The Best Teases of 2013 – My favorite Movie Trailers for Films Released this past Year

As a movie lover/obsessor/collector, if there’s one thing that I love it’s those ten minutes before watching a movie in theaters where you’re tantalizingly teased about films that you’re highly anticipating to see. When I was a teenager, I remember that throughout 2008 I had most of the previews memorized and in what order they came in, with Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Terminator Salvation, Star Trek, and Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen being the highlights. Studios spend millions of dollars on trailers to give viewers sneak peeks, and to entice those that aren’t ready to throw our money and firstborn to the producers. A well put together trailer can do wonders for a film, as you can either sit there and laugh/troll the trailer, or look to your friends and say “that looks good, let’s go see that”. For obvious reasons, the latter is the desired effect. So, I’ve decided to compile some of what I thought were the best trailers of the year with short descriptions based on my thoughts about the movie and trailer.

#5. Iron Man 3

If there’s one thing I despise, it’s deceiving trailers. I understand that Marvel and idiot director Shane Black didn’t want to spoil the plot twists in the movie, but boy did this trailer make the movie look awesome. The great line “I offer you a choice. Do you want an empty life, or a meaningful death?” wasn’t even uttered in the film because the “Mandarin” wasn’t even the “Mandarin”. I really just want to live in this trailer.

#4 The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

This is another deceiving trailer. Jackson teased everybody beautifully with this, the fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, fans of An Unexpected Journey, and fans of the novel series. Then, he created his own egotistical tale and ran away laughing with everybody’s money. Jerk.

#3 The Wolf of Wall Street

I confess, I have not yet seen this movie. But, from what people have told me and from what I’ve read, this trailer is spot on. All the excess, partying, and ridiculousness that comes along with the Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey led movie is portrayed in a great fashion in this trailer. Also, as Thurston pointed out in his top 10 tracks of 2013, who doesn’t love Kanye West’s epic romp, Black Skinhead?

#2 Man of Steel Teaser Trailer

This trailer really divided people, because they felt like it was too short and didn’t really offer much insight into the film. But, Zack Snyder and his production team knew exactly what they were doing when they borrowed the music in the trailer. There are very few soundtrack pieces that are better than the latter part of The Fellowship of the Ring‘s track “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum”. The Gandalf the Grey death music is simply perfect.

#1 The Great Gatsby

I was a bit disappointed with this movie, as I thought it couldn’t make up its mind as to what it wanted to be. I still enjoyed it enough in theaters and later added it to my collection, but it wasn’t all that this trailer summed it up to be. Featuring Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, and revealing Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”, this tease is a work of art, and beyond a doubt the best trailer for any movie that was released in the year past.


Top 10 Tracks of 2013

2013 was a crazy year for music, as many musical artists defied typical convention within their music and the marketing of their music. Jay-Z released an album onto a cell phone, Beyonce released an album without any promotion, and countless artists leaked their own album as an attack at the label they were signed to.  There was a lot of quality music to choose from in 2013, but I managed to find 10 of my favorites, listed here in no particular order.

1)  Phoenix – “Bourgeois”

This is my favorite “arena-rock” style song of the year. The kind of song that sounds best while being blasted loudly in front of a large crowd on a summer night.

2) Local Natives -“Colombia

I had heard a lot of Local Natives songs I liked before, but none of them quite clicked like this one did. It’s haunting, but also distinctly powerful and beautiful.

3) Ellery James Roberts – “Kerou’s Lament

This song immediately sucked me in from the first time I heard it. Its the kind of song that’s either loved or hated, but the songs ambition and passion cannot be argued.

4) Lana Del Rey – “Young and Beautiful

Pretty sure this song will go down as a classic.

5) Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”

Vampire Weekend’s album, Modern Vampires of the City, was my favorite album of the year. Picking a favorite song was difficult, but “Diane Young”  never fails to get me to sing along to it.

6) Pusha-T – Numbers on the Boards”  (Explicit)

This song was my favorite hip-hop song of the year. Its dark and aggressive, but also funky and smooth. The main character is simultaneously arrogant, paranoid, insecure, and confident, if that’s even possible.

7) Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn

One of my favorite sample-based songs of the year. Fans of the Avalanches will feel quite at home here.

8) Daft Punk – “Touch

It bobs and weaves, ebbs and flows, gets loud, then gets quiet, and simply goes where no Daft Punk song has ever gone before.

9) FKA Twigs – “Water Me

This song gets pretty full-on weird, but also full-on awesome.

10) Kanye West – “Black Skinhead” (Explicit)

Sits somewhere between rock and hip-hop, and was on the of the most bombastic, loud, and crazy songs of 2013.


My Five Favorite Famous Songs

Unlike my cowriter Thurston Howell, I do not pride myself in being a hipster enough music geek to know and be a fan of the wide range of underground rap, funk, and indie music that he is so often prone to listen to. Although there are some under the radar songs that I will listen to from time to time, for the most part you will find my iPod or music library filled with albums and artists that the a-little-more-than-casual music listener will recognize. As such, I have decided to post five of my favorite songs that you definitely should know about.

5. Flashing Lights – Kanye West Feat. Dwele

(Caution, mild lyrics)

A lot of people do not like Kanye West because of his media persona of being an entitled jerk (or at least that’s the role he plays). That being said, those people probably do not listen to his music for that reason, and are blinded by their own false opinions. If you have a respect for good production, good beats, and smart lyrics, provided you like rap/hip-hop, you should like Kanye. Flashing Lights is his best song overall, although if you like this he has many, many more to offer.

4. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC

I have always loved this song, coming off AC/DC’s best Brian Johnson album, Back in Black. But when Marvel (in one of their few good calls) decided to use it as Tony Stark’s hand-picked Iron Man theme, it started working its way into many of my playlists. It is a perfect song for a summer drive, a game of Halo, or jumping out of an airplane in your high-tech prosthesis.

3. Summertime Sadness – Lana del Rey

I will readily admit that I am in love with Lana del Rey. Despite all her obvious shortcomings and eccentricities, and the fact that she writes from a female perspective, I just love her lyrics. The hipster inside me hates that this song receives so much attention, as I thought that maybe “Blue Jeans” or “Young and Beautiful” would be her best known songs, but according to the 88 million views on youtube I might be wrong. In line with hipster methodology, I discovered this song way before it hit radio play, so my love affair with it is definitely longer than yours. The main thing I love about this track is the vividity of her lyrics. If you simply close your eyes and listen, you cannot help but picture in bright color exactly what is going on in this song. It just makes it seem so real.

2. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

From Call of Duty : Black Ops, to Scorsese films The Departed, Goodfellas, and, Casino, chances are you know this song perhaps not by title but by tune. Written in 1969, this song is written by Mick Jagger in a apocalyptic type feeling, with the Vietnam war weighing prominently on his mind. Just like Shoot to Thrill, this song is even more perfect (if such a thing exists) for a sordidly hot and sticky summer day with the top down and aviators on. Although Jagger may have written requesting shelter from the violence at the time, today we can create a twofold meeting out of it. Just pick the newest war that our country has decided to take place in, and play it on a Pennsylvanian day in July and you are well on your way to being a complex individual.

1. Wonderwall – Oasis

If you know me at all, this song should come as no surprise to you. In fact, you are probably rolled your eyes just as you saw what song number one was. Although this is not my favorite version of this song (songwriter Noel Gallagher does a killer solo version), it is nonetheless the one that I have deemed my favorite song for at least the better part of my music listening life. Do I know why this song is my favorite? To be honest, not really. I cannot pinpoint an exact reason, because I simply love everything about it. It is simply my favorite song by my favorite band.

I’ve Got That Summertime Sadness

Here I am, stuck at work at 6:30 in the morning running on two hours of sleep and about a Red Bull and a half prepping for a twelve-hour shift and preparing to just have a mess of a day. I was planning on getting a few more hours sleep than what occurred, but as it turned out I couldn’t really help it a whole lot.

One of the things I struggle with in blogging and in real life is how much to incorporate glimpses of my true self into writing. Although a blog isn’t necessarily designed to be a diary, it’s a good source of venting and throwing around ideas/feelings to get the consensus of the general readership populace. But, the flip side of this is, I don’t want to turn into Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor and start using my “professional” (I am using this term very lightly in this case) venues as outlets for personal problems. I am also a very guarded person, and do not share things about myself or what I am truly thinking with much ease at all. This is why I write, because I’m simply better at expressing myself through my writing than any other form of communication.

This all being said, I’m posting this in “Life” which means this has to do with my life. So, let’s rewind the tape 48 hours or so, where my alarm will just be going off on Monday morning to try and wake me up to tell me that I’m supposed to maybe if I feel like it, go get new rear tires for my car. Of course, at 8 AM on a day when I don’t HAVE to be up till 11, the rationalizing part of my brain decrees that I don’t in fact have to go get new tires, and that those three extra hours of sleep on top of the six I already have will help me so much more than new tires. Minus the fact that it’s in the plans to drive to work and back, and then Ocean City, Maryland and back in the next 36 hours, culminating in what is supposed to be about 8.5 hours of driving. All I want to do is get in and get out of work, and then go spend some time with family at the shore while I have a Tuesday off. That’s all I really want.

So, I go to work, and it being a simple Monday Fresh Shipping setup shift, I figure that I’ll light a shuck out of Dodge about 545 or 6 with relative ease. I even get to work about 15 minutes early so I can abandon ship just a little bit earlier, and hit the road for OCMD even faster. As luck would have it, the proverbial feces would hit the fan and even though I put my rear in gear, it’s past 640 as I walk out the doors of paycheck prison.

Ugh. I’m already rushing around as I push 85 on the highway home, and I make decent time with enough to spare to stop over at my apartment quick to grab my Google Maps’d directions and overnight backpack. Now, here’s where things start getting a little complicated. I am supposed to pick up the best friend of one of my stepsisters to take to the beach as well, because if I’m going down I might as well play valet and take as many willing persons as want to go. Whatever, I’m going anyway and it’s nice to have a co-pilot when I’m treading unfamiliar waters below the Mason-Dixon Line. But, if you know anything about women and family, it’s that they are ALWAYS over-interested in your life, especially your romantic one (or in my case, lack thereof). Besides shopping, I feel like trying to set single people up is the most favored hobby of the females of this country (I will almost certainly get slapped for saying this).

So, I’m considerably wary of this whole scenario. It’s only in actuality a less than day trip, and it’s also seven hours of being stuck in a car with nobody but each other, so I’m wondering if there are ulterior motives going on here by the powers that be. I can sniff out a good trap where usually one doesn’t even exist in the first place, but the only way to truly know if it’s a trap or not is to take the bait. Obviously, I agree to take her with me and go down to the beach as soon as I get off work.

Accordingly, I pick her up from work and begin the three and a half hour quest through multiple states to our destination. As luck/fate/bad omens would have it, neither of us have “smart phones” or a global positioning system, as my Google directions printed out in 8 size font are our only guide south. And, like the moron that I am, I only printed out the directions TO Ocean City, not FROM. In the back of my mind, I make the assumption that we can just reverse the directions down to come back up, but to be truthful I just didn’t think that terribly far ahead in all the busyness of my life.

As far as mishaps go, the trip down was fairly uneventful. The directions were straightforward, the tolls minimal, and we only made one wrong turn which was easily corrected albeit with a waste of 15 minutes. As far as conversation goes, I mean we had three and a half hours to say pretty much anything, so having the excuse of “it’s a long story” got me out of nothing whatsoever. Since I am a fairly private person, I don’t really talk to people on a regular basis about my life, but I live/have lived a mostly interesting life that I could tell stories from the past 20 years for hours upon hours on end until my voice gave out. I’ll have to admit that actually being able to talk to somebody who was actually intelligent and about more than current events/sports/weather was refreshing for a change. Don’t get me wrong, I love (even though I’d never use that word with them) my friends to death but we just get together and troll each other or talk about and share our common interests as we’ve done for years past. There simply is just a totally different dynamic to any girl-guy relationship than any guy-guy relationship. Anyway, we were finding out that we have a lot in common (uh-oh, if this was a set-up somebody is going down for this) (also, who says that Applebee’s is their favorite restaurant, seriously?) and the driving time flew past as we filled all the spare time with random yet interesting and hopefully meaningful conversation.

We end up in Ocean City just in time to see all the drunkies stumbling around the sidewalks, but with no traffic citations (the way down was CRAWLING with cops) and wallet only $2 lighter from tolls along the way. The next day it’s mostly overcast, which doesn’t make for the greatest beach conditions but it was good to be among family for the day and not having any responsibilities other than a questionable departure time, seeing that I needed to be awake for a 5AM-5PM shift the following day. Preferably, I would have liked to be in bed by midnight so that I can afford myself four hours of sleep, but if we don’t get back until after midnight I wouldn’t be offended because I have worked a 12 on half an hour of sleep before. I’m willing to take one on the chest and take a nap when I get home or something fun along those lines.

As it would turn out, about 830 PM that evening we finally find the time to head out, and with the supposed three and a half hours of driving time back we’re aiming for a midnight appearance back home. The first portion of the trip starts out great, we don’t miss any directions and correct our only mistake from coming down, and for an hour and a half it is smooth sailing. And then, we run into trouble just as we’re getting out of Delaware. The directions have seemingly changed a little bit from our reverse Google Maps and we start making guesses on turns and wrong assumptions, and then get my family back at the beach on the horn as they pour over maps and directions attempting to ascertain where we are and where to go. We miss a couple exits we’re supposed to take, and it starts to get late and I’m just getting more pissed off at this whole situation. It’s getting late so I don’t feel like bugging family even more than I already have, so we start footing it for ourselves. Which, once we hit one of those evil “you took the wrong turn and now we’re gonna punish you by not letting you turn around the way you came” exits, it looks like doom and gloom. Then I pull into a shady motel around Wilmington, Delaware where thankfully a state policeman is sitting, and like Smartphone-less bums, we ask him for directions for probably the first and last time in his career. He gives us great directions but doesn’t get route numbers completely right, so we end up in downtown Wilmington, in the hood, around midnight. My co-pilot suggests stopping at the BP to ask for directions again and when I don’t I get the “typical man” joke, which is somewhat true but let’s stop and think for a second here. This is the ghetto of Delaware, which although not exactly Camden, New Jersey, isn’t exactly the place where pretty white girl and white boy should stop and ask for directions, because A) we might not get the right directions and B)it’s just asking for a bad time. And if my Hispanic co-worker who is from the heroin capital of the east coast (Reading, PA) agrees with me, you know that this is some straight up gospel right here.

So we decipher the cop’s directions, and figure out that he meant South instead of North, and end up finding the roads we want to take back, having wasted more than an hour in the doldrums of GPS-less idiocy. I was tempted to call the night shift guy at work and tell him that there was no way I was coming into work in the morning, but I didn’t want to inconvenience the company by me simply not being able to suck it up like a man. Of course, again as luck would have it, it turns out that I could’ve easily been covered for and should have called off, which means I would have still been in bed sleeping instead of killing time at work typing this. Shoot me now.

On a more personal note, having a lot of good one-on-one time with a girl that isn’t an old friend or part of my friend group really made me think. I have spent a lot of time the past year plus being apathetic and bitter toward the entire female gender in general. I didn’t really give a care to trying to date or even let myself try and generate feelings for anybody, simply because I was content to be locked down in my own secure vault and living my own life. My friends always joke when we play Age of Empires when I always build massive walls, castles, and fortresses, that they outwardly portray my inner-self and how I wall up and close everyone else off from the outside, thinking that I’m secure in my Keep from all breaches on the outside. And even though they’re partially joking, they are still right. I’ve realized that I may have taken myself too far out of the game to even positively know if I’ve connected with someone on a personal/meaningful level or not, or if that supposed connection is even something worth pursuing. In the past I’ve blundered full speed ahead, shooting first and asking questions later, but now the gun is completely holstered and buttoned down. I don’t know if I should stay in my secure fortress and keep manning the towers, or just let one of the walls be breached and see exactly what happens. Or even if I will have or am going to have the opportunity to pull a Gorbachev, and acquiesce when asked to “tear down this wall.”

They always say not to let the fear of failure to stop you from doing something, but it isn’t the failure that’s the fear, it is the success before the failure that is so scary. I’m not afraid of not succeeding at something right off the bat, I’m more afraid at having something work and then having it fail.  And since this has happened to me numerous times, on each occasion another wall is erected and another defense tower built, making it harder and harder each and every time to come through the borders. The ultimate fear is the question of what to do when the walls completely take over and there is practically nothing left? I don’t want to get to that point, but it’s still a feasible question. This one time I will admit that I have do not have all of the answers, and in fact all the answers I have are probably mostly wrong in the first place.

To shut up the mushy-gushy feelings and thoughts crap, I’ll bring this post full-circle with a relation to the posting title. Being from my favorite Lana Del Rey song (edging out Young & Beautiful), the section of lyrics from “Summertime Sadness” pretty well describes the state I’m in. I’m not necessarily “sad”, that’s an emotion with such a negative connotation, just curious and apprehensive about the state of things in my life. I’m interested just as anyone else is to see what I do and how things (generally speaking of course) turn out over the course of X-amount of time, to see what exactly happens, because to be honest I don’t even know myself where to go from here. So instead of rambling on and on as I do in a lot of things, I’ll just leave the rest of the story open to how the future plays out, and leave it at that.

On a different note, we’ve got a crew of I think 8 of us men going to the Lancaster Barnstormers game this Thursday for our Stadium Tour and second Ballpark Review! I should have it written by Sunday evening, so check back then and see how it compares against the Senators Park which we reviewed late last month. Stay tuned, and thank you as always for reading.

Playing Pool and Wild Darts, Video Games

Yes, I stole the title of this post from the lyrics of a Lana Del Rey song. No, I don’t care, it seems to fit perfectly.

Everything in this category archive will be primarily written by myself, with the others sprinkling in their bits of knowledge where they see fit. These posts are going to not just encompass video games, but any type of game that’s not a “sport” and we feel like covering. Maybe we will discuss how Monopoly Jr. skewed our perception of reality, or how the fishing system of Oregon Trail 5 is the most flawed thing on the face of the planet.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to skip over console gaming either. As a longtime Xbox owner, I will definitely be highlighting whatever news and major releases are made available over the summer months, although I don’t expect to personally get around to a brand new release review until Grand Theft Auto 5 in the early fall. I plan on buying the Xbox One at some point as well, putting me in what seems to be the minority for the next generation of gaming consoles, but I have my reasoning (Halo).

But not to fret PlayStation fans, our resident expert Thurston Howell will be covering any Sony exclusives and news, along with his argument on why he will eventually be buying the PS4 as well.

I will say a few things on games that I will not be covering at all. Any $60 sports game roster update I am without a doubt personally skipping over, although one of my co-writers may choose to waste their time in such endeavours. Also, if the main characters of the game look like they could star in a hentai film, there isn’t a chance I am about it. Sorry Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Fable, and Tekken lovers, but those games are simply not up my alley, and mostly not on Xbox, so do not be expecting any reviews or news about things that I just don’t care about.

Other than that though, I will without a doubt be reviewing some major fall releases, such as Batman Arkham Origins, the aforementioned GTA V, and Assassin’s Creed IV. Shortly after those releases will be when the brand new consoles will drop, and I will be taking a look at each one and its merits based on what it actually is at that time, instead of mere speculation. Until then, I plan on from time to time throwing in a Saturday Afternoon Flashback, which is bringing up an older game that I used to play, and giving it a little bit of a rehash playthrough and review in comparison to how I recalled it as a kid. Mostly anything is fair game in this feature, from DOS Shell games, to the Commodore 64, all the way up to Playstation 2 and Parcheesi. Just keep checking back, and I am sure that once we get the ball rolling I will definitely be posting whenever I have the chance.