Top 10 "Brady Bunch" Episodes

1. The one with the cursed Hawaiian tiki, Greg's surfing wipe-out, and the spider crawling on Peter. ("Pass the Tabu")
2. The one where everyone covers for Peter's crime of breaking a vase. Mom always said don't play ball in the house. ("Confessions Confessions")
3. The one where the kids sing "Keep On" and "It's A Sunshine Day" in matching outfits and with choreography for a TV talent show. ("Amateur Nite")
4. The one where Peter tries to defend lisping Cindy against the taunts of nerdy bully Buddy, who says "baby talk baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk." ("A Fistful of Reasons")
5. The one where Marcia gets smacked in the nose with a football and her date dumps her. Oh, my nose! ("The Subject Was Noses")
6. The one where Cindy can only bring one parent to her school play. What kind of sick school is this? ("Eenie Meenie Mommy Daddy")
7. The one where Marcia's slumber party gets cancelled because a horrible picture she drew of George Washington is mistaken as a caricature of her teacher, which gets her in trouble with the principal. Considering she's a straight-A student, it's awful how, like, no one believes Marcia when she says she's innocent. What kind of sick school is this? ("The Slumber Caper")
8. The one where Carol gets taken to court over a fender-bender and Mike saves the day by throwing his briefcase on the floor and proving the plaintiff is faking his injury. ("The Fender Benders")
9. The one where Bobby's inexplicably obsessed with Jesse James and Mike manages to track down someone whose parents were killed by James. What a show off. ("Bobby's Hero")
10. The one where the rival high school jock uses Marcia to get a chance to steal Greg's playbook. Only in 1973... on television. ("Quarterback Sneak")

Cassette tape rewind: Sophomore year

When The Cheese Fry was but a tater tot entering the 10th grade in the fall of 1987 and considering such topics as Algebra II and Economics, the following songs were on the Billboard Hot 100. The soundtrack of Generation X, whether on MTV or your local Kiss-FM radio station. Issue date: August 29, 1987.

1. Los Lobos "La Bamba" - Here's a song no one's likely clamoring to hear again. They played it a whole lot on the radio. But it sure came in handy in Spanish class when you had to recite a Spanish poem from memory. Mr. Hidalgo let us use this song.

2. Madonna "Who's That Girl" - Forgettable song from a forgettable movie.

3. Richard Marx "Don't Mean Nothing" - There's undeniably a guilty pleasure aspect to the repertoire of Mr. Marx's cheesy college-creative-writing-class lyrics, "tender" sensibility, and perfectly arranged power chords. This was his first hit; his prom power ballads ("Hold Onto the Night" and "Right Here Waiting") hadn't yet invaded our culture. "Don't Mean Nothing" is his most interesting song, cynically exploring the many ways that Hollywood screws artists over.

4. Suzanne Vega "Luka" - We can all agree that this is an Important Song, but do you really want to ever hear it again? The radio played the hell out of this. Luka lives on the second floor, upstairs from you, perhaps you've seen him before. Yadda yadda. We get it. And in hindsight, it's really pretentious.

5. Debbie Gibson "Only In My Dreams" - Textbook 1980s bubble-gum pop, all synthesizers and drum machines.

6. Michael Jackson "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" - Kind of hard to enjoy Michael Jackson music these days (exception: "Thriller" and "Billie Jean") knowing What We Know Now.

7. The Whispers "Rock Steady" - The first surprise of the list, one of those catchy R&B funk songs that you forgot how much you liked until someone reminds you of it. "And we begin to rock (dee-deeee) steady... steady rockin' all night long." Good stuff.

8. Whitney Houston "Didn't We Almost Have It All" - Typical Whitney ballad. Boring verses, great chorus. Whatever.

9. Starship "It's Not Over (Til It's Over)" - Seriously?

10. Dan Hill and Vonda Shepard "Can't We Try" - Very VH1.

11. U2 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" - The only song on this list considered today to be a classic. Those guys are the real deal, it seems. The perfect song representative of The Joshua Tree.

12. Dionne Warwink "Love Power" - We don't remember it, either.

13. George Michael "I Want Your Sex" - If you were going to put a 1980s mix tape in a time capsule, this song would have to be on it. So tame now, but it created a firestorm of controversy when it first hit the airwaves. And the jingle-jangle, woodblock backbeat still seems fresh.

14. Huey Lewis and the News "Doing It All For My Baby" - We all know Huey Lewis plateaued with the Sports LP. But an argument could be made for "Hip to Be Square." Maybe.

15. Whitesnake "Here I Go Again" - Hell yeah. Make the devil horns! One of the few on the list that could easily go back into heavy rotation on the radio.

Knee-jerk review: "Superbad"

1. One word: McLovin.
2. Jonah Hill's Seth may be the more aggressively wise-cracking character (think Vince Vaughn as a high school loser), but it's the quietly stammering drollness of Michael Cera's Seth that carries the movie. He's hilarious.
3. Dig those opening credits, baby. Bonus points for the retro 1970s Columbia Pictures logo.
4. Though Judd Apatow didn't direct this film, it's definitely got his R-rated sensibility. Like this summer's Knocked Up, which Apatow did direct, the language here is exceedingly profane. The f-bombs (and c-bombs - since when did that supplant the d-word to describe the prime male reproductive organ?) come fast and furious to the point that it goes from distracting to annoying. Do high school kids really talk like this? They sure didn't in the late 80s.
5. The middle of the movie drags. You really want the guys to make it to the house party already to find out what happens with the girls they're pursuing.
6. But the real problem with the middle of the movie are the cop characters played by Seth Roger and Bill Hader. They're funny, yes, but they belong in another film. They're every bit as cartoony and over-the-top as Seth and Evan are realistic and utterly plausible. This is a movie with some serious tonal problems. Just because something's funny doesn't mean it belongs in the movie.
7. Extra credit to the filmmakers for making Jules an unexpected teetotaler, even if it feels rather implausible.
8. After all the gross-out humor and explicit gutter talk, the ending is surprising sweet and earnest. The last scene involving an escalator is especially satisfying as our heroes finally consider the possibility of a future in which one's best friend is someone of the opposite gender.
9. Let's say it one more time: McLovin.


Knee-jerk review: "The Bourne Ultimatum"

1. Jason Bourne is a bad ass. End of story.
2. Director Paul Greengrass demands our complete attention. He also delivered 2004's locomotive The Bourne Supremacy (which surely influenced the decision to strip down the James Bond character in Casino Royale) and 2006's harrowing United 93. This guy has the goods.
3. Poetic symmetry in the way this film ends with a watery shot reminiscent of the beginning of the first film, 2002's The Bourne Supremacy.
4. David Strathairn is always a pleasure. Even when he's stuck barking all those cheesy spy-movie dialogue cliches.
5. Considering the non-stop action, the film is curiously bloodless. Less so, it seems, than the first two films. Yet a quick check of IMDB surprisingly confirms that all three films received a PG-13 rating. The Bourne Ultimatum is all car crashes and fistfights and footchases. One shooting death, one death by explosion. That's just about it for extreme violence. Which serves as a reminder than blood splatters and noisy special-effect
squibs aren't always necessary to create satisfying action.
6. Instant classic sequence: Bourne trying desperately to shepherd to safety Paddy Considine's reporter in a crowded train station packed with assassins and agents. (Note to self: always follow Bourne's instructions. To the letter.)
7. The Cheese Fry has never been a big Julia Stiles fan, but she looks nice here. Really nice.
8. Nothing good was ever code-named "blackbriar."
9. That Bourne was brainwashed and turned into an assassin is sort of expected... how he "commits to the program" is a shock.
10. Albert Finney is looking old, people.
11. Go see it.