Everyone Who Races Wins [On The Contrary][Best of FaN]

I wrote this the first week of April 2012, almost a month to the day I was scheduled to run my first marathon. The good news is, I finished. The better news is, hammering my legs for 26.2 miles for nearly 4 hours in the hot May sun of Pittsburgh might have occasioned some post race fatigue...

Los Angeles, CA: Hockey Town! [On The Contrary] May30

Los Angeles, CA: Hockey Town! [On The Contrary]

The Stanley Cup Finals are upon us, and beginning tonight the Los Angeles Kings travel to the fetid swamps of New Jersey to take on the Devils in a best of seven series to decide who gets to skate around carrying a gigantic, funny-shaped cup. It’s a beautiful time for any person with even a...

Assessing Shame at THE AVENGERS [On The Contrary]

Sometimes you have to capitulate to the cultural zeitgeist, if only to have an informed opinion on the major movements in our (pop) culture. An English teacher of mine once encouraged us not to actually read the great works of literature (that would take far too long) but to instead develop a...

Fitness is Fleeting, Fat is Forever. [On The Contrary] May02

Fitness is Fleeting, Fat is Forever. [On The Contrary]

This column first ran in October 2011. As Joe Rusin prepares to run his first marathon this weekend, we meditate on his former form in this Fierce Encore! A few weeks ago, some generous soul saw fit to bring in a box of extremely delicious buttermilk donuts to be shared by everyone who works...

GAME OF THRONES…When TV is Richer than Books [On The Contrary] Apr18

GAME OF THRONES…When TV is Richer than Books [On The Contrary]

Some people were just born in the wrong time. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old now, but I look at these high school nerds today and they don’t know how good they have it. The mainstream has entirely embraced their culture. Superheroes and fantasy adventure, once the lowest of the low, is...

Joe Rusin Admires Sarah Vowell So Much, He Doesn’t Find Her Voic...

Sarah Vowell is one of my favorite writers. Period. When I first heard her read some of her work on THIS AMERICAN LIFE, I found her voice annoying, and ignored her for a long time. Then I forced myself to actually listen to her, and fell in love with her essays that mix humor, personal...

We Don’t Cheer Teams, We Cheer Corporations [On The Contrary] Mar07

We Don’t Cheer Teams, We Cheer Corporations [On The Contrary]

We’re in that odd time of the year right now for sports, when nothing is happening and everything is happening. The two active professional sports, basketball and hockey, are coming into the final stretches of their regular seasons as teams start getting serious in jockeying for playoff...

(Not the) Best Picture, or The Indiscreet Charm of THE ARTIST [On The Contrary] Feb22

(Not the) Best Picture, or The Indiscreet Charm of THE ARTIST [On The ...

February rolls on, and now that the Punxsutawney Phil is back in bed, the Valentines are opened, and the Presidents commemorated, the only big event still looming for the month is the forced pageantry of the 84th Academy Awards. I wrote a column last year about breaking up with the Oscars...

Love Your Baby…Hold Off On The Pictures [On The Contrary]

I’m told it’s “Love Week” at Fierce and Nerdy. I’m assuming that means romantic love, as Valentine’s Day is upon us, making those of us in good relationships feel great, those of us in a so-so relationships feel anxious but relieved we’re in a relationship, and those of us not in a...

Resolved: 2011 [Our Very Best]

Ernessa says: It feels so weird to not be making any resolutions this year. Some people love this time of the year because of the gift exchanges, time spent with family, goodwill toward man, blah, blah, blah — but I’ve always been a resolution girl myself. I love making the list...

Worst of 2011: TV… [FaN Boos]

Amy Says: To continue my streak of disliking the stuff everybody else likes (ie. I didn’t care for A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, which so many others loved…maybe I should be the “On the Contrary” guy next year. I swear to g*d I’m not doing this on purpose.) In my...

Best of 2011: TV! [FaN Cheers]

Amy says: Can a remake of a BBC show be considered new? If so, then PRIME SUSPECT is my pick for the best new TV of the year. Maria Bello is awesome in everything I’ve ever seen her in. Detective procedurals aren’t normally my thing, but I love the complexity of the characters...

Worst of 2011: Songs …. [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: What’s funny is that I’ve always liked Maroon 5. I mean, I’ve never downloaded a Maroon 5 song or anything, but I’ve never minded them. And when they came on the radio, I didn’t change the channel on the automatic like I do with say, LMFAO or Ke$ha...

Best of 2011: The Movies! [FaN Cheers]

Amy says : My favorite movie of the year should have been RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, but I was in the Colorado wilderness the entire time it was in theaters. The original, with Chuck Heston, is my favorite movie of all time. The first time I saw it, I knew I wanted to be an actor. It was...

Worst of 2011: The Books… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: I’m going to make the caveat again that if I manage to get through a book, it must have something to recommend it. Life is short, and I’ve become rather good at putting down books I’m not enjoying. That claimed, this category was a bit difficult for me this...

Best of 2011: The Books! [FaN Cheers]

Yay! It’s finally here. Our yearly round-up of the stuff we just loved and the dreck we absolutely hated. The big surprise of this year was just how much our Fierce and Nerdy bloggers agreed … except when it came to our Worst Book picks (more on that tomorrow). As always, we also...

2011…The Year Of Meh? [On the Contrary] Dec14

2011…The Year Of Meh? [On the Contrary]

It’s been a tough year to be a contrarian. It was just too hard to feel very strongly about anything. Sure, on a geopolitical scale the year was pretty momentous, particularly in the Middle East and in “occupied” city commons across the U.S. But for those of us who escape from the real issues...

On Endings, or How THE WALKING DEAD Refuses to Die [On The Contrary] Nov30

On Endings, or How THE WALKING DEAD Refuses to Die [On The Contrary]

(NOTE: Don’t worry if you’re not caught up on THE WALKING DEAD. The following is SPOILER FREE!) Ah, the best laid plans…yadda yadda yadda. I had been trudging through this lumbering season of AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD confident that I could finally write off this show—a show I was...

You don’t have to read the book. [On The Contrary]

Happy Book Week! Here’s why you don’t have to read books anymore. I’m kidding, but only a little. Like many people who choose to write things for the Internet that exceed 140 characters, books are and have always been an important part of my life. Books are the ultimate comfort form of...

All Good Shows Must Come to An End. [On The Contrary] Oct05

All Good Shows Must Come to An End. [On The Contrary]

Breaking Bad is hands down the best show on television right now, and maybe the best ever. It certainly ranks up there. No show has been able to sustain such dramatic momentum and continuously improve from season to season quite so well, without devolving into a soap opera or throwing out...

Critics have a shelf life. [On The Contrary] Sep21

Critics have a shelf life. [On The Contrary]

There is nothing quite so bittersweet as seeing time wear down the virility and effectiveness of the people we look up to in our lives. We see our grandparents and then our parents slow with age, and go from towering, irreproachable figures of strength in our lives to, well, human beings....

You DON’T need a break. [On The Contrary] Sep07

You DON’T need a break. [On The Contrary]

The point of Labor Day weekend has always flummoxed me. Why do we need a holiday weekend at the end of August? Presumably we’ve been taking our vacations sometime over this period, and enjoying those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Yet apparently we need a break after all of that, a break...

LOUIE, T.V.’s Most Interesting Comedy isn’t a Comedy [On The Contrary] Aug24

LOUIE, T.V.’s Most Interesting Comedy isn’t a Comedy [On T...

As anyone with cable can attest, we’re currently in Renaissance of television, with some of the most insightful, original, and exciting storytelling ever produced not just for the small screen, but for any screen. Anyone who doesn’t get cable probably doesn’t watch television, since the most...

We Don’t Need Netflix. Or do we? [On The Contrary] Aug10

We Don’t Need Netflix. Or do we? [On The Contrary]

About a month ago, the video rental and streaming subscription service Netflix announced that it was nearly doubling its charges for its most popular subscription plan from $7.99 a month to $15.98. Upon hearing this news, we all went ballistic. I certainly did. I’ve been a loyal customer for...

Cracking up in Traffic [On the Contrary] Jul27

Cracking up in Traffic [On the Contrary]

What is the one constant in life? It’s not friends and family, it’s not career and it’s not death (which technically would be the end of life, so hardly a constant). Don’t even bring up taxes—they’re always there, but there are plenty of ways to cheat on them or ignore them until the IRS...

Keep your bicycle off the road: On the Contrary [BEST OF FaN]

I don’t want to belabor this point, but after witnessing a hipster cyclist run into a nice (I assume) Mexican family on a Burbank sidewalk, I feel my cry for sanity in keeping these crazed pedaling freaks off our streets and sidewalks has gone unheeded. I choose to reprint it here not...

The Wisdom of Late Adopters [On the Contrary] Jun29

The Wisdom of Late Adopters [On the Contrary]

Everyone wants to be cool. Everyone wants to feel like they’ve got things figured out, that they fit into their chosen niche. Even if that niche is to define oneself as “uncool,” it’s still the same impulse. That’s how we had the boom in pop culture of cool “nerds.” It’s how this website...

Baseball Is the Republican Party of Sports [On the Contrary] Jun15

Baseball Is the Republican Party of Sports [On the Contrary]

I never played little league. Baseball was never a presence in my life. My father was a hockey fan, my brother played football in high school, and when we played anything around the neighborhood involving bases, it tended to be kickball. Later I would be a hockey player, with some minor...

The NFL Lockout Could Be a Good Thing for the Fans [On the Contrary] Jun01

The NFL Lockout Could Be a Good Thing for the Fans [On the Contrary]

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need. Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards were on to something (though I prefer my punctuation to their delivery). It is a reassuring statement on the surface, but if you analyze it closely, you’ll see there are some...

Contrary to Expectations: A Day at the Cinema [On the Contrary] May18

Contrary to Expectations: A Day at the Cinema [On the Contrary]

It can be a difficult (and exhausting) prospect to take contrarian stances on everything. I’m not someone who actually looks to be against things (not consciously at least). I’m just skeptical of popular notions and how they affect our feelings toward things before we even have the...

Leave Facebook stalkers alone! [On the Contrary] Apr20

Leave Facebook stalkers alone! [On the Contrary]

Lately I’ve been noticing on Facebook the proliferation of programs that allow you to uncover who searches you the most, or who views your page most frequently—your top “stalkers,” if you will. My immediate reaction to these programs (before finding out that they were all pretty much a scam)...

March Madness = Magnificent Marketing [On the Contrary] Mar23

March Madness = Magnificent Marketing [On the Contrary]

The NCAA Basketball Tournament rolls on this week, as any American should be aware. I say this because not only sports fans, but also anyone who reads, watches, or listens to the news cannot miss the coverage of the college hoops championship. It has been an eventful few weeks in the news,...

Does Daylight really need saving?  [On the Contrary] Mar09

Does Daylight really need saving? [On the Contrary]

In the wee hours of the morning this coming Sunday, a terrible thing is going to happen to the majority of Americans. No, I don’t foresee a terrorist attack or anything like that (though the Homeland Security threat level is at “High” or “Orange”, if anyone still pays attention to that). What...

On The Contrary: It’s not you, Oscar, it’s me. Feb23

On The Contrary: It’s not you, Oscar, it’s me.

It’s Oscar week! Did you notice? I sure didn’t. I have been conscious of the date of the show and the nominees ever since they came out. I’ve seen nearly all of the nominees (and all 10 of the potential Best Pictures). But it hardly feels like the week leading up to the biggest awards show of...

On the Contrary: Don’t Kick Steeler Nation While We’re Down Feb09

On the Contrary: Don’t Kick Steeler Nation While We’re Dow...

So that was it. NFL football is no more, possibly for much longer than the scheduled seven months if the probable lockout happens. It was not a happy note to end on for a Steelers fan like myself, watching the team lose while a cheering national media favored the Packers. There was the sense...

Hello Friday: FaN Notes [Week 4 of 2011]

Wondering how long it will take me to stop writing 2010 and then having to delete and correct with 2011. So far I’ve made this mistake four weeks and counting. Sad. How are you all doing with this? Other than that, let’s get into my notes re this week at Fierce and Nerdy. 1....

On the Contrary: The BLUE VALENTINE Has No Clothes Jan26

On the Contrary: The BLUE VALENTINE Has No Clothes

I love independent film. I really do. Not just the spirit of adventure and creativity that needs to go into even getting them made or distributed in the first place — though I can always appreciate that. I like that they can be about characters, emotions, and stories that are not for...

On the Contrary: Keep your New Years Resolutions to Yourself Jan12

On the Contrary: Keep your New Years Resolutions to Yourself

So we’re well into the second week of 2011. Are you still holding to your New Year resolutions? On second thought, don’t tell me. I don’t really want to know. In fact, no one does. I completely understand the impulse for resolutions. There’s always something we can do to improve ourselves,...

Resolved: 2011 [The Very Best of FaN]

Ernessa says: Yay! Well, New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday and my favorite holiday activity is making my New Year’s Resolutions. But in order to do that, it’s good to review how you did the year before. So out of the 11 bulletpoint resolution list that I made last year,...

Worst of 2010: TV… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: My big complaint of the year is that there were really too many bad TV shows to choose from in 2010. I seriously had a hard time narrowing down my choices. Note to TV Execs: Next year you’ve just got to do better. That said, I’m going to have to go with THE WALKING...

Best of 2010: TV! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: Well, guys for the first time in the entire history of me being moi, I find myself ending the year with no favorite new show. None of last winter’s mid-season replacements, the summer series, or the new fall series are deserving of high praise in my opin. As every...

Best of 2010: The Songs! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: SO many great songs this year. Standouts for me included ROLLING IN THE DEEP by Adele, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON by Wave Machines, DIFFICULT by Uffie, BURIAL by Miike Snow, and XXXO by MIA — which was a surprising “grow on me,” since I claimed to meh it back in August...

The Best of Times/The Worst of Times: 2010 [FaN Remembrances]

Ernessa Says: Least Favorite Moment(s) of the Year: I’m still trying to process our dog, Tulip’s unexpected death. Also, one of my heroes, my Aunt Almeda also passed. As for my favorite moment of the year, I’ve been thinking hard about this, and while I enjoyed every single...

Worst of 2010: The Movies… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: This was a hard one. Part of me wants to say SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD b/c the females were so poorly rendered in this film and I had such high expectations. But I think I’ll have to go with MEGAMIND, because it was such a boys club, and pretty much everything...

Best of 2010: The Movies! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: I thought for a long time I would choose INCEPTION, because it’s truly a spectacular feat of writing and directing that audiences would come out of that movie saying, “It was so different and confusing” when in actuality we had been spoon-fed the plot and the...

Worst of 2010: The Books… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: The nice thing about being a published author is that it’s considered bad form to talk ish about other writers in a public forum. Because of this, if I found myself not enjoying a book during my 52 Books in 52 Weeks project, I put it down and went on to the next book on my...

Best of 2010: The Books! [FaN Cheers]

Yay, we’ve come down to my favorite time of the year, when chins hit chests and we spend a week pr two firmly gazing at our navels. Over the course of the next two weeks on FaN, we’ll be weighing in on our favorite books, movies, music, TV shows, and moments of the soon-to-be...

On The Contrary: How Charlie Brown taught me to stop worrying and love Christmas Dec15

On The Contrary: How Charlie Brown taught me to stop worrying and love...

When I was a kid, I loved everything about Christmas—the weather, the pageantry, the food, but most of all the annual Christmas specials that aired on T.V. All, that is, save one. I could not understand the appeal of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. I was much more of a fan of Rankin and Bass...

On the Contrary: Kindle is not the end of books [BOOK WEEK 2!]

Happy book week, Fierce & Nerdy! This being the holiday shopping season, books are on my mind even more than usual. That’s because bar none, hands down, books are my favorite gift to both give and receive. This opinion might soon be antiquated, however. Electronic reading devices like...

On The Contrary: Jesus Loves Dinosaurs. Nov17

On The Contrary: Jesus Loves Dinosaurs.

If you’ve ever traveled by car any kind of distance in the American Southwest, you are aware that a certain degree of forethought must be given to carrying enough fuel when crossing the great expanses of unremitting desert that lie between the rest stops. There are long stretches of nothing,...

On The Contrary: Defending Pointless Arguments [How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BCS] Nov03

On The Contrary: Defending Pointless Arguments [How I Learned to Stop ...

It’s getting to be that time of year again with the elections over and the holidays still a month off, we Americans need to find something to argue about. Luckily the BCS has started publishing its poll of standings for College Football, an annual hot topic for debate for anyone whose alma...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 5 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 4 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 3 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 2 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part I [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

Just in time for Halloween Week, Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers...

On the Contrary: Computers and Television Should Remain Separate. Oct20

On the Contrary: Computers and Television Should Remain Separate.

Ask any technological prognosticator, and they will assure you that the next major change in our home consumption of entertainment content will be the merging of our televisions with our computers. We already see it happening, what with our cable services also being our Internet providers,...

On The Contrary: It Is NOT a Great Day for Hockey. Oct06

On The Contrary: It Is NOT a Great Day for Hockey.

A crisp autumn wind blows sweeps across the land, supermarkets bulge with pumpkins, and seasonal “Halloween Headquarters” stores magically appear in malls across the country. Nothing like the start of fall to put you in the mood for an indoor sport played on an artificial ice surface....

On the Contrary: Greed Isn’t Good [WALL STREET 2 PREVIEW] Sep23

On the Contrary: Greed Isn’t Good [WALL STREET 2 PREVIEW]

Greed isn’t good, and neither is making a sequel of a movie over a decade old. An economic downturn leading to a recession and millions of Americans out of work—what a perfect time for the return of that great anti-hero of business Gordon Gekko! Well, actually, his timing could have been a...

On the Contrary: In Defense of the NFL Preseason Sep08

On the Contrary: In Defense of the NFL Preseason

“I love the preseason. Give me more!” –Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers Far be it for me to disagree with the youngest Head Coach to ever win a Super Bowl. The NFL Preseason is unfairly maligned. It’s a great system that eases both the players and the fans into what is by...

On the Contrary: Vacations Are Better When They’re Over [FaN Favorites] Sep01

On the Contrary: Vacations Are Better When They’re Over [FaN Fav...

. a favorite argument by Joe Rusin Joe Says: The column below feels the most pertinent, since FaN is taking a vacation itself. The best part of the FaN vacation will definitely be when it’s back, though. From July 28, 2010 As summer passes its midpoint, many of us have been engaging in...

On the Contrary: Stop Complaining About the Bad Movies in Theaters. Aug11

On the Contrary: Stop Complaining About the Bad Movies in Theaters.

. a blogumn by Joe Rusin Seriously. Stop. Every where I go this summer, when the conversation turns to the subject of movies, people always are whining, “There’s just nothing to see. It’s a terrible summer for movies.” I don’t necessarily disagree. With a few exceptions (notably an INCEPTION)...

On the Contrary: Vacations Are Better When They’re Over Jul28

On the Contrary: Vacations Are Better When They’re Over

. an argument by Joe Rusin As summer passes its midpoint, many of us have been engaging in ritual summer vacation—taking some time and fleeing our ordinary lives for a slower, relaxing set of days. Maybe we go to the beach. Maybe we travel and sightsee. Maybe we go camping. Whatever it is, we...

On the Contrary: TOY STORY 3 Isn’t That Great Jul16

On the Contrary: TOY STORY 3 Isn’t That Great

. a blogumn by Joe Rusin (Warning: Contains spoilers) Pixar is good. As movie production company, they’re about as good as they come. They’ve never made a bad movie, and from my perspective they’ve really only made one or two movies that I haven’t cared for. They are masters of the...

On the Contrary: Soccer Is Not “The Beautiful Game.” Jun29

On the Contrary: Soccer Is Not “The Beautiful Game.”

. a new blogumn by Joe Rusin Arguing against the big things, the little things, and mundane things…so you don’t have to… The World Cup has bullied its way into our national sports coverage. I say bullied because Americans by and large really don’t care about the sport of soccer.  In fact, we...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Joe Rusin Edition Volume II Mar26

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Joe Rusin Edition Volume II

. another substitute blogumn by Joe Rusin FIERCELY ANTICIPATING Nothing I’ve got nothing.  Last week Ryan Dixon used his one phone call from a Georgia Correctional Facility to ring me up.  He asked me to 1) bail him out and 2) cover his Fierce Anticipation column again.  I refused the first...

Fierce Anticipation: The Joe Rusin Edition Feb05

Fierce Anticipation: The Joe Rusin Edition

. a substitute blogumn by Joe Rusin This is not Ryan Dixon.  Ryan is currently on a mysterious hiatus, perhaps dealing with a lawsuit filed by the recently defamed Fitzgibbon family (or recovering from a particularly nasty case of “Fitz germs”).   Fear not, for he will doubtlessly return to...