I Am Excited About the Sochi Olympics And You Should Get Over Yourself and Be Excited Too


The Winter Olympics are kinda a weird event. They’re objectively worse than the Summer Olympics in every way. While the Summer Olympics are set in places like London, Beijing and Tokyo, the Winter Olympics gets Nagano, Salt Lake City and Lillehammer, whose Olympics would later be memorialized by Steven Van Zandt. If they gave out medals for kinds of Olympics, the Winter Olympics would win a silver medal. And these Sochi Olympics are getting a lot of guff from the haters out there. But you know what, the Sochi Olympics are going to be the best Olympics in years. Or at least since the last Olympics. Or at least one of the more interesting things on TV this month. Oh, but House of Cards is coming back. Well, it’ll definitely be the most interesting thing involving Russians on TV. Except The AmericansThe Americans will probably be more interesting than the Sochi Olympics. Still, you might have some concerns about these Olympics, and I’m here to explain why you needn’t worry because these Olympics are going to be great.

CONCERN: Why did they choose Sochi anyway? Sochi is not a real place. And its average winter temperature is a surprisingly warm 52 degrees.


Okay, so Sochi isn’t a booming metropolis (in Russia, you can tell which cities are metropolises because they’ve been renamed after some Commie mass murder and then re-renamed), but you can forgive the IOC for just assuming that Sochi was cold all the time. An easy mistake! Isn’t everywhere in Russia cold?

CONCERN: The Sochi Olympics are unbelievably corrupt.


First of all this is factually inaccurate. The level of corruption at the Sochi Olympics is very believable. Überbelievable. This is taking the usual corruption of the Olympics and multiplying it by the usual corruption of a government giving out no-bid contracts, and then putting all that to the Russian power.

For the visually inclined, the equation is as follows: (Olympics * no-bid contracts)^Russia

Continue reading I Am Excited About the Sochi Olympics And You Should Get Over Yourself and Be Excited Too

Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

Mmmmm...anthropomorphic hot dogs
Mmmmm…anthropomorphic hot dogs

As the most beloved living film critic, people often ask me if they should see a movie, and for me, the answer is always yes because I like to have people to talk about movies with, and don’t really care if you waste two hours of your life on Black Swan or whatever. Still, in the interest of being somewhat helpful, here’s pretty much every movie I saw in 2013 as well as a description of what kind of person should watch these movies.

You should see this movie if you…

The Vanishing (1988)

…like the idea of you and a loved one being buried alive.

L’Enfant (2005)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French people.

Kid with a Bike (2011)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids.

La Haine (1995)

…think poverty is a problem only if it happens to attractive French kids in black and white.

Festen (1998)

…find it plausible that a big party could continue as if nothing happened after the host is accused of child molestation.

District 9 (2009)

…believe that comparing black Africans under apartheid to hideous bugs is helpful somehow.

Upstream Color (2013)

…think not enough movies center on piglet murder.

A History of Violence (2005)

…like your murders arbitrary and awesome.

A Prophet (2009)

…want to spend three hours being REALLY EXCITED about a guy slowly infiltrating the Corsican prison gang while growing a mustache.

Cries and Whispers (1972)

…wonder if being surrounded by bright red walls all the time keeps you from being awful and miserable (it doesn’t).

The Seventh Seal (1957)

…want to see chess with death!

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

…like Italy, but hate the persistent image of it as “fun.”
Continue reading Artisanal, Hand-Crafted Movie Recommendations

Handicapping the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize Field

Nobel Prize Medal
“Oh yeah, I’ve been looking all over for that.” -Kofi Annan


And while we’re all excited about the winners (score one depression-era Canadians who somewhat ill-advisedly go visit their ex-girlfriends with their young children everywhere!) in other categories, the granddaddy of them all, the Nobel Peace Prize will be given out on Friday. Without any further ado, let’s have a look at the contenders from Paddy Power’s list of bettable candidates.


100/1 Bono

For unifying the world in the opinion that Bono is a self-righteous prig.

80/1 Facebook

“What’s cooler than the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education? The Nobel Peace Prize.” -Sean Parker, The Social Network 2: Networkin’ For The Weekend


66/1 Vladimir Putin

Regrettably, the Nobel Prize for Achievement in Terrible Gay Bashing and Iron-Fisted Dictatorship was proposed to Alfred Nobel, but he decided it made more sense to have a Medicine category instead.

Continue reading Handicapping the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize Field

The Xenophobe’s Guide to Foreign Movies

I know, I know–two things most people hate: learning and movies with subtitles. For those of you with a Netflix account know that the streaming options run a little thin after a while. At a certain point, American Pie 6: Pie in the Sky (that one’s about them all becoming fighter Pie-lots) starts to look relatively good.

But good news, there’s a whole other genre you might not have considered (you racist): ForeignerStuff. And in that genre, plots take entirely different directions, characters act in weird, nonsensical ways, and sometimes a guy who looks like Pau Gasol throws himself in front of a moving train. It can be hard to follow sometimes because often they don’t follow the conventions of American movies, which often have things like “characters,” “characters with names” and “a plot.” But fortunately, I’m hear to provide what I’ve learned so that you can figure out what the fuck is going on if you ever decide to watch any of these things.

South Korea

Barking Dogs Never Bite, 2000

The lesson: Seoul is a gigantic, depressing hellhole

Holy shit, look at the size of this chunk of an apartment building. There’s a person in it, running. Can you see him? Of course not because it all is just this enormous building forever and everything looks the same.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 12.16.30 PM

Lady Vengeance, 2005

Fact: South Korea has some weird interpretation of Christianity that involves dressing up as Santa Claus

South Korea Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Santa Claus

When our hero, the kind-hearted Geum-Ja is released from prison, she is greeted by a Christian group, including those people. Also, someone gives her some symbolic tofu, which reminds me…

Continue reading The Xenophobe’s Guide to Foreign Movies

It’s The Pope Benedict XVI Resignation FAQ Extravaganza

It’s PopeGate’13, people. All hands on deck. I am here to answer all of your questions about the Benedict XVI resignation and will not be quitting on this task, because there is no way that my strength of body and mind “has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.” I will fulfill my ministry, dammit.

So, what’s all this then?

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation earlier today. Or maybe either yesterday or tomorrow because he’s in Italy and time zones are confusing.

Oh, that’s too bad, I really liked him.

No, you’re thinking of John Paul II.

Are you sure?

Yeah. JPII was the one who rode around in a snow globe and had breakdancers brought in for his own amusement.

Now that’s what I call Popin’ And Lockin’!!!!

I can’t tell if you’re mocking me.

It’s hard to determine tone from the written word.

True. Anyway, Benedict XVI is the one who looks like a more evil version of Emperor Palpatine.

He does look pretty frail. Is poor health the reason for his resignation?

Health concerns certainly are legitimate. But recent Popes proposed Papal plans to resign in the event of such things as incurable disease or capture by Nazis. Benedict XVI has made no mention of either of those events occurring. And no Pope has actually resigned since 1415.

So… you don’t know for sure?

In times like this where there is very limited information, the most logical thing to do is arbitrarily pick a side and fill in the facts so as to fit everything into one neat narrative. For the record, I’m going with the “The Butler Who Knew Too Much.” “Papal Money Laundering Scheme” is a close second.

I choose the “this is a noble act by an unfailingly honorable man.” But why didn’t Ben–is it alright if I call him Ben?

Pope Benedict XVI is better.

Perhaps I could call him by his birth name, provided it’s not something too sinister and villainous-sounding.

Herr Joseph Ratzinger.

Pope Benedict XVI it is.


Are there any other Papal Resignations to take note of? And is “Papal Resignation” an available name for my band? We dress like 1890s-era orphans and have a person whose only job is to play the triangle.

The best known resignation was that of Celestine V, who, five months into his reign of Popeliness, declared that he could resign. And then celebrated by living out the rest of his days as a hermit.

Good segue into my next question…so, what’s a Pope to do, now?

Spending more time with his family is out. So, uh, maybe he’ll hermit it up. Constantly micromanage the next Pope? Maybe he plans to become the first Pope ever to win re-election. Also, avoid responsibility for the whole child rape thing his Church has been enabling for decades and decades. Writing letters to a newspaper and doing some gardening would be a good hobby. He’s basically a less snooty version of a Downton Abbey character at this point. And for some reason, I’m pretty sure the Pope is really big into The Closer and has been meaning to get caught up on it.

Wait, that child rape thing… is there any chance that might have something to do with the first Papal resignation in nearly 700 years?

Naaaah… There’s nothing unusual about someone devoting their entire life to a specific organization, rising to that organization’s highest rank (which also makes you an international figure of immense importance and fame) and then quitting abruptly. Let’s move on.

At a little over seven years, this has to be one of the shorter papacies, yeah?

Not really. There’s been at least 10 papacies that lasted less that forty days, including that of the terrifying looking Pope Marsellus II. Keep in mind that the Catholic Church is over a thousand years old, and predates things such as “non-leech-based medicine” and “humans living for more than than twenty five years.”

Has any good come from his reign?

Of course! Benedict XVI declared that The Jews are not the killers of Jesus. I can only hope this announcement was made in the same way that Maury Povich reads a paternity test.

That’s a relief.

And how!

So who’s going to be the next Pope then? It’s gotta be an African or a South American this time, right?

Well, that’s what everyone said last time and then they went and picked a former member of the Hitler Youth. So, you never can tell.

Any chance of an American winning?

Timothy Dolan, current Archbishop of New York is a contender.

And any reason to be concerned about him?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but he is believed to have gone for the “cover up everything” approach when dealing with a child rape scandal. But I mean, if we eliminate people who covered for child rapists, there’s hardly anyone to choose from. Maybe Bono.

That’s kinda a grim note to end on here, but I guess we can’t really talk about the Catholic Church these days without bringing up child rape.

And that’s why nobody is a particularly big fan of Pope Benedict XVI.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2013 Super Bowl

I feel like I wrote this post four months ago: San Francisco sports team enters sports championship against a hilariously blighted city. Nevertheless, the 49ers are in the Super Bowl, so we’re doing it again. A quick roundup of what these teams have going for/against them is in order. As is tradition in this sort of column, I will assign EDGEs to one team or the other based off of nothing.


In an extremely controversial decision, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh replaced starter Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick in the middle of the season despite Smith having a 6-2 record as a starter and having led the team to the NFC Championship last year. More importantly, Kaepernick accomplished both of my childhood dreams: playing quarterback for the 49ers in the Super Bowl and owning a goddamn turtle (requisite “I Like Turtles” link here). Here is a photo diary of Sammy the Turtle:

Young Kap, Young Turtle

As you can see, Little Kap, Little Turtle. But turtles live to be old (see: this turtle that lived to be 188), and grow big. Let’s check back in a few years later.

Big Kap, Big Turtle

Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About the 2013 Super Bowl

Snakes on a Campagin (To Kill Everything in Florida)

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.56.28 PM

Being a Floridian is a life riddled with danger. Because Florida apparently has no restrictions on their pets, they have to deal with the occasional wild grizzly bears, the odd Mystery Monkeys, and now, the Burmese python has got its tail wrapped around America’s dangling appendage. And pythons are pretty much all tail. The Burmese python threatens the natural balance of the ecosystem in the Everglades, but fortunately, Florida officials have found a way to deal with the problem in a way that is fun for the whole family.

That’s right! Florida: where every day is St. Patrick’s Day. This hardly seems necessary though, if the pythons are in the swamps, won’t they be easily destroyed by bigger predators? Like alligators, for example.

Continue reading Snakes on a Campagin (To Kill Everything in Florida)

Mark Sanford is Back! Let’s Re-Read His Amazing Love Letters

Wrong Sanford, You Big Dummy
Wrong Sanford, You Big Dummy

Big news, guys.

Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, will run for the House of Representatives, sources close to Sanford confirm. He will try to win election to the seat formerly held by Tim Scott.

What’s this? The greatest American love letter writer is coming back into public life? For those who don’t recall, Mark Sanford was the South Carolina governor who in 2009 was seen as a possible contender for the Republican nomination in 2012. So, what happened? He went to hike the Appalachian Trail. Here’s how conservative commentator and former adviser to George W. Bush Mark McKinnon synopsized that hiking trip in an article that just gets better and better as the years go by:

Mark Sanford unplugged. Literally. He decided to take a hike. And he told his security detail to take a hike as well.

Guy wanted some alone time in the woods to clear his head.

Here we have a guy in politics who actually likes to get OUT of the spotlight. How exceedingly normal.

But oh, no. Not normal at all. A man in his position has to be “troubled” or “hiding something” for taking a walk.

Judging from the thunderous sound of the reaction and squealing coverage you would think that Sanford went for a walk in Anbar Province, Iraq, and left the nuclear football in a mall somewhere in Pakistan.

Declare a state of emergency. Lock your doors. Hide your children. Find Al Haig and put him charge. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has let it be known that he cannot take this situation “lightly.”

Bauer called Sanford’s office and demanded an “immediate phone conversation with the governor,” and was shocked, shocked, to discover his chief of staff didn’t know where he was.

Well, apparently, Sanford has been out hiking the Appalachian Trail: A great place, according to the author and novice hiker Bill Bryson, for a walk in the woods. This is the sign of a healthy, sane individual. So, of course, when someone in politics does something normal, political partisans and the media elite think he’s crazy.

Mark Sanford literally likes to go his own way. Why do politicians have to be on a leash? Really, is South Carolina such a highly prized strategic asset that everyone has to freak out if the governor takes a hike for a few days? What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, as it turns out, the people who seemed to think it was weird that a governor would go out of his way to be completely untraceable for a few days were completely justified in their suspicions as “hiking the Appalachian Trail” quickly became a euphemism for having an affair.

Yeah, that's the guy
Yeah, that’s the guy

It’s worth remembering that the Mark Sanford Affair is truly unparalleled in the history of American politics. Obviously, there have been lots of affairs in the history of American politics. True! But those affairs were about sex. This one, this one was about love. This was not meeting some prostitutes in Connecticut and insisting that you continue to wear socks. No. Mark Sanford was the greatest love letter writer in American political history. Without further ado, here is the email documentation of the greatest love story in American political history between Mark Sanford and Argentinean reporter Maria Belén Chapur.  Because it makes me feel important, my comments will be in bold.
Continue reading Mark Sanford is Back! Let’s Re-Read His Amazing Love Letters

Everything You Need to Know About the 2012 World Series

There’s a lot that goes into winning a World Series, much of it having to do with baseball. Instead, let’s evaluate the other things that you need to know about America’s Team, the San Francisco Giants. The last time I did this, the Giants won the World Series, so obviously, I needed to do it again, only with more gifs this time (there are a lot of gifs).


The Tigers will send Justin Verlander, winner of last year’s AL Cy Young, and likely winner of this year’s award. Verlander has thrown up to 101 miles per hour this season and is currently dating Kate Upton. Barry Zito won a Cy Young ten years ago while playing for the Oakland Moneyballs, once dated Alyssa Milano and actually threw a 78 mile per hour fastball at one point this year. Here’s a graphic to make us all feel better about this:


Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About the 2012 World Series

2012 Vice Presidential Debate Predictions

Fresh off Obama losing the first debate so badly that he’s barely still president, Team Blue needs a jolt of energy. And who better to supply that jolt than Joltin’ Joe Biden? Well, probably someone else, but that’s who’s going to be doing the talking tonight, so deal with it. Meanwhile, Team Red counters with ill-fitting suit connoisseur Paul Ryan, who’s so devoted to budget austerity that he believes having your full name be over ten letters long is wasteful spending.

But who’s going to win? America! Joe Biden is one of those old timey Ted Kennedy Democrats who remind you, oh yeah, people in this party used to care about stuff like The Poor and enjoyed employing Shameless Populism, whereas Paul Ryan is a combination of Anton Chigurh and the Terminator, sent from the future to early 1980s Texas to kill all government programs because he’s certain that any growth in the federal government will lead to Skynet’s robots trampling our skulls.

So, um, who’s going to win? Time for a good ol’ fashioned breakdown.

Biden will win

  • Because Ryan will be exhausted from trying to run a marathon on a treadmill during the hour and a half debate “just to prove to you all that I can.”
  • When Ryan, after launching into a closing statement designed to show his empathy with common Americans, accidentally says the word “übermensch” four times
  • If he can nail Paul Ryan to his budget, whose severe cuts to Medicare and Social Security are wildly unpopular while defending Obama’s record as more successful than it is credited for.
  • When Paul Ryan walks right into his “losersayswhat” trap.
    Continue reading 2012 Vice Presidential Debate Predictions