticing than the actual cake.  Regardless of my appreciation, my main memory of the Twinkie was vomiting one on the side of my parent's car while driving to Cape Cod one August.  It was also the day I realized I couldn't read in the car without getting sick.  My parents had bought me a Mickey Mouse comic book, which I read and enjoyed until I realized the unstoppable wave of nausea brought on by the concentration.  Needless to say, I couldn't make it to the next rest stop, so I rolled down the window and threw up PURE WHITE along the side of the car.  Like Santa's beard.  Anyone want a Twinkie?

1) Suzie-Q

This thing should have come with a warning label it was so dense.  I'm surprised there wasn't a rash of choking incidents caused by Susie-Q's getting lodged in people's throats. 

In high school, we had some sort of current events class that seniors mainly used to goof around.  And, one day, we got caught on a conversation about lunch, and the teacher offered that he was eating a salad, or something else that was light.  Louis was so offended by his choice and dismissed it as "women food."  When asked what "women food" consisted of, Louis ran through various low-cal items that wouldn't fill him up even if he wasn't hungry.  When the teacher asked him what "Man Food" might be, Louis paused for a moment and confidently said...

"A Susie-Q"

There ya have it, have a good day all.