(Last updated Aug. 17, 2017. Originally published June 12, 2016.)
I had the chance to watch “Captain America: Civil War” fairly recently and I have ruminated on it a bit.
This probably reads fairly silly to some of the deeper thinkers out there, but it is what it is I suppose. I’m not going to make a convincing enough argument in this space that anyone should ascribe a whole ton of deep meaning to these kinds of movies, but for whatever’s it worth, they generally make me think a bit. It’s probably fair to say that some blockbusters are dumber than others, and for some, the style of fare that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) churns out (and at 2-3 movies a year, it is by now accurate to call it a churn) just doesn’t do it for them. It’s clearly turned into a significant money maker for the mouse, and the time commitment to consume them all, let alone the repetitive nature of the films are all good reasons to stay away.
That said, I enjoy them a great deal. I appreciate escapism for its own sake, as mentioned above I can take away some decent life lessons and social commentary from them, and perhaps most importantly, they are movies I can bond with my family over. When my son Nate tells me he wants to watch “Thor,” and I can watch it with him, that is an experience I treasure.
I thought I would re-rank these films in the interest of sparking a little debate OR encouraging people to check a couple of them out if they haven’t. Some of this stuff I would recommend above the rest, and I guess that is the point more than anything. Also, this is sort of fun.
This is some mix of how I rank the teams now before the 2017 season, and how I see it ending up … which should line up more than it sometimes does in these kinds of lists. Some folks will be like, “I rank Clemson No. 1 because they’re defending champs even though I predict them to lose five times this year.” This is not that … I want this to reflect this year, not last.
Anyway, here’s how I see it.*
* Most of this will be comically inaccurate, but that’s part of the fun. I know this going in.
I think the tendency for New Orleans residents is to reject “touristy” spots, and that’s fine to a point. When your opinion becomes invalidated due to overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I don’t know that trying to cling to the notion of “touristy = bad” is going to do anyone a whole heck of a lot of good.
Though on second thought, if it keeps the crowds/lines a bit lighter, I’m for it. (More for me!)
A new Star Wars trailer is here! A new Star Wars trailer is here!
Ahem, excuse my delirium.
Honestly, when “The Last Jedi” trailer dropped recently, I was perhaps more intrigued than flabbergasted. As my better half stated, “There’s a lot to unpack there.” And there always is, which makes the release of any new Star Wars trailer always a fun occasion.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here analyzing the thing … pretty much any nerd with the ability to pause and an encyclopedic knowledge of Wookiepedia is going to do a better job of that than me anyway.
No, I’m falling back into my comfort zone of rankings.
Here, without further buildup, are my picks for the 10 best trailers (including teasers) in the history of Star Wars.
In the wake of the recent round of firings at ESPN, I see plenty of hot takes. Some are better than others (anything saying ESPN had this coming for its liberal agenda immediately goes into the “shit take” category), some are well meaning and some aren’t. But it’s a public business, so invariably people want to sound off on it … regardless of how much understanding of the situation they personally have.
I can relate to the folks who’ve been laid off, the people who survived and have survivor’s guilt, the ones who received the extra special “gift” of demotion, and even the fortunate climbers who might somehow benefit from these moves. I can relate because I “enjoyed” each of these experiences throughout a 15-year run in the sports communications business.
And this isn’t a woe is me tale, because for whatever it’s worth, I’m very much at peace with where I am right now (which is out of sports entirely). I don’t blame any former employer or hold any grudges, because that would be stupid (and I really, really don’t believe in burning bridges … finding work is hard enough). Moreover, I feel as though I’ve been more fortunate than most.
But I’ve seen one particular refrain in the aftermath of today’s carnage that I thought I could and should address, because maybe my own experiences in the business can help someone.
Just answered one of these emails yesterday. My honest advice: do something else. Can’t recommend this as viable career path anymore. https://t.co/PAyN1OH7lG
That sounds nice. And it’s a convenient thing to say to someone if you want the conversation to last 140 characters or less. But as with most things in life, the reality is much more nuanced than that.
But I still find it hard to hate the thing completely. For one reason, I hear rumors that the New Orleans Saints are still very much a part of the league (even despite the absurd punishments handed down during “Bountygate”). For another, the good flavor of the Falcons blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl is still fresh.* And finally, the draft itself is always going to have some merit even for people who hate the NFL because it’s one last chance to see their favorite college players paraded in front of the camera before they’re officially professionals. So, yay.
* This is one of the more improbable things I’ve seen in my sports-watching lifetime. Like, the Falcons literally had to have everything go completely wrong for them to pull it off … and they did it! And my enjoyment of it was fueled by a persistent Falcons hater laughing at them and dancing around my living room throughout the proceedings. It was truly a memorable and enjoyable experience, even for someone disillusioned by the league and basically anything that it tries to do.
Let’s re-rank the Star Wars films, because … ha, ha, ha! Like I need a reason!
Actually, I even have one: “Rogue One” is making its home video debut right now (I like calling it “home video” to recall the awesome-sauce that was VHS tapes), so now is as good a time as any. I last performed this exercise when there were six films. Now there are eight. And no, I’m not counting the Ewok movies, the Clone Wars cartoon, the Holiday Special, or even that shoddy-looking fan film you think is better than TFA and everyone else just sort of sadly nods at you in abject pity.
One of the best things about Star Wars is how it is an incredible gateway drug. You think you’re sitting there, watching an innocuous fantasy film, and then they drop some nugget on you that gets your brain all worked up, and soon you have more questions than answers … and an insatiable desire to learn more.
“Rogue One” is the natural evolution of one of those threads, what the opening crawl in the first film was really all about. That the film mostly answers one’s questions satisfactorily is basically just the cherry on top … the journey of discovery (and the inspiration of new questions) is the true joy.