The Future of Hollywood is Image Comics

To say that Hollywood has run out of ideas is not a particularly bold stance. People have been saying that for decades, although it seems especially relevant right now. Our theaters are being flooded with remakes and reboots such as Robocop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Total Recall with little to no regard for audiences.

The only TMNT movie worth seeing.

Listen, I know it seems a bit ridiculous for an adult to care whether or not a movie about robot Jesus cop or personified reptiles who practice martial arts gets remade. I know that no one is taking the movies I know and love away from me. That being said, it still seems like a lot time, energy and money that could be going toward new stories.

Hollywood is desperately trying to hit reset (which is to say trying to shake down moviegoers nostalgic for their younger days) on movies that were as perfect as they could be in relation to their place and time in the cultural landscape. I’ve long believed that, if we are going to be subject to repetitive reboots, it would make more sense to try again on movies with interesting concepts that didn’t quite hit the mark.

So, what’s to be done in a sequel and reboot crazed market? Where shall we find these new and interesting stories you so desperately seek?

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5 Things About Taking a Cruise

I haven’t been to a lot of other countries. That might surprise you, since I’m such a cosmopolitan and learned gentleman. But it’s true! Before last month the only foreign country I had ever been to was Canada. And, if we’re being honest (we are!), that doesn’t really count.

However, I was recently able to up my total of foreign countries visited to two! I mean, that’s not great, but there are people in America who have never been on a plane. So I guess it could be worse. Anyway, I took a cruise to the Bahamas (one of the most American ways possible to go about seeing another country), and these are my observations.

5. It Seems Like a Bargain…BUT

The initial reason a cruise seemed attractive was the price tag. I majored in journalism (good choice past Burk!), which means my bank account is less than robust. A cruise seemed like a good way to see a different part of the world for relatively cheap.

And it is! Kinda! See, the initial price per person isn’t that staggering at face value. I think when my girlfriend and I booked the trip it was between $250-$300 per person for an interior room–a room without a view, so to speak. Cruise lines conveniently forget to remind you that there are fees and taxes associated with that price, though. We actually ended up paying a little more than $400 per person.

What a bargain!

Still, that doesn’t seem too bad for a room and all of your meals. Be prepared to get absolutely gouged on everything else, though.

The booze is really where they get you. Alcohol is marked up to airport bar and stadium concession stand prices. I want to drink a cold beer on my vacation as much as the next guy, but I also don’t want to pay $5 for a Bud Light. The mark up on the medicine in the little shop was even worse. Also, the cruise line will tack on a fee for gratuity, which can run you about $100.

4. The Staff is Incredibly Diverse

Our cruise left from Charleston, so I guess I assumed the majority of the crew would be American. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were a few Americans (mostly people running the activities throughout the day), but, just on the first day alone, we encountered people from South Africa, Australia, England, Bulgaria, Mexico and a number of Asian countries.

Also, our cruise director was named Jacques and had an accent I was never able to place. During the first announcement, I briefly thought he might have been Jean Claude Van Damme fallen on hard times. That proved to be false when I failed to notice any significant splits doing or throat punching throughout the week.

Our ethnically ambiguous director aside, it was amazing that a crew that diverse was able to communicate and keep things running smoothly with little to no issue.

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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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Songs That Should Be TV Themes

Even though it’s an unrealistic, even absurd, notion, sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had my own TV show. I have no idea what it would be like–whether it would be a comedy or drama–but the dream remains. Naturally, I started thinking about what the theme song would be to my hypothetical show.

You see, the theme is an important, but often overlooked, component of a show. It sets the tone and gives the audience a taste of what they’re in for. Some shows opt for a wholly original theme like New Girl, and countless other sitcoms from the 70s, 80s and 90s, while others, like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and The Americans, opt for entirely instrumental themes.

I, however, would prefer an honest-to-goodness track from an artist.

Comedies 

“Stupid Kid” – Alkaline Trio

“Stupid Kid” would be perfect for a show kind of like Freaks and Geeks, a comedy with a strong point of view and value on reminiscence. It’s short, fast and almost everyone can relate to it.

“Trouble in River City” – The Ergs 

I want this to be a theme song strictly because its brevity will allow it to be heard in full.

“Fix My Brain” – The Marked Men

Whadya know? Another punk song! Anyway, I see this as an update to Weird Science, well,  a better update

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