12Sep
seven

7 Things I Think 9.12.14

1. I think Glenn from The Walking Dead doesn’t make it out of this season alive. (Bonus: I think I love Andrew Lincoln’s attempt at a southern accent.)

2. I think I don’t know whether to pity or admire these dads at a One Direction concert. Regardless, these pictures capture the cow-eyed dad look that I feel destined to have one day with my girls.

3. I think that if you aren’t making John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight a weekly watch, you are missing out. This week, he took on Student Debt.

4. I think this read is English major porn and a big thinks to my friend Jacey from The Balanced Wife for passing it along to me. It talks about TV, culture, adulthood and all kids of other things that are pretty much completely up my alley.

5. I think I didn’t know that the demand for a Christian Mingle movie existed.

 

6. I think my friends Bryan and Tyler just released a product that could change the nature of how you travel if you like traveling on airplanes for free.

If you are good with money and paying off credit card bills, these guys can help you capitalize on points programs. On a smaller level, I’ve done with they are talking about and it allowed me to fly my family of (then) four to Disney World last December for less than $50.

7. I think I’m legit worried that this will not only not be Silver Linings Playbook 2, but it will also not be good. Like, at all.

11Sep
football

How To Not Be The Worst At Watching Football

So it’s football season. How do I know? Because white women are beginning to post their PSLs on instagram and social media, in general, is more insufferable than usual as people assign tangible value to what teams they root for and how these teams fare.

In other words, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Because of this infusion of good feelings and hope, people get the bright idea to not just watch football, but to watch it with others. On paper, this sounds super great.

“We can invite our FRIENDS. There will be FOOD. It will be loud but in a GOOD WAY that makes us think that we are a part of a larger collective.”

But this mindset belies the true nature of what it is to gather many humans together in a small place.

Watching football in a group setting is like being on Survivor. I mean honestly, everything in a group setting is like Survivor isn’t it? Except maybe Survivor itself because in that context, Survivor is really more like Lord of the Flies, but instead of kids, it’s adults and instead of adults intervening at the end, it’s a studio audience and Jeff Probst and wow, not going to lie, this analogy really got away from me in a pretty huge way.

The point is, there are roles and you have to understand your role. Are you the Alpha fan who takes up all the space both physically and emotionally? Great. We love that you still wear football jerseys as an adult human man and you should totally never ever question that decision.

Are you the provider and you bring all the awesome snacks and drinks? Great. Then you are the best, although spinach dip? We’re watching football, not doing pilates. Less spinach, more cheese.

Are you super hot and no one cares what you do because your presence just makes things seem more hopeful in an ultimately shallow way? Great. Do this as much as you can because soon you will have to use your words.

Are you insightful and analytical and bring an intellectual component to the table? Great. But remember, if you find yourself talking about your fantasy team, you’re obligated to leave. Forever.

Are you hilarious and make perfectly timed jokes that don’t undercut the action? Great, but honestly, its better to leave them wanting more than to make 3 too many jokes about Taco Bell. Trust me on this.

If you aren’t one of these roles, chances are that you are one of those people on Survivor who get voted off having had 48 total seconds of camera time. But you know what? Who cares? Those people are people too.

As such, I wanted to lay out some strategies for you to blend in and make the most of your ill-advised decision to go watch something you inherently do not understand.

+ Know who has the conch.

Extending the disastrous Lord of the Flies analogy from earlier, you have to understand the room. By and large, most football viewing groups have a consensus team that is being rooted for. In the rare event that this is not clear, default to who is hosting the party. There’s no great reason to ride or die for the team opposing the consensus team or the host’s team because all it does is make you look like a Douche-Casserole.

Moreover, being the lone dissenter does two things:

A) Causes your presence to annoy everyone else

B) You will become a monument to their frustration or antagonism. Neither is a great look so just don’t do it.

+ Be the Anti-Ricky Perry.

The best strategy is to treat yourself like an intellectually lacking political candidate, so give yourself vetted and rehearsed talking points…

“Man, that offensive line is pretty thick in the britches across the board, am I right?”

…and parrot complicated concepts in a simple, relatable way that cannot be challenged.

“That zone blitz is really keeping their offense off-balance today.”

If challenged on one of your statements, either repeat it in a different way…

“I just mean that you can tell how off-balance their offense is because of the zone blitz.”

…or divert attention…

“Who brought the spinach dip? What is this, Whole Foods? And it looks like it sat under a prison shower drain for two weeks. BRB guys, I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

+ Ask a question or state a statement.  

There’s no time for nuance. Ask a question and people are happy to help.

“That stupid looking guy on the sideline is Peyton Manning’s younger, more incompetent brother, right?”

Or make a worthwhile statement that contributes to the running commentary.

“Wow, that linebacker is blitzing like a real Streisand today” or “Peyton Manning’s head looks like something Krang would design to put himself into.”

The atmosphere around a football game is like a river and the best way to blend in is to never do anything that dams up the flow.

+ If asking a question, know when to ask what question.

If it’s a quick, informationally-seeking question, sure, fire that off during the game.

“Have we thrown it deep yet?”

But for the bigger, existential questions like…

“What’s Nick Saban’s deal?”

or

“Does Tom Brady represent the new Enlightened Masculinity because he promotes the Ugg brand and celebrates his wife’s greater earning potential? Or is his declining performance indicative of an internal and existential struggle to maintain happiness in the face of these realities?”

…save those for halftime, commercial breaks or never ever. Speaking of never, ever…

+ No one on the football field wears “outfits”. 

Referring to anything the players are wearing as outfits will betray your ignorance. Similarly…

+ Don’t ever say fair or unfair. 

Saying something is fair or unfair is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how football works. This is football not a PTA meeting.

Is it fair that winning the Big 10 conference for Ohio State is like winning a Hunger Games involving Katniss and a contingent of Special Olympics athletes? No, friend, it is not. But that’s football. Watch it, celebrate it and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Got any other tips? Lets hear em in the comments…

10Sep
tom cruise

The Popcast Episode 56: Pop Culture What Ifs

In this week’s episode of The Popcast, Jamie and I dive deep into the alternate universes of pop culture where we discuss:

– What if John Travolta never accepted the sweet embrace of Scientology?

– What if Britney had never cheated on Justin?

– What if Oprah had never provoked Tom Cruise to outburst?

– What if John Hughes and Molly Ringwald had never had a falling out?

– What if OJ Simpson never became a murderer?

Read More »

9Sep
The-Drop-Movie-Poster-Wallpaper-516x340-1409671100

Movie Trailer Tuesday: The Drop

I owe a debt of gratitude to James Gandolfini. Watching him as Tony Soprano kind of sent me into a personal tailspin as I tried to find other shows and characters who were as vivid and compelling as he was. As such, I was pretty much ride or die for anything he did after Sopranos so I’m sad that after his death, we’re coming to the end of his projects.

This truth, combined with how movies with hints of organized crime elements in them are basically my catnip, means that I’m definitely seeing The Drop. The question though is, will this be something I do as a monument of appreciation or because it’s just a good movie? Let’s break the trailer down and find out…

Read More »

5Sep
seven

7 Things I Think 9.5.14

1. I think my good friend Amanda wrote this post on Buzzfeed and that you should read it and be better for it.

2. I think I’ll never ever ever get tired of people reading mean tweets about themselves. Never.

3. I think I just don’t get GE’s “The Boy that Beeps” commercial.  I want to though. A for effort and everything, you guys, but just give me a little something else.

I watched it and felt like I’d just seen a PT Anderson movie, which is great I guess if you are film auteur or whatever, but these are the commercial streets, son. Ain’t no body got time for nuance and layers. Just give me Flo from Progressive and tell me what to do.

I like to think about what Jack Donaghy would say if this commercial had happened on his watch with GE.

dongahy

4. I think that this post from Nish Weiseth about depression…just whoa. I know she wrote it a few weeks ago, but go read it right now as it is violently impactful in both its beautiful simplicity and profound clarity. And if you’ve already read it? Read it again.

5. I think that we’ve been working on these over the past few months and they launch next week. We’re really hoping they don’t suck.

6. I think this is a real thing that seemed like a good idea. (thanks to Laura McClellan)
Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.58.29 PM

7. I think that apparently good ideas are really, really hard.
saving christmas

2Sep
skeleton

Movie Trailer Tuesday: The Skeleton Twins

I have the softest of soft spots for ex-SNLers. Have I seen MacGruber? Yeah, I guess I have. But do I have any regrets? Not one, my friend. Not one.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw the trailer for The Skeleton Twins starring not one but TWO former SNLers. And it’s two good ones too as in not Horatio Sanz or Rachel Dratch (no offense Dratch and Sanz).

(SIDEBAR: Doesn’t “Dratch and Sanz” feel like a show? If we have Rizzoli and Isles and that’s meant to be a serious show ((I think. I’ve never actually seen it)) couldn’t we have Dratch and Sanz too and it be not serious? Like they are employees of the local pound and instead of them being bad guys hunting down innocent animals, they are actually the good guys hunting down a**hole animals that have been messing with people? You wouldn’t watch that? Ok, I probably wouldn’t either.)

Regardless, after watching the trailer, these are my feelings…

HOPEFUL: C’mon. Wasn’t Hader destined to play a gay character? This character feels like Stefon but in a strait jacket and that’s not a bad thing because what would even happen with 90 minutes of this:

HOPEFUL: And Ty Burrell! Weirdly, I totally buy him as a gay character. Also, I’m excited to see what he’s like outside the Modern Family universe. Is it more that he exists BECAUSE of Modern Family or does Modern Family exist more because of him?

NOT HOPEFUL: Did they get the right Wilson brother? Probably. Did they get the right person for this role? I don’t know.

I have no beef with Luke Wilson, you guys. I loved his work in the Royal Tenenbaums and he has a lifetime pass from me for Old School. THAT BEING SAID, I’m just not 1000% that he’s great here.

What would Eric Bana look like here? Or are they going for the thing where there’s so much happening between Hader and Wiig that they need the Luke Wilson character to just be there and not creep for your attention?

Come to think of it, is Luke Wilson the perfect complement when including kinetic, comedic types? It’s almost like he needs to exist in a world where something else (Wes Anderson films / setpieces) or someone else (Vince Vaughn / Will Ferrell) is doing all the heavy lifting.

HOPEFUL: the power of understatement. The common denominator with all the casting, seemingly, is that this is a film trading on understatement. Everyone is turned way down and we get to see what happens when Gilly, Stefon and Phil are told to go to their corners. And I love that.

Some of the Robin Williams stuff that was dredged up in the wake of his death reminded me of some of the nuanced genius he was capable of when asked. The problem with brilliant, over-the-top comedic actors is that there is a tendency to defer to that over-the-topness because it’s a known, accepted quantity. But ultimately, leaning on that too much is limiting. So I appreciate the potential of what is possible more than I want what has already made me laugh.

NOT HOPEFUL: The problem with understatement though is that it puts more emphasis on subtleties. Are we sure Wiig and Hader can do that? Wiig probably, but is there evidence that Hader can not get blown off the screen when he isn’t doing a bit?

HOPEFUL: But that lip-sync of Nothing’s Going To Stop Us Now though.

 

26Aug
gong

Movie Trailer Tuesday: Gone Girl

I’m not going to lie. I read Gone Girl and I was pretty ok with it. I know that’s not a super popular take but I judge books more leniently than movies. To me, the triumph is in my actually finishing it and I really could care less how the author resolves the thing.

It usually goes like “Oh that’s what he/she did? Seems strange but NO MATTER. Everyone! Internet! I just finished a real book! Adjust your perceptions of me accordingly!”

If LOST had just been a book, I think everyone would have been pretty ok with it.

Anyways, lets look at what all the trailer suggests in terms of hopeful vs. not hopefulness…

+ Hopeful

…. because Rosamund Pike seems pretty legit as Girl That Has Gone, right? She seems like she brings some oomph to the role.

…. Speaking of legit, Carrie Coon plays Affleck’s sister and I’m so in on her right now due to her run on The Leftovers.

…. Ben Affleck is just doing his Ben Affleck schtick. He’s like George Clooney-lite in roles like this and I’m completely ok with it. Batman vs. Superman will be a pretty huge test, but for me, if he just wanted to spend the rest of his life doing roles like, “Ben Affleck but as a CIA guy assigned to get people out of Iran” or “Ben Affleck but as a bank robber” then I would be fine with it.

…. Did you see that the author of the book, Gillian Floyd rewrote the ending for the movie? While I’m generally not a fan of that, I think that, given how this one ends, it was pretty needed.

…. We finally get the chance to see if NPH will translate to film. Something tells me that the answer is probably maybe not, but who cares. (Insert “Legendary” joke here) We will get to see.

…. There’s a Torkelson involved in this movie. Can you even understand that right now? Because I cannot.

+ Not Hopeful

…. Lets address the super wealthy and prolific purveyor of middling but super profitable movies in the room: Tyler Perry. I’m not saying having him in this automatically indicts the movie into being awful. But it’s pretty suggestive. In the same way that getting a butterfly tattoo on the small of your back could be a potentially great move, it’s usually just emblematic of a poor decision.

Tyler Perry as an actor is basically the equivalent to a tramp stamp is what I’m saying here.

…. I’m not super impressed with the accent the detective lady (as played by Kim Dickens) is rolling out. Guys. A southern accent is not something you can put on like a hat or obnoxious affectation. A southern accent requires the body, soul AND voice box.

What do you think? What did I miss either good or bad?

 

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