I’m a huge fan of junk food movie tie-in. Actually, a more accurate word to describe me would be “sucker.” Whether it’s a promo in a restaurant chain or a special edition candy bar, I just can’t get enough of them. So I’m sure you can understand my excitement for the Doritos bag that played the entire soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There was no way I could let the opportunity to own one slip away.
Getting my hands on one of these bags was a chore in itself. Doritos was extremely forthcoming about the date they would go on sale, as well as the specific Amazon page they’d be available on. I spent all day constantly refreshing Amazon to only be let down hour after hour. Finally, at around 8 that night, the Doritos finally went live…on a completely different section of Amazon than promised, which I only knew about because of a heads up from a friend.
But I digress. And complain a little more than I should since I did eventually order one.
A couple weeks later, a box showed up and I couldn’t be more excited to tear into it. After cutting through two layers of cardboard, I was greeted by a beautifully printed vision of a familiar cassette player inlay on a faux-wood veneer.
The box is really something to admire. There’s nothing special about it in particular, other than providing a nice display for the bag of Doritos and storage for the accessories.
I carefully opened the lid to be greeted by the bag…
…only to be disappointed. I quickly noticed that half of the bag was off-printed, creating an obnoxious shadow effect on most of the words. Though this is a fairly common occurrence on most bags of chips, it was extremely disheartening to see in this instance. Given the small print run of these bags, one would think Doritos would have a little extra quality assurance to make sure everything came out perfectly. But that’s not the case.
Oh, well. That’s life, I guess. I bought it because it plays music so let’s test that out.
All of those buttons printed under the cassette tape work. Power, Play, Stop, Next, Reverse. The bag works exactly like a Walkman. It’s pretty neat, but I am slightly concerned about the flimsiness of the bag itself. So far I’ve been handling it extremely delicately as everything feels so fragile that I’m afraid I may break it. This isn’t something that would be easy to replace.
I’m not alone in my worry, here; Doritos clearly realized most people won’t consistently listen to the soundtrack through a bag of tortilla chips so they included a mini USB port on the bag, and a cable in the box. You can plug the bag into your computer and download the entire soundtrack in MP3 format and listen to it on any compatible device. The USB port will also recharge the player, in case people do consistently listen to the soundtrack through a bag of tortilla chips.
In addition to the USB cable, the bag came with a set of headphones. Not cheap ear buds like most music players would have but a pair of over-the-head, foam-covered headphones that were popular in the 80s. I plugged them in and followed the directions on the box.
As soon as I pressed the “Power” button, the bag flashed to life. Literally. There’s a light in it that glows when the power is on. Which makes sense. I mean, how else are you supposed to know that it’s on if you unplug the headphones?
The quality of the music is crystal clear. I don’t know the specs of the player itself but whatever it is, it seems to handle high quality MP3s really well. There’s even no loss in quality from the headphones. At least none that I noticed. It sounded as good as music from my iPod (though I do have a 2nd gen iPod so that may not be saying much).
At $29.99 retail, these Doritos are a bit of an investment. However, when you realize that you’re paying for the full soundtrack as well as a marketing gimmick that’s sure to spark some conversations, the cost is still kind of hard to swallow. This is clearly an item for die-hard Guardians of the Galaxy fans, a subset that probably never existed before 2014. But either way, I’m ecstatic to add it to my collection, even if I don’t have any place to display it.
Fall may be a magical time, but when it comes to setting up Halloween music playlists, you may find the lack-o-options frustrating. Sure, “Thriller” helps even the most uncoordinated shake their booty, and of course “Monster Mash” is a classic, but these tired songs don’t always cut it when you’re trying to envoke the feeling of the holiday to liven up your shindig.
Rather than throw a spoopy cd on repeat, here are a couple of off beat albums to flesh out your playlist that no one will bat an eye at.
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Of course we couldn’t kick off this list without some iteration of everyone’s favorite hybrid holiday movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. While every Halloween playlist is sure to have at least one instance of Danny Elfman warbling about his conflict of interests from the cult favorite The Nightmare Before Christmas, there are a surprising amount of people who still haven’t revisted the nightmare. Nightmare Revisited is exactly what it sounds like – a group of popular bands and artists collaborating to cover the entirety of the Tim Burton phenomenon. But this isn’t limited to hits like “This is Halloween” or “Sally’s Song.” The album also covers the instrumental tracks, which will give you over an hour of ambiance. What’s this?
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The collaborative group of Berklee students blend the modern metal genre with a wide spectrum of compositional influences and come up with a uniquely textured sound that lends itself perfectly to any playlist. With Native Construct’s extended-range guitars, theatrical vocals, and full complement of symphonic instrumentation, their 2011 album Quiet World can be thrown into the Halloween music mix on random or go the entire distance as a stand alone.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Not feeling the more modern metal? Go for something more “traditional.” Older albums from The Dillinger Escape Plan offer just enough of the creepy vibe without the haunting idea that your guests would turn up their noses at the screaming vocals. The album Miss Machine in particular sounds as if it was pulled straight from the soundtrack of any popular horror flick.
Perhaps a random addition to mix into a Halloween-centric playlist, but party goers aren’t going to be picking apart your musical tastes. And if they are, they really shouldn’t be invited. Mr. Bungle’s album California adds a random and moderately terrifying ambiance to what is otherwise background noise for bad decisions. Eat all the candy!
Halloween doesn’t have to be all dark and dismal, and adding glam rock band The Darkness to any playlist will prove to be quite the misnomer. Their album To Hell and Back offers lighthearted songs that all your partygoers know by heart with just enough 80s to inspire a fun atmosphere.
Honorable mention to Jason Segel’s hit, Dracula’s Lament, because obviously.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
What are some of your playlist go-tos when you’re trying to party like it’s 1299? Let us know in the comments, or tweet to us @Sub_Cultured with the hashtag #SCaryMonth!
Love stories, ammiright? I mean how many times can we tell the same series of events over and over and over again? Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl do stuff that’s biologically totally normally but socially complicated and weird. Boy and girl either end up happily ever after, or they don’t. Pass.
Yeah right. From the beginning of time until the inevitable zombie apocalypse (about which there have already ALSO been love stories written…), we humans will continue to write tales about love, lust, and everything that gets mixed up in between. But sometimes one of us gets it beautifully, painfully, wonderfully perfect. One of those times was Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years; a time-twisting musical Brown wrote about his own love story, which culminated in divorce and sadness (and, as a result of her depiction in the musical, a lawsuit with his now ex-wife). Last week, an official trailer came out for the movie version of The Last Five Years, and between S-C staff writer Sam and I we’ve watched it about fifty times since its release.
From Page to Stage
BUT! Some of you nerds may be interjecting. “The Last Five Years’ only lasted off-Broadway for two months! How could you be excited? Well, nerds, calm down. I’ve seen that production. I know why it managed to open in March and close in May. I also saw a re-staging in Baltimore a few years back, directed with tongue so firmly in cheek that I wanted to claw my eyes out. But good luck taking the soundtrack away from me, or getting me to listen to it without singing along.
There are only two actors in the entire play–Jamie, Brown’s stage persona, and the object* of his affection, Cathy. The story is told in two different directions simultaneously: Cathy starts from the end and works backwards while Jamie starts from the beginning, and they swap off in a series of solos. The only song they technically share is the proposal scene in the very middle, which is a heartbreaking song called “The Next Ten Minutes”. The soundtrack is beautiful from start to finish with one glaring exception–“The Schmuel Song”– which I personally find grating and obnoxious but perhaps that’s because I’ve never seen it staged interestingly**. This is one story where knowing the end doesn’t ruin the journey in the least. The fact that Jamie’s exuberant declarations of something new in his first song are matched by Cathy’s lamentations of something ending sets you up for heartbreak from the very first note. It sort of makes you wonder why we ever fall in love in the first place, when normally there aren’t even masterfully crafted violin sections helping illustrate how each step made us feel along the way.
And From Stage to Screen
The movie should be able to fix many of the problems that The Last Five Years runs into on stage, which typically include a lack of other live bodies. For two people who apparently fall into and out of love based heavily on what society tells them they SHOULD be doing, a cast of two does not illustrate that society plays any part at all. The small cast also makes it an attractive play for community theatres, who, in my experience, use little to no set or lighting design–and what they do use is frequently very literal in an otherwise subtle show. The movie already looks like a labor of love on the parts of Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, who star as the lovers doomed from the start. Jordan even personally assured me that my fears about Schmuel are baseless, by responding to one of my cranky tweets on the matter.
— Jeremy Jordan (@JeremyMJordan) September 19, 2014
Kendrick has done some super nerdy tweeting of her own on the matter of the film, as seen below in this conversation about musical keys:
My co-writer Sam’s reaction is summed up as follows: “The trailer opens the same way as the soundtrack: ‘Jamie is over and Jamie is gone.’ As Anna Kendrick sung those seven words and the music trickled into the background I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm. Cathy’s opener ‘I’m Still Hurting’ is easily one of the most heartbreaking songs in a musical about relationships. The trailer couldn’t have been a better way to exhibit the always beautiful voice of Miss Kendrick and the sultry sounds of Jeremy Jordan. Here’s the thing, I’m still scared that one of my favorite musicals could be an awful film. But for right now, in this moment, everything hurts, and oddly enough, everything is okay.” It’s that complexity of pain and happiness that makes The Last Five Years so habit forming–and the trailer highlights just a few of the best songs in the show. I think the film format, and some expanded dialogue, will do this musical good. Gaps will be filled in where before there was only conjecture, and for a musical that asks so many complex questions about love and loss, we don’t need any added inquiries.
Another reaction I’ve gotten is from my younger sister, who was attracted to the trailer by her total fan-boner for Jeremy Jordan.*** She is not unfamiliar with the musical, having grown up in a house with,well, me, but the actors were definitely the main draw for her . “My first impression of the trailer was to scream, because I had waited long enough for a trailer and release date–but I’m really just looking forward to seeing how well they did a movie with essentially a two person cast. I’m really looking forward to seeing Jeremy Jordan’s chemistry with Anna Kendrick, which will have to drive the movie.” The first day that the trailer was live, she sent me a series of screengrabs in an email titled “3 of the many reasons Jeremy Jordan’s going to be amazing”. This was my favorite from among her selections:
I think my work here is done.
The Last Five Years comes out, somewhat cruelly, on Valentine’s Day 2015.
*I use “object” here very deliberately
**Fellow Sub-Cultured writer Sam firmly disagrees with this assessment as he loves The Schmuel Song, but you know. This isn’t his article. So…
***when he tweeted at me she threatened never to speak with me again. Also she might have more than just a fan-boner for him.
It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing color from brown to brown..er… Uh.. Well it’s fall in California, that means we are only a few days away from the last major CA con of the year. COMIKAZE! After a year full of Cons that require travel having the final one of the year be in my backyard is nice. Just a hop, skip, and a jump into downtown LA and we are ready to nerd out for an entire weekend. But hearing about my commute isn’t what you came here for. Let’s dive right in to what has me excited this weekend.
You can check out the whole list of special guests for this years show right HERE. But the top of my list is Julie Newmar, Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, and Jim Lee. Seriously guys, Julie FREAKING Newmar and Gwendoline Christie!!! It’s too much for my poor little nerd heart to handle.
Panels I am stoked for on Friday!
Room 404AB at 5pm
THE KAIJU KINGDOM LIVE PODCAST! – GODZILLA’S 60TH
ANNIVERSARY/GAMERA’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY – The King of Monsters and Friend to Children celebrate some major milestones this year. If you are a fan of Godzilla, Gamera, or Kaiju in general you should make some time to check out this panel.
303AB – 6pm
THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: BREAKING INTO COMIC BOOK AND HOLLYWOOD
SCRIPTWRITING – For the writer in every nerd, hopefully they’ll answer all the burning questions I have. Even if they don’t it looks like it will be an amazing panel with guests like Erika Alexander (Concrete Park) and Tony Puryear (Concrete Park, Eraser).
If neither of these panels get you excited Friday is surprisingly jam-packed for such a short day, you might want to check out the Geek Fashion show on the main stage at 6:30 or learn more about Steampunk in room 308AB at 6pm!
Even though Friday is a short day, but that only prepares us for the inSTANity (see what I did there) of Saturday and Sunday! Here are the panels I am way too excited about on Saturday.
We start the day off early at 9:00 AM with:
408AB – 9AM
NOSFERATU – A RESURRECTION OF THE LEGENDARY FILM STARRING DOUG
JONES! PLUS A SNEAK PEAK OF BEAMSCREEN.COM.
The official launch of Nosferatu starring Doug Jones as the monstrous Count
Orlok in a feature-length revisit of the classic masterpiece of horror. Plus
the debut of BeamScreen.com – a revolutionary, cloud-based studio that
incorporates artist’s talents worldwide into its feature quality productions.
Participants: Daamen Krall, David Fisher (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari),
Chris Duddy (True Lies, Terminator 2, Titanic, Robocop), Eban Schletter
(SpongeBob, Thrilling Adventure Hour, Drunk History), Doug Jones (Pan’s
Labyrinth, Hellboy I & II, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Buffy the
After a quick break for some souvenir hunting on the floor the Main STAGE of COMIKAZE is going to experience some justice.
HOT TOPIC MAIN STAGE – 10:30AM
SPOTLIGHT: ADAM WEST
TV’s most prolific Batman joins us to talk all things Batman, and help
celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary
and while there are tons of things to fill Saturday with I would be remiss if I didn’t make sure I made it to my favorite podcast’s panel.
404AB – 12:30pm
THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR
The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a staged show in the style of old-time radio
performed live, monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood as well as on
the road. The show sells out monthly and features all of your favorite actors
from the worlds of TV, comedy, animation, film, theater, and improv.
Participants: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Aaron Ginsburg, Paul F. Tompkins, Craig
Cackowski, Hal Lublin, Janet Varney, Autumn Reeser and more!
After a Saturday that is full of so many things to do, you may be asking yourself. “But what about Sunday Sam? What if we can’t go the first two days?” Well never fear dear reader of things written on websites! Sunday helps Comikaze go out with a bang, and here are the things you should check out!
303AB – 12pm
THE BOYS WHO BUILT BATMAN
Who really created Batman? Was it the Caped Crusader’s officially credited
creator, Bob Kane, or was it his secret collaborator, Bill Finger? What
influences first shaped the Batman mythos back in 1939, from his Detective
Comics #27 debut to the revelation of his tragic origin? Experts conduct
a forensic investigation into this question of historical, cultural, and ethical
Participants: Dr. Travis Langley, Alan Kistler, Jens Robinson
404AB – 1pm
NERDIST WRITERS PANEL: COMICS EDITION SPOTLIGHT ON ROB PRIOR
Be there as part of this LIVE taping of the show when we deep dive into
Rob’s artistic evolution from a young painter for Dungeons & Dragons to his
two-handed painting approach developed while working on Spawn, Evil Ernie
and Heavy Metal.
Participants: Heath Corson, Rob Prior, Adam Beechen
Stay in that same room for the next panel!!!!
SECRETS OF THE FLASH! – A GEEK HISTORY LESSON AND GAME SHOW ON
THE SCARLET SPEEDSTER
How much do you really know about the Flash, the star of the CW’s newest
superhero show? Watch a live recording of the Geek History Lesson Podcast
as they challenge comic book writer Sterling Gates (Kid Flash) and Geek &
Sundry’s 2 Broke Geeks to a Flash trivia contest where only the audience can win prizes!
Participants: Jason Inman, Ashley Victoria Robinson (The Red Shirt Diaries,
Co-Host of Geek History Lesson), Sterling Gates (Kid Flash, Supergirl and
Vibe), Omar Najam, Mia Resella (2 Broke Geeks on YouTube)
And that’s it. Those are the things I think you should take some time to check out this weekend at Comikaze. Have you had a chance to check out the schedule? What does your list look like?
Let us know in the comments!
Just in case you were unaware, the rabid fangirl within me has awakened. New Sailor Moon anime is JUST on the horizon, and it has taken everything in me to not squeal at ear piercing levels. Momoiro Clover was recently on MTV Japan and performed the remade theme song for the upcoming anime, and I won’t lie… I shed a tear or two. Check it out!