Category Archives: Humor

My Year in Film: 2014

I know you’ve been waiting for this.

Once again, I’ve reviewed all the movies I saw this year. I always aim to see at least one new movie per month. This year I barely met my goal with 13 movies seen.

There were definitely a few that I really wanted to see but didn’t. Those neglected pieces of cinema include: Foxcatcher, Interstellar, Obvious Child and Whiplash.

Overall, I had a lot of fun at the theater this year (and, yeah, I know; I say that every year). There were a couple notable disappointments, but I’m quite satisfied with my experiences.

Also, You know (or should by now) how the Internet works. There are spoilers.

The Lego Movie

This is ostensibly a kids movie, but I know a hell of a lot of adults who loved it. Believe me, I was surprised. The Lego Movie might be the one exception to the rule when it comes to movies based on toys. That rule being they’re terrible.

I’m looking at you Battleship. 

The movie is bright and flashy and well animated. It also has an infectiously fun theme song performed by Tegan and Sara. On the surface, it’s a pretty easy sell to kids.  Honestly, that’s probably all that was expected of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (co-writers and directors).

But they didn’t stop there.

Instead, they got an incredibly talented and funny voice cast with the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, etc…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Poor Captain America.

This movie would have stuck with people more had Guardians of the Galaxy not been released the same year. With that in mind, this was a really solid entry for Marvel.

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15 Struggles Only People Who Aren’t an Extrovert or Introvert Will Understand

I guess I should get this out of the way upfront. This isn’t actually a listicle. I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve been baited AND switched.

The idea for this post started with a tweet that I laughed at way too hard.

TwitterBuzzfeed has mastered the art (using a loose definition of that term) of creating quizzes and listicles that provide little or no actual content except gifs that make people go: I remember that or that has happened to me.

One type of article (again using the loose definition of that term) I often see shared on Facebook or Twitter is “XX struggles of an introvert” or “XX reasons you might be an introvert.” Here’s the thing, I’m not saying my friends and family are lying…I’m just saying.

I’ve seen people post an article about being an introvert, but I’ve seen the very same person drunker than an Irish pirate, singing “Piano Man” off-key at a crowded bar with a group of strangers. (It should be noted that’s not exactly something I’ve seen, but a close facsimile as not to put any of my friends on blast).

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5 Things About Working at Night

I would be willing to bet most people reading this have a regular nine-to-five job. However, there’s a portion of the population that doesn’t. Those brave souls, like me, work at night.

When I left Kansas for North Carolina, it was to take a job as a copy editor. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of journalism, copy editors often start their days in the afternoon and work late until deadline. The deadline depends on the paper–particularly the circulation of said paper. But in general, deadlines are around midnight.

To paraphrase The Simpsons, you become isolated and weird.

5. Your Sense of Time is Thrown Way Off

When work straddles midnight (definitely less sexy than it sounds), it’s easy to forget what day it is. I’m not kidding when I say I’m only, like, 50 percent sure what day it is at any given time. Also, forget knowing the date off the top of your head. Thankfully, my watch tells me what it is, or else I would only be able to say, “I think it’s somewhere between the 15th and the 17th.”

Not only that, many people who work second our third shift don’t have a normal weekend. My weekend, for instance, is Tuesday and Wednesday. That means that my “Friday” is actually Monday, which also means I’m psyched when you’re pissed you have to go back to work. There’s more to it than that, though.

GET OUT!!!

Occasionally, I’ll go out to get something before work on Saturday and become overwhelmed by how many people there are on the roads and at the grocery store. I find myself thinking “What the hell are all you people doing here!? Don’t you know I’m trying to shop!?” It only occurs to me later that it’s everyone else’s day off.

Speaking of shopping…

4. Shopping and Errands are Completely Different

Assuming you don’t make the mistake of going to a grocery store at 1 p.m. on Saturday like me, shopping, for the most part, is awesome.

Getting groceries during the middle of a weekday or late at night is so much less infuriating. There are always parking spaces, there are fewer people and there are shorter checkout lines.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Granted, if you go during the middle of the day, you’ll have to shop with the retired crowd–But it’s a small price to pay. If you go late at night, you’ll have to deal with certain percentage of degenerates. You know, the sort of people who bring a toddler to Wal-Mart at 1 a.m. I’m not a parent, but probably don’t have a baby at Wal-Mart at 1 in the morning?

I also don’t have to sacrifice my lunch break to go to the bank, DMV or post office, which is pretty great.

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The Top Simpsons Episodes

If you are now in your mid-20s to mid-30s that means you grew up, at least partially, in the 90s–you know, that decade Buzzfeed won’t let us forget about.

The 90s produced a lot of terrible things, but the decade did produce the best Simpsons episodes ever made. Believe me, I know it’s kind of hackey to rag on the show’s newer episodes. I’ve heard from people who say the newest episodes have improved, but I wouldn’t know. I stopped watching 10 years ago.

Maybe it makes me a curmudgeon or a snob, but I firmly believe of the Simpsons as seasons two through 10.  The first season was still working out some of the kinks and, for me, things just started to fall apart after season 10. But, in between, lie some of the cleverest TV ever broadcast.

WFLD, the Chicago FOX affliate, played The Simpsons three times a day–twice around dinner time and then a late episode around 10 p.m. As a kid, I saw pretty much every episode from the golden era…multiple times. It was difficult to choose, but here are my favorite episodes from each season.

Season 2 – “Lisa’s Substitute”

Initially, I was going to select another episode–possibly “The Way We Was,” “Simpson and Delilah,” “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment” or “Three Men and A Comic Book”–because I laughed more. I thought about it and realized that, even though this episode has less laughs, it’s better overall. It also has possibly the best cameo of the series: Dustin Hoffman playing Mr. Bergstrom, the substitute.

When Miss Hoover gets Lyme disease, Mr. Bergstrom takes over the class. He’s engaging and interesting and basically the antithesis of all the other teachers at Springfield Elementary. Lisa is immediately taken with the new substitute. Shortly thereafter, she runs into him at a local museum and is embarrassed by Homer’s graceless behavior.

Miss Hoover’s Lyme disease turns out to be psychosomatic, and she comes back to class. Thus, Mr. Bergstrom will be leaving town. Lisa panics and rushes to the catch him before he leaves town for another job, admitting she won’t know what to do without him. Mr. Bergstrom writes her a note and tells her it’s all she’ll need if she’s feeling alone. The note simply says “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Upset by his departure, Lisa takes it out on Homer, calling him a baboon. Homer, in his own clumsy way, is able to console Lisa. He expresses, again clumsily, that he’s never lost anyone like Mr. Bergstrom because all the people he truly cares about and loves are living under the same roof as him.

This episode is great and unique because it doesn’t really follow the conventional path of a sitcom. The story arch is more like a drama with a few laughs thrown in here and there. It didn’t need a bunch of Homer or Bart’s shenanigans or goofball one-off characters to make a memorable TV. It was done in a way that only The Simpsons (or possibly Futurama) could have pulled off.

If you were exactly the right age to see this episode when it aired (pre-teen/teenager) or even in reruns, I can’t help but think it would be extremely comforting to see someone like Lisa–smart and resourceful but not necessarily popular–on  a popular TV show go through many of the same things you might be feeling.

Perhaps The Simpsons wasn’t the menace to society that talking heads in the media depicted it as.

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5 Things About Moving to the South

Over the last 27 years, I’ve lived in four different states. I made my most recent move a little more than a year ago when I moved from Kansas to North Carolina.

However, I was raised primarily in what author Colin Woodward calls “Yankeedom,” a portion of the upper Midwest (that also stretches into New England). As a (proud) Northerner, I was a little ambivalent about what I might experience in North Carolina.

Here’s what I’ve seen over the last year.

Author’s note: This post is based entirely on my experiences. Some of you might have had different experiences or disagree with my conclusions, and that’s great! But I can only speak to my own perceptions. Also, I think it goes without saying, but I will regardless, of course I’m biased. I admit that. I grew up in town northwest of Chicago for 18 years. For me, the South might as well have been a foreign country.

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