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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: The Episode That Got You Hooked

I'll be honest. Before this episode, I was more of a casual observer of Saturday Night Live. I'd seen the most popular clips and sketches, of course. I only knew the name Lorne Michaels, not anything about him. I was more familiar with Eddie Murphy's work in Trading Places and Shrek than I was with him on Saturday Night Live. But I always enjoyed watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I was a big Jimmy fan (which, I will admit stemmed from a Christmas musical performance he did with the Muppets back in 2009) so I decided to check out this episode. Fortunately, the episode was wall-to-wall amazingly golden and I was immediately hooked forever. Now, I have consumed SNL as a huge part of me and it's all thanks to this episode, hosted by Jimmy Fallon with musical guest, Justin Timberlake on December 20th, 2013 as a part of season thirty-nine. The installment started off by bringing us down to Wrappinville, then Jimmy crushed it in the monologue with a little special guest named Paul McCartney. But when Celebrity Family Feud was enacted, I knew something special was happening. Justin played Jimmy and made him break! Taran did an amazing Ashton Kutcher! Brooks Wheelan was there! Then, Lil' Baby Aidy made her debut in the music video sketch known as Twin Bed. That digital video gave us the ladies of SNL and Jimmy dancing in front of their awkward childhood photos and the line, "Can't fully undress, in case your parents come through. Just shirt, no pants, like Winnie the Pooh." After Twin Bed, Jimmy and Justin broke out their recurring duo as a part of The Barry Gibb Talk Show, complete with a cameo from the actual Barry effin' Gibb! Speaking of JT, he absolutely crushed the musical performances and his laser-room Only When I Walk Away is one of my all-time favorite SNL musical performances. Weekend Update gave us an amazing Billie Jean King impression and a discussion between Jimmy and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about their changes in life. Jimmy gushed to Seth about passing the Late Night baton and all was right. Waking Up with Kimye was what it always was, but then the Now That's What I Call Christmas parody brought the episode right back. The impressions of Pitbull, Billie Joe Armstrong, DMX, and Alanis Morissette make me laugh every time I see them. The sketch parodying A Christmas Carol was a festive delight and then the episode ended with an all-time favorite sketch of mine, the ever sweet Baby It's Cold Outside with Jimmy and Cecily Strong. After this episode concluded, I became an SNL-er for life.

Farewell, Vince Wilfork

The New England Patriots may have lost Shane Vereen, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Browner so far this offseason, but this loss is the saddest. Vince Wilfork's option was not picked up by the Patriots and as a free agent, he opted to sign with the Houston Texans for two years and nine million dollars. It's heartbreaking because Vince was basically the heart of that defense for just...so many years. As Bill Belichick said, Wilfork is an all-time Patriot (the head coach also called him the best defensive lineman he's ever coached). Tom Brady also delivered a nostalgic statement in which he also request Wilfork go easy on him when the Patriots meet the Texans. But it was Big Vince's statement that was the most poignant and it was tweeted as the photograph above. Fare thee well, old friend.

Aziz Ansari Wrote a Book

Aziz Ansari, the amazingly hilarious stand-up comedian and star of Parks and Recreation, has taken the whole "celebrity writes a book" concept and turned it on its head. This is not a memoir, nor is it an autobiography or a self-help book. Modern Romance: An Investigation is an upcoming humorous look at romance in the modern age and the academics behind it. Aziz took it to the next level, though, when he partnered with a sociologist to actually conduct studies on love and romance. Color me intrigued!

Monday, March 30, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Least Favorite Character

Nope. No thanks. I will not take any bit of Pat. Sorry, Julia Sweeney, but your most famous character never did it for me. I cannot stand Pat at all. The joke never goes beyond the concept of androgyny. The theme song that correlates with it is unbearable. The voice, the character, the essence is something that I simply cannot swallow. I can't do it. And I'll never be able to appreciate Pat. The fact that there's a feature-length film with Pat as the main character chills my bones. Good. Lord.

This Week's Sports by Davids

Duet Marathon

In a recent interview, Kelly Clarkson joked that nobody ever wants to sing duets with her. When she stopped by The Tonight Show in early month, Jimmy Fallon naturally took it upon himself to sing a marathon of eleven different duets with Clarkson. The result? An amazing medley of quality singing that is right up there with Justin Timberlake's History of Rap collaborations with Jimmy. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Least Favorite Cast Member

I can't handle this guy. I mean, I know he's probably very nice as a person and he was part of Billy and Mandy Save Christmas and The Lion King, but I still just can't get past how unfunny he was on Saturday Night Live. His schtick was basically "the annoying guy" and I just never adapted to his terrible, terrible voice. How did he even become famous? Oh, well. His sketch work is not for me. Sorry, Gilbert Gottfried.

The New Girl Season Finale

The Mindy Project boasted an all-star slew of guest actors for its series finales as B.J. Novak and Max Greenfield, among others, made their return to the show. But now, New Girl is bringing out the big guns. Behold, the appearances from Jack MacBrayer and Regis Philbin on its season finale! Jack is going to be playing an employee at a donation center who "takes his job very seriously." Regis, however, is going to be playing himself! He's back, baby! Should be a delight of an episode.

DuckTales Reboot


DuckTales is back, bitches! The original cartoon began in 1987 and wrapped up in 1990. But now, we've been given a second chance at the glory of it. Disney XD has gone good and changed the entire game. DuckTales is being rebooted and it is returning to television for 2017. No other details have yet to be released, but right now, my mind is in a duck blur. We're going back to Duckburg.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: A Quote You Use Regularly

I use so many from this sketch so frequently. But the one line that made me think of and pick this one is Jimmy's biggest line, which he delivers while breaking. "Quit being so selfish, Gene!" I use that so often whenever someone is being selfish in the slightest. Of course, More Cowbell is also an iconic sketch that delivered so many other great lines which have also become part of my vocabulary. "The cock of the walk, baby!," "I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell," and "Don't blow this for us, Gene!" are all used so regularly by me. What a great five minutes and thirty-two seconds this is.

Gavin Is in a Movie!

This is pretty exciting. A new movie titled Lazer Team is going to be released by the formerly-Interned-based production company, Rooster Teeth. The movie is essentially about a battle between four "idiots" and an alien race. The hook for me? Gavin Free, my personal hero, is starring in it. He is the absolute best! Entertainment Weekly has the full scoop and trailer here.

Stephen Spielberg and Chris Pratt

The fuel that is Stephen Spielberg has just met the fire that is the idea of Chris Pratt portraying Indiana Jones. Disney recently found itself in the rumor mill with the idea that Chris Pratt could take over Harrison Ford's iconic role of Indiana Jones in a rebooted film series. Now, Spielberg, the original director of the movies has stepped forward and said he would want to direct such a movie. Could be interesting! Is Chris Pratt basically the new Indiana Jones? (Han Solo = Peter Quill, Indiana Jones = Indiana Jones.) Good for him.

Friday, March 27, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Dream Host and Musical Guest

This one was tough for me to tackle. Was it asking about any host and any musical guest? Because I'm always down for a Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake episode. But I instead decided to interpret as picking a host who has never hosted before and a musical guest who has never performed before. And you may be asking yourself about the question of death, but this is the "dream" of mine, is it not? Therefore, my long-standing beseechment for Mindy Kaling to host continued and the dream of the world was presented in the mere concept of The Beatles reuniting on an episode of SNL. Now, there's something that wouldn't soon be leaving my DVR.

Stephen Colbert on The Mindy Project

I'm not entirely sure yet, but I think this might be the greatest guest actor in the history of television. (I mean, granted, we just were given a season finale to The Mindy Project that featured both Max Greenfield and B.J. Novak, but still.) Back in February, Colbert traveled to the world of Mindy to portray Father Michael O'Donnell and when the episode aired in March, all my dreams were realized. That episode was the first time I saw Colbert since the series finale of The Colbert Report. That beard...

New Rules for the Emmys

I just want to firmly state my position on this matter before I detail the details. I am one hundred percent in favor of every rule change given to the Emmys. Now, here they are:

  • A comedy series is defined as a show with episodes that run thirty minutes or less.
  • Both the drama and comedy series categories will feature another nominee each, bringing the total amount of candidates in both to seven.
  • The miniseries category is now referred to as the limited series category. Limited series have two or more episodes with at least one hundred fifty minutes of media in one season that tell a complete and non-recurring story.
  • Guest actors may no longer be part of more than fifty percent of a show's running time.
  • The variety series category has split into two factions: talk variety and variety sketch.
  • Membership in the deciding academy has also expanded.
  • Any show that feels misrepresented can file an appeal. (Obviously, Psych would win its appeal, for example.)
This is ultimately for the best. Finally, Orange Is the New Black and Shameless can stop lying to themselves. I really think this is great because the comedy category will be funny and the drama category will be dramatic. I also like the variety series splitting up because now we have the chance of Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show winning! It's good all around!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite SNL Movie

In my mind, there are three good SNL movies: The Blues Brothers, Wayne's World, and MacGruber. And then the other eight? Well, I've only seen two of them (A Night at the Roxbury and Wayne's World 2) and while those were just eh, I can't imagine the other six were anything good. Coneheads might have been had it been made in 1977 or something rather than 1993. But there's definitely no way I could sit through an entire movie about Pat or Stuart or Mary Katherine Gallagher. There's no way I could do it. But an entire movie about Jake and Elwood Blues? Well, I'd watch that over and over again. The music? Who thought it ever had a chance at being underwhelming? The story? Phenomenal. Burton Mercer? A great one-off. One of the best movie characters ever. This movie never had a chance to fail, really. I mean, after all, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were on a mission from God.

This Week's Entertainment by David

The Official Poster for Avengers: Age of Ultron

I honestly don't believe that I've ever been this hyped for a movie. Maybe I was this hyped for The Muppets...or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty...or maybe even The Interview. But aside from those three, I honestly can't remember hype so large before. Not even for the first Avengers movie! But now, we're thirty-five days from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and my hype train has been on the tracks for a while. It was only furthered by this amazing poster. Sure, it's your typical action movie poster. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. looks very photoshopped on the Iron Man armor. But it's still great. Mjolnir and Cap's shield are both prominently displayed and Vision is perfectly obscured. The anticipation is real.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: Recap

This was a great countdown! I really enjoyed doing this. Thoroughly, I did. It was so much fun and I really like the format I set up with poster, description, genre, director, writer, release year, cast, preview. It was just so good. I don't mean to praise myself too much, but I just really like the way this countdown was executed. And look where we are now! I started this in the first quarter of my school year and now I'm eight days away from the fourth quarter. It's pretty crazy beans! Let's recap this crazy journey that began on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014.

100. Miss Congeniality
99. Here Comes the Boom
98. Fantastic Mr. Fox
97. Raging Bull
96. Singin' in the Rain
95. Annie Hall
94. Breakfast at Tiffany's
93. The Truman Show
92. Sixteen Candles
91. Anchorman
90. Mary Poppins
89. Vacation
88. Casablanca
87. Rear Window
86. Caddyshack
85. E.T.
84. Moneyball
83. Jaws
82. The Lion King
81. 21 Jump Street
80. Back to the Future
79. Toy Story 2
78. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
77. The Five-Year Engagement
76. Aladdin
75. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
74. Fever Pitch
73. The Naked Gun
72. This Is Where I Leave You
71. The Simpsons Movie
70. The Hangover Part III
69. Wayne's World
68. Die Hard
67. Three Amigos
66. The Dark Knight
65. Mean Girls
64. Men in Black
63. Spider-Man 2
62. Winnie the Pooh
61. The Wizard of Oz
60. Love Actually
59. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
58. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Happy Gilmore
56. The Muppet Movie
55. Forrest Gump
54. Grown Ups
53. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
52. The Blues Brothers
51. New Year's Eve
50. The Way Way Back
49. The Hangover
48. The Empire Strikes Back
47. Dodgeball
46. A Christmas Story
45. Zoolander
44. Harold and Maude
43. Happy Feet
42. Drinking Buddies
41. Cinderella Man
40. Moonrise Kingdom
39. Trading Places
38. 12 Angry Men
37. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
36. Big
35. Clue
34. Guardians of the Galaxy
33. Finding Nemo
32. Christmas Vacation
31. Lilo and Stitch
30. Toy Story
29. The Shawshank Redemption
28. Shrek
27. The Muppets
26. To Kill a Mockingbird
25. Monsters Inc.
24. Jeff Who Lives at Home
23. Our Idiot Brother
22. Ratatouille
21. The Princess Bride
20. Saving Mr. Banks
19. Ghostbusters
18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
17. Ocean's Eleven
16. This Is the End
15. Tower Heist
14. The Emperor's New Groove
13. Home Alone
12. Dead Poets Society
11. The Grand Budapest Hotel
10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
9. 50 First Dates
8. Elf
7. The Breakfast Club
6. Jurassic Park
5. Toy Story 3
4. The Avengers
3. Airplane!
2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
1. It's a Wonderful Life

And I'd watch them all again!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Short Film

What else could it have really been? I mean, yes there are so many good ones throughout Saturday Night Live's digital history. White Like Me, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Dick in a Box, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders. But in the end, I'm always gonna come back to one digital short. The one digital short that's gonna make it all worth it. The one that changed the game. The one that launched a new era of Saturday Night Live. Lazy. Sunday.


Kyle Mooney Celebrates Forty Years

In fitting Good Neighbor fashion, the video Kyle Mooney created to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Saturday Night Live was cut from the special on February 15th. In it, he takes to the streets of New York to ask people how they feel about the fortieth anniversary of SNL and he yields hilarious results. Kyle is a comedy genius. I'm glad they decided to release this anyway.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Season

Before I even get to the actual content and episodes of the thirty-first season of Saturday Night Live, just take a look at the cast.

Fred Armisen
Rachel Dratch
Tina Fey
Will Forte
Bill Hader
Darrell Hammond
Seth Meyers
Finesse Mitchell
Chris Parnell
Amy Poehler
Maya Rudolph
Andy Samberg
Horatio Sanz
Jason Sudeikis
Kenan Thompson
Kristen Wiig

Name a single weak link in that cast. Some may argue that Finesse would be that weak link, but the fact of the matter he was a consistent player who simply had a short stint on the show. Forgettable? Maybe. Weak? Not quite. The cast right there is a comedy dream team that seems impossible to assemble now. Armisen's got Portlandia, Wiig is the biggest comedy actress in the world right now, Poehler just wrapped Parks and Rec, Samberg won two Golden Globes, Meyers has Late Night. I can go on and on and on. But it's not enough to assemble such a cast. They have to deliver. And boy did they ever. Tina and Amy crushed it on Weekend Update, Lazy Sunday made its polarizing drop, Jimmy Fallon made a cameo, Digital Shorts and Saturday TV Funhouse combined and changed the world, there was a Seinfeld reunion. Season 31 had it all. (You can't forget about the writing staff either. Pell, Spivey, Schaffer, Taccone, Smigel, Higgins, Lutz, Baze, Jost, Steele. Tina and Seth were the head writers.) From 2005 to 2006, SNL had one of those rare golden years that was bookended by Steve Carell and Kevin Spacey. But the season also trotted out a plethora of five-timers. Drew Barrymore, Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin. Just solid all around!

Mad Men Teaser Trailer

The final season of Mad Men is coming to us this April and this teaser trailer rocketed the hype train far away from the station. It's going to be sad to see the last round of Don Draper and his period cohorts, but there's no doubting that Matthew Weiner has an exciting final ride in store for the fans of Mad Men. This trailer just emphasized that is all.

The Imitation Game

2014 was the year I saw many of the Best Picture nominees. The Grand Budapest Hotel was flawless, Birdman was phenomenal, Boyhood was a hands-on enlightenment. I definitely saw American Sniper. Probably. I probably did. And I did not see The Imitation Game. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing, I assume, and it was a really well-developed film that seemed much shorter than its run-time, a sign of a good movie. At least, I thought it felt shorter. I wouldn't because I didn't see it. Maybe. It also helped going into the theater not knowing entirely what the movie was about because it allowed the story to unfold in front of me with brisk, World War II-level ignorance. Maybe.

Monday, March 23, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 1

Well, here we are. We've reached the top of the list. My number one favorite movie ever made. We've counted down one hundred films en route to arriving at this, the best. It's a Wonderful Life. What a wonderful choice, right? When I was younger, I always found this movie to be boring because I could never get into it. I didn't understand it and it didn't resonate with me. But now that I'm older, I can appreciate it. And boy do I ever. George Bailey is such a broken man who is stuck in the endless rut of broken dreams and Jimmy Stewart absolutely and completely becomes the character. In the end, the valuable message of friendship is communicated to people discouraged the world over and all the people George's life touches are so much better for his existence. It's a Wonderful Life transcends the idea of simply being a "holiday movie" or a "black-and-white snooze-fest." It is something larger than life that is made all the better from every wonderful piece of detail carefully selected and placed in the movie whether it comes from Uncle Billy's finger or Sam Wainwright's telegram. For all these reasons and countless more, It's a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite movie. Merry Christmas, you wonderful old building and loan indeed.

Fantasy comedy-drama directed by Frank Capra and written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Frank Capra in 1946.

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner, Todd Karns, Samuel S. Hinds, Lillian Randolph, Frank Albertson, Virginia Patton, Bobby Anderson, Sheldon Leonard, and Karolyn Grimes.

Tune in tomorrow for a full recap of my 100 Favorite Movies!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Writer

For this category, I strictly limited to the full-fledged writers on Saturday Night Live. While all cast members also write sketches, I figured this was the time for the behind-the-scenes crew to shine. And while there was no shortage of iconic writers to choose from (Pell, Higgins, Taccone, Smigel, Downey), I had to pick the man you see above these words. John. Mulaney. Sketches are not typically accredited to anyone in particular, but it is widely known that Mulaney created Stefon with Bill Hader and he would always change the cue cards at the last second to make Bill break. That is an amazing to do. Mulaney's sense of humor is so eccentric and endearing and I love it so much. Additionally, Mulaney received an Emmy nomination for the song "Threeway" in the Justin Timberlake/Lady Gaga episode from 2011. He's a weird man, but he's my personal favorite.

This Week's Sports by David

Sunday, March 22, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Host

I have to admit that there were so many I considered. Those who came closest to being my selection were Steve Martin, Christopher Walken, and Jimmy Fallon. But in the end, I think I always knew who I'd choose. I think I always knew the right answer to the challenge of the day. It was always going to be Justin Timberlake. There's no doubt. From his Dick in a Box character from music videos with Andy Samberg, his musical sidewalk salesperson, and his version of Robin Gibb from The Barry Gibb Talk Show make him a host with a prolific amount of recurring characters. Most of the time, JT also doubles as the musical guest and there's just absolutely no doubt in my mind that his episode will be amazing and full of energy whenever he's tapped to host. He's a very deserving five-timer.

Second Banana Bracket

Is this the first time George Costanza has actually won something? Grantland conducted a tournament to determine who or what the best second banana throughout all of history was. George barreled through Marty Jannetty, Art Garfunkel, Mustard, Luigi, Scottie Pippen, and Canada en route to becoming the greatest second-best of all-time. Personally, I felt either Joe Piscopo or Ron Weasley deserved it, but hey, George is a good choice, too! It was fun to vote and follow along.

Billy Eichner's AMA

To promote his new video with Michelle Obama, Big Bird, and Elena, Billy Eichner conducted a Reddit AMA with Big Bird himself! I took it upon myself to ask Billy if his blue t-shirt would ever find its way to a Smithsonian museum. And he actually responded! He replied with, "Yes I am a part of American History." That seems about the kind of response you'd expect from Billy. He's awesome! You can see the full Reddit thread here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Musical Guest

Jason Mraz. Coldplay. Men at Work. Billy Joel. Hozier. Paul McCartney. They've all been musical guests on Saturday Night Live. But there's something special about when Paul Simon stops by. Something so special about the man who's hosted four times before and performed as the musical guest eight times. Whether he's singing Still Crazy After All These Years, Cecilia, or The Boxer after 9/11, as posted above, Paul Simon kills it. When he's the musical guest, it's a magical episode.

A New Dr. Seuss Book?!

This is big news. Big literary news that rivals the announcement that Harper Lee would be releasing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird fifty years later. A manuscript of a Dr. Seuss book that was never realized resurfaced recently and Random House decided to publish it on July 28th of this year! Dr. Seuss died in 1991, but his legacy is so huge that when manuscripts and sketches pop up, they demand to be published. But the thing is, Seuss was a genius so they're actually good and not just forced! It's been twenty-five years since the last Seuss book. This July, it'll be time for us to answer the question everyone wants to know. What pet should I get?

Josh Peck and John Stamos

A new single-camera comedy pilot on FOX is starting to round out its cast. As of right now, the project is untitled (though, the working title, Grandpa, is in place), but the cast is the best part right now. John Stamos of Full House (and most recently, Galavant) fame will play Jimmy, a bachelor who discovers that he is a grandfather when the son he didn't know he had shows up with a two-year-old daughter. Who plays John Stamos' son? Well, just check the photo above and the title of this post. If you don't know the name or recognize him, then you might now him as Ray-Ron from The Mindy Project. OR, OF COURSE, AS JOSH NICHOLS ON DRAKE AND JOSH PURE GOLD PURE GOLD PURE GOLD. I'm all in on this pilot. MAKE IT HAPPEN. Forty seasons and a theme park and a video game and a movie.

Friday, March 20, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Weekend Update Anchor

This one was kind of tough, but not really. As good as Chevy and Jane were, as much of an appreciation I've come to develop for Norm Macdonald, and despite all of the adoration I maintain for Jimmy and Tina and Amy, it's always going to be Seth. Seth Meyers is the Weekend Update anchor I grew up with and the one I'll always associate with the job. He anchored from 2006 to 2014 and to me, he's as synonymous with Weekend Update as Lorne Michaels is synonymous with SNL, as a whole. Plus that joke about Thanksgiving in a can makes me laugh every time. "A food company has developed a new meal called Thanksgiving in a can that is layered with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. And at the bottom, there's a gun so you can finish the job." The best around.

New Colin Hay Album

My first exposure to Colin Hay came from his three appearances on Scrubs (amazing cameos each time, by the way), but then I went all in for Men at Work. Now, Colin has released his twelfth solo album and his first one in nearly four years! It's good to see him back in the spotlight (he even promoted the album on Comedy Bang! Bang!) and the album is actually fairly solid. The album is titled Next Year People as you can see above and some songs that stand out are Lament for Whiskey McManus and Waiting in the Rain. Welcome back you perfect Australian yo-yo.

Billy on the Street Squad Goals Achieved

In between the third and fourth seasons of Billy on the Street, Funny or Die has provided us with a clip spun from solid gold. Elena and Billy reunited to play a very important game titled, "Ariana Grande or Eating a Carrot?" But they weren't the only ones who played some of Billy's kay-razzy games. First Lady Michelle Obama and Big Bird from Sesame Street joined them, as well. Life is good to us.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 2

Wow. I can't believe after almost a hundred (ninety-nine now) movies, we have made it to the top two. The next time I post about this, I will be revealing my all-time favorite movie. But for now, let us celebrate the second greatest ever made. I could watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off eighty times in three days and never tire of it. The classic John Hughes comedy has etched its way into the zeitgeist and has been deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant" by the National Film Registry. It is the quintessential John Hughes movie just as The Avengers is the quintessential superhero movie and Toy Story 3 is the quintessential Pixar film. Ferris' interaction with the audience is a special technique utilized to perfection. The exposition might also just be the best exposition ever used in a movie. The characters are so profoundly deep that it is impossible not to root for them against the machine! Rebel against adulthood and that horrid death of innocence! Plus, Ferris Bueller's Day Off contains four scenes that are among the greatest ever made. Number four: Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago. Number three: Ferris running home. Number two: Ferris singing Danke Schoen and Twist and Shout. Number one: the purely innocent and beautiful sequence in the art museum. Timeless and incredible. I adore the pure beauty in it, even though I'm basically repeating myself. I don't mean to come across as snooty. Snooty? Snotty. Snotty? Gold. Save Ferris.

Comedy directed by John Hughes and written by John Hughes in 1986.

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Lyman Ward, Cindy Pickett, Charlie Sheen, and Ben Stein.

Tune in Monday for number one! (Ah!)

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Audition

Dana Carvey whipped out Derek Stevens, Kristen Wiig whipped out the Target Lady, Will Ferrell whipped out the cookout dad. There are so many great auditions in the storied history of Saturday Night Live. I've seen Jimmy's time and again (the Adam Sandler impression never gets old) and I've never been given the pleasure of seeing Andy Samberg's full audition (though, The Out of Breath Jogger from 1982 is quite possibly the greatest thing I've ever seen) and the same goes for Gilda Radner. But one audition tape I keep returning to is that of Phil Hartman. He seems so calm, comfortable, and collected. He seems so prepared and ready and he just has great flow and a wonderful demeanor that would mark his time in Studio 8H.

This Week's Entertainment by David

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 3

Amazing. I proclaimed The Avengers to be a cinematic achievement, but there is no doubting that Airplane! is a cinematic achievement, too, just as much as The Avengers. It is completely absurd, but so fitting into its genre that it becomes the defining comedy film of the satirical, absurdist humor genre that was popularized by people like John Cleese and Leslie Nielsen. Airplane takes it to the next level. The movie does not feature any stretches of time longer than forty seconds without a joke. They just keep coming and coming and each one lands, if not better than the last! It is absolutely the movie I will laugh the hardest at, time and again. Plus, you can never go wrong with the amazing setting of an airport, an airplane, and a mission control room. The word "classic" was made for Airplane!

Comedy directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker and written by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker in 1980.

Starring: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Lorna Patterson, Stephen Stucker, Frank Ashmore, Jonathan Banks, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Otto as Himself.

Tune in tomorrow for number two!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Episode

This was a particularly tough one to decide. I mean, there are so many good episodes! Tom Hanks and Aerosmith was amazing, any Justin Timberlake episode goes down in history and the same can be said for Alec Baldwin. There was one episode in the 1970s that had Roseanne Roseannadanna, Point/Counterpoint, The Ferstrunk Brothers, The Blues Brothers, Steve Martin saying, "Excuuuuse meeee," and King Tut! How can you have all of that in one episode? But I thought about it long and hard and eventually came to the conclusion of December 17th, 2011. Host? Jimmy Fallon, returning for the first time. Musical guest? Michael Buble. You know, for the holidays. He sang Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Holly Jolly Christmas to perfection. His appearance in the Christmas Duets also made for an all-time great sketch. Jimmy was great, too, reprising the mirror sketch with Andy Samberg and Sully and Denise with Rachel Dratch. He killed it with Kristen Wiig in a sketch that received a reference during SNL40, he nailed a Regis Philbin impression, and slayed me as Beethoven. Additionally, Samberg delighted me during War Horse and Fred Armisen was just...astounding in Half Jewish, Half Italian, Completely Neurotic. But the most magical moments for me came at four distinct points. Jimmy's monologue of singing, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" makes me feel so warm and happy every time. Jimmy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Horatio Sanz reprising, "I Wish It Was Christmas Today," is the most rewatchable thing in the world. Weekend Update Joke-Off and Get in the Cage with Nicholas Cage made for the best Update ever. Seeing Tina Fey and Jimmy pitted against Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler was a life goal accomplished. Finally, the Tim Tebow/Jesus sketch is not only forever etched into my memory ("Wow. You pray to me? I didn't know that."), but seeing Seth watch it from the Rock Center ice skating rink while he gathered with the cast (and Jimmy in John Belushi's bee costume) was a truly magical holiday moment. An all-time great episode.

Trailer for Trainwreck

Judd Apatow's highly-anticipated upcoming comedy has finally been given a trailer. Trainwreck, which stars amazing talent like Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Daniel Radcliffe, Brie Larson, and...LeBron James?, premiered as a work in progress at South by Southwest and it received the same type of reviews that Bridesmaids (another Apatow flick) got all those many years ago. I'm looking forward to this movie a lot. You just know it'll be great.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 4

This film awakened me to how amazing the superhero genre could be. (And it really helped launch the Age of Ultron hype train.) The Avengers is, for the time being, the greatest superhero movie ever made, the quintessential one at that, and the bar for all crossover movies, as well. After The Avengers premiered, all doubt was completely assuaged that Marvel could set up a multi-platform, unprecedented cinematic universe successfully. A lot of the praise that is given to these movies comes from my experience upon viewing them. I saw this one at midnight on my birthday next to two people I did not expect to be seated. It's so amazing. The action begins right at the beginning and then we are transported through the team-up, a battle between Thor and Iron Man, a trip on the Helicarrier, and then the famed Battle of New York. That solo moving track shot will forever be iconic. The Avengers is truly a massively astonishing achievement of epic proportions.

Superhero action directed by Joss Whedon and written by Joss Whedon in 2012.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Stan Lee.

Tune in tomorrow for number three!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Presidential Character

"So it's official? I'm the President now? This is gonna be fun..." From that moment, you just knew Will Ferrell's take on George W. Bush was the best Presidential impression ever done on the show. It's not based on vocal accuracy (that would go to Jay Pharoah's Barack Obama) or legacy implications (Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush) or precedent groundwork (Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford). This is totally based on the perfect caricature created by Ferrell. He has a solid impression down and then he spins it into something greater. The word, "strategery," is what made me choose Bush over Darrell Hammond's Bill Clinton. Chimichangas.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ah, yes! Hello to the most Irish day of the year. Eat your corned beef hash, drink your Guinness, and be merry all-around! Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody!

Monday, March 16, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 5

What else can be said about Toy Story 3 that hasn't already been said? It is truly a flawless piece of filmmaking that is evidenced by the universal acclaim (we're just gonna ignore Armond White) received by the greatest Pixar movie ever made. Toy Story 3 came to us fifteen years after the first Toy Story and eleven years from the most recent Toy Story installment. It took out favorite characters that we all know and love (Woody and Buzz, Rex and Slinky, Hamm and Mr. Potato Head, Jessie and Bullseye) and pitted them against some of their greatest challenges. Staying relevant in Andy's life, surviving the daycare, avoiding a furnace, toppling Lotso, escaping Sunnyside, and eventually saying goodbye to their beloved Andy. I had no idea what to expect from the third installment of the trilogy, but the ending made me question just why there were tears in my eyes. But now I understand. I do.

Animated comedy directed by Lee Unkrich and written by Michael Arndt in 2010.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, John Morris, Don Rickles, Blake Clark, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, Michael Keaton, Jodi Benson, R. Lee Ermey, Emily Hahn, Jeff Pidgeon, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Tune in tomorrow for number four!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Impression

This video boasts many impressions and while I adore Andy Samberg's Nic Cage and I find Jimmy Fallon's Adam Sandler and Kristen Wiig's Drew Barrymore and Will Ferrell's Robert Goulet extremely underrated and there are always classic SNL impressions like Alec Baldwin's Tony Bennett and Dana Carvey's Johnny Carson, there is one impression that stands out above the rest in this video. It is perfect. It is flawless. It might be the greatest impression ever done on the show. Ever. Bill Hader plays Alan Alda.


This Week's Sports by David

Sunday, March 15, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Character from the 2010s

His first appearance was in 2008. He did not appear again until 2010. We came dangerously close to losing Stefon, but thank goodness we didn't. Thank any god there ever was or is or will be or might be that Stefon was brought to us by way of Weekend Update. He's appeared nineteen times since then and each time is more hilariously amazing than the last. He once sat beside Derek Zoolander. He once sang a song with Bobby Moynihan's Snooki and Fred Armisen's Governor David Paterson. Bill Hader as Stefon (or, Stefon Meyers, if you will) has had a very interesting life. He almost married Anderson Cooper before Seth Meyers swooped in and stole him away at the last minute. His father is David Bowie and he lives in a garbage can. The fact that Bill Hader had to list nonsense like, "homeless weightlifters that look like the Croods, "Menorah the Explorer," and "Sidney Applebaum as the Jewish Dracula" is made doubly better by the fact that he was pressured to break character by the conniving John Mulaney and the stoic Andy Samberg. He only didn't break once. New York's hottest city correspondent is Stefon.

(This post is dedicated to Jebidiah Atkinson.)

Parks and Recreation

And now it's time to bid farewell to a television show for the first time in 2015. Parks and Recreation concluded its seven-season run on NBC (which means that a show can be in its seventh season if it debuted in 2009...good lord...) on February 24th and I finally feel ready to talk about it. This is one of the most bittersweet traditions on the blog. Recapping the series finale of a show and talking about how much it means to me and beginning the whole post with the title of the show and its theme song. And Parks and Rec truly had a great theme song. It exemplified an amazing cast, the same cast that Seth Meyers said, "I would fight anyone who says this isn't the best cast on television," about. He's absolutely right.

I'm going to recap Parks and Recreation's series finale, One Last Ride, the same way the episode moved through it. By character.


Donna Meagle

Donna's farewell look into the future probably had the least impact on me. But that's not to say it wasn't emotional as hell. As we flashed forward, we saw Donna living happily with Joe in Seattle. She became a successful real estate agent who used her high commissions to fund a non-profit with Joe called "Teach Yo'Self." I dig it. In one of the scenes, we saw April giving advice to Donna and she just happened to have a baby bump.

April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer

But the baby bump did not come with initial unanimity. April was reluctant to take the next step in her relationship with Andy, who was very eager, especially after handing out candy to kids on Halloween. (One of the kids just happened to be dressed as Chris Pratt's character from Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord.) After having dinner with Leslie and Ben and an inspirational speech from Leslie, April decided she wanted to have a child with Andy. And she would have that child...on Halloween...while listening to Monster Mash. Oh, and they named him Bert Snakehole Ludgate Karate Dracula Macklin Demon Jack-O-Lantern Dwyer. Or Jack for short. One of the best television couples came to an end.

Craig Middlebrooks

And with Craig, we were introduced to a new couple. Continuing to work at Tom's Bistro, Craig met Typhoon, the hairdresser, there one night. Over the course of time, he married Typhoon (the latter's best man was Ron Swanson so yeah it's pretty great) and lived a long and happy life with him. (I smell a spin-off!) While on an airplane with their old age, Craig and Typhoon drank from a bottle of wine that bore the name, Jean-Ralphio.

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein

We were taken into Jean-Ralphio's future at a very blunt point. A tombstone. Jean-Ralphio's funeral. And I was weirdly not upset by the death of my favorite recurring character (sorry, Perdverts). But it was revealed that Jean-Ralphio was merely faking his death with his sister Mona Lisa for insurance money. He also revealed to Leslie that he loves her. She Han Solo-d him with the response, "I know."

Tom Haverford

Jean-Ralphio's best friend had a bit of a different go at life. Due to the success of Tom's Bistro, Tom decided to expand the restaurant into a chain. Unfortunately, it failed. But it was while lamenting his failure that Tom came up with his next, globally-celebrated idea. He became a motivational speaker en route to writing two self-help books that featured personality quizzes. One of my favorite lines of the episode came from Ron when he said, "Tom, I took your quiz. I am a Ron." So good. Ben also took the quiz and got Tom as his result, which forced Tom to re-calibrate the test.

Ron Swanson

Speaking of Ron, he received my favorite goodbye of the night. Following the enormous success of the Very Good Building Company, Ron resigned as CEO, citing his disillusionment with working in an office as his issue. After this, he visited Leslie and told her that he was at a personal crossroads and he wanted her advice after making the mistake of not being honest with her in the past. I love the relationship between Ron and Leslie so much and that's why the episode from earlier in season seven appealed to me so much. You know, when it was just them resolving their differences after they realized they were both in the wrong. It ended with a classic, "Why would anyone ever eat anything besides breakfast food?" "Because people are idiots." I will forever treasure that episode. And I will also forever treasure the fact that Ron went to Leslie when he needed help. And she gave it to him. She gave him the job of taking care of the park she spent so much of the show working to build and protect. From scratch. Now, Ron walks around it all day and gets paid for it. Laugh with me, buddy. (When this song played, I damn near cried.)

Garry Gergich

Another ending for a lovable guy came to Garry/Larry/Terry/Jerry Gergich or whatever the hell his name is. His perfect life (besides work) continuing to become even more perfect as he served ten consecutive terms as mayor of Pawnee, Indiana. We then flashed ahead to his one hundredth birthday where he thanked everyone who made his life so wonderful. Gayle didn't age a bit. He died that night and Leslie and Ben attended his funeral all the way in 2048. At which point, Secret Service agents approached the two and told them they should depart the funeral.

Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt

Two of the all-time great characters were left with an open-ended question as to their future. WHICH ONE WAS PRESIDENT?! Mike Schur never revealed that to us. (It was Leslie...we all know it was Leslie.) But we were still given a great story of their future. They kept their children total at three while pursuing further political careers. Ben won the election to the Senate and in 2025 at the Biden household, Leslie was approached by the DNC to run for governor of Indiana. She won the election and begrudgingly received a library named after her. During this time, she delivered two speeches to her friends about how much they all meant to her. The best one came when Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger returned to the parks department and the whole gang was back together. We were treated to some amazing lines like, "Chip Traeger, you brilliant bastard!" and "Ann, it's happening. Our kids are falling in love." The best of all of these came between Chris and Leslie.

Leslie: "What's that on your wrist?"
Chris: "Watch." *scans his face.*
Watch: "You are one hundred percent healthy!"
Chris: "I do it literally fifty times a day!"
Leslie: "Aren't you worried about getting cancer?"
Chris: "Well, now I am..."

It was so literally amazing to have Ann and Chris back in Pawnee. They also revealed that they'd be moving back! But when it was time for Ben and Leslie to flip a coin to see who would run for governor of Indiana, Ben looked at his beautiful, tropical wife and declared that she'd be the one running. Relationship goals. Those two make my heart melt.

And then we flashed back to the past and celebrated as the parks department finished repairing the swing as one last public service to Pawnee with a lackluster expression of gratitude from the civilian. Jerry then asked for a group photo and everyone delivered one last line of gold as Leslie looked to the sky and responded (with the last line of the show), "Yes. I'm ready," to Ben's query.

Then this played:

A dedication slide to Harris Wittels flashed across the screen and that was it. Parks and Recreation was over. I mean, we got the amazing after-show on Late Night with Seth Meyers where Chris Pratt revealed he wanted Andy to die because he was locked in a hot car and Jim O'Heir made out with Aubrey Plaza who deadpanned, "I'm not very good at talking" which warranted an Amy Poehler cackle.

But as for Parks and Recreation, I am so sad that I had to say goodbye. I love this show so much and it was such a privilege to embark on this remarkable journey with remarkable people and characters over the course of seven years. From bowling alleys to Snorkjuice, I have loved every moment of this magnificent journey. Parks and Rec means so much to me and I will never not be able to resist tuning into FXX to watch whatever marathon they're airing that day. At its heart, Parks and Rec was about one person, Leslie Knope, and the effect she had on the people around her. And that's why her touch meant so much. That undying optimism that people still matter and can still have an impact on friendship and life in general. That friendship matters. That we can be a Leslie by being driven and caring or a Ben, intelligent and passionate, a Tom, creative and always true to yourself, a Donna, tolerant and fun, a Jerry, happy and cooperative, an April, open and closed at the beautifully same time, an Andy, purely kind and generous, a Ron, loyal and giddy and stoic, a Chris, optimistic and hopeful, or an Ann, supportive and lovely. We can be any one of these people or we can be a blend. Which is what Pawnee was. I love you all. I love you, I love you, and I like you.

Bye bye...Li'l Sebastian...

My 2015 March Madness Bracket

Today was Selection Sunday and the NCAA released the sixty-eight team bracket for this year's men's basketball tournament and it is pretty stacked. Unfortunately, the Florida Gators did not have a great season and they did not qualify for the tournament after last year's number one overall seed status. As a result, I haven't been paying too much attention to college basketball this year. But it's still good to fill out a bracket! And this year's one is a doozy. I took a gamble with my overall champion, the Arkansas Razorbacks. They're a five-seed, but I feel like they're the perfect underdog. Rounding out my Final Four is Duke, Kentucky, and Northern Iowa. The full, completed bracket is above. Happy madness!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Character from the 2000s

Three installments aired during 2009 so I'm counting it! What Up With That is one of the all-time great talk shows - not just on SNL - but on television in general. Hosted by Kenan Thompson as De'Andre Cole with perennial special guest Bill Hader as Lindsey Buckingham and a saxophone-playing Fred Armisen as Giuseppe, What Up With That always kills. And the reason for that? Jason Sudeikis as Vance, the overzealous backup dancer in a red track suit, perm, and gold chain. I could watch him do the running man for the rest of my life and never get bored. He is an iconic character who has seen everyone from Paul Rudd to Mindy Kaling to Robin Williams. You do you, Sudeikis.

New Community Poster!

People Magazine has provided the nation with one of the all-time great first looks. The sixth season of Community on Yahoo Screen not only now has a preview on People, but it also has this new (amazing) poster with Jeff, Britta, Annie, Chang, Abed, and the Dean uncancelling class and moving on over to Yahoo Screen! You can view the whole article here and watch the first two episodes of the sixth season on Yahoo Screen this Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE!

Billy on the Move

A new deal has been struck that will go down as one of the greatest deals in American history. Bigger than the New Deal even! Billy Eichner inked a new agreement with Turner, the television company. As a part of the deal, Billy on the Street will be moving from Fuse to TruTV! A fourth season is on the way, folks! Additionally, Billy has agreed to develop comedies for both TBS and Adult Swim. Hopefully Eichner is given as much of a free reign as he had on Fuse. 'Atta boy, Billy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 6

Jurassic Park changed the game. It has special effects that still hold up after over twenty years and quotes that hold both an emotional and lighthearted impact today. It has (and I have no qualms about saying this) the greatest film score of any movie ever made. It has iconic scenes, it has scary scenes, it has breathtaking scenes, it has ironically human scenes. It has a thrilling narrative. It has a relatable cast of characters. It has the best possible behind-the-scenes crew for which a movie could ask. It has a franchise surrounding it that hopes to catapult back into the spotlight this June. It has the Goldblum. Like I said, Jurassic Park changed the game.

Adventure directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Michael Crichton and David Koepp in 1993.

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Wayne Knight, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Tune in Monday for number five!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Character from the 1990s

I know I've gushed a lot about Celebrity Jeopardy throughout this 31 Day Challenge so far, but it's so worthy of the gushing. It's the best recurring sketch SNL has ever had. So when I came to the topic of favorite character from the 1990s, I had a tough time. How could I possibly pick between Darrell Hammond's Sean Connery or Norm Macdonald's Burt Reynolds/Turd Ferguson? Or, hell, even Ben Stiller's Tom Cruise? But then it dawned on me. Connery does not appear in every Celebrity Jeopardy. Reynolds does not. Cruise does not. One man does. Will Ferrell's impeccable Alex Trebek. I realized he is not only the glue that holds this sketch together, but he is the best character in it. There's no doubt. From his complete disbelief, his ability to control Connery at his worst, and (as Norm once described) his "undying hope," there is no other option for the nineties than Trebek. And you know what? You don't have to suck it, Trebek. Not today.

Other Literary Sequels

Inspired by Harper Lee's recent announcement that her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was receiving a sequel titled Go Set a Watchman, The New Yorker set about creating their own literary sequel titles to classic books. By clicking on this word (rainforest), you can read synopses of some books coming in 2015, including The Greater Gatsby, The Old Man and the Motorboat, and Of Mouse and Man. They're solid!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

100 Favorite Movies: 7

The quintessential John Hughes movie. A film that exudes the eighties. A film that is about growing up and fitting in and understanding yourself and understanding others and accepting your place and challenging your place and everything in between. The Breakfast Club. Is. Amazing. From Bender's light-hearted quips to the principal and the subtle nuances of Anthony Michael Hall's classic character, Brian to a dramatic, near-thirty-minute long scene that follows a circular conversation between each of the five that explores raw emotion, The Breakfast Club is a timeless and constantly-relevant classic that no one will forget about anytime soon.

Coming-of-age comedy drama directed by John Hughes and written by John Hughes in 1985.

Starring: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Paul Gleason, and John Kapelos.

Tune in tomorrow for number six!

31 Day SNL Challenge: Favorite Character from the 1980s

I know Garth is probably seen as more of a character from the nineties rather than the eighties, thanks in large part to the two Wayne's World movies in 1992 and 1993, respectively, but thanks to five Wayne's World appearances in 1989 (and the 1980s as a whole), I'm counting him as a 1980s character! Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers), the lead of Wayne's World, is undoubtedly more noteworthy, but it's Dana Carvey's Garth Algar that stands out for me. His blithe innocence, genuine sense of humor (and sense of purpose at that), and happy-go-lucky attitude makes me adore every one of his lines. Schwing!

This Week's Entertainment by David