Monday, March 14, 2011

The 100 Coolest Things of 2010... #80 to 71

As always, you'd be better reading this on the mothership, not on Facebook, because of video, photos and the general screw up in lay out that happens when it imports into FB...

The 100th to 91st Coolest Things of 2010
The 90th to 81st Coolest Things of 2010

80... Affleck Robs a Bank
So, he gets a bad rap, but somehow, someway, not only as Ben Affleck turned into a credible actor, he's actually a pretty good director too.  In 2007, he directed--and starred in--"Gone Baby Gone", an excellent Boston crime mystery, and now, he's back with "The Town".

The story simply is that Affleck and a few of his buddies are bank robbers, including an excellent Jeremy Renner, and are trying to finish up their theivery career.  The film then follows Doug (Affleck) and his boys as they try to pick up the pieces after a robbery goes wrong, and after he ends up with a relationship with a chick they took hostage.

Jon Hamm, from "Mad Men", shows up as an FBI agent chasing them and... okay, I know, I know what you are thinking... "This sounds like every other bank robber movie, with a main character and an impossible romance (check) and heist gone wrong (check) and being talked into one last heist that they didn't want to do (check) and the rogue agent right on their tail (check)..." but seriously, its better than that.

There is a load of language in it, including a whole lotta F-bombs, and there is some violence--it is about criminals robbing banks, after all--and the like, perhaps not as Emmy Turnbow Safe as you'd want it to be.  But a great film, nonetheless.

79... "American Honey"
Song by Lady Antebellum off of their "Need You Now" CD.  What can I say?  Great song.

78... The A-Team Gets a Redux
Much like "Unstoppable",  the 81st Coolest Thing of 2010, "The A-Team" is nothing more than a popcorn flick, though what it has over "Unstoppable"--for better or worse--is characters that anyone over 25 will be familiar with.

Here's what I said on June 21st:

All in all,you can tell that this movie was made by people who loved the original TV show... it didn't set out to mock the show, or move the show from its original direction, it modernizes the tale, brings it to nowadays and sets up what might be a mildly successful movie franchise.

Bottom line, if you liked the TV show, you can consider this a PG-13, one hour and forty two minute version of that very show... most people I know liked this movie alot, and those people loved the original show... however, if you didn't like the TV show, you won't like this film at all. If you have no concept of the TV show, you'll view this movie as a popcorn ride with some interesting characters who's names you might be familiar with.

You can read the full review by clicking here...

I know this might be blasphemy, but a few weeks after I saw the movie, I was flipping channels and happened to see that an episode of The A-Team was coming on some ethnic channel called Centric One.  So, I flipped over and watched about half of it... and... well... it was bad.  I mean, really bad.  When I was 11 years old, this show was the junk.  Everything about it was rockin' awesome.  Now, especially since I feel like my tastes are more refined, I couldn't watch it.  The acting was bad, the story was bad, the jokes were horrid... maybe if I watched it again, my bar will be much, much lower, but I guess I was shocked by how terrible it was.  Just sayin'.

77... Jeff Bridges Finds a Legacy
Back in 1982, a little movie came out called TRON, and for its day (I'm sure you've heard this before, but I'll reiterate), it was revolutionary.  The graphics were new, the special effects were amazing, the story was creative and brand new, and it was all the rage.  But like many films from that era, or any era, it slowly slipped into the forgotten movies pile, becoming something only a certain aged section of the population would even remember, or even recognize by name.  TRON was a forgotten movie.  Even seeing it some years later, the story holds up, but the special effects are... ehh.

Smashcut to 2009, when a huge announcement was made--they were doing a sequel to TRON.  No one knew what it was about, no one knew how it would be recieved, but finally, another TRON movie would be presented to the world, one that would reunite the fans of the original with the Light Cycles and The Grid, one that would introduce new fans to just such things. 

TRON: Legacy came out in December 2010, and I went to see it as quick as I could... and I loved it.  It was just what the doctor ordered for the continuation of TRON.  Okay, I'll be real here--some of it is kind of hokey, especially when you see there are homeless "people" in The Grid, and when you discover there is an actual nightclub with real DJs and everything.  But the Light Cycles are worth the price of admission... no longer were they single beams of light cutting at immediate right and left angles (which itself was really cool), they were cycles that went in all directions, up, down, side to side and back again, which made for a great little Cycle Battle scene.

The effects have gotten worlds better, and even though its no secret that Jeff Bridges plays not only the main character, Flynn, in both TRON and its sequel, but they superimposed a much younger version of his face onto the villian, Clu, and at some points it looks terrible--but that's neither here nor there.  This was made to be a fun, futuristic, eat popcorn movie and I ate popcorn, thought it was fun and enjoyed it immensely.

Oh, and if you've seen the original and then watch Legacy, and think that "Alan Bradley" looks familiar, just wait.  It took me a minute, but I caught it.

76... Auburn Wins Alot
Who'd thunk it?  While Auburn didn't technically win their championship until January 2011, their magnificent season alone was worth a mention in the Coolest 100 of 2010.  You could have called them the Cardiac Cats, and many people did, at the first part of the season, as they kept getting way behind, then playing catch up all game, and pulling out the victory.

Which meant when they fell behind 24 points to Alabama, Cam Newton simply said, "Eh, we got this..." and darn if they didn't do just that.  Big Daddy Ron and Bro-in-Law Tyler went to the game, and when Bama had their big lead at halftime, with Tyler celebrating and high fiving everyone around, Ron just smiled and said, "This ain't enough... we didn't score enough points..." 

Yep, I'm a Gator Guy.  I still appreciated Auburn's win, and the SEC's fourth straight BCS Championship and what, five in seven years?  That's called domination.

Y'all Bammers call it what you want.  We all know that if Cam Newton had chosen Alabama, had won the school a 2nd consecutive Heisman, then led them to another nation championship (14th?  17th?  328th?) then every member of the Roll Tide nation would have defended him just like Auburn did, and conversely, every Auburn fan would be accusing Alabama of winning a dirty title.  Let's be real here.

75... Glee Finds a Queen
The Lovely Steph Leann loves her some Glee... I mean, like, l-o-v-es her some Glee on Tuesday nights, so much so that she's been completely excited when I've bought her Glee CDs as presents for certain occasions.  Now I must tell you in the spirit of full disclosure, I like Glee.  I don't love Glee, but I do enjoy it when I happen to be with The Lovely Steph Leann in the same room, and its on.  Maybe its the frequent appearances by Kristen Chenoweth.

Anyway, their versions of songs are usually good, but very rarely do they top the originals--but "Somebody To Love" is magnificent.  Its the Queen song, which usually ranks at the bottom of my Queen Favorite Songs List, that when is sung by Glee, takes on a whole new meaning and a whole new sound.  Love it.

74... Wal-Mart Has an Effect
So, in March of 2010, I read a book on Wal-Mart.  Don't ask me why, but I thought it was well written and told a great story of Wal-Mart's rise and business practices.  Here's what I wrote on April 3rd of last year:

I picked up the most fascinating book two weeks ago, solidifying the theory that I will read anything if it grabs my attention in the first chapter. "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Charles Fishman is a book all about... well, not just Wal-Mart, but the effect it has on those who buy from there, those vendors who Wal-Mart buys from, those communities in which Wal-Mart chooses to plant themselves... and also those people who don't buy from Wal-Mart, those vendors who Wal-Mart doesn't buy from (or doesn't anymore), and those communities from which Wal-Mart chooses to not be a part of--or be a part of anymore.

The book isn't about the history of Wal-Mart, though it does devote a page or two to its beginnings and its founders. Mostly, its about the good... and bad... of the largest private company in the history of the world. Fishman does his best to make sure he covers both sides of the equation... like, all the good Wal-Mart has done...

You can read the complete post here.

73... The Author Leaves a Note
Imagine my own surprise when I opened up my blog site, a day after reviewing "The Wal-Mart Effect", which you just read about above, and finding out that the author of the book itself left a comment on the page.  Sez Charles Fishman:
Wow, fabulous review. Almost as long as the book itself... The one thing you didn't offer your readers is a link to the book's website, where people can read reviews and other excerpts.   Or, of course:

Thanks for the close and appreciative read.
Charles Fishman
Author, "The Wal-Mart Effect"

How great is that?  I thought it was... well, cool.  You can also find a few more links, plus a funny Wal-Mart story courtesy of Amarylis By Morning (up from san antone) by clicking here.

72... Columbus Kills a Zombie
Once again, I remind you that this isn't a Coolest List of Things That Came Out Last Year, because our 72nd ranked Coolest, the movie "Zombieland", was actually released in 2009... but I didn't see it until some time last year, so hence, it makes the 2010 list.

Before "The Social Network" blew up his career into the stratosphere, Jesse Eisenberg starred in a number of films, including "Zombieland", where he plays Columbus, who is a survivor in a world where most people have turned to zombies.  He's trying to get to his parents in Columbus, Ohio, in which you learn that his name isn't really Columbus.. its what he is called because that's his hometown.  And then he runs into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone, who I am just loving right now), and the comedy begins amongst all the destruction of zombies. 

And right smack dab in the middle is an incredible cameo by Bill Murray, which is the most hilarious part in an already extremely hilarious film. 

The scene as the festival got busier in the evening
71... The Middle Eastern Have a Festival
Every year, around October or so, there's a Catholic church which holds its annual Middle Eastern Festival, featuring delicious foods like kibbie, grape leaves, meat pies and spinach pies, an entire table full of desserts and hundreds of people milling around, and this year, our wonderful friends, The Zarzaurs--That being Chris, kids The Zach Attack, Jay Z and Special K, and of course, The Statuesque Melanie, invited The Lovely Steph Leann and I to come and eat and enjoy the festivities.

We pulled up to the church and as we crested the hill, we came up this huge tent canopy, full of tables and people getting full.  When we walked inside, we were met with the kids taking orders and running around like crazy, Chris Z throwing food onto a plate just as fast as he could, and Melanie trying to keep the peace and order--probably not unlike her usual evenings at home.

The Lovely Steph Leann and I enjoyed the food very much, sitting outside and watching a large group of kids dance (re: belly dance), and as we were about to leave, Melanie mentioned how rough the afternoon had been and was going to be, well into the evening.  The reason being?  Alabama was playing South Carolina--and all the free help wanted to watch the game.  The Lovely Steph Leann was pretty exhausted, so she bowed out, but I agreed to come back in a little while and help serve.

Melanie and The Zack Attack taking a break.  Actually,
The Zack Attack was bored to tears by this time.
And that's what I did.  I arrived back, and was immediately placed in the food assembly line.  There were several different kinds of plates, which I learned quickly, so I spent the next five hours filling the plates with rice and kibbie and meat and grape leaves and on and on, as the kids milled about, sometimes helping, sometimes not, and Melanie milled about, sometimes helping, sometimes getting onto the kids because they weren't.

It was a great time, spending a little bit of time in a bit of a culture I don't know much about.  I don't mean that everyone there was Middle Eastern and no one spoke English, but that it took place in a Catholic Church, which I was able to ask questions about, and the food alone was great conversation. 

Hopefully, I'll be able to help this year, if invited back!

Coming up... Norah Jones features... find out who dropped you on Facebook... and later, the best hat in the whole world...

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