Monthly Archives: February 2012

Rockstar Roasted Coffee + Energy Mocha

This is a coffee flavored Rockstar energy drink. This ideal for mornings when you can’t decide between coffee or an energy drink. The mocha flavor gives you a little chocolate satisfaction as well. It tastes more like coffee than a Rockstar, so don’t be a baby and try it. It makes me really jittery, more so than other energy drinks.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Munchies Flamin’ Hot

So it is 2:37 AM, you’re stoned at 7-Eleven endlessly debating what to munchies to get, when you discover a bag that literally says MUNCHIES on it, and you know that it was meant to be. Munchies Flamin’ Hot has Flamin’ Hot Cheetos,  Baja Picante Sun Chips, Salsa Doritos, and Rold Gold Pretzels. The Doritos and Sun Chips have a little spicy kick to them, but nothing compared to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The Cheetos will make you sweat under your eyes. Even the little pretzels are kind of hot from all the second hand spice from the hotter munchies. A great choice when you can’t choose.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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City Slickers

City Slickers is Billy Crystal’s best movie. It is the story of a guy who goes on a cattle drive with his two best friends in search of his smile in the middle of a midlife crisis. Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern are great costars, and Jack Palance secured his legacy as a badass for a whole new generation. Pay attention to Billy Crystal’s son, played by little Jakey Gyllenhaal. Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, also makes an appearance as Phil’s young lover.

Lots of great moments as the title city slickers try to adjust to cowboy life and they embark on a paid vacation to experience a real life cattle drive. Shit gets real, and Billy Crystal must rise to the occasion and lead Norman and his fellow cows to their destination.

It is a heartwarming movie. Funny and true, something that you can watch with your family or your friends. I think you are legally obligated to watch this if you stumble upon it when channel surfing.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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Bud Light Lime

A typical American swill lager with a twist – a lime twist. My guess is that the trolls at Anheuser-Busch finally realized that Bud Light has no flavor. They decided that they would add lime, and so they did. It’s not a bad idea. It actually makes it taste less like water. I hope that Corona takes note and copies them. Bud Light still sucks though.

Critically Rated at 9/17

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Orangina

Orangina is described as a sparkling citrus beverage with natural pulp. It is 12% juice and 2% pulp. Not that impressive for an orange drink. It really doesn’t taste that good. If you like this, try the orange San Pellegrino and forget about Orangina. And change the name already. It is too similar to orange vagina.

Critically Rated at 5/17

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The Lottery Changed My Life

TLC’s best reality show is about people who won the lottery. It makes you stop thinking, “What if I won the lotto” and start thinking, “When I win the lotto.” It is a very dangerous show to watch, you will just assume that you are next. It shows the two types of winners: the ones who spend the money wisely, and the ones who blow through it like Whitney Houston at the crack house (what? Too soon?).  It is a cool show that shows you the pros and cons of winning the lottery, while simultaneously subliminally selling you the idea that you will win the jackpot.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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The Breakfast Club’s Day Off

The Breakfast Club’s Day Off

The 1980s were a crazy decade. Good things to come out of the ‘80s include DeLoreans, cocaine, Thriller and John Hughes movies. John Hughes was one of the most influential and productive filmmakers of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. We can thank him for such classics as Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, Weird Science, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Vacation and many others. His two best films are Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the Breakfast Club. John Hughes said in an interview that Ferris Bueller and Sixteen Candles are companion films, but I disagree with him. With respect of course, but I find more parallels between Ferris Bueller and the Breakfast Club. They are the real companion films, made just a year apart, the Breakfast Club in 1985 and Ferris Bueller in 1986.

Before we get started, let me just say casting can make or break a film. Matthew Broderick is Ferris Bueller. The movie wouldn’t have worked without his performance. It is extremely difficult to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience and then jump back to talking to the other characters that aren’t aware they are in a movie. Alan Ruck was a great choice to play Cameron. Mia Sarah (Sloane) didn’t really give an amazing performance, but she didn’t ruin anything either. The Breakfast Club is an ensemble film, and if any of the five main actors were miscast the movie would have fizzled. Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy all deliver great performances, and they play off each other well.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is about one person’s best day in high school. It is a fantasy, it is surreal. He is aware that he is in a movie and he talks directly to the audience, offering them advice and giving insight about himself and the other characters like Cameron. Ferris Bueller is who you want to be, he has no problems, he transcends all the cliques and he makes you appreciate living life.

The Breakfast Club is about a group of kids stuck in an all day detention in high school. It is real. They don’t talk to the audience, they talk to each other. Each kid represents a clique, and together they transcend high school politics and become friends, if only for a day. The cliques are still recognizable today, there’s the nerd, the bully, the jock, the princess, and the basket case. They know that life sucks. Some of them live less than ideal lives, and they have lots of real problems that they share with each other.

Ferris Bueller is mobile. He should be at school, but he treats the day like a Saturday and fakes being sick. He, Cameron and Sloane zip around Chicago in a flashy red Ferrari. They do more things than they could have actually done. They execute a plot to get Sloane out of school, they go to the Cubs game, they go to a museum, to a fine dining restaurant, to Sears Tower, and they even hijack a parade. The parade sequence is super extravagant, there are thousands of people singing and dancing to Twist and Shout. It is an extremely elaborate scene.

The Breakfast Club is the exact opposite. It’s a Saturday but they have to go to school for detention. These kids are stuck in the library for almost the entire time. Occasionally they go somewhere else, but they are still trapped in the school.  They are stationary, and events unfold at a more natural and realistic pace. Compare this movie’s dance sequence to the grandiose parade scene in Ferris Bueller. It is much more tame and natural. They are rebelling, but in a quiet way.

The Breakfast Club is a slice of life for these high school students. They are still stuck in the politics of high school; they don’t want to be adults yet. The only two major adult characters are the principal and the janitor. The principal is a jerk, angry, strict and kind of an asshole. He represents growing up and being a suit. The janitor is kind, nice, and genuine. He represents growing up and being a failure. The parents only show up to drop off and pick up the kids at the beginning and end.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is about growing up. The adults play a much more active role in the plot. Ferris’s dad shows up a few times around Chicago, unaware how close by Ferris is. Ferris’s mom loves him and checks in on him. Principal Rooney and his secretary Grace are also pretty major roles. Rooney is the main antagonist, willing to do almost anything to catch Ferris Bueller in the act. And how can you forget Ben Stein as the monotonous droning teacher? The adults are featured more because Ferris is aware that he is growing up, and there won’t be too many more days like this one, and that’s why he has to take advantage of it… “Life moves pretty fast.”

Both movies end with the main characters going home and reflecting on their day, and how their day changed their lives. They changed our lives too. They both have classic endings. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has Rooney taking the school bus in sullen defeat, while “Oh Yeah!” is playing and the credits roll, before Ferris Bueller addresses the camera one last time. The Breakfast Club has Brian the Nerd reading in voice over their paper about who they are (they are the Breakfast Club), and it ends on a freeze frame of Bender with his arm raised in triumph.

Both these movies are classics. Trying to decide which is better is impossible. Sometimes Ferris is better, sometimes the Breakfast Club is. It depends on your mood. Do you want surrealism or realism? Fantasy or real life? These are companion films, two similar and yet totally different films from the same writer/director. They are his yin and yang of high school movies, they are both sides of the coin, they are his legacy.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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Lost Coast Great White

The Lost Coast Brewery from Eureka, CA makes some pretty good microbrews. This is their signature beer. It is a “light citrus beer with two-row malted barley, unmalted wheat, coriander, a secret blend of Humboldt herbs, crystal clear mountain water and ale yeast.” If you know anything about Humboldt, you know that Humboldt herbs are pretty chronic. Maybe that’s why this beer is even better when you are smoking a bowl. Take a fat hit, hold it, chug a little Great White, and exhale. Smooth and refreshing yes? Don’t tell my mom.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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Hundreds

Puff Daddy said it best: “It’s all about the Benjamins!” This is my favorite US currency with a non-president on it. Benjamin Franklin was a bad ass. He was a true Renaissance Man, a jack-of-all-trades. He makes Thomas Jefferson look like George W. Bush. He was just that awesome. This is a big bill, the largest denomination currently being printed. They aren’t as practical as twenties, but they are definitely more fun to have.

The clock on Independence Hall on the back says 4:10. If it were ten minutes later it would get a perfect score.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

Harry Potter is back on the big screen in the second installment of the franchise. Chris Columbus directs again, and the whole cast comes back with a few new additions, like Kenneth Branagh as the swarmy Lockhart. Harry is a year older and dealing with new problems like the damn Chamber of Secrets being opened and being the prime suspect by his fellow students.

The film is still a kid’s movie, it is still bright and happy, but there are a few more scarier scenes. The scene with Aragog and the Basilisk are two of the most frightening creatures in the series.  The computer graphics are much improved over the rushed effects in the first film.

Richard Harris died shortly after filming. He obviously wasn’t in great health while playing Dumbledore and it shows. Dumbledore looks tired and very ancient.

This is a very loyal translation of the book. It follows the source material very closely, and so when they make unnecessary changes, I just don’t understand why. Why does Harry have to fall out of a flying car and dangle there while Ron shrieks and tries to pull him back in? Was a sequence involving 2 underage wizards driving a flying car to their magic school not amazing enough? The most puzzling part of the movie was the ending when Hagrid returns to the Great Hall and Harry says, “There’s no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid,” and Dumbledore starts a slow clap, and everyone cheers and hugs him. They act like he’s a hero. Hagrid didn’t do anything. It’s called Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, not Hagrid Comes Home. It’s a very stupid ending to what had been a good movie.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Goldfish Cheddar

Ahhhh delicious Goldfish crackers, a staple of childhood. Good crunchy, cheddar cheese flavored crackers shaped like little fishies. Some of them are even smiling. There’s a few ways to eat them. You can shove a whole handful in your mouth, you can eat them one at a time. The most fun way is to either bite off their head or tail first just to make them suffer a little bit. If you have true masticative skills you can bite them cleanly in half, so you have two symmetric half fish. Not greasy, but you will have some finger residue if you eat a lot of them.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Stella Artois

A premium lager from Belgium, this is very smooth and drinkable. Better than Budweiser and a little classier than Heineken. It could potentially be the best lager in its class. I know some people who add a little ground pepper to it. It gives it a little kick and doesn’t fuck up the beer so try it out. You might just like it. If you are out on the town and want a Bud, but don’t want to order it, get this beer and after a few rounds, you will be enamored.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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Justin Bartha

I say “Justin Bartha.” You say “Who?” And I say “Exactly.”

Justin Bartha was in the Hangover and the Hangover Part II.  He played Doug Billings. You still don’t know which of the 3 guys I’m talking about. And that’s because he was the fourth guy, the forgotten guy. He was the one the groom that spent the whole first movie trapped on the hotel roof. He just kicked it at the hotel in the sequel. His filmography sounds like a joke…. Gigli, the National Treasure “films”, and Failure to Launch. Failure to Launch… just like his career.

Critically Rated at 7/17

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The Sandman

The Sandman is one of the best comics out there. Neil Gaiman is more than a writer; he is an absorber of everything that is the human condition. He crafts complex narratives spanning across reality and the depths of dream, resulting in a work of pure genius.

The Sandman is about Morpheus, AKA the Sandman, AKA Dream. He is one of the 7 Siblings of the Endless, along with Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Destiny and Delirium. Morpheus weaves in and out of a complex tale involving family values and choosing his fate. There are occasional self-contained stories as well. Historical figures, myths, legends, comic book characters, living gods and forgotten gods help or hinder Morpheus as he deals with the mistakes of his past.

Morpheus is Dream. He controls the dreaming. Dreams can take you anywhere and they convey that in the books. There are stories set in Shakespeare’s day, in 1850’s San Francisco, in modern times, in ancient times, this story takes you places and across time. And it all fits and serves the story.

This is a very dense saga that takes place over 75 issues, and separated into ten volumes. Each volume could be read by itself, but there is an overall narrative. You should read the entire series to fully appreciate Gaiman’s talent. There is a lot more than you could possible take in during one read. You need to read the entire series at least 3 times to truly appreciate how complex and well thought out the story is. There are many story arcs and subplots involving Morpheus and the ones whose lives he has effected. The whole story comes full circle and the story arcs established in the first volume get completed in a satisfactory way.

The Sandman is more than a comic. It is a celebration of history, myths, literature, and human nature. It is a philosophical workout. It is a masterpiece.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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A&W Sparkling Vanilla Cream Soda

A&W might be better known for their root beer and cheese curds, but they also make a good cream soda. Cream soda is an underrated and often forgotten soda. It’s good though and it’s good for you (I can’t prove that, it just sounds good). If you see it at the store, get it and let your taste buds have fun. It has caffeine in it, and that’s always a bonus.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Fifties

Fifty-dollar bills are the second highest denomination for US currency. They are kind of lame. They have to share a cash register slot with hundreds. I would rather have a few tens and crumpled ones than a fifty-dollar bill. Grant is the featured president. He was a good general but a pretty mediocre president with a corrupt office. I really want a bill with like an eagle catching a snake and the snake is on fire. I think that would be better than sticking lame presidents on potentially cool bills.

Critically Rated at 10/17

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book)

Harry Potter is back for his second year at Hogwarts, and things are darker off the bat. A mysterious house elf named Dobby warns Harry of a plot against him and begs him not to return to Hogwarts. It would be pretty uneventful if he did, and so of course he goes back.

Someone has opened the fabled Chamber of Secrets, unleashing an evil that preys on Muggle-born students, turning them to stone. Harry is a prime suspect, and the other students start to become weary of him.

Of course it’s not Harry. He is the hero. He figures out what is going on with the help of a petrified Hermione, and he saves the day again.

J.K. Rowling’s second installment of the Potter saga introduces new and important characters like Dobby, Gilderoy Lockhart, Lucius Malfoy, and Arthur Weasley. She also plants more story arcs that will be resolved later, i.e. the powerful diary of Tom Riddle. There are a lot of similarities between Chamber of Secrets and the Half-Blood Prince. This is a great sequel and a necessary step to building a franchise. It sets up a lot for the future books as well.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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