snap culture: December 2007

  1. You have to admit it's getting better ben, 12/28/2007 0 comments
  2. more top movies ben, 12/28/2007 0 comments
  3. Will the Patriots win the World Series? ben, 12/21/2007 0 comments
  4. The Case for 1994 ben, 12/21/2007 0 comments
  5. Hey Huckabee, How'd you lose 100 pounds? ben, 12/20/2007 0 comments
  6. top movies of the year ben, 12/19/2007 0 comments
  7. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption ben, 12/17/2007 0 comments
  8. so true, so very true ben, 12/15/2007 0 comments
  9. best year for movies #2: 1967 ben, 12/14/2007 0 comments
  10. The list ben, 12/13/2007 0 comments
  11. the "late" morley safer ben, 12/12/2007 0 comments
  12. worst movie with the best cast ben, 12/11/2007 3 comments
  13. Way late to the party William, 12/10/2007 0 comments
  14. a not-so-crazy premise ben, 12/09/2007 0 comments
  15. Athletes were vulgar in 1898 ben, 12/07/2007 0 comments
  16. best year for movies ever? ben, 12/07/2007 0 comments
  17. found it ben, 12/06/2007 1 comments
  18. get me footage! ben, 12/05/2007 0 comments
  19. Xmas shopping ben, 12/04/2007 0 comments
  20. My kind of economics William, 12/03/2007 0 comments
  21. the BCS: media firestorm cash cow ben, 12/03/2007 1 comments
  22. So that's what nausea feels like ben, 12/02/2007 0 comments
  23. Vince Vaughn would be pleased ben, 12/01/2007 0 comments

12/28/2007 Add a comment

It's getting better, all the time (it couldn't get much worse). Most people don't know this, but The Beatles wrote that song about Chicago sports. Here's a quick year-in-review of my beloved sports teams:

Cubs: Sucked
Bears: Sucked (in Superbowl), Suck (this season)
Bulls: Sucked (against Pistons), Really suck (this season)
Blackhawks (not-so-beloved): Sucked, suck.

That said, this will make everything all right:

FUKUDOME TIME!

ben

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12/28/2007 Add a comment

From CNN, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis of the Times. It's worth noting that the year's top grossing films are more often showing up in the "worst of 2007" lists than the best. Wild Hogs was #10 for the year and made $168 million! Now we know why crap like that gets made in the first place. People shell out to hear Martin Lawrence say "Daaaaaaaammmmmn!", and awkward sexual innuendo between John Travola and William H. Macy, apparently.

Of course, many of the "best" movies are being released late in the year, so we won't know for sure where they rank on this list, but looking at last year's box office take, The Departed finished 15th, Dreamgirls 19th, Little Miss Sunshine 51st, Babel 91st, Letters from Iwo Jima 138th, and the Last King of Scotland 124th. ben

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12/21/2007 Add a comment

Mitt Romney says he watched the game the last time they did. That must have been something. ben

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12/21/2007 Add a comment

As the best year for movies ever, this time by Nathan Rabin of the AV Club. Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, Quiz Show, Ed Wood, and Crumb are the headliners. Also this was the year Hoop Dreams came out, still the best documentary I have ever seen. This was the first year that I got into paying close attention to new good movies (as opposed to rushing out to see the latest Pauly Shore flick), only have my heart broken when Forrest Gump won the Oscar for best picture. At the very least, it prepared me for Crash winning two years ago.

I still need to see Chungking Express, but the rest either I've already seen or don't have too much interest in.

Does anyone have a case for the worst year for movies? Probably has to be sometime in the 80s or early 90s, but I don't know which year exactly. ben

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12/20/2007 Add a comment

This article argues that, contrary to Huckabee's repeated claims about the effectiveness of diet and exercise (he even "wrote" a book on dieting), all available evidence points to bariatric surgery.

(Thanks John!) ben

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12/19/2007 Add a comment

Here's the AV Club's list. I'll be posting more of these top films lists as I find them.

All in all, I'm disappointed by the lack of diversity in the Club's choices. I was hoping to see more indie/foreign/documentaries on their sub-lists. The only documentary which shows up on more than one list is King of Kong, which I missed because it played for about a week in theaters. I'll have to add it to the queue. I've seen three of their top ten (No Country, Into the Wild, Gone Baby Gone), and plan on seeing many of the others once they hit theaters (There Will be Blood) or DVD (The Assassination of Jesse James, Zodiac). ben

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12/17/2007 Add a comment

That's the actual title of Steven King's short story which was turned into one of my favorite movies of all time. I guess it must be some prisoners' favorite films as well, as these guys used it as a get-out-of-jail manual, and dug themselves out of prison using the "pin-up picture to cover the hole" trick. As for the title, the hole in the cell in Shawshank was first covered by a picture of Rita Hayworth. I think this method was featured in "Escape from Alcatraz" as well (and the "put a dummy under the covers for the bed-check"), but I'm not positive.

Either way, alert the police in Zihuatanejo. ben

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12/15/2007 Add a comment

Headline from the Onion:
Fan Favorite White

ben

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12/14/2007 Add a comment

Here's the case for 1967 as the best movie year ever. It features a great top 4 (in my book) of Cool Hand Luke, Bonnie and Clyde, The Dirty Dozen, and the Graduate. Solid year, but I'm not sure it compares to 1974. Movies I still need to see from '67: Point Blank, Play Time, Who's That Knocking on my Door, Le Samourai, The Trip, Belle du Jour.

Also, I am realizing that my French New Wave knowledge is woefully inadequate. I'll have to add a few of the classics (e.g. Breathless, the 400 Blows) to the Netflix queue as well. ben

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12/13/2007 Add a comment

The Mitchell Report is out, and here is the list of players named in it (courtesy of Deadspin). They don't have the BALCO section listed in this link, but that crowd is named as well.

As best I can tell, no mention of Sosa, McGwire, Bagwell, Derek Bell, or Brady Anderson, who would have been my first guesses as to names that would show up. I think we have to keep in mind that all these names are coming from basically two sources, BALCO and the Radomski ring and the lab that was linked to it. I'm sure there were other sources that were used which they haven't uncovered yet.

Nonetheless, this story about Roger Clemens using is a doozy, and should make all Red Sox fans happy...they were right to consider him washed up when he left for the Blue Jays. ben

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12/12/2007 Add a comment

The year's best media corrections, including correcting the use of the phrase in the title. I also like the one that called a "sexual health worker" a "sex worker". ben

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12/11/2007 Add a comment

Will Ferrell
Jason Schwartzman
Steven Colbert
Steve Carell
Michael Caine
Shirley McClaine
and
Nicole Kidman

all teamed up to make Bewitched. I saw a few minutes of it on t.v. over the weekend and it is an unmitigated train wreck. Impressively bad film with that many people who I usually enjoy. Can you top this for worst movie with the best cast? ben

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  1. Blogger William: you don't even go far enough: Amy Sedaris, Kristin Chenowith (who is great as Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies), James Lipton, Conan O'Brien, Ed McMahon, and David Alan Grier were also in the movie. 12/11/2007  
  2. Blogger Luke S.: Mars Attacks, which I watched for a minute on TBS last night at 2 in the morning, might rival it. It might, actually, be a worse movie. Involved in the Tim Burton catastrophe were: Jack Nickolson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Tom Jones, Natalie Portman, Pam Grier, Jack Black, and Christina Applegate. 12/11/2007  
  3. Blogger ben: Mars Attacks is tough to top. Another for the list would be North, which was roasted in Rabin's "Year of Flops" column: Elijah Wood, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Alan Arkin, Bruce Willis, Dan Ackroyd, Kathy Bates, and Scarlett Johannson. 12/12/2007  

12/10/2007 Add a comment

But this is a great game. Desktop Tower Defense. I am having the hardest time beating the medium level.

Labels: ,

William

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12/09/2007 Add a comment

Well, everyone knows that Al Gore didn't invent the internet. What this post presupposes is...maybe he did? ben

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12/07/2007 Add a comment

Not surprisingly, I suppose. But I expected things like "I bite my thumb at you, sir", and calling people "Scalawag" or "Scoundrel." Um, no. It turns out they were far less appropriate, as this document from 1898 shows. Not safe for work, unless you work with people who shout "I'll make you suck my ass!" (That is the least vulgar quote and most printable for this family-friendly blog. And my new favorite thing to yell at bad drivers.)

(Link from Deadspin) ben

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12/07/2007 Add a comment

What's the best single year for movies? The AV Club is debating amongst themselves. The first entry is a persuasive argument for 1974. I have trouble disagreeing, and there are at least 10 movies on their list that I would love to see, the Conversation, California Split, and Thieves Like Us at the top of my must-see list. To the Netflix queue! ben

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12/06/2007 Add a comment

Deadspin comes through with the butt-trap footage: ben

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  1. Blogger William: i like how he then takes a dive (though the video cuts off). 12/06/2007  

12/05/2007 Add a comment

From the Times' soccer roundup:
In Peru, Efrain Viafara, a midfielder for Sport Ancash, created an uproar when he used his buttocks to trap the ball. His bit of unorthodox skill was interpreted as a mocking act by Universitario players, who chased Viafara. Fans began to fight in the stands, then poured onto the field before the referee abandoned the game.
ben

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12/04/2007 Add a comment

A guide to the cheapest toys, courtesy of the AV Club. ben

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12/03/2007 Add a comment

Indexed.

Labels:

William

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12/03/2007 Add a comment

The bowls are out, and guess what? There's controversy. There's ALWAYS controversy. And the NCAA wants it that way. Ignore the quotes from Pete Carroll ("Every sport in college sports has a playoff") and Gene Wojciechowski ("College football deserves better than simple bedlam"), and the grumbling around the college coaching fraternity. The bowl system is the only way for college football to control television on New Year's Day and beyond. With a playoff, there would be interest for a few weeks, but by the end the only game anyone would care about is the championship. Right now there are about 30 bowls, and I'm not saying that people watch all of them, but most college football fans watch parts of 4 or 5 of them.

The current system makes the NCAA and the major conferences wealthy, and the constant controversy only adds to the coverage and ratings that the bowl games, even outside of the BCS championship game, enjoy. If the only bowl game that "mattered" was #1 vs. #2, who would watch the rest? And then who would pay to sponsor and advertise in those side-bowl games?

Of course a playoff makes sense if the goal was to determine the "best" team. But that's not the point of the college football season, the point is to maximize profits and pay for exorbitant coaching salaries, fancy stadiums and equipment, and oh, by the way, bankroll every other college sport that isn't Division I basketball. Money is the simplest and best answer to why there's no playoff in college football. ben

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  1. Blogger William: It's really nice to see Illinois make it to the Rose Bowl, especially when Mizzou gets screwed. 12/03/2007  

12/02/2007 Add a comment

The U.S. won the Davis Cup yesterday in a great effort from the Bryan Brothers. I was possibly the only American watching doubles tennis on the Versus network, but it was a well-earned win nonetheless. The always-excellent Jon Wertheim provides some insightful tidbits in today's wrap-up:
Imagery of the week goes to Bob Bryan: "I've been nauseous for three days. I'm not going to try to hide that my stomach was doing back flips. I had a circus of monkeys in my stomach just playing tambourine in there."
ben

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12/01/2007 Add a comment

Portland, Maine, is honoring its native son Chester Greenwood, the inventor of earmuffs. It's hard to believe that his granddaughter is still alive. He sounds like an awfully busy guy, who invented over 100 things, "created and sold a local telephone company, built a plumbing and heating business, purchased land and built houses, owned a bicycle shop and ran an excursion boat with his brothers". Not bad for a guy with large sensitive ears.

And if you don't get the title reference, please go watch Old School. ben

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