Trivia Club's QUARTERLY AWARDS : July to September 2013

October 21, 2013

It's a Monday, so don't think there isn't going to be SOME content on the Trivia Club blog! Yes, it's that time of the year again (for the first time), put on your black bow-ties 'cause we're having an awards show! I love awards. If that wasn’t evident by the Golden VHS or the Golden VCR, or the Summer Movie Wager Trophy, the Oscar Betting Pool Trophy, or the SNL Fantasy League Cup, I don’t know what is! 

Hell, if I had the time to do this every day (would someone like to pay me?) I would. Trivia Club's Quarterly Awards celebrate everything cool and creative, and anything that might be interesting to those who participate in Trivia Club, over the last three months. So the inaugural awards will (mostly) have to do with the notable bits of pop culture that I enjoyed through July, August, and September of 2013!

(Also of note: Sound City, The World’s End, The To Do List)
This is cheating a bit for the first QAs (Q AND A! I'm so clever!), since I saw Frances Ha in theatres in June, but if anything I'll make an exception for Frances Ha if it means I can get you to watch a smaller film you might have otherwise missed. Ha is a beautifully understated examination of friendship and life in the big city, when you're 20 going on 30, and responsibility rears its ugly head (not taking any care with what you wanted from life). Shot on beautiful black and white by Noah Baumbach, and co-written by Baumbach and Frances Ha herself Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha easily gets my pick for film of the summer (and that's with some awesome movies this summer).

(Also of note: A Brief History of John Baldessari, Cutthroat, Free Pie)
Attack The Block was my favorite film of 2012 so the greatest compliment I can give this film is the comparison to said film. It’s the same sort of character driven energy as that feature length film, but… how can I say this… better? Funny, surprising, charming, and jaw-dropping. It is equal and all parts entertaining. Enough chatter from me, here is the short film in all of its glory. Enjoy it.

What, you thought it was going to be Dexter?

The last half season of Breaking Bad was already running at a fever pitch, and then Hank with Gomez used Jesse to entrap Walt and instead got a cloud of Nazis raining down on their heads. Which isn't even a description of this episode, this episode is the aftermath but is by and large on turning point the last three episodes of Bad hinges on. Directed by Rian fuckin' Johnson (Brick, Looper, Breaking Bad's 'Fly' episode), the show holds some incredible moments for Hank, Jesse, and the entire White family. Forget about Walt and Skyler, Walt Jr. and yes, even Hazel, act circles around the likes of A.J. Soprano entire televised run, in just this single episodes.

Thank you to my friend Craig for recommending this to me, now it's my turn to recommend it to you. The Idea Channel is a special kind of YouTube video that takes HUGE ideas like creative influence on a project influencing your enjoyment of that project, especially in the age of info but even including the works of Mark Twain, and then presenting these ideas in a hyper-kinetic, pop culture saturated package that entertains while it enlightens. Now here is a picture of a cat (because THE INTERNET IS CATS).

I'm a sucker for a good trailer, ever since becoming addicted to the apple movie trailer page some ten years ago, this has been the case. So when I saw the trailer for the Secret Life of Walter Mitty I fell in love with this song as much as I did the upcoming movie, not since Wake Up by Arcade Fire accompanied Wild Things Are did a song so perfectly encapsulate a set of cinematic moments. Stepping away from that even, there is a certain twee glee that accompanies this single from Of Monsters And Men, an all encompassing happiness that filled and still fills the room when I hear this song. As you will see, I listened to some good mash ups since, but none of them quite reached the heights of where this one band took me.

(Also of note: Yeezus, Modern Vampires of the City, My Head Is An An Animal)
Another choice that should be too early, but this being the initial QAs, I’m still sticking to the sliding timeline on this one. Also Kendrick Lamar couldn’t be denied this summer so I would be remised if I didn’t give the award to my favorite album of the last five months, let alone three. The man is on a tear right now, whether it’s making sub-par peers relevant and irrelevant at the same time thanks to a verse on their song, or the best Cypher verse since (and surpassing) Busta Rhymes, this is where it began for him on the year. Such a clear artistic voice for such a talented artist, telling a tale of a good kid lost in the fight, trying to live and survive and maybe one day leave Compton against all odds. It’s Kendrick telling the What If life-story, from a survivors point-of-view.

(Also of note: Hawkeye, Locke & Key, Avengers, Nowhere Men)
As diverse as the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, are the worlds of Alana and Marko. And I guess that's the point. Yet Brian K. Vaughan and Fionna Staples find a perfect marriage between the two, as strange and stupid and amazing and funny as you might suspect, never underselling the humanity in a talking mouse person or a giant and his giant testicles, among many other things. You will grow to love characters enough that there inevitable fates will make you cry, but don't worry you'll laugh and cheer before then anyway. Oh and the use of the Wonder Years trope, with baby Hazel narrating our story from an undetermined point in the future, pencilled into the preceding by Staples, is pitch perfect.

The Manhattan Projects is all kinds of strange and wonderful, bringing familiar scientific minds into an almost sci-fi-splotation kind of world, with the requisite action and violence to go with it. The story of Robert Oppenheimer is no different, taking one of the most familiar names to the layman (save for Einstein, natch) and makes him a cannibalistic sociopath with SO MANY multiple personalities that a civil war has broken out. Suffice to say you should read the Manhattan Projects and Oppenheimer is but one of the reasons why.

Let me take a step back from pop culture for a second. Cancer is something that is or will effect you or someone you know, directly or indirectly. Without getting too personal this last several years has certainly put cancer front and centre in my mind, so it was an unexpected comfort that this fact rich 'Biography' gave me. With both personal first hand accounts from the front line (the author is an oncologist) as well as historical perspective on different facets of the emperor of maladies, it really does its best to demystify something that has been seen as almost supernatural until just this last century where the technology to fight cancer finally started to catch up to the trauma it caused.

Your SNL Fantasy League award! I wrestled back and forth with doing the first episode (the premiere aired during my 'time of eligibility') or the first three (the initial set that aired before I posted this baby). I went with the first three, because when you make your own rules they're really just guidelines in the end. Still, I have to stick with Bobby Moynihan (shut up I'm not biased), even though Vanessa Bayer has had a stronger overall show thanks to the Miley Cyrus hosted episode, and even if Taran Killam has been the go to choice these first three episodes for SNL, it's Moynihan who has made every segment he's in better for being there (yes, even Kirby) with the character high point of the season going to his initial appearance as Drunk Uncle on Weekend Update.

And THAT is the initial Trivia Club Quarterly Awards! Leave your thoughts in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. No doubt categories will be added as needed, too! We'll look to continue these every three months, and if YOU have any recommendations for US at Trivia Club... please make them. Who knows, you could see it celebrated in an upcoming edition of the QAs.

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