Countdown to 2019

2019

Can’t believe 2018 is over already. I feel like Velma, but instead of looking for her glasses I’m looking for all the years of my life that have passed by. That sounded kind of depressing, sorry. But that’s just how time works, man. Just keeps moving forward. If you even believe in time, at all. But this isn’t a Burning Questions, this is the Countdown of Countdowns. Third year we’ve done this, which is crazy to think about. I also realize I forgot to mention my two-year anniversary when it came and went December 26th. I apologize not only to you, my loyal readers, but to George Michael, the patron saint of the Brian’s Den whose death sparked the creation of this beloved site. It won’t happen again. But for the true fans, the Brian’s Den’s greatest hits always live on deep in their hearts, so was a clip show really necessary? I’ll let you decide. Anyhow, the Countdown. We’re saying goodbye to 2018 with eighteen, yes, eighteen countdowns. It could get ugly after about ten, but we’re powering through; I’ve decided to start working a little harder in 2019. Just part of the #newyearnewme lifestyle.

Top Five Movies from 2018 Based on Brian’s Den Scoring

  1. Mission: Impossible Fallout– One of the five best action movies ever made
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse– Cried like four times
  3. The Commuter– This was like when Greg Maddux would throw an 80-pitch shutout late in his career just to show that he could still do it
  4. Skyscraper– Might be in the pantheon of random Rock action movies
  5. A Star is Born– Couldn’t leave out my boy B-Coop

Top Five Movies I Didn’t See But Will Say I Saw Come Awards Season to Sound Smarter

  1. The Favourite– Just waiting for the Americanized The Favorite to come out
  2. BlacKkKlansman– I watched the first three seasons of Ballers, does that count?
  3. Leave No Trace– Didn’t Viggo do this exact movie a year ago?
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk– Think I’m gonna feel bad about not seeing this one
  5. Bird Box– I will not let the memes win

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2018

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild– Getting myself a Switch for my birthday was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made
  2. God of War– Remember when I tried streaming? That was fun
  3. Fire Emblem Awakening– Yes, I know it’s old. No, I don’t care. I played four Fire Emblem games in a row and it was one of the most legitimately fun eras of my life and may or may not have indirectly lead to my move to New York City
  4. Spider-Man– Big year for Spidey
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate– Smash will always make the cut

Top Five Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. Kingdom Hearts III– I’ll be fine if I die after I finish this
  2. Untitled Pokémon Switch Game– We all know this is going to be a banger
  3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses– See above section
  4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– I’m going to get this and I’m going to hate myself for committing to what is surely an absolutely impossible game
  5. Final Fantasy VII– Just kidding. This is never coming out

Top Five Songs of 2018

  1. “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J Balvin- It’s just a fire song
  2. “Finesse” by Bruno Mars & Cardi B- Cardi B only puts out heat and that’s an undeniable fact
  3. “New Light” by John Mayer- I like that the stigma against liking John Mayer is gone
  4. “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott- I’ll always remember Travis Scott for his Ballers cameos the most. That might be the last Ballers reference this year
  5. “Party for One” by Carly Rae Jepsen- Leave your CRJ hate at the door, please

Top Five TV Shows I Watched in 2018

  1. Good Place– It’s good. Get it?
  2. All or Nothing: Manchester City– So, umm, yeah, I didn’t really watch any shows this year and I don’t really know why
  3. Westworld– There is no way Westworld season 2 should be number three on anyone’s list but here we are
  4. I don’t know, man. New Black Mirror came out that I haven’t watched yet so I’ll say that
  5. Spongebob seasons 1-3- RIP Stephen Hillenburg

Top Five Athletes of 2018

  1. Luka Doncic- I never overreact, I swear
  2. Mookie Betts- Red Sox won the World Series, in case you forgot
  3. Nick Foles- What a large penis this man has
  4. Aaron Donald- Feel like this is what it was like for my dad when he watched Bill Russell
  5. Every Olympian- Remeber the Olympics? They were this year! Crazy

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Phish- MSG
  2. Bruno Mars- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
  3. Lady Gaga- Park Theater at Park MGM, Las Vegas
  4. Lynyrd Skynyrd- WinStar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
  5. Billy Joel- Nassau Coliseum, Long Island

Top Five New Fast Food Items

  1. Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch- Taco Bell
  2. Triple Melt Burrito- Taco Bell
  3. Nightmare King- Burger King
  4. Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa- Taco Bell
  5. Nacho Fries- Taco Bell

Top Five Best Things That Happened to Me in 2018

  1. Moved to New York City
  2. I just got this new deodorant (it’s men’s, FYI. It’s almost 2019) that has lavender in it and it smells very nice
  3. Any of the times I missed a subway train or bus by a matter of milliseconds
  4. My sister got me this notebook for Christmas that makes me feel like Aragorn since it looks straight out of Middle Earth
  5. Actually made some new friends. Rare!

Top Five Worst Smells

  1. Whatever’s been brewing in my fridge for the last month or two that I keep waiting for someone else to take care of but it never happens
  2. General garbage
  3. Someone else’s puke
  4. Rotting flesh
  5. Subway when you don’t want it

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Men

  1. Samuel L. Jackson- Pulp Fiction
  2. Christoph Waltz- Inglorious Basterds
  3. Chappie- Chappie
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will Be Blood
  5. Nicolas Cage- The Wicker Man

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Women

  1. Lady Gaga- A Star is Born
  2. Melissa McCarthy- The Heat
  3. Viola Davis- Fences
  4. Ellen Burstyn- The Wicker Man
  5. Jodie Foster- Silence of the Lambs

Top Five Book(s) Ever

  1. If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer by Pablo Fenjves and O.J. Simpson
  2. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  4. Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Top Five Vegetables

  1. Potato
  2. Carrot
  3. Red onion
  4. Non-infected lettuce
  5. Spinach

Top Five Places to Go Swimming

  1. Private pool- No rules whatsoever after a certain age=fun
  2. Health club pool- Usually the highest quality pool and water
  3. Lake- Beach is generally more fun, but lakes are far superior for swimming
  4. Public pool- Especially hotel pools where you can smell the chlorine three blocks away
  5. Beach- Swimming in the ocean is almost always a better idea in theory than in practice

Top Five Italian Renaissance Artists

  1. Michelangelo- The G.O.A.T. and I don’t know who’s really that close to him. Master of every medium. Only thing going against him is that every portrait of him looks like Willem Defoe if he got lost in the woods for a month and the only food he had was heroin
  2. Sandro Botticelli- Most underrated painter ever. Yeah, I said it
  3. Leonardo da Vinci- He’s honestly such an overrated artist but I don’t want to draw the ire of the people who put the emphasis on the “ai” in Renaissance
  4. Raphael- Raphael, of course, was known for his works’ clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur
  5. Donatello- I swear I didn’t envision this happening but I have no choice now

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. More calm, peaceful discourse in all areas of the Internet
  2. A McDonald’s resurgence. It’s coming, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of history
  3. The Patriots winning a sixth Super Bowl
  4. Getting a pet flamingo
  5. Spending more time in the Brian’s Den- 2019 is gonna be huge. Believe it
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I’m Way Too Into X-Men Right Now

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Before I get started, I’d like to let it be known that, even though I’ve dipped my toes into some pretty nerdy waters before, this post might take the cake. But before you make fun of me and try to stuff me into a locker, remember that I’m built like a Greek God and I’m the one with the internationally popular website, not you.

I saw Black Panther last week. Saw it twice, actually (yes, that makes me more woke than you). It was awesome. Got me wicked hyped for Avengers. Like, 8-year-old-kid-when-he-realizes-Christmas-is-a-month-away hyped. And, like what usually happens whenever a new superhero movie comes out, it got me back into comic books. And when I say I get into comics, I mean I get into them.

Unlike in my youth, when I would constantly read comics and watch all the superhero TV shows I could, I take more of a binge approach these days. Usually about once a year, I’ll just get an uncontrollable urge to start reading comics again. Luckily, I’ve built a fairly robust collection over the years, so I can always read what I already, but sometimes that isn’t enough. And, being a slave to my impulses, that typically means buying a lot more. Now, I could easily go on a rant about how comics (and books in general) are waaaaayyyyyy too expensive, but that’s for another time. Besides, when you’re deep in the throes of passion in a spending spree, cost becomes nothing. There’s a comic book store within walking distance of my house (which, much like the McDonald’s within walking distance of my house, I’m proud of how few times I’ve gone), so, naturally, I paid it a visit. Bought some Wolverine, bought some X-Men, bought some Batman, it was nice (I know you’re wondering, so my take on the great Marvel vs. DC debate: Even though I’ve always loved Batman (yes, I know it’s become cool to drag Batman online, but I don’t care. I’ll be a Batman stan until the day I die) (I’m also not stupid and know anyone with powers would beat him in a fight), I just like Marvel better. Their respective cinematic universes haven’t done much to sway that opinion. #sorrynotsorry). It felt good to be back in the comics world, at least momentarily. But when I read the X-Men, something awakened in me that I somehow wasn’t expecting: my inner X-Men fanboy.

I’ve always loved X-Men. They’re the number one Marvel property, IMO. I love the comics. I loved the original cartoon. I loved X-Men Evolution and think it’s the most underrated superhero show of the early 2000s. I’m a sucker for all the movies, even though some of them are pretty bad. There’s been a ton of cartoon series since Evolution that I haven’t watched that I’m pretty sure I’d love. X-Men just speak to me. Maybe it’s because I think it’s the easiest to imagine myself in that universe: everyone is just born with their powers. Not everyone’s a brilliant scientist, not everyone’s a multi-billionaire, no special event gave them fantastic abilities. They were just born that way (yes, I’ve created multiple versions of myself with various overpowered mutant abilities. I think anyone who hasn’t is weird) (it’s easy to say that I really only want to be able to fly in a world without powers, but if mutants were real and flight was my only ability and there were people out there who could read minds and destroy the planet with a thought and create their own pocket universe I’d be seriously pissed). When I entered that universe again for the first time in at least a year, I knew I needed more. So I downloaded the Marvel app on my phone, and let me tell you, this thing’s dangerous. It’s got pretty much every issue and every collection of every Marvel story ever published available at the touch of a finger. I just kind of blacked out. When I came to, I saw I owned the entire first volume of All-New X-Men from 2013, among other things. I’ve almost finished all of it already. I can’t satiate this hunger. Every second of free time I have not spent reading X-Men comics feels like a waste (that might be the nerdiest sentence I have ever written). On Saturday night my friends went out, had a good time, and probably talked with some respectable ladies while I stayed in my room reading (I can feel your envy, but please. Jealousy is the ugliest trait). I’m trying to figure out how much more money I can actually spend before I can’t afford to live anymore. I’ve even done some research into becoming a writer for X-Men, but when I found out you had to do things like “grind,” and “pay your dues,” and “have a resume,” and a bunch of other things that said you can’t just walk into Marvel HQ and say you want a job, I gave that up. Honestly, I’m kind of scared. I don’t know when I’m going to get my life back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying this phase, but I’m worried this obsession is going to consume me perpetually. I’ve got things I need to do, takes I need to form. How can I give responsible sports takes if I’m too distracted to even know what’s happening? I almost missed McDonald’s dropping the Szechuan Sauce (again) because I was too distracted. The world is leaving me behind and I don’t know how to escape the X-Men. I don’t even know if I want to, honestly. If you told me I could get every X-Men issue ever made and die when I was finished reading them, I’d probably do it. When it was time for me to die it would seem like a bad idea, sure, but right now it sounds pretty appealing. Dammit, I’m addicted to X-Men, and I don’t know how to get clean (in reality, I just need to not spend a completely irresponsible amount of money for the next, like, week and I’ll move on to something else).

While we’re here, might as well do some X-Men Power Rankings:

Top Five Mutants

  1. Iceman– I don’t know why, but I just really love ice powers. He’s vastly underrated.
  2. Beast– Beast is awesome and the team would fall apart if he wasn’t there.
  3. Jean Grey– She can essentially cause Armageddon singlehandedly, so, yeah, I’ll take her on my team. I also like redheads, so sue me.
  4. Wolverine– I’d be trying too hard if I made a top five mutant list and didn’t include Wolverine.
  5. Magneto– For what it’s worth, I feel like I would kind of agree with Magneto if I were a mutant.

Top Five Powers

  1. Reality Warping– Easily the most unfair power and if you have a decent secondary power you’re pretty much God.
  2. Flying– I just want to soar with the eagles and set my spirit free.
  3. Healing– Would take the anxiety out of virtually everything, but could also lead to nihilism.
  4. Energy Projection– You’d just be a Dragon Ball Z character in real life.
  5. Any kind of physical mutation– I’d rather be blue with a weak power than be normal with a decent power. Got to be memorable.

Bottom Five Powers

  1. Telepathy– I don’t want to know my own thoughts, why would I want to know anyone else’s?
  2. Technopathy– Having your power be the ability to control machines would be so lame.
  3. Healing other people– If my power doesn’t benefit me, I don’t want it.
  4. Fire manipulation– Could get out of hand quickly.
  5. Immortality– Only a sucker would want to be immortal. Saps the meaning out of absolutely everything.

Top Five X-Men Storylines

  1. Age of Apocalypse– So much better than the movie made it out to be.
  2. Dark Phoenix Saga– There’s a reason it’s been adapted a million times.
  3. Days of Future Past– If you don’t like excessive time travel, you should probably stay away from X-Men.
  4. God Loves, Man Kills– If you aren’t on Magneto’s side here you’re probably a bad person.
  5. Messiah Complex– I read it like, two days ago so I’ll just put it here even if it doesn’t deserve it.

Ranking the Movies

  1. Logan
  2. X2
  3. Days of Future Past
  4. Deadpool
  5. First Class
  6. The Wolverine
  7. X-Men
  8. Apocalypse
  9. Last Stand
  10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter

 

So yesterday when I was busy listening to Despactio for the 10 millionth time a startling piece of news hit my ears. It had somehow been twenty years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in England. “That’s impossible,” I thought. “As everyone knows, I’m only 18 years old, but I still have distinct memories of all of the books coming out. This is very odd indeed.” But, it’s true. The Harry Potter franchise has been able to buy cigarettes and porn for two whole years now. Like pretty much every white kid around my age, I’m a huge HP guy. Sorcerer’s Stone was the last book my mom ever read to me out loud. I’ve read all the books about 1,000 times each. In fact, for at least five straight years it was a summer tradition of mine to read all of the books before school started again. But yeah, I had, like, friends and stuff too, though. Because of the countless think pieces that were floating around the internet yesterday to commemorate the occasion, I’m back in. I’m already halfway done with Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s all I can think about. It’s the only thing that matters to me (yes, I know Chris Paul got traded to the Rockets, but honestly, I just don’t care). Until I finish/get tired of it, I’m going to eat, sleep, and breathe Harry Potter. And, of course, I couldn’t let the chance to dish out some Potter takes go by the wayside. Unless I forget something, this is pretty much every thought I’ve ever had about the Potter-verse. God, I miss football.

What House Would I Be In?

The ultimate question. You can really learn all you need to know about someone by the way they answer. And, 9 times out of ten, you’ll learn that they’re trying too hard. Do you really think you’d be in Hufflepuff, or are you just saying that to be different? Oh, you got a Ravenclaw tattoo? Wait, is that your community college diploma hanging on your wall? Well, this is awkward. It isn’t that hard. Everyone knows human beings are only comprised of four basic traits: good, bad, smart, and other. Just figure out which one is strongest in you and there you go.

As for me? Well, it’s been established that the Sorting Hat takes your own personal preferences to heart. I won’t be the guy who goes up there thinking one specific house or bust. My only thought would be that I look horrible in yellow. Of every color in the entire world, yellow looks worst on me. I would just think that nonstop when the hat was on my head. I’m not winding up in Hufflepuff. I don’t care that everyone keeps trying to lift the stigma. I don’t care how many cool people come out and say they’d be in Hufflepuff. I don’t care if I was a Herbology/Care of Magical Creatures savant. I refuse to be in it. If my mom was Helga Hufflepuff herself I’d force my way out of it. As for the other three, I think I would probably be able to fit in to any of them. It’s long been established that I’m a boy genius, so Ravenclaw would be no issue. I’m brave enough to put unpopular takes on the internet, so I’m good in Gryffindor. I look good in green, so Slytherin is a nice answer. But at the end of the day, the strongest, most powerful character trait I have is the insatiable desire, nay, need, to be a relevant character, so that narrows it down to Gryffindor or Slytherin. And, since I had that thought in the first place, I’m probably in Slytherin. Looks like there’s a new bad boy on the block.

slytherin_bitch_by_loverush

What’s My Patronus?

Another vital question. According to the Pottermore personality quiz (which also backed up my assertion that I’d be in Slytherin), my Patronus would be a Lynx. No offense to the noble mountain cat or it’s close relative the bobcat (nickname of my middle school sports teams), that’s not really what I was looking for. I don’t even know where to start. Is it supposed to be something that looks badass? Is it something deep inside you? Is it just your favorite animal? Dumbledore’s is a phoenix, are we allowed to just get nuts with it? I’m pretty sure Cho Chang is the only character in the books that has a non-mammal Patronus, so is there some speciesism going on? I think flamingos and seahorses make me the happiest, but neither is all that intimidating. Having a falcon would be sweet, but I like hanging on to my 28-3 leads (I’ll be here all week, folks). If I need a mammal, I’d probably go koala, elephant, or some kind of bear. I could get fancy and go dragon or something, but I think I’ll just stick with flamingo. At least it’ll be distinct, and, since I’m in Slytherin, I’ll be the bad boy with a sensitive side.

flamingo-dream

What Position Would I Play in Quidditch?

First off, would I play? Yeah, I’d play. I’d probably be captain, or, at the very least, a Draymond Green emotional leader. As established, I need glory. Since I’m too fat swole to be a seeker, looks like I’ll be a chaser. I’m pretty confident I’d re-write the record books. Those Brits would have no way to handle my pure American athleticism.

What Would Be My Best Subject?

I think I’d be a pretty good student at Hogwarts. I was a good student in real life, and these subjects are just a little bit more interesting. I think I’d have a lot of natural talent in Care of Magical Creatures, History of Magic, and Potions (I’m a decent cook). I think I’d try the hardest at Transfiguration (so I could become an Animagus) (I would not turn into a flamingo, though), Charms, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. I don’t think I’d really give a shit about the other classes. My best subject would probably end up being Care of Magical Creatures. Animals have always liked me and I think that would end up being a pretty sweet thing to be good at.

A Bunch of Random Power Rankings

Book Rankings

  1. Goblet of Fire
  2. Order of the Phoenix
  3. Sorcerer’s Stone
  4. Deathly Hallows
  5. Half-Blood Prince

Movie Rankings (The movies were so much worse than the books I don’t think I even need to go into it. Only movie positives: pretty much everything looked awesome and it introduced me to Emma Watson)

  1. Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. Sorcerer’s Stone
  3. Chamber of Secrets
  4. Goblet of Fire
  5. Order of the Phoenix

Best Characters

  1. Fred
  2. Draco Malfoy
  3. Ron
  4. Hermione
  5. George

Best Teachers

  1. Snape
  2. Hagrid
  3. McGonagall
  4. Lockhart
  5. Moody

Best-Sounding Food

  1. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavo(u)r Beans because I’m not a coward
  2. Chocolate Frogs
  3. Cauldron Cakes
  4. Butterbeer
  5. Pumpkin Pasties

Best Animals

  1. Hedwig
  2. Trevor
  3. Fawkes
  4. Buckbeak
  5. Norberta

Best Wizard Jobs

  1. Pro Quidditch Player
  2. Magizoologist
  3. Auror
  4. Wandmaker
  5. Harry Potter’s Friend

Best Moments

  1. First trip to Diagon Alley
  2. Quidditch World Cup
  3. Harry using the Resurrection Stone
  4. Snape’s redemption
  5. That chapter in Half-Blood Prince when Ron was good at stuff

Worst Moments

  1. Fred’s Death
  2. Harry’s bizarre inability to steal one of the thousands of Hogwarts letters delivered to him
  3. The entire HBP movie
  4. Since it’s canon now, The Cursed Child
  5. Umbridge not dying (I actually love Umbridge in that WWE-heel sort of way, but she needed to die)

Best Places

  1. Hogwarts (duh)
  2. Diagon Alley
  3. Pretty much anyone’s house
  4. Underwater in the Lake
  5. Ministry of Magic

I’m so hyped for this Captain Underpants Movie

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Maybe I’m just not watching the right channels, but somehow this isn’t the biggest news in the entire world. The Captain Underpants movie comes out today. This is the biggest movie since John Wick 2 and I haven’t been beaten over the head with a relentless add campaign. Classic media, only showing you what they want you to see. Whatever, more room in the theater for me.

I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be who I am today without Captain Underpants. I loved everything about the stories. I still do, really. I just identified with George and Harold (mostly Harold, since he’s white). Growing up, I read the Harry Potter books an infinite amount of times. Well, I read the Captain Underpants books more than that. Captain Underpants is more than just a brilliant character and book series. It represents a way of life. To be who you really are deep down inside. To live without shame. To fight for truth, justice, and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony. The books and illustrations were so good I didn’t even think there needed to be a movie. But now that there is one? I’m jacked up. I’m ready to run through a brick wall. I’m gonna be hootin’ and hollerin’ in the theater like it’s the Comedy Night at the Apollo. I’m ready for Action. I’m ready for Thrills. And I’m ready for Laffs. I’m almost hesitant to give a review on it since I’m so biased, but I lack any journalistic integrity, so it’s all good. And let’s be honest. The source material is so good, it’s impossible for this movie to be bad. Hopefully this introduces a new generation to the wonderful exploits of Mr. Krupp, the bravest man who ever lived. I feel like the Patriots just won the Super Bowl again.

TRA LA LAAAAAAA!!!!!