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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Get It Off My Facebook Page: 7 Facebook Pet Peeves

Note to personal Facebook friends: Please read this entire piece before giving in to your all-consuming, narcissistic rage and immediately un-friending me. This post is meant merely to explore the current state of one of social media’s most beloved hubs in order to figure out whether or not I feel the need/desire to continue to participate. Hopefully, you’ll get some yuks out of it. If you reach the end and still haven’t figured out what I’ve attempted to and, hopefully, succeeded at doing, by all means, un-friend away.

I’ve been having this internal debate over the past few weeks: Is there any reason whatsoever for me to be on Facebook anymore?  I’ve discussed this quandary externally as well with a friend over buffalo wings and booze; with my wife in our marital bed; with my 2-year-old daughter while driving home from a family dinner out. (Side note:  There’s nothing like discussing your frustration with social media with a toddler who just wants you to turn up Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” so she can hear the part in which Miley discusses dancing with one of said toddler’s best friends, Molly, to put into perspective how truly asinine it is to get worked up about Facebook not “being what I want it to be.”)
The conclusion I reached with the aforementioned friend over dinner a couple of weeks ago was this: Facebook is fine, you just have to decide what your Facebook page is going to be and what kind of Facebook-self you want to present to the world.  Do you know how devastating it is to be 35-years-old and having this conversation?  The horrors of this discussion weren’t lost on us.  Did I mention that we both left the pub feeling pretty drunk?
I think I just don’t like what most people have decided what they want their Facebook pages to be, and that’s my problem.  On my birthday, I posted a list of 35 (not really) life lessons I’ve learned over the years, the most important of which, in my opinion, being “like what you like.”  Don’t worry about what other people think about the shoddy, no good garbage you think is great.  Think it’s great, whatever it is, and post about it all the livelong day.  That said, here’s a list of my Facebook pet peeves.
1. Non-Stop Complaining: Is it possible to live a life that is nothing but sorrow, anger and unending delusions that everybody in the known universe is out to ruin your life specifically?  I have FB “friends” whose pages are nothing more than an ever-growing litany of complaints and conspiracy theories.  Everyone is out to destroy their miserable, painful lives; there’s not enough time in the day to flip the bird at everybody who deserves it (i.e. everybody); their families are garbage; their friends are garbage; their co-worker in the next cubicle over is garbage; life, in general, is garbage.
Here’s why your life is not so bad: 1) You have access to a computer, which, in turn, gives you access to social media, which, in turn, gives you a place to complain and have people  fawn all over you, stroke your ego, and justify your daily—sometimes hourly!—woe is me’s.  2) You have fingers to type your daily diatribe against the world.  Do you know how many people in this world don’t have fingers?  Lots, probably.
Look, everybody’s life experiences both ups and downs, but I refuse to believe that people on Facebook, posting updates from their job or the house they’ve been able to purchase because of full-time employment, live lives full of non-stop bullshit that justifies the level of complaining they do.
2. Cries for Attention: Examples: “That’s it!”  “I’m so over this!”  “I guess that’s that then.”  “I’m done.”

We all know what you’re doing.  Stop it! 
Cries for Attention are closely linked to Non-Stop Complaining, only far more infuriating because of their vagueness.  Both status strategies provide opportunity for “concerned cohorts” or “lovers of drama” or “ rumor-mongers” to jump into the action, and pretty soon, everybody is jerking each other off about this and that, justifying each other’s dumb complaints and petty disagreements.
3. Daily Affirmations: We’ve all seen these pop up in our News Feed from time to time (i.e. every hour, on the hour), bon mots like “When God closes a door, He opens another door and Faith is the key,” accompanied by a picture of a half-open garden gate with a child’s wagon and a teddy bear slumped over inside next to it.  Or “God broke the mold when he made Southern Girls” with like a gingerbread woman cookie cutter superimposed over it.  Or “God is God, so just let God be God and totally Trust God to be God.”  They’re mostly about God.
Find something original to say, all right?  If I want to read a bunch of daily affirmations, I’ll just spend a few hours in the motivational poster room I maintain on my side of the closet in our master bedroom.  You can’t imagine how many motivational posters I’ve fit into one place.  It’s sick.  But, yeah, stop clogging my News Feed with hackneyed sentiment and dusty religious yada-yada-yada.
4. Political Masturbation:  I get it, you’re smarter about politics than I am.  You spend large amounts of your day keeping up with what’s going on—or what’s not going on—in our nation’s capital and you want to shoot your knowledge and your opinion all over the Internet’s face.  Sort of like a one man bukkake of political philosophy I can’t even begin to understand or care about.
There are those of a particular political persuasion that are the worst when it comes to this, but I’m going to hold my tongue because I don’t want to incur their wrath or encourage comments about how this blog is nothing but a Fascist entity keen on turning the general populace into slaves.
5. Unearned Expertise/I’m Right, You’re Wrong, and You’re Stupid For Not Agreeing With Me: Granted, a few people can pull this move off with enough cunning skill to alert readers to the fact that they are winking all the while.  Those people are fine.  I’m one of those people.  It’s the people who, say, I don’t know, post a link to an article in which the author is irritated by peanut products and homemade cupcakes being banned from their child’s daycare, and they whole-hearted agree and argue with everyone with a dissenting opinion in the most insulting way possible, regardless of the fact that they themselves do not have children at all.  That may have been too specific.  That person can un-friend me if he/she wants.  I have a kid with a handful of allergies, so, maybe you rubbed me the wrong way a little.
Why even post articles or opinions ripe with opportunities for discussion if you’re just going to keep telling anyone who feels differently about the topic that they are idiots and don’t deserve to share, let alone have, their own opinion?  At least the political masturbators engage in thoughtful, fairly-respectful discourse.  Facebook “Experts” are a rude bunch, easily pushed into the frenzied attack zone when the viewpoint they’ve held for exactly ten seconds after halfway reading a Huffington Post article about food allergies or Sea World or whether or not Miley Cyrus deserves her fame is under attack.
6. Willful Christian Ignorance:  Don’t know if you are aware, but according to some Christians on Facebook, Christianity is under attack, almost constantly.  So are the Republican party, the Religious Right, Christian churches both here and abroad, and good old-fashioned morals in general.  Who is Christianity’s greatest foe?  President Barack Obama, of course.  You didn’t think it was still Satan, did you?
In this case, I will cite a specific example because a) this person doesn’t read my blog (her head would probably explode if she happened upon it by accident and learned that a former Sunday school student of hers uses the f-word occasionally, in ways both rude and sexual) and b) she has a habit of posting things without researching them first.
Last year—I think it may have been the first ever Get It Off My Facebook Page actually—I posted a video railing against President Obama and his anti-Christian goons in Congress for banning a country song about how America needs to return to its (not exactly) Christian roots or what-have-you.  I knew without any research that this was probably bullshit—arguing that Obama was too busy trying to forge his birth certificate to worry about banning songs from the radio—and it turns out I was right, because obviously.  This morning, while enjoying what I refer to as my Morning Shit, I was catching up on what my “friends” were up to on Facebook, and found that my former Sunday school teacher was at it again.  This time she had posted a video from an Atlanta newscast exposing the sick, sad news that American federal tax dollars were being used to fund the rebuilding of mosques in the Middle East.
Turns out that this is actually true, but a quick check on ( shows that there is a lot more to the story then my “friend” was aware of.  You see, the original poster of this video—not my “friend,” to be fair—had posted this piece, which I believe was broadcast originally in 2011, specifically to attack our President and promote thoughtless jingoism and feed fuel to the lie that “Helping Out Middle Eastern People = Funding Terrorism = Christianity Sucks” somehow.  I’m willing to bet my “friend” only posted the video because of the whole “America’s hard-earned money going to mosques” angle the newscast is promoting.  I encourage you to follow that FactCheck link.  I almost posted in her Facebook wall, but decided against it because I don’t enjoy confrontation very much.
7. Links to Articles Re: How Awful Social Media Sites Have Become:  I hate it when people share links to things like “5 Things Engaged People Post On Their Facebook Pages That Make Us Want To Puke Forever” or “20 FB Photo Trends We Could Do Without” or “Get It Off My Facebook Page: 7 Facebook Pet Peeves.”
Wait.  Hold on a minute.
Hey, I didn’t go back through my FB archives before typing this article.  I’ve probably been guilty of some of these things.  You are more than welcome to comb through my social media past and alert me to any indiscretions or momentary lapses in judgment.  I welcome it.  Like yourself, I’m assuming, I am a human being and, by definition, a raving hypocrite.
Here’s what I’m proposing for myself.  I want to use my Facebook page to celebrate things.  If I like something I like, I’ll post about it in a glowing manner.  If I don’t like something, maybe I’ll make a joke about it or maybe I’ll just limit that to this blog.  I will also continue to use my FB page as a Lawson family photo album as I know it delights my family—both immediate and extended—and my true, non-Facebook-specific friends.  I’ll also use it to post weird jokes that no one will ever comment on because they don’t understand what I’m doing nor should they.  I’m not on Twitter anymore (a long story that may be told on the pages of GEP someday, but no day soon), so I need an outlet for my weird and silly impulses.
You should use Facebook anyway you please.  Like what you like and decide what you want the world to think about you.  It’s up to you.  I don’t have any suggestions, because I’m no better than any other social media drone.  I would suggest, however, joining Instagram, because it is, in my opinion, the best.  I’ve contemplated devoting my social media activities solely to Instagram (this is still on the metaphorical table), but for now I’ll see you on Facebook, you wonderful people you. 

UPDATE: Oh, I’m also not a fan of inappropriate snark in the comments section, but that’s an issue I have with only one Facebook and true-life friend, Jordan Beall.  So, I left it off the list.  Love you, Beall, but we have to talk about your snark problem.  DM me.
(Don’t really.  I’m kidding.)

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Movie Penguin Monday: #25. Best Worst Movie (2009)

This Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will bestow its highest honor, commonly known as the Oscar, to the best of the best of 2013's offerings from Hollywood (AKA MovieTown, USA).  So, what better way to celebrate this momentous and mandatory occasion than to discuss a documentary about what is inarguably the worst film ever made, Troll 2.  

For lovers of "bad cinema," you can't do much better than Troll 2.  It is the very definition of a "good bad movie."  A lot of movies are terrible, but not all terrible movies are so amazingly, perfectly terrible that they somehow loop back around to being good again.  A "bad movie" is one that is simply mediocre.  A "good bad movie" is a rare, perfect, shitty gem of pure awfulness.  If you don't understand what I'm talking about, why do you even read this blog?  

Movies like Sharknado and Snakes on a Plane are bad for many reasons, but mostly for being obvious attempts, and subsequent failures, at true badness.  A "good bad movie" is one in which everyone involved, but mostly the director, thought he was doing some really special.  You can see the care and concern he put into every crappy frame.  The director of a "good bad movie" truly believed in the story he was putting on screen, and thought, in turn, an audience of fellow human animals would feel the same way.  And then, of course, the film has to be a spectacular failure which is subsequently embraced by hipsters, alternative comedians and weirdos who genuinely enjoy watching garbage for reasons unknown, but probably having to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain.

In my opinion, there exist two truly great good bad movies: The Room and Troll 2.  I think I may have written about The Room on GEP before, so, go back and look for that.  It's totally worth your time, and if you want further proof of that, it's as easy as this: My wife has watched The Room, and she doesn't watching ANYTHING with me, aside from animated films or movies featuring Muppets, good or bad. My wife watched The Room and enjoyed the experience.  It's something special.  Check it out.

Troll 2 is just as good bad.  It's inept in every conceivable way.  From writing to directing to acting to cinematography to costumes to craft services to dance routines, Troll 2 is a straight up disaster.  Here's my favorite scene.  You should know that right before this moment, the boy, Joshua, has urinated all over his family's lunch.

That dad, played by small-town, Alabama dentist George Hardy, referred to as "the rich man's Craig T. Nelson" by the host of a sold-out Troll 2 screening in New York City featured in director Michael Paul Stephenson's Best Worst Movie, is what makes Troll 2, and this resulting Making Of/Behind-the-Scenes Retrospective/Where Are They Now? documentary, so enjoyable.  Hardy's journey from not-at-all being aware that the low-budget horror (not really) sequel he starred in 20 years earlier has become a cult favorite among bad movie lovers to fully embracing his status as a beloved cult actor to growing tired of the fan screenings, poorly attended Q&A sessions overseas and lack of interest from hardcore horror fans at horror conventions to saying he would star in a Troll 3, if there ever was one, without hesitation, provides Best Worst Movie with its backbone.  Hardy seems like the nicest guy on the planet--interviews with members of the community in which he lives and fixes teeth confirm this--and watching him come unglued, albeit in the most subdued, "gee shucks" way possible, at a horror convention in Texas ("I don't understand why people are into this shit."), is comedy gold.  His inability to pronounce Nightmare on Elm Street correctly is pretty funny too.

Before I move on, can we talk about Troll 2's original VHS cover art?

What is that, man?  That movie looks cool.  Nothing like that EVER happens in Troll 2.  The axe-wielding demon troll pictured here appears to be ready to slaughter that little boy (not the little boy from the movie, by the way) and devour him bones and all.  The goblins in Troll 2--yeah, Troll 2 features exactly zero trolls--are strict vegetarians.  And none of them carry axes or stand in foreboding doorways oozing green smoke.  They just, kind of, turn human beings into plant-based goo and, then, eat them.  It's a super inefficient way to be vegetarian when you think about it.

Stephenson, who not only directed Best Worst Movie but starred as Joshua, the boy who pisses in the face (and on the food) of hospitality, catches up with everybody from the cast, but focuses mainly on Hardy, Margo Prey, who plays his "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" loving mother, and Troll 2's director, Italian filmmaker, Claudio Fragasso.

Margo Prey's moments in the movie are either moving or disturbing.  I can't decide.  She cares for her wheelchair-bound mother in a dilapidated house in Salt Lake City and complains that the neighbors are always making noise.  When asked what the noises sound like, Prey begins to "wooooo" like a madwoman.  Which is what she is, probably.  But she also lets Stephenson and Hardy into her house and talks at length with them about their experiences on the set of Troll 2.  They even reenact the car scene:

Claudio Fargasso, Troll 2's director and co-writer, is kind of a dick.  He seems genuinely moved that so many people have embraced his movie, shaking hands with fans waiting in line for sold-out screenings and posing for pictures, but as Best Worst Movie goes on, Fargasso starts to behave as if he's a little more important then he actually is.  His worst moment comes during a huge fan event the Alamo Drafthouse holds in the Utah ghost-town, known as Nilbog in the movie, where Troll 2 was filmed, during a Q&A with the reunited cast, minus Margo Prey, who kindly, but firmly, tells Hardy and Stephenson that she just wants to go somewhere where no one can ever find her.  While one of the actors is telling a story about how he never received a complete script and, therefore, didn't know what the movie was about really, Fargasso heckles him.  He shouts insults at another actor who recounts to an enraptured audience of super fans how difficult it was for the English-speaking American cast to communicate with the exclusively-Italian crew.  Fargasso finally storms outside, calls the actors "dogs" and complains that the whole thing is bullshit.  "I've directed many films in English and have never had a problem," he fumes.  Yeah, you can barely understand him through most of the film.

There is a lot of fun stuff going on in Best Worst Movie, stuff you can probably enjoy without even seeing Troll 2, but I don't encourage that.  In fact, I think you should probably marathon Troll 2 and Best Worst Movie one Saturday afternoon when its rainy outside and your taking a break from Candy Crush or whatever it is you do.  And then watch The Room.  And then maybe Sharknado.  I stand by what I said about it earlier, but it's not without it's charms.  Oh, and watch The Pit.  The Pit needs a cult around it.  Maybe I need to start it.  I'm the only person I know who has ever seen The Pit, aside from the five people I made watch it at a Halloween party once.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Road to the Oscars: The Croods

I started this Road to the Oscars series for two reasons: to compare and contrast The Wolf of Wall Street and soft-core porn and to complain about Monsters University's snub in the Best Animated Feature category.  I've done the former, now on to the latter.

When the Academy Award nominees were announced, I was, for the second year in a row, largely uninterested.  Blame it on spending most of my disposable income on work snacks, thus not having enough cash on hand to purchase movie tickets, thus being at the whims of my father and the MPAA (Explanation: My dad and I go to the movies together a lot, for which he inevitably pays, and I have a long-standing rule that I will see nothing beyond a PG-13 with my old man.).  Blame it on being a father and spending most of free-time co-raising a child to be a productive, well-adjusted, non-psychotic member of society.  Heck, blame it on the rain, after all, it was falling, falling.  Simply put, I hadn't seen many of the films nominated.

[Aside: As of this writing, I have seen one of the Best Picture nominees (The Wolf of Wall Street) and I have a DVD copy of another one (Captain Phillips) currently residing on my kitchen table.  I have also seen The Croods.  Obviously.]

My interest was piqued, however, when I discovered that Monsters University, Pixar's most recent film and one of the films on my shortlist of favorite movies of the year, wasn't nominated for a Best Animated Feature award, while The Croods and Despicable Me 2 were.  

"The Croods?!?  Really?!  The Croods was better than Monsters University?!?" I screamed to the heavens, my hands balled into sweaty, shaking fists.  "This is blasphemy!  This is a conspiracy!  Dreamworks animated movies are nothing but piles of pop-culture belching garbage!  Pixar paints my dreams on the screen!  My parents saw The Croods on a cruise and liked it!  There is no way it's good!"

I remember the trailer for The Croods.  It was stupid, so, therefore, the movie was stupid.  Plus, I seemed to remember The Croods, as well as Despicable Me 2, getting awful reviews.  So, I paid Rotten Tomatoes a visit to make sure I hadn't just dreamed the universe's hatred of all things Croods.

Apparently, I had dreamed it.  The Croods has a 70%, which is not too shabby.  Despicable Me 2 is sitting pretty with a 75%.  Monsters University trumps them both with a 79%, but the films I was initially so excited to rail against proved to be at least worthy of Best Animated Feature consideration.  I had to devise a new tactic to take down The Croods. I decided to focus on Croods only, because I don't have time for sequels to movies I've never seen and apparently is popular mostly because it features giant yellow tic-tac monsters performing wacky Three Stooges stunts.  

And, what luck, The Croods is streaming on Netflix right now.  So, after eating some breakfast and working on an art project with my daughter this morning, I proposed a viewing of The Croods.  Quinn is always game for a movie, so she agreed immediately, with one condition: that it be a princess movie (We had watched Cinderella for the first time Friday night.)

"How 'bout a movie about cavemen instead?" I asked.

"OK."  She's pretty easy that way.

We watched The Croods.  It's great!

Not only is The Croods visually stunning, it's story, while not entirely original (fathers and daughters coming to terms with stuff or whatever), is deeply effective and heartfelt.  I'm not going to lie: I cried, cried to the point of tears rolling down my bearded cheeks.  It was one line that did it too.  I mean, I could feel the tears welling up during the penultimate scene of the movie--a moment I will try not spoil for spoiler-phobes in the audience--but it wasn't until the caveman father, named Grug and voiced by Nicolas Cage, which is never not weird/distracting/amazing, responds to his son, who has just said something like, "What if you don't make it, Dad?", with the line, "When you make, I'll make it," before tossing him across a chasm like a chubby, boy-shaped Frisbee, that the tears flowed freely.  Quinn wasn't aware that her father was having a complete breakdown on the couch, as she was pretending to take a picture of the movie with the defunct cellphone she uses to text Sesame Street characters.  "They better get to the cave," she said, turning to me, a giant smile on her face.  "They sure should, sweetheart," I snuffled, wiping my tears on a pillow.

Oh, yeah.  Quinn was taking fake pictures with her cellphone because The Croods is a tad overlong and she was kinda bored.  Granted, my daughter is 2-years-old, but there are some moments when the film drags.  The opening scene, however, when the Crood family works together to score an egg for breakfast, delighted my daughter immensely, so much so that she kept asking when they were going to get another egg. (Spoiler Alert: They do try to get another egg halfway through the film)

So, OK, fine, The Croods is great.  Congratulations on your Oscar nom.  Harumph!

Important note to cinema lovers: The Croods is fart joke-free.  Go forth and enjoy without hesitation.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Road to the Oscars: The Wolf of Wall Street

Throughout February, GEP will feature a series of posts exploring some of the movies nominated for Academy Awards this year, culminating in the widely beloved list of my personal Top 10 favorite films from last year.  The excitement is almost too much to take!!!

“It’s basically softcore porn.” 

This was the brief review of The Wolf of Wall Street my uncle provided to his brother, my father. My dad relayed this message to me over one of our weekly family get-togethers, and I was intrigued. I had not yet seen The Wolf of Wall Street, but I’d seen plenty of softcore pornography in my day, so I was, justifiably, I think, skeptical. Martin Scorsese is a great filmmaker--maybe the greatest--and while I found Shutter Island surprisingly pedestrian and obvious, I didn’t think it signaled the beginnings of a downward trajectory toward the lamest of porn genres. 

So, I bought a ticket for Mr. Scorsese’s three-hour biopic of Wall St. scumbag Jordan Belfort to discover for myself whether or not it was “basically softcore porn.” It’s not. And here are 6 whole reasons why. 

1. Plot: Simply put, The Wolf of Wall Street has one. I haven’t watched a softcore film all the way through since the last time I spent the night at my cousin’s house, where they had Cinemax in every room and I was forced to sleep in a beanbag chair underneath a Jenny McCarthy poster, but I don’t remember them having very intricate plots or plots at all, really. Recently, my wife got us a deal through the cable company that gave us one whole year of HBO and Cinemax for free. Taking full advantage, I DVR-ed some movies (the entire Lethal Weapon series, Aliens, something about a runaway roller coaster, etc) and a couple of, ahem, erotic pictures. One of the—cough, cough—erotic features was apparently about a squad of elite lady spies who plied their trade while clad exclusively in bikinis. That’s the description provided by Cinemax, but I didn’t see any sort of covert special ops missions or fun spy gadgetry. There was plenty of sex in hot tubs though. More than plenty. Too much, really. The point is, The Wolf of Wall Street told a story, an interesting story, and Super Secret Bikini Squad Team (not the real title) was, I guess, about the various ways couples can have sex in hot tubs. 

2. Setting: Martin Scorsese uses various settings and locations to tell the true story of untethered greed run amok. From the urban sprawl of New York City to the gated communities of Long Island; from the beauty of the Italian coastline to a deadly storm at sea that claims our hero’s personal helicopter. Softcore porn usually takes place in a big house. In fact, it might just be one house. I’m not one-hundred percent certain about this, but I think Bikini Spy Squad (still not the real title) and the other erotic romp I recorded--the name of which I cannot recall, however, I do remember it opening with a comical blow job--took place in the same non-descript McMansion. Sure, there were scenes filmed alongside pools, underneath glass-topped dining room tables and, it should go without saying, multiple bedrooms, but all of the action took place under one roof. Can you imagine a spy movie taking place in one location? It’d be the most boring spy movie ever filmed probably. Bikini Girl Spy Team (not the title) did it though. And, yup, it was boring. 

3. Acting: The Wolf of Wall Street features beloved actors, as well as some up-and-comers, doing some of the best work of their careers. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie, that dude from The Walking Dead, the guy from the Arby’s commercials, Matthew McConaughey's skeleton: top notch performances all! Softcore porn is typically populated with people who appear barely aware of the English language. 

4. Less looking off camera for direction/approval from director: A common occurrence in soft-, as well as, hardcore pornographic motion pictures—be they feature length or broken up into five easy to watch one-minute clips-- is the “look-off-screen-for-direction-slash-approval.” You don’t seen this in your standard, non-pornographic film—which The Wolf of Wall Street undeniably is—because it’s damned unprofessional. Rehearsal, people! It’s important! You’ve probably got that big house rented for the whole day. You and your co-star need to find an empty room and figure out what you’re going to do. It’s that simple. [Also, for the record, I’ve never seen even a second of hardcore pornography. A friend told me about this.] 

5. Drugs onscreen as opposed to off: Look, I’ve never been on a porn set (SAD FACE EMOTICON WITH TEAR), but I assume everybody’s coked up. They’ve got to be, right? Maybe not. There are probably standards even porn productions have to meet. Like, you’ve probably got to provide craft services and freshly laundered splooge towels. There are probably bowls of Viagra just off camera, but nothing illegal like pre-packaged heroin syringes. Even so, porn actors lead a pretty rough life. I think I heard somewhere that all of them do drugs and hate themselves. DiCaprio and the gang might spend the bulk of The Wolf of Wall Street’s three-hour running time faceplanted in a hillock of coke, but I bet there wasn’t anything stronger than a Tylenol or an occasional bong rip back in the trailers. 

6. Realistic sex: When the characters ‘get it on’ in softcore pornography, it’s gross. Men are basically making love to women’s stomachs. It’s as if nobody on the production crew has ever a) taken a sex education and/or anatomy class in high school or b) had sex themselves. And every male character in a softcore must have a dick the size of an elephant’s trunk, otherwise why do the actresses’ heads always come to about nipple-level when performing fellatio? In the The Wolf of Wall Street, the men put their penises in the women’s vaginas.  There is absolutely no weird intercourse with stomach pussies.  None!

Sorry, but The Wolf of Wall Street is not basically softcore porn.  Case closed.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coffee Bowl

So many terrible things have happened over the past few weeks: the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman; the misguided and vitriolic, yet sadly unsurprising, #FuckCoke movement; the Broncos lame performance in the Super Bowl; the fact that I couldn’t find my keys this morning and had to use the spare key I have for when I take my car in to be serviced. We’re talking terrible, terrible things. 

However, Giant Electric Penguin is first and foremost interested in the weird minutiae of pop culture, so, let’s take a look at this featurette for the hit film, That Awkward Moment, specifically the moment around 0:25:


I had planned to write about this last week, before That Awkward Moment--or TAM as me and my boys call it when we get together for impromptu pal-arounds and what-have-yous-- popped it’s handsome head into theaters. Now I just need to get this out into the ether before TAM dissipates into an AXE-scented mist and floats away on the breeze. This thing did not do well, which is a surprise to me, because I thought people loved movies based on internet speak. 

I don’t care how much money TAM didn’t make last weekend. I’m not here to kick a film when it’s down. I want to discuss the moment in the above trailer when the young lady tells the young man she’s breaking up with him because he chooses to drink his coffee out of a bowl rather than the widely accept coffee receptacle, the mug. 

1. I haven’t seen the movie, so maybe the fact that Zac Efron’s character is drinking coffee out of a cereal bowl is indicative of a larger problem. Maybe his sink is filled with dirty dishes and the only thing he has available for his morning cup of coffee is a bowl. If that is the case, the aforementioned young lady is clearly within her rights to be as annoyed as she appears to be. 

2. But, what if Efron simply enjoys coffee more when he drinks it out of a bowl. Like, maybe he’s a coffee connoisseur who knows a little bit more about coffee than your average coffee drinker. Perhaps the bowl really opens up the flavor profile of the coffee. Or maybe he just takes a lot of cream in his coffee, too much cream for your average mug to behold. If that’s the case, this woman is terrible. Breaking up with someone because of some strange quirk—if, in fact, drinking coffee out of a bowl counts as a quirk at all—is fairly shallow. You knew Efron enjoyed bowl coffee the first time the two of you went out for breakfast. You probably thought it was novel, cute even. But, over time, it began to grate on your nerves. You started asking yourself, “What’s with Efron and the coffee bowls? It’s kind of weird actually. And everybody stares at us whenever we hit IHOP.” I doubt it. It’s probably something else. So, not only is this young lady shallow, she’s also a liar. You’re better off, Efron! 

3. Nobody drinks coffee out of a bowl. There is some connection between this and men eating potpourri in movies—a trope regular readers of the blog know I hate—but I can’t quite figure it out. If you can, let me know in the comments. 

4. Correction: At least one person on this planet has enjoyed a hot bowl of coffee, and it was either the writer of this film or one of his college roommates. Coffee bowls smack of college or post-college stories one person thinks is hilarious and, therefore, one day, needs to be shared with the world via a wide-released motion picture.

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