First of all: Hello. How are you doing? Are you safe and sound? Do you have what you need, or know how to get what you need in responsible fashion? Have you acclimated to the sounds of sirens happening all around you, or at least to the dull murmur of people performatively reacting to those and other things that will never affect them personally on television? Cool and good < A phrase you may or may not use when looking at anything happening in the United States of America in response to a literal plague befalling those of us lucky enough to inhabit the land of hope and dreams.
Keeping in mind how much all of that is relentlessly destroying us, particularly how much money people accumulate who don’t particularly seem to have any utility for it beyond “Hey I have more money than you do lol,” and also ahead of a particularly enticing documentary premier on behalf of Mickey and friends Sunday night – The Last Dance, an unprecedentedly in-depth look into the 1997-’98 Chicago Bulls season – let’s talk about Michael Jordan’s house in Chicago.
You have options. Before the start of every new sporting season, dedicated fans take a step back to join casual onlookers just catching up in assessing offseason developments, visualizing the year ahead, prognosticating to pass the time. There are bland press releases to read, rehearsed transcripts to read into, social media posts to pick apart. Media sources both official and otherwise get paid to distill this pile of corporate-backed bollocks into coherent season previews with scripted narratives to follow for your benefit so you can regurgitate it to uninterested parties as the smartest, least likable person in the room when the topic of conversation finally comes around. I know what these previews will say. So do you. This is the ritual.
But there are alternatives. That’s why you’re here.
, Auto Racing
, Pop Culture
Graphic by Brian Kraker
Another year down. Another year older, but perhaps none the wiser? Maybe that decision doesn’t belong to you alone. It felt like nothing did, most of the time. From Tide Pods to the Philly Special to countless acts of cruelty and many more of plain senselessness to the continued existence of the Golden State Warriors to having 12 years left to stop the sun to inexplicable blue lights over Astoria, everything that happened felt like it was going to happen anyway, sooner or later, and we were all left to bear it as best we could. Same as it ever was, but different.
Still: we would be equally bereft of sense to assume that darkness would drive out darkness. You may have heard that only light can do that. For all the bad and rot everywhere, urban, suburban and rural, at home and abroad, there were the moments in between that made everything we experience every day that kept us together, however briefly. If we experienced them together? All the better.
As Bootsy Collins said in 1972, “Balance is my thing/The snow, wind and rain must come.” With that, we delve into the year that was, with an eye toward the twelvemonth ahead.
Courtesy Summit Entertainment
Do not believe the hype. Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are the villains of La La Land. They are both sociopaths. They are consistently inconsiderate to each other and everyone else around them. Let’s take a moment to ignore the stars of the film, and instead recognize its true heroes.
What is it that riles up the Gallagher brothers? The list of answers to that question are as extensive as the number of fans that fill the grounds at Knebworth in 1996, the framing device for the Oasis documentary Supersonic, which enjoyed a one-night U.S. debut Wednesday evening in cities across the country.
As several reviews noted ahead of time, Supersonic largely avoids anything from Knebworth onward, instead focusing its efforts on the Gallaghers’ childhood in a Manchester suburb, their shared musical ambitions and the eventual rise of Oasis while merely hinting at what falls outside of the film’s timeline. Despite this somewhat revisionist view – who among us in 2016 isn’t out to use filters to enhance away imperfections, real or perceived – the film is a compelling look at the most important, and self-important, British band of the mid-1990s.
I was at a party my senior year of college when a freshman girl paused after taking a long sip from her PBR tall boy to tell me I reminded her of Miranda. A noticeable chill fell over those involved in the conversation; it was clear to the group that I had been insulted. When I recounted the story to friends over breakfast the next day, the reaction was more of the same.
It was universally understood that the only “good” results when taking a “Which Sex And The City Character are You?” Quiz on Buzzfeed were Carrie and Charlotte – Samantha barely acceptable, if you reported your results with tongue firmly in cheek. But God help you if you got Miranda. Most likely you’d refresh the quiz and start over, settling for Magda or Stanford, and never speak of it again. But we live in a post-“Lemonade” world now – the idea of feminism and the unruly woman go hand in hand. I couldn’t help but wonder…is Miranda actually the most modern gal of the bunch?
[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
Despite what Resistance members think, the Millennium Falcon was the symbol of screeching rebellion in the Star Wars universe. It sped through different solar systems with reckless abandon as its wise ass star commander, Han Solo, threw another crushed beer can over his shoulder and howled alongside his trusty pet Chewie as if he were the Kenny Stabler of outer space. The Falcon and its crew were dripping with the same kind of blustering machismo that Bert Reynolds possessed with his Pontiac Trans-Am in 1977.
Twentieth Century Fox
While searching for the pickle in the tree and refusing to acknowledge any Clintons that aren’t George, Sanders that aren’t Barry and Trumps that aren’t playing cards, spare a thought to a film still struggling to validate its identity. In a recent poll, the greatest Christmas movie ever was deemed to not be a Christmas movie at all. The tragedy here is clear: it’s time to recognize the holiday overtones of the robbery at Nakatomi Plaza because Die Hard is a Christmas movieº.
“Grantland East” – Rembert Browne
Decked out in a red flannel shirt, the kind that suggests a casual work environment, Juliet Litman enthusiastically welcomed her congregation, a throng of young dudes, mostly white, with a few willing and able women scattered about. These parishioners had come to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, site of the Madden lectures a little over a month prior, to pay final respects to the most important sports blog ever, the recently-deceased standard for longform pop journalism and the sort of offbeat topics you concoct in your dorm lounge late one night after several too many adult beverages. This was the Grantland wake.
My first James Bond movie was Die Another Day in 2002. Pierce Brosnan was James Bond. I was 10. The movie was ludicrous. I loved it.
In Die Another Day, Agent 007 and his female counterpart, Halle Berry’s Jinx, drive their invisible car all around an ice palace in order to stop Gustav Graves from melting the ice caps with his big space laser, which he built with conflict diamonds. Don’t ask how or why the car is invisible. Gustav Graves was born North Korean, but he used some sort of DNA treatment to reverse-Rachel Dolezal himself into a white blonde man as some sort of critique of Western culture, maybe? His henchman, Zao, also tried to do this, but only half-Dolezal’d, so he’s just very pale and also there are conflict diamonds stuck in his face for some reason. There is also a mean British woman who they fight at the ice palace. Her name is Miranda Frost, because her parents had the foresight to assume that she would one day be a henchwoman in an ice palace. James Bond slept with her before he knew she was mean. Eventually they all fight on a plane, and the bad guys and gal die, and James Bond saves the day.
By just about any conceivable metric for evaluating film, Die Another Day is a bad movie. Despite the countless flaws that bloated this ridiculous film, it served as my introduction to all things Bond. The lines were cheesy, but even in the worst Bond movie the cheesiest lines are at least somewhat tempered by sexy delivery and the cool tuxedos. When I saw Pierce Brosnan order his martini “shaken, not stirred” in the ice palace bar, it felt like I was suddenly part of something big, something cool(this part was jarring; I was not a cool ten year old).