Category Archives: Lists

Treehouse of Horror Roundup 26-27

Like most other Americans, I spent the last couple of days consumed with a different sort of nightmarish joke. But life and the days of November march on, and now that it’s ten days past Halloween, we need to wrap this up.

It felt good to laugh and get one last sweet taste of Halloween for the year. I even ate some candy — gummy bears — to mark the occasion. And The Simpsons managed to let me end on happy note by providing two mostly solid episodes. I’m glad I took this ride with you all.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 19-21

It only just occurred to me tonight (10 and a half hours into this roundup) that I could have made things interesting by collecting and crunching some Simpsons data as I watched. What percentage of Halloween segments focus on each character? How often are Kang and Kudos central to a plot rather than mere background? How many times does each character actually die onscreen? What a missed opportunity!

Well, I guess I could just start over.

Yeah, no.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 11-16

We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch. What say you, Groundskeeper Willie?

Picture of Groundskeeper Willie

We’re wasting more energy than Ricky Martin’s girlfriend.

Harsh, but probably accurate. This was not a great group of episodes, although it wasn’t a complete comedic dead space.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 7-10

A shorter batch tonight. My stamina is already waning. And yet so far I feel really engaged with this exercise. This is fun. This group reminded me that for such a topical show, The Simpsons can also feel extraordinarily fresh and relevant even two decades later. I tend to roll my eyes a little when people say stuff like that because I’ve never been quite the Simpsons devotee that many other people are. But sometimes a particular joke will reach out and shake you by the throat until you acknowledge the truth.

Not a single chuckle-worthy tombstone or framing device to be found tonight. I guess those are well and truly dead.

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Treehouse of Horror Roundup 1-6

In honor of All Hallows Eve 2016, I intend to revisit every single Simpsons Halloween special. Many I’ve seen countless times before, but many I’ve never seen at all. So this should be an interesting experiment… at least for me. However, because The Simpsons has been in continuous production for the majority of the years I’ve walked this planet and because I have a day job, I won’t really be able to dig deep with a lot of substantive commentary. And it will still take me most of this week anyway. I hope you enjoy this quick-and-dirty nostalgia trip anyway.

Opening title from the first Simpsons Halloween Special

Wait, are these not actually called Treehouse of Horror? Everything I know is a lie.

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The Movies of 2015

In 2015 I decided to focus on my professional development rather than hobbies. I started a certificate program to build my technical qualifications, and that takes up approximately 120% of the free time I would rather spend blogging about movies and television. The program ends in May, so mark your calendars, kiddies. This blog will be back with a vengeance Memorial Day Weekend 2016. Woot.

In the meantime, here are my 2015 watch lists.

The System (only for theatrical viewings):
* Good enough to justify the ticket price
** I genuinely liked it
X I hated it
+ Number of repeat viewings at the theater

Theatrical List:

Birdman *
Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts **
Jupiter Ascending
Home *
The Avengers: Age of Ultron **
Tomorrowland *
Jurassic World *
Inside Out **
Minions *
Terminator: Genisys **
Ant-Man *
Trainwreck *
American Ultra *
Hitman: Agent 47
Mad Max: Fury Road **
The Martian **
Crimson Peak **
Spotlight **
Krampus *
The Good Dinosaur *
Star Wars: The Force Awakens *

Some thoughts on my theatrical list:

  • I saw 21 movies in theaters this year with no repeats. This is a marked drop over my average from the last several years. See note above re: certificate program. But I enjoyed myself almost every time.
  • If I had to pick a favorite, I’d probably say The Martian. But Terminator: Genisys and Spotlight are a close second and third. Genisys will probably hold up the best for multiple home viewings over time.
  • Marvel’s offerings this year didn’t speak to me as much. They still have my love, but the bloom is probably off the rose at this point. Also, they’re releasing just too damn much product. I can’t keep up anymore. Do you know I’ve still only had time to watch one episode of the Daredevil show? Tragedy. I’ll be drawing social security before I get to Jessica Jones at this rate.
  • My most anticipated movie of the year was Jurassic World, which is a weird thing to admit in the midst of all this Star Wars mania. Yet, still true. I don’t think I loved Jurassic World as much as I’d hoped I would, but I wouldn’t characterize it as disappointing either. Solidly entertaining, but just a little problematic in some places.
  • I liked The Force Awakens well enough, but it really seemed to exist primarily to get pieces in place for future movies. If Disney really plans to churn out a movie a year using this film as a starting point, then I’m hopeful that at least some of them will rock my face off.

Home Viewing List:

Let’s Be Cops
MST3K: Rocket Attack USA
Predestination
Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time
The Interview
The Awakening
Boomerang
MST3K: Hamlet
MST3K: Girl in Gold Boots
Horrible Bosses 2
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Sinister
Into the Woods
MST3K: Alien from L.A.
MST3K: Project Moonbase
The Babadook
Best in Show
The Others
Going Clear
Dennis Rodman: Big Bang in Pyongyang
Snowpiercer
MST3K: The Day the Earth Froze
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
MST3K: Secret Agent Super Dragon
The Skeleton Twins
Cars
Lilo & Stitch
James and the Giant Peach
Big Fish
Ex Machina
MST3K: Space Mutiny

The Movies of 2014

Whoops. Totally forgot about this back in January. Also, totally forgot about updating this blog for, like, six months or so.

The System (only for theatrical viewings):
* Good enough to justify the ticket price
** I genuinely liked it
X I hated it
+ Number of repeat viewings at the theater

Theatrical List:

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Midnight Revival Show: Legend **
The LEGO Movie **
About Last Night *
2014 Oscar Shorts: Animated **
Frozen **
Divergent *
Captain America: The Winter Soldier **
Only Lovers Left Alive *
Screening Event: The Room *
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Godzilla *
X-Men: Days of Future Past *
Maleficent * + 1
Edge of Tommorrow **
Mel Brooks Film Festival: Blazing Saddles *
Lucy
Guardians of the Galaxy **
The Giver *
Chef **
This is Where I Leave You *
The Boxtrolls *
The Book of Life **
John Wick **
Nightcrawler *
Interstellar *
Big Hero 6 **

Home Viewing List:

Elysium
MST3K: Future War
Prince of Darkness
MST3K: Horrors of Spider Island
MST3K: Warrior of the Lost World
MST3K: The Phantom Planet
MST3K: Night of the Blood Beast
Pacific Rim
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Europa Report
The Way, Way Back
Justice League: War
Rapture-palooza
Hell Baby
MST3K: Werewolf
MST3K: Beginning of the End
MST3K: The Starfighters
Arthur (2011)
The Conjuring
Dune
Scarface (1932)
Let’s Go to Prison
MST3K: Final Justice
Goon
Tales of the Night
Batman: Assault on Arkham
MST3K: Hercules and the Captive Women
BoJack Horseman (series)
MST3K: Gamera vs. Guiron
Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics
R.I.P.D
MST3K: Gamera vs. Barugon
Marvel’s Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United
MST3K: NInja Master 1
Insidious
22 Jump Street
Oculus
Coherence
Jack Reacher
Insidious Chapter 2

Hello, Mr. King

Tomorrow night I will attend a Q&A event with Stephen King. He will perform a reading from his latest novel, Revival, and, if I’m very lucky, I will go home with a signed copy.

I’m terribly excited. In anticipation, I’ve been re-reading King’s autobiography (which is also a brilliant guide for aspiring authors), On Writing. I’ve also been thinking about my favorite movies based on his works. I’ve collected the following list. Keep in mind these are simply the titles for which I feel the greatest amount of affection, not necessarily the best examples of high-quality cinema.

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Delicious

Last weekend I saw Chef on the recommendation of my best guy friend, a.k.a “BFF.” And as he predicted, I did indeed love it. I loved it as a searing metaphor for writer/director Jon Favreau’s relationship to the Hollywood machine, and I loved it for itself: a savory-sweet concoction of joyfulness. Such a happy-go-lucky little movie. And I really appreciated seeing a story about an adult taking the time to teach a child things that are worth knowing.

As I sat watching the credits and absorbing what I’d just watched, I realized during the credit cookie that Chef amounted to an easy slam-dunk for me not just because it’s good, but also because it’s way up my alley. There are certain types of movies that are hard to ruin for me. One is a twisty amnesia mystery. Another is any movie that involves lovingly filmed scenes of food preparation.

This is a Cuban sandwich. There's no avoiding eating one after you see Chef. Do yourself a favor and get one lined up in advance. This one comes from Paladar in Rockville, MD.

This is a Cuban sandwich. There’s no avoiding eating one after you see Chef. Do yourself a favor and get one lined up in advance. This one comes from Paladar.

I make no claims to “foodie” status. I enjoy squirt cheese too much for that. But, for better or worse, I am an emotional eater. Scenes that imbue food with that sensibility hit me where I live. It’s not just movies either. My favorite scene in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon is where Pilate teaches her nephew how to cook a perfect soft-boiled egg. I still vividly remember reading that book in my twin bed in my college dorm. After I came to that passage, I got no farther on my reading assignment that night because I just kept re-reading that part over and over again. It triggered the sweet spot in my brain.

To hit the sweet spots in your brains, here are some other food-centric movie moments for your viewing pleasure:

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