All posts by Jesse

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The Top 20 Best Movies of 2017

As Marisa will mention in an upcoming podcast, last year felt like it was about seventeen goddamn years long, but that doesn’t mean we shied away from the challenge of combing through the approximately one million 2017 releases to determine which, of this year’s many fine offerings (finer than what the year had to offer in general, for sure) constituted the 20 best movies of the year. Regular SportsAlcohol.com Film Gang Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, and Jesse each submitted individual Top 20 lists which were aggregated into a single Top 20 which featured relatively few movies with four-for-four list support (about 25%, I believe) but plenty of movies that got two or three of us way on board (unlike past years, no single-vote wonders made the list). Now that the mechanics are out of the way, let’s get to the movies themselves. A podcast, as always, will follow.

The 20 Best Movies of 2017

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The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Do you like Star Wars? Do you like talking about Star Wars? Do you like listening to nerds talk about Star Wars? Did you like Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Did you hate Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Did you find yourself reinvigorated and more ready to talk Star Wars than ever before after watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Do you want to know what some avowed prequel-likers thought about Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Do you have opinions about Canto Bight? Do you have opinions about Brick? Do you have opinions about BB-8 driving a [redacted]? What about Luke Skywalker? Do you think you’re Luke Skywalker? Do you think you’re Han Solo? Do you think you’re Finn or Rey? Are you interested in what Rob and Jesse and Marisa and Sabrina thought about Star Wars: The Last Jedi even though it came out weeks ago because you’re still thinking about it yourself?

Here is a podcast about Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Best TV of 2017

Hey, you guys watch TV, right? So do your pals at SportsAlcohol.com, so Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, and Jesse got together for an end-of-year TV podcast where we discuss our recent Top 12 list and go beyond it, talking about shows that didn’t make the cut, and sometimes offering different opinions than those offered in our blurbs. Curious what we thought about recent episodes of Riverdale or what we loved/hated about the second season of Master of None or who loved Twin Peaks the most? This is the TV podcast for you.

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The Top 12 Best TV Shows of 2017

It’s been a rough year, but there’s always television. So much television! It’s really a wonder that even a small group of SportsAlcohol.com editors and contributors — your usual pals Nathaniel, Marisa, Jesse, and Sara, plus novelist Maggie Lehrman and playwright/actual TV professional Jon Kern — was able to reach any kind of consensus over what we liked best. And in some ways, we didn’t; I’m not sure if there’s a single show mentioned on this list that all six of us have seen in full. (Maybe number three.) But it’s an eclectic and often electrifying group of shows we really love. In other words, a twelve-part miracle. Let’s get to miracle-in’ then!
Continue reading The Top 12 Best TV Shows of 2017

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Best Music of 2017

It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means: music publications published their year-end coverage approximately one to three months ago. We here at SportsAlcohol.com do not have a list of our 200 Favorite Albums That Came Out Between January and Mid-October, though we will have some individual write-ups of songs we love throughout the rest of the month and maybe into January. But Marisa, Sara, Rob, and Jesse did sit down to talk about our faves (and other opinions) from this year in popular musics. (They also took selfies. See above.)

For our best music of 2017 wrap-up, we decided to take a different tactic and take a roughly chronological trip through the various live shows we all attended, together and apart, throughout the year, and let the discussion spring from there. You’ll find out who we went to see because we’re afraid of death, whose live show exceeded their disappointing album(s), which band(s) Sara cannot deal with right now, and which show got Rob feeling real emotional in a rough year.

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

Track Marks: “Younger Now” by Miley Cyrus

For the impending end of 2017, some of our writers are going back and talking about beloved songs from this year, especially from artists not covered on our upcoming podcast.

Is it really so ridiculous that Miley Cyrus would sing about feeling young? It might seem redundant, I guess, because she’s only 25, which to me, racing toward 40, sounds so impossibly fresh and dewy now. But I don’t know that I felt that way about 25 when I actually was 25. Bless anyone who maintains uncomplicated feelings about aging for 25 whole years.

Moreover: Miley Cyrus has been making music for a decade. Yes, she’s the kind of showbiz lifer who was born into it and made a beeline for the Disney machine, but Younger Now, the 2017 record whose title song I adore, is her sixth album. It’s the first one I’ve ever bought; I got Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz from whoever was kind enough to rip a free mp3 version from the free streaming version that was the only version available for a while (it’s now available as a paid download, and honestly, I kind of recommend it). I bought “Wrecking Ball” but not all of Bangerz. I downloaded “Party in the USA” from a music blog that encoded its source album as Shit Guys, Miley’s Done It Again!

There was a time when that fake title was only half-ironic. People like “Party in the USA” and especially “Wrecking Ball.” In the annals of teen or teen-like stars getting grown-up and weird, people do not so much like Dead Petz, the album where she fronted the Flaming Lips and (I assume) smoked a lot of pot, displaying a lot of vulnerability – and genuine, not overproduced, weirdness – in the process. People do not so much seem to like Younger Now so much, either. I gather that it’s considered kind of a clumsy, opportunistic pivot back to pop-country after a series of failed cultural appropriations. Though the record is country only insofar as it sounds kind of country-ish compared to the Flaming Lips, it is inarguably uneven. Miley Cyrus is not a savant who makes Top 40 pop that we wish actual Top 40 pop sounded like, like Carly Rae Jepsen. But then, Carly Rae Jepsen is 32. She knows things. This is why we (Rob and I, anyway) love her.

Which brings us back to “Younger Now.” Like the album of the same name, it’s not perfect. It has at least one production touch I actually hate: the fake or fake-sounding drum-ish fills that sound way too much like the fake record-scratching noises everyone started using around 1997 or so. (Again: I am not 25.) The lyrics are rife with clichés, especially in the chorus: “No one stays the same.” “What goes up must come down.” “Change is a thing you can count on.” But as on Dead Petz, the weakness and awkwardness in her music now feel achingly sincere, and both the melody and sentiment of “Younger Now” soar with an unforced wistfulness, and faux-drum stutters aside, the production lets that wistfulness breathe, showcasing Cyrus’s vocals. She’s never sounded more confident or comfortable or hopeful. You know, like how you feel for a few fleeting moments when you’re young, if you’re lucky.

The SportsAlcohol.com Mixtape: Star Wars – The Last Jedi

Usually, the SportsAlcohol.com podcast features a bunch of your fave nerd friends talking about pop culture and stuff. In fact, two more episodes with exactly that kind of high-quality conversational content will be arriving in the coming weeks. But for now, we have to take a break and see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and while you might not need any additional help getting psyched for it, SportsAlcohol.com is always happy to help you with things that don’t require help. So we made you a Star Wars mixtape.

It is not as long as a traditional mixtape. It is not even as long as a single side of a traditional mixtape. This is because you’re supposed to listen to it on your way to see the new Star Wars movie to get you hyped up, whether you’re traveling by train, car, foot, landspeeder, or Hutt-owned barge.

Like a lot of silly things about SportsAlcohol.com, this practice came from something Jesse and Rob used to do in high school. Now we’re sharing it with you! And I’ve added a trivia component to boot. Read on for instructions.

Here are the simple three-step instructions for preferred listening to SportsAlcohol.com’s Star Wars mixtape for 2017, which you can download HERE.

  1. Figure out when you will be arriving at your theater of choice to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
  2. Approximately 35 minutes before that time, hit “play” on the mp3 of our mixtape on your music-playing device of choice.
  3. Get fucking psyched.

Here is the trivia component:

The songs on this mix have one thing in common. What is it?

The samples on this mix also have that same thing in common.

HOWEVER: This one thing does not apply to any music or samples that (a.) are from a Star Wars movie, (b.) contain a reference to Star Wars, or (c.) are from something featuring Star Wars cast members. Category (c.) is relatively rare and you may not even notice the few times a sample falls into that category, but it’s there to cover myself. Most of the non-Star Wars songs and samples share that One Thing.

Feel free to get at me on Twitter if you think have the answer. I won’t retweet and spoil it for anyone.

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach have collaborated on three movies, and this fall they’re both back with their own solo movies: Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which is expanding into more theaters this Thanksgiving weekend, and Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), which is available to all Netflix subscribers. Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, and Jesse watched both movies (as well as plenty of past work from both filmmakers) and then got together to discuss how they function together, how they function apart, and what we think of their new projects. Learn all about our thoughts on Gerwig behind the camera in various capacities, who loved and who hated Baumbach’s semi-lost movie Highball, the age dynamics of While We’re Young, what we thought of Nights and Weekends, the Gerwig/Joe Swanberg movie Jesse made everyone watch before recording, how Baumbach fits with Adam Sandler (who stars in Meyerowitz), and whether what used to be written off as a bad summer could now potentially turn into a bad life.

How To Listen

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The SportsAlcohol.com MiniPodcast: Other People’s Money and Dark City

In a follow-up to our smash hit episode unexpectedly pairing Pretty Woman with Dark City, Ben and Jesse return with another trade-off, going one year into the future of both sci-fi and business movies: Ben had never seen 1998’s Dark City. Jesse had never seen Other People’s Money. So we watched ’em both and talked about both, up to and including why each of these lesser-known works might (or might not) be superior to some similar but more popular movies like Wall Street and The Matrix.

How To Listen

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McDormand and Rockwell face off in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

There are certain actor-on-actor match-ups and team-ups and face-offs that gain a kind of mythic grandeur from the sheer fact of the performers not having intersected earlier. I’m thinking of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro facing off, if only for a few minutes, in Heat; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie supposedly smoldering in Mr. and Mrs. Smith; Eddie Murphy riffing opposite Steve Martin in Bowfinger; John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in, well, you know. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell don’t immediately come to mind as a similarly titanic pair. They’re both terrific actors, their filmographies packed with memorable performances, but Rockwell works so often, and McDormand with such relative choosiness, that at first their pairing primarily elicits a vague familiarity – wait, was Rockwell ever in a Coens movie with McDormand? Was McDormand ever in a Marvel movie with Rockwell? Is Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri really their first one together?
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