Summer Blockbuster Jamboree ’15

The summer blockbuster season is upon us, and no franchise is safe. Everything must be sequelized, rebooted and thrown through the ol’ grit grinder. Now, you may find this hard to believe, but as a pasty, bearded, bespectacled fella in his 30’s, I have some things to say about the state of movies. This is the prison that I have built for myself.

Movies have to appeal to wider audiences now because they cost $700 billion to make. This character or series or toy that you still hold dear? It now has to appeal to every man, woman and child living in China if they want to make any money off of it. This is what we in the movie industry call “money making plan.” So that’s why Iron Man has to fly to Tibet and breakdance with a monk for 30 seconds, give a thumbs up to no one and then fly off to do whatever it is Iron Man usually does. Screw your continuity, pal, in this rebooted universe Peter Parker assembles iPhones and he’s never been happier. Look at him go.

Speaking of reboots, my brain processes their existence in a very specific way: First is general interest based solely on name recognition. Ah yes, Name of Movie, I remember that movie. I liked the part where it was a movie. The second stage is anger. The original Name of Movie was perfect. The special effects looked like dog shit, none of the actors remembered the other character’s names so they snapped their fingers and pointed and called everyone “um uhhh what’s their face, the guy with the amulet,” and the entire third act was considered a hate crime in 38 states but GODDAMMIT, NAME OF MOVIE WAS SO GOOD AND THIS REBOOT WILL SULLY THE GOOD NAME OF NAME OF MOVIE. The third and final stage is forgetting the reboot exists and watching it on Netflix three years later and saying eh it was ok.


Though I’ve only seen the trailer, I’m going to assume the Poltergeist reboot is not for me. Me, the person whose favorite scene in Poltergeist is when the mother is setting up ghost traps in the kitchen, maybe a little stoned from the night before. She’s drawing circles on the floor, she’s putting chairs in the circles, chairs are flying all over the kitchen. She’s just so damn excited to have ghosts in her house before all hell breaks loose, and who could blame her? It’s a scene that breaks up the tension without grabbing your head, throwing it onto a curb and stomping a lighthearted, tender moment down your throat while screaming, “DID YOU FEEL THAT? ARE YOU FEELING THIS?” You know? Do you know what I mean?

The house lights come up. The ghost of Roger Ebert turns around and gives my blog post a middling half thumb up. “I felt like he had a point in there somewhere,” he says, ghostily, “But it seemed lost in a toilet of all-caps yelling and word vomit.” He rattles some chains and makes a candelabra float around the room before disappearing forever. Thank you, ghost of Roger Ebert, for inspiring me to reboot this series of words, maybe bring along a plucky CGI sidekick, and try again in two weeks.

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.

Hack3rs gonna hack, phr3ak3rs gonna phr3ak

In September of 1995, a movie was released that changed the cultural landscape forever. In it, a group of friends use their powers to fight an evil shadow organization, hell bent on destroying the world with a super virus. I’m of course talking about the cinematic masterpiece Hackers. Angelina Jolie, the guy from Trainspotting and Matthew Lillard face off against the guy with the racist Indian accent from Short Circuit and Penn Jillette with nothing but some zip disks and a vague sense of hacking. Cyberpunks all over the world were inspired by the titular hackers, and armed with their gigantic laptops and screaming, ear piercing modems, hacked the planet.

But what if you could hack your life? Hacking is a term that’s become synonymous with doing basically anything, so chances are you’re hacking something right now and you don’t even know it. Matthew Lillard would be so proud, screaming some goofy bullshit as he watches you frantically lifehack your mainframe. In 3, 2, 1… press enter and boom, we’re in. Lines of code run over my face and I’m like hey remember when I used coffee filters? Well I just lifehacked a new reality for myself where I use Taco Bell napkins instead. You just have to hack the Taco Bell by getting red in the face and crying in the drive thru line long enough. They think I’m drying my tears with these bad boys, but nope. I’m filtering my coffee for free, and laughing all the way to the bank, where my debit card is also being hacked as we speak.



Here’s a lifehack for the new year: gym memberships are just too darn expensive, I mean am I right, have you heard about this? Not to mention they’re filled with muscle boys that know what they’re doing with their intimidating clanging machinery and intimidating clanging pensises, glistening in the locker room like a corn field kissed with dew. Strap on your VR headset, bang out some Perl scripts and hack your basement into the gymnasium of your dreams. Why pay $20 a month to punch a bag when you can punch your boiler and get basically the same results. Want a workout that really turns up the heat? Hack your shower to run in “hot mode” and then go 25 rounds against the boiler. The bodyhack, it burns my delicate hacking fingers.

But what of the most formidable hack of all: Love. Could you hack the heart of a lover? I mean the guy from Trainspotting did it in Hackers. He even got to see Angelina Jolie’s breasts, but c’mon man. Look at you. You’re no guy from Trainspotting, and good luck getting through the Brad Pitt firewall. Maybe start smaller by preparing a foodhack for your potential mate. For example, did you know Raisin Brain is just corn flakes mixed with raisins? It’s true. Watch her eyes light up when you explain the cereal she’s eating for dinner out of a bowl you fashioned out of a rolled up newspaper was lovingly foodhacked, just for her.

So is calling everything a hack just a way to appeal to pasty nerds through verb usage, tricking them into making small life changes all in the name of standing up to the status quo? Yes. Yes that’s exactly what it is. I think this quote from the Hacker’s Manifesto sums it all up: “Hey bro, just hack it. Whatever it is, hack the living shit out of it. C’mon dude. Hack it.”

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.

Bill Murray Urban Legends (2014 Edition)

The original urban legend that started it all goes something like this – You’re walking around in a major metropolitan city, minding your own business, when all of a sudden someone comes up behind you and covers your eyes. You turn around and standing there in front of you is Bill Murray. To quote GZA in Coffee and Cigarettes, “Bill Groundhog-Day, Ghostbustin’-ass Murray.” Before you can say anything, he whispers, “No one will ever believe you” and he either walks away or vanishes in a puff of smoke, depending on who you believe.

Did this ever happen? I mean, it’s not impossible, right? The guy shows up at minor league baseball games to collect tickets, he tends bar unannounced at South by Southwest, chances are if we do Awesome Talk long enough, he’ll become a member of the gang without us even noticing. The purpose of this article is two-fold – one, I want to create fresh new Bill Murray urban legends for future generations. The second fold of the aforementioned two fold thing I’m working with here is to invite Mr. Murray to turn these urban legends into urban realities. And if we’re being honest here, I want us to become best friends. So, I guess this article is now like my wallet: TRI FOLD, BABY.

Bill Murray Urban Legends (2014 Edition):

A Fresh Take on an Old Classic. You’re walking around in a major metropolitan city, minding your own business, when all of a sudden someone comes up behind you and covers your eyes. You turn around and standing there in front of you is Bill Murray. Before you can say anything, he screams, “AT LAST I AM FREE OF THIS LOATHSOME CURSE.” You are now forced to walk the earth as Bill Murray for the next thousand years, delighting the world with your antics, but sometimes you’re the voice of Garfield in the Garfield movie.

crazyeyeThe Candyman and/or Bloody Mary Summoning. The rules are simple: in the dead of night, under a blood red moon, step into your bathroom and turn out the lights. Be careful not to trip over your accursed bath mat. Stareth into the mirror and thrice speaketh the name of the MUR-LORD – Bill Murray. Bill Murray. Bill Murray. The walls bleed, a children’s choir chants spooky stuff and HE rises from the tiled floor. He will re-enact his cameo from Little Shop of Horrors and if you’re lucky, field some Q+A. Do not ask him about his role in the Garfield movie, that was a huge misunderstanding.

The Funeral Crasher. You’ll never believe where Bill Murray showed up this weekend! TMZ was first to report that the beloved Ghostbuster and man about town was spotted in the back row of a funeral service in Evanston, Illinois. Cracking jokes and cracking cold ones, the uninvited veteran actor held court well into the night, and even gave an impromptu eulogy filled with behind the scenes tales from Tinseltown. When asked for comment, funeral director James Maloney said, “Of course it was a huge surprise. I mean, not only did Bill Murray crash a funeral, he crashed HIS OWN funeral! I don’t even know how he did it… who the hell did we just bury? It’s been a pretty crazy day but I’m happy that he’s still alive. It’s just… y’know… too bad he starred in that Garfield movie that one time.”

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.


Last night on Awesome  Talk I read these words. Please hum the theme from E.T. as you read it, but switch to the theme from Jurassic Park when I start talking about dinosaurs. Then switch back to the theme from E.T. They’re all in the key of John Williams, it’ll be a nice mashup.


Sometimes the best solution is to bury all of your problems in a New Mexico landfill. The creators of the Atari 2600 E.T. video game knew this, as the game was so shitty and sold so poorly that the only way to fix the problem was to dig a very large hole in the desert, chuck the unsold games into the hole, then figure out a way to light the hole on fire.

Documentary filmmakers excavated the cartridges last week to confirm that yes, this thing that happened? This thing that Atari workers in the 80’s said they did? They sure did it, it happened, and here’s the garbage covered proof.

For some reason, I owned E.T. as a child. And it was barely a game – you would move him from one shitty green screen to the next shitty green screen, and he would fall into holes looking for parts to his… thing that he needed parts for. Repeat until he has all the parts, wait for some indecipherable rune to appear at the top of the screen, press the button on the joystick, and win, I guess. My older sister, the owner of the Atari, was determined to beat this piece of shit game. And one night, on the 13 inch black and white tv in my bedroom, she did it. She woke me up in the middle of the night so I could see E.T.’s spaceship buzz and fart around the screen and watch a pixelated Elliot run in circles, I’m guessing out of joy. The game was sold at a garage sale a few years later, and I’m sure it’s also rotting away in a landfill somewhere as we speak.



Apparently there were more E.T. cartridges in existence than there were Ataris to play them on. And throwing them in a hole was the easiest, most cost effective way to get rid of them. Now, throwing shitty shit into a landfill, doesn’t this sound familiar? It should, because history often repeats itself. Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. They had a pretty good run, but god threw them in a landfill because he couldn’t figure out a way to market them to his next creation – humans. Humans would be like, we already have cars, these things are slow as hell, and there’s not enough leather on earth to make comfortable dino saddles. So into the landfills they went with all of god’s other failed creations. Interesting postscript to that parable – eventually the dinosaurs turned into oil and god saved the day and became employee of the month.

I think everyone deserves a chance to landfill something. Everyone has their own E.T.-like debacle that they need to disappear… have yourself one of those peyote-fueled vision quests in the New Mexico desert and figure it out. Bills piling up? Landfill. Car won’t start? Landfill. Economy’s in the toilet? Throw the economy and the toilet in a landfill. Eventually we’ll have so many problems buried in so many landfills that we’ll have to bury the landfills in bigger landfills. Waterways choked with huge barges schlepping away our pianos that we never learned how to play, our decks that we never finished building, our 3-D printed monstrosities. Away with you, 3-D printed prosthetic arm with tiny swords for fingers! What the hell was I thinking?

It doesn’t matter. It’s buried in the ground and it never happened. Until documentary filmmakers dig it up 30 years later. Will the prosthetic arm with tiny swords for fingers light up like E.T.’s heart? Probably not. But I can guarantee you’ll say “ouuuuuch” when you touch it.

@virginia_1889 yes there is an @aplusk #nikoncoolpix

A husband and wife are huddled in front of a crackling fireplace placing index cards around a model size replica of their dining room table. “So, I think my mother and father will sit on the side furthest from the kitchen, next to Uncle Robert and the orphan twins.” says the wife, meticulously shaping the index cards to size. “You’ll be at the head of the table because you’re the man of this house and this is your special day. I know how much you just love the holidays.” With a red and green pen, she alternates the colors of the letters in Uncle Robert’s name. Red U, green N, red C, green L…

He leans over to kiss his wife on the forehead and asks, “More marshmallows, dear?” Just outside, a light dusting of snow punctuates their perfectly tasteful nativity scene; the footprints of carolers slowly disappearing beneath the angel dandruff. The husband adjusts the belt on his almost-too-big robe and watches Mr. Henderson hang another row of icicle lights from his roof. He’ll have to remember to compliment him on another marvelous holiday display. You did it again Mr. Henderson, you old so and so!

Bag of marshmallows in hand, the husband returns to the floor in front of the tiny dining room table. “Finished!” exclaims his wife. “Another perfect holiday dinner party, coming up!” He nods in approval, admiring the table’s fine craftsmanship as well as his wife’s penmanship. A bewitching smirk crosses his wife’s face as she picks up the remaining blank index cards and glitter vials. “You know honey, we still have two seats left. What if you could wish upon the star that lead the three wise men to the newborn king? And with that wish of all wishes, you could have anybody, anybody in the world, join our holiday dinner party. Who would you pick?”

The husband runs a hand through his wife’s hair and ponders this holiday riddle. “Anybody in the world? My dear, I thought you’d never ask. I wish I may, I wish I might, that both Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston would join us that joyous night!” He playfully taps her on the nose. “Boop! Here let me help you wi-” His sentence is interrupted as his wife throws the miniature dining room table and accompanying index cards into the fireplace.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU TREVOR?” The flames of hell reflect in her eyes as the names of their family, friends and all of the orphan twins turn to ash. “Are you fucking serious right now? Here’s an idea, why don’t we sit some of your porno girls next to gram-mem! They can shake their tushes in Trevor Jr’s face while he says the Lord’s Blessing! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?” She storms off to the kitchen. He can hear drawers violently opening and closing and she rummages for the keys to the liquor cabinet.

He chases after her. “But honey, don’t you remember when the man from Reuters called me at the office and asked me to participate in that holiday dinner poll? My answers are firmly in line with the rest of America!” With a warm smile he puts his hand on her chin. Their eyes meet and he calmly says, “Now, why don’t we try to save what’s left of the miniature dining room table and your delightful index cards and call it a night, ok?”

Have a holly jolly Christmaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhh

She snaps her head away from him and takes a large gulp from a bottle of scotch, now free from its triple locked cabinet. Wiping her lips with the back of her hand before taking another large gulp, she says,”You take your fucking hands off me and you get the fuck out of this house.” He knows he’s lost. There would be no braised goose or razzleberry dumplings or sweet apple gravybutter for Trevor this year. She has that look in her eye that says, “Trevor, you won’t be getting a second helping of shoe-fly marmalade for your freshly baked pfeffernüsse this holiday season. I’ve already filed the papers for our divorce, and I’ve written ‘Trevor’ on a new index card, crossed it out, and wrote ‘Jay Leno’ instead. He’s the funniest man in America, and he’ll be sitting right next to me. Forever. I hate you.” Her eye was so expressive.


Hey folks, John here. I hope you enjoyed this year’s very special holiday update! Can you believe people actually want to have dinner with those yahoos? Rachel Ray? Who is that even? Charlie Sheen? What, the dope addict from television? Yeah right! But seriously folks, I hope you all have a wonderful (and SAFE! hehe) holiday season! We had a lot of laughs this year, didn’t we? Oh boy. Yup. Good, uh… good times. Well, hey, don’t let me keep you. I’ll see you… next year! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha holy shit