Top 30 Challengers

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Tonight is the premiere of the thirtieth (!) season of The Challenge, nee the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Everyone has their own opinions, of course, but in my mind, here are the top 30 players in Challenge history. Note: I’m considering how entertaining the person was, how many victories he or she has, and appearing on multiple seasons is inherently valuable. For instance, someone like Carley won her only challenge (Fresh Meat II) – but does anyone really remember Carley? Continue reading

In Praise of Marisa Tomei

I recently saw “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and while a lot of the movie is very good, my first comment walking out of the theater was, “Man, I wish Aunt May [Marisa Tomei] was in it more.” And it’s not the only time that Tomei has had a (small) part in a movie, done a lot with it, and left the audience wanting more. In fact, let’s take a look at her IMDB page. You may be like me and forget in just how many roles she’s been really excellent.

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20 Funniest Shows….Ever

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A few weeks ago, my friend Kim and I went to see a live performance of Tituss Burgess (“Titus” from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”). While waiting in line, Kim mentioned that one of her friends had asked why she and I would go to something like that, considering that “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” isn’t one of the 20 funniest shows ever. I don’t disagree with the unnamed critic, at least as far as rankings go (though, as long as it’s a show that I enjoy, why wouldn’t I pay to see Tituss (and Jane Krakowski) live?). But of course, it got me thinking about what shows actually are the 20 funniest ever.

A few caveats: 1) I purposefully did not count talk shows, so you won’t see shows like Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, or the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on here. 2) Shows get dinged for going on past their natural expiration date. For instance, I have “How I Met Your Mother” off of the top 20 – had it ended after, say, season 4, it easily would have sailed into my top 20. 3) This is a list about funny shows. I know there are good shows, especially on cable, that are categorized as comedies (“Transparent,” “Shameless,” etc.). These are not funny shows. They are purposefully not included. No show has ever been more liberally described as a comedy than “Girls.” Yet there’s not one laugh in any of the episodes I watched. 4) My (long) list of Honorable Mentions is beneath the Top 20, presented in alphabetical order.  5) This endeavor is wholly personal. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. Without further ado, my top 20:

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The Five-Timers Club

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I love SNL. I still watch it religiously every week. Though some episodes drag, for the most part there are still two or three sketches per week that crack me up. Obscure returning characters like Gemma? Sign me up. But there’s something that’s bothered me the last few seasons: The same people hosting over and over again has resulted in a recent significant uptick into the five-timers club. Continue reading

Movies and Memories

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“Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.” – Leonard Shelby, Memento

I recently got sucked into one of those “Bourne” marathons that are on cable every so often, and I started thinking about the concept of memory as it applies to movies. My friends often tell me that I have a very good memory, with one even saying that I remember his own life better than he does. And yet somehow, I am drawn to characters who are the opposite – amnesiacs and people who have willfully twisted or deleted their own memories. I had an English teacher in high school who said that the two most important things you could give a character that you were writing were a name and a birthdate; without those, a character didn’t have an identity. Yet in a movie like “Drive,” where Ryan Gosling’s protagonist is known only as “Driver,” or “Fight Club,” where Edward Norton’s protagonist is essentially nameless (though 18-year-old spoiler alert notwithstanding, he really is Tyler Durden), the character’s lack of identity isn’t detrimental; in fact, it’s essential to how they act. If Gosling’s character were tied down in any way, he wouldn’t be able to, well, drive as well as he does. If Edward Norton’s character were more fully formed, you wouldn’t believe that he’d invent a Brad Pitt alter ego to change the world.

With that in mind, I think the three movies/franchises that best deal with a lack of memory are the aforementioned “Bourne” movies, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and, of course, “Memento.” Continue reading

A Definitive Ranking of the Fast & Furious Movies

Well, since everyone else is doing it (Exhibits A, B, and C), here is my list of the best Fast & Furious movies, along with what they should have been called. Amazing that these movies used to be about people racing in the desert and now they’re essentially international superhero spies. And family.

Feel free to disagree in the comments below. As always, RIP Paul Walker – you were too beautiful for this world. Continue reading

Sugar Ray/Visor Day 2017

Happy Sugar Ray/Visor Day 2017!

The world has radically changed since SRVD2K16. To reflect my opinions of those changes, I wanted to take a moment and speak out politically against the actions undertaken by the current administration –

Don’t worry; this is not a member of the Executive branch taking over JJ’s blog. Let’s talk about hats. Hats are great. All the best people wear hats. Everybody loves hats. And this holiday – you think it’s yuuuuge. It’s not the biggest holiday in the world. Scott Baio doesn’t celebrate it. Antonio Sabato, Jr. doesn’t celebrate it. Lot of people are telling me that it’s the worst holiday ever. This holiday doesn’t win anymore. I only celebrate the best holidays. People didn’t think that hats were great, but a lot of people didn’t think I would win the electoral college, either. We’re going to repeal visors and replace them with hats. Believe me. 

Sorry about that; that was weird. Anyway, as I was saying, I want to use today’s post to talk about the damaging effect of –

The issue of hats versus visors has already been litigated, in the 2016 election. The American people don’t care; all they cared about was how Hillary ran her campaign. To me it’s a non-issue, Chuck. When I hear that people are wearing visors, I see that as an alternative fact, and the lying media once again pushing its own agenda.ht_snl_dc_161204_12x5_1600

OK, not sure what’s going on, or why someone’s calling me “Chuck,” but, as I was saying –

Hats are great. Period. More people wore hats to the inauguration than have ever existed on planet Earth at any one time. FACT. The only thing more vile than visors are Dippin Dots. FACT. This briefing is going to start with an apology, FROM visors, TO hats – and that apology is NOT accepted. 

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This is starting to get weird. So, as I was saying –

Visors were created by ancient Egyptians as a way to let the sun god Ra have closer contact to one’s head. I’m legitimately a doctor who operates on brains.

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You know what? I think I’ve been hacked.

Забрало является короной шута. Только дурак будет носить это с гордостью. Кроме того, Sugar Ray достигла максимума около 20 лет назад.

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Yup. Definitely hacked. On that note, Happy SRVD2K17 everyone! 

p.s. For those who are gluttons for punishment, who have never heard of the holiday, or just love tradition, read below for the official origin story:

The summer after my freshman year of college, I started wearing visors…obsessively. And I was listening to that a CD by Sugar Ray called “Sugar Ray” (it had “When it’s Over” on it…not the one with “Falls Apart” or “Every Morning” or “Fly”). When I came back to school and it started getting cold outside, I didn’t wear visors any more; I also started listening to other stuff, because music is cyclical. So one day in December I put on sugar ray, for old time’s sake. And it was terrible. I mean, it just did not work – it just felt off. On April 1st of my sophomore year, it was the first nice day outside, the baseball season was starting, and it was time for a visor. As I was driving, by chance some Sugar Ray came on the radio – and it was glorious. Thus, the holiday was born. At first, only one person celebrated. Since then, we’ve had dozens of participants and full recognition from the band itself (in 2006). Now you (and any friends you pass this along to) can share along in the SRVD fun.

Some holidays make you buy cards and presents, or visit family that’s far away. But today, on the best holiday of them all, the only thing you have to do is realize that summer’s getting closer, the weather’s only going to get nicer, and good times are just around the corner.