Countdown to 2020


2020. Doesn’t seem fully natural to say. Gonna need about twelve months to get used to it, but then it’ll be time to change the year again! No, but we have fun, here. End of a decade, end of an era. How do you even sum up a decade? So much stuff happened. Ten years worth of stuff, some say. Pretty big stretch for me, I graduated high school and then graduated college. We can skip the lack of achievements that followed, but life is built on little victories that you can hold onto long after their realistic expiration date. But it’s time to turn the page to a new year and a new decade (#newdecadenewme). And, as we’ve established on, that means the power ranking countdown.

Twenty rankings. The classic mainstays and another round of scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrel for #content ideas. What better way to spend New Year’s Eve than by counting down arbitrary topics? I’ll tell you what the true countdown is- the countdown to the age where it’s not only acceptable to not do anything for NYE, but it’s expected that I’ll just stay home. Only a few more years and awkwardly deflected party invitations to go! But, let’s be honest: I think the only person holding onto the idea that I might ever do anything fun on New Year’s Eve is me. My real friends already know the deal. On to the countdowns.

Top Five Movies of 2019 (Usually based on the Brian’s Den rating scale but this year’s mini-hiatus left a lot of movies out)

  1. Cats– Only 55% ironically chosen
  2. Knives Out– Whodunnits are so underrated but I’m glad we aren’t inundated with them
  3. Irishman– Hey, I know that old guy on the screen!
  4. Avengers: Endgame– This came out this year. Wild
  5. Uncut Gems– I haven’t even seen it yet. This is a legacy pick

Top Five Movies I Haven’t Seen But Will Say I Saw During Awards SZN to Sound Smarter

  1. Marriage Story– More like Divorce Story, am I right? Make sure to tip your waitresses
  2. Parasite– Yeah, I know it’s amazing, that doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t seen it yet
  3. Little Women– These were some little women, man. I’ll tell you what, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen littler women. And I’ve seen some little women, mind you. But these were some real little women
  4. Pain & Glory– I don’t even know what this is
  5. Frozen 2– You won’t believe the kinds of hijinks Olaf gets into, folks. Who knew he was such a racist?

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2019

  1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses– I will feel much more secure if no one knows how many hours I put into this game (…………………………………….255+)
  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– The difficulty didn’t make me want to kill myself, which means I’ve ascended to a higher plane of existence than you normie gamerz
  3. Kingdom Hearts III– The fact that it exists is honestly enough for me
  4. Pokemon Sword– The h8rz are furious, but I rank this as a mid-tier Pokemon game, which makes it a top-tier regular game
  5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order– Not enough Star Wars debate online these days. Sound off in the comments what your favorite preposterous Star Wars “controversy” of 2019 was

Top Five Songs of 2019

  1. Lil
  2. Nas X
  3. “Old
  4. Town
  5. Road”

Top Five Athletes of 2019

  1. Tom Brady- He’s still the reigning Super Bowl champ, dammit!
  2. Kawhi Leonard- Pop quiz- who has more personality? Kawhi Leonard or Brian from Hey, wait a minute…
  3. Leo Messi- No one even notices how good he is anymore, that’s how good he is
  4. Lamar Jackson- Most unfair QB since 2018
  5. Mike Trout- I don’t want to bash my good friends at Nike or my close personal friend Mike Trout, but the Mike Trout signature cleats are just about the most swagless signature shoes ever created

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Bassnectar- Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
  2. Kid Rock- Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock n Roll Steakhouse, Nashville, TN
  3. Mau Mau Chaplains- Flamingo Cantina, Austin, TX
  4. Bruno Mars- Du Arena, Yas Island, UAE
  5. Risky Business- VFW Post 4764, Clinton, AR

Top Five New Fast Food Items of 2019

  1. KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuit- Life-changing
  2. Burger King Tacos- So bad, but so good
  3. Burger King Rodeo Stacker King- Massive year for Burger King
  4. McDonald’s Stroopwafel McFlurry- A great way to give yourself delicious lockjaw
  5. Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Double Stacked Taco- TB saving their season with the ultimate 11th hour Hail Mary. Would have been embarrassing to be left out of the top five

Best Things That Happened to Me in 2019

  1. Found my go-to Chinese place
  2. Got a new laptop
  3. Became a bar soap guy again
  4. Got a rolling suitcase for the first time (yes, I know. The first time)
  5. Played 255+ hours of Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Top Five Most Inconvenient Occurrences

  1. Maintenance work disrupting any public transportation schedule
  2. Bad internet connection
  3. When the volume on a channel you turn to is wildly different than the previous channel’s
  4. Going to the doctor
  5. Not being the Jellicle Choice

Best Retail Experiences

  1. Free samples
  2. Asking a salesperson which article of clothing looks better and getting good feedback (might just be me)
  3. Not being asked to open a store credit card account
  4. Not talking to anyone from the moment you walk in to the moment you go through the self-checkout
  5. Getting a free discount from the store’s membership account after you swear that you’ll sign up for it next time

Top Five Variations of the $10 Vodka You Drank in College

  1. Burnett’s
  2. Popov
  3. Dubra
  4. Sobieski
  5. Taaka

Top Five Easiest Crimes to Get Away With

  1. Anything anytime before 1950- Anyone caught before WWII deserved punishment for stupidity over the actual crime
  2. Money Laundering- If the pea-brained muscle in any mob can do it, no way I couldn’t, right?
  3. Fraud- Gotta be pretty easy if you just prey on the elderly
  4. Torrenting Movies- Piracy is NOT a victimless crime
  5. Jaywalking- Imagine getting a ticket for jaywalking? Couldn’t possibly happen to me

Top Five Jaw-Dropping Moments in Politics in 2019

  1. Late Thanksgiving when everyone goes online and makes up fake stories about overly conservative uncles or overly liberal aunts and how it RUINED their meal
  2. Whenever a talking head DESTROYED someone on the opposite side with LOGIC and REASON
  3. That time you wrote your local congressman/woman and they DIDN’T write back. May as well have just thrown that vote in the trash
  4. When those EXPLOSIVE facts came to light, ANNIHLIATING the other side’s WEAK defenses
  5. Covfefe

Top Five Engines

  1. Hemi V8, baby
  2. Everything else

Top Five Subway Stations

  1. Marcy Avenue
  2. 81st Street/Museum of Natural History
  3. Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street
  4. Lexington Avenue-63rd Street
  5. 34th Street-Herald Square

Top Five Hobbies

  1. Magic: The Gathering- Cardboard Crack took hold of me in 2019 and refuses to let go 😦
  2. Model Building- You ever met a true model guy? Feel like they don’t do a lot of hosting
  3. Drawing- No easier way to get some sweet Likes and Retweets than with some choice artwork
  4. Scrapbooking- I’ll tell you what, the next scrapbook I receive that I don’t appreciate will be the first (I’ve never received a scrapbook)
  5. Being a Call-in-a-Golf-Rules-Violation Guy- RIP to the true Watchdogs

Top Five Most Refreshing Gulps of Water

  1. First sip when you’re hungover
  2. After mowing the lawn when it’s really hot out
  3. Like an hour after eating something super high in sodium
  4. When you crack the top of that ice-cold Poland Springs 16oz bottle
  5. Water cooler water from a cone cup

Top Five Things You Have to be Super Into If You’re Five

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Playgrounds
  3. McDonald’s
  4. Not bathing
  5. Coloring outside the lines

Top Five Andrew Lloyd Webber Songs

  1. “Music of the Night”- Phantom of the Opera
  2. “Mr. Mistoffelees”- Cats
  3. “Close Every Door”- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  4. “All I Ask of You”- Phantom of the Opera
  5. “Superstar”- Jesus Christ Superstar

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

  1. A mystery trip that may yield valuable #content
  2. Taco Bell Crispy Tortilla Tenders
  3. The all-new 2021 Ford F150
  4. Spending a few days thinking about buying new bedsheets before not pulling the trigger and forgetting about it for another 365
  5. Another great year in the Brian’s Den

Happy New Year, everyone

Is John Wick Now the Number One Action Hero of All Time?


Obviously includes spoilers for John Wick 3, so don’t read if you haven’t watched.

When John Wick 2 came out, I released my definitive, unassailable list of best action movie characters. It was released prior to my viewing of John Wick 2, and the Baba Yaga ranked third. Two amazing displays later, it’s time to reconsider John’s placement amongst the greatest action heroes in cinematic history. After getting 128 kills in 2 and, by my initial count 76 kills in 3 (yes, I counted during the movie. Just like I counted during 2) (I’m disappointed in myself for losing track of the headshots by the end, but I think it was in the 40 range), I’m comfortable putting John ahead of John Matrix and 1a to John McClane’s 1.

The battle between Johns Wick and McClane hinges on how influential to the genre you find John McClane. To me, he’s the most important action movie character ever because he blended the swaggering one-liners of Stallone and Arnold with the reluctant everyman persona that would become a dominant force during the 90s. He’s what every action hero since Die Hard is based off, just like Die Hard itself serves as inspiration for 95% of all action movies released since. However, don’t look now, but the industry is shifting. To what, you may ask? To a post-Wick world where the fighting is realistic, heavily choreographed, and gun-centric and the heroes are stoic and out for revenge. Don’t believe me? Go watch Atomic Blonde, Polar, Peppermint, Hotel Artemis, The Foreigner, or like, any action movie released since 2014. In ten years, we might look back on the two Johns as the major signposts on the road to action movie nirvana, both taking the greatness of the previous generation and molding it into a new one that tries, but never fully succeeds, in living up to the original character’s highs.

McClane remains the true number one for one reason and one reason alone: he didn’t have any help. Before the third installment, John Wick was a one-man army. After seeing Halle Berry put up a Jamal Crawford 50 point game off the bench and Lance Riddick trade his coat for a shotgun I’m looking back at the McClane sidekicks and realizing they only ever hindered him. Samuel L. was just a store owner. Justin Long was Justin Long. Jai Courtney? Yikes. John McClane has been 2007 LeBron his whole career, only he hasn’t made the Finals in 20 years. Wick’s supporting cast is only getting better. Had Zero survived, he would have been the perfect running mate to challenge Winston and the High Table in the fourth one (I need to go to that sushi stand, even if the chef is dead). The various High Table members always bring it (I’ll have some thoughts later, but let’s just say that when I saw it on Sunday morning, I was convinced Berrada was the only Jerome Flynn character I’d be seeing that day). Fishburne and the adjudicator somehow survived. The Wick-verse is deeper than the Pacific Ocean. The Die Hard universe is not. No character in action history has had to completely carry a franchise quite like McClane has. Atlas himself thinks McClane had to carry a lot of weight in the last, like, four Die Hards. That’s too much to overlook. I’m not saying Wick can never be number one, he can. But in order to dethrone the king? That’ll take something special.

We Need to Bring Back Last Name Only Movie Posters

After watching Triple Frontier the other day I went through my typical review prep, which primarily consists of Googling “X Movie Poster,” and this image came across my field of vision:


I cannot tell you how happy it made me. No, not because everyone is lined up with their name. Not because of the nice use of negative space. Not because it’s just five actors that I like and that all look like combinations of the other actors on the poster. It’s because they went Last Name Only.

Last Name Only movie posters are a lost art; a relic of the mid-90s when every movie had at least two action stars headlining. A reminder of a time when 48% of a movie’s budget was spent on explosions. Take a look at this and tell me it doesn’t make you 100% more pumped up to see Double Team:


I just love this whole aesthetic, man. Every single Last Name Only poster is for a movie about someone who was the best at what he did and now just wants to be left alone, getting the crew back together for one last job, two opposites teaming up to fight a common enemy, or, most likely, some combination of the three (Triple Frontier had elements of the first two throughout). It’s funny, it’s badass, it’s absurdly self-serious and over-the-top but also self-aware, it’s my favorite movie poster trope.

Not everyone can pull it off, however. You wouldn’t see a movie if the poster said, like, CERA and EISENBERG. There’s gotta be some oomph to it. Wesley Snipes went through a nice little LNO run-




Al Pacino got in the mix with the rare Non-Action Movie LNO:



Alpha move going LNO but having Sean Penn’s full name on the bottom.

But, of course, it’s all about the Big Three. JCVD, Arnold, and Sly. Sly invented it and quickly passed it on to his friends. Just look at some of these beauties:






JCVD flat-out refused to put his full name on his posters and I respect it so much.






Arnold going LNO ten thousand times and never going with the easier to spell Arnold is the ultimate power move.


The original LNO





No idea how Tango & Cash wasn’t LNO. Massive missed opportunity.

As you can see, LNO movie posters are the pinnacle of movie poster design. It’s not a coincidence that the LNO era was also the Golden Age of tag lines. I suppose we don’t see much LNO anymore because it reached its natural conclusion with Expendables and Expendables 2:



But the first era of LNO posters ending just means it’s time for the second era to begin. I think Affleck is the best candidate to take over and drag us into the new age. He’s got the perfect combination of distinctive name, distinctive look, and no real aspirations for higher art (at least not anymore). Oscar Isaac flirts too much with Oscar movies to fully commit to LNO life, and the other three just aren’t big enough. Gotta be Affleck. Triple Frontier was the first step. Now he just needs to build on it. Team up with Matt Damon again and go LNO. Make a couple action movies over the next five or six years and go LNO. Soon enough, it’ll be back in style. Just have to keep it away from Dylan O’Brien.

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