Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's time for our next installment of ACTION MOVIE GOLD: Demolition Man. O HELLZ YEA. While Demolition Man, unlike Timecop, is legit awesome, as opposed to ironically so-bad-it's-hilarious awesome, I must confess that when it comes to Stallone movies, rational judgment eludes me. As a shorter than 5'9" Italian American from Philadelphia who has been romantically involved with Brigitte Nielsen, I have a lot in common with Sylvester. In fact, I have never met a Stallone movie I didn't like. Rocky V* was awesome. Lockdown** was awesome. Over the Top*** was life-changingly spectacular. And Demolition Man is no exception.

*Objectively among the worst sports films ever made.
**Stallone is in jail! He has to break out! Why? Who cares!
***Perhaps the worst film of all time. We will definitely cover it here at some point.

Anyway, let's break down the above trailer, checklist style, shall we?

- Does it open with some unexplained Stallone beefcake? CHECK.
- Does it tell us right away that he was wrongly convicted of something? CHECK.
- Is that a naked Wesley Snipes with a haircut Dennis Rodman would later steal? CHECK.
- Does it tell us that he is a psychopathic killer? CHECK.
- Does he immediately start fucking shit up despite the fact that his cryo-sentence was "Eternity"? CHECK.
- Is that Sandra Bullock, queen of the 90s? CHECK.
- IS THAT ROB SCHNEIDER?! *sigh* Yes. Yes it is. CHECK.
- Does this trailer feature Stallone jumping out of a helicopter while firing a gun? CHECK.
- Does Stallone wear a beret for an inordinate amount of time in this trailer? CHECK.
- Does the title emerge from an explosion: FUCK YES.

Annnnd we are ready to go. Let's hit it.

Demolition Man, which was made in 1993, begins in the violent, overrun hellhole that is... 1996 Los Angeles. Yes, they set the movie a whole three years in advance. In typical action movie set in the future fashion, they never go far enough into the future. We begin with our hero John Spartan, played by the very jacked, very bereted Sly Stallone, hunting down our villain Simon Phoenix, portrayed by Wesley Snipes in his finest role outside of Too Wong Foo. Spartan tracks Phoenix down to his compound/factory in one of the worst parts of L.A., and lots of powerful, profound dialogue ensues. This eventually leads to a fight and, because the building was full of C4 and gasoline, a giant explosion. Not surprisingly, neither of our protagonists are harmed, but because there were supposedly a bunch of hostages in the building, Spartan is in trouble for blowing it up and apparently killing them all. You know what means - cryogenic freezing as punishment!

"This is my serious actor face. Also, teddy bear."
Flash forward to August 2032, and the peaceful paradise that is San Angeles. Despite the fact that he was sentenced to eternity in a block of ice, Simon Phoenix has a parole hearing to determine whether or not he has been rehabilitated. He has not, but that doesn't stop him from escaping, because it would appear someone has subconsciously programmed him with lots of knowledge of the current time, including the password to the mechanical restraints. (It's "teddy bear", in case you ever find yourself in such a situation.) A killing spree ensues, and because the police are ill equipped to handle such a thing - there hasn't been a murder in San Angeles since September of 2010 - it's time to defrost Spartan.

Spartan is thawed out and informed of the current situation by an always perky Sandra Bullock, a nerdy Benjamin Bratt and the warden from Shawshank whose name I don't feel like looking up. Also, Rob Schieder is there. The 90s were a weird time. Moving on. Stallone is distressed to find out that cursing is illegal, alcohol is illegal, smoking is illegal and toilet paper no longer exists. There are simply 3 seashells one is expected to use. Gross! Also, Simon Phoenix has killed 11 people already and it isn't even lunch time.

Because guns now only exist in museums, that is where we are sent to find Phoenix. He makes his way to the Hall of Violence and, after attempting unsuccessfully to break the protective glass on the gun exhibit, he throws another museum patron through the glass to access the firearms. (It should be noted that, upon seeing Phoenix trying to break the glass by kicking it, the other man asks him "What's your boggle?" before getting hurled through the glass. What a film.) Spartan arrives. They throw down. Phoenix escapes. The movie progresses.

Important side note: Phoenix was programmed and allowed to escape by Dr. Cocteau - who has a fat male geisha as an assistant - so he could kill underground hooligan Edgar Friendly, played by Denis Leary. Friendly's many crimes include graffiti and stealing food. So Cocteau - who is the man that essentially created the pacifist utopia that is San Angeles - releases the most dangerous criminal of all time to kill him. Brilliant move, Doc.

So anyway, as he is escaping, Phoenix tries to kill the Doc but his programming wont let him. Then Spartan chases him away. To thank him for "saving his life", Cocteau offers to take Spartan and Bullock - whose character is named Lenina Huxley in a too-clever-for-this-kind-of-movie shout out to Brave New World - to Taco Bell, which apparently is what every restaurant is called now. On the drive there Huxley explains that Arnold Schwarzenegger was president at some point thanks to the 61st amendment allowing foreigners to run for the office. This is hilarious on a number of levels, as Arnold had just released Last Action Hero in 1993, which is a fucking terrible film. Also, 61st amendment? There are currently 27 amendments, the last of which came in 1993. There have been 7 since 1933, one of which repealed prohibition. There were really 34 new amendments in 40 years? I don't think so! This film is unrealistic!

"I wanna have sex! And drink beer! And root for the SAWX!"
Anyway, Friendly and his minions attack a food truck outside of Taco Bell because they're hungry. Spartan empathizes while also fighting them off. When she and Spartan get back to her place, she explains that violence gets her all wet and asks Spartan if he wants to have sex. This involves helmets and mental imagery, much to Spartan's chagrin. Huxley explains that no one has real sex anymore, which Spartan refers to as "Boning, the wild mamba, and the hunka chunka." He then explains that it leads to "kids, smoking and raiding the fridge." I don't know where the writers came up with hunka chunka, but I'll be referring to sex as that exclusively for the rest of my days on Earth. Huxley is disgusted by this and kicks him out. He goes to his own apartment and watches security film from outside the museum, which reveals that Cocteau and Phoenix are in cahoots. Time to hit the sewers to team up with Denis Leary, who is essentially playing a bearded, filthy, sassy Che Guevara with a Boston accent.

Upon entering the sewers, which are filled entirely with Mexicans - so THAT's how you clean up southern California! You just put all the Mexicans underground! Ron Paul would approve - Spartan smells burgers. He gets a burger and a beer and, upon finding out that it is a rat burger, he keeps eating it. The man is a hero. As Spartan is talking to Boston Che, Phoenix and his band of recently unfrozen criminals - one of whom is played by Jesse Ventura! - attack. Despite all having machine guns and higher ground, they don't manage to kill anyone.

The fight eventually makes it's way outside and back to the cryolab. Also, at some point, Jesse Ventura kills Dr. Cocteau, because he apparently forgot to program all the other criminals he released NOT to kill him. Idiot. Whatever. Back to the violence.

Back at the cryolab Phoenix and Spartan duke it out. A laser minigun is involved, and in the process, everything gets wet with the freezing agent, which may or may not be water. Phoenix gets wet. Spartan grabs onto something high up and uses a magic freezing wand to freeze everything, including Phoenix. Spartan then uses his high perch to kick of Phoenix's head. Boom! Roasted.
Finish him!
Shortly after Spartan decapitates Phoenix the whole place explodes, because that's what happens in action movies. Spartan escapes unscathed. Then he makes out with Huxley and whisks her away to go do the hunka chunka. Boston Che takes over the city with the help of the fat geisha. Or something like that. Everyone lives happily ever after. Sting plays during the credits, which was apparently an original song written for the movie. Here it is. It is absolutely worth 270 seconds of your time.

A fitting end to a fantastic film. But they never did explain the seashells.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Once a month (or whenever the moment strikes), NERD OUTRAGE will delve deep into the golden era of action cinema: 1980 to 1999. Although overwrought with awful acting, formulaic premises and enough steroids to give a brontosaurus chest acne, this time was curiously special.

After nearly winning the Oscar for best actor and original screenplay in 1976, the 80’s became a time when Sylvester Stallone couldn’t form words unless he was gripping a submachine gun. “The Era” also took a juiced-up, Austrian egomaniac named Arnold Schwarzenegger to ridiculous heights of wealth and broken English one-liners. Bruce Willis married Demi Moore and immediately lost all his hair. A man who insisted his jerky hand movements were, in fact, karate and that his low-pitched mumbles were authoritative not the crazy street person blather many suspected, became Steven Seagal, millionaire action star. Hell, during this time, struggling actors dreamed of landing a role in a “Dolph Lundgren Picture.” And then…

There was Jean-Claude Van Damme. And in 1994, he was unstoppable…-ly addicted to cocaine. No, actually he wasn’t fully addicted until ’95. In 1994, he was still capable of churning out ACTION MOVIE GOLD.

It was a big year: True Lies, Speed, The Specialist, The Getaway, Fist of Legend, On Deadly Ground, Terminal Velocity, Beverly Hills Cop III, and The Crow were all released. It was also a shining moment for Jean-Claude. He starred in a couple big budget action spectacles that year, the video-game to movie remake Street Fighter and (trumpets sounding from the heavens)… Timecop. Jean-Claude was finally becoming an action star to be reckoned with—on the same level as Arnold and Sly—but, sadly, Timecop would be the apex of his stardom and moneymaking abilities. Soon, Jean-Claude’s $10,000-a-week cocaine habit would tear apart his personal life, dragging him down to the direct-to-DVD action movie purgatory (Have you seen Legionnaire?). But, that shouldn’t change how we view Timecop, which stands tall as a timeless sci-fi action indulgence.

And speaking of time, I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn that it is a central theme in Timecop. Based on a Dark Horse Comics series, the film primarily takes place in 2004, when the Time Enforcement Agency (TEC) is created to police time travel because bad guys were exploiting it. Just think: If you know which horse is going to win the race, you can bet a lot of money on that horse (if you’re confused, just watch how Biff gets rich in Back to the Future 2). So, in the Timecop world, time travel is like the Wild West and Jean-Claude’s the sheriff. It’s never fully explained how all these criminals are time traveling, like where they’re getting the proper equipment, etc., but we shouldn’t care. I mean, I would love to laugh at the fake scientific explanations of time travel in Timecop, if there were actually any fake scientific explanations in Timecop. There's nothing. There’s a token nerdy time travel expert guy. There are bunches of blinking computer screens. There are lots of flashing lights and loud sirens. There’s a rocket-powered time travel car that speeds toward a wall and, at the last second, disappears into a ripple. But none of it is explained, even half-assedly so. Yet, maybe that’s what makes Timecop so… Timecop?

The Hero

Jean-Claude is Max Walker, an officer in the TEC. During the film, Jean-Claude does the splits twice, kicks a henchman in the balls once and unloads a large gun blast into the balls of a different henchman before saying, “Whoa, that’s gotta hurt!” in a thick Belgian accent. Jean-Claude has a steamy sex scene with a nude Mia Sara, but director Peter Hyam’s makes sure you get a good look at Jean-Claude’s exposed ass. One would think he almost went out of his way to put Jean-Claude’s butt in the center of the frame. Kinda weird, Peter Hyams. But most of the time, Jean-Claude isn’t showing us his butt, but kicking everybody else’s.

On a time travel mission in the 1920’s, Jean Claude fights a large henchman with a handlebar mustache who says, “I went 10 rounds with John L. Sullivan himself.” Jean-Claude easily thumps the man senseless and quips, “I saw Tyson beat Spinks on TV.” In that same scene, Jean-Claude sticks a broken table leg up another henchman’s ass. Later, Jean-Claude freezes a henchman’s arm with liquid nitrogen and then blasts it off. The henchman lets out an extended horrific scream and falls off a platform 50 feet to the ground. As he watches the man fall, howling to his death, Jean-Claude jokes, “I should've said, ‘Freeze.’” Just another example of how, in action cinema, somebody can be dying in front of the hero, but he still has the wherewithal to stop, turn to the camera, and poke fun at the extreme suffering he has just inflicted.

The Villain

Ron Silver is Senator McComb, a man who literally does nothing nice the entire movie. He wants to become president at any cost. And when he’s not smashing his campaign manager’s face against the interior of futuristic limo for saying McComb doesn’t have enough money to run for president, McComb’s sending his minions back in time to commit highway robbery and stock fraud (and senseless murders) to bolster his campaign finances, so that he can afford to run for president.
In imagining his presidency, McComb predicts: “When I'm in office it's going to be just like the 80's. The top 10% will get richer and the other 90% can immigrate to Mexico where they can get a better life.” It’s almost a life imitating art moment, except for the Mexico part. Later, he nonchalantly shoots a man in the forehead and asks nobody in particular, “What’s the big deal? Point it, pull the trigger and BOOM! Somebody dies.” This belongs in a long line of action movie villains explaining their indifference to murder. At one point, McComb even gets a little goofy with Jean-Claude: “You see, I'm an ambitious Harvard-educated visionary who deserves to be the most powerful man in the world and you... you're a fucking idiot who never figured out that the only way to make anything of himself with all that fancy kicking was on Broadway.” Jean Claude kicks a henchman in the face and says, “I'm still kicking. I must be on Broadway.” That's comedy, folks, no matter how you slice it.

What to Watch For

Watch for what happens when two versions of someone, from the past and present, touch each other. During the whole film, there’s really only one rule about time travel: the same matter can’t occupy the same space. Huh? What? Why? It failed in “field tests,” according to the head of the TEC. Again, the science isn’t explained and we don’t care anyway, but what actually happens when two different versions of someone touch each other? First they let off hellish shrieks and melt into one big, computer-generated hydra. Then, after some flailing, the hydra dissolves into nothingness... or geniusness. You be the judge.

"Ebert gave this two stars. I refuse to watch it."

Sure, Timecop is limited, contradictory and, at times, you feel embarrassed for everybody involved in the film. But the delightfully clich├ęd plot, non-stop orchestrated violence and constant barrage of tongue-in-cheek one-liners make it, at the very least, a glorious guilty pleasure.

Look, don’t ignore Timecop. Don’t pretend like it doesn’t exist either. Embrace it, good reader… because, although you may want to, you can’t go back in time to stop Jean-Claude from making it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why I Turn Most of My Bank Account Into Wax

Like all the other contributors to this site I am a huge nerd about a lot of things, not the least of which is music. Over the past months this aspect of my nerdiness has only become more intense as I have gotten in listening to music on vinyl thanks to a turntable and speakers my dad gave to me. Now almost every time I go into New York (or anywhere else for that matter) a search of the area for record stores becomes part of the agenda. While this has proven to be a clear and present danger to my bank account, it's been a lot of fun as well. While it's not for everyone, this post is another list (because lists are fun and easy to write, especially when they are in no particular order), this time of reasons to get into vinyl.

1. It Actually Gets You To Listen to the Album

Some say that the album is an outdated way to get music out to people and that now that we have shifted as listeners from albums to songs, artists shouldn’t waste their time with albums considering people only listen to select songs for the most part anyway. Artists nowadays may not always be trying to make a coherent statement with albums but it does still happen sometimes. One of the top albums from last year (it won a Grammy which we all know are very important), Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” actually had consistent themes that dealt with well, growing up in the suburbs.

Even if an album doesn’t have an underlying theme, message, or whatever it’s nice to sometimes get out of the habit of just listening to certain songs over and over or shuffling all/some of your music. This is coming from someone who is as guilty of this as anyone. Hell, I’ll even sometimes go back to an earlier part in a song while listening to it just to hear it again. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to the last 1:30 or so of Handsome Furs’s “Memories of the Future” this year, I just know it’s a lot and I’m going to add to that total right now.

2. The Record Store Experience

Nobody loves the fact that you can type the name of whatever artist and album + mediafire and have said album playing in your iTunes within fifteen minutes more than me. But it has removed the record store from the music acquisition process (I’d say buying process but...come on...). I never felt this way about CD’s but I find the act of going into a record store or fair and flipping through rows and rows of vinyl very enjoyable. It’s even better when you come across something you’ve been searching for a while. Just a few weeks ago I found a copy of Sam Cooke’s “Live at the Harlem Square Club” album that I’ve been looking for. It was awesome.

"I want that purple stuff"

3. You Actually Appreciate The Album Art and Liner Notes

Let’s face it, the mp3 age has essentially killed album art as we know it. When iPods first hit the scene they didn’t even have color displays so much as display the album cover. Now that people have iPhones and iPod Touches you can sort of appreciate album art but it’s not the same at all, which is too bad because a lot of album art is very cool and/or interesting. Until last week I never really knew what was going on in the cover to Animal Collective’s album “Feels”, it just looked like the vomit of someone who had some bad Chipotle. Turns out it’s kids with some animals, most of which have weird purple stuff oozing from their orifices. How about that?

4. Buying The Albums Supports The Artists

This is an obvious one but for someone like me who listens to a lot of music it’s nice to have a way to support the bands I listen to outside of buying tickets to their shows. I often made the argument that despite the fact that I don’t purchase music, I myself am good for the music business since I go to a decent amount of concerts and like to introduce/suggest new bands for my friends. Buying records is a more tangible of supports the bands I love and that makes me feel like slightly less of a pirating piece of shit.

5. The Sound Quality Is Better

I’m not going to get into the science behind it but music just sounds better on vinyl. Speaking solely from a visceral perspective I find music to sound, for lack of a better word, warmer when I listen to it on vinyl. The sound almost surrounds and envelops you in a way. You also hear things that you just wouldn’t pick up on when listening to an mp3 no matter how nice a pair of headphones you have.

6. You Get The mp3’s Anyway

Nowadays pretty much all new releases on vinyl will come with a download code for high quality mp3’s of the album so not only do you still get something to put on your iPod, it’s most likely better quality than the mp3’s you’d download from iTunes, Amazon, or wherever you acquire music.

7. Elitism!

Getting into vinyl means you now get to look down upon other people who exclusively listen to mp3’s or just stream music from YouTube or Spotify and who doesn’t like looking down on other people? I’m pretty sure it’s one of the core tenements the Internet is based on. Kids these days are really missing out by not listening to the latest Ke$ha album this way, when played on vinyl you can almost smell the whiskey and cigarettes on her breath.

8. The Colors

East Coast Bias (you know, from www.ecbias.com) co-host “The Butcher” aka Meola often cites the “colors” as one of the reasons he enjoys watching NFL teams square off every Sunday. You may think that sounds like he’s on drugs but colors are cool and so is colored vinyl. It’s even cooler when it’s a limited edition release type deal so you not only get a nice looking LP, you get a collector’s album that you might be able to sell for an unreasonable amount of money down the road. I love listening to Deerhunter’s “Halcylon Digest” LP not only because it’s a fantastic album, but its white vinyl also looks sweet when it spins on my turntable.

9. Vinyl Appreciates Value In A Way Mp3’s Can’t

If you didn't already know you probably won't be surprised that there is a huge vinyl collecting scene. As a result, a lot of records become more valuable over time for a variety of reasons. I'm sure none of this comes as a shock to you but the point is there will never be a limited edition or rare mp3. That's not the case with records, to the point of frustration sometimes. If I wanted to acquire either of the first two Modest Mouse albums ("This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About" and "The Lonesome Crowded West") I am looking at paying at least $200 and more likely $300. I think it's safe to say there will be an mp3, or album of mp3's approaching that cost. Yeah it sucks if you’re me and you want those albums, but those who got in on the ground floor are pretty lucky so good for them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nine Easy Ways To Fill That Breaking Bad-Sized Void In Your Heart

Sometimes I gamble. Most of the time it’s only for money and occasionally it’s for something non-monetary. On especially rare occasions I gamble on both, particularly when I’m feeling great about the Giants after a rousing win against the Pats and a seemingly winnable game against the 49er’s next on the docket. This is what happened last week when I wagered, in addition to $100, me having to write for this site multiple times this week if the Giants lost and Emerson having to produce an episode of my podcast East Coast Bias (check us out at www.ecbias.com, we’ve been hemorrhaging listeners so now is your time to get on the bandwagon before everyone else!) if the alternative happened. So you’re stuck with me for a few days this week. I’d make a self-deprecating joke about this but I read this site regularly and know it’s been a week and a half since anything was posted. I may not have the best self-esteem but I’ve got enough to know I’m better than nothing, maybe even dirt, but not that fancy store-bought dirt (got to get that first Simpsons reference out of the way).

So I’m going to try and stick with topics that can be classified as nerdy and I know at least a little about. I’d also like to help better your lives and I know that if you’re a Breaking Bad fan like myself, Sunday nights have not been the same for the past month since the latest season ended. Sure, you could watch The Walking Dead but let’s face it, zombies aren’t nearly enough to make up for a show riddled with plot holes, stilted dialogue, and thinly drawn unlikable characters.

You may not be aware that Breaking Bad’s creator and show runner Vince Gilligan got his first big break working on The X-Files initially as a writer and eventually a producer as well. His work on The X-Files often shines through in Breaking Bad not only in the dark themes both shows touch on but the type of gallows humor they often employ to lighten the mood. Gilligan also clearly respects the “teaser”, or “cold open” segment of a show where it opens with a scene (or scenes) before the title as Breaking Bad has consistently done a phenomenal job of drawing the viewer in within it’s first couple minutes very much like The X-Files was so good at doing back in the day. So for your Sunday Evening viewing pleasure I have composed a list of Vince Gilligan's best writing contributions to The X-Files.

A couple things before we get into the list:

-All of these episodes are available on Netflix Instant Play

-There are essentially two types of X-Files episodes, the “mytharc” or “mythology” ones where the show addresses the ongoing conspiracy/aliens/etc. and “standalone” or “monster of the week” episodes where they tell a self-contained story. I’m only telling you this so you know what I’m talking about when I use those last two terms.


Season 3 - Episode 17

Gilligan’s first episode as a staff writer (he was a freelancer when he wrote the second season episode “Soft Light” which featured one Tony Shaloub) introduced Robert Modell, a serial killer who can convince his victims to do what he says. “Pusher” is as highly regarded as the best X-Files episodes and features the rare case of a villian in a standalone episode who would later make another appearance on the show (Season 5 episode “Kitsunegari”).

Paper Hearts

Season 4 - Episode 10

A long time plotline on The X-Files was Mulder’s search for his sister Samantha, who was supposedly abducted by aliens in front of his eyes when they were children. The show revisited this thread countless times to varying results but none may have been better than this Season 4 episode where a serial killer Mulder helped apprehend in the past resurfaces claiming that he was responsible for more victims, with Mulder’s sister among them. The always creepy Tom Noonan (you might best remember him from Louie as the doctor who gives an extremely graphic description of the crucifixion) guest stars as the killer, John Lee Roche.

Small Potatoes

Season 4 - Episode 20

Probably the only other person who deserves consideration for best X-Files writer is Darin Morgan. He was the first person to try to do funny episodes and penned what many consider to be the best episode in the show’s history, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (in which Peter Boyle plays an old man who can see how people will die) in addition to “Humbug” (circus freaks) and “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”, which de-constructs the entire show better (and funnier) than any blogger could. It also features Alex Trebek and former Governor of Minnesota Jesse “The Body” Ventura as Men In Black, I highly recommend it.

After winning an Emmy for “Bruckman” and being responsible for some of the best episodes of the show’s third season, Morgan left the show for a brief stay with creator Chris Carter’s other series Millenium, and eventually stopped writing altogether until somewhat recently. Morgan did return to The X-Files one last time in this episode where he plays Eddie Van Blundht, a schlubby janitor at a fertility clinic who can shapeshift and impersonate those around him. I won’t get into plot specifics but eventually he uses his ability to impersonate Mulder and seduce Scully, sort of giving many long time fans what they always wanted. This episode is Gilligan’s first attempt at humor and he does not disappoint, giving the man who injected much needed levity into the show in the first place a chance to show he can bring it in the acting department as well.

(Note: Morgan also played the very memorable “Flukeman” in the Season 2 episode “The Host”. This role did not give Morgan much of a chance to prove his humor chops)

Bad Blood

Season 5 - Episode 12

Vampires are the monster of the week in what is essentially The X-Files meets Rashomon. In this fan favorite, Mulder and Scully give differing accounts of what happened when they investigate a death by exsanguination in Texas. Notable guest stars are abound as Luke Wilson plays the town sheriff and the fat ginger from The Sandlot and The Big Green shows up as a pizza delivery boy with OCD. If for some reason you are actually choosing to watch these episodes but you are not a regular X-Files viewer I recommend checking out a few other episodes beforehand if only to get a feel for the Mulder/Scully dynamic that Gilligan does a great job of sending up here.


Season 6 - Episode 2

If you’re truly in need of some sort of Breaking Bad fix this one is probably the way to go as Walter White himself Bryan Cranston plays Patrick Crump a “seemingly deranged” man (according to the IMDB description) who forces Mulder to drive west at high speeds, claiming that he only has so long to live and will die otherwise. So not only do you get Cranston playing a deranged man with a death sentence, he rocks a mustache giving his performance a Season 1-era Walter White touch.


Season 6 - Episode 14

If “Bad Blood” was The X-Files meets Rashomon, “Monday” is The X Files meets Groundhog Day as Mulder is forced to relive the same Monday over and over again until he can stop a bank robbery from going wrong and resulting in a bomb killing everyone in the building. Not much else to add about this one except that it’s a solid entry from what is my opinion a very underrated season. It also features a fantastic call-back to the waterbed that Michael McKean’s character acquires for Mulder in Dreamland 1 & 2.


Season 7 - Episode 3

Rob Roberts is a man who is addicted to eating human brains. Before you get the wrong idea this is by no means an X-Files take on zombies...thankfully. This episode is noteworthy in that it’s the only one where the story is told from the point of the view of the show’s monster of the week.


Season 7 - Episode 12

I remember hearing that The X-Files was going to do a crossover episode with Cops and not understanding how it would work at all, much less be a decent episode. Not only was the end result a very funny X-Files episode, it’s simply a strong episode in general with a concept that would probably have worked well if it were just a normal episode of the show. The fact that we get to hear Mulder unintentionally and unironically repeat a generic meathead cop’s “this is why they pay us the bucks” line is only icing on the cake. An extremely underrated episode from late in the show’s run, this one also comes highly recommended.


Season 8 - Episode 4

Sidenote: Don’t you hate it when you read lists on the Internet and the writer squeezes in an episode that doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria because he wants to make a point or write about it anyway.

There a probably a couple episodes that could take this one’s place on this list (“Folie a Deux” and “Unusual Suspects come to mind) but I wanted to include one after David Duchovny was no longer on the show fulltime which brings us to “Roadrunners”. Scully goes off to investigate a murder in Utah without letting Mulder’s replacement, Agent Dogget (aka Robert Patrick aka the T-1000!!!) know and ends up in over her head with some weird townsfolk. This episode left a strong impression on me for two reasons, it’s kind of gross (if you watch you’ll see what I mean) and it marked the first time I started coming around to Dogget’s character. I also vividly remember my dad making a joke when this episode first aired about (SPOILER jump to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know) Scully no longer needing Mulder anymore after Dogget saves her in the end. My mom, who was not nearly as big a fan of the show as my dad did not appreciate this.

Yep, I used to spend my Sunday nights in high school watching The X-Files with my parents. I was about 16 at the time, lay off.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dissecting the Plausibility of a Zombie Apocalypse

Hey guys! We're back from our unintentional two week hiatus! Aren't you excited? I know I am. Today I'm going to be talking about the remarkable implausibility of a zombie apocalypse. And I'm not talking about the presence of zombies. Assuming THAT were possible, I still have serious issues with things like The Walking Dead, or Zombieland. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both of those things (despite the continued impressive stupidity of TWD, expertly chronicled by Gabe at Videogum - a must read for any TWD fan). My problem with these shows and movies is the spread of the zombie epidemic. All of America gets overrun by slow-moving, essentially brainless undead people? I don't fucking think so.
You know what would defeat these guys?
That's right, a muthafuckin' TANK, bitches. And it doesn't stop there. Soldiers in Kevlar. Snipers. Helicopters. MISSILES. We spend trillions of dollars on our military. They could handle an invasion of slow-moving targets that don't understand the concept of taking cover. Even if it spread fast, I am confident we would be able to contain it. When discussing this with resident zombie expert Emerson, he brought up a couple of counterpoints. Let's dissect them one at a time.

People would be hesitant to simply kill other people - especially loved ones - even if they were zombies. This is an interesting point, one TWD addresses, though I'm not sure I agree. While the concept of shooting a friend or loved one in the head is indeed a difficult one with which to come to grips, I think that once ZOMBIES start happening, convention goes out the window. I don't own a gun, but if I did, and out of nowhere my roommate starting legitimately trying to eat my brains, I'd like to think I would have it in me to cap his ass. I know he'd shoot me. And deep down, that's comforting. Fully accepting the reality that a zombie outbreak is upon us is the most difficult part, but once we get there, I have no doubt that we would be able to make the tough decisions regarding the destruction of our infected brethren. Which brings me to Emerson's next point...

Congress would be reluctant to nuke large infected areas because there would still be some uninfected people there. Bull. Fucking. Shit. Congress has been royally shafting most of America for years already over lower taxes for rich people. Do you really think they would hesitate to nuke an overrun Dallas simply because there might still be a few thousand survivors left? Not a chance. Sorry Texas. You had a good run. But if turning you into a (more) barren wasteland is what it takes to save the country, well, we're down to 49 states. If you are betting on politicians to start getting moral once zombies show up, you're going to lose that bet.

It spread due to multiple simultaneous outbreaks throughout the land. Well, this is never specified, but it certainly makes things trickier. There is no way in hell the military would not be able to handle a singular outbreak, even if it were quite large. But hundreds, even thousands of simultaneous outbreaks in different parts of the country? That would cloud things. This, however, strikes me as impossible, even from a zombie apocalypse standpoint. It always seems to start with one pissed off monkey, or one crazy corpse, or something like that. How could a spontaneous zombie outbreak occur all over? Too many people eating the McRib? Well maybe, with those ingredients. Yikes. But even then, not buying it. People have been eating the McRib for years, and no zombies. And even if it did occur that way, they would never infiltrate military bases, or houses with, you know, WALLS. These zombies can barely get up steps. Critical thinking is not a strong suit. Even if multiple outbreaks did occur at once, and it spread fast, and it affected a LOT of people, tanks, guns and missiles would eventually win.

While I don't have much faith in our government, especially when it comes to how they deploy the military, if zombies started springing up, I think they would get the job done. Let's just hope it never comes to that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

He's a Pepper, She's Not a Pepper

My tireless quest to point out examples of grievous food related gender discrimination turns today to the recently released new variation of Dr. Pepper: Dr. Pepper Ten, which is controversially marketed exclusively to men.

The position and marketing of Dr. Pepper Ten is the obvious parallel to my previous criticism about how Special K cereal is positioned and marketed heavily towards women. Both instances demonstrate the ignorance and ridiculousness of trying to apply gender specific labels to something as neutral as food (which we call know is clearly based on class distinctions). Dr. Pepper Ten is even more flagrant than Special K since it unambiguously states in their marketing, as driven home by their supposedly hyper masculine national commercial (so the ultimate guy movie is some sort of low budget mash up of GI Joe and Congo?), that their product is "Not For Women".

Now I know a lot of this is exaggerated as satire and to generate some buzz about the drink, but I would be less offended by the campaign if it wasn't so completely based on the outdated and reductive idea that men associate anything low calorie or healthy in general with femininity. It was my main issue with Special K; just because it happened to be marginally healthier than a box of Captain Crunch or Coco Puffs, it gradually morphed into this jean size dropping, body shape loving, breast cancer ribbon laden, monstrosity that was about as guy friendly as a box of tampons.

Now I know Dr Pepper must have done its market research homework for Ten but are we still at that point in this country where diet sodas are still a turn off for guys? I've long since become a regular diet drinker and with all the public knowledge about how fattening soda is and the supposed horrors of high fructose corn syrup (with some dissenting opinions by the corn lobby) I'd think both men and women in larger numbers would be looking to cut down on the calories (I mean, diet soda has its obvious share of problems and ideally we should just cut back on the soda all together, but I know I'm not made of stone). Does adding 10 calories worth of flavor really turn good old regular Diet Dr. Pepper into canned liquid testosterone (although I know some Pepper drinkers out there that would consider it blasphemy, I think Diet Dr. Pepper is one of the more faithful diet soda variations of the real stuff on the market, so I find any gains in flavor to be marginal)?

Hopefully in time all this silly sexist soda nonsense will pass, Dr. Pepper Ten will end up joining the rest of its not quite diet peers, Pepsi One, Pepsi Max, and Coke Zero, in comfortable soft drink semi-obscurity, and the company can go back to addressing more pressing issues: mainly bringing back Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper (or D.C.V.D.P. as us fans call it). As David Naughton so eloquently expressed in the old commercial, in the end we are all Peppers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Earlier this week, Dan unfortunately used this blog as his personal political mouthpiece. Listen, Dan, nerds come from many different political backgrounds and we can’t afford to insult or split up our already meager fanbase. It’s the same reason we don’t talk about sports. People care way too much about these things and like yelling about them, even if it doesn’t change the fact that your team sucks (Hello Philadelphia!) or that your political party is full of idiots (Hello all of them!) That’s not to say that I don’t support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Any group of people that wants promote social revolution is fine by me. I just wish they were more openly hostile about it. Go Robespierre on these motherfuckers! I say that, not as a socialist mind you, but as a huge fan of the guillotine.

Anyway, I think it’s important that we bring the discussion back to what we do best here. Rehashing already popular internet memes! Of course, I assume everyone here is familiar with Occupy Sesame Street. Pretty funny in concept, and that picture of Cookie Monster wearing a monocle is priceless. But perhaps not everyone is familiar with the much cooler, and also much more terrifying OCTOPI WALL STREET.

This meme is easily the best one floating around the internet at the moment. First of all, as any fan of HP Lovecraft can tell you, tentacled beasts are always more terrifying. Tentacled beasts that want to destroy the American capitalistic way of life are all the more so. Here are some facts you may not know about cephalopods:

1) Native Hawaiians believed that octopi are actually the lone survivor from a different alien universe.
2) They squirt motherfucking ink. Then I put it on my motherfucking pasta and I motherfucking eat it.
3) Korean folks eat em raw.
4) Japanese women’s like to have sex with them.