Why You Need To Watch Apocalypse Now, Er, Now

(Empire Online)

Most people have vivid moments of cultural consumption in their teenage years – an hour watching some movie or hearing some band for the first time – that shake your brainbox upside down and change the world forever. Mine was reading Kerouac’s On The Road, listening to Harvest by Neil Young and even more memorably, watching Apocalypse Now! with my dad.

I was fourteen, sitting on our living room floor, when a denim-clad rockabilly film critic with a greased up duck’s arse hairdo (that’s an actual haircut, and the critic was Mark Kermode, and he still has that haircut) came on the telly, looked at the camera, and said, “You’re about to watch the most indulgent, extravagant and exciting film ever made.”

I put down my Gameboy.

The ominous shimmering opening of The Doors “The End” faded up through our wood-paneled television as a ceiling fan swooshed over Martin Sheen’s harrowing face – woosh woosh WoooOOOOSH – suddenly the ceiling fan was a Chinook helicopter blade whirring ominously over swathes of pristine Vietnamese jungle.

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At this moment my dad shuffled in his reclining chair, looked a bit excited, and said, “Oh, you should watch this, watch the beginning, then watch it all.”

Seemed like a logical progression for movie watching. But why was Dad so roused? The last time he had been excited about a film on TV was when Channel Four showed Showgirls.

I dragged my arse over the shagpile carpet towards the TV and stared. Jim Morrison screamed, “Mother I Want To Rape You!!!” as the pristine jungle erupted in a fiery napalm hell. I could almost smell the gasoline. I was scared of this movie. 

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The next two hours were the greatest movie watching experience of my life.

Here are some of the reasons why it’s insane that you haven’t seen this movie yet. I mean really, it’s right there on your big shiny smart tv. It’s like two fat thumb clicks away. Turn the lights down and turn it up (actually finish this article first).

The production of Apocalypse Now was more than making a movie, it was literal war. Francis Ford Coppola hired the Philippines army helicopter pilots to shoot the famous Valkyrie beach attack, as they were embroiled in a real civil war a hundred miles away. They would often have to stop shooting so the pilots could fly south to actually engage some insurgents.

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Laurence Fishburne played seventeen-year-old Clean when he was only fourteen because he was just that good, which is weird as these days thirty-year-olds play seventeen-year-olds.

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Marlon Brando demanded a million dollars, shaved his head and made up all his lines for his iconic role as Colonel Kurtz. He’s on-another-planet mesmerizing, muttering about snails crawling along razorblades and “making a friend of horror.” Sometimes I have nightmares about Marlon and his shiny blood-splattered dome lying next to me in bed whispering…

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There’s a scene before Martin Sheen gets his mission where he smashes a glass mirror with his fist, drunk and half naked in a Saigon hotel room. That’s a real mirror, Sheen was really drunk and that’s his real blood. Sheen later had a breakdown and heart attack on set.

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It’s cool. I mean it’s maybe the coolest movie ever made. You can be cool too, by watching it. When I was young I smoked cigarettes because I was cool. There are a lot of cigarettes smoked in Apocalypse Now, and the power of suggestion was strong in me. When I was 18 I got the opportunity to see it in 35mm on the big screen, I went to Leicester Square with my mate Tom to watch the premier of the new Director’s Cut. It’s nearly four hours long. This version included playbunnies making out in crashed helicopters, a bizarre colonial french family and even more surfing. When we stepped out into Leicester Square, our minds blown, Tom lit me a Lucky Strike. “This is the best cigarette you’ll ever smoke.” he said. He was right.

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The film also led to the greatest movie documentary ever made, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, in which Eleanor Coppola documents her husband’s descent into movie making hell.

There are so many other reasons to watch Apocalypse Now and I’d happily tell you them all, but for now take my dad’s sage advice: watch it, watch the beginning, then watch it all. You won’t regret it. 

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Baby Confused By His Father’s Twin

NFL Star Pays off $80k in Holiday Layaway Accounts at Hometown Walmart

Khalil Mack Pays off Layaway Debt
(Getty/Quinn Harris)

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack recently played hometown Santa when he paid off all the layaway items at a Walmart in Florida. Hundreds of families will have a happier Christmas as the Pro Bowler’s gift totaled nearly $80,000. The store tweeted about the heartwarming gesture.

“We have some wonderful News! If you have an active Holiday Layaway account at your local Ft. Pierce Wal-Mart, your account has been paid off! We here at Walmart would like to thank the Khalil Mack Foundation for your generosity, and for making so many families happy for the holidays!”

The Khalil Mack foundation approached the Walmart with interest in brightening the holidays for the community as a “secret santa”, which, admittedly, lost a lot of its secrecy when the store openly tweeted about it. Still, it’s a baller move to bring some Christmas joy to his community.

Mack, a former defensive player of the year and Pro Bowl regular, is a terrifying presence on the field, as he destroys offensive lines on the reg.

But it’s his big heart that’s earning him praise now. Mack has always been a big supporter of his community, as just earlier this year he donated cleats to everyone on the football team at his former high school.

Tis the season for heartwarming gestures from pro athletes, as this move comes just weeks after one star paid thousands to clear a middle school’s lunch debt.

Keanu Day: The Matrix 4 and John Wick 4 Share Same Release Date

Keanu Sequel Day
(Warner Bros./Lionsgate)

Keanu Reeves is having a resurgence over the past few years, and his apex is on the horizon, as we finally have a release date for the much-awaited Matrix sequel: May 21, 2021. Oh, and we also have a release date for the next installment of his beloved John Wick franchise and it is…May 21, 2021.

That’s right, the spring weekend will feature an epic Keanu v. Keanu box office showdown. Many have already started to call it “Keanu Day”, as the two mammoth titles will hit theaters at the exact same time.


In fairness, Keanu Reeves is the only actor who could compete with a Keanu Reeves opening. And while opening against a huge movie may be seen as a deterrent, it could actually help both films in this case as folks go out of their way to hit both.

It’s not yet clear which film would garner the bigger opening weekend. The Matrix 4 is a sequel to a beloved franchise, and there’s bound to be more than a healthy dose of nostalgia involved. And while some of the enthusiasm for the film may be tempered by the first lackluster sequels (2 and 3 both left fans dissatisfied), it’s hard to see how this could go wrong.

And you can’t sleep on John Wick 4 either, as that franchise doesn’t have any nostalgia factor, but does have a strong ass-kicking factor, one that has propelled it to strong box office openings. Case in point, John Wick 3 was the film that finally knocked Avengers Endgame out of the top spot at the box office.

It is possible that one of the films may change their release date, but for now, maybe block off the entire weekend for one giant Keanu celebration.

If you can’t wait for some Keanu content, check out how one artist worked him into the lives of every Disney Princess or check him out in the SpongeBob trailer.

Pringles Teams up with Rick and Morty for Limited Edition Pickle Rick Flavor

Pickle Rick Pringles
(Kellogg's/Adult Swim)

Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” cartoon is sort of like a bizarro Back to the Future based around a degenerate scientist and his idiot grandson as they have existential science-fiction adventures. It’s absurd and brilliant and intensely loved by its fans, so much so that an episode that referenced McDonald’s long-discontinued Szechuan dipping sauce provoked people into doing strange things to try and revive the item.

Now Pringles is releasing a new flavor based on the popular Rick and Morty episode Pickle Rick, in which Rick, the aforementioned degenerate scientist, accidentally transforms himself into a pickle. The episode features the often-drunk, extremely callous grandpa using all of his wits and resourcefulness to escape pickle bondage (in the most violent and grotesque manner possible).

The new flavor will only be available for a limited time, early next year, in a promotional tie in with the Super Bowl.

“We want to do something completely new for the brand for the 2020 Big Game and are thrilled to be partnering with Adult Swim and Rick and Morty, a show which continues to grow in popularity year after year and enjoys a cult fan following,” said Pringles senior director of marketing Gareth Maguire. “We hope the new special edition Pickle Rick flavour will be a hit with the show’s fans.”

I’m sure it will be. Hopefully, it won’t cause riots! Adult Swim seems confident in the partnership.

“We’re very thoughtful about who we partner with around Rick and Morty and we couldn’t be more pleased with our new relationship with Pringles,” said Adult Swim senior vice president for marketing and partnerships Jill King.

“Not only are the Rick and Morty show creators making a hilarious spot for the Big Game, we’re extending this partnership in really exciting ways, all year long. Rick and Morty fans are going to be given amazing new opportunities to illustrate their love for this iconic show, thanks to Pringles.”

It’s a very smart, and very unhinged show, and the actions of some of its more intense fans shouldn’t be held against it.

Nor should the taste of these potato chips, unless Pringles goes all out to make them taste anything like actual Pickle Rick would. Because that’s just nasty.

You Asked For a Miracle, I Give You a ‘Die Hard’ Christmas Pop-Up Bar

Die Hard Pop up Bar
(The Sixth Bar)

Welcome to the party, Chicago! The rest of the country won’t be joining you for the rest of their lives.

Sorry. I’m just jealous that I don’t live in the Windy City, because this time of year, my wife drags me around to countless holiday-based activities and events here in NYC. The tree at Rockefeller Center, Santa at Macy’s, the ice rink in Bryant Park, various terrible Christmas-themed pop-up bars and shops. Meanwhile, there’s finally a pop-up bar that I want to go to and it’s halfway across the country!

The Sixth, a bar on 2200 Lawrence Avenue in Chicago, has turned itself into Yippie-Ki-Yay, a Die Hard themed bar complete with Die Hard themed drinks, and it will stay that way until the end of the year. What better place to ring out 2019 than in a rooftop bar covered in broken glass! (I assume that’s the situation, again, I live thousands of miles away.)

According to Block Club Chicago, the bar will be decorated in 80s Christmas style, which means lots of garish gold and glittery decorations, and will be festooned with props and custom artwork related to the greatest action movie of all time.

The cocktails were inspired by events and quotes from the film, focusing on beloved characters like John McClane, Hans Gruber, Sgt. Al Powell, Holly Gennaro McClane, and Argyle the limo driver. And if there isn’t some kind of Twinkie-based dessert, well, we’re gonna need some new bar manager guys.

Here’s the full cocktail list:

Adam Sandler Wants an Oscar for ‘Uncut Gems’ or He’ll Make a Bad Movie

Uncut Gems
(YouTube/A24)

If you’ve seen The Ridiculous Six, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups, Bulletproof, The Cobbler, Mixed Nuts, The Do-Over, or Blended – you probably think you’ve seen Adam Sandler at his worst. But don’t test the man.

Love him or hate him, Sandler is one of the biggest comedic movie stars of the past 25 years. The SNL alum has been churning out movies for the better part of 3 decades, and while not everyone is a classic, most of them have been successful. Even his latest Netflix movie, Murder Mystery, allegedly did huge numbers for the streaming service, despite the fact that even his biggest fans probably wouldn’t consider it among his best work.

The fact is, Sandler’s persona has remained largely unchanged for his entire career, even when he – and his audience – grew up, he stayed firmly ensconced in the juvenile man-child space. He was astute enough to shift towards child-friendly stuff like his Grown Ups movies and the Hotel Transylvania franchise, but his best comedic days appear to be behind him. His best dramatic days, however, may still be here.

Over the years he’s given his dramatic chops a-go in a handful of well-received movies, like Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign O’er Me, Netflix’s The Meyerowitz Stories, and, this Oscar season, Uncut Gems.

The gritty thriller from the Safdie Brothers may be Sandler’s most intense role yet, and it’s already getting Oscar buzz. So much buzz, in fact, that Sandler is uncharacteristically making the rounds to promote the movie. And, at least half-seriously, making it clear that he would love to get nominated.

OR ELSE.

In an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius, he said that getting nominated for Uncut Gems would be “a funny big thing” and that he’d go all-out to campaign for it, i.e., he’d actually attend the ceremony in a tux, instead of a tracksuit. Then he got down to business, threatening Oscar voters, moviegoers, and Netflix subscribers everywhere with some extreme consequences should his role as an over-leveraged, gambling-addicted diamond broker go unnoticed by the Academy.

He told shock jock Stern that if he doesn’t win an Oscar, he’s “going to f—ing come back and do [a movie] that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay. That’s how I get them.”

Given that many of us regret spending money on Mr. Deeds, back when Sandler was supposedly aspiring to make something worthwhile, the prospect of him intentionally striving to make something terrible should have us all quaking in our boots.

Or at least switching over to Disney+.

Walmart Apologizes for Cocaine Santa Christmas Sweater, Things Get Ugly

Cocaine Santa Sweater
(Walmart Canada)

It’s hard to introduce a new element to something as rigid as the holiday season and see it really take hold. One tradition that has brought some levity to December: the ugly Christmas sweater.

The ugly sweater phenomena traces its roots to the 1980s and Bill Cosby (yikes), but it’s only within the last decade-plus that ugly Christmas sweaters have earned a prominent place on the fringes of the Holiday Party Season. The craze has resulted in an influx in specialty Christmas sweaters, but you can go too far, which is what Walmart learned when they had to apologize for their sweater featuring (checks notes)…Santa in front of a table of cocaine.

The sweater has an excitable yet crazed Santa is shown in front of a table featuring clear lines of “snow”, along with the expression “Let It Snow”. OK, so, that couuuuld be ambiguous, right? Maybe we all just have sick minds and are jumping to conclusions. Let’s check the product description to find some redeeming counterarguments.

“The best snow comes from South America” ok welp, end of argument. If you need more, there’s this: “santa likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A snow from Colombia.” It even goes on to say “he packs it in perfect lines on his coffee table and then takes a big whiff to smell the high quality aroma of the snow.” I mean, all that’s missing is giant font spelling out “YOU KNOW THIS IS COCAINE, RIGHT???”

Walmart apologized for the sweater, and blamed it on a third party seller and that it does not represent “their values.”

Now the government of Columbia is threatening to sue Walmart.

“The Walmart sweater is an offense to the country,” said Camilo Gómez Alzate, director of Colombia’s National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State, according to the Washington Post and El Tiempo. “It generates damage to the legal products of Colombia and damage to the country’s reputation. Although Walmart apologized, the damage was done.”

The agency is asking Walmart to pay monetary damages. If Walmart fails to comply, they plan to file a lawsuit.

Either way, you’ll have to get your cocaine Santa elsewhere now (try Kohl’s).

8-Month-Old Can’t Stop Giggling When Meeting His Hero, Chewbacca

Lil Chewie Meets His Hero
(Rachel Herrholz)

The best part about Star Wars is that there’s something that most people can appreciate—rich character arcs, badass villains, and otherworldy droids and weapons.

But Chewbacca… Chewbacca is for everyone. Man or woman, young or old, human or otherwise – you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love that big walking carpet. Even someone as young as 8-months-old can’t keep their cool around him, as shown by a recent viral video.

“Lil Chewie” was visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World Resort, Florida with his grandparents, Rachel and Eric Herrholz, when he finally met his hairy hero. Sporting his own Chewbacca apparel, the little boy was totally tickled while the famed Wookiee co-pilot playfully grunted and poked at him.

“This was Lil Chewie’s first visit with Chewbacca. We dressed him in a Chewbacca outfit, and Eric wore a Han Solo shirt,” said Rachel, regarding her Facebook video, which has since been viewed over 2 million times. “We were not expecting him to react the way he did. Chewbacca came over to get us.

“Next thing I know, I heard him laughing. I looked up and he was belly-laughing. Chewbacca was just as excited. I started to record. I was amazed and I wished his Mom and Dad were with us.”

(Rachel Herrholz)

The adorable interaction took place in the ‘Star Wars Launch Bay,’ an attraction where park-goers experience “immersive exhibits of costumes, models, concept artwork and actual movie props” as well as a meet-and-greet with Chewie himself.

“I am blessed that my grandson can make people smile and bring them happiness in this world we live in,” Rachel added.

I’m pretty sure any world with more Chewbacca in it is going to be happier, overall.

12 of Our Best Dads Jokes (Memes) of November

Our Best Memes of the Month

Nothing is more dad than laughing at your own jokes. Here are our 12 personal favorites from last month. (Actually as voted by you, based on Facebook engagement.)

1. 20/80 Rule

2. Adventurous Eaters

3. Morning Person

4. Change the Channel

5. Didn’t Do My Research

6. This IS Christmas Music

7. Suspect Has Been ID’d

8. Careers

9. Yelling Match

10. Origins of Cool

11. Ooops

12. Curtains

Check out last month’s top memes here.