Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

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The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part Two

July 9, 2010

In our previous guide we discovered, through the magic of the internet and several broad stereotypes, what various musical genres encompassed. Today it’s more of the same, only with different genre names and stereotypes. The elderly may or may not be abusing Bradypus variegatus. We’ll just have to wait and see. Mainly wait.

So, while the inevitable crawls slowly into view, let’s take a quick, informative look at a few other music genres and their corresponding fans.

It does. Like a motherfucker.

World Music
Any music not produced in the US, Canada or Western Europe, or by Caucasians in general. (For example: Krautrock – not World Music; Drunken gypsy chants – World Music.)

Despite its origins, World Music is mainly sold to white people (Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne) who then co-opt and repackage their watered-down version and sell it to other white people (Vampire Weekend).

Black Americans may recognize this modus operandi as being nearly identical to the repackaging of black rock and roll into friendly, white packages (Pat Boone, Elvis Presley, Fred Durst). The only difference at this point is that the new white purveyors are viewed as “enlightened” rather than as “thieving pricks.”

Fans: White people. White people who think they’re smarter than other white people. White people who think they’re smarter than all other people, regardless of race, which they don’t even think of the world in terms of, because that’s how damn “enlightened” they are. DJs/producers in search of royalty-free samples.

And my vinyl tits run...

Drum n Bass
A perverse offshoot of both hip hop and breakbeats in which the bassline and the drums are programmed by separate producers who are not allowed to contact each other at any time. This results in tracks consisting of a bowel-loosening bassline over which a drumbeat skitters along like cockroaches running from a light source.

Often accompanied live by an MC, or “toaster,” whose impromptu rhyming tends to flow along a melody only he can hear and consists mainly of invitations to dance more or show more enthusiasm, but in a broad Caribbean accent. Inexplicably popular.

Fans: People who have grown tired of “danceable” dance music. Drum n Bass producers/DJs. Radiation-proof insects. Reggae lovers with sizable speed habits.

The scene is nothing without the love. Or the reusable shopping bags.

Drill n Bass
Like Drum n Bass, only utilizing a drum programmer with no previous experience or mechanical aptitude. The bowel-loosening sub-bass remains, but the drumbeats now skitter along like roaches running out of a lit meth foiler.

Fans: People who think drum n bass is too “hummable.” Richard D. James fans. Richard D. James. Hardcore techno fans who are tired of keeping score.

Because it's just not a goth wedding without someone in a Hefty Cinch Sack.

Goth
One of the most maligned music genres, Goth was conceived during a wild three-way involving punk, art school and eyeliner. Blacker than punk but lighter than black metal, Goth gave misunderstood teens the world over a whole new way to be misunderstood.

Taking Henry Ford’s mantra of “any color as long as it’s black” to their bleeding hearts, Goths let their (black) freak flags fly, drawing the intense mockery of music critics, peers, teachers and parents. This of course makes the whole genre that much more “real,” despite it being 90% heavily-madeup artifice.

Fans: Misunderstood teens. Emo fans who don’t really understand genre boundaries. Mislabeled emo fans. Eyeliner manufacturers. People looking to shock the easily shocked. Anne Rice fans. People who greatly overestimate black’s “slimming” power. Cleopatra Record execs.

While Nordic Youth #1 struggles with righting his cross, Youth #2 decides to pick another church made from a more flammable material. Like childrens' sleepwear.

Black Metal
Black metal is a “darker than thou” form of metal, usually found in wintry Nordic countries with centuries of organized religion under their belts. It can often be a very demanding genre, in which you really haven’t “made it” as a band until you’ve had to disband the group, thanks to a majority of the members having committed suicide or facing murder charges.

Perhaps the only genre that can be entirely attributed to a Vitamin D deficiency.

Fans: Former metal fans disillusioned by the lack of dead/arrested musicians in regular metal. Un-murdered Nordic youth. That guy you thought was a harmless goth until he celebrated his latest church burning by killing you and having sex with your corpse. Satan.

Minimal producer Sidney Frost declares LP label to be "too busy;" asks for a 40% cyan reduction.

Minimal
A Germanic-influenced brand of techno deployed by producers with a shortage of equipment/plugins. Has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, perhaps as a backlash to the overblown sounds of trance, or more likely, as a result of there being a very high DJ/fan ratio, which leaves few bedroom producers with the steady income needed to purchase more equipment/plugins.

Or maybe it’s just some sort of Germanic thing, (see also: Krautrock.) in which another genre (in this case, techno) is disassembled and reassembled incorrectly, leaving several “extra” pieces, which are discarded in Germany’s quest to remain both misunderstood and brutally inept.

Fans: Techno fans tired of being asked to enjoy multiple sounds simultaneously. Chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” with “artistic integrity.” IDM fans who enjoy an occasional 4/4 beat. The staff at Pitchfork, which is mostly comprised of chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” for “artistic integrity.” Painters who believe the real action is the drying time. Satan.

Stay tuned for Part Three, which will explore Folk, Rap Metal, IDM and hopefully, many others.

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part One

July 8, 2010

As you all are very well aware, I’ve subjected you to a weekly Heavy Rotation, spotlighting various bands and musicians of all persuasions. As I’ve rattled along at great length, I have no doubt deployed several musical terms in an attempt to define a sound by obscuring it with meaningless words. 

The following is a guide to the many genres currently polluting our overly defined musical sphere. It is hoped that this information will help you understand what is meant when I (or someone like me, like Pitchfork — especially Pitchfork) uses an insufficiently descriptive term like “minimal” or “slowcore.” 

"I'd like to accept this round of applause on behalf of the many, many more band members who were unable to fit into the panoramic shot..."

Post-Rock
Reserved for all bands who use rock instruments (guitar, bass, drums) but eschew verse-chorus-verse song structures for sprawling, unfocused epics. Vocals are often optional. Could just as easily been called Prog Rock, thus horrifying proponents of these two “disparate” genres. 

Fans: Chin-strokers who have outgrown the need to enjoy music on any level. Any leftover multi-instrumentalists who somehow failed to be invited to the thirty-person collective currently overrunning the stage. Marillion fans who wish to cast themselves as something other than a cheap punchline. 

Punk = no tux. Post-punk = tux.

Post-Punk
Like Post-Rock, but performed by bands who never properly learned to play their instruments. 

Fans: Gainfully-employed former punks. Art school grads. Gainfully employed art school grads. [Ed. Does not exist.] 

Witness the awkward glory that is a full-on tweecore gig.

Tweecore
Oxymoronically aggressively passive form of ultra-lightweight music, relegated to rainbow-colored EPs and Cassingles. Live performances tend to consist of band members huddling in the far corner of the venue and giggling nervously while staring deeply into each others’ eyes. 

While this performance would be graciously called “underwhelming” by normal people, its fans are usually huddled in the opposite corner staring into each others’ eyes while giggling nervously. A tweecore gig is usually breathlessly described (in very hushed tones) as being like that time when they “almost got kissed.” 

Fans: Indeterminate, as lack of spine tends to preclude the forming of any strong opinions or positive declarations. Gentle woodland creatures with anime eyes

Note: this video is running at 30 FPS.

Slowcore 
Hardcore music so glacially paced that band members are often able to work on their side projects (often of another “-core” variety) between downbeats/chord changes. Generally avoided by promoters due to the fact that soundcheck alone can run an entire night. Often described as being like “old people fucking a sloth.” 

Fans: People who find the Melvins’ hectic pacing “a bit much.” Multi-taskers. Quaalude enthusiasts

Take these gentlemen very seriously indeed, for they are well-aware of the score.

Hardcore 
One of the few genres to cross over successfully, covering a harsher, faster brand of both rock and techno. Albums and live performances tend to contain various self-affirming statements such as, “Only for the Hardcore,” “Strictly for the Hardcore,” and “Hardcore, You Know the Score.” 

These pat-yourself-on-the-back statements add a veneer of exclusivity to yet another generic mosh pit/rave, whose attendees like to spend their post-conversion downtime being preached to. 

Fans: People with self-esteem issues. Scorekeepers. Porn fans moving on from the training wheels of Cinemax

Pioneering shoegazers My Bloody Valentine exhibit their pioneering 60-degree head tilt.

Shoegazer 
Named after its proponents’ tendency to avoid eye contact with their fans and gaze on their footwear instead, which everyone thought was delightfully introverted until it was discovered that all the downcast looks were the byproduct of drug-addled guitarists attempting to negotiate their maze of effects pedals. 

With this misconception firmly in their grasp, the shoegaze scene cranked out album after album of delightfully introverted (and misunderstood) music, eventually trademarking the term “ethereal.” Of course, the music was too good (and too introverted) to last, and the scene was soon steamrolled by the heavily forested sounds of grunge, whose proponents weren’t nearly as distracted, thanks to their limited supply of pedals/imagination. 

Fans: Delightfully introverted (and misunderstood) wallflowers. Fans of the word “ethereal.” Other shoegazer bands. This guy

Hawkwind completely encapsulates every aspect of space rock in one unfathomable album cover.

Space Rock 
Like Prog Rock/Post-Rock, only with more heroin. While a prog band might allow its lead guitarist to run off an occasional 12-minute self-indulgent solo, a space rock band* will allow its lead guitarist to run off a 12-minute self-indulgent exploration of a single chord. This, of course, assumes that the guitarist in question is not currently lying in a pool of his own vomit. 

*Unless this band is Hawkwind, in which case everyone is allowed to run off a 12-minute self-indulgent solo, especially the flautist

Fans: Heroin users. Single-chord enthusiasts. Heroin dealers. Acid casualties coming down from a 2001 binge. That guy who was “This guy” in the last section.

Yet another example of uncontained German exuberance.

Krautrock 
Of all the things Germany does well (auto manufacturing, intense nationalistic fervor), “rock” is something it does not. Most of the Western world would define “rock” as the product of a guitar/bass/drum/vox combo, fronted by an immaculately coiffed lead singer. 

The Germans, however, view “rock” as the product of immaculately coiffed and emotionless mannequins playing outdated electronics in front of a beige backdrop. And, while most rock tracks have a distinct beginning, middle and end, Krautrock tracks tend to consist entirely of “middle,” often for 10+ minutes at a time. 

Fans: Metronome enthusiasts (see also: Minimal). Germans. Bands looking for unverifiable “influences.”

That wraps up Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2, which deals with Goth, World Music, Minimal Techno and various other redundant terminology.

-CLT

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I Survived! – True Stories of Human Survival Vol. 4

June 30, 2010

Of all the harrowing stories of survival, the fact that this series lives on is the harrowingest. I’d have put money on May 21st being the last gasp of this particular concept, but I’ve proved everyone wrong (including me) with this: Volume 4!

Perfectly related (and non-randomly generated) links:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

Might as well stay in that position, buddy, because you are fucked...

Alan Cooper
It had been years since Alan Cooper had been spelunking, but rather than ease back in slowly he had plunged back into it with the reckless audacity of a twice-laid teen. Now several “rooms” deep into the cavern, Alan felt a twinge of regret for his foolhardy enthusiasm which, when coupled with the twinge of various pinched nerves, combined to immobilize him psychically.

It helped (or hurt) that he was also immobilized physically. With mind and body trapped in the same rock-strewn pinch point, he was free (figuratively) to consider his options and curse loudly at the small number which could be bothered to show up.

After several minutes of quiet contemplation, occasionally interrupted by loud, echoing, pointless cursing, Alan had narrowed his choices down to the following.

  • Construct some sort of time machine/matter transporter from his flashlight and remaining Nutrigrain bars.
  • Pray fervently, rotating deities every 5-7 minutes until saved.
  • Stay still and hope that the pinch point would erode faster than his confidence/battery supply.
  • Panic (accompanied by screaming, if needed).
  • Change “saved” to “rescued” in order to be completely removed from the cave, rather than just accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
  • Continue moving incrementally forward and backward until freed.

Fearing a split timeline might result in an even more horrific fate and fearing that erosion could take up to and including millions of years, Alan decided to combine the remaining options.

Rocking himself back and forth while screaming for help in the direction of whatever deities/humans might be in the vicinity, Alan slowly began to work himself free. He had now gained nearly a half-foot, but was, unfortunately, heading deeper into the cave. Reasoning unreasonably that there was “probably another exit,” Alan headed forward into the abyss and backwards in relation to the exit/entrance.

After several hours of exploration, Alan found himself pinched in what he believed to be the same pinch point. In reality, however, he was nearly a half-mile further into the cave. Still holding out hope that he was near the exit, he pushed on, fully believing that he now would live to regret his series of mistakes.

Four hours later and still no closer to freedom, Alan began to believe that he would live to regret this, but that all the remaining living would be carried out in the underlit and circuitous cave. As he lay in the dark, pointlessly speculating as to who would or wouldn’t attend his upcoming funeral, his on-and-off screams/prayers were answered by a passing tour guide and his attendant tour, who had entered the cave via the clearly marked and well-lit entrance less than 200 yards away.

As he was led to safety (now less than 500 feet away), he was questioned about unmapped lower rooms of the cavern. Unfortunately, his answers of “It’s almost fully mapped?” and “Well, it was very dark…” failed to enlighten the tour staff, who expressed their annoyance by revoking his Parks and Recreation membership and recommended he stay at least 500 feet away from any unattended holes.

Realizing your belaying line is no longer attached to anything may cause sudden loss of bowel control.

Steve Pearson
Attempting to negotiate a tricky cliff side trail, Steve loses his footing and tumbles nearly 300 feet to the forest floor below. While a fall of this distance is normally fatal, Steve is lucky. Rather than landing on the packed dirt and pointy rocks below, his fall is broken by a pack of mountain lions feasting on the corpse of a fallen hiker.

The feral cats quickly show their annoyance at the unexpected intrusion by ripping into Steve with their razor-sharp teeth, claws and sarcasm. When the brutal attack is over, Steve lays for a while in the surrounding pine needles and attempts to regain his strength. He’s in bad shape, losing copious amounts of blood and dignity at an alarming rate.

After several minutes, Steve rises slowly to his feet, embracing his recently questioned sexuality and heads toward the river. He gently bathes his flowing wounds in the water while attempting to smooth things over mentally with some light scarring. Concentrating intently on these two actions, Steve fails to notice a new and very distressing development.

The first is the fact that the stream, while appearing cool and clear, is steadily filling Steve’s bloodstream with a lively strain of e coli, thanks to an upstream dam constructed of wood, feces and animal corpses by a pack of rogue beavers. Even if he manages to stop the horrific bleeding, his internal organs have already been declared “Open Swim” by the new arrivals.

Secondly, Steve fails to notice the approach of a school of barracuda, drawn far from their normal habitat by the scent of fresh (and freshly tainted) blood. Of the two developments, this once proves to be the more immediately damaging.

Steve, suddenly brought to full consciousness by a series of sharp, biting pains, retrieves his arm from the river only to find it covered by hungry barracuda. His attempts to remove the fish only attracts the attention of the remaining school, who immediately leap for his remaining uncovered limbs. Steve turns and runs screaming through the forest, hampered by both an unimaginable amount of biting fish and his “stubby, little-girl legs.”

As he blindly charges through the underbrush, he encounters some bear traps, followed by some bear cubs and finally, the mother bear herself. Steve’s combined odor of fear, fish and less-than-normal amounts of testosterone triggers the bear’s killer instinct and she gives chase.

Steve begins running in a serpentine pattern, hoping to cut the bear’s number of “successfully landed mauling blows” in half. He reaches a clearing filled with environmental protesters, who mistake his collection of fish and the pursuing bear for some sort of half-assed poaching attempt.

The protesters interrupt their ritual drum circle long enough to hurl invective and badly written signs at Steve, questioning his selfish motives and sexual proclivities. The bear however, after spotting the protesters, turns back into the woods before its fur coat can be splattered with red paint.

Steve continues, pushing past the milling hippies, brandishing angry fish and loudly declaring his virility. He plunges through the underbrush, bleeding heavily and swearing at the remaining fish, who greet his rising anger with continued biting.

A short sprint later and Steve emerges on a gravel road. Seconds later, he is knocked to the ground by angry loggers who mistake his fish-riddled limbs as some sort of “tree-hugging nature intervention.” At this point, Steve passes out. He is revived moments later by the commencement of another swift beating and some not-very-heavily-veiled death threats.

Finally, an attending state trooper decides that Steve has “learned his lesson” and gives Steve a ride to the nearest hospital, lecturing him the entire way on the macroeconomics of the logging industry.

-CLT

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Time/Life Books’ Amateur Handyman Series: Vol. 3

June 25, 2010
[You know what people say they “just love” about Fancy Plans and Pants to Match? The lack of new content. I’m sure they say that, like, all the time. Here’s one from the archives in lieu of one from the forebrain: originally posted on September 10, 2009. Sorry about all the dust…]

This latest edition in the Time/Life Amateur Handyman Series is Birdhouses & Shit: Hundreds of Ways to Waste Your Children’s Summer Vacation and Make the Best Use of Your Inadequate Tool Selection. This selection features the expertise of Paul Macguire, a finish carpenter with over 40 years experience, last seen teaching shop at Devry. Despite feeling “incredibly over-qualified,” Paul’s expert skill and surly manner promise to be a potent combination that will have you up and running in no time.

Previous volumes can be found here: The Time/Life Archives

Keep dreaming, rookie. Yours is going to look nothing like this.

Keep dreaming, rookie. Yours is going to look nothing like this.

Project #1 – Birdhouse

Let’s get started. A birdhouse, huh? Well, why not.

Don’t kid yourselves. No bird will ever get within 50 feet of this thing. They build their own. If, by some odd chance, some lazy bird stumbles into this thing, he’ll soon be having his ass handed to him by the nearest blue jay, nature’s homeowner’s association president. That, or you’ll spend your free time evicting squirrel after squirrel. Your choice.

First, the “joy” of building it, followed by the tedious micromanagement of being the landlord for the world’s smallest, stupidest and whiniest tenants.

What You’ll Need

  • Pine or Cedar Board (Overall dimensions: 12″x36″x1/4″)
  • Saw (table or hand) – Note: this was not an instruction, Nimrod. Please stop sawing your table or hand.
  • 1/2″ Nails
  • Hammer
  • Wood Glue
  • Sander (belt or hand) – Note: That’s a pretty tender spot for an abrasion. Let’s do this like a game of “Simon Says,” since you clearly need some indication as to when you can jump in and start things up.
  • Paint/Varnish (Optional: But if you really dig that “unfinished” look so much, why don’t you just lean the uncut board against the tree and save us all the trouble?)

Step 1:
Provided you haven’t already disfigured yourself with the saw/sander, go ahead and cut out four pieces matching these dimensions:

  • (2) 8″ x 6″ (front/back)
  • (2) 8″ x 6-1/8″ (side)
  • (1) 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ (base)

Remember the old adage: “Measure twice, cut yourself.” Let’s be careful with thumb placement, people. You’ll want those opposable thumbs for holding up the “Will Work for Food” sign. I notice it’s not listed, but unless you’re some sort of dimensional Rainman, you’ll probably want a tape measure or ruler.

Once you have the pieces you need, lay them out in two stacks and the smallest piece separately. Notice that the two stacks should only have 1/8″ difference. If you notice a larger variation then all you really have is some wood to toss in the dumpster or hammer over very small windows during hurricane season.

Uh huh. Well, let’s try it again, only right. 1/8″ is roughly about the size of my patience.

OK, now that we presumably have the correct pieces, let’s continue. Pick up one side piece and the base. Apply a thin line of wood glue to one side of the “side” piece. Not that side. No, really. Go ahead and stick it on there.

Awesome. Now, I’m no rocket surgeon but 8″ is way more than 6-1/2″. I’m sure the birds will love the offset funhouse you’re trying to build, but maybe you could do a little thinking on your own. Put your hands down. I’ll talk. You listen. Any other combination is turning this project into a complete abortion.

Just wipe off the wood glue and try again. It’s not like it’s Wacky Glue or Crazy Glue or JB Weld or anything that actually adheres something to something else. The glue will wipe right off. You’ll notice this effect soon enough. Like when your side wall piece falls right over because wood glue can’t hold shit.

You’ll have to either hold it until a bond develops (30-45 minutes, just like with your makeup-wearing son) or find something to prop it up with.

Even this one may be a bit of a stretch...

Even this one may be a bit of a stretch...

You know what works great for this? Going to the store and pulling a $10 out of your wallet. Bingo. A professionally made birdhouse, just like from the factory. It’s not like this is a deck or an addition to the house, where you could conceivably save some money by doing it yourself. You’re not saving any cash or aggravation by banging this out at home. Christ, it’s a fucking birdhouse.

OK. That side has finally set. Go ahead and repeat these steps for the other side.

Beautiful. The 8″ side again? Jesus. I ran a shop class for a truckload of amputees with OCD that went smoother than this. And that includes the dipshit that somehow nearly lathed himself to death after failing to stop the “crazy train” when he ran out of wood. Substitute teaching is always one catastrofuck after another. I swear, you turn your back for one minute and someone’s got the reciprocating saw halfway through their femur.

Alright. Assuming you now have all four sides on, let’s shore this up with a few nails. Grab your hammer.
That’s a screwdriver.
That’s your leftover wood.
That’s your screwdriver again.
Here’s a picture of what we’re looking for:

While you’re playing Scavenger Hunt with your only clue, let me just tell you what is wrong with the carpentry/shop class field. No. You will listen. No one has a sense of perspective. One reckless endangerment charge and suddenly you’re out of the sweet Devry gig and caged with a half-dozen other parolees cranking out How-To’s in the Time/Life paper mill.

Back to the birdhouse. You’ll need to put the nail pointy-side down and hit the flat side with your hammer or screwdriver or wood glue bottle for all I care.

Oops! That’s going to be tender for awhile. Swing carefully, you’ve got those always-in-harm’s way thumbs all over the place.

Wow. That’s going to be tender-to-useless for a long time. Take your time and aim for the nail.

Nice. That’s going to need some medical attention. The surprising amount of blood is a dead giveaway. Hey, bright side: at least you had the nail pointing the right way so you won’t have to entertain the ER with your Jesus impression.

Man. Another ER trip. This takes me back. I remember one of my first supervisor positions in construction. A simple translation error led to a misunderstanding with the Mexican migrant workers, who responded alarmingly quickly by beating me severely and making several cement-related threats. I think it was pay-related. Or a lack of payment. Something along those lines that was taken badly after I insinuated that they take the issue up with the Border Patrol. That and they kept mispronouncing my first name as “Puto.”

How’s your hand? It looks bad. I’m not going to lie to you. That sucks. I don’t think that you’re going to be making a sudden jump from manual labor to white collar pro anytime soon.

Bingo. There's your birdhouse, benchwarmer.

Bingo. There's your birdhouse, benchwarmer.

You seriously want to go on with this? I mean, I’ll drive you to the goddamn mall myself. It’s like 10 minutes away. We’ll pick up a birdhouse and some bird seed. Maybe some lunch. You should eat. You look a little pale.

No. I can drive. You’re maimed. Hold your hand out the window when we hit the parking lot. Just wave it around and I think we can score some handicapped parking.

No. I can drive. Just because my license is suspended doesn’t mean that I forgot how to drive.

Why do want to keep going? What are you trying to prove? That you can keep me sober for 6 hours in a row? Who the hell do you think you are? My sponsor?

Besides, your neighbors will start bitching about “line of sight” violations and there will be birdshit everywhere. Blue jays fucking with squirrels at all hours. The Homeowner’s Association will have your ass. They bitch about everything. “18 feet is too high for a privacy fence.” “You can’t arrange your Christmas lights into the shape of a penis.”

Chapter 2: Sweet Jesus and Mary Chain! A Picture Frame??!! Why in Holy Fuck Would You Not Go Buy One??!! The Dollar Stores Even Carry Them, for the Love of Godsmack!

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Volume 4

June 22, 2010

The march toward the end of the list continues! (Hmm. That sounded way more exciting before I typed it out…) If you’re just joining us, please fill out the “Getting to Know Me!” card, which is found in the Comment section. We’ll introduce ourselves after we conclude Volume 4 in The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films

See also:
Volume Three
Volume Two
Volume One 

Unfortunately, new fonts wouldn't be invented until 1942, forcing the producers to settle for "Hobo Circus."

21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Trifling road picture about a family’s ill-fated excursion to California, the land of dreams and cheap-ass labor. Hilarity ensues as Henry Fonda (playing against type as a well-rounded character) leads his family from misadventure to underpaying misadventure, including the inadvertent death of his grandfather, his grandmother’s dog and indeed, the grandmother herself. Directed by John Hughes, the whiter of the two Hughes brothers (directors of Menace II Society). 

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing in this film moves anywhere as fast as that shuttle drawing would indicate.

22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001 uses then-cutting edge technology to prove the old adage that “In space, no one bothers to write much dialog.” 

The first half of the film is an impeccably shot space travelogue. The second half finds the protagonists dealing with a sentient on-board computer whose unwavering belief that the mission be completed is of greater importance that actually leaving anyone alive to complete it. The third half presents an extended hallucination suffered/enjoyed by the main character as he dies and is reincarnated as some sort of orbiting, metaphoric space fetus. 

Presumably this ending would have been better explained if Kubrick hadn’t blown the entire budget on construction of a full-size, fully-functioning space station and insisting that every scene be shot on location just outside of Jupiter. Exceedingly long. 

Always ahead of his time, Bogie shows off his double-gun action, beating John Woo to the punch by nearly 45 years.

23. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Influential film noir, shot in noir and blanc and starring America’s most noir-ish actor, Humphrey Bogart. Based on a Dashiell Hammett novel, The Maltese Falcon follows the story of several small-time crooks who aim to name the valuable titular bird and the one drunken private dick tasked with getting to it first. Packed with incredible performances, fast-paced dialogue and inadequate lighting. 

Little known fact: Hammett originated the phrase “grinned wolfishly,” a descriptor that Bogie tries tirelessly to emulate by “sucking on his teeth,” which also originates with Hammett. Both phrases have been subsequently beaten to death by many authors since, most notably Clive Cussler and his nearly-sentient offspring, Dirk Cussler

"Insiders noted that De Niro looked 'puffy' and 'hand-shaded...'"

24. Raging Bull (1980)
Scorsese’s 1980’s masterpiece (which doesn’t look a day over 1950, thanks to a film mixup during development) follows the epic storyline of legendary boxer Bobby (Robert) De Niro (La Motta) whose brutal fighting style and even brutaller lifestyle saw him climb the heavyweight hierarchy while simultaneously hitting rock bottom (and his significant others). 

Remade four years earlier as Rocky, which featured a more populist slant, one that culminated with Rocky 4 in which Rocky beats up the Soviet Union. 

Eliott shows up the "magic" of static electricty to his new, and suddenly very scared, friend.

25. E.T. (1982)
Spielberg returns to space (or rather, space returns to earth) five years after his groundbreaking UFO flick Close Encounters of the Third Kind gave us all a much-needed sense of wonder, as well as something to do while playing with our food. 

E.T. follows the story of The Man Who Fell to Earth, except that the “man” is actually a diminutive alien with the voice of a 75-year-old chainsmoker rather than a wispy ambisexual singer. Much like most tourists, E.T. soon expresses a desire to return home, which he soon [SPOILER ALERT] does, but not before touching the lives of the kindly Tanner family via Reese’s Pieces product placement and various small miracles like levitating bicycles and turning guns into walkie-talkies. Goddard routinely cites this film as an influence. 

The military demonstrates the power of its repurposed "Release the Hounds" button.

26. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Kubrick again, this time taking a darkly serious script and turning it into an inadvertently funny film, thanks to his heavy-handed use of black and white film and a major miscasting of Peter Sellers as four different characters. 

A note to young filmmakers: when dealing with something as portentous as the end of the world, you are probably better off utilizing a style similar to Airport ’77 or anything Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) has directed. 

Notable for its Nazi scientist, frank discussions of bodily fluids and stock footage of A-bomb detonations. 

Beatty models his proto-Dick Tracy look while Dunaway laughs drunkenly.

27. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway set the gold standard for anti-heroes with this biopic. Still as visceral as it was back in the late ’60s, Bonnie and Clyde jumpstarted Beatty’s career, serving notice to Hollywood that this young actor would attempt to bang his female co-stars for years to come. 

Bonnie and Clyde also jumpstarted a new wave of moral panic for its portrayal of criminals as human beings, albeit highly romanticized human beings. The ensuing controversy briefly resurrected the Hays Code, which stipulated that the criminal character(s) must meet a “violent death shot at no less than 72 frames-per-second.” 

Starring Billy Zane as Billy Corgan! Featuring the disembodied head of Gregory Peck!

28. Apocalypse Now (1979)
The war flick to end all war flicks (mainly due to actor attrition and Coppola’s blowing of an entire decade’s worth of film budget), Apocalypse Now follows the story of a soldier tasked with hunting down and destroying Marlon Brando’s massive, bloated ego. As notable for its filming as it is for its epic deconstruction of the Vietnam War, it has nonetheless gained a loyal following that often finds it has four-hour chunks of time just lying around. 

A cultural phenomenon, Apocalypse Now revived “Ride of the Valkyries,” surfing while being shot at, overly-expositional narration and sent a generation of young readers straight into the open, boring arms of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Redefined “War Movie” and ‘Exceedingly long.” 

Alt. title: "Mr. Smith's House of Wax Busts."

29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
A Will Smith vehicle so utterly banal that it doesn’t even bother with giving his character a new surname (or even a first name) with which to justify his $20 million payday for “acting services rendered.” 

Features the extremely unlikely story of a black man being elected to public office, Mr. Smith exists mainly to showcase Capra’s mawkish “everyman” daydreams and unnatural affinity for black and white photography. Written by Babaloo Mandel. 

Bogie is the last to succumb to argyria, thanks to a lower amount of "silver lust."

30. Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Humphrey Bogart stars in this harrowing tale of gold and the damage done. Boldly showing the lengths that man will go to “strike it rich,” The Treasure of the Sierra Madre unflinchingly takes on man’s capacity for evil and the Mexicans lack of badges (and indeed, their inability to comprehend why anyone would need any badges). 

Hailed by uber-critic Rex Reed as a “paranoiac’s wet dream,” who goes on to say “Don’t touch my stuff.” Followed by a much-belated sequel National Treasure of the Sierra Madre 2

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to the World’s Greatest Restaurants

June 15, 2010

In our ongoing attempt to be all things to all people (like an ambidextrous hermaphrodite who moonlights as a notary public), we are thrilled beyond single-syllable words to present to you the latest in an apparently never-ending series of series: The Guide to the World’s Greatest Restaurants.

With this quick-start guide safely read and stowed away in the part of your memory that used to hold pertinent information, it won’t matter whether you’re a true “foodie” or just someone who ends up ordering “vanilla” when faced with the rigorous menu at Baskin-Robbins. Soon you’ll be able to force your way into conversations at cocktail parties and bore complete strangers with endless details, factoids and homemade felt infographics.

Under Ferran Adria's watchful eye, the chefs prepare the lunchtime "Pizza Buffett."

El Bulli (Roses, Catalonia, Spain)
While potential diners may land at any major airport in Spain, the final approach to Roses must be made by hang glider or hot air balloon so as not to spook Chef Ferran Adria’s homegrown livestock and produce.

Once inside this small town, those with reservations are escorted (by armed guards) via a serpentine path to El Bulli itself. The hoods are to remain on at all times in order to preserve El Bulli’s secret location. The armed escort serves two purposes: to keep wayward tourists on the right path and to fend off jealous locals who are always kicked to the bottom of the reservation list.

Once inside El Bulli, the atmosphere relaxes as diners enjoy some of the finest food in the world. This reverie is only interrupted by some gentle gun barrel prods and the occasional warning shot as the guards remind patrons of the 90-minute time limit and that tipping should exceed 20%.

Kids under 10 eat free!

Ramsay spots something he doesn't like in a random urine test.

Gordon Ramsay at the London (New York)
Diners at this two-Michelin-star restaurant are invited to mercilessly criticize both the food and the staff, thus allowing Chef Ramsay and his omnipresent camera crew to correct these minor issues through a combination of f-bombs and verbal abuse.

If your complaint is petty enough, you may be included in an upcoming episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Shouty Thing. Those new to the Ramsay experience should use the following list of sample complaints to “brush up” on their sense of entitlement:

  • “Rare” steak edging towards “Medium Rare” (or vice versa)
  • Signature dish only “mildly” transcendent
  • Presentation could use more “dots” and “swirlies”
  • Several misspellings on the shooting release form
  • Entrée not salty enough
  • Waiter failed to mention his unsold script
  • Needs more “hell’
  • Dish failed to utilize all available forks
  • Dressing down of staff seemed forced
  • I don’t know where your “bartender” got his or her degree in mixology, but… (trail off derisively)

Fish Fry Thursday Night – $8!

Iron Chef Chen expertly dices the Velveeta.

Kitchen Stadium (Japan)
Chairman Kaga’s Kitchen Stadium does not take reservations, so it is recommended you show up at least 8 hours prior to your possible “dining experience.” Keep in mind that only 3-6 individuals will be chosen as judges and allowed to eat, while the rest will be relegated to the position of “jealously famished onlooker.”

However, being a judge is such an amazing experience that your weeks or months of going hungry will pale in comparison. As you are entertained by Kaga’s off-color tales of sexual conquest and pepper biting, two world-class chefs (or Bobby Flay) will be running their collective hindquarters off in a hectic, sweaty attempt to curry favor with the judges, often with some form of curry.

Once the dishes are prepared, you’ll be given the opportunity to praise or pan each entry with a selection of non sequiturs, malapropisms and one-liners that refuse to cross cultures.

[Note: Be sure to visit the Japanese Kitchen Stadium as the American version has about as much charm and dignity as your local Denny’s, albeit one that traffics in sea bass sashimi and squid ink ice cream.]

当社のブランドをチェックアウト、新しいストロベリー-キウィ-ライムスムージー!

A splendid shot of one of the French Laundry's signature dishes, "Rabid Broccoli."

The French Laundry (Yountville, California)
A misnomer in more ways than one, The French Laundry is Thomas Keller’s bold attempt to turn the world on its stomach through his fearless and endless reinvention of the wheel, gastronomically-speaking. One never knows what to expect when dining at The French Laundry, as the multi-course meals will either come across as a subtle seduction of your palate or a punch right in your uneducated mouth, depending on Keller’s level of playful antagonism. Once thing is for sure: he will not make your whites whiter. (Also: no ticket, no laundry.)

Highly recommended by top chefs worldwide (but not any actual Top Chefs), and if you can’t trust someone who only cooks in front of a camera crew when not signing books or fielding questions at press junkets, who can you trust?

Add Curly Fries to any meal – 99c!

-CLT

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The History of Media: Visual Arts Edition Vol. 3

June 8, 2010
[After what seems like forever, but has only actually been a month, The History of Media is back with the conclusion of yet another cliffhanger (the dreaded ellipsis) and will most likely end in yet another ellipsis. If you’re just joining us, be sure and check out Volumes One and Two, which had blazed a bloody, but dignified, trail up to this point.]

The VCR's patented "dust collection" technology allowed it to look outdated several years before its time.

Post-Ellipsis
The movie industry, flush with success, strutted away from the battle that never was, having fended off its new drinking buddy, television. Up to its collective ears in record-breaking movie receipts, the film industry (yet again) kicked back on its gold-plated laurels and lazily watched the money roll in.

The cinema was enjoying a new Golden Age, ushered in by the advent of the multiplex, the still-viable drive-in industry and some of the finest movie making ever, in the form of Airport, Airport ’75, Airport ’77 and Airport ’79: New Moon.

But as was foretold by the harrowing ellipsis at the end of the last volume, a new enemy would rise (mostly from the East). This new invention would kill the film industry harder that it had ever been killed before.

The first commercial VCR came bundled with six technicians, each assigned a button.

The VCR
Japanese electronics company JVC kicked Old Man Movie right in the throat with their VHS (Video Home System) player that promised a new era of TV and movie-dependent independence. Now people could watch television and movies in the comfort of their own home, on their own schedules.

No more standing in line at the box office or endless waiting for their favorite programs to hit syndication. The public was now in command of its mostly pre-recorded destiny, leading to skyrocketing VCR sales and not much change at all in box office receipts.

Quite obviously, home taping was once again killing an industry.

An apoplectic Jack Valenti (representing the MPAA) stormed a listless Congress, demanding that they get off their overstuffed asses and do something, goddammit. During his Oscar-worthy performance, Valenti compared the theoretical damage done by home taping to a combination of the Holocaust, My Lai Massacre and that time when he got beat up in grade school.

The television industry fought back as well, claiming that the public had no right to watch their favorite shows and movies, whenever and wherever the hell they wanted to. “What of our precious and highly annoying advertising?” they whined. “They’ll be able to skip past it, thus rendering our efforts useless. Not to mention blockbuster lineups like ‘Must See Thursday,’ which will now become ‘Can See Whenever the Hell We Want.'”

"While you were out, the VCR secretly replaced your memories with tangled masses of worthless magnetic tape."

The Positive Negatives of the VCR Invasion
However the film and TV industries greatly overestimated the public’s willingness and ability to program their VCRs, meaning that most viewing was still prerecorded movies or “live” TV. In fact, the general inscrutability of the VCR usually meant that it was regarded as a minor household diety whose mood swings and impenetrable manual were tolerated in exchange for nearly “on-demand” viewing.

Much like any diety, the VCR would periodically demand a sacrifice, devouring random tapes like “Child’s First Birthday” (priceless) or a New Release rental from Blockbuster (considerably more expensive).

Not only that but the VCR’s entropic delivery system caused videotapes to degrade steadily in a short period of time, soon reducing the act of watching an “old favorite” to a tedious bout of dicking around with tracking in a futile attempt to make the movie look like something other than scrambled Cinemax porn featuring dialogue recorded underwater.

Steve got directions to the adult bookstore, only to find he was already there...

“Boon:” Not Really a Dirty Word
Not every industry felt threatened, however. The new videotape proved to be a boon for the porn industry which was thrilled to have another delivery system. Porn theater staffers were thrilled to see their semen cleanup time drop by over 50%. Porn aficionados were thrilled to be able to “privatize” their perversions, without fear of being accosted by women’s right groups, soft news journalists or the Sarasota, FL Sheriff’s Department.

In other news, the trench coat manufacturers fought this turn of events with “Home Masturbation is Killing the Coat Industry” pickets. This movement never coalesced, mainly due to the fact that few people were willing to wear t-shirts or hoist signs with the word “masturbation” prominently featured.

Horrors! Who will gouge me for ancient "New Releases" and late fees now?

As the years went on and prices dropped, the movie industry began to embrace this “threat” as a powerful ally in its constant struggle to make even more money. They were delighted to discover that the public was more than willing to purchase something they had most likely already paid to watch in a theater. They were made positively giddy with the realization that the public would buy the same movie twice, provided one version was slapped with a “Special Edition” label and contained a cursory 5-minute “Making Of” featurette cobbled together from second unit footage and “found sound” recordings.

Movie rental businesses were thrilled as well, what with suddenly having a reason to exist and the opportunity to charge $3.99/night for a tapes that had been on the New Release wall for nearly half a decade.

Coming up next:
A veritable rogue’s gallery of industry killers, each more diabolical than the last.

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Of Pipes, Trilbys and Events That Never Happened

June 1, 2010

This guy looks familiar as all hell...

Announcing the blog debut of the best-kept worst-kept “secret” in this corner of blogland: Clifton L. Tanager, unreliable narrator.

Extensive thanks are in order for Don Mills, without whom this personality would not exist. Several months ago Don asked me to write a piece for his blog, The Problem with Young People Today Is… Unfortunately, due to circumstances both seemingly fortuitous and mostly out of his control, this piece never saw the light of day. Although he never made his official published debut, Clifton soldiered on as a rambling commenter on various blogs.

(I’ve selected a few favorites below if you’re unfamiliar with his disturbing and dislocated monologues. All links will open in a new window.)

More articulate, meandering and deliberate than my usual self, the other “CLT” tends to steer clear of musical advice, expletives and very little else. For every “fuck” that is unspoken, a horrifying story of wartime venereal disease rises in its place. For every up-to-the-minute band that goes undiscussed, another soul-crushing workplace anecdote is recounted.

Available now in blog form, Clifton L. Tanager will be giving you a weekly dosage of advice you don’t need and answers you didn’t ask for, only at:

Unsolicited Advice

-CLT

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Fancy Plans… Guide to North American Trees

May 28, 2010
[In the interest of buying myself some time, I’m dragging an old post out of the archives and into the harsh glare of nearly a year’s worth of hindsight. This one dates back to 06/25/09 and features the short, punchy stylings of a blogger in his prime. You’ll notice I run a lot longer now…]

In the interest of bettering our fellow bloggers, we provide this handy guide to the trees of North America. While this can generally be a tedious and forgettable subject, we hope that, when all is read and done, you’ll walk away with at least one more fact to add to your collection of useless knowledge. Prepare to be taught at!

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

Weeping Willow
Easily the most “emo” of all North American trees, the weeping willow spends its lifetime sullenly hunched over, bitterly complaining about anything and everything.* It can often be found sulking morosely in the darker corners of your yard.

  • *Wind – Fine. I’m waving. Crawl out of my ass. Jesus.
  • Calm – A breeze would be nice.
  • Rain – This is how I feel inside. All the time.
  • Not Raining – Nobody understands me. Not even the weather.
  • Snow – Why can’t we live somewhere warmer?
  • Heat – This fucking figures.

Natural Enemies: Sunny, temperate days; the laughter of children

Given local wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Depending on wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Maple
Widely acknowledged as Canada’s only export, the maple is known for its appearance on national flags and its ruthlessly efficient seed distribution system, which is regarded by many top scientists as a “miracle.”

DaVinci’s early model for a flying machine (known today as the “autogyro”) was based on the corkscrewing flight pattern of the maple seed. The U.S. military took this to its logical conclusion in Vietnam, using their autogyros to scatter “leaflets” over the irritated population, who grumbled and told their kids to get outside and rake the yard. (“Watch out for the punji pits and anti-personnel mines. I don’t want to have to clean up two messes today.”)

Natural enemies: Rakes; currency exchange rates

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Oak
A hulking metaphor of a tree, the oak tree is prized for its bold statement that even the smallest of us can grow up to do great things, like win the heavyweight championship of the world, or take out a neighbor’s water lines.

While it tends to do better in wide open areas, it can usually be found in groupings of smaller trees, rubbing its towering new look in the faces of its former classmates, who teased it mercilessly during its formative years.

Natural enemies: Squirrels; small claims court

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

Aspen
The most sensitive of all North American trees, the aspen is known for it “quaking” and “shivering” at the slightest breeze, while gusts in the 30-40 mph range will cause it to break down in full-blown tears. Recent scientific studies have theorized that the tree may actually be the most easily aroused of all plants, its quaking due to an incredibly easily achieved orgasm.

Either way, aspen owners should keep their distance, as it becomes emotionally attached at the slightest provocation, leading to late night surprise visits and drunk-dialing.

Natural enemies: Woodpeckers; frat boys

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

California Redwood
Although native to California, the redwood has begun to creep up the coastline into Oregon and Washington, prompting locals to bitch endlessly about these intruders. These diatribes, usually delivered from atop a bicycle or light-rail car, are usually disregarded by tourists and redwoods alike.

The looming threat of California’s bankruptcy should only increase the redwood exodus, providing the Pacific Northwest with novelty tree “tunnels” and yet another goddamn reason for tourists to visit. There is some speculation (as yet unproven) that the trees are only looking for cheaper real estate/heroin.

Natural enemies: Oregonians; tainted needles

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Cedar
The Swiss Army knife of trees, the cedar has been used to create everything from moderately priced furniture to bedding for pet rodents. Due to its versatility and distinctive smell, the noble cedar has excelled in many areas during the last several years (listed below).

  • Intramural volleyball team captain
  • District co-champion, debate team
  • Co-signer on Aaron Nussbaum’s auto loan
  • President of the Sierra Club (1984, 1996)
  • Personal assistant to Blythe Danner, Phillip Michael Thomas
  • Toothpick of the year (1997)
  • U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • Recipient – Don Mills Clean Living Award (2009)
  • Best Smile – Paloma County High School (Junior Year)

Natural Enemies: Cheerleader cliques; asthmatics

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Pine
Perhaps best known for its involvement in the George Brett pine tar scandal (as well as its role as an “enabler” in several lesser incidents), the pine has cleaned up its reputation to become a well-known Christmas icon, on par with Santa Claus and his son, Jesus Christ.

Also well-known to homeowners and other Christmas celebrants as “nature’s litterbug,” the pine cannot help but shed needles and cones every-fucking-where constantly. Years of domestication have failed to housebreak the tree, as its shedding reaches a peak when kept indoors. “Evergreen,” my ass.

Natural enemies: Umpires; Jehovah’s Witnesses

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

Family
Ranging in size from a full-blown leviathan (Utah) to barely more than a misshapen stump with a few rare branches (Arkansas, West Virginia), this decidedly North American institution is prized for its collection of interminable slideshows and long, boring stories.

While it continues to grow all year round, it reaches its peak during the summer reunion months.

Natural enemies: Attractive cousins; Planned Parenthood

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Vol. 1

May 26, 2010

Following up on Fundamental Jelly’s dare from a few weeks back, it’s the first volume of our guide to the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American films. In this volume we take on the top 5 movies of all time, with an eye on quick readability and some general laziness on my part. Enjoy!

Welles' larger-than-life portrayal of Kane was made simpler by his being four times the size of the rest of the cast.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
The movie against which all other movies are measured. Features a twist ending in which William Randolph Hearst tortures Charles Foster Kane to give up the location of the Rosebuds, a husband-and-wife team of Communist co-conspirators. They are then burned in front of Kane to prove a point. Followed by a sequel, The Third Man. (See also #57, possibly months from now…)

A Berkeley film class re-edit relegates Bogart's role to a cameo. A cameo of supportiveness.

2. Casablanca (1942)
Loosely translated as “White House,” this bilingual romance classic still remains an all-time favorite thanks to the iconic performances of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. To wit:

“Cuando la preocupación en cuenta la forma final al comer también Rick causa estado simple pianoman, especialmente por la noche esquina programa de Nazis difíciles del día la muerte el Thundercats. Ofrecen objetivo elección enlace a veces de llegar públicos básicos murderkill del paso central por el bolsillo, porque la adhesión recta muy thoughtcrime cadena de tratar se sitúan el movimiento pequeño regalo por su vestibule. La introducción circunstancia se makout session con la influencia Rick James necesita saltar los ojos del techo de búsqueda principal deseo enseñar Superfreak de nuevo paquete de clave de bienestar recoger mar diputado kilo of cocaine.”

The Godfather strongly hints that you would be happier with a different long-distance carrier.

3. The Godfather (1972)
The prequel to the best gangster flick of all time (Casino), The Godfather is a true Italian classic, beloved by millions for its stereotypical depictions and large amount of scenery-chewing. Features brilliantly murky cinematography, a surprisingly poignant rape scene and some of Ray Harryhausen’s finest stop-motion animation. (Especially evident during Sonny’s [James Caan] ill-fated tollbooth stop on Monster Island.)

Francis Ford Coppola proved to be an “actor’s director,” coaxing brilliant performances out of otherwise unremarkable thespians as Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Abe Vigoda. Unfortunately, Brando’s ridiculous demands for “more pastries” resulted in his character being written out of the script via an orange-related mishap. Exceedingly long.

Rhett Butler seals his "cad" reputation by briefly setting Scarlett O'Hara's hairdo on fire.

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Praised for its gorgeous hand painted photography and long line of collector’s plates, Gone with the Wind tells the age-old story of an ill-fated romance between a bitch and an asshole.

What sets this masterpiece apart from comparable films such as You’ve Got Mail and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is its sweeping vistas and Civil War backdrop, the latter of which aids the thin analogies that “love is a battlefield” and “ill-fated romances are the equivalent of Sherman’s March to the Sea, only in our hearts.”

Notable for its reckless use of color, colorful language and an actual colored person in a non-singing, non-dancing role. Exceedingly long.

With the invention of aviator glasses still several years off, some privileged gentlemen battle the sun's intense rays with Lasik eye removal.

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The purportedly true story of D.W. “Lawrence” Griffith, a swashbuckling director/racist whose love of colonialism was unbridled, much like a majority of the horses in this film. A grand epic in the tradition of Gone with the Wind and Epic Movie, Lawrence of Arabia utilizes its breathtaking locations and romanticized portrayal of the main character to distract viewers from the fact that they’re leaking free time all over the place while watching it. Exceedingly long.

(A note to viewers following along at home: AFI apparently tabulates their ratings via a voting system that rewards exceedingly long films. [Known as QPM, or Quality Per Minute, to insiders.])

-CLT