Category: Top 10s

Top 10 TV Theme Songs

A great TV theme song can sometimes outlast the actual show in terms of legendary status.  In some cases, the theme song is the best part of the show.  When you’re watching an episode, maybe you’re disappointed the theme is over and everything else from there is just a let down.  Well I’m here to bring you my personal top 10 TV themes.  I’ve got a mix of no brainers and odd ones.  I try not to let the actual opening credit sequence influence me and just focus on the music itself.  Now, let me be very clear: I am no music expert.  I can barely tell a guitar from a bass.  I have no idea what’s going on in terms of actual notes.  These are just the themes that for whatever reason hit me hard.  Here we go…

Honorable Mentions: Ducktales, Cheers, Ren and Stimpy and CHIPS.

10) The Simpsons Theme

-To be honest, I really had to shoe horn this one in.  I think it’s a really good song, but it’s more so the show itself that got it on the list.  But it ultimately makes the cut for the first five seconds of, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimpppppppppsons.”

9) The Saved by the Bell Theme

-When I hear that bell ring, I get all jittery.  The lyrics in general are amazing, but it’s really the chorus that drives it home.  “It’s allllright, because I’m Saved by the Bell.”  It’s also got that rocking guitar going.  I think of this song as an amalgam of post eighties/early nineties.  I think the Saved by the Bell theme is a symbol, bridging the music between the two decades.  But the song really goes crazy at the end where they repeat “It’s alright, because I’m saved by the…” three times before finally ending strong with “Bell.”  Amazing.

8 – The early 90’s X-Men Theme

-What can I say?  It’s just really bad ass, epic and intense.  This one is a lot better though when watching it with the opening theme sequence, especially towards the end when you see Professor X and Magneto lead their respective teams and run at one another.

7) The 60’s Batman Theme

-The lyrics consist of one word if you don’t count the “da-da-da-da-da” at the end, but it’s all you need.  Even if you aren’t watching the opening sequence, you can imagine the “Bams” and “Pows” as you hear the music.

6) The Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme

-First of all, more than any other TV theme in existence, it gives you the back story and character traits succinctly and flawlessly.  Everyone knows that “Leonardo leads,” “Donatello does machines,” “Raphael is cool but crude,” and “Michelangelo is a party dude,” because the theme song was so damn good.  They remixed it for the last three seasons, and it’s actually a solid rendition, but a little darker.

5) The NCAA March Madness Basketball Theme

-I have a love/hate relationship with this theme song.  Sometimes I hear it and get pumped up because I know it means 55 different basketball games are about to be played at the same time.  But other times it makes me want to rip up my terrible brackets.  Nevertheless, it truly is an amazing piece of music.  I can actually hear brackets being filled out as I hear it.

4) The Monday Night Football Theme

-It may be the most iconic theme on the list.  When I hear those horns blast, I can’t tell you the adrenaline rush I get.  And it just keeps building and building the intensity level as the theme goes on.  But at the end, they circle back to how it begins.  For some, the song may represent failed dreams and heartbreak, but one thing’s for sure; when you hear it, it’s time for football.

3) The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme

-This may be the best thing Will Smith has ever and will ever do.  I love this song.  It’s sleek, funny, cool and even suspenseful at times.  When he’s singing “When a couple of guys, who were up to no good,” there’s almost this chilling beat to it.  Now there’s both a long and short version.  I think the shorter is superior.  This one is enhanced a lot by watching the credit sequence, especially when he does that crazy head spin.

2) The People’s Court Theme

-I’m convinced this show was popular solely because of the theme.  Look, Judge Wapner was awesome, but the theme…holy crap.  This defines the word ‘intensity.’  I can’t put into words how awesome this song is.  It’s called ‘the big one’ which you can download on iTunes.  It’s over four minutes long, but honestly, it’s not long enough.  The thing turns into a horror song at one point.  But really, I consider this song all genres of music rolled into one super song.  I can dance to it, run to it, listen to it while I work, and just get generally inspired by it.  In fact, this theme inspired me to do the list.  So if this isn’t number one, what on earth could be…

1) The Seinfeld Theme

-I think it’s the only choice.  More than any other theme, you can instantly recall episodes, dialogue, character moments and just about anything having to do with the show within the first two seconds of the song.  Seinfeld just floods your brain when you hear that bass kick in.  And let’s just think about the music in general.  Would Seinfeld have been the phenomenon that it was if this iconic music didn’t exist?  Probably…but it’s a legit question.  I think it’s only fitting that we end on the best theme that represents the best TV show ever.

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Top 10 Movies of 2010

This was a damn good year for movies.  There weren’t a lot of good movies, but there were a handful of great ones.  It was truly a quality not quantity year.  Especially my top six, which are all fantastic and films I will continue to watch over and over again.  But let’s cut the crap and get into it…My Top 10 Movies of 2010.

10) The Kids Are All Right

-Great acting all around here, but most notably Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo.  Dramedies are hard to do, but this blends the two elements perfectly.  What I really love about this movie is the ending.  The very last scene really hits hard.  You get some intense shouting matches, and the tension between Bening and Ruffalo is truly the meat of the film.

9) I Love You Phillip Morris

-What’s amazing is this is based on a true story.  Jim Carrey is such a damn good actor, and I hope someday he gets an Oscar. The movie starts out a little slow, but gets progressively better as Carrey plays Steven Russell, a gay con-man who is just nuts.  His schemes get crazier and crazier, but they also get funnier and funnier.  But at the heart of this insane character there is a lot of drama playing out.  Ewan McGregor as Phillip Morris is also up to par with Carrey’s acting.

8 – The Fighter

-The only reason this movie is on the list is because of Christian Bale who gives the best performance of the year as a drug addicted former boxer, Dickie Eklund.  Bale is so good in this movie.  He’s so good, poor Mark Wahlberg melts away when they’re on screen together.  The scene towards the end where Dickie has to give Mickey Ward a pump up speech is delivered so well, I was shaking in the theater.  Also, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are great too, but this is all about Bale, Bale, Bale.

7) Kick-Ass

-If you had to describe Kick-Ass in one word it would be “fun.”  Everyone talks about Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl, who is spectacular, but Nicolas Cage’s one scene where he gets to fight as his alter ego, “Big Daddy,” was so bad ass, I can’t even put it into words.  The movie goes on a little long and gets a too crazy at the end, but the best part about Kick-Ass is that it’s about five genres of film happening at once and they all work seamlessly.

6) Hot Tub Time Machine

-Let me tell you something; I haven’t laughed this hard at a movie in years.  I’m a negative nelly when it comes to comedies today.  I’m not a Steve Carell fan.  I don’t like the Judd Apatow gang.  Comedies to me are no where near where they were in the 80’s and 90’s.  But for one glorious day, Hot Tub Time Machine really did take me back in time to the good ole days.  It’s just a bunch of regular guys with hysterical dialogue.  It didn’t need a Will Ferrell or Zach Galifianakis gimmick.  The foursome of John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke and especially Rob Corddry just trusted the script and delivered with great comic timing.  I’m saddened no one cared or saw this movie.  The Hangover may be a better constructed story, but most of its jokes relied on shock value.  Hot Tub Time Machine consistently made me laugh for ninety minutes.

5) Black Swan

-For years I didn’t know if Natalie Portman was a good actress.  She’s terrible in the Star Wars Prequels and even in V for Vendetta, I felt she was the weak link.  But now I know…OMFG.  Her acting at the end of this movie was frightening.  Darren Aronofsky is one of the best directors in Hollywood today.  He just unloads the most maddening and depressing images like they’re on sale at Wal-Mart.  Mila Kunis is great also, but it’s Aronofsky and Portman who will have you reflecting on this one for days.

4) Toy Story 3

-This is Pixar’s best movie by far.  I’ve never cried over a movie, but this toy opus really tested my resolve.  It’s clever, funny and bitter sweet at the end.  The other two Toy Story movies look like Caddyshack 2 by comparison.  (Spoilers Next) The scene where the toys go through the garbage furnace was some of the most intense suspense I’ve ever experienced in a theater.

3) The Social Network

-I get so turned off by Aaron Sorkin’s pretentious and fast talking dialogue, but now I’m his biggest fan after the Social Network.  There are about 95 unbelievable speeches and monologues in this movie.  And I’ve never been a big David Fincher fan either, but now I can’t wait to see what he does next.  What’s so fascinating about his direction is that he had me siding with the biggest jackass of all time.  But Jesse Eisenberg is so funny and direct when playing Mark Zuckerberg that I just had to root for him.  But the man who steals the show is Justin Timberlake.  Forget your music career Justin, go act more.  He should be nominated for an Oscar, but he won’t.  Bottom-line: this movie kicks ass and has great replay value.

2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

-Don’t be fooled by its elaborate special effects and big budget…this is a character driven piece, and it’s a damn good one.  Much like 2009’s Star Trek, there is so much flashiness surrounding everything, but you still care more about the characters rather than what’s around them.  This is high on my list because there are so many great scenes that I can’t even decipher which ones are my favorites.  I could go with Ron opening the horcrux, or maybe the terrifying Voldemort scene at Malfoy Manner where he basically makes twenty Dark Wizards crap their pants.  Or how about the opening montage where Hermione erases her parents memories to protect them.  That’s some serious stuff.  And the three main actors just aren’t getting enough credit.  They are spectacular.  This movie is well over 2 hours long, but it flies by for me.  I love this film.

1) Inception

-When I read that there was a sci-fi movie in the works directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, it was destined to be number one on my list.  How much fun is it to talk about this movie?  I could talk about it for days.  This film is flawless.  It’s original, it’s got great characters, the story is off the charts, and not to mention it may have the greatest fight in the history of cinema.  It will be a crime if Hans Zimmer’s score doesn’t win an Oscar for Best Score.  I really have nothing else to say about Inception that hasn’t already been said…it truly is the king of 2010 movies.

Top 25 All Time Villains

Whether it’s a movie, TV show, video game, or whatever, people seem to be more fascinated by villains and bad guys rather than the heroes.  What makes a good villain is hard to say.  For me personally, I like all kinds of villains.  I like the ones that have the grandest of aspirations such as world domination.  The crazy villains are always fun too.  And sometimes I just like the comedic villains.

Well I’d like to offer my personal favorite top 25 villains.  And I’m not messing around here.  My bad guys come from all mediums in entertainment including movies, TV, comics, books, video games, or whatever tickles my fancy.  Be prepared, because I may spoil whatever series these guys are involved in.  Also, there is a lot of Batman on here…deal with it.

25) Dark Helmet (Spaceballs)

-The feared Commander of Spaceball 1.  Maybe his decisions were a little off at times, like going to ludicrous speed and not wearing a seat-belt.  And he has a propensity to play with dolls.  But trust me: you don’t want to be on this guy’s bad side.  If anyone screwed up, Helmet would take his Schwartz ring and…you don’t want to know.  He was also a skilled fighter despite getting the downside of the Schwartz.

24) Punch-Out’s Mike Tyson (Punch-Out!)

-Nearly impossible to beat, Tyson drove video gamers mad.  The first 90 seconds of the Tyson fight is dodging punches.  One hit and you’re down.  That’s just not fair.

23) Judge Doom (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

-A man consumed with hatred for toons, but who would have guessed he’s a toon himself!  Who drew this mad man?  What really makes him villainous is that he actually created a liquid that destroys his own kind – “the dip.”  Not only that, he’s willing to wipe out his own people in order to build a highway.  Now that’s a villain.

22) Newman (Seinfeld)

-“I’ve looked into his eyes…he’s pure evil.”  That’s a quote from Jerry Seinfeld on his arch-nemesis Newman.  Not only was Newman a mail man who “controlled information,” he was a devious jackass who was more selfish than Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer put together.  But he was always a thorn in Jerry’s side.  How about the time he ratted him out to his barber that he was getting haircuts from someone else.  Or how about when he told Jerry’s parents he and his girlfriend were making out during Schindler’s List.  Always be aware of Mr. Newman, especially when there are chunky wrappers around.

21) John Kreese (The Karate Kid)

-We all remember the line: “Sweep the leg.”  This man wanted nothing more than to ruin with the lives of Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi.  How can you not fear the man who’s leader of the Cobra Kai dojo?  Although he gets humiliated by Miyagi on several occasions, he always comes back for more.  “Cobra Kai…never die!”

20) Chong Li (Bloodsport)

-He’s notorious for killing an opponent in the previous Kumite.  He holds numerous Kumite records.  That is until Frank Dux comes to town.  But what really made him scary were his last two fights before going up against Dux in the finals.  He ripped off Ray Jackson’s Harley-Davidson head band and put him in the hospital.  And then in the semi-finals, he kills his opponent and shouts at Dux, “You are next” while the entire room is still observing a moment of silence for the guy he just killed.  Wow.  What a jackass.

19) Krang (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

-The Ruler of Dimension X.  He’s literally the brains of the operation.  Yes, Krang is actually a brain.  Constantly surrounded by stupidity and always looking for an energy source to power his beloved Technodrome, Krang didn’t seem all that threatening.  But whenever he personally fought the turtles, he was pretty bad ass.  Whether it’s using his molecular enhancer chip to grow over 100 feet tall or morphing his hands into deadly weapons, Krang was one evil ruler you didn’t want to cross.

18) Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

-He’s just your ordinary everyday villain who was created with alien cells.  But it’s not until the very last fight when you crap your pants and say “OMG.”  Let me sum up Sephiroth with this: He has an attack where he summons a Super Nova.

17) Scarecrow (Batman)

-The Master of Fear.  Probably one of the greatest weapons ever forged by a super villain: the fear gas.  One spray sends anyone into a hallucinogenic state where everything around you is your greatest nightmare.  Although, I guess if you punch him before he sprays you, you’re fine.

16) Biff Tannen (Back to the Future)

-What a “butt-head.”  In the first Back to the Future, he’s just kind of a jackass.  But in Part II, he’s the evil corporate ruler of a deranged alternate timeline.  This is all because Marty had to buy that stupid sports almanac.  In this alternate timeline, not only does Biff off Marty’s pop, but he marries his mother.  It doesn’t get more evil than that.

15) Bane (Batman: Knightfall)

-Known famous in the Knightfall comic storyline, he’s the man who broke the bat.  What other Batman villain can say, “I discovered Batman’s identity, broke into his Batcave, beat the crap out of him and then broke his back.”  Not much else to say.

14) Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman)

-Whether it’s the Batman Begins version where he wants to “tear Gotham apart with fear” or in the animated series in which he basically wants to erase the world and start again, Ra’s Al Ghul is one bad dude.  You also have to give props to the guy for living for hundreds of years via Lazarus Pit.

13) Lex Luthor (Superman)

-I love this character because he just hates his enemy (Superman) so damn much.  It’s “Mind over Matter” for Mr. Luthor.  He’s very similar to Ra’s Al Ghul in that he wants to destroy and re-make the world.  Gene Hackman played him to perfection in the first two Superman movies, but I have to say a close second is Michael Rosenbaum on Smallville.  I’m not kidding.

12) Two-Face (Batman)

-He decides his victim’s fates by the flip of the coin.  This is probably the first villain on the list who has a truly tragic story.  When I think of Two-Face, I usually think of the Two-Face from The Dark Knight.  Although he was overshadowed by the Joker in that film, make no mistake – he becomes pretty damn evil.

11) Voldemort (Harry Potter)

-He doesn’t even know what the word remorse means.  This guy is so evil that killing people is part of his plan to live forever.  But what it all boils down to is that he was so feared, wizards couldn’t even speak his name even after he “died.”  Now that’s respect.

10) Ivan Drago (Rocky IV)

-First of all, he kills Apollo Creed.  He’s definitely a bad buy who says more with this actions than with his words, but when he speaks, it’s terrifying.  He essentially has only four lines in Rocky IV, and this is what they are: “You will lose.”  “If he dies, he dies.”  “I must break you.”  And then he shouts towards the Russian politburo, “I win for me…FOR ME.”  Bad Ass.

9) Bowser (Mario Brothers)

-How many times has this guy survived?  He’s been dropped in a lava pit.  Then he falls off the ledge of his own castle in Mario 3.  His clown-chopper goes out of control at high altitude.  He’s been rammed into countless spiked bombs.  He just keeps coming back, no matter how many times Mario defeats him.  Although his minions are morons, he is not.  But I think his most devastating act was his most recent in Mario Galaxy when he attempted to create his own Galaxy that hovered directly over the Mushroom Kingdom. And make no mistake…he puts his enemy (Mario) through some pretty ridiculous puzzles and death traps.

8 – Big Boy Caprice (Dick Tracy)

-He may have been an eccentric crime lord, but he was a good one.  Not many crime lords can say they consolidated all their rivals and made himself boss with virtually no challengers.  He has a solid right hand man in Flattop and is very crafty in all his dealings.  With a love for walnuts and the ability to always pull out a great historical quote, it’s no wonder Dick Tracy was obsessed with bringing him down.

7) The Riddler (Batman)

-Willing to kill people just to fuel his obsession with puzzles and games.  He loved to play with Batman, claiming he was the only one worthy of his riddles.  Ultimately, he wanted all the knowledge in the world, and thrived on knowing answers to questions that no one else did.  Not many of Batman’s villains tortured him with words, but the Riddler did.

6) Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

-Whether you follow the cartoon series or live-action movie or whatever else, Shredder was always a bad man.  With an entire costume made up of spikes and needles, this ninja master caused so many problems for the ninja turtles.  Although he could ultimately never defeat his rival Yoshi/Splinter, he always destroyed the turtles, and even defeated them all at once.  But by far his scariest moment came in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze when he drank an entire canister of ooze and became Super Shredder.  I was seven years old when I saw this, and I was scared out of my mind for the turtles.

5) Season 1 Sylar (Heroes)

-Yeah, yeah, I know everyone hates Heroes.  Fine.  Just forget the recent seasons where Sylar is trying to find himself and think back to Season one only.  This was a villain no one had ever seen before.  He opened people’s brains and took their special abilities.  His super power of “understanding how things worked” is to this day one of the most intriguing super human abilities ever introduced in any movie, TV or book.  Although later in the series he dealt with mommy and daddy issues, and is even good at times, there is no denying this guy’s evil nature in the first season.  His quest for power was fascinating to watch.

4) Magneto (X-Men)

-Some may even argue he’s not a true villain.  Well, he is.  But he’s the only villain I know who works with his enemies from time to time.  How can you not be interested in a villain who when his greatest enemy was killed, mourned him terribly.  More than any other villain on this list, you understand his anger and frustration at the world.  Although he is wrong for doing what he does and you want the X-Men to defeat him, you still sympathize with him to an extent.

3) Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)

-Maybe the greatest master plan of all time.  This Sith Lord was an evil genius twenty years in the making.  He orchestrated the events of an entire galaxy for years.  And when you think back to the prequels, he didn’t just win…he won with authority.  The Jedi Council, supposedly this all knowing group of great warriors, were taken out in a matter of minutes because of his doing.  Yoda and Mace Windu were 100% clueless.  He makes the Galaxy his Empire.  He steals the Jedi’s “Chosen One” in Anakin Skywalker.  He ruled hundreds of star systems for decades.  Out of all the villains on the list, he was the most successful.

2) The Joker (Batman)

-We’ve all seen The Dark Knight.  We know the Joker is a very different kind of villain.  He doesn’t care about world domination.  He doesn’t want to just kill his enemy.  In fact, he thrives on keeping Batman alive so he can torture him for all eternity.  This is a villain who just wants the world to be as crazy as he is.  Not only is he a raving lunatic, but his fighting style is unpredictable.  Whether it’s an electric hand buzzer or knife in the shoe, Joker always has to battle with style.

Whether it’s Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill in the animated series or simply just the comic books, Joker is always demented and driving everyone he meets to the brink of insanity.

1) Darth Vader (Star Wars)

-He slices his son’s arm off.   He destroys entire rooms with a single thought.  He force chokes people from miles away while talking to them on a television monitor.  And best of all…he’s voiced by James Earl Jones.  And it’s not just the voice that cements him as the greatest villain of all time.  He utilizes that voice with some bad ass lines.  Check these out:

“All too easy”

“Impressive.  Most Impressive”

“I find your lack of faith disturbing”

“Apology Accepted, Captain Needa”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I’m kidding about the last one, but regardless, when I think of villains, Darth Vader is the first one that comes to mind.  And even though he ultimately redeems himself at the end, this is one evil dude who destroys people with the greatest signature move of all time.  But the voice truly makes him not only the most memorable bad guy, but one of the most memorable characters in any medium period.  Even though you never see his face till the very end, you could always feel what his emotions were behind that mask because of that cool ass voice.  His breathing will be iconic till the end of time.  Darth Vader is the only choice for #1.  His mask is a symbol for evildoers everywhere.

So that’s my list.  How ironic that the list began with a parody of  my #1 villain.  As Neo would say, “Whoa.”

Top 10 Movies of 2009

A record breaking box office.  Countless blockbusters.  Mediocre movies.  2009 was not a strong year for film.  Although, I think I’m being unfair considering it had to follow 2008, one of the best years of movies in my lifetime.  But there were certainly some gems to be sure, and here they are….My top 10 movies of 2009.

10) The Hurt Locker

-A little repetitive, but the tension is directed so well by Kathryn Bigelow, I’ll forgive it.  But the real star of the movie is Jeremy Renner as the lead William James.  His character was really interesting, especially towards the end.  In fact, this movie was just okay, but it’s the last third that really elevates it.  A great ending.  The Hurt Locker: A good movie, but a little overhyped.

9) Taken

-Liam Neeson.  You know the movie.  Guy’s daughter gets kidnapped.  Guy was former government bad ass.  Guy goes after kidnappers.  Kidnappers are in big trouble.  Even though the heroes in these types of films are guys you don’t want to mess with, they still have their difficult moments and some grind it out fights.  What makes Taken so strange is that Liam Neeson just wrecks everyone.  He’s never really challenged.  It’s like the equivalent of the Yankees playing the Nationals…just devastating.

8 – Up in the Air

-Great beginning.  Great ending.  Okay middle.  Unfortunately, this one goes through some major lulls in the middle, but the performances really carry it.  And it’s not just George Clooney.  Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick and even some solid cameos from Jason Bateman and Danny McBride are all on the same playing field as Clooney.  But make no mistake, this is his opus.  Despite a slight twist at the end, it’s a very predictable movie, which hinders it from being higher on the list, but a nice little film to be sure.

7) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

-Certainly the surprise of the year.  Not only did this one have a great story, but it was hysterical.  And it wasn’t just funny for kids; it’s a legitimately funny film.  I love the animation in this.  Staring at the giant food was mesmerizing.  Let’s not forget about the fantastic voice acting.  Go see this one.  It will put a smile on your face.

6) District 9

-A well crafted piece of sci-fi entertainment.  I went in to this with so much negativity thinking it was going to be nothing but a gimmick.  But what I got instead was a gripping story and two characters that drew me in emotionally ten times over.  And this is how you do special effects; not drawing attention to them every two seconds, in the background as an afterthought.  Despite the third act dragging and being plagued with too many character twists, there is no denying this film’s greatness.  Also, Sharlto Copley as Wikus, the main character: one of the best performances of the year.

5) Inglorious Bastards

-Every time I’m about to see a Quentin Tarantino movie, I think I’m going to hate it, but in the end, I love every minute.  The trailer for this movie was obnoxious.  Brad Pitt seemed annoying, and it just looked really unappealing.  Although Tarantino’s big important scenes go on way too long, he always keeps you glued to the screen.  The climax is extremely satisfying and in perfect parallel to how it begins.  And I couldn’t have been more wrong about Brad Pitt’s character.  He was great.  Christoph Waltz is a brilliant villain who will probably get nominated for an Oscar.  This movie has so many great moments that only Tarantino can deliver.

4) The Fantastic Mr. Fox

-This is a near perfect comedy.  For me, this is one of George Clooney’s best performances ever, and it’s a voice over.  The story is ‘meh,’ but the characters are not.  The relationships and conflicts are hilarious and sad at the same time, which is what Wes Anderson does best.  The stop motion is fun to watch, but the voice talents are even better to listen to.  Jason Schwartzman rules.

3) Watchmen

-Talk about being alone on an island.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only one to have Watchmen on a top ten list, let alone number three.  Yes, the movie has its supporters, but many hate it.  I don’t get it.  Oh wait, yes I do.  It didn’t live up to its unrealistic hype, therefore it sucked in the minds of many.  If this wasn’t based on the greatest graphic novel ever written and was just some random movie that came out, people would have loved it.  Aside from Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II and Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, the acting was out of the park.  Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach…brilliant.  Every moment spent with Rorschach is memorable.  It’s a cool film to look at.  Dr. Manhattan was an extremely tragic figure.  The Comedian was downright scary.  Is this as good as the novel?  No.  Is it a great film?  Yes it is.

2) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

-I love this movie.  It’s the best Harry Potter movie by far, and it’s probably got my favorite scene from any movie this year – The Cave.  Wow.  What an incredible sequence.  Michael Gambon delivered big time.  Damn.  The acting is superb all around.  Yeah, they should have cut down the CW romance a bit and fit in more Voldemort back story, but I’ll let it slide.  (Spoilers Next) Also, I’m sick of hearing the complaints that they left out the funeral from the book.  I thought the choice to just have everyone raise their wands towards the sky was so much more powerful.  It works for the movie, the funeral works for the book.  Get over it.  I don’t know what it is about this movie, it just draws me in more every time.  I think a lot of it is Daniel Radcliffe’s performance as Harry Potter.  He really went above and beyond, which only gets me that much more excited for the two part finale.

1) Star Trek

-Honestly, it wasn’t even close.  This movie kicks ass.  Whenever you bring in time travel to a movie or television show, there is potential for disaster, but Star Trek nails it!  J.J. Abrams is a genius.  He rebooted a franchise and still kept it in the continuity of the original series at the same time.  That is outstanding.  There are only two words to describe Zachary Quinto’s performance as Spock: Bad Ass.  But let’s not forget about Chris Pine as Kirk, the lovable jackass you still root for.  This has sword fights.  Planets imploding.  People teleporting.  Phaser battles.  But what it also has is perfect character development beginning to end.  Once again, the special effects are great, but they are background material.  We are focused on the characters, not the explosions around them.  I really don’t have any complaints about this movie.  I guess the music could have been a little better, but it’s fine.  Star Trek is why I go to the movies.  An amazing achievement that only gets better with each viewing.  Star Trek 2 can’t come fast enough.

Top 10 Video Games

Video Games.   They’ve made us all lazy, but we love em’ anyway.  It’s hard to believe video games are more popular today then when they first hit our television screens in the mid-eighties.  And yes, I know there were video games before then, like Atari and other random systems in which the power adapter took up half the apartment.  But I was introduced to video games through the Nintendo Entertainment System.  For me, the last great game system was N64.  Games today are nothing more than pretty colors and graphics.  Where’s the heart!  And they are so damn complicated.  I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to invest myself in learning 75 different button combinations.  I just want to jump on things.

So here is my list of Top 10 All Time Favorite Video Games.  Let the complaining begin!

10) Pac-Man (Arcade/Home Systems)

-Addicting.  Intense.  Maddening.  These are all words you could use to describe Pac-Man.  That little yellow guy causes quite a stir.  But I love the simplicity.  You eat pellets while being chased by ghosts.  It’s all about the orbs though.  A true gamer goes for all the ghosts while they are still blue.  Don’t be a whimp.  Blinky (the red ghost) is by far the smartest of the bunch.  He is clearly the leader and always tricks you.  I hate him.

9) Goldeneye (N64)

-Does anyone remember the story mode?  It was perfectly fine, but it’s all about the multi-player for this one.  It was a pioneer for first person shooters and it was James Bond.  How could you go wrong?  With so many different modes and ways to kill people, it’s no wonder it garners a lot of respect in the gaming world.  Everyone had their own personal favorite modes of play, but for me it was License to Kill with proxy mines.  Tucking one of those babies under a floor ledge and watching someone’s screen go red was so satisfying.

8 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game (Nintendo)

-Based on the Arcade Classic and far superior to the original, this was an epic turtle adventure you couldn’t put down.  Non turtle fans can appreciate the game itself, but true turtle followers know it’s the best ninja turtle game ever made.  You fight everyone in this thing.  After battling through countless foot soldiers and insane bosses, you finally make it to Shredder at the end only to find out that he can clone himself and kill you with one attack.  Wow.  This was a hard one.

7) Dick Tracy (Sega Genesis)

-This is probably the most obscure game on the list.  And no, I’m not talking about that crappy Nintendo one that is literally impossible to play.  The Sega version was a straight up side-scroller.  Oh man, this was fun.  You get a pistol which is cool, but the best part is using your tommy-gun to shoot enemies in the background.  It was awesome.  It also has a legendary bonus stage, which I have to say I’m pretty damn good at.  This game also has the hardest level I ever played.  I still have nightmares about Stage 6-B.  It’s complete chaos.  If you’ve played this one, you know what I’m talking about.

6) Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

-I’ve never been so emotionally invested in a video game than I was for Final Fantasy VII.  I hate RPG games.  I hate them.  So it makes this game even that much more impressive for me.  It’s three discs long, but once you start, you can’t stop.

5) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

-Everyone knows how good this is, so I don’t need to go into length.  It’s everything you want in a video game.  I hate the Water Temple.

4) Street Fighter II (Sega Genesis)

-The best fighting game of all time.  The cast of characters is amazing.  I think Ryu is clearly the most talented.  But the feature that really separates this game from many others is the group battle.  Choosing a team, strategizing who to take and when, made it that much better.  It was always nerve racking when it came down to that last Zangief/Dhalsim fight.  What a battle…What a game.

3) Mario Kart Double Dash (Game Cube)

-All of the Mario Kart games are great, but this one really stands out for two reasons: 1) The special weapons.  2) The double character selection.  My friends and I played with all light kart characters, how could you not?  In retrospect, I played this game way too much during four years of college.  We discovered strategies and playing styles that I didn’t even know were possible in a Mario Kart game, dissecting for hours what the best special weapon was.  Was it the three shells? The Bowser shell?  The Super Mushroom?  The Big Banana?  The only drawback to this game was that it almost gave me multiple heart attacks.  I just wish the blue shell could be outlawed.

2) Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! (Nintendo)

-The Rocky Balboa of video games.  Little Mac was a lovabale underdog who continued to rise up the ranks against seemingly unbeatable opponents.  Piston Honda.  Soda Popinski.  Bald Bull.  Macho Man.  You know the names.  Everything about this game works, especially the music.  This game gets your heart pumping from the opening screen.  All you see is darkness with a bell and a cheering crowd heard in the background.  It’s an epic game with the hardest video game boss of all time waiting for you at the end.

1) Super Mario Brothers 3 (Nintendo)

-It’s not only Mario’s greatest adventure, but it’s one of the greatest video game stories ever told: 8 worlds.  7 kingdoms.  Countless power-ups.  And of course the Koopa Kids, led by the biggest video game jackass of them all…Bowser.  Let’s not forget all the secrets to uncover.  This is a tough game to truly conquer.  Pipe World was mind boggling.  But nothing compares to the insanity that is Dark World.  Fighting Bowser for the first time is hard, but once you figure out how to beat him, you can do it over and over again with ease.  The game has fantastic replay value, truly making it the greatest video game ever made.

I Love Bagels

I love bagels.  I was eating a bagel at Panera Bread the other day (decent bagels) and I came to the realization that my life would be meaningless without bagels.  I don’t know who invented the bagel, whether it was the Einstein Brothers or Mr. Bruegger or whoever, but man, that person was on the ball that day.  Over the years though the simple bagel has developed into hundreds of flavors, and even cream cheese has gotten several makeovers.  There are even people out there who get butter on bagels.  That’s just plain ridiculous.  Just get cream cheese like everyone else, okay!

But I digress.  Eating my lovely bagel today made me think of all the different bagels out there.  What are my favorite bagels?  I’ve decided to rank my top five bagels.  Now lets all calm down, because I know this is a sensitive subject.  There are a lot of bagels out there.  They can’t all make the list.

My Top Five Favorite Bagels:

5) The Chocolate Chip Bagel:

– This isn’t loved by many people.  In fact, most prominent bagel shops may not even sell them.  I can’t blame them.  Who would think chocolate chips and a bagel would work?  Well, I’m a big chocolate guy, and for me it just made sense.  Don’t be afraid of this one.  Give it a try.

4) The French Toast Bagel:

-This is by far the strangest one on my list.  It’s another rare one, but unlike chocolate chips, french toast and bagels seem to be the perfect marriage.  They are both highly regarded breakfast foods, so why not put them together?  And oh man, does it work.  The only thing with this one is that it really only works at breakfast whereas most bagels you can eat at any time.  If you haven’t tried this one though, you haven’t lived.

3) The Plain Bagel:

-The original.  The pioneer.  The one that started it all.

2) The Sesame Bagel:

-This is basically the plain bagel with a little something extra.  I couldn’t tell you what makes sesame seeds so magical on a bagel.  Maybe I don’t want to know.  Let’s just leave it alone.  I know some people love Everything Bagels, but in my opinion, there’s just too much going on.  How can the bagel retain its identity with so much clutter on it?  It ceases to be a bagel.  The sesame seed is all you need.  They go together like Han Solo and Chewbacca.

1) The Garlic Bagel:

-Garlic works on anything.  Put it on a bagel and you have some kind of God like taste in your mouth.  Aside from maybe needing a little gum afterwards, I feel like I can do anything after a fantastic Garlic Bagel.  It’s the Michael Jordan of bagels.  The only drawback is that sometimes the little garlic pieces fall off the bagel.  Make sure you have a sufficient amount of cream cheese to lock the garlic taste in.  Oh man, I love garlic bagels!

Well that’s my top 5 bagels.  Some of my favorite mainstream bagel places include Einstein Bagels, Brueggers and Dunkin Donuts surprisingly has excellent bagels.  Just stay away from Starbucks.