Mob Mentality

Hey all,

This Train has been working full time lately so you’ll have to excuse me if this blog is hastily written. I was watching game 4 of the LeBron-Bulls series and since it was a blowout, I figured I’d get a quick blog post in before bed.

In this Train’s day-to-day life, certain travesties occur. I’m sure travesties happen to everyone, but I’m convinced that I’m exposed to more travesties than most due to the fact that I hang around with a guy who goes by the name of GC. Most of these travesties go unremarked, but certain times I feel the need to comment, or in more extreme cases write a blog about them.

You may ask, what was this latest GC travesty that could awaken a sleeping train from his blogging hiatus?

If you’ve logged onto Facebook or Twitter in the past couple of weeks or if you don’t live under a rock, you’re probably aware that the NHL playoffs are in full swing. This is all well and good. I’m personally not very interested in the NHL, though I probably know more about the league than most supposed fans due to my participation and hence, domination in fantasy hockey every season. Either way, the NHL has been carrying on and I haven’t been unduly bothered by the dramatic increase of updates clogging up my Facebook and Twitter feeds.

My problem is with fans of teams who refer to those teams as if they actually contribute to the success of their teams. I noticed this a few years ago. At first, I thought it was simply a blatant grammatical error. However, I began to realize that people actually intended to refer to their favourite teams in the first person plural. The last straw broke the other night when GC said something along the lines of “We’re moving on to the second round. Yea buddy!” I remember wondering, “What kind of league is GC playing in this time of year that has a second round?” I soon realized that he was referring to the Ottawa Senators- a team that he doesn’t play for the last time I checked.

Did GC have a profound misunderstanding of the English language or was this an intentional misstep to pretend that he was somehow a member of this hockey club? Unfortunately, it turned out to be the latter.

So, what’s wrong with referring to an NHL team using the term “we”?  Well for one, “we” implies that GC contributes something to the hockey team. Problem is… he doesn’t. For one, his connection as a fan is tenuous at best. I can’t even remember why he likes them, it’s not like he’s from there and Ottawa is a pretty random team to cheer for. They’ve never even won a Stanley Cup (sorry GC the one from 1927 doesn’t count). My conclusion is it’s pretty much the ultimate hipster team to cheer for if you live in NL. Pretty much everyone else in NL cheers for either the Habs or the Leafs with a couple of Bruins fans piping up every now and again. Anyone who cheers for any other team is essentially a hipster. If you’re familiar with GC’s fashion sense or unnecessary record collection in an age of digital music, it shouldn’t surprise you that GC also fits in the hipster hockey fan category.

But more importantly, people shouldn’t take credit for another organization’s accomplishments. Fact of the matter is, the Ottawa Senator players, coaching staff, and head office don’t know who GC is. He doesn’t impact the performance of the team in any way. Why he would refer to these strangers in the first person plural is beyond me.

For as much as I like to hate on GC, this isn’t a misstep that is unique to him. I’ve found it quite common in fans. In fact, it leads me into a larger issue that has bewildered me for a while now. That issue is team fandom in general. Perhaps this should be saved for another day, but I’ll briefly tackle it here.

Why do people cheer for teams? Take for example the Toronto Maple Leafs, who, as I write this, just collapsed in a game 7. Although it was the first round, the starved fans of that team were acting as if it was game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Perhaps a better question is this: Why do people stand by terrible organizations? Fans of these teams stand by their organizations stoically, while at the same time criticizing terrible management moves. The worst is when people cheer a player night in and night out, and then boo that same player because he gets traded to another team. It’s a mob mentality that I can’t seem to figure out.

Why not cheer exclusively for your favourite players? You can root for a player’s toughness, commitment to his teammates, his athletic abilities, etc. With an organization, you are stuck with the players that organization drafts, signs, and trades for. So when I hear Toronto fans criticizing the latest GM for a terrible move, I wonder, why are they cheering for that team? Keeping Toronto as the example, is the Maple Leaf logo that cool? Is the brand that compelling?

When someone asks me who my team is, I’m like “LeBron” or to a lesser extent “Crosby.” This is because I’ve seen these players play and I understand their commitment to excellence in their respective sports. When LeBron likely leaves Miami in 2014, why would I ever waste my time cheering for an empty team brand that will follow in the steps of Cleveland in 2010 and fight for a chance at the lottery? Instead, when you are a fan of a player, you are not putting down unnecessary ties to organizations. You have the ability to cheer for your favourite player, no matter what team he plays for. You are not left at the mercy of faceless executives making business decisions behind closed doors.

Let’s get real. In the end, it’s not the name on the front of the jersey that counts; it’s the one on the back.

I’ll leave you with a clip from Seinfeld that sums up some of my beef:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WSD6Y2YWj4

Shout out to Nick Leamon for the find.

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Top 20 Video Games of ALL TIME

Super Smash Bros

This post is in response to a mailbag question I got before Christmas. I realize I’m slacking on my blog post frequency but I don’t think people understand the effort and skill required to produce my well-articulated views.

Now I have to admit that even though I’m going to go ahead and make this list and proclaim it as gospel, I may or may not be slightly under qualified to comment on the top 20 video games of all time. This is especially true when you compare my experience in the industry to my most avid critic, Graham Campbell (GC). This is a guy who adopted his Xbox gamer tag as his actual name. This is a guy who first saw the sun in 2005 when I went down to his basement and dragged his pale, 120 pound, 6’4 frame up the stairs and onto a tennis court where I proceeded to mercilessly beat him in straight sets (as is my custom). This is a guy who needed three TVs in his “gaming lair” for three different eras of gaming. Sorry if I’m belabouring the point, but you have to understand that this guy takes his gaming seriously.

On the other hand, I view myself as a casual gamer who only has time to play the best games available. I would therefore argue that in comparison to a guy like GC, I have a better perspective to say what games are the best because I only save time for the best. That means I’m not going to be wasting time playing obscure hipster video games that only a handful of people have even heard of. On a side note, the reason why I hate hipsters is because mainstream things such as video games are mainstream for a reason. They are better than other video games. It follows logically that hipsters tend to like inferior products in general. So GC will probably criticize this list because I didn’t include the special edition of some game he played on his Nokia phone in 2007. Please don’t be fooled by his outlandish opinions. This dude wears a scarf in July.

Sorry for getting a little side-tracked. Here is my top-20 list:

  1. Super Smash Bros N64

Tough choice, but Smash Bros comes in at number one with a resounding FALCON PUNCH. It says something about the quality of a game when you can pick it up 15 years after it’s release and enjoy it just as much as when it came out.

2. Starcraft (Brood War)  (PC)

It was highly debatable as to whether this game should occupy the number 1 spot. Released in 1997, this RTS legend was notorious for it’s competitive multiplayer featuring a trio of balanced races (Protoss, Terran, and Zerg). It went on to become a national sport in South Korea and professional Starcraft tournaments are still played 15 years later. I started playing the game when I was 13 years old and I was an instant prodigy. My account name was feared and respected. All you had to do was /stats me and you would immediately quit the game and re-evaluate your life. Honourable mention: Warcraft 3.

3.   Black Ops (Xbox 360)

Treyarch has to be the best gaming company ever. Black Ops provided gamers with the best map of the Call of Duty Series: Nuketown as well as an unrivalled Zombie mode.

4. Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas (PS2)

I know some might think I should put Grand Theft Auto III in this spot as it was the first of the re-up’d GTA series, but you have to remember just because a game was classic as a pioneer, this doesn’t mean it is by necessity better than it’s successors. I remember when San Andreas was released in 2005, I was in grade 10 and I played the game non-stop. I was racing my friend Charlie Kelly to see who could beat the game first. I won of course, although I may have had some help when his Mom grounded him and banned his PS2. Who gets grounded in grade 10 anyways?

5. Golden Eye (N64)

As can be seen from the recent decline in the quality of the Bond movies, Golden Eye is a very apt name for a magnificent game released in the “golden age” of the Bond series. This was a time when Pierce Brosnan was bossing it up on the movie scene and gamers were experiencing an all new level of greatness with the video game.

6. Mariokart (N64)

Don’t need to say much here, everyone loves Mariokart.

7. Red Faction 2 (PS2)

When you can recite the red faction speech by heart, you know you’ve played the game maybe a bit too much. I went on a quest to find this game this past summer and ended up paying $25.00 for it. This was quite pricey for a 2002 PS2 game but it’s ok because it was funded by tax payers. Either way the high price only speaks to its greatness and timelessness. Snipers only 4 man multiplayer on the same map. Over and over again.

8. San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (N64)

Rush was my favourite racing game of all time. Except Mariokart. Don’t know what else to say about this one. Sick game.

9. Pac-man (Arcade)

I didn’t do much Pacman gaming growing up, but I remember playing the arcade version in 2009 when I was at summer camp in the States. One of the most addicting games ever. I was supposed to be watching kids any time I was playing this but let’s be honest I had one goal and one goal only- get the high score. I’d draw a crowd around the machine anyways with ridiculous reflexes and dexterity on the joy stick.

10. Pokemon Snap (N64)

This pick might generate a bit of controversy, but in it’s heyday Pokemon Snap was untouchable. The one knock against it is that it was a game that was pretty boring after the first few times completing it. But yall gotta remember the thrill of getting that gem photo of Charzard the first time around. I still have chills.

11. Doom II : Hell on Earth (PC)

Now I admit, even though I’m normally against classic games or movies being considered “the best” by virtue of the stigma attached to them as classics, I have to make an exception for this one. Doom II was released in 1992 and it was a ground-breaking first person shooter. My Dad’s friend hooked me up with a bootleg copy when I was like 4 and it was at this early age that I started blowing away countless monsters with the big plasma gun. That game was so influential to my youth that I still remember the cheat codes from all those years ago.

12. Worms Armageddon

This game was sick on pretty much any console. Who doesn’t like controlling a team of worms with various types of explosives.

13.  Perfect Dark (N64)

Pretty much the same as Golden Eye except maybe better. I’d have to play both of them again to make a proper call but for the purposes of this post I’m just gonna give Goldeneye the benefit of the doubt.

14. Road Rash (N64)

This game was a staple of my N64 gaming days. Racing around on motorcycles hitting other drivers with whatever weapon happened to be around. Classic.

15. Socom II (PS2)

Socom was really the first great online multiplayer first person shooter. Armed with a microphone and PS2’s revolutionary network adapter, I have fond memories of the 12 year-old version of myself chirping 25 year olds after running train on them. Now I’m coming up on 25 and I realize how annoying those little kids are. Thank God for the mute button.

16. Mortal Kombat Trilogy (N64)

BRUTALITY. Although it had successful predecesors on more antiquated gaming consoles, Mortal Kombat had a major breakthrough on N64. With ridiculous end of fight brutalities and fatalities, a diverse array of assault combinations for each character, Mortal Kombat was an unreal 1v1 fighting game.

17. Street Fighter (Super Nintendo)

Another solid 1v1 fighter, this was on multiple consoles but most notably on Super Nintendo. I don’t have many Super Nintendo games on here so Street Fighter is gonna have to represent.

18. Mario Party 2  (N64)

The entire Mario Party series was unreal, but I’m putting number 2 on this list because it didn’t destroy your controller by requiring you to rotate it as fast as possible during the mini-games.

19. NBA Street (PS2)

This game followed up the era of the Hangtimes and the NBA Jams. It combined the ridiculous goaltending and checking abilities of Hangtime with new and improved graphics and a seamlessly integrated physics engine. The Yetti character was a bit unfair but whatever.

20. NFL Blitz 2002 (PS2)

This game is remembered for it’s late hits once a player was already on the ground. I’m not a huge football fan, so I appreciated the ridiculousness aspect of this one as opposed to what was probably some questionable game mechanics as far as the sport itself is concerned. Basically, Madden can suck it. Blitz is where it’s at.

Roundup: Thanks for reading, this post was longer than usual but I hope it helps anyone out there who is looking for some solid games. People might complain that some overrated games like Zelda and Halo aren’t on here but those games are simply dust. The Halo series pisses me off because you have to unload a clip into a player to kill them. I know they are trying to be futuristic with crazy shields, but guess what Halo, the guns advance in lethalness too. As for Zelda I never played it so it’s probably garbage.

Train out.

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Review of Skyfall and Mailbag

Alright guys, it’s been a while since I put up a post. I believe the last one was my Apple Care analysis where I concluded that anyone who buys it must be as whack as my friend Josh Whelan. I mean check out these pants he bought:

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Hipster man. I mean do you really want to be buying the same phone warranty plan as this guy? I sure don’t. 

Meanwhile, a few loyal fans reached out to me recently and convinced me to do a mailbag this week. I’ll take questions from loyal viewers. You can submit them by getting an account on wordpress or inboxing me or just posting in the comments.

A few of the questions I expect are: “Why is LeBron the greatest basketball player of all time?” and “What do you think about this upcoming movie?” So go for it, I consider myself  a valuable resource for those of you who may have questions about life in general.

For today, I figure I’ll leave you with a few thoughts I have on some recent movies that have come out:

Skyfall- Look I know it got 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately Rotten Tomatoes has a contagion effect on the masses. The few hipsters who are registered members of Rotten Tomatoes are out to lunch. I’ve seen some of the greatest movies of all time (yes even those part of the infamous top 30 list posted in an early blog entry) listed at under 50% on that godforsaken website. That’s annoying, but I’m over it. However, what happens when a bad movie gets rated super high? Everyone who goes to see it hears that the movie is great. The problem is, in their minds, they already seek to validate the popular opinion before they sit in their seats. They think, “Hey I had better get on the bandwagon for this movie or people will think I have bad taste in movies.” It’s unfortunate but true.

Well, last week I went to see what all the fuss was about for Skyfall and though I did enjoy the movie, it was no 93 %. The movie tried to take a dark tone similar in some respects to the Dark Knight Rises and portray James Bond as a fallible aging hero. I appreciate that, but whatever director did the Bond movie, you ain’t no Chris Nolan! Instead, the producers lost track of what made it one of the most thrilling action series of all time. With their focus on Bond’s frailty, there was all of a sudden less Bond dominance to go around. That means less Bond kills. I only saw the movie once, but by my unofficial yet probably accurate count, he dispatched only about 15 dudes in three battle scenes… and that’s being generous. In stark contrast, the Pierce Brosnan days would give the viewers at least 30 Bond kills per movie. Here’s the source for Bond kills over the years: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/datablog/2012/oct/05/james-bond-bodycount-deaths

There is shocking and concerning decline in Bond kills and I think it needs to be rectified. Now I know the Brosnan movies weren’t ever as good as the new ones, but that’s probably because those movies took place in the 90’s, and as we all know new movies are almost always going to be better than their older counterparts. I mean look at Star Wars!

One more thing about Skyfall, the battle scene at the end wasn’t epic at all. When I first heard the title was Skyfall, I took it literally and said “The final scene had better be on air force one or something else epic.” But no, instead we the viewer were treated to a PG rated home alone scene. Bond and his boss “M” go back to his old house in the middle of nowhere (conveniently) and they team up with his random caretaker that happened to be chilling in a corner of the house for 30 years or so. Armed with some explosives that also happened to be chilling in the house and two old rifles they set a bunch of traps in the house for the enemy and his thugs to come in. I was seriously waiting for Macaulay Culkin to come out of nowhere and start laying traps. Cool story Bond producers.

Anyway they fight off all the thugs and eventually the movie forgets that it was supposed to be focusing on Bond’s frailty and then he falls in a frozen lake and fights to the death with another guy and eventually wins. He’s down there for about five minutes yet he surfaces and gets out like he’s not even cold. Not to mention he got shot with a uranium bullet and fell off a train into a water fall and survived no problem at the beginning of the movie. He then proceeded to do chin ups with bullet fragments still in him. Now I don’t want to harp on the unrealistic aspect of the movie too much. Even though it might be unrecognizable, it is a Bond movie after all. I’m just asking for a little consistency with the focus of the movie. 

Alright I was planning on doing some more movies but I guess I got a little carried away with Skyfall. My final rating for that movie by the way was 77%. It was MEH.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers in this post. I’m putting this at the end because I want you to read the spoilers and save yourself the hassle of going to cinemas to see this piece. It’s worthy only of a free download when the dvd rip eventually becomes available. Piracy 4 lyfe.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a new addition to the top 30. It’s called “Django Unchained” and it comes out over Christmas. I know I haven’t seen it yet but trust me, I don’t have to. This looks sick. And Leo’s in it.

Back to the main point of this post: mail time- send me questions. I got answers. Boom. 

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Applecare: Train to the Rescue

Alright guys this post is going to address the new iPhone 5, but more specifically the choice all consumers are faced with: To buy or not to buy applecare +?

This whole issue started for me when I was talking to my friend and long time Apple fan boy Josh Whelan. We were discussing the newly released iPhone 5 and we both agreed that it was an unreal phone that blows away everything else on the market. Now, Josh has been waiting for this phone for about 22 years. He’s been rocking a cracked screen 3gs since the dawn of time and he’s been excitedly anticipating the announcement of the iPhone 5. I’m pretty sure he thought it was coming two years ago but at last he is only now getting vindication.

Our disagreement began when I asked him if he would be purchasing Applecare +. I suspected he might be because he’s such an Apple fan boy that he is likely to purchase anything Apple puts out, even if it is a financially nonsensical extended warranty plan. Our conversation went a little like this:

Mark: That’s awesome that you’ve got the iPhone 5 pre-ordered. I assume you got suckered into buying Applecare +. That would only be typical.

Josh: What man?! Applecare + is so good! I’m not sure why? It’s an apple product so it must be worth buying!

Mark: You have a lot to learn Josh. Applecare + is a money grab. As an economist, you should have some consumer common sense. I guess theory isn’t applicable in the real world after all.

Josh: Whatever mannn. I broke my 3gs twice and I got a replacement no problem.

Mark: Oh yeah, I forgot you have bricks for hands. Perhaps Applecare + is a good deal for you.

After that conversation, I realized that it was up to me to research this topic further and help save many of my friends hundreds of dollars. You see, I intuitively knew that Applecare+ was for suckers without knowing much about it at all. I do realize that I’m one of the very few who have this ability to recognize bad deals. I apologize that I may be too late if you have already pre-ordered an iPhone 5 and made the unwise choice of buying Applecare+.

Here’s the deal, the iPhone 5 costs bones. You can get it for $199 on a three year contract if I’m not mistaken. The thing costs between 700-900 dollars without one. Doesn’t really matter though, it beats the Galaxy S3 by a long shot and it has made major improvements over the 4s. However, the cost and performance of the phone aren’t really the issues here. The issue is whether or not you should buy Applecare+ to go along with the iPhone. As you can probably guess from the preamble, the answer in most cases is most definitely not.

Applecare + costs $100. What does it do? It extends the 1-year warranty of the phone to 2 years. Sounds like an alright deal on a 700 dollar phone right? Wrong. The thing is, Apple has what’s called an “out of warranty replacement fee” of $200. So if you do not have Applecare + and you are beyond your one year warranty and you break your phone, you get a new one for only $200. If you are foolish enough to buy Applecare+ and you break your phone, you still have to pay a $50 replacement fee.

So let’s break this down even further. If you do manage to break your phone in the time period between one-two years after purchase date, then you are essentially paying $150 to get that phone back (with Applecare+). If you don’t get Applecare+, it will cost you $200 in the same scenario. Now I’m not sure about you, but I’ll risk paying that $50 to get a replacement phone because the chance that I’m going to save a $100 by not getting Applecare+ is far greater than the chance that I’ll save the $50 if I do.

I also have never dropped anything in my life, so the choice for me is that much clearer. If you are like my friend Josh, and you couldn’t hold on to an object to save your life, then maybe you should go for those potential $50 savings.

I’m happy to answer any questions to clarify this matter. I’ll also note that the above info was taken from the first link on google so the numbers may be slightly off. If anyone knows of any extra incentive to buy Applecare+ that I’m not aware of I would like to hear it. I’ll still take it and spin it to agree with my point of view, but I don’t want to leave out any evidence.

 

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A Train’s Take on the 2012 Olympic Games

At the behest of numerous fans, I’ve decided to buckle in for 20 minutes and bang out another brilliant blog post. Today, I’m going to discuss the Olympics.

I’m going to work my way backwards and discuss the incredibly boring and dragged out closing ceremonies. It was a celebration of British culture without a doubt and it was clearly in a different ballpark than the Vancouver 2010 closing/opening acts. Problem was, if you weren’t a Briton, or a musician, you probably had no idea what was going on half the time, or who the musicians were. Spice Girls were dope, don’t get me wrong and so was the John Lennon face. But unfortunately, outside of a few dazzling lights mounted on each stadium seat, the show was quite MEH.

I will note that everyone else seemed to love the ceremonies, so I could be just annoyed about the idea that there were very few rappers on the go. I think that dude Taio Cruz performed dynamite, which was in fact quite dynamite. I didn’t even watch the whole ceremonies anyways because I was falling asleep due to boredom.

On to the games themselves, which contained quite a few interesting storylines. I won’t go through them all, but we can all agree that Usain Bolt’s defense of the 100m and 200m was probably the biggest accomplishment. Some might point to Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian but as much as I love dominant American athletes like Phelps, I’m calling bullshit on this one. You should never be able to win 8 gold medals in one sport like he did in Beijing and 22 medals in three Olympics. It’s just straight up whack.

I don’t mind Bolt winning three medals (the 100m, 200m and the 400m relay), because I can understand different distances being different events. Swimming on the other hand………. They have 34 events for swimming (17 male and 17 female). Gymnastics is another monster altogether with 18 events but let’s focus on the devil at hand.

In swimming, why in the hell don’t they just do different distances of freestyle. Who cares if some dude can backstroke faster than other people. We should only be interested in wondering who can make it the fastest from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. If the swimming community wants to worry about the breast stroke, the backstroke and the doggie paddle, they can award medals in their own events outside of the Olympics for these techniques of swimming. The way it stands right now, these ridiculous amounts of events are skewing the medal counts. When people are like hey how’s Canada doing in the medal count? I answer, “probably terrible, it’s Canada but I don’t care anyways because the medal count is stupid.” They might as well ask who’s doing the best in swimming because that’s how bad the allocation of medals is right now.

Now I know I might sound a little biased because I’m a basketball fan and basketball only gets one medal per team. Same with soccer and other team sports. I understand that, but if we’re going to have 34 events for one sport, why don’t we start making a three-point competition for basketball, a dunk competition, and a skills competition. Might as well throw in slamball for good measure.

One more thing about swimming. Look at track once again. To parallel the backstroke of swimming, why don’t we get Usain Bolt to run backwards in different distances to see if he can add a few more medals to his trophy case? How about skipping? See what I mean guys? The Olympic medal count is whack.

I’m going to clue this up by saying that I enjoyed the Olympics. Especially where I’ve been slightly less busy than many of you this summer, it was great to be able to throw on waterpolo or white water rafting or even trampoline (something I personally have some experience in) or some other ridiculous sport that is cared about once every four years (and for good reason). Ok I’ve got to be honest I basically only watched the men’s U.S basketball games and Usain Bolt’s races, but it was fun nonetheless. The other “sports” were on t.v but it’s hard to watch bys run a triathlon or go canoeing. Gets a little monotonous.

Can’t wait for the winter Olympics, only joking I can because the winter Olympics are ten times worse than the summer Olympics. Only the privileged few with access to multi-million dollar facilities can get into the skeleton race, and the same goes for multiple other events that I don’t care to mention right now. I know I never had a luge track when I was growing up. I could and probably would have been dominant though.

Alright, as always I could keep ranting about more and more stuff but I have a busy day today. I have to take my dog for a walk and get my Call of Duty MW3 fixed at E.B games at some point. Come to think of it, these activities might as well be thrown in the Olympics. It seems pretty arbitrary the way the I.O.C picks sporting medal events.

Thanks for tuning in folks. As always comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Train out.

 

 

 

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Mark Train’s Top 30 Greatest Movies of All Time

Hey all, again apologies on the large gaps between blog posts. I’ve been getting a lot of people coming up to me (some strangers) wondering when my next blog post is coming. Some have expressed their obsession with my writing and have even contemplated suicide because of the absence of new Mark Train blog content in the past couple of months. In response to this alarming situation that my blog has created, I have decided to write a post criticizing misconceptions about movies.

I consider myself an avid movie fan, and I can normally tell from a preview if a movie is going to be terrible, mediocre, or sick. Though I do no watch movies often, I can say with confidence that I have seen every great movie ever made. This is because I have an uncanny ability to judge a movie before viewing it and this has helped me filter through the wasteland of classic and critically acclaimed movies. This way, I generally view movies that I deem worthy of my time.

The other day, a peculiar website called IMDB was brought to my attention. For those who aren’t familiar with IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) this website contains profiles and criticisms of just about every movie in the book. It has a notorious top 250 movie list which is determined through voting by the general public. So, this blog post is not necessarily addressing IMDB (as its list is democratically generated), it is criticizing a poor misconception that old classic movies make the best movies of all time. They don’t. I strongly encourage you to avoid jumping on the old classic movie bandwagon. The purpose of this post is to dispel any notion that movies such as Schindler’s list should be anywhere near the top 1000 of all time, let alone the top 10. Just because a movie is made in black and white and it addresses a serious issue does not make it one of the all time greats.

The idea of classifying old and boring movies as some of the best ever has stunned me in recent weeks. For example, I sat through “Reservoir Dogs” last weekend at my friend Graham Campbell’s house.  He announced his collection of movies, and upon announcing “Reservoir Dogs,” someone was like oh that’s a sick classic movie, one of the best of all time. The majority of the young men in the room gradually and somewhat hesitantly followed suit and were like “Oh sick let’s watch Reservoir Dogs.”

I was looking around in disbelief and noted in each and every person’s eyes a depressed tint. I took this to mean they were only endorsing Reservoir Dogs because it is critically acclaimed and widely accepted as a “great” movie. To say or think otherwise would make them an outcast.

Now, those who know me understand that I will never jump on a bandwagon for the sake of jumping on. Never afraid to try saving the day, I voiced my opinion about how bad the movie was going to be (though I had never seen it and with good reason).

Alas, my attempts were in vain. It became clear that we were about to sit through one of the most boring movies of all time. Deep down, everyone else who had seen the movie before knew it was true; however they were too caught up in the idea that society had established this movie as “great” and they should feel the same.

The ensuing two hours were among the most boring of my life.

I apologize for going on a bit of a tangent. This blog post was not meant to be a criticism of Reservoir Dogs, I was merely attempting to illustrate a phenomenon that is very real and very annoying; just because society elevates a classic movie as “great,” does not make it so. In the 21st century, people should enjoy movies that incorporate the technological advancements of our time.

Another quick example is the idea that any of the original Star Wars movies are better than the latest one, Revenge of the Sith. Nonsense, Revenge of the Sith was one of the greatest movies ever and completely blows its predecessors out of the water, or out of space, as it were.

The link for the IMDB’s disgraceful top 250 is here: http://www.imdb.com/chart/top

Among many, many questions one might ask “How was Gladiator not number 1?” A valid question and something I rectify in my own top 30 list (250 was a bit much) below:

  1. Gladiator
  2. The Patriot
  3. Troy
  4. Bourne Ultimatum
  5. Revenge of the Sith
  6. Spiderman
  7. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc
  8. Xmen- First Class
  9. Batman: The Dark Knight
  10. Inception
  11. Star Trek (2009)
  12. Scarface
  13. Saving Private Ryan
  14. Inglorious Basterds
  15. Lion King
  16. Braveheart
  17. The Last Samurai
  18. The Departed
  19. The Matrix
  20. Never Back Down
  21. Forest Gump
  22. Bad Boys 2
  23. Fight Club
  24. Day After Tomorrow
  25. LOTR- Return of the King
  26. Get Rich or Die Trying
  27. 8 Mile
  28. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  29. Rocky 4
  30. Independence Day

As usual all comments and questions are welcome. I’m open to other movies I may have forgotten to include on this list but chances are I’ll shoot down most suggestions.

And don’t worry, a LeBron post is coming. I’m currently in the process of speaking with NBA insiders and uncovering a conspiracy by David Stern and his cronies to prevent LeBron from winning the title.

Stay tuned.

3 Comments

Supertaskers

I just gotta throw something out here that a few of you may find somewhat surprising.

“For 2.5 % of the population, driving while talking on a cell phone is just as safe and possibly safer than driving without one.”

What kind of ridiculousness is this you may ask?

Well I have found a reputable supporting article to this claim that you can read here: http://bit.ly/ihpVBI

In summary, this research study conducted at the University of Utah claims that approximately 2.5 % of the population can be classified as “supertaskers.” Among other things, supertaskers can drive while talking on a cell phone and experience no ill effects as far as reflexes and concentration are concerned.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Watson and Strayer assessed the performance of 200 Utah undergraduates single-tasking simulated freeway driving, and again while simultaneously “driving” and holding a cell phone conversation in which they memorized words and did math problems.

When talking while driving, the non-supertaskers took 20 percent longer to hit the brakes, and following distances rose 30 percent as drivers failed to keep pace with the simulated traffic. Memory performance declined 11 percent, and ability to do simple math problems fell by three percent. However, supertaskers displayed no change in their normal braking times, following distances, or math ability, and their memory abilities actually improved three percent.

Interestingly, the supertaskers’ performance on single tasks also was markedly superior to that of the run-of-the-mill H. sapiens.”

Now, I realize that this is just one source, and some of my avid critics may be quick to reference countless sources that point to the dangers of talking on a cell phone while driving. In turn, I must point out that I agree with these sources and the idea that talking on a cell phone is dangerous… Just not for people like me. Not for supertaskers.

In stark contrast to the average Joe, I find that I become a safer driver when talking on a cell phone. The phone provides me with a distraction and prevents me from creating my own distractions when bored while driving. For example, I am less likely to speed when a cell phone conversation is keeping me occupied, while my concentration on the road and reflexes remain unhindered.

Now I must reiterate, please do not interpret these facts as an assurance that it is safe to talk on a phone and drive. There is a 39/40 chance that this is not the case, so please take the necessary precaution of prohibiting the use of a phone while driving.

Meanwhile I’ll continue talking away and choo chooing all day every day.

1 Comment