Murder on the Substandard Express

Look, I’m not saying that this episodes ends with the revelation that JVL, Vic, and I joined forces to murder Jonah Goldberg on a fancy train for accumulating more reviews for his podcast in a few short weeks than we have in over a year. But I’m not NOT saying it either. You’ll just have to listen to the whole thing to find out. And if you want to save Jonah, you can do so by leaving a review of the Substandard here.

Why Is Taylor Swift Ducking the Issues?

Taylor Swift, a musician popular with “young people,” is not nearly political enough for the haggard stooges employed by a media-industrial complex thirsty for fresh #content:

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Review

There’s quite a bit to like about Thor: Ragnarok. The sixteenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe features winning performances and amusing battles and all that jazz. But I can’t help but think there’s something just a little bit off about the way the film handles its title character.

Time for Hollywood to Retire the Icky, Horrible Suburbs Trope (New Substandard!)

In the latest episode of The Substandard, we talked a bit more about Halloween—my expertly drafted mix of sugar and chocolate decisively CRUSHED Jonathan V. Last in the candy draft vote, it should be noted—and I ranted about Suburbicon and Hollywood’s reliance on the wicked, evil, no good very bad suburbs as a setting and plot device. A bit more on that after the embed:

‘Suburbicon’ Review


I was confused for a moment when, flashing randomly in my Twitter feed, George Clooney and Matt Damon appeared to be sitting together to discuss what they did or did not know about Harvey Weinstein, acclaimed super-producer and accused super-predator. After a few seconds, I remembered that the two of them have a movie coming out: the Clooney-directed, Damon-starring Suburbicon.

Halloween Candy Mock Draft (New Substandard!)

It’s Halloween next week, so Vic, JVL, and I decided to do something a little different on the latest episode of The Substandard (Subscribe! Review!). Instead of doing something gauche like ranking the candies—pfft—we decided to kick it up a notch and have a mock candy draft. That’s right, we’re stealing a decade-old bit from a nearly defunct football blog! Say we’re not innovators one more time, I dare you, I double dare you, motherf—er.

Anyway, after the embed, I’ll reveal the final drafted teams (mine is the best, obviously) and offer up a Bottom Three Halloween Treats. SPOILERS FOR THE PODCAST, obviously. Don’t read if you want to learn who wins each delicious candy treat in real time.

‘Only the Brave’ Review

Only the Brave

There’s a recurring image of a bear on fire running through a burning forest in Only the Brave—a visual at once starkly horrifying yet majestic, like something out of a high-fantasy production. The films opens with the bear running at the camera before we cut to a man jolting awake; we see the fiery ursine figure again later from above, running through the forest, before cutting to a line of firefighters moving through a burnt-out section of woods.

What Kind of Monster Doesn’t Like Sandwiches? (New Substandard!)

In the latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, review, etc.), we were supposed to spend most of the show talking about aging action stars, tied to the release of The Foreigner. The show took a turn, however, when Vic and I learned that JVL hates sandwiches.

Let that sink in for a moment.

OK, now that you’re prepared—now that you’ve steeled yourself against an unnameable grotesquerie—give the show a listen. I can’t promise you won’t be disgusted by what you hear, but you might be entertained. After the jump, I’ll rank the lunch meats for JVL so he can learn how to truly enjoy the greatness of a fine, handcrafted sandwich.

Who Is the Best Sports Wife? (New Substandard!)

In the latest micro-episode of The Substandard, we discussed which sports wife is best: Jane Skinner, Kate Upton, or Brooklyn Decker. AND WE DID IT ON VIDEO. I hated literally every single second of it, as you can see here. If you just want to listen, like a civilized person, check out the embed below.