Rating Your Spotify Wrapped 2020

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Currently Listening to: 1/2 dove, 1/2 pigeon by Micko & the Mellotronics

There’s No Way Man… NO WAY

It’s that infamous time of year where Spotify lies to us about what we’ve been listening to all year long. Truthfully it seemed like the world’s soundtrack should’ve been a mix of Help! by The Beatles, It’s the End of the World as We Know it by R.E.M., and Till the World Ends by Britney Spears… and UCLA just because that song slaps. I can’t speak for everyone, but every year I get surprised about what appears on my Spotify Wrapped at the end of the year. Maybe not the songs as much, but the artists and ESPECIALLY the minutes listened never seem right. I can’t think of too many times where I don’t have music on in the background or playing in my car unless I’m listening to Sirius or Soundcloud.

My personal feelings aside, I asked on Snapchat and Twitter to send me your Spotify Wrapped 2020 and I would rank them based on my personal liking. HOWEVER! I have decided to change the rules to RATE them instead because everyone has their own music tastes and who am I to say what slaps and what sucks you know? SIKE it IS my choice to decide if your year was good or not HAHAHAHA!! Not really, but this is also a way of discovering new music too not only for me, but for whoever decides to read past my lengthy intro. Before I start just know whoever submitted theirs… this is how I, CAMPBELL, feel about your year end tunes. Don’t take what I say personally obviously because your music is your music. Art is art by personal definition. Also if you’re reading this and you want me to rank yours too I’ll insert whoever wants theirs in any time before Christmas Eve! Just shoot me a text, Snapchat, Facebook message, or email on my home page. I’ll also drop a few recommendations based on your Wrapped in case you wanted more artists to listen to, unless you’ve already heard them of course. Nevertheless… Here we go!

Michael

Alright man, we talked about how you didn’t know how this happened so you guessed it you’re at the bottom. Honestly though, none of these artists are downright awful or even bad in my eyes. I loved Green Day in their prime and Ski Mask the Slump God is one of the most talented and underappreciated rappers this past decade. Billy Marchiafava is someone I’ve never heard of prior, but I do like his style and beats. The only thing is that I can only take bbno$ in small doses and same with lentra. They make good SINGLES just not albums in my eyes. Your top song personally is not my taste either, but still you seemed pretty aware of how you felt about your own list so I can’t knock you too hard for that. Overall I don’t hate your list by any means. You have a specific genre theme that you stick to and that’s apparent. If you’re ashamed of that though then I don’t know what to tell you haha!

Rating: 6 out of 10 Baby Wipes (Ski-Mask reference for those who don;t know)

Nelly

Alright Nelly, first off I wanna commend you on your 75,317 minutes that shit is ADMIRABLE. The fact that Oliver Tree is your fifth most listened to artist… ADMIRABLE man! I’ve personally never been a huge Peep fan, but I respect what he did for the genre. A pioneer and pretty much coined the reason that rappers are calling themselves rock-stars nowadays (shoutout to Mario Judah). Same goes for Trippie Redd except I’ve never really explored his music, I do like what I’ve heard! That song with Travis Scott is phenomenal though, the overnight bakers at work would always blast it when we were opening.

While I DO enjoy me some $uicideBoy$ and definitely appeared on my Spotify Wrapped back in 2017, seeing it on yours reminded me of the time that I almost died at their set during Lollapalooza that year and my friend’s leg was bleeding from an unexpected mosh pit. So unfortunately you lose a point for resurfacing a suppressed memory (ouch!). Bad Bunny had an amazing 2020 dropping I think 3 projects? Either way I see that La Cancion is your top song of the year which CUDOS boy that’s a great track.

I didn’t know what Girls song that is in your top five songs since there’s so many songs with that title…HOWEVER if it’s The 1975 or Kid Cudi… you went OFF.

So with all that stuff above being said, I listened to all the songs and sampled a Bad Bunny and Trippie since I’m not totally familiar with them, but overall I liked yours a lot Nelly. Like I said earlier though I gotta dock points for you bringing back that $uicideBoy$ memory how dare you.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Alien Boys

Lauren

Full disclosure, I was about to watch Hamilton last night but fell asleep because I ate too much so my opinion might change when it comes to your list Lauren. From what I’ve heard from Hamilton’s soundtrack I don’t hate anything that I’ve heard at all. I’m guessing that is why Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. are in your list too? Totally correct me if I’m wrong.

Lauv is VERY hit or miss with me. Tattoos Together is your top song too I see and you know what that is dope as fuck because that is my favorite song by him. 5 Seconds of Summer, while I’m not a huge fan, are a bit over-hated and really matured their style recently which I think is awesome. ALSO I gotta give you bonus points for introducing me to Ashton Irwin this year, I really enjoyed that album. For those reading and like me, didn’t know before, Ashton is a member of 5SOS which is great that he is successful on both spectrums.

Speaking of boybands, Harry Styles maaaaan. You have Sunflower Vol 6 AND Golden in your top five. IMMACULATE. Fine Line surprised the fuck out of me. I first listened to that album while moving my stuff back from the dorms after you know that disease thing kick our butts out of school. Good memories.

Overall, I like your taste and I dig your list. I’m interested to see how much of your top 100 songs of this year consists of Hamilton songs since you said you had so much of a phase.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Kiwis

Popp

Popp you gave me so many recommendations throughout this year and I’d say that 90% of them land my man. I think our taste in music is like a venn diagram where our circles are massive, but they somehow overlap to the tiniest degree. Like more than half the artists here in your list I actually really dig. I remember you added LURK to the Snapchat playlist, one of my favorite things added to it actually. Hot Mulligan is another where you talk a lot about them and I’ll see your tweets from and about them to the point where I was like I gotta check them out for myself. I fuck with it man. They somehow sound like 2000s punk but with a modern twist? I don’t know how else to say it. I know we had a shared love of Falling in Reverse back in the day though so that makes sense. I don’t have much to say about Gulch but I did really enjoy that short album they put out this year.

Turnstile was an interesting discovery from your list too. Again, it’s borderline something I would like. I think the musicianship is definitely apparent and instrumentally they have the most chemistry out of your top five easily. Your top song being The Gospel is great too, I’m gonna assume it’s the Knocked Loose song.

Counterparts I’m near certain you’ve sent me before, but I just forgot to save it. They’re not particularly my taste, but that’s definitely your circle of the venn diagram.

Soooooo, that being said, you probably stuck to your genre the most out of anyone on this list and you clearly have a lot of passion about your music which is dope as fuck.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Mulligan Stews

Montana

The fact that Paramore is on your list almost guarantees you a 10 man. I mean my cringey snapchat username is named after them, but we’re not gonna talk about my early life crisis. We’re talking about your Spotify Wrapped in 2020. Dude I gotta say this is a near flawless picture in my eyes.

A Day to Remember appearing here took me back man. The Downfall of Us All is one of my favorite songs of all time. Very important part of my middle school to high school transition. Neck Deep we’ve talked about before and like The Downfall of Us All, December is also one of my all time favorite songs. They are a consistently great pop-punk band. Kind of like All Time Low! Sick segue, right? While in my eyes they have missed a few times, they have some of the most vital pop-punk singles ever. Backseat Serenade, Sick Little Games, and Dear Maria, Count Me In (obviously).

The 1975 I could go on and on about. Magnificent is the best way to describe them. I’ll never forget the first time that I heard Sex while listening to my Paramore Pandora station. They’ve grown so much and evolve their sound every album. Like seriously, none of their albums sound the same.

All of your top songs I can honestly say with dignity that I love. I didn’t know what Maniac you were referring to, but if it’s Conan Gray then… sick. Honestly he’s criminally underappreciated in the industry.

I really fuck with your taste and I’ve told you this before, ours probably overlap more than a few times if it posted our full Spotify Wrapped playlists.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Rose Colored Boys

Meghan

Oh Meghan, you already know I gotta give you shit for WAP being your number two song. Big frowny face from me, but you already know my complicated relationship with that song *shudders*. BUT I do not hate Megan Thee Stallion at all. She’s got endless talent, but she wastes it on songs like Body *shudders*. Cardi B better not be that high for you because of how many times you played WAP.

As for country I am not the biggest fan of that genre, but Luke Combs is as far as I will go into mainstream country. I distinctly remember playing cards in the dorms with everyone while Luke Combs was playing in the background… good ol 414 times.

Ed Sheeran is like Megan for me. I love a good part of his music, but I don’t like the direction he is going at the moment. I loved it when he was making stuff like Lego House and Thinking Out Loud.

Morgan Wallen is someone who I just don’t vibe with whatsoever, but like I said country isn’t for me. There’s plenty of other people who would disagree with me.

Overall, I think our tastes are kind of distant for the most part, but that isn’t to say I disagree with your list. You stick to your genres and not a lot of people do that.

Rating: 5 out of 10 Macaroni Pots

Summer

Summer… You really like Mr. Styles man. All your top songs were songs off of Fine Line and you know what… that’s totally SICK. Fine Line is fantastic. Like I said earlier too I adore The 1975 and we’ve talked about how great they are before. Hopefully they tour next year because Notes on a Conditional Form is SPICY.

One Direction is the only boy band that I’ll admittedly say that I’m a fan of unless you count Brockhampton although kind of a self proclaimed thing. I’m curious as to if you liked earlier 1D or if you prefer newer 1D. They definitely changed their style kind of halfway through their somewhat short lived time together.

The Driver Era and Wallows I sort of group into the same category. I LIKE what I’ve heard from both of these artists I just haven’t given them enough time of day to explore them. Although that song Wallows put out about athletics or working out (I don’t remember) is awful to me.

Overall I know a bit about your taste in music and based on the Wrapped it only solidifies that you have a solid list of artists your listen to.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Clay Jensens

Emma

Damn Emma, 110,667 minutes of listening?! That’s like a two hours! Nah for real though that’s one of the biggest Wrappeds I’ve ever seen I’m jealous.

I love looking at lists like yours because while writing these reviews I listen to all these artists and yours had a few I had not been familiar with. Movements and Boston Manor I really enjoyed. I know fans of Boston Manor usually have a very strong emotional connection with their music and it’s not hard to see why. They have a very passionate delivery and I really liked the amount of visible effort they put into their songwriting.

Like I said earlier about Hot Mulligan, I really enjoy their music but there’s so much left uncovered I’ve yet to discover about them. Equip Sunglasses is also on your list like Popp’s and that song is VITAL.

As for nothing.nowhere I try every year to see if my thoughts on them change, but I just can’t connect with them. Not to say it isn’t quality, it’s just not for me I don’t think.

La Bouquet was interesting too. I’ll look into them as well.

Your list might be my favorite, we might not have the exact same taste, but I had the most fun out of any of the other lists from what I discovered.

Rating: 9 out of 10 Hammers

Kaitlyn

For whatever reason 1D and Harry Styles have been making more than a few appearances on this entry. Why? Oh yeah because they’re dope duh. I’ll be honest Kaitlyn, I never knew anyone who liked Niall the way that you do. Most people I knew growing up or from back in my hometown pick Zayn or Harry. That Niall album from this year that you suggested surprised me actually. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I’ve yet to listen to his debut yet, though I’ll let you know.

While I respect 5SOS I for whatever reason can’t stick with them. I never really cared for when they first broke big either. It wasn’t really until Youngblood (yeah I know judge me) that they caught my attention.

Like I said in Meghan’s Wrapped, I’m not the biggest fan of mainstream country. Thomas Rhett does have a nice voice though. Personally, my biggest gripe with mainstream country is that it sounds like pop music in disguise and kind of takes away from the culture.

I respect the 1D additions no doubt, the other two artists just never caught my attention. Not a terrible list though by any means!

Rating: 6 out of 10 Slow Hands

Ari

Ari, maaaaan, I know this blog took way too long to write but hopefully it’s worth the wait. I don’t know how much BTS fans I would draw for this blog, but thankfully the Army won’t kill me for saying that I do actually enjoy their music. I think collectively they have a lot of talent and are cultural landmarks no doubt. If you’re a member of the Army and reading this please don’t kill me I have too much to look forward to in life, throw away my address.

No shade I promise, but I didn’t know that people still messed with Katy Perry like that. Not to say she doesn’t deserve love, but I personally haven’t really liked anything she has put out since Prism. I love Teenage Dream though, which Katy Perry era were you listening to?

I’m not too familiar with either Ingrid Michaelson or Sleeping at Last, but I was a fan of Girls Chase Boys back in the middle school days. Sleeping at Last, while I respect the sound, I personally don’t seek out music like that or listen to covers really. I’m guessing by your most listened to songs of the year that they are covers from them like Fix You and Already Gone, right?

When you first sent me your list and I saw High School Musical I was like maaaaaaan dope!! Confession though I have not seen the third one, so I can’t judge the full soundtrack. The first two are very much guilty pleasures though. Bet on It should be the national anthem and We’re All in This Together should replace the Star Spangled Banner. I won’t take any argument otherwise.

Rating: 6 out of 10 Troy Boltons

Jon

Jon I oughta give you an extra point because you were my biggest guacamole supporter back in spring semester. Not only that, but you got a pretty solid Wrapped too to accompany that.

Logic used to be top ten rappers for me, but he dropped off after a few albums (Supermarket and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind really rubbed me the wrong way). No Pressure though this year was the best comeback he could’ve hoped for. I really enjoyed it, hopefully it isn’t really his last album.

J. Cole is one of the greats. I don’t care what anyone says, he doesn’t have an album below a 7. I feel like I don’t need to say anything else.

Travis and ScHoolboy Q are really interesting ones, especially Q. I feel like he is criminally underrated ESPECIALLY Blankface. That album has zero misses. What albums did you listen to the most from either of them?

Bad Bunny, I don’t have a ton to say about other than I do think he is a valuable rising talent. Like BTS we need more culture in the mainstream in the U.S.

For your songs I have pretty much no gripe, EXCEPT for @ MEH. I think it’s one of Carti’s worst songs to date, but honestly the hype for Whole Lotta Red is so strong that it almost doesn’t even matter.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Dad Bods

Outro

Shoutout to whoever submitted their Wrapped and trusted me to give my thoughts and opinions about their tastes. If you have any recommendations for the music that you submitted that you think that I would enjoy, feel free to shoot me a few! They’re always welcome.

Why WALL-E Perfectly Demonstrates the Beauty of Life

Watch WALL-E | Full Movie | Disney+

Currently Listening to: Morning Kiss at the Acropolis by The Halloweens

Thanks Baby Yoda

Since the new season of The Mandalorian has been dropping recently, it has become that annual tradition of purchasing Disney+ for two months and then saving $7 for the other 10 months of the year. This isn’t to say that what the service has to offer isn’t bad, I just barely have enough time as is throughout the week for tv that I’d rather just stick to Netflix and Hulu (get better holiday movies Hulu and Netflix please). The time that I do have the service though I like returning to the movies I loved growing up and some Disney ‘classics’ that I’ve just never gotten around to until now (Cinderella and Robin Hood to name a couple).

Specifically, I like returning to Pixar movies the most. It seems like the ones I LIKED but didn’t love get so much better when I’m older with the exception of A Bugs Life (sorry Dad). The Incredibles is one that I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I do now and same with the original Toy Story. Ratatouille and Finding Nemo were ones that I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed but somehow got better too. The one that surprised me the most out of all the 2000s Pixar gems though was WALL-E.

I never knew how to feel about WALL-E growing up. Sure, I liked it but I definitely didn’t have the strong connection that I did with something like Up or Ratatouille. It just seemed like a fun robot love story that had a message about the environment too. Cool. Fine. Anyways, have you seen this rat? It can cook!

This weekend I was trapped inside since I had floor duty for my residence hall at school and was kind of left bored and drained from a homework heavy week. My girlfriend had mentioned that she was watching WALL-E the other day since she hadn’t seen it since it first came out. I thought, yeah, I probably have returned to this Pixar movie the least out of all the 2000’s ones. Probably haven’t seen it in almost a decade.

So, without hesitation I tuned into the 90 minute robot movie that isn’t Ratatouille and for whatever reason had a very strong emotional reaction to the film. So much so that I’d go as far to say it’s now in my top three Pixar films. If there was ever a film to call “wonderful” it’s this one. I grew up thinking that WALL-E’s biggest takeaway was to protect the environment and that humanity corrupted it and the main focus was the love story of WALL-E and EVE. Actually no. The environmental message is the main focus along with the robot love story, but the hidden meaning underneath it all is how great humanity can be if we don’t take nature for granted. Allow me to elaborate.

The Power of the Voiceless

Everyone always talks about how powerful the first ten minutes of Up are and how it really sets the tone for the entirety of the story. The visual storytelling set to the Michael Giacchino score works perfectly. However, I think WALL-E perfects the visual storytelling arguably better than Up. Sure, it’s not the tear duct destroyer that Up is, but there’s so much going on in this dystopian, apocalyptic world that the robot lives in. Within the first ten minutes you get treated to the scenery of garbage, trash to be exact. Lots and lots of it. So much so that it reaches the heights of skyscrapers. While WALL-E and his cockroach buddy are compacting trash on what seems like lower ground the pan out to see that he is piling onto this monstrous tower of landfill is almost jaw-dropping. I’m instantly intrigued. Not by the fact that they managed to make a cockroach cute, but the amount of questions I have about how this world came to be.

For these first 30-40 minutes of WALL-E, there’s practically zero dialogue other than robot noises and the occasional word or two from EVE. Aside from that, the apocalyptic score by Thomas Newman really establishes the tone for the film and the drab world that the characters reside in. The best part is I can’t take my focus away from this. Even as a kid I never was bored by the lack of dialogue because there’s so much much going on that words are the last thing on my mind.

Through small interactions WALL-E has with the world around him, he sort of serves as the audience. He himself is still discovering Earth too. While trekking the wastelands you see all these other WALL-E machines that are broken down, and pretty much garbage too. WALL-E’s innocence and naivety tells the story. He doesn’t think about what happened to the others of his kind he just uses his tracks when his are broken. It’s little things like that which paint a bigger picture of what has happened in the years leading up to what is the year 2815. The biggest inference though is the virtual advertisement of the space journey that was planned over 700 years ago meant to protect human life since it was nearly unsustainable at the time. So the WALL-E robots were intended to clean it up so that human life can once again prosper.

This space voyage that’s advertised always kind of frightened me as a kid. I always thought, wow what if this happens to us one day? What if we get so polluted that we have to move into a whole other world or spaceship?

The best part of these first 30 minutes is WALL-E’s established personality. You expect him to have nothing but robot motions and antics, but he seems to have developed emotion and feeling. It almost presents sort of this nature vs nurture kind of debate. Did the abandonment of this robot lead it to develop humane behavior? The biggest indicator of this is when he returns to his home (which is basically one big WALL-E robot) and there’s all these things that he finds interesting throughout the day and his fascination with the musical Hello Dolly. He becomes fascinated with the dancing and singing as well as the scene of love that the two characters in the film share on screen.

What I love about Pixar movies is that all their films have strong lead characters that defy the expectations that the world has about them. A rat that is viewed as dirty and small can cook, a monster that is big and scary is afraid of a 3 year-old and protects the child instead of scaring it, and with WALL-E it’s a robot that possesses human qualities and emotion. It goes against the normal narrative and I dig it.

Lost in the World

As stated prior, the remains of Earth present so many questions for the viewer. Not ‘must answer’ questions but just intriguing ones. I think it’s very interesting how there’s a nightly dust storm that causes WALL-E to panic and take cover in his home. What I didn’t notice as a kid that I realized watching this time was maybe the reason he is the lone survivor amongst his dead robot coworkers is because they got lost in the dust storm and since these robots run on solar power they couldn’t reach the sunlight since they were trapped underneath all this dust. So when EVE awaits to be picked up after discovering life can exist on Earth again WALL-E covers her with a trash can so she doesn’t lose her power.

Speaking of EVE, when she arrives to Earth in search of potential life sources she too becomes fascinated with the items that WALL-E has found. Their equal fascination with these normal everyday items show how far disconnected the world has become from normal life that was once lived 700 years ago. Sustainable life has also become such a foreign concept that not even WALL-E who has been there for years and years would think to seek it out because why would he? It wasn’t his ‘directive’ as EVE puts it.

Star Trek Into Darkness

So after WALL-E follows his new love interest onto the spaceship to the Axiom voyager we finally get consistent dialogue from human characters and even robots. WALL-E follows EVE and tours the spaceship at the same time where all of humanity is kept and finds that humanity isn’t at all what it is in Hello Dolly. Instead of the people dancing, singing, and holding hands, people are glued to their chairs and screens. They are more concerned about what they are having in their meals in a cup than exploring the world around them. Everything is catered to them directly to their screens. They have pretty much zero interaction with the people around them too. We see a woman video chatting with someone else but that’s pretty much it. This limited world is brought to them instead of discovering it on their own.

If you haven’t seen the film, SPOILER ALERT, the robots running the ship are evil. It’s every fear that humanity has of robots and that’s them taking over the world. The craziest thing is no one on the ship even saw it coming. AUTO, the autopilot, serves more as the command instead of the captain himself. I thought it was interesting when WALL-E accidentally knocks one guy named John out of his chair, the robots create a path around him for the other people floating in chairs to follow and alert him to “not attempt to get up” showing that the robots will do the work for them and don’t want the humans to assert any form of power over them.

The darkest part of this entire film is the active attempts that the robots make to prevent humanity to ever return to Earth. That little robot dude that works with AUTO tries multiple times to ship the plant out into space so that humanity can solely depend on them instead of acting for themselves. That life isn’t as foreign of an idea as it seems. We depend so much on our technology as it is that this movie kind of scares me in a way. So much so that I didn’t really touch my phone and read instead for the rest of the day.

This seemingly wonderful utopia was created for humanity to function on and serve as a replacement Earth until Earth was clean enough to return to, but ends up being a corporate scheme. Everything is advertised by the company BNL or Buy n Large. The humans are distracted by this corporation and are fascinated only by what is advertised to them like a new blue colored outfit instead of the old red ones. This film has a lot to say about the comparison of higher power and technology which was really invigorating to me. It shows how huge conglomerates like even the comically named Buy n Large uses the technology that we excessively depend on to make their influence more apparent and easily accessible to us. That’s why when the two people that WALL-E accidentally disconnects from their chairs are so fascinated by the world around them. They are fascinated by the fact that they have a swimming pool and by something as bizarre as a robot like WALL-E.

Oh Captain My Captain!

One of the most underrated characters in the Pixar movies is the captain. The Captain is such a great depiction of ambition and desire. The first time we are introduced to the character, he is lazy and sluggish sure, BUT there is one line of dialogue that hints at him wanting to be outside the box. When he realizes he slept through his morning announcements, he says “AUTO why didn’t you wake me up?!” but then mutters “ugh! The one thing I actually get to do on this ship”. This hints at him wanting to do more than just sit around all day. Even when he says his morning announcements he seems so lifeless and bored of this lifestyle, especially when he sarcastically gets excited about telling everyone to get their cupcake in a cup.

This explains why he gets so excited when the plant is brought up to his control room. He is confused on what returning to Earth would look like, but he is intrigued since it’s something outside of routine. One line I never understood until last time I watched was the part when the computer presents him the manual on how to get back to Earth and he has a hard time saying the word ‘manual’. As a kid I thought does this dude really not know how to read? How is he the captain if he’s illiterate? Then I realized it was meant to demonstrate that he had never done anything like that for himself before. Even though that line is still a bit of a stretch.

I don’t think it’s a total reach to say that the captain represents modern humanity as a whole prior to discovering the plant. As much as he seems bored with trying to make his life interesting and waiting for his coffee to be brewed for him, he feels somewhat hopeless and you can easily tell by his voice.

The defining and I think unintentionally most beautiful moment in the film is near the climax when AUTO attempts to destroy the ship and WALL-E because with life sustainable on Earth, humans won’t need robots as much. After the captain gets knocked over, he does what no human has done in years… stand up and walk. It’s a scene that is sort of played for laughs, but when it’s put in the context of him fighting for what he believes will benefit humanity it got me emotional. The captain also said one line in the film that made me sigh of sadness: “I don’t want to survive! I want to live!” Same captain, same…

In the Context of Coronavirus

I know, I know the last thing you want to hear about is COVID but hear me out. WALL-E is a more necessary film than we give it credit for. Sure, it’s a beautiful message about how we need to take better care of our planet, but it’s also a message of how we can make Earth a place where we don’t just survive but live. I started to get a little teary eyed by the end of the film because they were given a second chance at life. When the captain is getting excited about growing all different types of plants and produce and the kids are very willing to help, it really is an optimistic view of humanity. Especially optimistic comparatively to the beginning of the film. We are so willing to take care of what we need to survive and live when we are deprived of it for so long which is ideally what I think would be wonderful after quarantining and vaccines start to be released.

WALL-E should be a wake-up call for everyone to enjoy the life that they have before it gets taken away from them. I’m sure at the beginning of the film when they had to evacuate the planet they felt as though they were leaving everything they knew and loved behind. Sure, they may have adapted to their new lifestyle as time sort of told, but there’s so much that we would be losing if we didn’t do everything we could to maintain a healthy life. So often we get too comfortable with what is given to us instead of venturing out and rediscovering what was meant for us.

Underneath it All

So what makes this film about a robot chasing his love interest into space and bringing a plant to headquarters have to do about a powerful message about humanity? It’s simple. It’s the discovery and wonder that we have when we open up our eyes to new opportunities. The entire ship had become entirely dependent on the robots that were meant to make life ‘easier’, until something interrupted that. Everything there was eerily boring until either someone got knocked out of their chair or when the ship was in danger. Anything out of the ordinary brought them closer to reality instead of a virtual one.

Both people that WALL-E accidentally knocks off their floating chairs has something significant happen to them. John and Mary suddenly felt something for each other after they were knocked out of their seats and their hands touched while looking outside of the ship to see WALL-E flying around. Love must’ve been such a foreign concept to them, love of all things! The component of life that brings in more life!

WALL-E was able to discover the beauty of love, growth, and even humor with nobody even around him. The nurturing effect of humanity through things like music and movies like Hello Dolly where people are happy and dancing with each other helped humanize WALL-E and do what media says robots can’t do, have emotion. This would not have happened if WALL-E had not seen the beauty and vivacity of humans. You’ve got to wonder if that was the only human interaction he had before all the others moved off into space.

This movie filled me with hope and faith. Hope that we will see days soon enough where we can interact with each other and learn more about the world through each other’s experiences. I have faith because I firmly believe that we can get back to where we came from eventually. WALL-E made me realize more why we can’t take Earth for granted and why we can’t choose comfort over control. Control needs to be taken into play when things are going down the tubes. Like the movie shows us, we can make this world full of garbage and dust storms or we can help it grow and make it live, not survive, to its full potential. We have love, ambition, and wonder to offer, why not take time out of your day to utilize it and make this seemingly dark world we live in right now more human?

Why Inside Out is Pixar’s Best Written Film (Analysis)

In Inside Out, Pixar gets mature about growing up / The Dissolve

Currently Listening to: Howl Howl Gaff Gaff by Shout Out Louds

Introduction

Pixar is one of the most consistent movie studios in the film industry. Hell, they pretty much ruled the entirety of the 2000’s. With them being constantly recognized as huge game changers and pioneers in CGI animated film development and getting massive acclaim year after year. Nearly every year that decade at the Academy Awards they would snag the trophy for best animated film (except Monsters Inc. and Cars) as well as get nominated for best original screenplay (again, besides Monsters Inc. and Cars). It’s no secret that in this past decade the films Pixar has put out have been lacking the luster and appeal that the ones in the 2000’s had. Where every film they dropped in the 2000’s got nominated for best animated film, some of them weren’t even on the ballot in the 2010’s. Monsters University, Cars 2 & 3, Finding Dory, and The Good Dinosaur all were left in the dust and sulked in the shadows of superior films their respective years.

However, there were two films in the 2010’s that Pixar put out that received both the best animated feature nods AND the screenplay nomination. Those films being Toy Story 3 (adapted screenplay) and Inside Out. While Toy Story 3 is great, I believe that Inside Out is not only Pixar’s best written film, but also one of the best written movies period.

When most people think of the most intricate, content dense films most might say films like Inception, Citizen Kane, Memento, or even 12 Angry Men. Inside Out stands among the greats and I plan to explain why.

Initial Reaction

It was 2015, I was about to enter my junior year of high school and was having probably one of the weirdest summers of my life. There was a lot of activity that was going on around me with friends and people I was close with that kind of crumbled out of nowhere, leaving me to feel fairly empty at the end of August. So instead of focusing on the world that was so obviously disintegrating around me I would distract myself by watching movies. Whether I was coming back from school, going with my family, or even if I was just bored I would just pop on a random movie that looked somewhat interesting or had a good Rotten Tomatoes rating and would indulge myself for hours on end.

2015 was also the year that I started keeping track of all the films I saw throughout the year. By the time that the year had ended I had seen 172 movies I had never seen before. To this day I have no clue how I did that. That’s like a movie a day for almost half of the year. Since then I probably average 40 if I’m lucky, not counting ones I have already seen before.

Out of those 172 films though there was only one of them that I saw in theaters three times and that was Inside Out (not Pitch Perfect 2, which I regret watching one time). The saving grace of that summer was the trips that I had to the movie theaters. That was the way I saw my friends half the time that summer too. Probably shouldn’t have biked there, so if my parents are reading this entry… I apologize but at least I am still alive. The local theater was what you think of when you think of the word ghetto. Think of those theaters you see in cartoons and in TV where you stick to the seats trying to stand up to use the restroom, kids running amok the whole time (kind of like a child abduction roulette, take your pick and the parents wouldn’t notice), shit smeared bathroom stall doors, and as one person on Google Reviews described the staff “the scum of the city”.

Anyhow, I got dropped off by my (we’ll just call them friend)’s parents and we used both of our chore money to get admission to the newest Pixar movie. I had no clue what to expect, the film that came out before this one was Monsters University and to this day I still despise that movie, like how do you ruin Monsters Inc? The trailer looked promising though so whatever I’ll bite. I left the theater astonished. I had never seen a movie like this in my life, let alone an animated one. To this day it is still one of the best theater experiences of my life too. Everyone was very invested in the story, even the kids that were running around at first sat down on the faux velvet staircases to watch. That being said, I don’t think there was a dry eye in that screening room either. I’ve never seen so many kids collectively cry at a movie before other than when I saw Avatar with my dad. I think they were just scared though.

I went home immediately looking up showtimes to go see this wonderful film again. Every time I saw it after it just got better and better. There was this one infamous time though in senior year psychology when we were analyzing the film and things were being said that rubbed me the wrong way. People behind me were critiquing the film pretty frequently and while everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, there’s a difference between critiquing and being wrong. *cracks knuckles* Allow me to explain.

You Just Don’t Understand!

Inside Out is a pretty easy film to grasp. The film follows Riley, an 11 year old girl who just moved with her family to San Francisco, and how she is processing the things that are going on around her. This deep dives into her psyche and her five base emotions and how they react to this new world around her. These emotions including Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. When things go horribly awry in her mental headquarters though on her first day of school, her Joy and Sadness get transported to the back of her mind as well as losing her core memories. The core memories being what makes up her personality. The rest of the film analyzes the journey of Joy and Sadness and trying to find their way back to mental headquarters to save Riley from being pretty much emotionally numb and doing something that she’ll regret.

What really works well about this film is the fact that you can take either plot with the emotions or the real world with just the humans and the film would still make sense. Would it be as original or interesting if it were just the human story? Probably not and it’d be a whole lot shorter too, but the fact that it can be dissected like that is just a testament to the strong writing.

The thing is you can easily watch this as a kid and fully know what is going on and explains emotions relatively well for kids to understand too. While most films for kids are more subtle about addressing feelings and morality, this one is very to the point. It teaches kids and even adults about what complex emotions play in your life even if you don’t notice it. *SPOILER* The wrap up of the film being that Joy finally understands that in order to be happy sometimes you have to feel sad first is beautiful. To this day I have never seen a film give a lesson like this before. This lesson teaches kids too that while being happy is a necessity in life, it is totally okay to be sad sometimes too. Wow. Goosebumps.

So what were these boneheads in class saying that I felt was wrong to judge the film for? They hated the characters of Sadness and Joy. They thought that Sadness was very annoying and provided nothing to the film until the very end. They didn’t appreciate her mopey and Eeyore-ish perspective of life. What they didn’t like about Joy was the way that she treated Sadness and just her bossy personality. Um… You get that these are emotions right? This is what your emotions do on a daily basis. You can’t control them!!

How Does that Make You Feel?

The reason that Sadness is ‘annoying’ is because nobody wants to be sad. She is the epitome of what we don’t want to be and we hate her for that, the same way we hate being sad. The scene near the beginning of the film where Riley introduces herself to the class and starts to break down in tears talking about her home in Minnesota is the perfect example of this.

While talking about hockey, one of her biggest personality traits, she is very passionate in her dialect and facial expressions. This memory has a yellowish glow to it showing that it is a Joy-centric memory. Sadness touches this core memory being projected from headquarters though and suddenly Riley gets sad and pessimistic. The other four emotions scramble as they try to get this now sad emotion back to being a happy one. Why doesn’t this work? Sadness is a dominant emotional state, this memory is now permanently decorated in glowing blue depression.

What I really respect about this scene is the different visual cues that I didn’t notice the first time around. When all the emotions are trying to prevent a newly formed blue core memory from being put into her core memory shelf it is a visual representation of her mind just going wild, as one would when crying in front of a class. Just because they aren’t at the control pad being the dominant emotion in Riley’s head, doesn’t mean that they all can’t be in control. In the process of rejecting Sadness’s core memory, the other memories try to reject it, but Sadness persists. Kind of like… I don’t know… our own minds? Think to yourself, when you’re feeling down and sad what’s the one thing you want to feel? Sad? Of course not you wanna be happy and just move on! But that isn’t how the brain works homies. If this film succeeded and Sadness didn’t get to put her core memory on the shelf and Riley just stayed happy, would people identify with this character in any way?

Another thing this scene does really well is demonstrating trauma. Kids at a younger age might not understand why they constantly remember something bad that happened in the past. By giving this visual representation of how our minds process and continuously access our core memories, they can gain a better understanding of how being in a depressive state actually feels and looks like.

Let’s talk about Joy next. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about her being to bossy and kind of annoying throughout the movie. From my personal interpretation and this could totally be wrong, but I think Joy is like this because happiness as an emotion always tries to be the driving factor in motivation. Think about it, Joy is so bossy and mean to Sadness because our brains naturally want us to be happy, right? I’ve had plenty of moments in my life where I try to convince myself to not be sad and think “no! Stop it mind!”

Subtlety

So as the film progresses, Riley starts acting visibly weird. Her parents notice and attempt to help her in one scene while eating dinner. The only emotions that reside at headquarters are Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Without Sadness and Joy, Riley is virtually emotionally numbed and doesn’t know what to feel. When a good amount of people have a bad day and are constantly egged on to address what is going on and you don’t wanna address it you’re naturally going to get defensive. These three emotions are commonly associated with negativity especially Anger.

There’s a running visual gag where Anger is seen reading a newspaper where the headline is usually what is going on with Riley and is shocking to her. This gag is more than just for laughs, this is basically saying that Anger is usually the emotion on deck that would be associated with this event. “Riley Quits Hockey” and “No Dessert!” to name the few featured.

There’s one line that I absolutely love in this film and it didn’t even mean anything to me until rewatching it a few days ago. When Joy flips out at Sadness at the beginning of the film, Joy asks what has gotten into her lately. Sadness responds with “I don’t know, I feel weird like something’s wrong with me”. Basically a thought in the back of Riley’s head being confused on why she is feeling sadness lurking subconsciously.

A repeated line that I also didn’t notice until last viewing was her parents repeatedly saying “thanks for being our happy girl” and “who is my happy girl?”. Even the first words said to her as a baby are “aren’t you just a bundle of joy?” This probably puts a lot of pressure on Riley to be what her parents expect her to be. To fit this title of their “happy girl”. This seems more evident at the emotional climax of the film. After Riley comes home from running away, she says “I know you need me to be happy, but I miss home”. It’s little lines like this that make me appreciate how much attention to detail the writers put into this movie.

Wow Look at the Colors!

The animation in this film is stellar and that’s no secret, but there’s so much hidden inside the colors. For example, most of the memories saved throughout the day Riley are stored on massive shelves in the background of headquarters. Usually they are littered with all the different colors of the emotions, purple, red, blue, etc. When they first move into their new home in San Francisco, a majority of the memory orbs in the background are red, green, and purple with little hints of yellow here and there. I love when movies treat the viewer to things like this. Small visual treats in a way for paying attention.

I also love the use of gray in this movie. Gray is a color representative of emotional absence. It is dull, drab, lifeless and lacking substance. When the mind workers suck up the memories that they feel are useless to keep to make room for others, some of the orbs are gray and have somewhat faded visuals. Also whenever Riley loses part of her personality islands they turn gray and lifeless and fall into her pit of memory despair. When Fear, Anger, and Disgust attempt to convince Riley to not follow through with running away the control panel also turns gray. This demonstrates the idea that without emotions to guide her, she is numbed to the world around her. She feels nothing. Her personality and base emotion have been depleted to zero.

The world and islands that the characters venture through are absolutely stunning and imaginative. It’s the exact image of what you think would be going on inside of a preteen’s head and the selectiveness of what gets kept inside her memory for the long run. The scene where Joy chases Sadness at the end is enough proof of how much thought went into creating these settings.

Get Back in There Tear!

As stated previously, the highest merit that Inside Out has to offer is the emotional pull. Obviously going into this movie your expectation is to see emotion being discussed, but I’ve never seen a film tackle emotion like this before. Something that respects the adult audience watching as well as the kids and it’s surprisingly abstract for your average kids’ film. There are so many points in this movie that are just gut punches. Moments where you think to yourself, damn that was me or “damn that IS me”. They tackle depression in a way that was both easy to understand and thought provoking.

The adventure aspect of the movie, while fun and probably the main pull for the kids watching, is deeper than the kid can even imagine which is why I consider this film to be more for older kids probably like 12-13 and up. The small kids will be sad at points where they expect you to be upset (the emotional climax, Bing Bong, etc.), but the reason I say it’s more for older kids and preteens is because for one thing the main character is 11 years old and dealing with dramatic change, but also they’ll be able to relate and identify more to the character of Riley. It’s not often you see characters in any movie or really TV show that are preteens going through depression and trauma the way that Riley does in the film.

When I first saw Inside Out I was 16. I’m not ashamed to say that every time I have watched this film I have bawled my eyes out, which is why I always try to watch this with no one else around. There were so many times when I was younger where I was experiencing the same feeling as Riley was the entire movie. I can’t tell you how many times I just came home from school when I was younger just hating life itself. I never looked forward to sleeping when I was in elementary school because that would mean I would have to start over the next day. While that perspective has changed nowadays, I really wish I had this film back when I was younger. Any reasonable human being with a heart will break down at Bing Bong’s demise, but I found myself getting emotional at the parts where Joy submits to being sad while looking at past memories that are in the pit of forgotten memories and the explanation that sometimes being sad leads to happier things.

It’s okay to be sad was something that had always been said on Twitter and Tumblr so that’s nothing new, but the way that it was demonstrated in the film gave me that a-ha moment. I finally understood what it meant to be okay with being sad after years of trying to figure it out.

Truthfully, you could think of Inside Out as one of those educational videos that they would show you in health class. Sort of like a “Hey kids! If you’re going through a tough time it’s perfectly normal to be feeling these types of emotions.” I can honestly say that mental health is pretty much ignored when it comes to the modern schooling system. Given I haven’t been in a health class for nearly a decade now so maybe their curriculum has matured, but my girlfriend has told me that instead of showing Supersize Me in health classes like they normally would they are showing this movie instead. That’s so great. Obesity, while still a problem for the country, isn’t nearly as predominant a topic as mental health is in mainstream media.

Too many teenagers and children are taking their lives and struggling on an everyday basis and that is practically ignored and looked down upon by the school system. I’ve had this discussion with so many people about what they wish school put more focus on. While most people say non-American forms of history where Americans are painted as the heroes, a handful also say mental health. I think the closest we got to analyzing depression and anxiety in high school was watching the god-awful TV movie Cyberbully.

The Sequel that’ll Never Happen

The final words of the film (not counting the credits) are “Riley is 12 now, what could happen?” This is a call back to the beginning of the film when Joy says the same thing but when Riley’s 11. I can’t help, but wonder if there would ever be a sequel to this and would it ever match the heights of the original.

Kind of alluding to what I was saying earlier, it seems as though a lot of animated movies that come out in recent history have more of an adult following than kids. Films like How to Train Your Dragon, Up, and pretty much any of the Studio Ghibli films have more things in it for adults than a film like Trolls or Boss Baby might have. In a dream scenario, I would love for there to be a sequel to Inside Out where Riley is in her twenties. So many people who are in their 20s nowadays grew up watching Pixar’s films and they always seem to be the movies you can count on being great every time they come out (most of the time). I think tackling mental illness from a more adult perspective would be such a great idea to make into a movie and would resonate extremely well with what I think is Pixar’s core audience.

Sadly, a sequel to this movie probably would never happen. While it did do really high numbers in theaters (Pixar’s 6th highest grossing film) the demand just doesn’t seem as high as something like a third Incredibles or a Ratatouille sequel. It seems as though when it came to promotion too with toys and stuff that it just didn’t seem to be as popular with kids. Look at something like Toy Story and Cars and see how well those sold toys and merchandise. Every third grader in existence probably has Lightning McQueen *fill in the blank*. We all know that kid that was just a little TOO into Cars.

Conclusion

Inside Out has always been nothing short of a perfect film to me. The message, animation, voice acting, and attention to detail are all at the highest bar that could be set. You can tell how much thought and care went into creating a script that tackles something as touchy as mental illness and make it into a fun, colorful kids film that’s easy for both children and adults to understand. People nowadays are very picky with what they pick to show their kids growing up. Inside Out is definitely a film I want my kid(s) to see when they grow up. Just as long as they promise not to make fun of me when I cry into the couch pillows when Bing Bong says to “take her to the moon for me”.

The Desire to Do it All (Part One)

Forget The Movie, Here's The Real Bucket List
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List

Currently Listening to: Haggarty by Covey

“What Do You Want” – Ryan Gosling

“Are you sure? There’s no way this is going to taste good.” Duh. This is what my mom said to me before trying bacon flavored soda. Admittedly I did regret drinking this later, which I don’t know what I was thinking being 11 years old and having little money and blowing it on obviously poorly crafted soda at the candy store. Bacon was a trend there for a minute though in the late 2000s and early 2010s, kind of how we treat avocados now. There was bacon phone cases, bacon soda, bacon scratch and sniff stickers, and notoriously awful bacon gum. It was always fun trying this bizarrely, flavored food out given that the consumption of it made no sense in any reality. What would prompt me to try pear and blue cheese ice cream when there are so many flavors that I KNOW are safe? Well, I just find that to be boring.

I think most people reading this that know me will agree when I say I’m an adventurous eater. Stank faces and “really Campbell”s fly my way pretty frequently, especially at festivals where there’s such a massive variety of options. While my roommates last year would be ordering pepperoni and sausage pizzas from Dominos, I’d be ordering pineapple, feta, and spinach. What? You sure you guys don’t wanna try any? Positive? *waves slice above face* Last chance? Bet, more for me then.

Adventurous eating is severely underrated in my eyes and always has been. Man vs Food was always such a comfort show to me because of all the crazy and enticing food that Adam Richman would eat. I never planned on getting endless amounts of health issues and doctor visits though, nor scorching the inside of my mouth from eating ghost chili wings. However, I was always inspired by people like Richman. Doing what you love and traveling the country doing all these unique challenges and alongside that trying invigorating new dishes. I don’t want to limit this entry to just food though, I strongly believe in trying out new activities and pursuing your personal bucket list. It is both eye opening and helps yourself grow as well.

Free Falling

Growing up I was kind of a wimp when it came to doing somewhat adventurous excursions. Roller coasters, waterslides, haunted houses. Six Flags? Forget it, this $30 funnel cake looks good. Why risk my life doing something I don’t even think I’ll like? Foolish Campbell, you nerd. It took me until I was about 13 to start getting out of my comfort zone. Ironically, I credit this transition to my 8th grade field trip to Six Flags. My ‘friend’ group at the trip was very familiar with the park and was more adventurous than I could ever have imagined. Call me a simp if you want, but back then things were different. There was a girl involved. I had been dreading this trip for a while since I was never good with roller coasters or heights of any depth. This was the moment that Boys turned II Men.

“Hey, let’s ride the giant drop!”

What the fuck? You really want me to write my will that you’ll DEFINITELY be left out of right now? I have the pen in my plaid cargo shorts and paper in my cinch sack, don’t think I won’t. So reluctantly I went on. My ass-cheeks were soaking wet since there was a storm that passed through prior, but soggy buns were the least of my worries. Keeping them attached afterwards was more of an issue. Contrary to popular belief, the worst part of the roller coaster is not the drop or the climb, it’s the line. Every single conceivable thing that could go wrong runs through your head. What if my seatbelt flies off? What if I throw up and spend the rest of the day in puke enveloped clothes and be known as the throw up kid (this was middle school it would happen)? What if that suggested video of the kid dying on the Batman ride that came up while looking at footage of the Raging Bull POV to make yourself less worries the next day happened to you?

Anyhow, I was elevating up clenching the handlebars with as much might as my slippery hands could muster. They always tell you to not look down, but looking straight ahead isn’t much better. Not only can you see clouds and other coasters that are much smaller than the one you’re riding in operation, but you’re also looking down from a distance. So, well, that’s a lie. I looked down anyways because I’m four, five seconds away from pissing my shin length shorts. Before I have time to even process what’s happening…

*CLINK*

WHY AM I FALLING??? Is this it? Why does it feel like my face is being sucked by a vacuum hose? Next thing I know we’re on the ground. Of course me being the nerd I was at the time was like, eh that wasn’t that bad. As if they didn’t hear me having a Woody Allen-style meltdown, minus the whole marrying his daughter part.

What was significant about this day and moment really was that going back to the bus, not a lot of people had gone on the Giant Drop that day and being able to say that I conquered the ride was a total confidence boost. Although I didn’t have the t-shirt to prove that I rode it, it did what a lot of kids my age didn’t that day. Ever since then I’ve really not been scared of really much of anything. I’m frantically searching for wood to knock on while typing this.

Have You Met Ted?

One of my favorite shows, if not my favorite, is How I Met Your Mother. One thing that was always played for laughs was whenever the characters were at their favorite bar, MacLarens, and Ted (main character) was having mixed thoughts about going up and talking to some attractive girl his friend Barney would always go up to said girl and tap her on the shoulder. Not to hit on her, but for her to turn around and Barney would say “have you met Ted?” Boom. Conversation started.

Seeing situations like this in TV, especially in a show that I identify with as much as this one makes me think. Copious amounts of our fear is us being so in our heads that we convince ourselves to not do something out of potential failure or consequence. So much of my struggle when it came to trying new things was thinking about what happened after. I went into every situation expecting failure and spent more time thinking about the activity itself than it probably would’ve taken to actually do it. It’s like the Lit song suggests, “I am my own worst enemy”.

I would be lying if I said there weren’t some things that make me feel uneasy to this day. Even though I love roller coasters now, I still get the slightest bit nervous about riding. Not because of consequences, but probably more anticipation than anything. Heights still freak me out though. Being anywhere near a cliff with no barriers or driving on a hilly road with no barriers still trips me out to this day.

Heights in particular are more of a rooted fear as studies show that those who suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights) have similar qualities to those that suffer from frequent panic attacks.

Yes Man

There have been time periods in my life where I have felt as though I wasn’t interesting. From countless psychology videos I have watched it seems like a good amount of us have this false presumptive thought in our heads. This perspective changed when I watched the movie Yes Man. If you’ve never seen the movie it basically follows Jim Carrey playing a guy who turns down every opportunity. He turns down clients at his job, turns down picking up his phone, ditches his friends. He’s a “no man”. He as a result is unhappy with life. It isn’t until one day where he attends a seminar where a man challenges him to say yes to everything. So he does exactly that and all of a sudden things start to turn around for him.

I took this movie to heart immediately. I began saying yes to so many more opportunities in life and things progressively got better as time went along. It was the equivalent of the carpe diem scene in Dead Poets Society. Choosing to seize the day was the best advice I had ever received. I regret ever taking that advice or phrase for granted.

Do it! – Shia LaBeouf

You might be wondering at this point what fear and saying yes have to do with wanting to do everything as the title suggests. I use these various forms of media like these movies to help better get my point across. People tend to understand when they have ideas and methods to compare to like those in the movies. So when it comes to the idea of fear in doing what you want to do, it is so much of a learning curve and a cheat code for life when you are able to not think, but do. A lot of us were conditioned by school and stories growing up to think before we act. While you should definitely use your brain when it comes to certain things, sometimes it’s better to just turn your brain off. Don’t worry about the consequence.

What I feel makes a person TRULY boring is someone that half-asses life. Everyone has something to offer in life, but if you’re someone that doesn’t commit to new activities and just sticks with what makes you comfortable it makes you overall less appealing. Not to mention not very worldly. I’m a very strong believer in the phrase YOLO, not just because of the Drake or Lonely Island songs, but because I always think about what I’ll be leaving behind. The question I ask a lot of people I trust having an intimate conversation with is what do they think will be on their headstone or written in their eulogy. This is my daily mantra. Think about what you do today and what you want to do and how that shapes you as a person.

So much of my progression in life was held back by doubt or by giving up because I felt as though I couldn’t catch up to people further ahead than me. Once I gave that up and committed to the activities that partake in now I feel I’ve developed more of a personality than ever before. Getting back into baseball regularly in 2014 reminded me of why I love the Chicago Cubs. Committing to my fraternity more than I have in the past makes me feel more in tune with how much more good I can do for others by volunteering frequently. Getting over my fear of not having faith in putting out my writing out there on a public platform wouldn’t have gotten me to where I am typing now.

Leave the best legacy behind to inspire those that follow. Be the person with the coolest eulogy.

I hope to do another part to this entry that’s more research based than story based. Hope you stay tuned for that!

Opposite ‘Karens’

The one scene that perfectly captures the baffling beauty of 'The Room' |  Movie News | SBS Movies

Currently Listening to: Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

The Year of the Karen

2020 has had three continuous topics of discussion: Coronavirus, voting, and Karens. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the new noun, a ‘Karen’ is defined by Urban Dictionary as a middle aged woman who makes solutions to others problems and inconvenience to her even though she isn’t remotely affected. In simpler terms it is a woman that complains about the most minute of issues and wreaks havoc on people, usually people of service who are trying to help them. It is almost unavoidable on Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok to see a video of some woman terrorizing their communities and embarrassing their children in front of them.

Like most viral trends in 2020, there are pros and cons to this outbreak of Karen-age. The pros is that those that are acting out and being terrible human beings are getting called out and some are even being fired from their jobs. One such occasion involved a woman harassing a Filipino man who was stenciling Black Lives Matter on the concrete in front of his home. She thought she was doing the public a service by claiming she knew who lived in that house and what he was doing is defacing property. Little did she know that man lived in that house for 18 years and by him posting the video of her being a ‘Karen’ as they say, she got fired from her CEO job for skincare company LAFace (stupid name anyways).

Of course then after being practically shunned by half the internet she did that typical thing that people of higher power do and say “I’m sorry for my actions, I am willing to learn from these mistakes and learn more about how I can help”. Yeah… OKAY buddy.

The con of this Karen apocalypse is that people are constantly being filmed and sometimes on occasion these angry people are totally in the right in the situation, but since Karens are popular memes and trends on the internet people are more than likely going to side with the person behind the camera.

I thought with all this negative attention on Karens and just 2020 being ass, that I would highlight what it means to people of service when the OPPOSITE of a Karen comes around to their job. The regulars. What Teddy is to Bob in Bob’s Burgers. What Homer is to Moe in The Simpsons. I don’t know why cartoons came to mind first, but nevertheless there’s so much highlight put on the bad people that the good ones barely get any love. I have worked customer service jobs for over five years now and I have definitely seen the good, bad and ugly.

There’s this saying that says we are more likely to tell a story of a bad customer experience than a good one. Probably due to the damage it had to our workday and we just need to vent. But I have worked enough Sunday mornings and school nights in my life in restaurant service to make a few friends along the way and I’d like to highlight that because that’s what I love most about working customer service.

The ‘Nanny McPhee’

If you’ve never seen the movie Nanny McPhee, it follows the story of this ugly nanny (it’s not far off to call her ugly, that’s her character trait) who is hired to take care of a group of poorly behaved, wealthy children and as they begin to act more proper and obedient she gets better looking. There’s customers that I have helped that are slow burners and with time and experience with you they gradually start to like you or at the very least tolerate you.

I have a regular that comes in every Sunday morning, usually the first customer of the day, that orders a cinnamon bagel with a coffee and pays with his bag of quarters. He’ll usually come up twice for a second round of bagels. When he first started coming in him and I did not get along whatsoever. I used to dislike taking his order because of how unresponsive and dismissive he was to my small talk efforts. One Sunday all this changed. He came in and waited in line like most Sundays, but this time when one of my coworkers called him over to take his order he told her that he wanted to wait because he “wanted to wait for my guy to take my order”. This guy happened to be me.

I’m not sure what I did to make him all of a sudden like me, but who cares him and I were vibing. I always knew exactly what he wanted at the sight of him coming through that door and got everything ready. Him and I had this running joke of him giving me pens from his job that was part writing utensil and part laser pointer. I would toast his bagel and then the moment I’d turn around and hand it to him he’d flash his laser at me and say “got another pen for ya!”

The Givers

Most people who go into fast food like places just want to be in and out to go about their day. Some people look to establish connections with the associates. The people that go to places like Denny’s twice a week and get ‘the usual’ which if it’s Denny’s the usual is probably the blackest coffee you’ve ever tasted and a Grand Slam with a secret red hair that the kitchen hid just for you. Every place has those memorable regulars and I definitely have a lot of them.

There’s this Russian couple that have been nothing but kind to me from the very beginning of when I started. We’d always refer to them as Victor and his wife because his wife always sat down while Victor would come up and order their meals. I have asked in the past, but they always steer the conversation a different direction. Normally I wouldn’t say a customers name in something like this, but they would love this publicity. They’ve openly acknowledged how they enjoy my writing ability in the past so I think they would really dig it if they ever found this.

What makes them so significant is how selfless they are to everyone. They were small business owners who made beautiful pieces of art for clothes, canvasses, and pillows. Again, I have no idea what I did to make them like me but I guess I did something right. I love making conversation with anyone so maybe I just seduced them with my half-awake, early morning charm and scent of bread.

They have consistently asked me to model for their website and given me personalized gifts out of pure appreciation for being nice to them. They once made me a shirt that was very cool, but I think they gave me a youth large shirt when I wear an adult medium so sadly I couldn’t rock that crop-top look without looking like I hang out at public park benches in my spare time. Anyhow, these guys were always super selfless and made my Sunday mornings a little bit easier.

The Parent

This one may sound kind of weird, but I’ve worked at my current job for about four years and I’ve made a lot of connections with customers over that span of time. Some of the regulars ask me how school is going and simple stuff like that, but some of them have introduced me to their families and tell me about their lives too.

There’s one customer in particular that I have known since the very beginning that if you’re reading this and you work with me, you know exactly who I am talking about. Man, if there was ever someone who was a second mom it would totally be her. Nothing is gonna replace my actual mom obviously, but she has given me great advice in the past and really motivated me to pursue my passions and further studies.

It has gotten to the point where if either of us see each other in the cafe we have to catch up with each other whenever I’m not occupied or at the very least say hey what’s up. I’ve had coworkers text me in the past telling me that she has asked them when I am coming back from school or how I am doing too. Other members of her family that come in are awfully nice to me as well and that makes my day. I say this because what else is going to make my day? Not tearing up while cutting onions? Well, yeah that would make my day too I suppose.

The Complainer

This one sounds worse than it seems. Truthfully, this one could easily be interchangeable with ‘the parent’ or just a friendly face in general. If you’ve ever seen Freaks and Geeks, Lindsay has a close connection with a former math teacher to the point where she calls him by just his last name as a nickname. She goes to him to voice her opinions and to complain too. This is applicable to customers too. I have met people while working that will talk to you and have that close connection, but will also treat you as if you have some sort of authority.

There’s one lady that comes in that is infamous for complaining about things around the restaurant because she has been going nearly every day since the place first opened. Why not? She knows this place better than me probably. It’s funny though, instead of talking to a manager or asking anyone else she’ll voice her problems to me. I don’t think she expects me to do much other than relay the message, maybe it’s because I actually hear out what she has to say, but at any rate she comes to me about any strife she has. She’s told me before too “this is why I come to you. You don’t suck” Thanks, I think?

There’s also a guy that used to come in with his wife (again I’m not gonna use names out of respect) who would complain about our bagel toaster not being effective enough. He would also call me the ‘expert bagel toaster’ to my managers and say I am the only one that can make that thing work. Sure, it’s kind of a backhanded compliment, but I’ll take it. It’s better than having an egg whipped at me (yes, that has happened. Over-easy too). That guy actually ran into me one time when I was out for breakfast at a different restaurant and payed for my table’s check. What a guy.

Point is I think some people just want to find that messenger to relay how they feel if they don’t feel confident to do it themselves. I’m hired to help customers out, why else am I working? To ignore what customers want?

The Genuinely Good Person

This one is easy to write about. These customers are just flat-out good people. They treat you like you are an equal and not a victim to their every demand. These people I appreciate the most because these people 99% of the time aren’t regulars. They are just random people that take time out of their day to be considerate and be selfless. These people matter the most because I don’t know them. I don’t expect anyone to be nice to me when I am working but I’m not gonna say I don’t want that. The same way I don’t come into helping someone expecting them to be a dumbass or an angel.

There was this one time where I was refilling the drink stations and this lady approached me and said “I know I’m a total stranger, but you’re kicking ass at your job.” I was fairly new at the time so I was astonished that someone even noticed me since I was pretty shy back then. From then on we knew each other on a friendly basis. I even saw her at a gas station once and I chilled with her while she waited for someone to help her get back into her car.

The most important time of someone being a genuinely good person goes to this couple that would come in every Friday evening. This was probably two months into my job, I really enjoyed working there, but I had a lot of doubt in my work since I felt kind of unheard and under-utilized at the time. This night in particular was rough since I had made more mistakes than usual. I was still giving my all during work, but I think this couple could recognize something was wrong. The man said after I rang them up, “you know you’re doing a really great job. You’re very chipper, it’s nice.” That line has stuck with me ever since I first heard it four years ago. They became my favorites instantly and I would look forward to taking their order every Friday night.

Why Write This?

So besides what I said earlier about how we should focus on the good when this year has been so negative, I think it’s important to recognize the small good deeds in the world. There are genuinely good people out there. When I repeat these interactions I have had with customers giving me compliments it isn’t to brag or even prove that I am good at my job. I just remember these moments because they meant a lot to me.

I go into work truthfully expecting nothing. I don’t fish for compliments or get upset when people aren’t being particularly nice some day. I go in there expecting to work hard and get paid. My moral compass says to do good and not expect validation or anything in return. Why wait around and be disappointed when people don’t return the favor when you can just do something nice and not expect anything? This can be said about these customers I talked about above.

I wrote another entry recently on teachers and the effect that even their smallest gestures have on us going forward. The same can be said about customer interaction. Like I said, I don’t expect anything in return when I help these people out at work because it’s my job, but when someone does do something generous I never forget that and it really is kind of an incentive to continue to work hard.

When I first applied for this job never did I think that it would shape me into the way I am today. I have come across so many new people and had a lot of interactions good and bad over the years. Sure, I remember bad times there but who wouldn’t? We’re programmed to remember the small traumas. Don’t dismiss the not so grand times since we can learn from them, but definitely don’t forget the spectacular ones since they remind you what you are capable of doing.

Dedicate

I usually don’t dedicate these posts to anyone, but this feels appropriate even though he’ll never read this. I would like to dedicate this post to Don. He was the first guy who complimented me at work and became good friends. He passed away a few years ago from a long battle with cancer. I’m very blessed to have known such a selfless, caring, funny guy such as himself. You made my long Friday nights at work a little easier.

Teacher, is this Okay?

Breaking Bad: 10 Ways Walt Got Worse As The Show Went On
Shocked Walter White duh

Currently Listening to: Confess by Twin Shadow

This Happens… right?

“I could barely hear you, but it sounded good!” Some kid told me this after I had performed a solo during choir in middle school. I was a pretty shy kid growing up and during my preteen years I probably could’ve been considered “the quiet kid” if I was in a class that I didn’t have my primary friends in. Sure, I’ve always been fairly outgoing to an extent, but middle school kind of halted that for a bit. I had to put my friendliness on hold and fend for my life because if you got caught slipping you were history. Melodrama at its’ finest, but in the moment that is what it felt like walking the halls. If you didn’t have a reputation in sports or theater you kind of had to make a name for yourself. I found myself in the “smart kid” clique. I had been involved in extracurricular math and science clubs after school during late elementary school and middle school which helped me get some credibility I guess as much as one could in that situation.

Something about being the quieter kid though makes you almost more of a target for teachers during that time. Going back to choir class, I think about my choir teacher who seemed to be loved universally by the student body. He was pretty charismatic and had a somewhat decent sense of humor. He was a favorite for sure.

So going into the first day of class I had high expectations for this guy. Everything that had been said about him seemed to be true, he was very energetic and seemed to love what he did, which was refreshing since the art teacher I had the quarter prior was the opposite. It wasn’t until we were doing warm-ups when he would tell us to sing these short sentences and phrases to help harmonize with each other (I don’t know choir lingo so that’s probably wrong, whoops). One line came along where he had purposefully sang the line in a goofy fashion. This made my friends and I laugh because obviously goofy voices are funny to little kids. He stops playing the piano and looks me dead in the eye and singles me out.

“Campbell, why are you laughing at my voice?”

Before I could get halfway through saying I thought his tone was funny, he said “don’t be racist!” This sort of divided the class, half laughed and half were just confused. I stood there shocked. How am I racist? I wanted to defend myself, but I felt powerless. This guy was liked by nearly everyone in school and I was kind of a nobody at the time. Not to mention I didn’t want to get a detention.

Earlier this week my girlfriend had asked me if I had ever thought about how teachers treated you when you were younger and thought in retrospect, man that was actually kind of messed up. This is definitely one of those moments. Actually, I could name a handful of these times. When that day happened in choir I was just kind of stuck. I didn’t really stand up for myself with teachers or professors until high school hit. As a kid I thought, well they’re the teacher they can say and do what they want since it is their classroom. No, little me! Don’t think like that!

This is just one case of something that growing up I just thought to be considered ‘normal’. There’s times that in my youth I wish that I had said something about or brought to someone else’s attention because there were definitely things that I encountered and felt that definitely weren’t meant to be blown off. Let’s discuss.

Sarah McLachlan’s (Teacher’s) Pet Commercial

You know those famous Sarah McLachlan commercials where they’d show footage of the abused animals in shelters over her song Angel? It almost felt like there could be a compilation reel of all the times that I had seen a teacher be awful or even borderline abusive with their speech towards the students.

One time I distinctly remember was during social studies in sixth grade when this one kid’s phone went off. You got to keep in mind that phones weren’t a common hallway communication escape tool for people yet. Teachers at the time were also EXTREMELY sensitive to the sight of it and one could be sent immediately to the dean if spotted or heard. Back to social studies though. We were going through a lecture about probably ancient Egypt since middle school social studies teachers only believe in one ancient civilization. My teacher was getting all fired up and sweaty about hieroglyphics and then it happened… *RING*

The room went pin drop quiet. The teacher pretty much snapped his neck turning around, I’m pretty sure his eyes cartoonishly popped out of his glasses too. He screams, “WHOSE PHONE IS THAT!?” Nobody says anything. Why the hell would we? This man is built like a gorilla and could probably fling us out the door into the 7th grade pod like a frisbee.

“Well?!”

The thing is we did all know who it was we just didn’t want the teacher to demonstrate ancient Egyptian torture methods. The kid, what a guy, raises his hand in shame and fear. “It was me sir.”

“Shame on you!

“B-but sir I-“

“GOOOOOOO! To the dean’s office!”

The kid walks with shame out the door and on the way out the teacher uttered two sentences that haunted me at the time, but cracks me up now.

“The hell with you! You’ll be lucky if you ever come back to this place.”

Bro, it’s a phone not a gun. Thank god there was only 10 minutes left of class after that so we didn’t have to hold our piss from being scared out of our minds. I think back to times like this and wonder how traumatizing it probably was for this 12 year old to be told to go to hell by a teacher for accidentally forgetting to turn his contraband phone off before class. I’m pretty sure I remember going up to him a few days later seeing if he was okay and the phone call ended up being his mom.

Saddest Kid in Grade Number Two

Let’s go waaaaaaaay back to elementary school. Elementary school definitely had its troublemakers and burnout-bound kids and that was made quite obvious by the way they acted and respected their teachers. There had to have been some gossip in the teacher’s lounge about asshole kids that they had in class and just carry with that kid in future grades. This one kid in second grade possessed the typical qualities of a teacher’s nightmare. He would crack jokes at inappropriate times, say bad words, fart in other kids seats, and stole people’s markers.

Given, none of this had happened yet and it was only the third day of school. This kid had asked one of his tablemates if he could borrow a marker and accidentally knocked over his books. Okay, it happens no sweat nobody tripped about it. About ten minutes later he opens up his desk and his books slide off again. This was the last straw for my teacher. She got up and stormed to his desk, picked up his books he had just grabbed from the floor, slammed them on the ground and told him to pick it up.

Maybe people closer to my age can relate, but back in the day those reading textbooks in elementary school felt like 100 pounds, so when she slammed those books it felt like she created a new fault-line underneath the school. What my teacher didn’t know was that this kid had scoliosis and struggled bending over. This poor guy probably felt the way that I did in choir class and he just sat there shocked.

Whatever Homie

The biggest thing difference about K-8 and high school? We start to develop our personalities and come into our own outside of what our parents taught us. The other difference? High schoolers aren’t afraid to speak their mind. The thing about high school teachers though is that neither are they.

I can tell you a handful of times where teachers deserved to get roasted like a nut. Actually 50% of the time they did and it was hilarious. I remember having a substitute for geometry one day and when you’re a sub usually the way the day goes is that you do your assigned lesson by yourself and maybe a partner. This sub took it upon herself to say that she “thinks she knows geometry” and attempted to teach the lesson. Little did she know that the teacher had printed off the wrong lesson and made sheets for YESTERDAY’s homework.

As she was ‘teaching’ the lesson, we gradually picked up on the fact that we had already done this. The smartest kid in the class raised her hand to inform the sub, but she responded “save all questions for the end, thanks”. The girl then said without hesitation “miss we’ve already done this lesson”. The sub didn’t like this.

“You really expect me to trust high schoolers to tell me what I’m supposed to do?”

The one kid who wasn’t so smart, but equally as vocal defended her, “Yes! We’ve been here, I have the homework.”

The sub got angry and told him to go to the dean. This guy wasn’t going down without a fight. He blurted out, “No! I am not going there for telling you that you should do your job.” I think on his way out he called her fat too if I remember correctly.

I had a fair share of those kinds of moments too, none where I fat shamed a teacher, but definitely stood up for myself. My freshman year biology teacher is one that comes to mind. She made it very apparent that she was married and if someone addressed her as Ms. instead of Mrs. she would snottily correct them every time. I had a hard time in that class, so one day when I asked for help and totally said Mrs. and not Ms. she took it upon herself to correct me anyway and started walking away. An anger flushed through me, I snapped back, “Are you gonna get over yourself and actually help me instead of walking away?” Of course she didn’t like that and gave me a warning, but after that she didn’t mess with me again.

I always tell the story of my senior year composition teacher when talking about teachers I didn’t like. She wasn’t a bad teacher by any means, her and I just didn’t see eye to eye. Junior/senior year I really cracked out of my shell and became very extroverted. I loved to talk and that’s still no secret. When passing around papers one day, I jokingly called my teacher homie since my speech professor (pre-requisite to this class) and I would joke like that. She did not appreciate this. From then on it was all about me defending my honor and her trying to tear it down. Charming lady, really.

This is Why You’re Wrong

Thinking about these times when teachers were being flat out terrible makes me reflect on the past. These people really were our parents away from home in a way. In our first days at school when we’re younger, many kids cry when their parents leave them with a somewhat stranger. The teacher is responsible for making that kid comfortable and create a safe learning environment. They need to develop a sense of trust in order to get to them.

Man, there’s some teachers that did the exact opposite. My art teacher for example all throughout elementary school would tell us to not talk at all and force us to do the same projects year after year. I’m pretty sure I did self-portraits like three different times and got told one year that mine lacked originality. Maybe it’s because I’ve done this before and I’m fucking nine years old you honey-baked ham. She also ate glue in front of us and that on its own was enough to make me uncomfortable.

Point is if I had a better art teacher growing up I’d probably be a more skilled artist and more passionate about it in the middle school years. You know THE YEARS WHERE YOU DEVELOP CHARACTER. I really looked up to a lot of my teachers/professors, even the ones that weren’t so great. They had the knowledge and they had my interest too. I was there to learn, in order for me to attain this knowledge the best is if I can trust the teacher. There are many times where I was let down by a teacher due to their lack of passion or willingness to help me out.

I am minoring in journalism and I was very skeptical for years because one of my teachers told me during a career building activity that they don’t make any money and to pick something else. Clearly I didn’t have much integrity back then.

Coulda Woulda Shoulda Brudda

When you’re a kid your teacher is not only like another parent, but also kind of your first boss. You’re expected to get your tasks and assignments done at given deadlines or else there’ll be consequences a.k.a detention or even suspension. You have this trust and strong liking for the teacher, mainly when you’re in elementary. I can’t think of many teachers or professors that I ADORED or anything close. Teaching I can only assume is like parenting. The kids that they teach and help develop will absorb more than you can imagine and relay it back to their parents. I remember a teacher in 7th grade stubbed her toe on the front table and said “ah shi—– oooot!” Nice catch. At least she owned up to it and caught herself.

There are so many times where those kids who are now adults look back on those K-12 years and either laugh, cringe, or reminisce. It almost doesn’t matter what your teacher taught, if you couldn’t connect with them or see eye to eye, it’s pointless. Those are the prime years of coming into our own being. You might forget what you learned in class, but you never forget the people who taught you those forgettable lessons. Massive thanks for the ones that didn’t give up on their students and cared about where they went in life after. Even if it didn’t seem like we appreciated you, trust me we definitely remember what you did for us and more than likely can recall your lessons the best.

Halloween Series: 5 Great and 5 Awful Horror Movies Part 2

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - Moria
Silent Night, Deadly Night (yes that’s the name of the film)

Currently Listening to: Bloom by Beach House

Happy Hell-o-ween!

It has come to my attention that when I attempt to say the word ‘horror’ it comes out like I’m saying ‘whore’ instead. So for those curious, no, I was not watching a whore movie called The Babadook. Wonder if anyone truthfully thought I was talking about a whore film and questioned why I am so open with what I am watching… AHYHOW! Welcome to part two of the best and worst *ahem*… HORROR movies. When I was writing the first part it made me realize how passionate I felt about writing about how much I loved the movies being discussed. Now I’m sitting here thinking about how fun it’ll be to rip on the bad ones.

If you know me in any capacity if I really don’t like something I will make it very apparent that I’m not a fan of it. I frequently bring up how much I don’t enjoy candy corn during this time of year and even though I think the taste is gonna change every time I give this piece of garbage nightmare candy a second chance I always end up resenting it a bit more. The same can be said about these movies. Some of them have been so offensively awful that I would never give them another chance, but some of these I have given another shot and just get worse thinking about it. So here we go… FIVE terrible horror movies you most definitely should avoid.

The Worst

5. Haunting on Fraternity Row

Haunting on Fraternity Row (2018)
Umm…

Admittedly I should’ve known better going into this based off the title. I watched this one with my roommates last year and I’m pretty sure that we purposely had a ‘bad movie night’. We had just finished watching The Package, which is about a movie where this teenager drunkenly slices off his junk and they have to transfer him and his severed schlong to the nearest hospital before it’s too late. It’s as bad as it sounds. Then came Haunting on Fraternity Row. Wow this is bad. Sometimes you’ll come across a movie like this and it’ll purposely try to be dumb but the content itself is still fun like Freddy vs Jason or Zombeavers. This you can tell they were trying and it was painful to watch.

The plot is so lifeless and boring. Basically a frat house is having a massive winter party and something makes the house possessed and a being starts killing people. That’s it. Truthfully, this could’ve been a good premise for a movie if it had a higher budget and a better script. Having a haunted frat house would make for a good horror comedy. Instead we are stuck with this, a found footage film that makes no sense to be recorded like that in the first place. The dude behind the camera films EVERYTHING. The party prep, the drama, the people hanging out upstairs, some douche trying to scare people… oh yeah and there’s a party! What kind of frat guy is like ‘hey man remember that winter party when I hung up the streamers? Yeah man I was soooooo sober. Highlight of the day’?

You know exactly who is gonna die within the first ten minutes too. Everyone in this film is either annoying as hell or dumb with the exception of two people that I thought were going to live. Nope they die. Oh well then everyone is gonna die then, right? Yup. Nobody survives this movie. They all get attacked by the cousin of the smoke monster from Lost, the black shadow.

I think the most offensive part of this movie is that the monster (I think it’s a monster or demon maybe?) doesn’t make sense. The only way for the characters to defend themselves is if they’re in this room in a wall that accidentally got smashed during the prep for the party that’s full of convenient, copious amounts of lights. Okay, whatever that’s stupid but fine. Then when the teens go to hide the monster destroys the lights… Dude…

If I had said this was a horror movie and someone thought I said ‘whore’ movie instead, this is an occasion where I probably wouldn’t have corrected them. This movie is Alpha Sigma Sigma.

4. The Nun

The Conjuring Universe Fans on Instagram: “The Nun 😍😱 @thenunmovie 💖  @taissafarmiga @bonnieaarons1 💖 #TaissaFarm… | The conjuring, The  conjuring annabelle, Nuns
Nun ya business!

The Conjuring 2 was actually a really great sequel and continued on a really strong franchise (outside of Annabelle). There were a lot of memorable scenes and characters, one such being a terrifying nun painting that jumped out of the wall and tried to kill one of the main characters. So naturally, the people did the exact thing they did with Annabelle and take a cool character or item from The Conjuring and make a whole movie about it.

What this and Annabelle have in common is that these could have easily been great. They weren’t. What those two movies do NOT have in common is that Annabelle is just okay, The Nun is not.

I saw this one in theaters and welp that was a mistake. The movie follows an investigation of the titular nun character that mysteriously died out of nowhere and now a priest and two other people (one is also a nun and the dude I think was a farmer or something I don’t know/care) go to the Vatican and get to the bottom of this mystery. Halfway through the movie I forgot this premise. My friends and I started cracking jokes. We all collectively loved The Conjuring movies so when it got to the point where we just kind of gave up and couldn’t stop laughing I was enjoying myself through the disappointment.

The funniest thing about the film is the score. I get that they were trying to go for a haunted men’s choir, but it just came off sounding like a morbidly, obese dude getting kicked in the dick and hearing his groans of pain in super slow-mo. That could’ve easily been made into a drinking game because this track was played at least ten different times throughout the movie. Best believe that every time that came up we would mimic the noise. People around us joined in too.

What The Nun did do well though was have a cool opening scene. I did kind of laugh at it too because the effects were lacking, but you would think after that scene it would be a really dark, somewhat scary movie. Nope. I jumped from a loud noise twice and that was that. I think the best part of The Nun was when Whoopie Goldberg came out and started singing songs from Sister Act to combat the evil.

3. The Quiet Ones

Does “The Quiet Ones'” Ending Suggest Coupland's Theories About the  Supernatural Were Wrong? | Read | The Take
The Quiet Ones (2014)

There was a span of time between 2014 to 2016 where I watched a TON of scary movies. I would say the percentage between good and bad ones were probably 15% good and 85% bad. Some of them had really good ideas and were just executed poorly, some had pretty good acting and some genuine scares and just had bad writing, and then there’s all of the above. The Quiet Ones is all of the above. There was just something about this one that was so awful that I couldn’t get it off my mind for months. Every so often I’ll go through my old lists of movies I’ve watched every year and then I see The Quiet Ones and I groan.

The Exorcist… I mean Silence of the Lambs… no that’s not right either… Sinister? Oh yeah The Quiet Ones! That movie is about these students that go with their professor to study these behavioral habits of this girl named Jane who seems to be possessed by an outside force of darkness. Together they try to analyze her behavior in order to help Jane get better while simultaneously gathering research for their class.

This movie is bits and pieces of every horror stereotype ever made. To the point where it is frustrating. It also fuels my cringe intake. There were many lines of dialogue and actions of the characters that made me question why I had paid $6 for this matinee bullshit. There’s also a lot that makes no sense here. There are a few exorcism scenes where the students attempt to retrieve this darkness from Jane and attempt to manifest it. In one such scene things get out of hand and they have to hold her down before she goes insane and for some reason a tentacle launches out of her mouth… This is never brought up again or even explained either. Is she being possessed by Cthulu? Is Squidward Tentacles controlling her every move with the sound of his clarinet?

As if this movie couldn’t get any weirder there’s romance. Oh yes love is in the air in this abandoned house. I feel God in this slanty shanty today! One of the students develops a crush on Jane and attempts to take her away from the house to ‘save’ her from cruel and unusual treatment. Ruining their research and the whole reason that any of them were there in the first place. Think about it buddy, is saving this girl really worth sacrificing your GPA? Anyways, then there’s this stupid plot twist that makes zero sense that I’m not even gonna try to explain because I personally still don’t understand it. You’re better off watching The Nun or Pitch Perfect 2, well maybe not Pitch Perfect 2.

2. Carrie (2013)

Carrie (2013) movie review by SlashingThrough.com
Worst prom EVURRR!!

Some people really love the original Carrie and consider it a classic even. I can’t stand it. I saw the 2013 one first and had a very sour reaction to it. I thought maybe the OG Stephen King adaptation would be better, but I actually disliked that one quite a bit too. Maybe it’s because I grew up generations later than when the original story came out, but I don’t understand the bullying. Why are people actively trying so hard to make Carrie’s life so miserable? I get that she’s the nerdy, weird kid and comes from a troubled household, but why is she the target of everyone in the school? I just never found that realistic.

Both of these films are extremely similar, almost too similar. This might make the 2013 one worse by default due to lack of originality or trying to do anything different. The locker room scene, the prom scene, the ending (kind of) all note for note the exact same. There’s also a l At least in the original they made Sissy Spacek look somewhat like the reject kid and the mom looked like someone who was overbearingly religious. I’m sorry Chloe Grace Moretz is too good looking even in this film to be the outcast. Julianne Moore wouldn’t have been my first choice for insane, overbearing mother either.

Maybe the whole pig blood thing would’ve made more sense back then with their seemingly small town setting and given their resources, but it doesn’t really for a 2010’s film in a rural setting. The school they go to is clearly very nice and upscale and I don’t think pig blood would be a modern bully’s first choice for sabotaging a girl at prom. At least they didn’t make it TOO modern and cyberbully her by somehow sending a totally embarrassing selfie to everyone in the entire school and everyone checks it at the exact same time.

I’m perfectly fine with a director challenging an audience with a certain style or direction that makes people uncomfortable, but this one is just too yucky for me. The overbearingly religious mother is really underacted by Julianne Moore and to this day I still squirm and laugh at the line where her and Carrie are arguing about her dress being revealing and calls her boobs “dirty pillows” to which she angrily responds “they’re BREASTS mother!” Um… dirty pillows?

If you like this power to ya, I just find no redeeming quality to Carrie.

  1. The Intruder
The Intruder Trailer: Never Buy a House from Dennis Quaid – /Film
Dennis Quaid attempting to stay silent by holding in his gas.

What the actual deuce was this movie? Not only is this one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen, it’s probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen PERIOD. There’s so much to dissect from this pfft I don’t even know what to call it.

First off, I don’t really feel bad for these characters at all. They’re all snobby rich people who might’ve worked hard for their money but come as whiny teens using daddy’s plastic. The premise itself is just flat-out dumb. This extremely rich couple decides to buy this extravagant home called Foxglove that has a massive backyard and beautiful interior from this dude named Charlie (played by Dennis Quaid) who owns the property. The couple decide to purchase the house from Charlie, but the he seems to have a hard time letting it go. He still comes and mows the lawn and even sneaks into the house to arrange things to his liking. Why? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

I haven’t seen a man in love with his house this much since Monster House. The massive gripe with this movie is the fact that all this could’ve been stopped had they called the police. Charlie supposedly killed his wife and his daughter ran off and threatened HIM she’d kill him if she tried to contact her again, she was never threatened. So why not call the police? Because that would make too much sense.

Annie (the wife) is an extremely ignorant sack of bologna. Every time Charlie comes over he is clearly hitting on her and she just allows it and thinks ‘oh he’s such a sweet guy’. Meanwhile she’s accusing her husband of cheating on her. Yeah OH-kay Annie. In her defense Scott (the husband) did cheat in the past, but supposedly that was worked out. Whenever Scott tells Charlie to leave she gets extremely defensive and says he can stay. Girl I’m pretty sure you didn’t drop a dime on the purchase of this place, let Scott make the decisions here. Charlie ends up getting angry at him and eventually runs Scott over with his truck. This is unknowingly at the time, but still I’m sure one can assume that it was him by the familiar truck that shows up to their house every day.

When discovering how crazy Charlie really is instead of calling the police what does Scott do? HE CALLS HIS WIFE. Bro?? You can probably guess he was in the house so what do you want her reaction to be?

Something that also needs to be said is Scott’s fear of guns. Charlie is a hunter and shows off his guns, but due to PTSD Scott is afraid to interact with them. So when it comes to defeating Charlie in a not-so-epic climax Scott picks up a gun, tells him to go to hell and the gunshot fades the screen to black. Insert the most inappropriate rap song for the credits to follow. There’s also a very randomly inserted sex scene that has no purpose other than to probably promote whoever’s R&B song was playing in the background. This happens a few times, where the music just doesn’t match the mood and I end up laughing. There’s definitely a dude mowing our grass and washing our dishes as we speak, but whatever let’s smash!

Charlie also ended up foreshadowing how Dennis Quaid is in real life to an extent. So to that I salute The Intruder for warning us. Imagine if Dennis Quaid’s character in Parent Trap and Charlie had a cross-over. How awesome would it be if kid Lindsey Lohan picked up the gun at the end and said go to hell before shooting her deranged dad?

Yeah, The Intruder is hilarious in all the wrong ways. It’s not a so bad it’s good situation, it’s truthfully so bad that it is bad and I find that hysterical.

Alternate Titles and Taglines

This is what these movies SHOULD’VE been called.

Haunting on Fraternity Row:

Alt Title: Are You Afraid of the Dark Bro?

Tagline: If you thought frat guys weren’t evil enough check out what’s in their basement!

The Nun:

Alt Title: The Conjuring Presents: The Nun (Nun’ ya business!)

Tagline: You wish this was Sister Act

The Quiet Ones:

Alt Title: Silence of the Exorcist that seemed Sinister, but was just a game of Ouija

Tagline: Worst. Group. Project. EVER

Carrie (2013):

Alt Title: Carrie White’s Fright Night Under the Lights

Tagline: This year’s prom theme… DEATH

The Intruder:

Alt Title: HGTV’s House Hunters

Tagline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtZfW2z9dw

Honorable Mentions:

Ouija

The Visit (why was the kid rapping a part of the movie)

The Lazarus Effect

Malicious

Human Centipede

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Ma

Pet Sematary (that’s how it’s spelled)

Halloween Series: 5 Great and 5 Awful Horror Movies Part 1

Scary Movie' May Be Outdated But It's Still Pretty Damn Funny [You Aughta  Know] - Bloody Disgusting

Currently Listening to: Sincerely by Dude York

Happy October!

It is the beginning of my favorite time of year. The holy trinity of months. The final quarter of the year. The intro to Christmas. Nah, but Halloween is cool too. I always LIKED Halloween when I was a kid, but only loved it select few years. Maybe it was the years that I had an especially great costume that I remember loving like when I was Mr. Fredrickson from the movie Up or Indiana Jones or being Dracula either time. I never had a bad costume, but I definitely had my favorites. I could probably tell you my least favorite though since there’s this infamous picture of two year old me having a meltdown dressed up as a lion. Maybe I was just getting in character for being the cowardly lion from Wizard of Oz or I was getting in character to be a total wimp. Thankfully that only lasted a few years.

Funny enough, I actually like Halloween a lot more now than I did when I was a kid. The parties are always a great time, haunted houses have become a must every year now, and the candy consumption grew too thanks to being older and having a debit card with access to bags of Sour Patch Kids and Kit-Kats. My new favorite tradition though is watching horror movies. It wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 that I really started to adopt scary movies as an every year occasion. I can’t credit it to Poltergeist since even though I love it now it scared the living shit out of me as a kid. If I HAD to credit one movie though it’d probably be The Conjuring. That really spiked my adoration.

So since it is October I thought it would be fun to break away from my traditional blog format and make a list of five great horror movies and five not so good ones. This is completely subjective, but I definitely feel strongly enough about a few of the worst. Shall we begin, Clarice?

Also worth noting, this is ONLY THE BEST this entry. The worst list will be out in a few days!

The Best

5. Get Out

Get Out': Jordan Peele Reveals the Truth Behind the Sunken Place | IndieWire

I think most people around my age can distinctly remember the time that they first saw Get Out. It seems like people either really love this movie or really hate it. Why they would hate it I have no idea, unless you are like my parents and aren’t especially fans of horror movies. I was kind of late first watching Get Out since I had missed it initially when it first came to theaters. It wasn’t until it was offered as an inflight movie that I got an opportunity to watch it. Within the first five minutes I was absolutely hooked. The tension and buildup with the longshot of the man talking on the phone walking to his car in a dimly lit neighborhood while someone lurks in the background was terrifying. Only then to follow it up with Childish Gambino’s Redbone? Ridiculous!

I don’t know if anyone else could relate to this, but I truthfully had no idea what was going to happen next. The writing is so strong and has so many plot twists that I did not expect whatsoever. The fact that something that seemed like a typical slasher flick at times turned into a commentary on racial injustices and prejudices in America is unheard of and ultimately welcomed with open arms. All while simultaneously terrifying the audience with gruesome depictions of violence and ‘wanting to see the world through a black person’s eyes’. It’s such a great concept.

Good acting is usually not something that is a highlight of most horror films, but I think Daniel Kaluuya as Chris was stellar. From the first moment I saw him tear up while being hypnotized at the beginning of the film I was like damn this guy can act! His TSA buddy was really entertaining too and made for great comedic relief.

What impressed me the most though is the fact that the dude that wrote the Key and Peele substitute teacher sketch directed AND wrote the script for arguably one of the most important horror movies ever still blows me. I was just waiting for the teacher to pop out at the party in the middle of the film and greet the main character, Chris and say ‘ah you must be Cha-ris’, only to knock him out for correcting him. The former Cubs manager, Joe Maddon was also great as the dad in the film. Nice try ‘Bradley Whitford’ we know this was your victory lap after the 2016 World Series win.

While I do love Peele’s second film, Us, more than this one it feels more like a thriller than a horror movie so that’s why it makes this list.

4. It Follows

What's in a Name? The Anonymous Horror of 'It Follows' - The Atlantic

They should’ve just renamed this movie ‘Wrap it Before You Tap It’. You might have never heard of this movie, but you deserve to and lucky for you I’m about to half-ass explain it!

It Follows is about this teenager who goes on a date with a guy who acts kind of strange, but you know looks trump strangeness (explains why people are attracted to Ted Bundy nowadays). Their date ends abruptly, but it was good enough for them to have a sexual encounter. After this night, strange things begin to happen. She discovers she is being stalked by a creature that takes over as different human beings in order to disguise itself. Why is this happening? The guy she slept with was blessed with an STD that causes this strange being to stalk whoever contracts the disease and follows them until they kill them. I’ll leave it at that because the mystery of how to get rid of it is what makes it so gripping.

Anyone that watches any horror movie in some capacity knows that most ‘scary’ movies nowadays will just scare you with a loud sound to make you jump, but what actually happens is less than scary or just flat out dorky. It Follows doesn’t do that at all except for maybe one or two times. The rest is just based off of pure uncertainty. Often you’ll see silhouettes or anthropomorphic figures in the background and it just has you guessing if that is the creature coming to kill her or if it’s just some Chad ripping his JUUL.

When a movie has a great soundtrack it earns bonus points. It Follows has a very memorable synth-driven, 80s inspired soundtrack and I love it. I would definitely buy a physical copy if my pockets didn’t have moths flying out of them. It also helps with building tension which some may seem as a cop out for natural tension, but who cares it sounds dope.

3. The Conjuring

Wanna play!?! ;) | Tv actors, The conjuring, Horror movies

One of the first dates I ever went on was to see this movie and I was visibly terrified. Of what though? The person I was with? The fact it could be super scary? That it was an R rated movie and I was just a lil boy? That popcorn was $7 and I didn’t have the chore money to afford it since I blew it on the ticket? If you guessed the fact that it was scary then you are correct! To be fair though, I would’ve accepted any answer.

The Conjuring is different than most horror films or truthfully I should say WAS different than most horror films. Seems as though there are so many movies that attempt to replicate the magic of it and just nobody gets close. Hell, even the own franchise tries to replicate it and it doesn’t work! Shoutout to The Nun, you’ll see that title later (subtle foreshadowing, right?). This movie has so many memorable moments that made me dig my fingers into that faux velvet seating in the theater. The hide and go clap scene is iconic at this point and still trips me out, the scene in the basement/cellar I can’t remember which, but whatever it’s terrifying and haunted me for a straight week.

What I really respect about this movie is that it took a seemingly dead format of the ‘based off of true events’ format and made it seem real. The two paranormal investigators showing their work to the college class makes it seem very cinematic too. Smart. I’m glad they made the investigators intellectual and not like an episode of Ghost Hunters where grown men are screaming because they think they heard a ghost whisper ‘hot cheetos’ and then play it back with voice-over saying “did this ghost say hot cheetos? We can’t be sure”.

The effect and makeup in this film are worth mentioning too. The design of Annabelle before she had her own spinoff franchise was definitely an image that stuck with me. The demons also looked really realistic, given I’ve never seen a demon but if I did I can imagine it’d look like that. Unless you count Trisha Paytas then I’ve definitely seen a demon and that characterization is awful.

2. It (2017) and It Chapter 2 (2019)

It Chapter 2 director hints at potential Pennywise movie

The first IT came out on my birthday and it was probably one of the most memorable birthdays because of it. I remember seeing Atomic Blonde with my friends that summer prior and they showed the first five minutes as a teaser and we were all like “wOOOoooAAaaaaHHhh we gotta see that man!” That small teaser ended up being better than Atomic Blonde, but anyhow. IT is easily my favorite modern horror movie and for good reason. It’s scary as FUCK.

I don’t care what anyone says I got ridiculed by my close friends for thinking it was scary, but damn did you not see Pennywise?! Bill Skarsgard did amazing as the titular clown/alien. His voice has almost become as meme-able as Christian Bale’s deep, raspy Batman accent. The beginning scene of the film where little Georgie (r.i.p. my guy) meets Pennywise in the drain in an attempt to retrieve the boat his older brother Bill made for him is the perfect intro to what kind of villain he is and the voice changes to sound more enticing to his victims.

What REALLY set the tone for what was to come was when they actually showed Georgie’s arm being bitten off and you see him crying and desperately attempting to escape with just a nub oozing blood down the drains and getting dragged down there. As often as kids are in peril in horror films it’s not often you see a kid actually get hurt, let alone killed on screen like that. This made me fearful of what was to come since the stars of the film are kids too and kind of made me sick to my stomach. Not due to fear, but because I snuck sushi into the theater and that shit on screen was gross. I felt dirty eating raw fish after seeing some little kid get his arm ripped off. I was worried I’d feel something stuck in my teeth and just pull out a piece of yellow rain jacket.

Fun fact: I didn’t eat sushi for a good two months after this.

What follows after this amazing opening scene is a series of terrifying events like being chased by a leper through an abandoned courtyard, blood blasting through a sink drain, and seeing hands of people clawing for life trying to escape behind a fiery door. The child actors make this movie what it is. I was laughing my ass off the entire movie, not in a messed up in the head kind of way, the movie is actually supposed to be funny I promise. The adults are all creeps though and I don’t understand why they were all made out to be these disgusting characterizations. It was nevertheless very entertaining though and fleshed out certain characters.

The second IT movie isn’t as good as the first one, nor does it completely follow the same rules as it which was kind of disappointing. The whole point is that the adults can’t see Pennywise and within the first 10 minutes an adult was killed. What? Maybe Pennywise was homophobic or something since they are the only LGBTQ characters presented at the time (THERE’S better foreshadowing for you). It makes sense that the kids from the first movie can see him since they survived, but not just some random dude at a carnival.

The two IT movies are kind of like the Alien franchise, one is more of the horror movie and the other is more of an adventure. IT Chapter 2 feels more like an adventure than the first one did. (Almost) All the characters coming together 27 years later to defeat Pennywise felt like a band of childhood friends trying to reconnect and conquer at the same time and less like a ‘oh no a clown!’ kind of take.

Whoever was in charge of casting seriously didn’t get paid enough. The grown up versions of the kids from the first film all made so much sense. I just don’t understand why they got the Old Spice guy to play adult Mike. Unless they combatted Pennywise with the 24 hour sweat resistance power of deodorant. Bill Hader and James McAvoy were perfectly cast though and they felt the most like their character from the film prior.

The thing is though, this movie isn’t really great by any means but I don’t care at all it’s just fun. The movie exceeds 2 and a half hours and it felt like an hour. The thing I can’t really give a pass to though is how they defeated Pennywise and how he looked like a deflated baby afterwards. Did Pennywise never go to middle school? If he went to middle school I can guarantee you he would’ve been dead in like 15 minutes after walking through the halls. If hate words killed him he wouldn’t have lasted in 2020 either

  1. Halloween (1978)
The killer guide to Michael Myers' Halloween - Blastr

My parents always warned me as a kid that if I watched scary movies I would get really bad nightmares. They said this about Jurassic Park when I was like six and guess what I watched Jurassic Park. Did I have nightmares? You bet your ass I did! Flashforward a decade later though and I just got done watching Halloween for the first time. Alone. With no one home. Lights off. Shit.

I think at the time Halloween was really the only slasher movie I had seen, unless you count Saw which I thought was pretty good. Halloween elevated my thoughts on horror films in general. I continued to think about this movie for weeks after. I worked at Party City during this time too and I vividly remember a Michael Myers mask popping out at me while looking for a costume and jumping a foot in the air.

Like It Follows, Halloween has an amazing score. Everyone knows the infamous Michael Myers theme, but there’s something supremely haunting about the rest of the score which was composed by John Carpenter, the director, himself.

To Halloween’s credit, this movie opens with a homicidal mental patient escaping from a mental hospital and goes off into the countryside and he isn’t afraid of hiding in clear daylight. I don’t know there’s something kind of sinister about that, like he knows that if he kills someone in clear sight his reign of terror will end, yet he isn’t afraid to make himself apparent. The scene where he is hiding in someone’s yard while staring at teens walking back from school is a perfect example.

Halloween is an asshole. The filmmakers get so much tension built up and all these warning signs that something bad is going to happen and nothing does and I LOVE THAT. The whole time I was like ‘nah NOW he’s gonna get ’em!’ and I never knew when he would do it until he did.

The last 20 minutes are perfect. The chase between Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael is super realistic and extremely intense. With every footstep and creak of floorboards I found myself gripping into my own hands. The worst is when you think it is all over and he died, but SIKE he dipped and left. What?? After all that he’s still out there? No way man, no way.

Honorable Mentions

Scream 1 or 2 (more funny than scary)

Sweeney Todd

The Cabin in the Woods (very creative, just not really scary)

Poltergeist

Hereditary

Insidious

Psycho

What You’ll Sadly Never Forget

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stephencolbertquadfacepalm_4937.jpg

Currently Listening to: Era Extrana by Neon Indian

Picture This…

It’s an overcast day, could rain, but there’s enough sunlight seeping through the pattern of wispy, white clouds to say otherwise. You’re on the way back home from getting groceries at your local grocery store because you like to support our local businesses. You think about what’s to come for the rest of the day while cruising down the road. You’ll pack away your fruits and veggies, you’ll kick off your shoes and enjoy a few episodes of Parks and Rec since it’s an easy thing to have on in the background, and think about that one time you jumbled up your words at Applebees when the hostess greeted you and you responded with ‘hello, how are you going’ and in return gave you the look of ‘aw this poor nerd can’t speak correctly’… Wait why did you think of this? This was two months ago!

Why, Brain?

Have you ever had an experience such as the scenario above? A completely pointless memory that serves you no purpose or significance with how life goes from here other than to make you groan and question yourself. Hell, I don’t need to even ask I know you have. There’s enough memes on Twitter for me to know that everyone feels this at some point. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an embarrassing moment from your past, it could be something that got under your skin in the past and for whatever reason just stuck with you. It could also be a weird phrase or song that you can’t tell who wrote/said it, where it’s from, and the name of it. An earworm.

For me, these stupid memories always come in at the worst times. I remember going to one of my first job interviews and in between the time I was waiting for the manager to return and interview me and the interview itself my mind wanted to re-introduce the memory of being four years old and walking into one of my classmate’s birthday party gift in hand only to enter their home and see the exact same gift already set up in their living room. Upon opening the punk kid said “hey we already have this! Why did you give me a second one?” Then everyone at the party looked back at me, people walking their dogs stopped and stared through the window, and mister Jesus Henry Christ himself beamed down in all his glory and smacked me a good one upside the head and said you’re on your own homie (bonus round for thinking that Jesus’s middle name was Harold when I was younger)…

…And then my interviewer sat down. Suddenly, tell me a bit about yourself seemed like a trick question. What did he want me to say? That I was a track-star and earned the medal of honor for skipping? Oh boy, the pits are getting sweaty. Surprisingly I didn’t get a call back after that. Their loss, the team at Corner Bakery really suffered without me. I can tell every time I go that they really just wish I could save them.

We’ve all had these moments or little traumas that hold us back and actively try to suppress because for some reason you think people can read your mind in the moment. It is something that I face almost once a week and to be completely honest I create at least one of these memories a week. It’s like I’m a magnet for awkward situations. Given, I am much more confident than I was back when I had that first job interview at 16. Not too many things affect me like that anymore, but when they do they have to be the ones that burrow the deepest in the shelves of my mind.

With that in mind, I wanted to write about the different situations that I have encountered that induce these wonderful little memories and bother me when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. Trying to gather all the what ifs and what would’ve happened if I had just done this.

RRRGH Why Didn’t I Just Say *Fill in the Blank*

There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza spends the entirety of the episode wishing that he had said this good comeback to one of his coworkers that degraded him during a meeting for calling him a shrimp while munching down on shrimp cocktail. I have had so many of these moments in my life. I’ve dedicated hours on end thinking about what I could’ve said in the past to change different situations where someone had insulted me and couldn’t come up with anything in return. Don’t worry mom and dad I was barely ever bullied in middle school. With the kind of comebacks I had in elementary school I probably deserved to be bullied more.

I’ll give an example of this. One time during gym class in elementary school I accidentally bumped into this girl in kickball and told me in the snootiest way possible, with her nostrils extending a foot past her face “watch where you’re going dude”. I didn’t like this so I said “that’s why your shoes were untied” when she was actually wearing velcro shoes and flicked her nose when she looked down to check. The entire game stopped and everyone carried me on their shoulders including the gym teacher chanting my name throughout the halls. Or at least that WOULD be how it was if I had just said that. Instead I said “well someone fell through the crack of their bed.” What the fuck? Not only did I mess up one of the most common phrases known to man, but I KEPT GOING. I think I just panicked in response to messing up the phrase, but I only dug myself deeper into this hole that was basically a crater at this point. She looked at me all weird and walked away.

There are plenty of times where we get angry and wish we had said something to either de-escalate the situation or end their career with a deep cutting insult. While it’s not ideal to dwell on that kind of stuff, it’s still fun to think that if you had a time machine you can reverse the past and tell yourself a better insult. One that would make you endlessly desirable to the opposite sex and give you an autograph tent next to the playground.

You Stupid Idiot

I had referred to these moments in life as little traumas earlier and this is especially applicable for situations that make me angry. Like in the previous section, I can get dwell on situations where I could’ve said retorted with a better insult. Nothing is more frustrating when someone says some shit to you and you don’t get the chance to say anything back.

This happened very recently actually which is one reason why I decided to write about this. This woman, at least I think she was, she resembled a less attractive Dick Van Dyke in her profile pic but she left a pretty disgusting comment on my last post. In the very last line of my post I made a joke about the Cheeto Puff himself, Donald Trump. Had nothing to do with politics, nor did any part of the entry. This woman took it upon herself to say that “I had her until I mentioned Trump” and went on to mention how great he is and how we will all realize how great he is once he is out office. I just ignored it. Two days later the same lady responds and says that I backed out of a debate and basically called me weak. Funny, I don’t seem to remember putting anywhere on my site that I would be open to debating with a stranger, sorry, DUMBASS that from an entire entry only took away one sentence that had nothing to do with the content itself.

I chose to ignore this and just block her, which was probably the right thing to do since she wanted to be hateful, nor will I engage in negativity in this safe space. But there are times where things are shouted to us from a car driving off or a stranger on the street or we are told things by someone who is in a position of power that are hurtful, but we don’t get the chance to respond.

It’s not so far out of left field to say that we have all had management or someone in a higher position of power than us say rude or hurtful things to us in the past. Whether it was meant to hurt or not. This is also something that sticks with me and comes up at random, inconvenient times. I had a manager at my first job ages ago tell me that I don’t deserve to be working there. I just kind of stood there and wondered why she couldn’t have just told me where the bathroom was and left it at that, but whatever I’ll wet myself in front of you. It’s cool.

I also came across a situation about a month ago where my girlfriend and I were walking in a downtown area and we had eggs thrown at us from a truck full of teens and got called a faggot. I’m assuming by stereotype I was called that by the way I dressed because I looked very good that day, but nevertheless neither of us could do anything about it because of how fast they drove off and how shocked that something like that actually happened. I think about this situation all the time and know for a fact that it will become one of those memories where it’ll pop into my head at random and bug me again. I play out the different conceivable scenarios about what I could’ve done in response to this hateful action, but ultimately it’s a waste of time.

Embarrassment

Alright, let’s lighten the mood and talk about embarrassing shit because that’s always fun! So whenever an embarrassing situation comes into play that’s the kind of suppressed memory that bugs me the most. I’ll start saying lalalalalalala in my head in an attempt to get that out of my head and just realize how annoying my coping mechanism is. I’ll start humming a tune. I will literally do anything in my power to escape that thought and just go on about my day. Even if that means wearing Crocs without socks into a public area.

The way I see it, embarrassment is divided into three categories. Anger, awkwardness and mortifying, and funny. In an angry sense it’s the things we say or do that messes up something we were working towards. Slipping up during a conversation that was going very well with a potential love interest or friend for example. One time I was really hitting it off with someone at a party a while back and I ended up sneezing. What’s that you say? Sneezing doesn’t sound embarrassing? It isn’t, but it is when you attempt to cover your face (that’s right, I was covering my sneezes before it was cool) and you end up smacking the person’s drink out of their hand. They storm off and you get angry at yourself and sort of at them in a weird way for leaving.

The second kind of embarrassment is awkward/mortifying. These are the situations where every conceivable thing that could go wrong does. This is the accidental fart (shart if you wanna raise the stakes) in an elevator or the unprepared speech in front of a bunch of people. For me, I’m goofy and I make jokes instinctively. It’s just the way I function. I find everything funny even if it shouldn’t be. I can look at a park bench and think of a funny scenario or find something humorous about it. When jokes don’t hit though in a crowd of people it makes it very uncomfortable. This is the kind of embarrassment I am getting at. The kind that makes you question why you didn’t just shut up. It’s such a small instance but I remember those almost as vividly as the actually funny things I brainstorm.

The last kind is funny embarrassing. This is actually a good kind of inescapable memory. Maybe the events leading up to it weren’t exactly admirable, but it lead to something greater than what just happened. This could be tripping and falling into a puddle in front of a group of people and someone is generous enough to come and help you up, leading to conversation. Another example could be telling a joke that you think is hilarious, but nobody else laughs at it. You sit in shame until later someone comes up to you and tells you that they thought what you said was actually funny and not in an act of pity, but genuinely. Since I have given embarrassing examples for most of these I’ll give one last one. One time during class I dropped my pencil and when I dropped down to grab it my head hit my desk and all my other materials fell off onto the ground. This made people around me laugh at my pain, but someone saw something special in the way I ever so gracefully smacked the goofy out of my head. I made a new friend that day that must’ve thought the way I handled it was unusual but intriguing.

Wrap it Up Buddy

So despite there being copious amounts of moments that are super embarrassing, there is good that follows it. Even though I’d rather forget the time that I sung the lyrics to a song wrong during a concert and someone corrected me, at least I am able to look back and realize there is a life after that moment. It sounds super over-dramatic and it is, but in the moment that is how it feels no doubt. The only thing that halts this way of thinking is when these memories DO come up, it kind of makes an insecurity come up too. Sort of like a barrier to progress and move on. If you were humiliated in the past why try again and just spare yourself the shame?

There was a small period of time where I wanted to minor in psychology because the mind is an amazing, peculiar specimen, but also an asshole and I think there’s a lot to learn from it. I wanted to understand why we remember these things above others. Why we think of the negative things more frequently than the positive. My psychology professor a few years ago told me that trauma is most commonly associated with the bad memories and experiences, but is misunderstood. Good trauma exists too. I find myself remembering the negative stuff more often on my own and the lighthearted, fantastic memories having to be brought up by friends and family. The “hey remember when we did this!?” kind of discussions.

To wrap this all up as the section title presents, we can’t prevent these memories from popping into our heads are conveniently awful moments… I have nothing positive to say about it actually, they’re just flat-out awful. At the very least we learn from these moments in time and try to be more cognizant or aware of future outcomes assuming we come across it again. I just hope I never come across a situation again where I slip and fall in the mud while playing soccer and end up having to sit in what looks like shit-stained pants for the rest of the day.

I’m ending this entry like this because I want someone to comment “you had me until you brought up shit-stained pants.”

Works Cited:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Facepalm/LiveActionTV

Kill Your Heroes: Speaking to Society’s Gross Modern Perception of Death

Robin Williams - Wikipedia

Currently Listening to: The Greys by Frightened Rabbit

How Could This Happen? (Intro)

I write most of these entries while working the very early morning shift at my job and usually I’ll have something planned the night before, but today felt different. Call it writer’s block, call it lack of sleep, call it I have so much school happening at once and am stuck in a pandemic-itis. I did come into my shift this morning with the intention of writing something, I just didn’t know what. Usually I’ll turn on some fairly easy going music while I peruse through the internet, usually indie folk, soft rock, or R&B. Today I came across Frightened Rabbit. What a great band. They’re not my favorite band by any means, but they came in at such a pivotal point in my life that they hold a special place in my heart.

I had the privilege of seeing the band perform at Lollapalooza in 2016 and was blown away at their musicianship and the dedicated fanbase that was front and center at the dusty baseball field stage. Flash forward to May 2018. I followed the band on Twitter at the time and I enjoyed reading whatever they posted, but they weren’t very active. I tapped the news and Frightened Rabbit was trending. Uh oh… This was during what was arguably the height of the “me too” movement so I was worried something had happened. Even worse. Scott Hutchison was missing. The band tweeted out they had no idea where Scott was other than they knew he was at a hotel in Scotland and that he was in a ‘fragile state’. Hutchison put out two tweets within the days missing:

“Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones” and the one that is haunting to this day, “I’m away now. Thanks”. These tweets caused me to follow this story extremely close and hope that this suffering man was okay.

Scott Hutchison was found dead on May 10th by a bridge around Port Edgar in Scotland. I was numb. I don’t really react or feel anything when celebrities pass other than a short thought of ‘oh that sucks’ and sympathy for their family and friends because well that’s sad. Death is immensely morbid to the masses.

I’m assuming that the death of Hutchison affected me more than normal because this situation felt very real. Someone going missing in a delicate state of mind and tweeting vague statements saying that we all need to love each other and that he’s ‘away now’ just feels like something that I’ve heard before. Almost as if someone I used to know from school went missing or someone I used to work with had disappeared and their family had reached out asking for details.

So with that whole circulation of thought this morning, I thought I would write about how death is treated in what my college courses call the digital age and why I think it is beautiful, confusing, and disgusting.

It’s Like I Knew Them…

As stated prior, what made Scott Hutchison’s story so powerful and upsetting to me is how real it felt. Frightened Rabbit was never a huge band either so maybe the fact that he seemed more human than the average celebrity made it seem like he was a person. People of fame are obviously living being, but in a weird way they don’t seem human to me. They might as well be animatronic sculptures of cheese (I watched a small YouTube doc on Chuck E Cheese before this, don’t hate that metaphor). I just don’t see them as human.

Any small act of charity, hospital visit, the infamous ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet that many of them tweet when someone passes away or a public disturbance occurs. It seems like they are held on such a high rank by so many people that it comes off as pity. I’ve mentioned the halo effect in entries prior and why I think it is a toxic trait that our society possesses. This is no stranger.

Even when celebrities are still alive people act like they know the people they idolize. Maybe they really do and keep in touch and have conversations over crullers and macha tea… Nah. That’s very unlikely. I used to be a pretty avid Twenty One Pilots fan back in late middle school early high school. That was until they broke out in 2015 and their fanbase got incredibly stuck-up and acted like gatekeepers. I remember distinctly a conversation on Josh Dun’s Instagram comments between two fans going back and forth about how goofy the drummer is in the picture and how it is “just Josh being Josh”. Ew, what??? You don’t even know this man!

Point is that people will delve so deep into a famous dude’s social media, interviews, and Wikipedia page that they feel as though they know them. Kind of like how horse girls think they know every Clydesdale’s background story and how they came to this country with nothing but a dollar in their horseshoe and fueled on a whole lotta hope. People worship their celebs and power to them. Some people just find that admirable quality in someone that makes them want to make them believe they know them.

The Day(s) of Mourning ?

Michael Jackson, Prince, Robin Williams, David Bowie, Whitney Houston… These are all names that in my lifetime were impossible to avoid when they passed away. These people all had monumental influence in their respected area of profession and definitely meant the world to a specific generation and demographic. I remember the day when Michael Jackson passed away. My mom and uncle were especially gutted when they heard about the passing of the king of pop. They grew up listening to his music and lived through some of the biggest moments in pop culture history because of him. The moonwalk, the Thriller music video, the “hee-hee”s, and many other things. Arguably the biggest artist to ever walk the earth.

Nostalgia is definitely a main component of why people have such a strong reaction to when people like Michael Jackson pass away. We all get emotional thinking about the things that made us happy during our childhood. It’s like when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016, it was an emotional event for so many people including my family since we had all grown up watching the Cubs be the butt of every sports joke. Seeing them win was a victory for everyone who had been a fan for any amount of time. We all had that childhood connection and shared love for these teams and people we look up to, but will probably never meet. I think it is very cool that we are able to learn about ourselves and our emotions through the ideas and actions of these people. To an extent of course, the Swifties that try to be Taylor Swift are vile.

You may have noticed the question mark in the section and that is completely intentional. There has been this recent trend that I have seen on Twitter whenever a celebrity passes away where users will share information about them that shines a negative light on them and their legacy. Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last week and there has been a massive outpour of praise and blessings to her family and the legacy she left behind. Meanwhile, someone tweeted a screenshot of an article a few years back about her where she said she didn’t understand Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem. Okay buddy, we get it you’re cool. Save some women for the rest of us.

This is a common occurrence nowadays. George Bush Sr passed away and while he was a controversial figure and had a lot of people oppose him even his sworn enemies were sharing their condolences (whether or not to believe them is up to you). Meanwhile I see someone tweeting something along the lines of “you shouldn’t feel bad for George Bush Sr dying. He hated gay people and did nothing about AIDs”. Even if that may be partially true, let those who did look up to him mourn in their own way.

I don’t understand the notion of making people feel bad for caring about someone who isn’t with them. I’m not saying worship Hitler or anything like that nor to ignore the bad things that they did, but the point is someone found a quality in that person that they found admirable and maybe learned something about themselves in the process.

Cancel Culture Strikes… I Mean Stinks

Deaths of a public figure bring out the weird in people. This is applicable for people that are still living too, but some people have a free pass of sort. A pass that George Bush Sr didn’t exactly get handed (probably because he was the president). This is the ‘I can’t be canceled’ pass. Some people that I look up to have done some terrible things that aren’t to be ignored. John Lennon is someone I’ve learned a lot about and took a lot from. Buuuuuuuuut he did also beat his first wife. David Bowie is someone I was really fond of in high school, but he also had sex with a minor. Yikes. Michael Jackson is infamous for a number of different allegations, but many still look up to him.

It feels wrong to say that I look to someone who abused their wife because my morality says that’s the wrong thing to do and obviously I stand by that fact that beating your wife is the weakest thing a guy can do. Yet people still discuss him. Why? He stood for many things that people found admirable. He strongly believed in change and peace for people of all shapes and sizes. That doesn’t destroy the fact that he did what he did in the past, but the point is he ‘learned’ from it (I use quotations because like this entry presents, I don’t know John Lennon). A lot of people were inspired by his actions.

This poses the big questions like ‘why do some people get canceled over others’ and ‘is it wrong for me to like someone’s art and ideas if they’ve done bad in the past?’ A common phrase thrown around is to separate the art from the artist. This concept to me is iffy. Sure you can separate the art from their craft, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should forget it. This is something that I strongly argued for for many years. Until someone brought up change.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Change

I recently just finished watching the Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai. The plot follows Johnny, the villain from the OG Karate Kid, as he revives his old dojo and attempts to get his life together and come at life differently than his predecessor/mentor taught him growing up. Throughout the show he learns more and more about how times have changed and you watch him slowly grow. Meanwhile Daniel, the protagonist of the OG Karate Kid, tries to stop Johnny and sees him still as the bully who tormented him when he moved to the suburbs all those years ago.

This show represents the two arguments. Can people who have done wrong in the past do good now? Can someone truly change? These are both questions that we have to ask each other and ourselves.

When the rapper XXXTentacion was murdered in cold blood in 2018 I had no thoughts on the situation other than I knew he nearly beat his girlfriend to death. I never listened to his music and refused to at that, but a few peers of mine kept trying to convince me that he tried to change during the last years of his life. They tried showing me proof through videos and various statements he put out regarding his journey. While I still refuse to support his music and listen to it, this conversation opened up a new world.

I truthfully do believe that people can change and deserve a second chance. People do deserve the opportunity to change and grow for themselves. Who cares what someone like me would think or anyone for that matter. Only you can understand your growth and journey and that story isn’t for everyone to hear.

My main takeaway from writing this entry and closing it out is that what we attain and learn from someone’s legacy is completely subjective. If someone truly looks up to Elon Musk and is inspired by his craft let them be inspired. Art inspires art regardless where it comes from. We radiate and ooze great ideas based on what we can learn from others no matter where they come from. If it wasn’t for David Bowie I wouldn’t have the inspiration to learn how to play a guitar. If it wasn’t for Tony Horton I wouldn’t have been inspired to better my diet and perfect my workout routine. If it wasn’t for Donald Trump I would’ve… sike you really thought I would, huh!