I meant to make this a proper post, but didn’t end up having the time, so without further ado, I present my 50 favorite films of 2013, without further comment.
50. The Last Stand
49. Stand Up Guys
48. The Place Beyond the Pines
47. Fast & Furious 6
46. The Hangover Part III
45. You’re Next
44. The Heat
43. The Great Gatsby
42. World War Z
41. Spring Breakers
40. The Conjuring
39. Star Trek: Into Darkness
38. The To Do List
37. It’s a Disaster
36. Drinking Buddies
35. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
33. The Butler
31. Iron Man 3
30. The Iceman
29. Scenic Route
28. Side Effects
27. Don Jon
25. Stuck In Love
24. Upstream Color
23. Pacific Rim
22. A Band Called Death
21. Frances Ha
18. American Hustle
17. Dallas Buyers Club
15. The Spectacular Now
14. Inside Llewyn Davis
13. Thanks For Sharing
12. Fruitvale Station
11. Enough Said
9. About Time
8. Captain Phillips
7. Metallica: Through the Never
6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
5. 12 Years A Slave
3. The World’s End
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
1. This Is the End
When Prince sings, “I am something you will never comprehend” in “I Would Die 4 U”, it’s one of the most fantastic, telling, perfect, apropos, brilliant and mind-blowing lyrics in the history of music. Even more so when you see him belt out the lyrics within the walls of his classic 1984 film, Purple Rain.
In Chuck Klosterman’s new book, the near-masterpiece, I Wear the Black Hat, he has a great section in there about the film. My favorite quote from it is probably this one: “One reason Purple Rain is unforgettable is that it evokes a discomfiting nostalgia for an era when Prince seemed way weirder than Michael Jackson.” Anyone who followed both artists in the mid-80′s knows exactly what this means.
There is no active artist today who could pull off what Prince did in Purple Rain and I don’t just mean breakdancing that climaxes with a twerk, or what we referred to back then as “making it clap”.
There is no music superstar circa: now, who is the perfect mix of pop star, rock star, crazy person, sex god, sensitive artist, like Prince was ca: 1984. Nobody. Justin Timberlake is a pretty stellar artist ca: 2013, but it’s rather easy to reign supreme in today’s watered down market, made up primarily of shit.
This is no slight on JT, really. I sincerely believe that if Timberlake had been in his prime in 1984, he’d still be a relevant artist, but the fact of the matter is, if ’84 was indeed his heyday, he’d still be an afterthought to Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna and maybe even a couple others (Lionel Richie, perhaps?), even though he’d still be a highly respected artist.
1984 was just a different time. There was a lot of shit out there, but there was a lot less shit than there is now and also scores of relevant artists more than the Top 40 could ever dream of boasting these days, sadly.
Prince was so awesomely untouchable in his prime, that even when he wrote song titles that sounded like they were penned by teenage girls, (“I Would Die 4 U“, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, etc.) we didn’t just tolerate them. We adored them.
Prince was never one of my top 5 artists, but that makes my point even more bulletproof. He still meant so much to me at the time and I didn’t even count him as a personal favorite.
Man, I miss 1984. And not just because I was 9 and had no responsibilities. Okay. That probably had a lot to do with it, actually. There was a lot of political turmoil going on then, too, but at least the radio was still fun. And great, too, for the most part.
I also miss the 1984 version of Prince. I mean the guy is still pretty nuts, but back then we looked past it and crowned him…well, we crowned him Prince. Michael Jackson was still the indisputable King back then.
But wait. Didn’t Michael name one of his kids “Prince”…?
Wow. Hold on. Is it wrong that now I’m hoping Prince Michael is taking vocal lessons and planning a worldwide takeover? The music world could use some royalty atop the charts right now. And maybe a little more crazy, too.
No, not you, Laddie Caca. I want some REAL crazy up in there, up in there.
You’ll know you’re really crazy when Charlie Murphy starts telling stories about you. Game. Blouses.
There’s really no such thing as normal. I just thought of a great example.
Have you ever had a nervous breakdown? I’ve never had one. Not officially, anyway. But I think we all have had one in a way.
I was just reading something a friend of mine wrote and I realized how similar we are to each other, even with all of our differences.
My friend Ben was once married and after he got married, he became an alcoholic and then went a little crazy and moved back in with his parents.
I was once almost married and after I almost got married, I became a foodaholic and went a little crazy and moved in with my parents. The only difference really is that mine was more subtle and undiagnosed.
I should not get any special credit for being better at hiding things, or because nobody gave me pills. I actually would have liked some pills. But I couldn’t really afford them and I was to afraid to tell my mom how hard this hit me, let alone a doctor.
I’m actually a little jealous of my friend. And also a bit mad at myself for not being as brave and open as him. Maybe if I was more honest with the people who wanted to take care of me, I would be easier to take care of.
Being crazy is pretty easy. I pretend to be crazy all the time, trying not to let on how possibly real life crazy I might actually be. But whenever I’m pretending to be crazier than I am, I find it kind of freeing, loose and fun.
It’s the responsibility of being “normal” (Seriously, whatever the fuck that means, right?) that’s the real difficult part of life, which is why I probably prefer acting crazy whenever I get the chance. I’m only good at acting like I’m not crazy. I shouldn’t get any special credit for that, but maybe I’ll get a Golden Globe for it someday, or something.
My buddy had many fits of depression over the years. I’ve also seen plenty of depression. Mine is probably just a lower grade, or again, maybe I just hide it better. This is one reason why I will always kind of respect people who commit suicide. It’s easy to call it an easy way out, or cowardly, but I’ll tell you right now, if I wasn’t such an actual pussy, I might have committed suicide on some of my darker days. If I know something was impossible because of my own cowardice, it’s hard for me to think of someone who actually succeeded in this act as cowardly themselves, even though I do consider suicide a selfish act in many ways, as well.
Anyway, our mutual, general lack of direction as adults, led us to have to move back home as grown ass men, but I still say that it was not completely our fault. We both had devils on our shoulders who wouldn’t stop talking shit. His were probably more monstrous, but mine were definitely existent. Nonetheless, I feel like we both take full responsibility with where we are in life and I’m happy to say that I feel like we’re also making big strides toward turning things around.
I started doing stand up comedy about three years ago and things have gone amazingly well. Ben started doing comedy in the last year and I am planning on taking him on the road with me soon. Even if I have to do it against his will.
If there is a point in this entry and I really don’t feel like there has to be one, but if there is one, I’d say that it’s to illustrate that we’re really all just humans trying to do our best and maybe we should all be more sensitive to this fact. We all have our crosses to bear and our hurdles to jump over.
I think another point could be that none of that bullshit has to be a death sentence. It’s who we are at times, but it doesn’t have to define us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you wait long enough and you want it bad enough. And if you’re still in the midst of it, you don’t have to feel alone, afraid, or angry.
When I met Ben, he was in the midst of his Vietnam. His messenger screen name at the time was Divorced Alcoholic Loser, but from the beginning, Ben was always very nice to me and supportive of me. And he never struck me as a loser, in the least. I always liked Ben and felt connected to him in many ways, but I feel like a proud father these days. He’s always been kind and smart, but I feel like he’s so much more mature, focused and confident now. He’s a great example of how one can dig one’s self out of the deepest of holes and live to tell–and hopefully laugh–about it.
As up and coming comedians, we are both basically trying to make a career of that now. I’m proud to be a colleague of his, but I’m happier to say that we’re still friends. We’ve been through all kinds of unimaginable things since we’ve met, but we’ve always kind of taken care of each other and stayed positive to each other, even when we may have been beating up ourselves.
If you’re reading this as you’re hurting, most of all I want to tell you to hang in there and look for that light at the end of the tunnel. It never goes out. It’s just hard to see sometimes. I hope you find your hope, your love and your stage. And I hope you have a friend like Ben there as a first mate on your voyage back to happiness.
GOD HATES FATS
I can’t wait to see that sign if there is ever a civil rights movement for overweight people. I feel like a minority some days. (intended hyperbole)
I see the looks. I hear the judgment. I see the girl I just messaged on a dating site who replied with “I don’t think we’d be a good match” even though we had a high match pctg. and she never actually had a conversation with me.
I guess that’s slightly better than the handful of women who have told me how awesome I was only to run for the hills when they meet me in person.
This is a slight whine, but really only a mild complaint. The problem is a combination of societal perception and my ego. If I hadn’t had beautiful women tell me that they think I’m beautiful, maybe I could take the rejection better.
And I guess it’s that knowledge that makes me wish that more women would take a chance on me. But then I’m reminded that not everyone is for everybody. We’re only human. We like what I like. I think people should try harder in general, but when it comes down to it, we need to feel something when we meet someone, or it just isn’t going to happen.
But I do suspect that if more women tried to like me, some most definitely would. I know when I’ve given someone a chance that I wasn’t completely sold on, I ended up with quite possibly the best connection I’ve ever experienced.
The absolute truth is probably something closer to “there is no right answer, really” and I guess I’m okay with that, if that’s just the way things are. Trying to change things out of your control, or worry about them is an exercise in futility. And I hate exercise! (Hey-o)
I enjoy talking about it, though. Discussing. Getting things off my chest. And I like studying women, as creepy as that sounds. And I like knowing that someday, someone else is going to come along when I least expect it and knock my socks off.
Until then, I will continue to think, to ponder, to speculate, to explore. It’s fun. And talking makes me feel better. And now I do. Don’t you?
It’s 6:44 am and I’ve been up for 24 hours, which is more than enough reason to write words.
It was a good night. Not a great night. But it did have its share of adventure, which I will take as an alternative to pure unadulterated joy, although the latter is my preference.
I spent the first part of the night finishing off a week’s worth of work doing something nice for a friend, because I love him and just really wanted to and I felt excited about it. The comedy club is usually a more than acceptable venue for some much needed solace and I have to thank all of my friends who made a point of telling me that they appreciated me in their own way last night, even though I felt kind of uneven. And I was more than happy to have my comedy soul mate Keith Moore be the center of attention and I hope when he wakes up today, he realizes how much we all truly and unconditionally love him.
By the way, it isn’t really anyone’s fault that the night wasn’t great. Let me get that out of the way before I go any further. And let me reiterate that it was quite good. But the fact is no night has been great since the greatest thing and person in my life died simultaneously. There are moments of joy here and there and every once in a while I can breathe easily and feel content, but there are no complete days. No hours at a time of smiling like an idiot. No floating in space. No one there to sweep all the worst parts of the day under a rug made out of love. No epic hugs. No heavenly kisses. Everything is a little bit empty without that chunk of my life missing and I am currently on the hunt for something/someone to replace that gargantuan void. And that hole is the main reason I was out wandering at all in the first place. My thoughts and emotions have no place to call home right now, so we go out searching at all hours of the day and night looking for something to momentarily quench our thirst and its mostly an unsuccessful venture, considering how good things were going a few months ago. The now just sucks and it’s often still extremely hard to grasp the fact that the most important and favorite person in my life is no longer living. But I’m still here and so I seek out human and/or visual spackle to fill the cracks.
The next chapter of the night is where the adventure came in. This consisted mostly of watching crazy people at a McDonald’s with a 24 hour dining room.
I didn’t have access to a car last night and the show ended well after the last bus to my neck of the woods (again, I don’t actually live in the woods, but I do hide the bodies there) went to bed, so I knew I would either have to get a hotel room, or beg someone for a ride, so I chose a third option, wandering aimlessly through downtown Honolulu, although I ended up not going very far thanks to a friend showing up out of the blue in the middle of my crazy people watching. Thank you to Paul Kane for keeping me company and for letting me learn a little more about you. I hope we get to hang out one on one again sometime.
About 20 minutes before Paul and I went our separate ways, an old guy at the golden arches started going on and on about local court cases in an oral thesis that ran the gamut from virtual genius to complete bullshit and nonsensical and/or repetitive ranting. It seemed like the perfect way to conclude scene two.
I spent the third act of my not so adventurous adventure perusing Wal-Mart for $5 DVDs and waiting for what seemed like forever for the first of two buses that would return me to Sparkles Manor. Luckily bus 2/2 didn’t take long to come and now I am seconds away from slumber, in which my eyes battle the sun in a fight to the death and hopefully I get a few hours of sleep.
I don’t know if this post has a point and I don’t really feel like it should have to, but I still have a lot on my mind as it pertains to the tragedy and it’s going to be a while until I won’t have to get some of it off my chest from time to time.
I love writing and never want to stop, but in a way, I want to find someone to give me less time to do it. Again. I want to have silly things to focus on. I want less pressure and more love in my life. Again. I want someone to look into my eyes like I’m the only noun that exists in the universe. Again.
Please apply within. This is a limited time offer and trust me when I say humbly, but in all possible honesty, that it might just be the bargain of the century. Or at least the best deal you’ve ever been offered.
In the meantime, I seek more adventure and fill more voids. Join me, won’t you?
A few years ago, I tore apart a video from an artist that I respect named Peter Gabriel. It was his grandiose clip for the song “Steam”, in which he unsuccessfully tried to one-up the brilliant “Sledgehammer”. The main problem was that it was filmed much later than the landmark “Sledgehammer”, but looked cheaper somehow, even though they pulled out all the stops and used every camera trick and special effect known to mankind at the time. Another problem that wasn’t their fault was that computer graphics were still kind of infantile compared to what we know of CGI circa: now. Anyway, I defy you to watch that video and not be repulsed by at least 80% of it. My entry was loved by most but I got a few pieces of hate mail, too, which made my decision even that much clearer. I still love Peter Gabriel and I still also despise his video for “Steam”. http://sprsncyth.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/feels-so-unnatural-peter-gabriel-douche/
On a joint-blog with my buddy Ben, I tore apart the follow-up music video to “King of Wishful Thinking” by the forgotten band who the fuck cares. It wasn’t as funny, but I still stand behind it. http://sprsncyth.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/babies-taste-like-supersonic-youth-vol-i-we-close-our-eyes/
I planned on doing this to other videos on a more consistent basis, but then other things got in the way like getting a job, starting stand up comedy, getting addicted to Breaking Bad and eating lots and lots of pizza and taking even more naps.
As much of a music snob as I am and I am quite a massive tool of one, I also have no problem telling people the shitty stuff that I like. I mean, shit, before 1992 came along I had little to no taste whatsoever. And that was when I enjoyed stuff like Wilson Phillips. I mean not enough to buy their albums or anything, but enough to think that their single “You’re In Love” was hot shit on a platter. And you know what? I still kind of like it. The chorus is great and there are some interesting harmony choices throughout the jam. I went to look up the song on YouTube so I could share it on Facebook and tell people what kind of crappy stuff I enjoy and after watching a few seconds of the video, I knew I had to make fun of it. This probably won’t be as detailed as my first two stabs, but half the fun of doing these things is I’m not really sure what I’m doing until I start doing it. So without further ado, here is a timeline of the stupid/ridiculous/wacky shit that happens during the course of Wilson Phillips’ “You’re In Love” video:
0:01 Oh shit! Chynna Phillips is getting a phone call, but she’s too busy to answer because she’s packing for the crazy tour they’re about to go on! It’s probably Chyna the wrestler calling to find out if she wants to hang out and watch midget porn. But again, Chynna Phillips is too busy packing and dodging her crazy-ass family members.
0:06 “Hi, it’s me and we’ve gone on tour for a couple months, so if you feel like breaking into my house and sniffing my panties and stealing any of my belongings, feel free to stop by and I’ll call you when I get back. Deuces! Oh and if this is Chyna the wrestler, no, I don’t want to watch midget porn with you. Stop calling me!” Seriously, though. Who starts out an outgoing voice message like that? And are you telling me that Chynna Phillips didn’t have one of those giant 1990 cellphones? Was she really that busy on tour that she couldn’t talk to anybody until returning? What a self-important bitch!
0:08 Oh snap! Not only does Chynna Phillips not have a cellphone, but she doesn’t even have a cordless phone and her answering machine has a cassette tape in it. “Hi guys! I can’t call you on tour, but I’ll page you and or send you a telegram STOP”
0:15 That poor dog looks scared and confused. He’s probably wondering why Carnie Wilson is abandoning him again. Or maybe he’s just surprised that she hasn’t tried to eat him yet. I love the look on Carnie’s face here. “Welp, here’s my wacky dog again. Gotta go on tour. Whatcha gonna do? Wocka wocka wocka!”
0:18 Who the fuck did she hand the dog to? Steven Adler? Isn’t he going to be on tour, too? Is that like his trick? “Yeah, man. I can totally take care of your dog. Alright. Later. Yup. See you at 8.” Hangs up and dials another number. “Hey, Axl. Carnie bought it again. Yup! I’m going to bring her dog on tour with us and get him coked up again. Yup. Late, bro.”
0:19 Did she just wave goodbye to her fucking dog? Fuck’s sake. Someone needs to add that to the exploding actresses Tumblr page.
0:20 When did Corey Haim join the group?
0:28 Okay, so Chynna, the one girl in the group that everyone in the world wanted to bang can’t afford a cellphone, but Wendy fucking Wilson is prancing around in a fur coat? Get the fuck out of here with that shit. Wendy was the Ringo of the group. Not a compliment.
0:41 So one minute, Wendy is wearing a fur coat and the next she’s quaintly hanging out in Mayberry on Opie’s porch swing? Seriously, who the fuck wrote out this story board? Is there a story board? Oh, and nice Cosby blouse, dummy.
0:44 I’ll say it right now. I would have fucked Carnie circa: this video. I mean she had a real pretty face and she was pretty powerful at the time. Or maybe I just secretly am attracted to Chris Farley in drag.
0:45 Again with the totally out of place facial gestures, Carnie. You’re not doing extra work in a Rob Reiner movie. You’re front and center, weirdo. Try and act a bit more naturally. And please stop eating all the donuts between takes.
0:55 And now you are magically transformed to the most rockingest Wilson Phillips in the history of all mankind! Buckle up, everybody. It’s gonna get wild, baby!
0:57 Whoa. Bottom left of the screen. Guy doing a “let’s pump it up!” motion with his t-shirt in the air at a Wilson Phillips concert. How much you wanna bet that’s a young Scott Stapp?
1:05 Did you just go from black and white to color? Holy mindfuck, Batman! You can’t just do stuff like that without warning me, bro! Easy there, Scorsese!
1:09 Apparently dumbass facial gestures run in the family. Easy, Wendy.
1:13 What’s this? A behind the scenes look at what it’s like to put on a Wilson Phillips concert? Oh man. This kind of behind the fourth wall stuff can only be seen on VH1 at any given hour on any given day. Man. I bet Poison is shaking in their high heeled boots.
1:22 Wendy Wilson: Her future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear shades.
1:31 In case you were wondering, yes, Chynna Phillips does indeed have all of her fingers.
1:34 Hmm… Press pause right now and you will see my current homescreen background photo.
1:40 If this already wasn’t the most inappropriately borderline lesbian video since Heart’s “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” clip, now we see Chynna saying her final goodbye to some chick at an airport and she’s like a 6 at best? Yeesh. Maybe I should have tried it with Chynna when I had the chance. Apparently her standards were pretty low at the time.
1:45 Was that a teaser? She came back to the girl and then it faded out. Hey, here’s an idea. It’s a private jet right? I’m sure there’s an extra seat on there. Why not bring your “friend” with you. Just say she’s your “hairdresser”.
1:59 Either Carnie is thinking about some really deep stuff that you and I could never comprehend, she hates flying, or she has to poop really bad.
2:02 Enough, Carnie. Enough.
2:07 Ah. I get it now. Fur coat. Walk of shame. Not very talented. Wendy Wilson was a call girl in her spare time. Makes total sense.
2:14 Ho. Ly. Shit. Is that Wendy Wilson or Judd Nelson in the middle? I’m not even joking here. I really need to know. Tell me I’m not right about asking this. That’s eerie.
2:16 Were they trying to be cutting edge there, or is half a second the only amount of time they can stand to film Wendy by this point?
2:22 Is this a Wilson Phillips concert or did I get stuck in an Art Institute commercial again? Pop goes the music!
2:23 Fucking Wendy. You make Carnie look like Meryl Streep.
2:30 America, Fuck yeah! Going fucking crazy at a Wilson Phillips concert!
2:37 Is that Dave Attell rocking out on the right of the screen, or is that one weird looking guy from the Barenaked Ladies? If you said “Which weird looking guy from BNL”, then you, my friend, have won the internet.
2:42 Japanese tourists will seriously take photographs of anything. Even Wilson Phillips.
2:43 The last time I saw Three Stooges being this racist towards Asian people I was watching…the Three Stooges!
2:46 Today only, as a special bonus gift with my completely worthless autograph, you will receive a super annoying, disingenuous smile-laugh thing!
2:50 Points to map. “And McDonald’s is *here*? Okay!”
2:59 Nice hair, Macaulay.
3:08 Haha! The director is a perv and I love him for it. Wait. I wonder if this was directed by John Phillips.
3:20 Don’t let their intense lyrics fool you, Wilson Phillips are also one of the zaniest improv groups on the left coast.
3:30 I’m willing to bet that someone wanted this song to have a ridiculously long guitar solo just so Chynna could hump the air for a while in the middle of the song.
3:37 In most of the video, Wendy looks about as disinterested in being there as pretty much every human is with her existence.
3:54 I had that Wilson Phillips mural on my wall for the greater part of my high school career. I was beaten a lot, yes. Why do you ask?
3:58 Wha-wha-wha!? Some bonus sweet licks on the way out? I didn’t even order those, bro!
Well, I had a blast putting that together. Hopefully you enjoyed following along with the timeline. Tell your friends!
What a vacant lottery.
The whole vacant lot of them.
The whole vacant lot of us.
The whole vacant lot of trust.
Words do charm.
Words do harm.
Words do arm.
You can’t spell cOMMUNIcATION without some “ammunition”.
Will converse for food.
Will convert your mood.
Will comfort the lewd.
All I need is a little discourage.
And I’ve got it in spades, so please don’t dis my courage.
Words are harmless without a starving artist carving his carnage out of a cavernous carcass.
Art is dead, but who’s killing?
It would drive you crazy if it wasn’t so thrilling.
I should lock myself out of the social networks.
But part of me is trying to find my total net worth.
I’m not afraid of what I want.
But the practical side of me is being careful.
20 years ago, I would have just gone.
So I see no problem with constructing a plan.
But I’ve simply got to get better at saving.
It’s not like I’m getting any help from the man.
And I’m not getting any younger, although sometimes it feels that way.
Perspective is the greatest gift. I don’t know how it ever goes away.
It should always be there.
But it’s easy to lose in the glare.
Hypocrisy shines its blinding light on us.
It has no interest in our alibis.
Besides, excuses are often misconstrued as lies.
Even valid ones.
Times are hard these days.
And not as fresh as the salad ones.
The world is driven by green.
And I’m supposed to live clean?
There’s so much to live for, but dying could justify my means.
I normally have no problem blocking out stress.
But being stuck in one place can add to your duress.
Dying with integrity, shouldn’t automatically make me dumb.
But doing what feels good and right to death is the ultimate freedom.