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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Is Mamma Mia 2 the Greatest Movie Sequel of All Time?

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So I saw Mamma Mia 2 over the weekend. Loved it. Love me some ABBA. Love musicals of any kind, really. But I’m totally sucked into the Mamma Mia-verse. I’m blasting ABBA all day and night. I’m dreaming of trips to fictional Greek islands. I’m falling in love with the cast. Hey, Lily James, I hear you like overweight guys with no money or self-esteem, ‘sup? You should take a chance on me (that’s an ABBA joke, folks). I briefly wondered which of the Big Three I’d be before realizing that, in both looks and personality, I’m nearly identical to young Bill.

Who’s who? I certainly can’t tell. I loved it so much I’m researching how much money it would take to purchase the IP rights to the franchise so I can start my own Jukebox Musical Cinematic Universe (look out for It’s My Life, the angsty coming-of-age story of a New Jersey teen struggling to connect with his new stepfather, featuring the music of Bon Jovi, in 2021). More than anything, though, it’s got me wondering where it ranks among the best movie sequels of all time. Gotta be near the top. I knew I needed to parse it out. Now, before we get started, there are some important qualifiers we need to add. First, this is second movies, only. No part threes, no Episode Sevens, only direct sequels. This was mostly a way to keep myself from putting Fast 5-8 as the top sequels and also narrow the field a little. Second, this only counts movies I’ve seen. Now, I’ve seen a lot of movies, but, sadly, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials didn’t make the cut for that reason. Third, while ranking individual pieces of any art form inherently defeats the purpose and robs them of their artistic value while also ignoring the different effects they have on each person, you should just assume that my word is law, here. Trust me, I know better than you. I thought about ranking every sequel ever made from 1-89,371, I decided to shorten it a little bit. Without further ado, the Official Top Ten Movie Sequels Ever Made:

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10. 2 Fast 2 Furious

I’ll be honest, 2 Fast 2 Furious isn’t that good, but it would be really off-brand if I didn’t include a Fast and Furious movie in my top 10. Think of this as a stand-in for the greatness that comes later in the series (yes, I realize how stupid it is to include a movie I don’t like all that much because of my own self-imposed, arbitrary rule. You don’t need to tell me).

Rating: 🚘🚘🚘🚘🚘

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9. Pokémon The Movie 2000

I’m probably too concerned with my personal #brand at the moment, but who cares? Even though I’m on record as a Pokémon show h8r, I’ve spent too many words on the Pokémon universe not to include this in the ranking. Probably couldn’t tell you what the plot of this movie is or why Ash and Pikachu are the only ones who can save the day, but Lugia is always money and the opening short was high quality. There’s so many terrible sequels out there, anyway, so what’s one more wasted darkhorse pick?

Rating: 🔴⚪️🔴⚪️🔴⚪️

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8. The Expendables 2

Just one of the most preposterous movie franchises ever made. In one of the greatest strokes of genius in Hollywood history, Sly Stallone decided to create a universe with every old action hero that’s still alive plus Jason Statham plus some random other guys and make himself the star. The plot isn’t that deep, but you know what? It’s pure. These are movies made for action movie junkies, and you can feel the genuine passion they put in. The Willis-Arnold airport scene will go down in history.

Rating: 💣💣💣💣💣💣💣💣

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7. Godfather Part II

Listen, Godfather 2 is amazing. One of the greatest movies ever made. I prefer it to the first. But it just shows how deep the top part of this list is. Plus, the entire second act is a slog and my attention span isn’t good enough to make it through all the trial scenes and understand all of it.

Rating: 🛶🛶🛶🛶🛶🛶🛶🛶🛶

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6. Toy Story 2

If you ever really want to get in your feelings, watch a Toy Story movie after going through puberty. Essentially (I think) an ode to parenthood, the fact that a children’s movie franchise has its main characters constantly fear no longer being useful and being outgrown by the person they’ve dedicated their lives to is pretty heavy stuff. Also, I had a pretty sweet Zurg toy when I was a kid, so I’m pretty biased.

Rating: 🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠

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5. The Dark Knight

It just celebrated its anniversary, so I’m sure you’ve seen various takes floating around the internet in the last week or so. In recent years it’s become the In thing to try and pick this (and all the Nolan Batman movies) apart and point out the flaws and make it sound bad purely because everyone likes it and the Internet is a stupid place. Don’t listen to them. This movie rules. One of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had and spent a long time as My Favorite Movie. It’s not perfect, but unless you’re actively trying to not enjoy it to show everyone how cool you are, it’s a blast.

Rating: 🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇🦇

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4. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

I dare you, I dare you not to come out of this movie with a smile on your face. It’s impossible. So many dynamite songs, so many dynamite dances. If you actually go into Mamma Mia 2 concerned about the plot you’re missing the point entirely. The plot only exists to shepherd us from one musical number to the next, and each one is better than the last. Cher is a legend, Andy Garcia is a legend, everyone involved with this picture is a legend. (Mamma Mia 2 Song Power Ranking: 1. Fernando 2. Why Did it Have to Be Me? 3. Dancing Queen 4. I’ve Been Waiting For You 5. My Love, My Life)

Rating: 🤰🤰🤰🤰🤰🤰🤰🤰🤰

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3. The Empire Strikes Back

Decent movie. The best Star Wars movie IMO and probably the most culturally important, Episode V is nearly a perfect movie. Not much else to say about it, really.

Rating: ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

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2. Lord of the Rings The Two Towers

I’m a LOTR stan. I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. I’m not who I am today without LOTR. Two Towers would be on this list no matter what because of that, but guess what? It’s one of the best movies ever made, and it’s not even the best in the series. The Uruk-hai “I’m starving” scene (the real ones can recite the entire thing from memory. Or maybe that’s just me) is one of the greatest ever committed to film. Helm’s Deep is the G.O.A.T. battle, and Treebeard is the G.O.A.T. tree. Only a truly iconic movie could prevent this from being the top second movie of all time.

Rating: 🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼🗼

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1. John Wick Chapter 2

There was never any doubt.

Rating: 🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯

So, to answer my question, no, Mamma Mia 2 is not the greatest sequel of all time. But number four ain’t half bad. Movie sequels are often bad and rarely original, but the good ones are pretty darn good. This may come as a shock to everyone, but there’s a lot of quality movies out there, so picking the top ten in any movie list is harder than it should be. What I’m saying is if I didn’t mention your favorite sequel don’t get #MadOnline about it. Get better taste. And try to tell me Mamma Mia 2 isn’t the most fun movie ever.

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