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The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame: THE WINNERS

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 19, 2007

Loren Wallace missing the cut, that’s what’s SNF

The votes are in. Don’t have time to write a long preamble about it, but thanks for voting, and I was more than happy with the turnout. Here are the five winners, counted down of course, for each category, as well as the Honorable Mention and Write-In nominees that got the most votes, or the one I liked the most in case of a tie. Here goes.

Music:

5.


Akon and T-Pain Buy a Timeshare in the Top 40

4.


Avril Lavigne Unwittingly Introduces an Obscure Power-Pop Act to a New Generation

3.


Um-buh-reh-lla, ella, ella, ey ey

2.


Soulja Boy Teaches a Grateful Nation How to Crank Dat Soulja Boy

1.


It’s Britney, Bitch

Honroable Mention:


The One-Man WTF-Fest of R. Kelly

Write-In:


Radiohead Single-Handedly Destroys the Music Industry

Movies:

5.


The House in Knocked Up

4.


Three is a Magic Number

3.


Martin Scorsese: 1 for 8

2.


Young Seth’s Illustrations in Superbad

1.


The Simpsons Movie Actually Gets Released

Honorable Mention:


Southland Tales Trailer: Holy Fucking Shit

Write-In:

Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

TV:

5.


One Fan’s Opinion of Sanjaya Malakar

4.


It’s Business Time

3.


Dick. Box. One possibly in the other.

2.


Steeeee-rike!

1.


Onion Rings, Parallel Parking and a Shoddy Cable Connection

Honorable Mention:


Dayman and Nightman in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Write-In:

Colbert Runs for President (Almost)

Commercials:

5.


IT’S BACOOOONNNNN!!!!

4.


Ahoy

3.


RIP THINGS IN HAAAAAAAAAALF

2.

1.


Goulet’s Grand Finale

Honorable Mention:


NOOOOOOOO!!!!! YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Write-In:


“I’m a Little Lad Who Loves Berries and Cream”

Miscellany:

5.


“I’m Not Taking That Chance At All! Never in Life! Never! Never!”

4.


“Doesn’t Anyone Fucking Knock?”

3.


“You Know, Roger, This Could Give Your Career a Real Shot in the Ass”

2.


Don’t Tase Me, Bro

1.


And I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time

Honorable Mention:


Chocolate Rain

Write-In:


LOLcats in Time Magazine

The Enemies:

5.


Adam Sandler

4.


50 Cent

3.


Isiah Thomas

2.


Jerry Seinfeld

1.


Nickelback

(No HR or WIs here)

Thanks again, guys. Hope 2007 to be the first of many years of inductees.

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Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 4 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: Final Voting

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 17, 2007

To all the fellas out there with ladies to impress, it’s easy to do, just follow these steps

Well, friends and well-wishers, I’ve got no more categories of nominees for you. Now is the time to make sure that your voice is heard, by voting for up to five nominees (+ one optional write-in vote, though if you wanna write more than one, I certainly won’t stop you) from each category, to be the 2007 inductees to the IITS Pop Culture Hall of Fame. If you’ve slacked off on voting until now, if you’ve been deliberating endlessly, if you think you might’ve missed a category when you broke your all-time record by sleeping for 27 hours straight, better take this time to get right. Vote in the comment box here, or e-mail me at fadeout95@gmail.com. You guys have until Tuesday night to cast your votes, at which point I will tally and present the winners. If you don’t vote at all, that’s cool, just know that yours was the ballot I was really looking forward to being submitted, and that my crushing disappointment of your lack of participation probably means that I’ll soon lose motivation to write entirely and close the blog down by the New Year. Just sayin’.

A RECAP OF THE NOMINEES:

Music:

  1. Avril Lavigne getting sued by the Rubinoos over “Girlfriend” (also: “Girlfriend,” Mandarin version)
  2. Akon & T-Pain appearing on 3,272,413 in the 2007 calendar year
  3. Rihanna’s pronunciation of the title to “Umbrella”
  4. The “Crank Dat Soulja Boy”
  5. Rock Goes Disco (Fall Out Boy, Killers, Good Charlotte, Finger 11)
  6. “I’m Hot ‘Coz I’m Fly, You Ain’t ‘Coz You Not”
  7. Alanis Morissette’s “My Humps” cover/video
  8. Amy Winehouse goes to Rehab
  9. MTV censors the good part of the “Beautiful Girls” chorus
  10. “It’s Britney, Bitch”
  • Honorable Mention: Timabaland moves to the left of the f/ symbol, “T-T-T-TOTALLY DUDE!!,” Colbie Calliat and Taylor Swift: Guitar is the New Piano, Gym Class Heroes sampling Supertramp and Jermaine Stewart, R. Kelly’s videos for “Real Talk,’ “Same Girl and “Trapped in the Closet (Parts 13-22)”

Movies:

  1. McClane crashes a car into a helicopter in Live Free or Die Hard
  2. The House in Knocked Up
  3. Martin Scorsese Wins His First Oscar for The Departed
  4. Rose McGowan’s Machine Gun Leg in Planet Terror
  5. The surfeit of flop war movies (The Kingdom, Lions for Lambs, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah)
  6. “My Skull’s on Fire, But I’m Good”
  7. The YouTube Clip with David O. Russell giving Lily Tomlin what fer
  8. Young Seth’s Penis Drawings in Superbad
  9. Spate of Threequels (Spiderman 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates: At World’s End, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Bourne Supremacy, Rush Hour 3)
  10. The Simpsons Movie Finally Gets Released
  • Honorable Mention: The fake intro to Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, RZA, Common and T.I. in American Gangster, The Southland Tales trailer, “Pop! Goes My Heart” from Music & Lyrics, Lindsay Lohan in I Know Who Killed Me

TV:

  1. Isiah Washington gets kicked off Grey’s Anatomy for calling T.R. Knight a “faggot”
  2. “It’s Business Time” from Flight of the Conchords
  3. Jack and Fayed’s final fight from 24
  4. The crying girl at Sanjaya’s American Idol performance
  5. Nerds & Losers Taking Over TV (The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Reaper)
  6. House’s long-awaited first-ever correct diagnosis of Lupus
  7. The Caveman premiere
  8. SNL’s “Dick in a Box” short
  9. The Sopranos finale
  10. The WGA Strike
  • Honorable Mention: “Dayman” and “Nightman” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Barney going on The Price is Right on How I Met Your Mother, The series finale of The O.C., The Robot Chicken: Star Wars episode, and South Park’s Guitar Queer-O episode

Commercials:

  1. Baconator
  2. Gatorade Stealing with Harvey Keitel and Derek Jeter
  3. Singular’s IDK, My BFF Jill?
  4. Bud Light’s Fist Bump and Stairs Gag
  5. Old Spice’s Ahoy with Bruce Campbell
  6. SportsCenter’s Partying with Tony Romo (no clip, sorry)
  7. Dunkin Donuts’ RIP THINGS IN HAAAAAALF
  8. Emerald Nuts’ Robert Goulet messing with your stuff
  9. GEICO’s Loren Wallace Series
  10. Taco Bell’s Rules to Live By

Miscellany:

  1. Don’t Tase Me, Bro
  2. Larry Craig Gets Busted for “Cottaging”
  3. Kyle Brown’s Contender for All-Time Biggest Skateboard Wipe-Out
  4. Dog the Bounty Hunter, You a Racist
  5. The Mitchell Report / Bonds Gets Indicted
  6. Ahmadinejad Talks at Columbia
  7. Astronaut Lisa Nowak Drives Across Country for Love, Insanity
  8. The Patriots go 16-0, The Dolphins go 0-16 (whoops)
  9. Rock Band
  10. Whoops, looks like I only did nine, so let’s slide “Chocolate Rain” in here
  • Honorable Mention: Dumbledore Outed, Colorado Rockies: On a Mission from God, The YouTube “Shreds” Series, Fillipino Inmates do “Thriller,” Black People Coaching the Suepr Bowl, Vanessa Hudgens gets nekkid, Anna Nicole Smith dies, gets famous, Alec Baldwin’s tough love parenting techniques, Gilbert Arenas’s “Gilbertology”

The Enemies:

  1. Jerry Seinfeld
  2. Nickelback
  3. Isiah Thomas
  4. Brian Robbins
  5. FreeCreditReport.com
  6. 50 Cent
  7. Chuck Lorre
  8. Adam Sandler
  9. Scott Boras
  10. Rachel Dratch

Vote early, vote often. Once, I mean.

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 8 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: The Enemies

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 16, 2007

If everyone voted, than no one would die

We’ve spent the last five days honoring the best and brightest of 2007, the people and moments that most deserve canonization in the annals of our popular culture. But as anyone who actually had to live through the year will attest, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows–there were plenty of forces of evil at work, ones who sucked out the enjoyment of movies, music, TV, sports and commercials until we wanted to give up the whole thing and go into politics or some such. So today, we vote for the villains of 2007–the ones who actually tried their damndest to make pop culture a less inhabitable place in 2007. And of course, voting is as essential in all the other polls–up to five, with an optional write-in vote (though several of you have been writing-in several, which I guess is OK), either in the comments box or to fadeout95@gmail.com. And if you want, you can wait until the end of the week, when I’ll compile a list of the nominees, and you can just submit one big ballot. So for the last time this year:


Jerry Seinfeld

So here we are: the year of the long-awaited Jerry Seinfeld comeback. Hands raised if you felt even slightly satisfied by the re-emergence of comedy’s one-time highest-profile megastar? Between his hugely disappointing guest appearance on the season premiere of 30 Rock (Jerry never really could act, even when playing himself), his super-annoying HP commercial (note to Jerry: noting how Dreamworks wants you to make two references to your new movie in a 30-second spot does not make it OK to make two references to your new movie in one 30-second spot), and of course, Bee Movie, which seemed to bear striking resemblance to at least one other “small-creature-universe-parallels-big-human-universe” flick of recent years. If this is what a post-Seinfeld comeback looks like, then maybe the Curse was for the best after all.


Nickelback

In your average year of 00s pop music, there are only two absolute guarantees: Kanye West will say or do some controversial shit, and Nickelback will fucking suck. And fucking suck is exactly what Nickelback have spent this year doing, somehow managing to milk a third year’s worth of hits out of 2005’s All the Right Reasons (whose first single even sucked–what kind of chances could there possibly be for #s 5 & 6?) In anyone else’s career, songs like “If Everyone Cared” and the particularly detestable “Rockstar” would register as utter career nadirs–in Nickelback’s world, however, they register as little more than “The New Nickelback Single.” The general US public may care little, if at all, for rock music anymore, but with these guys as our most high-profile representatives, can you really blame them?


Isiah Thomas

You know what the worst part is? It’s not the sexual harrassment suit–settled out of court, which ended up awarding 11.6 million to Anucha Browne Sanders, along with an almost certain admission of guilt on Isiah’s part. It’s not the Knicks’ 7-16 record, squandering the relatively considerable talent of players like Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury, to currently be ranked even lower in the Atlantic Division than the similarly dispiriting 76ers. It’s not even owner Jim Dolan’s refusal to fire Isiah, despite the chants that he do just that at nearly every home game this year. No, the worst part is how, despite all this, Isiah still always seems to be smiling–like he knows he has nothing to fear, like he knows he can get away with anything. The only other ex-pro athlete with such a smile? O.J. Simpson.


Brian Robbins

Don’t recognize the name or face? That’s cool–Lord willing, you might never have to. If you recognize the name, but you’re not sure where from, that’s OK too–he was part of the Head of the Class cast back in the 80s, and produced Nickelodeon’s classic All That and a bunch of its spin-offs in the 90s. What you don’t want to have to recognize him from, however, is his 2007 resume–which includes, among other things, producing the Travolta-Lawrence-Macy-Some-Other-Guy-biker flick Wild Hogs and directing the post-Oscar nom Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit. These credentials might’ve seemed more harmless had they not managed to somehow produce two #1 movies this year–at which point you sort of have to wonder what kind of destructive powers this ex-kiddie star might have in the future. Keep this man away from Steve Carrell at all costs.


FreeCreditReport.com

The only ad campaign to make me deeply regret watching ~14 hours of TV a day. FreeCreditReport.com was benign enough when it was just presenting those shitty ads with that tool of a spokesman going “I’m thinking of a number between…” and ending with that heavenly jingle, “FREEEEE CREDIT REPORT DOT COOOOMMM!!! But they just couldn’t leave well enough alone, and consequently, FCR.C developed a couple new jingles, full new half-songs meant to convey the usefulness of their product–ones which by now I know all the words too, but I wish to God that I didn’t. I’m not even going to provide YouTube links to them–if you’ve managed to avoid them until now, I’m not nearly evil enough to expose you to them–just trust the rest of us about their utterly diabolical nature.


50 Cent

I’ve expressed my suspicion on this blog before that all rappers are secretly Republican, but now that I think about it, most of this opinion is attributable to the persona of 50 Cent. And I don’t even mean his comments expressing support of George W. Bush–which are sort of remarkable in themself–but I just mean the general attitude he takes towards his art, which is easily summarized as “fuck all y’all, I’ma get paid.” Yeah, music’s a business, and we’d be naive to think that our most commercial artists aren’t making some artistic concessions for popular acceptance, but when you behave like you’d be just as happy doing carpet-cleaning if you could get the same levels of fame, money and ass as you would a musician, then, well, fuck you too, asshole. You were the worst part of “Ayo Technology,” anyways.


Chuck Lorre

Once again–if you don’t know the name, then feel free to keep it that way by skipping ot the next entry. But if you do, then you’re probably just as infuriated as I am by the way this guy is dumbing down TV, and getting rich as a motherfucker doing it. It was bad enough when it was just Two and a Half Men, but now we’ve got 2007’s worst new show, The Big Bang Theory, to go along with it–which was, of course, the first show of the Fall ’07 season to be renewed for a second season. This man could be single-handedly responsible for keeping the laughtrack fashionable for the next decade, as well as convincing other TV producers that there might be an audience for sitcom throwback programs like the godawful Back to You. The really sad thing? There actually might be.


Adam Sandler

I’d been willing to overlook anything else. The increasingly shitty movies, the narcissism he displayed by always playing the one likeable guy in a world of weirdos and bad dudes, the constant casting of Rob Schneider. Hell, I even sort of liked Click–not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but kinda touching in an It’s a Wonderful Life sort of way. But I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry confirmed everything I had long since suspected of Adam Sandler–that his rebellious streak had died out completely, and that the youth icon that made several of the funniest movies of the 90s (including one all-time top-ten comedy classic in Happy Gilmore) had now settled for being part of comedy’s aristocracy, and co-starring in homophobic stock-coms with KEVIN FUCKING JAMES FER CHRISSAKES. Unacceptable, and Dennis Dugan, don’t think I didn’t notice your involvement–one more strike, and you’ll be here next year too.


Scott Boras

I suppose you do have to sort of respect Scott Boars’s willingness to play the Bad Angel–to sit on the shoulder of clients like Barry Zito, J.D. Drew and of course, Alex Rodriguez, and tempt them into going for more money from their respective ball clubs than they’re likely actually worth. But if at all possible, it seemed like this year, Boras’s hubris went a little too far–interrupting the World Series to announce A-Rod’s intention to shop around for more money, then failing to get such a deal, forcing his client to temporarily disown him and have to deal behind his back with the club he initially spurned. When even a 43-year-old pitcher like Kenny Rogers thinks he’s probably better off without you, it might be time to re-evaluate your practice a little bit.


Rachel Dratch

All right, I guess this is sort of an asshole thing to harp on, especially consdering the fact that she appears to have more or less been given the permanent boot on 30 Rock, and will no longer be fucking the show up with her cringe-worthy appearances as she did in S1. But with the writers’ strike, with the show’s relatively declining quality, and with 30 Rock‘s perpetually low ratings, who knows if the show’ll even get another full season? It’d be fairly unfortunate if the show’s one full, good season was forever tained by Tina Fey’s unwillingness to hurt her exceptionally unfunny friend’s feelings.

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 12 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: Miscellany

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 15, 2007

The school books say it can be here again

Possibly our last day of nominees here–we might have one more category, I’m not sure yet–and this time we’re talking about..well, all the stuff we didn’t talk about in the last four days. The sports, the viral videos, the scandals, the non-depressing news stories, and so forth. If you don’t know the deal by now, you probably never will, but please don’t forget to vote and such–up to five, with an optional write-in vote (though several of you have been writing-in several, which I guess is OK), either in the comments box or to fadeout95@gmail.com. And if you want, you can wait until the end of the week, when I’ll compile a list of the nominees, and you can just submit one big ballot. And thus:


Don’t Tase Me, Bro

See, this is what happens when college kids listen to too much Rage Against the Machine. Andrew Meyer was doing all right, I think–maybe a little overdramatic–up until the part where he started screaming for help and flailing around like a jackass. Who did he think was coming to his aid, exactly? The rebel freedom fighters? That’s not to say that the cops are entirely blameless here, however–if they had just answered to his pleas of “Don’t tase me, Bro!” with a calm, rational, “OK, we won’t tase you, but that means you have to stop screaming for help and flailing around like a jackass! You can’t have it both ways!” then the clip at least could’ve ended without the half-minute of Meyer wailing in pain, amidst horrified shrieks from the audience. Truly, what we had here was a failure to communicate–albeit one that made for good T-Shirt slogans.


“Doesn’t Anyone Fucking Knock?”

How many of you knew what the term “cottaging” meant before Larry Craig made headlines for all the wrong reasons this year? How many of you still didn’t know what it meant until you looked it up five minutes before writing this article? All right, that one might just be me, but still–you gotta give Craig props for making bathroom-cruising fashionable for the first time since a similarly high-profile bust nearly a decade ago. It’s too bad that Craig, unlike George Michael, seems unwilling to at least make the most of a bad situation–he could’ve had a great cameo in the “Oustide ’08” vid.


Woah There

To me, the most surprising thing about skateboarder Jake Brown’s unbelievably horrific 45-foot free fall at the X Games this summer is that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. Which isn’t to say, of course, that wiping out is anything new in extreme sports. But I’d never seen anything quite like this before. Most cringe-worthy sport moments are a second long, tops–a bad landing, a rough hit, a small drop. But once the board flies out from under Brown’s feet, you’ve got a good three or four seconds of him swinging his legs wildly, hoping, praying that he can somehow find the board under them (which is, by now, pretty much halfway across the room) before he action hits the ground. And as if that wasn’t enough, upon the dreaded landing, Brown’s shoes fly off–I mean, fly off, I didn’t even know that was possible. I do after watching the clip about a dozen times straight, though.


“I’m Not Taking That Chance At All! Never in Life! Never! Never!”

One thing you do have to say for Dog the Bounty Hunter, he’s pretty good at gauging potential public reactions. Just days after predicting that his career would be over if anyone ever heard him use the word “nigger”–his reasoning for why his son can’t date a black girl, or at least can’t bring her within earshot of his racial epiphet-spewing celeb dad–his career was in fact over, A&E having spended his show and Dog’s reformed Christian rep coming into, ahem, minor question. Sad as it should be that Dog’s son sold him out so explicitly (to the Enquirer, no less), it’s impossible not to appreciate the double-irony of the whole thing. Plus, compared to this guy, Don Imus is practically Susan Sarandon.


“You Know, Roger, This Could Give Your Career a Real Shot in the Ass”

A late-bloomer for 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame contention for sure, but a year seems too long a time to wait before putting it on the ballot. Despite what your opinions might be on the overall worth of the Mitchell Report–overhyped, under-researched and largely unrevelatory as it may be–this was pretty big, to consider that now both the best hitter and the best pitcher of the last 20 years have at least half of their output, and consequently, their entire careers, called into question. Personally, I found the inclusion of Lenny Dykstra to be far more discouraging, but somehow I don’t think that his discrediting has quite the same ring of epoch to it. (Oh, and feel free to throw Bonds’ record-breaking / indictment in there too, didn’t seem like there was a point in making two separate entries for this).


Ahmadinejad Outraged About America’s Rude Treatment of Guest Speakers, Holocaust Myth

After weathering a storm of controversy about his decision to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad to speak at Columbia, University President Lee Bollinger nonetheless decided to call Ahmadenijad out himself in his introduction speech, calling him a “petty and cruel dictator.” His ambush tactics were seen so unfavorably by the public that even the Iranian Jewish community decried them, saying that the President’s comments “prove once more that those claiming to be peace loving people have no real grasp of the concept.” When you’ve openly referred to the “myth” of the Holocaust and the Jewish people still have your back, you know America dun fucked up. The whole incident was big enough to inspire an SNL digital short, the touching Ahmadinejad ode “Iran (So Far Away)” (the millionth piece of evidence this year that Adam Levine wants to be Justin Timberlake), which contains the immortal line: “I know you say there’s no gays in Iran…but you in New York now, baby!


And I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time

Ten years from now, there will be no better answer to a base-level trivia question than Lisa Nowak. Did you remember what her name was? I forgot it, and I had just looked it up the night before. Anwyway, in an extremely rare case of truth actually being stranger than fiction (seriously, this happens maybe three times a decade), Nowak managed to do for diapers what OJ did for white gloves a decade ago in her cross-country race to break up an affair between Colleen Shipman and fellow astronaut William Oefelein. This would’ve seemed a more romantic gesture had Nowak not packed various knives, guns, tools for kindapping and body disposal, and (allegedly) a set of diapers, which Nowak believed would cut down on her trip’s time. In the words of the always topical Liz Lemon, “That was a lady with a plan.”


The Patriots and the Dolphins Maintain the Karmic Balance of the Universe

This one is (sort of) a risky proposition, considering that there are technically three weeks left in the season, and stranger things have probably happened. But unless Eli Manning can do what big bro failed to in October, Eric Mangini actually gets vengeance for whatever exactly it is he’s feuding with Bill Belichick over, or the Dolphins catch the Ravens or Bengals on particularly dispirted weeks, 2007 will have the dubious distinction of being the only year in NFL (or indeed, major sports) history that there will be both an undefeated and a winless team in the same year. Of course, this is without mentioning the last, and least likely possible outcome–that the Dolphins actually manage to beat the Pats in week 16–but that in itself would probably be Hall of Fame worthy, so.


Let There Be Rock

OK, you had to know that this was coming at some point. Sure, the XBox might’ve had a couple other notable releases this year–Bioshock, The Orange Box, Halo 3 of course–but ultimately, there’s only one that was of actual consequence to this blog. Whether Rock Band will really go on to be as world-changing as was initially speculated is, as far as I can tell, still unsure–sales reports appear to have been guardedly enthusiastic, at the most positive–but I know that I had a moderately attended party based around it (the only excuse I’ve had thusfar to drag so many people out to Brooklyn), and even the girls kept telling me how awesome it was. That’s popular culture for you, motherfucker.

Honorable Mention:

Dumbledore outed
Colorado Rockies: On a Mission From God
The YouTube Shreds Series
Chocolate Rain” (Sorry, Josh, I didn’t even know what this was when you mentioned in on Monday–I always figured it was R. Kelly-related in some capacity)
Filipino Inmates do Thriller
Black People Can Coach Football, Apparently
Vanessa Hudgens’ nudedness (hhn: Zac Efron’s “Come and Get It, Ladies” RS cover)
Anna Nicole Smith dies, becomes famous
Alec Baldwin’s tough love parenting techniques
Gilbertology

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 9 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: Commercials

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 14, 2007

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! YYYYYYEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Day 4 of the Pop Culture Hall of Fame voting. As we’re doing commercials tonight, the cultural significance more or less goes out the window, and we’ll mostly just be voting among ones I found the best or most interesting (with the very large exception of one commercial that was simply too terrible to be ignored). Some of them you might’ve seen a thousand times too many, some of them you might not have seen at all (and I’ve included YouTubes for all I could in case), but they were the ones that best filled in the cracks of my 2007 TV watching experience–I think I’ve already written about at least half of ’em for this blog, in fact. In any event, don’t forget to vote and such–up to five, with an optional write-in vote (though several of you have been writing-in several, which I guess is OK), either in the comments box or to fadeout95@gmail.com. And if you want, you can wait until the end of the week, when I’ll compile a list of the nominees, and you can just submit one big ballot–for those of you yet to vote in any of the polls, I can only assume that this is what you’re doing.


IT’S BACOOOONNNNN!!!!

I’m not sure exactly when or why Wendy’s decided they were marketing to such a fringe audience, but man did their ad campaigns get surreal this year. The “Hot Juicy Burger!” ads–featuring setups like a forest full of people kicking trees, and a wide open field with everyone running and jumping into a hole in the middle–were weird enough, but this gem, seemingly combining German Expressionism, Japanese Monster Movies and Beatlemania, unified by the unforgettable tagline “Obsessing over celebrity–that’s wrong. Unless that celebrity is BACON!” I think has to take the cake. The fact that it also happened to promote the best Fast Food item of 2007 shouldn’t hurt its chances in this poll none either.


“But You Gotta Do…What You Gotta Do”

Ah, stealing. In what must sadly rank as his most high-profile acting gig in years, this Gatorade commercial sees Harvey Keitel acting as an angel on Derek Jeter’s shoulder (good or bad angel I’m not sure, or is that the point), advising him to take second base, despite that the pitcher keeps looking over and the catcher’s “got a gun” (I presume he means a good throwing arm, though the commercial would’ve been a lot funnier if the Angels catcher had actually pulled out a semi-automatic and mowed Jeter down on his path). This is all when and good, but it’s Keitel’s use of a word that must rank in the top ten in the history of the English (err, Yiddish) language–“schmendrick”–that really seals the deal. I’d like to think it’s the word that really gives Jeter the push he needs, like “Hell naw! I’m not lettin’ no schmendrick get in MY way!” And yes, that is the way Derek Jeter really talks (presumably).

57,000. That’s how many google hits there are for the phrase “IDK, my BFF Jill?” One of the few commercials to actually break into larger pop culture in 2007, you could spend hours on YouTube just watching the remixes, recreations and edits of this video–the dance remix where they set it to various internet phenomena is pretty good, but for my money the version that slows the commercial down by half is one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year (for some reason). Still, the original reigns supreme, a piece of multi-leveled hilarity that demonstrates the generation gap (or, more specifically, ad men’s misconception of it) better than anything else in 2007. The one where the grandmother says “IDK, my BFF Rose?” is an underrated sequel, for the record.


Fist Bump / Stairs Gag

Neither of these Bud Light gags were quite good enough to deserve their own entry, but as two of the best commercials from the Super Bowl and World Series (respectively) from the most reliable quality sporting event commercial source of them all, I figured a combination was entry-worthy. The Stairs one especially still slays me, just because the set up is so perfect–why would the guy keep glasses behind his couch, anyway? And perhaps more pressingly, who has a staircase that only leads down in the middle of the living room?


Ahoy

Talk about a pop culture fan’s dream commercial come true. Bruce Campbell perfomring a lounge version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” to a bevy of beauties in a lush, faux-60s setting? Not too shabby. More than just the cachet attatched to it, I love how abstract this commercial is, especially for a deoderant ad, not exactly a commercial sub-genre known for its out-of-the-box thinking. No dialogue (minus the utterances of the ad’s new one-word catch phrase), no real use of the product, just Bruce and the ladies mellowing it out. The clip’s secret weapon, though? The whistling hook at the end, possibly the most quietly insiduous ad jingle of the year.


I Wanna Be a Cowboy

In what is proving to be an all-around banner year Cowboys QB Tony Romo, his greatest performance might still be found in this SportsCenter clip, ’07’s best entry in what is quite probably the most consistently quality ad campaign of the last decade. Looks like ESPN has pulled it from YouTube, and only has the inferior (though still pretty funny) reception ad up on its website, so I guess I’ll describe it–SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt is walking down the building’s hallway when he notices loud music coming from a dark room. He opens the door, and Romo is there partying with a bunch of chicks. Upon noticing Van Pelt, the music is turned all the way down, and the party instantly grinds to a halt, and they have the following dialogue (transcribed from memory, so might be off).
“Hey, Tony.”

“Hey, Scott.”

“I’m done with the show.”

“…OK.”

“Yeah, guess I’ll go home…probably watch some TV…”

“…Cool.”

Van Pelt eventually leaves and closes the door behind him, at which point the volume is instantly turned back up (the song being played is revealed to be Boys Don’t Cry’s “I Wanna Be a Cowboy”) and the window’s blinds are lowered. “This is SportsCenter.”

Hey, I’m just glad Boys Don’t Cry is finally getting its much-deserved introduction to the next generation.


RIP THINGS IN HAAAAAAAAAALF

As more devoted IITS readers will no doubt recalled, over this summer I offered a small premium for any fan willing to create me a .gif of the asian metalhead from the Dunkin Donuts “Rip Things in Half” commercial, which as you can (hopefully) see above, was actually created by an IITS reader named Katie. Though the thing still refuses to play at full speed on my computer, and though Katie generously refused my cash reward (less because she, say, thought reading my blog was its own reward, than because she seemed to think it was sort of sad that I was willing to pay so much for it), it helps me to sleep easier at night to know what will probably go down as my favorite shot from a 2007 commercial will be so forever immortalized.


Goulet’s Grand Finale

We all new that it was a great commercial when we first saw it in the Super Bowl in February. But just as Joy Division’s Closer instantly took on new relevance upon singer Ian Curtis’s death later that year, so too does Robert Goulet’s ad for Emerald Nuts take on a retrsopective sense of tragedy now that the great entertainier is no longer with us. Perhaps it won’t really hit viewers until the Montage of Mortality at the Oscars next year, when the slow-motion image of Goulet crawling away on the ceiling will eventually just be too much to handle.


I’ll Tell You One Thing They Can’t Insure…

I dunno what it is exactly about arrogant pre-adolescents that I find so utterly hysterical, but GEICO’s Loren Wallace series (and yes, apparently it is Lauren or Loren and not Warren, much to my surprise) featuring the titular over-confident auto racing tyke–was the one group of ad campaigns I simply could not ever turn away from when it was on this year. The classic quotes came fast and furious–“I didn’t say I wouldn’t go fishin’ with the man!” “I’m a hundred miles away, son. Ready to strike.” “Listen…go kart trick…grocery store…those remote control boats…when it comes to Mike Wallace, the story ends with ME putting HIM in the wall.” This kid should be bigger than Abigail Breslin by now. And have more Oscar nominations.


Rules to Live By

So yeah, this commercial is bad. Really bad. There’s nothing about it that isn’t an antithesis to good. The fact that the douche says “1, 2, and C” when listing his rules, the grossly inappropriate use of Devo (and I don’t even like that song), the terrifyingly unfunny attempt at a mid-ad plot twist…seriously, if terribleness was a delicious ice cream flavor, this commercial would be double chocolate mint caramel fudge swirl. And yet…it’s utterly hypnotic. It is so titanic in its bounting heaps of awful awfulosity that I simply couldn’t exclude it from at least the nominee stage of the hall of fame. After all, no other commercial this year was such a subject of debate among me and my friends–mostly about whether the twist meant that that the guy’s brother was trying to tell him “don’t be like me, I’ve wasted my life dating women with dragon tattoos, owning lap dogs and not getting chili on my Nachos Bell Grande!,” whether it meant he was deliberately trying to trick him into the bad decision of getting chili on his Nachos Bell Grande out of sheer malice, or if he was just being a gigantic hypcoritical douche for no real reason. I tend to drift towards the latter.

Honorable Mention:

1, 2, 3, 4
Sir Charge! (Actually I just forgot about this one until it was too late, feel free to vote for it)
NOOOOOOOO!!!!! YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
“It…Gets..Me…Pumped!”
Impossible is Nothing.

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 86 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: TV

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 13, 2007

“Girl, tonight we’re gonna make love. You know how I know? ‘Coz it’s 2007, and 2007 is the year that we usually make love.”

Good continued turnout for the movies yesterday, so let’s keep it up with today’s TV voting. Wasn’t the strongest year for the box, I don’t think–the new Fall Primetime batch failed to produce any unequivocal winners, and is it just me, or does it seem like shows are running out of new episodes earlier than they normally do this year? Bizarre, right? Anyway, I was able to come up with ten items that I still consider hall-worthy, so let’s take a look at them, why not? And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it three times–IF YOU READ THIS BLOG SEMI-REGULARLY AND PAID SLIGHT ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THIS YEAR, YOU SHOULD BE VOTING IN THIS. Vote for up to five choices (and one write-in if you feel there’s something I missed) either in the comments box below, or by e-mailing me at fadeout95@gmail.com. Remember, if you don’t feel like voting every day, you can also wait until the end and cast one complete ballot once the nominees for all categories have been announced.


So Long, Isaiah

This whole controversy was funny/sad enough to begin with–Isaiah refuting the claim that he called T.R. Knight a faggot by indirectly calling him a faggot again on National TV at the Golden Globes (the scene of which bore striking resemblence to a gag from a bad Ben Stiller movie), T.R. Knight going on Ellen to drop some truth bombs, Katherine Heigl saying that Washington needs to just keep his mouth shot, and so forth. But what really could’ve further sealed it as a classic is if after Washinton did the whole song and dance of publicly apologizing and going through sensitivity training (rehab for homophobes), and they still fired him from Grey’s Anatomy, if he had just gone “You know what? I’m not sorry at all–fuck that fucking faggot T.R., hope he enjoys giving McDreamy rim jobs for the rest of his career, the fucking faggot.” Instead, he just quoted Network and had a stint on The Bionic Woman. Don’t worry, Isaiah, I’m sure Tim Hardaway understands.


It’s Business Time

Flight of the Conchords is the sure winner of the annual “Don’t Judge it By the Previews” award this year (’06 winner: Friday Night Lights)–I never would’ve guessed from the commercials that the show would end up being worth a damn, much less being the comedic high water mark of Summer TV. But sure enough, it provided us with many of the funniest TV moments of 2007, the most notable of which is almost certainly “It’s Business Time,” the hilarious Barry White pastiche that ended up a minor radio hit and even an unlikely regular namecheck of Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter. We may never see these guys on TV again, unfortunately, having used up almost all of their songs in the first season, which just goes to prove that old adage–the New Zealand Folk-Parody Duo that shines twice as brightly only lasts half as long.

(And yes, I know that the song’s been around for longer than this year, tough guy)


Say Hello to Your Brother!

So this season of 24: not so great. Despite promises of this season being a sort of series retooling (which is starting to sound more and more like “This new Strokes album sounds completely different than the last one!”), within a few weeks we were back in all to familiar territory–political backstabbing at the White House, lives of few vs. safety of many dilemmas, torture of family members (so wrong, yet feels so right), you know the deal. But at least we got one stone classic out of it–the scene in which Jack dispatches the season’s primary villain Fayed in a brilliant Die Hard meets Commando brawl to the death, with Jack’s above catchphrase (a rare example of Bauer sloganeering) providing the cherry on top. Saying the season was all downhill from there is like saying it was all downhill for Alex Winter after Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure–it’s about all there was there to begin with.


One Fan’s Opinion of Sanjaya Malakar

I only watched one episode of American Idol this year, but if there was a more memorable moment to be found in the show this season, I certainly didn’t see anything about it on Best Week Ever. It was almost impossible to believe while watching it–“Is…is that girl crying at Sanjaya’s performance?” I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve never heard a more emotional, heart-wrenching rendition of “You Really Got Me” either, but whereas I only got a ltitle misty-eyed, this girl was a wreck. It was a brilliant focal point one of the more bizarre chapters in Idol history, and even got little thirteen-year-old Ashley Furl her first taste of celebrity (though, much to my disappointment, not her own Wikipedia entry–hey, Jeffrey Maier has one!)


Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

As IITS buddy Victor once so succinctly put it, “2006 was all about fake sketch TV shows, and 2007 is all about nerds.” Indeed, as promised, the meek inherited the earth in fall of 2007, as the dorks and losers of new shows like The Big Bang Theory, Reaper and Chuck made being uncool uh, very mildy profitable again. Never mind that none of these shows ended up being any good (TBBT in particular coming off like the Amos n’ Andy of geekdom), that only one of them actually ended up getting popular (guess which one!), and that none of them seemed to really have any idea what true nerds and losers looked or acted like–it’s what we had to work with in 2007, and for now that’s gonna have to be good enough. Plus, some people actually liked Reaper, apparently.


It Actually is Lupus

This one might be a little tough for non-House fans to understand, but if my social world is any indication, such persons no longer really exist, so whatever. And if you are a House fan, this was basically your Moon Landing. That’s right folks, November 20 of 2007 was truly a red letter day, because after the truly countless times of it being an erroneous and easily dismissed diagnosis, for the first and quite possibly only time in House history, it actually was Lupus. Whether this means the beginning of the end for the show–as when a show’s two main characters finally relieve their sexual tension by hooking up for the first time, and the show is never the same again–remains to be seen.


Caveman

What is there to say about Caveman that hasn’t been said already? As with The Simpsons Movie, the actual quality of the thing is practically irrelevant–the fact that a TV series based on a series of commercials abut modern-day Cavemen actually got made and put out is what’s really remarkable. But was it actually as bad as people expected? Well yeah, but more in a slightly-more-surreal Yes, Dear or The King of Queens kind of way than a 1983-84 NBC TV Season kind of way. Watching the pilot was sort of like having a slightly awkward conversation with a neighbor you don’t much care for right after having tried psychedelics for the first time. Is it even still on the air at this point? I have no idea.


Dick. Box. One possibly in the other.

The more finnicky contingent of IITS readers will no doubt note that “Dick in a Box” technically belongs to the pop culture of 2006, actually having been released on Dec. 16th of last year. But I figure that if I had done the Hall of Fame voting at the same time last year as I am this year, it would’ve been too late for eligibility, so it seems only fair that it get lumped in as one of the 2007 prospects for Pop Culture immortality. And immortal it truly is–non-stop brilliance throughout, surpassing even “Lazy Sunday” as the ultimate “SNL for non-SNL Fans” short, and possibly the greatest thing that Justin Timberlake attached himself to in the last 18 months, a position for which there is a somewhat staggering amount of competition. The “backstage at the CMA’s” line still kills me.


Onion Rings, Parallel Parking and a Shoddy Cable Connection

Given how little actually happened in the episode, it leads me to wonder if there’s a possible way that David Chase could’ve ended this show that wouldn’t generate days and even weeks of speculation, frame-by-frame analysis and hotly polarized debate amongst the faithful. Nonetheless, the final minutes of the final episode of the final season of The Sopranos quickly became one of the most iconic scenes in TV history, probably the biggest I Remember Where I Was When moment of my young TV watching career, and the source material for a truly innumerate number of parody videos, including one by the non-fictional most famous couple in America (though personally, I prefer the more satisfying Maxim version). Plus, “Don’t Stop Believin'”–thank God someone finally rescued that gem from obscurity.


Steeeee-rike!

Maybe it’s just because I always remember there being rumors of a teachers strike when I was a kid, none of which ever ended up materializing, but I never believe that walkouts are ever actually gonna take place. It’s like the End of the World–you know it’s probably gonna happen sometime, but you figure that if you just ignore the possibility, it’ll probably go away on its own. So you gotta sort of admire the WGA for putting their picket signs where their mouths are, even if they are fighting a losing battle (and getting absolutley no help from the person who they need the most, that turncoat Carson Daly. It’s sort of hard to imagine voting for a Pop Culture event that actually prevents the future creation of further Pop Culture, but the event was too significant to TV in 2007 for me to ignore any further.

Honorable Mention:

Dayman” and “Nightman,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Barney goes on The Price is Right, How I Met Your Mother
The series finale of The O.C.
The Robot Chicken: Star Wars special
“Guitar Queer-O,” South Park (not actually a particularly funny episode, and full of factual inaccuracies, but…Guitar Hero! On TV!)

*VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE*

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 15 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: Movies

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 12, 2007

“You know when girls are like “Oh, I was so gone last night, I shouldn’t have seen that movie”? We can be that mistake!”

So, the music day is complete of our 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Voting, and I’m fairly pleased with the voter turnout so far, but I’m hoping that it’s only a fraction of what’s to come–as I said yesterday, IF YOU READ THIS BLOG SEMI-REGULARLY AND PAID SLIGHT ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THIS YEAR, YOU SHOULD BE VOTING IN THIS. Vote for up to five choices (and one write-in if you feel there’s something I missed) either in the comments box below, or by e-mailing me at fadeout95@gmail.com. Remember, if you don’t feel like voting every day, you can also wait until the end and cast one complete ballot once the nominees for all categories have been announced. So let’s continue on with this year’s movie nominees, and don’t forget to vote for yesterday’s batch if you haven’t already:


John McClane Gets Creative in Live Free or Die Hard

“I was out of bullets,” explains McClane. I think most of us were pretty skeptical when we heard about Live Free or Die Hard–I know I was, especially when the PG-13 rating was announced. But that one single image from the previews–A car. Getting shot. Into a helicopter.–was more than enough to ensure my ass in the theaters. The rest of the movie had some ups and downs, but the car-helicopter collision alone ensures the movie’s worthiness as part of the Die Hard dynasty, and will surely go down as one of the canonical Cool Moments in Action Movie History.


The House in Knocked Up

If this is what post-grad life is actually supposed to be like, maybe I don’t have to be so terrified of graduating college after all. Featuring a cast that essentially amounts to the Apatow Dream Team–Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Martin Starr and Jason Segel–The House pictures a twenty-something utopia in which no one seems to have anything to do except drink, get high, dance to Ol’ Dirty Bastard and officiate Ping Pong games. Forget all that bizness with Katherine Heigl, kids and emotional maturity–this is your movie right here. Frankly, I cared less about whether Ben and Allison were gonna end up together as I did about whether Martin was gonna end up winning the beard bet or not.


Martin Scorsese: 1 for 8

Did anyone actually believe that Marty was gonna get his this year? Even after all the signs–the unanimous critical and commercial success, the Golden Globe, the slew of other Oscars The Departed had already picked up–it still didn’t seem possible, having been burned so many times before. Ultimately, I don’t know what’s more shocking, that Scorsese finally won an Oscar after 40 years and about a half-dozen Oscar-worthy films, or that he won one for a movie that didn’t suck, like, at all. Now the Academy look like fucking geniuses for passing Gangs of New York over.


Rose McGowan’s Machine Gun Leg in Planet Terror

Grindhouse–it didn’t quite turn out the way people thought it would. And maybe there was no way to market Death Proof and Planet Terror in a way that would’ve worked out better–maybe reviving a genre that only two people in the world still remembered and cared about just wasn’t a commercially viable proposition in the first place. It’s undeniable, though, that there was still some cool-ass shit to be found in both movies, including the most lasting image from either movie–Rose McGowan as the hottest one-legged character in all Pop Culture since Captain Ahab. I do wonder what people in the prosthetics business thought about the likelihood and practicality of having a machine gun leg, though–or did they just go, “why didn’t we think of that?


Hey, Isn’t There a War Going On?

What the 9/11 was to film in 2006 (World Trade Center, United 93, and the best-titled movie of all-time, Sorry, Haters), the War in the Middle East was to film in 2007. And, being the patriotic country that we are, everyone decided to watch Transformers instead. Consequently, war-themed movies like Rendition, Paul “I won two Oscars last year, goddamn it!!” Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom and Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs all fell by the wayside comemrcially, and most critically as well, proving once more that America still prefers stories about precocious wizards and motorcycle gangs than ones about what’s actually going on in the world. Not that I actually saw any of these movies either, of course–they looked depressing.


“My Skull’s on Fire, But I’m Good”

No, I haven’t actually seen Ghost Rider–yet–but I have seen the previews. Over. And over. And over. For the first two months of 2007, I couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing that annoying goth girl talking to Eva Mendes about Ghostie–“He had this rad chopper…it was all flames and stuff…his face a skull…and it was on fire…like, hhhchchhhchchch…it was an edge look, but he totally pulled it off.” And then, that immortal Cage sound byte. Wasn’t quite enough to get me to see the movie, but apparently it was for the great majority of America, as the movie ended up grossing over $100 mil. Can you blame them, really?


David O. Russell Gives Lily Tomlin a Piece of His Mind

Whoops. No one knows for sure who leaked the clips to the internet–George Clooney swears it wasn’t him, which confuses me somewhat as to why he should’ve been considered the primary suspect in the first place–but apparently Lily Tomlin is a real troublemaker, and David O. Russell is one nutso son of a bitch. Choosing the funniest part between Russell insisting “I’M JUST TRYING TO BE A FUCKING COLLABORATOR!!,” Russell appearing to be done with his rant but storming in from a different direction offset to continue to chew Tomlin out, or Russell shouting “I’M YELLING?!?? DO I FUCKING YELL AT YOU?!?!…before right now?” is indeed a tough one, but the whole clip is fairly golden, and became a deserved YouTube sensation earlier this year. Coming up in 2008: clips leaking of Tomlin getting verbally shellacked by 9 to 5 auteur Colin Higgins.


Young Seth’s Illustrations in Superbad

“When I was a little kid, I kinda had this…problem. And it’s not even that big of a deal, something like eight percent of kids do it, but whatever. For some reason, I don’t know why, I’d just kinda…sit around all day…and draw pictures of dicks.” And off it goes. I don’t even know what I was expecting Jonah Hill to say as his reasoning for hating Becca, the girl Michael Cera’s character crushes on for most of Superbad, but I was totally unprepared for the barrage of dick drawings–dicks as bars on a bar graph, dicks riding a bomb a la Dr. Strangelove, dicks standing up to tanks at Tiananmen Square, banana dicks, water-color dicks…a truly mind-blowing assembling of phallic art, all hand-crafted by Ben Goldberg, brother of writer/producer Evan. Special props to the Superbad producers for making this one of, like, the three hilarious scenes in the movie to not be spoiled by the previews, and super-special props to Casey Margolis as Young Seth, easily the most underrated performance in the movie.


Three is a Magic Number

If nothing succeeds like success, then 2007 set out to prove that even less succeeds like success’s successes (or something like that). The three pictured above–Spiderman 3, Pirate’s of the Carribean: At World’s End and Shrek the Third–were three of the four highest grossing movies of 2007, but they weren’t close to the only threequels to hit it big this year. Elsewhere on the list of top 25 grossers could be found The Bourne Ultimatum (#6), Rush Hour 3 (#12) and Ocean’s Thirteen (#21). Were any of them any good? Who knows–the Bourne one was the only I actually bothered to see (some pretty good chase scenes in that one). But next year, which with the upcoming Rambo and Indiana Jones movies looks to be the year of the IV, we’ll all be reminiscing about the good ol’ days, when movie plots were only recycled twice.


The Simpsons Movie Actually Gets Released

I remember browsing snpp.com or some other Simpsons bible site in Middle School and getting excited that it looked like they were finally getting working on the Simpsons movie, which was surely going to be the best thing ever. Flash forward TEN YEARS later and I’m…slightly less enthralled at the idea of a 90-minute Simpsons episode. And though some people seemed to actually be pleasantly surprised by it, my opinion of it was pretty mcuh what I expected–a couple laugh-worthy moments, ultimately a pale imitation of past glories with a distinctly hollow aftertaste. But I have to admit that the few weeks leading up to it were a whole lot of fun–the Kwik-E-Mart that opened near Times Square, the national Springfield competition, the Simpsons trivia contest my local pub quiz unit held (which, incidentally, me and three friends won, winning free passes to the movie). And ultimately it’s just crazy that they finally finished it and put it out–to a certain generation, it’s kind of like Brian Wilson putting out Smile or the Red Sox winning the World Series.

Honorable Mention:

The fake intro to Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
RZA, Common and T.I. in American Gangster
The Southland Tales trailer
Pop! Goes My Heart” from Music & Lyrics
Lindsay Lohan in I Know Who Killed Me

*VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE*

Posted in Pop Culture Hall of Fame | 34 Comments »

The IITS 2007 Pop Culture Hall of Fame Nominees: Music

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 11, 2007

2007, let me holla at you, you so hot hot hot hot

Ah, December–easily the most magical time of the year. Not for all those boring religious and sentimental reasons, and not because of all that snow either (snow being easily the most overrated form of condensation). For a true pop culture buff, December means but one thing–YEAR IN MOTHERFUCKING REVIEW. That’s right, with 11 of 2007’s months officially over and done with, it’s time to start the demanding but infinitely rewarding practice of separating the year’s classics from the clunkers, the epoch-makers from the airspace-wasters, the immortal from the ephemeral. Can’t you feel the electricity in the air?

If not, then it’s time to start. All this week on Intensities and Ten Suburbs, we’ll be looking at the nominees for that most prestigious of year-end distinctions: entry into the IITS Pop Culture Hall of Fame. Long after memories of Big Shots, Hurricane Chris and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? fade into the ether, these giants will endure in the public consciousness, towering over all to follow. Over the next five days, we’ll be looking at the music, movies, television, commercials and miscellany that has defined 2007 in popular culture–ten items each, which will ultimately be pared down to the five each, which will go on to live forever in the hallowed annals of Intensites in Ten Suburbs’ trophy room.

This, dear readers, is where you (hopefully) come in. I’d like to have the entries into our hall of fame be decided by you. So at the end of each day, I want you all to write-in your votes of the nominees mentioned. You can vote for up to five, as well as an optional write-in vote that can get honorable mention if I find it a particularly egregious miss on my part. You can post your vote in the comments box, or e-mail it to me at fadeout95@gmail.com. If you don’t want to vote every day, you can wait until the end of the week and submit one complete ballot.

IF YOU ARE A SEMI-REGULAR IITS READER AND PAID SLIGHT ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THIS YEAR, YOU SHOULD BE VOTING IN THIS.

That said, I have learned to be realistic in terms of reader response, and if I don’t receive enough votes, I’ll simply pick the inductees myself. But that won’t be as much fun, now, will it? So please, don’t force me to have to do so.

Now, about the nominees: as should be no surprise to anyone reading this blog, this will not simply be a listing of my favorite songs, albums, movies, TV shows, commercials and current events–you can find best of lists just about anywhere this time of year, and I’ll not be adding to them, not here anyway. Rather, these nominees are culled from the moments that I felt most defined the pop culture landscape in 2007. Consequently, such future-classic songs like The National’s “Mistaken for Strangers” and LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” are not represented, nor are movies like Hot Fuzz or The King of Kong, TV shows like The Wire or Friday Night Lights, or commercials…well, all right, the commercials are probably mostly just gonna be listings of my favorites (there are not yet, to my knowledge, such a thing as indie commercials). But you get the idea.

So first up are the music nominees. Remember, vote for up to five (only voting one or two is OK), with one optional write-in, either in the comments box or at fadeout95@gmail.com. Let’s set a standard for what is hopefully many induction ceremonies to come.

************


Avril Lavigne Unwittingly Introduces An Obscure Power Pop Act to a New Generation

Choosing just one “Girlfriend”-related moment to put up for the Pop Culture hall of fame is an impossibility. After all, this is the song that was recorded in eight different languages (including the infamous Mandarin version), saw Avril fighting over a guy with her own nerdy doppleganger in the video, and of course featured the best call-and-response hook (and maybe just the best chorus hook period) of the year. But just as good as any was the lawsuit levied against Ms. Lavigne by forgotten 70s power-poppers Rubinoos on the claims that the song was a rip-off of their “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend“–a claim which might have carried more weight had that song not been a rip-off itself of The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud”. C’mon guys, don’t you know by now? When it comes to music royalty suits, it always comes back to Mick and Keith.


Akon and T-Pain Buy a Time Share in the Top 40

Let’s do a run-down of the Senegalese Sensation and the Robo-R&Ber’s ’07 rap sheet, shall we?

Akon: “Don’t Matter” (#1), Gwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape” (#2), Bone Thugz n Harmony’s “I Tried” (#6), “Sorry, Blame it On Me” (#7), Plies’ “Hypnotized” (#24), DJ Khaled’s “We Takin’ Over” (#28), Wyclef Jean’s “The Sweetest Girl” (#32 and rising), and two mega-hits from ’06 still lingering on the charts in the beginning of ’07 (“Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You”)

T-Pain: “Buy U a Drank” (#1), Chris Brown’s “Kiss Kiss” (#1), Flo Rida’s “Low” (#4), Baby Bash’s “Cyclone” (#7), Kanye West’s “Good Life” (#7), Plies’ “Shawty” (#9), R. Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt” (#12), DJ Khaled’s “I’m So Hood” (#19), Bow Wow’s “Outta My System” (#22), “Baby Don’t Go” (#23)

Both: “Bartender” (#5)

And this isn’t even mentioning Akon’s on-stage underage dry hump or long distance fan toss.


Um-buh-reh-lla, ella, ella, ay ay

If you could sum up 2007 pop music in one grammatically inaccurate word, it’d have to be this one. Rihanna rode her irresistible mispronunciation to her second chart-topper, the Best Video award at the VMAs, the unofficial jam of the summer, and the collective ire of more Elementary School english teachers that had been raised by a pop culture item since those “The Birds is coming!” ads in the early 60s. And chart geeks will of course rejoice at the obscure trivia fact that “Umbrella” now makes Jay-Z the only artist in Billboard history to be featured on three different artists’ #1 hits, without ever getting one of his own. Take that, (Ex-)Murda Ma$e!


Soulja Boy Teaches a Grateful Nation How to Crank Dat Soulja Boy

The song and video was inescapable enough, and a more oppressively hypnotic single in recent years I can not recall. But really, when was the last time our country got swept up by a dance craze like this? I mean yeah, “The Cha Cha Slide,” but that was more of a gradual permeation than a genuine sweep, and the “Lean Back” is disqualified on the grounds that I believe you need at least two steps to qualify as a dance craze. Hell, not even Los Del Rio actually released an instructional video for the “Maccarena”. I’ve still yet to hear a proper explanation as to what “Cranking that Roosevelt” entails, however. Do you need a wheelchair for it?


Rock Puts on Its Boogie Shoes

For a while there, it was like 1979 all over again. Seems like almost every band was going disco this year, whether it was designed to revive their lagging careers (Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer,” Good Charlotte’s “Dance Floor Anthem”), bump their already taking-off careers to the next level (Maroon 5’s “Makes Me Wonder,” Fall Out Boy’s “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”) or get that ever-elusive first radio hit (Say Anything’s “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too,” the failure of which to break into the mainstream continues to perplex me somewhat). Fans might’ve cried bloody murder at these crossover attempts the first time around, but luckily, no one really cares about rock any more these days, so we were able to enjoy these radio-ready delectables in a mostly judgement-free environment.


Mims Breaks Down Hotness for the Lay Man

In a rare rap representation of the Reflexive Property of Equality (no, thank you, Mrs. Machnichi!), Mims explains the root cause of his hotness, and your notness: “I’m hot ‘coz I’m fly / You ain’t ‘coz you not.” In most other years, this chorus would mark a nadir of sorts for hip-hop lyricism, but as it turns out, 2007 was just getting going. Nonetheless, the song did display a higher musical IQ than most other rap hits this year (“Shook Ones, Pt. 2”!!!), and it did have a certain self-explanatory charm to it. I still can’t make out 95% of the chorus to “Crank That Soulja Boy,” but there really isn’t any way that “This is Why I’m Hot” could be too much clearer.


Alanis Morissette Puts a Different Spin on Things

Yeah, I did the eye-roll thing when I first heard about this. Forgive me, but I figured Alanis Morissette doing “My Humps” would pack about as much appeal as one of Tori Amos’s SHOCKING covers of Slayer or Eminem or something. But oh, was I proven wrong, as not only did Alanis’s novelty cover become one of the viral video smashes of the calendar year, but it actually didn’t suck much at all. Really, this is because the song sounds less like a parody of “My Humps” (truly one of the most readily-parodiable songs of all-time) than it does a parody of Alanis herself–listen to the bitterness she seethes with as she asks “what you gonna do with alllll that juuuunkkkk, all that juunk IIIN-SAAYYYIIIDE YOUR TRUNK??!?” and flash back to your uncomfortable memories of that annoying girl at school doing a performance of “You Oughta Know” at your 8th grade talent show or something. But then again, here Alanis is, a whole 12 years after Jagged Little Pill, on a list of the elite pop culture moments of the year. So I suppose the last laugh is truly hers.


Amy Winehouse Goes to Rehab

The punniest and least-surprisng music celebrity headline since C-Murder (OK, loose definition of celebrity) was arrested for murder, Amy Winehouse was struck with some exceptionally bad (or good, depending) timing when she entered rehab just weeks after her single of the same name peaked in the top ten in the US. Really though, it was sort of unreal that Winehouse got there in the first place–chalk it up to that once a year phenomenon (’04: “Float On,” ’05: “Feel Good Inc.,” ’06: “Crazy”) of a single eclipsing presumed commercial boundaries just because it really was that good. Let’s just hope she lives to enjoy her success for at least a little while.


MTV Takes Issue With the Chorus to Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls”

Now, I’m not generally for Radio Edits replacing objectionable words in songs with ones that are less so–unless, of course it’s taken to comically ridiculous levels, as in the classic case of Weezer’s “We Are All In Love.” But in any event, it’s generally preferrable to edits that just blur out the words entirely, especially in the case of Sean Kingston’s summer smash, wher those objectionable words made up about half of the chorus. So instead of getting one of the great singalong choruses of 2007 when you see the video on MTV, you get “You’re way too beaaauuuuutiful girl / That’s why it’ll never work / You’ll leave me …. / …. / when you say that it’s ooooverrrr.” Also, if MTV really dislikes even the most casual “suicidal” mentions, then they have the extreme over-exposure of a certain early-90s grunge video to answer for.


It’s Britney, Bitch

2007…it probably didn’t quite turn out the way Britney Spears had hoped. Rehab, a high-profile divorce, a freak gardening accident that left her the least sexy bald woman since Marcia Cross in Melrose Place, a titanically disastrous interview in OK! Magazine, and, of course, a total bomb of a performance at the 2007 VMAs, where even lip synching properly seems too much for the drugged out and/or very, very sleep-deprived Spears to handle. However, she managed to hang on to some semblance of a career, thanks to those three sweetest words in the English Language, which provided the ringtone-ready hook to an otherwise entirely lifeless comeback single. And if the “Gimme More” video showed that Britney has little desire to turn around her wayward ways, well, at least we got one of the decade’s great catchphrases out of it.

Honorable Mention:

Timbaland Moves to the Left of the “F/” Symbol
T-T-T-TOTALLY DUUUUDE!!!
Colbie Calliat and Taylor Swift: Guitar is the New Piano
THROW SOME D’S ON THAT BITCH!
Gym Class Heroes sampling Supertramp and Jermaine Stewart
R. Kelly’s Videos for “Real Talk,” “Same Girl” and “Trapped in the Closet (Parts 13-22)”

***VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE****

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