Category Archives: humor

The Set of 400: The Quartermark Quiz! Win Valuable Prizes!

We’re a quarter of the way there! Congratulations, all! Has the Set of 400 established itself as part of your morning ritual? Have you joined one of the dozens of watch party groups around the country? Has the inclusion of a stray foreign language-r or two inspired a global viewing extravaganza? There is plenty more on the way, but thanks for your continued support! Our numbers are tremendous and your link clinks have nearly secured me a new revenue stream, thanks to the good people at the Patio Store, locations in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta!

And now, time for the quiz! Get your No. 2 pencils ready, chumps, because the Scantron is warmed up and prizes are on the line! What prizes, you may ask? Oho, it’s gonna be winners choice here in Quiz Round I (Yep, there may be more! Who knows?) – delivered straight to your door from the American Post Office (Contiguous U.S. residents only, please!). You could have my large print copy of Joseph Heller’s unfortunate sequel to Catch-22, titled Closing Time! You could receive my Loot Crate plastic mini-statue of Rick from Rick and Morty flashing double middle fingers! You could win an luxury tour of my guest bathroom (no travel or lodging expenses included)! Numerous options available – see bottom of post for all prize options, and pictures of these dumb things, too! Plus, obviously, all winners receive a signed and extensively inscribed copy of my award-free masterpiece Parade Day, soon to fall out of print! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: Egads! The Fifth in a Multi-Part Series

Muy estupido!

Upon learning of this omission, the wife was decidedly upset, and blamed me for everything from the wage gap to the election of Brian Kemp as Georgia’s governor in 2018. I explained I hadn’t seen this movie in some time, but that was yet another flimsy excuse by the man trying to not give womankind her due. So, remedy!

Thelma & Louise (1991)

But it wasn’t just the willingness to keep a happy household or virulent feminist spousal pressure that brought us to revisit the list as constructed – I really hadn’t seen Thelma & Louise in forever, and am reticent to credit Ridley Scott for almost anything (Has this popped up in the list yet? Oh, if not, it’s coming). So, begrudgingly, I’d like to admit that he does serviceable job bringing this story to the screen – with Sarandon and Davis more deserving of the praise for their incredible performances. But, I mean, if ever a 1991 movie was going to be directed by a woman (and there were plenty available), shouldn’t it have been this one? Is this not more indicative of the goddamn boy’s club the DGA was and largely still is than anything else? Is there a more empowered picture in the history of cinema than Thelma & Louise? No way they’d let Ridley Scott direct this thing now, nor should they, nor should he want to, nor should anyone clamor for it, nor should I continue down this path.

I’m sorry! Jeez!

It probably should’ve landed on the list somewhere this past week – I’d say maybe #315ish, just ahead of The Master. That’s pretty decent representation, and on a list regrettably light on female-led action-dramas! Sorry, all!

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The Set of 400: Zounds! The Fourth in a Multi-Part Series

This dumbass!

I don’t know how many more of these will turn up either, you guys. I was somewhat shocked at the omissions I made when looking back, and I want to remedy that for all posterity, given that Knowingly Undersold will undoubtedly be my lasting legacy, writing-wise (at least for those of you still unfamiliar with Parade Day – available on Amazon!). There was a list I worked from to assemble these countdowns over the years, and somehow they never became comprehensive enough, and so mistakes were made. I’m sorry! And today’s apology is mostly owed to:

The Great Outdoors (1988)

How I overlooked what often first occurs to me in the canon of great John Candy roles I have no idea. It’s not like I didn’t have Candy on the brain with this list – there are loads of his films still to come – but maybe it’s just that I hadn’t seen it in a while? I have no good excuse. There are plenty of great, iconic moments in this movie – from the above, where Chet Ripley conquers the Old 96er, to “We’ll give them a ride in Suck My Wake” – and a terrific, oily performance by Dan Aykroyd as Chet’s brother-in-law Roman. Oh, and the raccoons! How funny are the raccoons?! And the bald bear! I’m an idiot.

This movie would’ve probably landed right around here – maybe #324ish, just ahead of Fourteen Hours. Hugely disappointed in myself! We watched this movie to death when we were kids, but I hadn’t seen it in some time, so it just slipped my mind in the rankings. Consider yourself recognized, Great Outdoors!

Classic raccoons!

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The Set of 400: Whoops! The Second in a Multi-Part Series

Oh, we’re going to keep doing this, are we?

You bet your ass! While I’ve only got about a dozen of these lined up, it’s entirely possible once I’ve finished writing all the main countdown posts I’ll just flood the weekends with more movies. The Set of 400 ultimately could include another 50 or 60 films! I’ll try to refrain from that, though. I realize I’m testing the patience of everyone on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with this nonsense endeavor already.

However, today we’ve got:

Love at First Bite (1979)

We watched this sorta hokey Dracula comedy to death as kids. I have no idea why. It’s still kinda funny, but it’s ridiculously dated, and features crazy over-the-top performances from skincare aficionado George Hamilton as the count, Laugh-In great Arte Johnson as Renfield, and Kate & Allie‘s Susan Saint James. Really, what grounds this wackiness in any sort of way is Richard Benjamin’s terrific turn as Vlad’s antagonist Van Helsing/Rosenberg. It’s kinda fun, but there are plenty of reasons you probably aren’t more familiar with Love at First Bite, not the least of which is its campy ’70s-ness.

It certainly wouldn’t have ranked terribly high, had I remembered to include it in the long list, but I’d venture it could’ve made the cut. Not around here, but maybe back in the 380s, possibly between Spider-Man and True Confession. Sorry director Stan Dragoti! No appearances on the list, despite helming the likes of Mr. Mom, Necessary Roughness, and She’s Out of Control! Womp womp!

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The Set of 400: A Brief #371 Conversation

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Okay, So What Exactly is the Set of 400 Anyway?

As avid readers of this space or eager hackers of my Google Drive are already aware, I’ve got a bit of a list problem. When it comes to movies specificially, though, it’s something I’ve been doing for a long while – the first time I remember making a list of this sort was in 1992, when I was twelve. I’m not sure how many movies comprised it – twenty-five maybe? Fifty? – and I don’t know for sure if Batman Returns had supplanted Batman as my young self’s top film, however temporarily, but I’ve been ranking movies by my own ill-defined personal preference ever since. In recent years, just to kill time, I started tallying how films would enter or fall off a Top 100, with rises and drops tracked like NASDAQ futures. So this cockamamie plan has been a lifetime in the making, in one form or another. 

Next week, I’ll begin sharing the current, terrifyingly extensive, thoroughly exhaustive ranking of my 400 favorite movies, all with separate posts, incorporating beloved schlock from my childhood straight through to the nonsense I enjoy today. You may ask – What sort of qualifications do I have, so that this lengthy barometer of my preferences and whims holds any weight, or should be given the slightest attention? Well, I’ve gotta admit, not many. Sure, movies are basically my religion at this point, but besides a brief flirtation with this as a college major – subsequently abandoned for the likes of writing, theater, and whatnot – I’ve only made a novice’s study of film and film criticism. More than your average person, probably, but I’m hardly a scholar. Continue reading

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Why the Hell is the Set of 400 a Thing?

In less than a month, the world will be treated to movie-based hubris like it has rarely seen before – 400 posts detailing my 400 favorite films, one every work day for a solid year and a half. Which begs the question, seriously, what is the point of that? My 400 favorite movies? That’s something that will interest people? Who in the hell do I think I am? Well, I’ll tell you – it springs from two things:

1) Last year, there was a brief phenomenon on various internet locales where people would post a still from their favorite movies for like ten days, with no context, explanation, or the name of that movie. This, to me, felt insanely lazy, and sort of confusing, considering one of the first five questions I ask everyone is “What’s your favorite movie?” Or, if I’m at a movie theater and the employees are wearing this on their name tags, I’ll ask “Is Kung Fu Panda 2 really your favorite movie?”

Not buying it, Josh. No way.

And then, these folks would challenge their friends to post their ten favorite movies, so timelines got flooded with movie frames and no additional information. I did not care for this, and not just because no one asked me to participate.

2) But here is the key reason – besides the Death Pool, I haven’t been writing a ton lately, and as anyone will tell you, in order to write better you’ve gotta write more. So instead of mindless journaling or filling notebooks with lists of bullshit, I thought I should kick awake my decade old blog and hurl some content on it. Merging these ideas, I came up with this thing. So, while on the surface it will be me spewing hundred of thousands of words about a bunch of movies you’ve likely already seen, it is actually my very time-intensive plan to jump start some writing, and hopefully finish long-languishing half-formed projects. Fingers crossed it works, and I don’t need to move onto the, like, Set of 400 Songs of the Sixties, like some goddamn Time-Life operator.

Which is totally still available at timelife.com, by the way

They’ll be more details about the actual list making process before the posts start rolling out on February 25th, but I thought it best to preface all that with all this, because I’m not likely to mention again that this is all just a writing exercise. So, enjoy?

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