Movies of 2012 [FB]
Jan 3rd, 2013 by Dan


(Photo by jimmymac333)

Man do I love me some movies, guys. The following listing of my favorites is not limited to movies that were released in 2012, but rather what I saw in 2012 that I most want to talk about.

Prometheus – I’ve never seen a movie from the Alien franchise, but something about the trailers and the Fassbender hype made me want to catch this one in the theaters. After failing to get most people interested, Ian and I caught this flick. Look, guys, it’s not the greatest movie out there, but Fassbender is amazing, the movie is stunning, and that emergency “caesarian”? Absolutely terrifying and awesome to watch. I want to make everyone watch that hyper tense scene.

The Cabin in the Woods – Kind of related to the previous movie, but I don’t really watch horror/monster movies. They’re not my thing. The buzz on Cabin was so great that I had to face my fears and step in. What I got was a brilliant subversion of the horror genre with Whedon’s fingerprints all over it. It’s not really that scary and I honestly believe that everyone should suck it up and check this flick out. You’ll never look at a horror movie the same way.

Young Adult – The first of these flicks to have actually come out in 2011, Diablo Cody’s look at a thoroughly unpleasant woman seeking to reclaim her glory days is relentless in its brutal look at the awful person that Charlize Theron plays. The absolute kicker is in the scene where Patton Oswalt’s character’s sister effectively destroys the character progress Theron has made. Watching everything shift into place on her face was probably the best acted moment I saw this year.

The Descendants – Or the movie that convinced me that George Clooney was brilliant and that Shailene Woodley had real acting chops. It’s a beautiful family movie with an almost tacked on real estate sideplot that doesn’t quite tie in like I think they wanted it to, but it’s full of great performances and it’s definitely worth seeing.

Higher Ground – I’ve been enamored with Vera Farmiga ever since I saw her in Up in the Air, so I had to check this movie out. It’s about a woman constantly searching for meaning, but frustratingly never able to find it. She plays the part with a lot of emotion and subtlety and I just adored every minute of the performance.

Martha Marcy May Marlene – Fits in thematically with the previously mentioned movie since it’s also about a girl so lost that she ends up involved in a cult (to be fair, Higher Ground is about a fundamentalist Christian sect). Elizabeth Olsen plays the confused, frightened escapee with great skill as her brain struggles to reconcile what is real with what was brainwashed into her head. Of course you also get to contrast the horrible, but peaceful cult with the materialistic and unfulfilling real world that alienated Olsen in the first place. The film is most notable to me with how it closes. Is Olsen in her right mind and is the cult actually about to exact vengeance or not?

Wanderlust – The first truly slight movie on this list, Wanderlust has David Wain’s quasi-troop at their funniest. It’s not gonna win any Oscars, but Wanderlust is a happy, fun movie filled with funny people. I mean, any movie that makes me like Jennifer Aniston has got to be worth mentioning.

The Five-Year Engagement – Sure, it’s just shy of a standard rom-com, but this flick is getting special mention for the fine work of Alison Brie and Chris Pratt. Those two are amazing.

Goon – A hockey epic for the modern day. I have almost zero complaints about this movie. It tugs on all the heartstrings with a story as far from cloying as possible. It’ll make you laugh, wince, and maybe cry, but you’ll love it.

21 Jump Street – Who knew that Channing Tatum was secretly hilarious? It’s probably getting a little too much credit, but this is a genuinely funny movie that I expected to be completely idiotic and forgettable.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – My first Duplass Brothers film. I guess they call this kind of indie film mumblecore, but that’s kind of reductive. It’s a sweet story about brothers, which is the kind of thing I’m a sucker for.

The Avengers – The biggest movie of the year! Do I even have to talk about it? I want to give props to Mark Ruffalo for being brilliant as Bruce Banner and, hey, while we’re at it, I thought ScarJo did a fine job too (so did everyone else).

Argo – A strong competitor for my favorite flick of the year. Who doesn’t love a heist flick? Especially one that’s actually based on real events. 70s facial hair, great, tense performances, and international spy intrigue. It goes to show that you don’t need James Bond flair to make a good, exciting espionage movie. Plus “Argo fuck yourself” is a great line.

Lincoln – Another heist flick, but this one is about getting votes for the 13th amendment. Everyone you could possibly think of is in this flick, but I think its fatal flaw is the whole biopic aspect of it. Lincoln was an incredible man, I don’t doubt that, but in this movie he’s never wrong, always gets the last word in, and is generally a god among men. Worth seeing.

Holy Motors – Gets the WTF? Award this year. Truly bizarre in a way that only French cinema dares. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s also brilliant. The accordion segment was pretty sweet too

Pitch Perfect – I love movies about music or singing. I don’t care that this is the most stereotypical, formulaic plotting out there. Obviously there’s gonna be discord, one girl is devoted to the old way while the new girl has a revolutionary way to look at things and, guess what, she’s right! Look, who cares about that? Rebel Wilson is hilarious and Anna Kendrick is super charming. Don’t fight it, just enjoy.

Django Unchained – I’m not above stating that this is the most important movie of the year. I’ve heard that some of the events depicted in it are exaggerations of the horrors of slavery. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t live in the 1800s, but I think that this movie is properly intense and strikes the right balance between over-the-top violence and the real gravity of the situation. Cristoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Samuel L. Jackson all deserve recognition for their amazing performances. If you’re only gonna see one movie on this list, make it this one.

What I’ve Been Doing 24 Sept 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 24th, 2012 by Dan

Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation Lino Block Print

Ron Swanson and friends are back! (Photo by andyrama)

Not everything’s back yet, but TV! It’s back!


Cabin in the Woods – Watched about 20 mins while Scarlett was napping. I wonder what Danielle’s gonna end up thinking of the movie. I’m a huge fan. Love Fran Kranz


The Daily Show – The Romney gaffe-fest made for some interesting commentary this week. Love the bit about how being Latino would make everything easier. Yeah, try being a minority for real Romney…

Fashion Police – Thought it would be milder because it was being filmed in front of a live audience in NYC, but they didn’t hold back as much as I thought. Still happy to not have to see Giuliana Rancic. She’s a weak link on this show.

Project Runway – Designing for the Rockettes seems tough. Turns out I was right because everyone was really shitty at it. The pandering, “NY is Awesome!” design won because, duh, haven’t you ever seen this kind of thing before? How was Christopher the only one to think of that?

NTSF:SD:SUV – Robots! Bob Odenkirk! Decent ep.

Childrens Hospital – British episode! Absolutely brilliant. I’d watch that version every week too. Great writing.

SNL Weekend Update Thursday – It’s election season. Can’t pass up SNL mocking the election.

Up All Night – Lot of changes, wow. No more Ava show, new supporting character (Reagan’s kid brother), no more Missy (sad, but she belongs on the broader UAN from last year), new film stock or something (it looked really different), and a new direction for Chris. Talk about a massive retool. The show is, for all intents and purposes, a completely new animal. I’m not sure if this will benefit it…

Parks & Recreation – Loved all the DC stuff. Didn’t care so much for the Pawnee BBQ stuff. I could watch Aubrey Plaza be Aubrey Plaza all day long.

Glee – Is this season less bad than last year? I think it is so far. Will it remain so? Not sure…By the way, I bet Rachel hooks up with what’s-his-face next episode and Finn returns in E4.

SNL – Hypnotist sketch was hilarious! Liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s monologue too. The cold open and the Finer Things sketches left me a little cold.

Sherlock – When your series are only three episodes long, do you have to spend so much time reminding everyone of all the dynamics and situations? I love that these are little Sherlock movies since they’re 1.5 hrs long. If you took a shot every time Irene Adler said something along the lines of, “I know what they like,” you’d be dead by the midpoint…That character is just a little too much. Still, I found myself fascinated with the Holmes brother relationship and I rather enjoyed the first episode.


New Oneups disc. The PvZ track is solid

Also this more experimental album by Sweet Valley is a rather fantastic/challenging listen:


This week. For real. I’ve got a flight and everything.

Video Games

FTL: Faster Than Light – Filmed a nearly two-hour episode on Sunday. Look forward to it by the end of the week. Still love this game. Can’t wait to try some new ships.

Mark of the Ninja – Still working on that S-Rank. It’s just perfunctory playing now. So close, about two levels left.

Borderlands 2 – It’s like Borderlands, but more. I like it, but it’s lonely without Min and Lee.

Torchlight 2 – Ok, to be completely honest, I didn’t actually play this. I just tried to create an account for an hour while chatting with Min and his cousin. That was arguably more fun.

Devil Survivor 2 – TRPGs get bogged down when you get stuck on an encounter. DS2 has a rather conventional (for SMT games) anti-grinding mechanic, so I’m at an impasse. I’ll break through on the flight, I bet.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy – Everything I wanted it to be (and more!). Play with headphones because the music is incredible. I’ve been putting off getting to FF VI because I love that music so much.

Kirby’s Dream Collection (Kirby Super Star) – One of the best SNES memories that I’ve got is playing Kirby Super Star with David. This game still holds up. Min and I beat Spring Breeze and Dynablade, but I’m going all the way, man. Gonna get to the Boss Rush.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 – Why does everyone hate on this game so much? It’s more Mario. That’s fun, guys. Remember what fun was like? It’s playing Super Mario Bros.

What I’ve Been Doing 23 April 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Apr 23rd, 2012 by Dan


Unrelated shot of the beautiful Red Rock Canyon

It was a nice, lazy, fun weekend full of baseball, movies, and video games. Who could complain?


The Cabin in the Woods – If you think for a second you want to see this movie, you probably shouldn’t read anything about it. Those of you who don’t, well I thought it was an interesting deconstruction of the horror genre that was expertly written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, but perhaps a little too elbow nudge-y, wink wink to be taken completely seriously. Still worth seeing. Lots of fun.


The Voice – You have to make sacrifices sometimes when you have a girlfriend. This is one of the watchable ones. Some of the eliminations continue to baffle me, but at least RaeLynn is gone. Yay!

Glee – The Quinn in the wheelchair episode was absolutely terrible. The disco one, on the other hand, is a return to form. Diana Agron mysteriously disappeared for long stretches of the episode (perhaps her wheelchair dancing is not to par). I wish they’d use Mercedes more…she’s tragically underused and has the best voice on the show.

New Girl – “I might as well call you ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ because you make kids cry” New Girl…what do I think of you? Most improved show of the year? Perhaps. It’s gotten to be quite good, but it’s still not perfect and I still think Happy Endings does the young 20-30 somethings hanging out thing better. Glad the show is improving, but I could do without all the sappy moments.

Justified – Great great GREAT finale. Gonna miss watching Raylan Givens solve crimes every week. See you next year, Justified!

Mad Men – I remain a week behind on this, per usual, but the boxing match between Lane and Pete was hilariously awesome. Fantastic episode.

Community – It was one of those weeks where they really go all out in the emotional, barely funny route. It worked before and it works again, mostly because Alison Brie is a joy to watch.

Dollhouse – The guy who plays Topher (Fran Kranz) was in The Cabin in the Woods, so I felt like trying to watch some of S2. The show definitely has problems (lots of them), but it’s improving and I am interested in seeing how it all ended.

Bob’s Burgers – Food truck episode…way to be timely? They’re still a thing, but it’s just not that funny in 2012. At least the cast makes it work…mostly.

Baseball – Two Marlins games, two Marlins losses. To the Nationals! WTF!

Parks and Recreation – Bradley Whitford’s part was too small, but that’s ok. Aubrey Plaza continues to show range and grow. I find Aziz Ansari to be increasingly irrelevant in Parks…


All of the Coachella news has put one song permanently in my head last week:

If you know someone who doesn’t like “Changes”, you know a monster. A MONSTER!


Sadly none.

Video Games

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – Only got like 15 mins in so I didn’t get a chance to get a serious impression. I like the style and the sneaky interactive elements. Music seems cool so far too.

The Old Republic – Started up a Trooper so that Min and I could have the full compliment of buffs as we leveled. Love hearing Jennifer Hale’s voice again. Great game and the Trooper and Smuggler have neat stories.

Devil Survivor 2 – Made it to Wednesday, I think. Fighting the first boss that appears at like 0830. Love this style of game, but I’ve got a long ways to go still.

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