Monthly Archives: January 2016

The U.S. Presidential Campaign Needs More Candidate/Rapper Pairings Like Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike

My Canadian heritage has never prevented me from appreciating the spectacle of an American presidential campaign. Big money, bigger rhetoric, and very little concern for reality ensures a fresh sideshow south of the border every four years and I’m not one to turn down free entertainment.

Like any big American production, presidential campaigns can’t resist using celebrity cameos to generate interest among a wider audience. Think about it: nobody remembers anything about the 2012 Republican National Convention aside from that bit where Clint Eastwood mistook a chair for the president. 2016 is no different, with Bernie Sanders gaining the vocal support of Killer Mike – best known as one half of hip hop wrecking crew Run The Jewels.

Killer Mike is no stranger to political statements…

…but his involvement in Sanders’ campaign goes beyond any lyrical namedrop. Killer Mike has a six-part interview with Sanders on his YouTube channel and he spoke on the senator’s behalf after a Democratic party debate, marking the only time in history the spin room has ever been enjoyable.

If Sanders gains enough support to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it could (and should) send other candidates rushing to find their own hip hop sidekicks. I have no clue who each candidate would select, but I have a few ideas (Kendrick Lamar is disqualified because he is too tight with Obama to rep for anyone else):

Hillary Clinton / Nicki Minaj

Minaj and Clinton are two women trying to carve out a place at the top of their male-dominated fields (rapping and being president, respectively). That might be all they have in common, and Minaj isn’t quite on Team Clinton yet, but that’s nothing a little face-time and an undisclosed campaign consultant fee couldn’t fix. Forget Clinton and Sanders, the people want to see a debate (read: rap battle) between Minaj and Killer Mike.

Martin O’Malley / Meek Mill

Mill would be the perfect face for whining about how O’Malley isn’t getting enough attention. Maybe he could respond with a dis track on a mixtape released months too late to have any impact. Maybe both of these guys should stop picking fights outside their weight classes if they want to stop being pummeled. Just a thought.

Donald Trump / Watch The Throne

Watch The Throne is the ultimate luxury-rap album, and Trump could decorate his most ostentatious mansion with Kanye’s tweets about Persian rugs and Jay Z’s lyrics about art auctions. On this front, Watch The Throne seems like the ideal pairing for Trump and his epic comb-over. You’ll need to ignore all the divisive, xenophobic garbage Trump spews every time he opens his mouth, so just try to stay focused on the money.

Also, Trump’s brand of combination spray tan and hair dye comes pretty close to matching this album art:

Ted Cruz / Drake

The Canadian connection! Cruz will tap into Drake’s appeal in the American heartland and Drake will do the Hotline Bling dance at the 2016 RNC.

How could anyone say no to this?

Marco Rubio / Macklemore

I’m not sure why, but Rubio strikes me as the kind of candidate who would rap about mopeds if given the chance.

Ben Carson / Wu-Tang Clan

According to Carson, he was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan. He also beat the Russians into space and punched Godzilla back into the Pacific with his bare hands. Wu-Tang!

Welcome to High Parkdale

Today marks the release of the first of what I hope will be many journeys into the world of High Parkdale. This animated series has been in one stage of development or another for the better part of a decade, and it’s thrilling to finally have something to show for all those times people looked at me funny when I told them some friends and I were making a cartoon.

“Vintage Yard Sale” is a short scene with a limited scope and some rough edges, but it works as an introduction to these characters and their world. From the YouTube description:

Harry, Hamza, Elmore and Benny try to raise money by having a yard sale in their gentrified neighbourhood. Harry takes issue with the sale’s location and insists on using the proceeds for something responsible, but Hamza has his mind set on swindling neighbourhood newcomers out of enough money to purchase some brand-name accessories.

5 Hilarious Logos That Prove ECHL Teams Give No Fucks

The ECHL is the third tier of professional hockey in North America. It’s basically one step above that beer league at your local arena and franchises move or fold so often that one somehow ended up in Alaska despite the first two letters of the league’s acronym standing for “East Coast.” The loose, low-stakes nature of the ECHL is evident in everything from its pre-game ceremonies to these five team logos, which show how hilarious hockey teams can be when they give no fucks:

Evansville Icemen

This guy is stuck somewhere between a villain from that ‘90s Batman cartoon and a Wampa. If you thought hockey equipment smelled bad under a jersey, you definitely don’t want to get a whiff of the inside of that parka.

Florida Everblades

I think the alligator is supposed to double as a skate boot, which would be difficult to pull off, as anyone with experience wearing alligators will tell you.

Greenville Swamp Rabbits

The alternate version of this logo looks like Bugs Bunny’s half-brother Brett, who found his calling in competitive sports instead of smooth talking and carrot thieving. And I have no idea what’s going on with his stick.

Missouri Mavericks

This is all wrong. Why is the Disney horse so upset? And who thought it would be a good idea to give it skates and a stick? Horses + ice = bad news. It’s basic math, Missouri.

Orlando Solar Bears

Global warming never seemed so cool, even if the energy requirement for making ice in Orlando is part of the problem. At least now we know where the Coca-Cola bear spends his offseason.

The 10 Best Blockbusters of 2015

2015 was a banner year for blockbusters. Hollywood set new records at the box office by topping $11 billion domestically, and although that hasn’t stopped some executives from crying about piracy, it’s safe to say the film industry is alive and well thanks to a glut of engaging, enjoyable big-budget entertainment to go along with all the other crap that gets churned out every year.

Here are 10 of the year’s best films that grossed at least $100 million domestically:

10 – Furious 7

The Fast and/or Furious franchise may be guilty of cynically hopping on the superhero franchise money train by turning its motley crew of underground street racers into globetrotting secret agents who save the world from behind their steering wheels, but it was ahead of the curve on the globetrotting part. The latest – and most ridiculous – installment owns one of the highest worldwide box office returns of all time because of that foresight, with an assist from Paul Walker’s CGI ghost.

9 – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

In the latest installment of Ethan Hunt’s Crazy Stunts, Tom Cruise: a) rides the side of a plane as it takes off; b) dives inside a water-cooled supercomputer, drowns, is shocked back to life and immediately engages in a high-speed motorcycle chase; c) impersonates the British prime minister; and… d) memorizes a bunch of banking information? Has he finally run out of cool things to do? That’s like disarming a nuclear bomb by smothering it in paperwork.

8 – Jurassic World

I could go on about Chris Pratt’s expertise in the field of Velociraptor whispering or Bryce Dallas Howard’s high-heel marathon training, but I’d rather brainstorm new names for super-dinosaur Indominus Rex:
-Ultra Roidraptor
-Modified Death Lizard 4.0
-Not Quite Godzilla
-Ol’ Sniffer
-Mecha Streisand

7 – Straight Outta Compton

It is a testament to how far western society has come that the remaining members of N.W.A. – a group of gangster rappers from Compton who were once on an FBI watchlist because of their music – are able to become movie stars and media moguls and return to their story two decades later to Hollywood-ize it into a hit film where women are mistreated and marginalized in service of noble male protagonists. And goddamn did they have a good time doing it!

6 – Ant-Man

Turns out a cutesy high-tech caper flick about a guy who shrinks and controls ants was just what Marvel needed to wash the antiseptic taste of Age of Ultron out of their cinematic universe ahead of the next tier or phase or whatever they’re calling it. There are hints of Edgar Wright’s visual style all over this origin story, making it difficult not to wonder how great things could have been, but settling for Michael Pena’s non-sequitur flashbacks and Paul Rudd’s “aw shucks I’m a superhero” routine is enough of a refresher in Marvel’s never-ending narrative clusterfuck.

5 – Inside Out

Pixar didn’t release a film in 2014, ending an eight-year streak, and three of its last four releases before Inside Out were sequels. Under these circumstances, basing your next tentpole kid’s film around the idea of accepting sadness as part of who we are seems like committing box office seppuku. Except it wasn’t. Family audiences were ready to feel all the feels in 2015, and now a generation will grow up believing there’s a tiny, raging Lewis Black inside all of us.

4 – Creed

The 21st century wasn’t asking for a Rocky reboot – or boxing films in general, for that matter – but nothing about Creed feels dated. Michael B Jordan’s titular son-of-Creed dates Philadelphia’s answer to FKA Twigs and Sylvester Stallone’s meal-mouthed pugilist seems charmingly confused by things like smartphones and “the cloud,” letting us know that yes, it is 2015 and hey, there are dirt bikes for some reason.

3 – The Martian

Calling The Martian “The Revenant in space” isn’t accurate, but I’m going to do it anyway because Matt Damon kind of resembles Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass after he’s been stranded on Mars for a couple years and ketchup is but a distant memory. The mood is surprisingly upbeat for a film about someone left for dead millions of miles from Earth, with plenty of jokes both intentional (Damon’s snarky commentary about the red planet and disco music) and unintentional (the depiction of NASA as a functional bureaucracy that has the public’s attention, trust, and money).

2 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Look, Episode VII is basically “A New New Hope” overflowing with nostalgic nods to the magic of the original trilogy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite all the narrative shortcuts, J.J. Abrams’ fanservice realigned the franchise with the traits that made it great, which was necessary following decades of missteps by George Lucas. Some people criticize the film for not exploring the galaxy’s post-Empire political situation in more detail, I suppose because all the trade-embargo-based drama had them on the edge of their seats during the prequels.

1 – Mad Max: Fury Road

The most amazing part about Fury Road isn’t that a 70-year-old director crafted 2 hours of post-apocalyptic vehicular insanity fresher than most action films made by people half his age. It isn’t the car stunt choreography that makes Furious 7 look like security footage from a parking lot. It isn’t even the dude playing a double-neck fire-spewing guitar while bungee-strapped to a massive speaker array. It’s how all of this insanity is part of a film about smashing the patriarchy, which is about as subversive as a blockbuster filled with explosions and testosterone can be.