Arguments – they’re part of life. We’re all competitive beasts, never wanting to admit fault or defeat, and will go to great lengths when defending our honor when challenged or threatened. Arguments have started wars, shattered relationships, broken families, declared victors, but have also awarded respect. A win will always be a win, but longstanding respect and admitted defeat are far greater trophies than another tally mark on a record sheet somewhere. That’s where our story begins for this group of alcohol swigging, loud mouthed master-debaters (had to make that joke once, c’mon!), connected by our love of whiskey, which is only overpowered by our love for all things pop culture – cinema, music, television, gaming, you name it. Inebriation and verbal assaulting, how could this go wrong?!
Needless to say, all we do now is argue about pop culture and hot topics of the day. Despite sounding like the grunts and groans of a pack of psychopaths, we decided to translate our debates into a readable affair. This means that every few weeks or so, we will be posting our thoughts on upcoming releases and pop culture in general. Since agreeing is for peace-loving hippies, our arguments will be broken up into two sides, and the winner is decided by the readers. Yes, our fates are in your hands!
Before we begin though, allow us to introduce ourselves.
Christian: A nearly retired cop with nothing left to lose, Christian turned to bath salts and cat urine to deal with losing three wives and up to seven stepchildren (they were gingers though, does that even count?). Although it is true that he is extremely opinionated, Christian only pushes his opinions on those he loves most (especially you, dear reader). Famous for his last stand at the Alamo and ability to produce children with a single look, this is a man who should by no means be considered harmless. Aside from devilish good looks and cologne that doesn’t come in an aluminum can, his knowledge of everything pop-culture will leave wives crying for divorce and daughters breaking the locks their fathers rightfully installed on their chastity belts. Debating isn’t exactly his strong suit, but he did once defeat a whole debate team using only the power of a flamethrower, so maybe that counts.
Gem: Gem has lived the secluded life of an academic, dedicated to a better understanding of critical analysis. Emerging from five years struggling to insert page numbers into Word, Gem indulged in the world of film to satiate her creative side – from which burst the need to obliterate those who do not agree with her inane, profane ranting. Her most critically acclaimed debate was executed at this year’s Comic Con when she swayed a crowd of riotous nerds into agreeing that yes, a coat rack could defeat Wolverine. The opposition doesn’t stand a chance.
Nato: Traveling back in time from a dystopian universe where pop culture debates are a game of life and death, Nato (formerly Natobombious Kick-Assious) continues to extend his unbeaten streak against the competition he now sees in three (barely) functioning alcoholics who devour useless entertainment factoids like the bottles of Jack taped to their hands. Matt can make a case for anything, but enjoys the new challenge of debate through writing, disabling his hypnotically enchanting “hair-flip” closing visual, typically bringing competition to their knees with one swiftly punctuated “swoosh.” Who needs a closing argument when you have great hair? You’re about to witness the great lengths he’s willing to go and mighty stretches he’s willing to make, abandoning all notions of self-respect just to deliver the most convincing arguments conceivable. A pop-culture chameleon, Nato can do it all. We promise we’ll do our best to contain him, but it might be too late already…
Alex: Formed from the recovered DNA of Stephen A. Douglas, Ben Franklin, and Socrates, Alex is an unstoppable force in an argument. Basically every epic speech in every courtroom movie/TV show ever was copied verbatim from arguments Alex has made. If the world listened to his points on abortion, gay marriage, or America’s healthcare system, all people would finally be in agreement. But why waste his talents on such minutia? It’s the world of the media that sparks the fiercest debates, and thus his fiercest opinions. But just because he’s such an eloquent debater in person doesn’t mean that doesn’t translate into his writing. Some argue the pen is mightier than the sword. Well Alex doesn’t write with a pen, he uses a sword to slice paper into the words that crush those who disagree. Whoever opposes him ought to fear for not only their dignity, but their safety as well.
Today’s Argument: Which Sidekick In Film Had The Worst Influence Over Others?
You know that one friend you have who is never content to just sit back and throw down a drink or two? The one who always insists that everything tastes better after doing some crack, or that prostitutes are even better when you get them at a discount? Everybody has a terrible “friend” like this, and while you try to ignore their influence, you end up crawling in a ditch or paying a hooker with pocket change before you even realize it. Hollywood has seen its fair share of repugnant sidekicks, and guessing by the looks of 21 & Over, we’re about to add two more to the list. Until the verdict is in, however, let’s have a look back on some of the douchebag friends who pulled the strings on everyone they knew.
Continue reading on the next page…
Christian – The Wizard
As a child, few things were more important than anything involving candy, a certain vertically incline plumber, or Nintendo. In 1989, a full length movie was made solely to introduce the world to one of the greatest video games of all time, involving at least two of the three criteria required to keep a child’s attention, and a still-young Fred Savage. What could go wrong with anything involving Super Mario Bros. 3 and some quality Savage screen time?
If you’ve ever seen The Wizard, you know exactly what did go wrong, and it has nothing to do with how awesome Mario is. Despite being a feature length commercial glorifying how amazing Nintendo is (or once was), the plot was overly thick with drama and featured two sidekicks that personified the absolute worst qualities a human could ever have. Jimmy (AKA The Wizard) is a young boy thrown in an asylum for being depressed after his twin sister dies. After spending years muttering “California,” his brother Corey (Fred Savage!) breaks him out and takes him there in hopes of helping. So far, everything’s a little far fetched, but Corey isn’t a scourge of a brother.
Suspension of disbelief can only carry so much, however, and any pretense of being OK with everything is thrown out the window when Haley gets thrown into the mix. A young girl trying to get home, she instead abandons that and tells the brothers about a video game tournament going on in California. She then proceeds to hustle them for most of the prize money for simply telling them about the tournament. Corey eventually agrees with the idea, and the two older children use Jimmy’s video game skills to win a ton of money.
Do these two not remember that there is an emotionally shattered boy traveling with them? The trio is already in danger since they’re being pursued by a bounty hunter, Corey’s father and older brother, all of whom are way too excited to find these brats. But they ignore the danger for the rush of cash, video games, and probably some of that sweet, Californian heroin. What started as a slightly heartwarming story is now two older kids pressuring a damaged boy into playing video games for their gain.
Moral ambiguity aside, though, getting a glimpse of a Power Glove and Super Mario Bros. 3 was totally worth dealing with conniving swindlers for an hour or so.
Continue reading on the next page…
Gem – Ted
There’s zero debate if you’re considering which movie sidekick is the most far removed from reality as the vertically-challenged plush jokester Ted wins the battle paws down. Standing at a good height for oral delight, covered in fur, and probably Made In China, Ted also happens to steal the crown for sidekick with the worst influence over his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg).
At 35, John is questioning the cards life has dealt him; working an uninspired job at a car dealership amidst trying to fulfill what his girlfriend, Lori, needs. Saying his best friend Ted has been with him for 30 years, his actions show how little he cares for John’s aspirations.
John and Lori return home from dinner to find Ted entertaining a bunch of defecating hookers and promptly ask him to move out. Instead of realising that it may be his chance to be the bigger bear and do what’s right for his friend, Ted calls John up at work and convinces him to come over, get battered and watch the special features on a Cheers DVD. Which he does.
The biggest example crops up after Lori lays down an ultimatum for John to stop hanging out with Ted. The two attend a house party at her sleazy boss’s house. Moments into the bash, Ted calls John with a life-altering invitation: their idol, Sam Jones of Flash Gordon, is at Ted’s own house party. After a brief internal struggle, John goes. But, you know, just for a little while.
Jump forward several hours later and John, Ted and Sam Jones have snorted, drank and mainlined their way through the veritable pharmacy of Ted’s abode. Sure, they’re all buddies while the drinks are flowing and the breasts are a’wobbling, but Ted practically forgets the strife John has endured with his girlfriend. Sam Jones’ appearance at Ted’s party was no doubt a fun and once-in-a-lifetime encounter for them, but at what cost? John’s future with Lori is cast aside for an evening of debauchery. Ted’s influence over John comes at a high price.
The final straw is when Ted arranges for John to serenade Lori at a Norah Jones concert. Sure, he means well as he does throughout the film, but it results in further separation for the two lovebirds. Ultimately, Ted’s actions are motivated by his own desire to perpetuate the frivolity he and John have shared over the course of their lives. As he seems loathe to shed the silliness and selfishness of youth, he too imbues his friendship with John with the same youthful disregard.
There’s no question that Ted’s the kind of bear you’d wanna party with. But as a sidekick to watch your back? Only unless you want to wake up in the gutter vomiting into a prostitute’s purse.
Continue reading on the next page…
Nato – Superbad
We all have that one friend who just never seems to have good intentions about anything, influencing others to carry out the most moronic and asinine of tasks just for their own twisted reasons. My dear friend Al highlighted how Ferris Bueller steers his best friend Cameron wrong every step of the way, but I’m going with a much more recent film which newer generations can attest to – Seth from Superbad.
Yes, Jonah Hill’s foul-mouthed wanna-be popular high school star may be Evan’s (Michael Cera) best friend and all might have ended on a sweet note, but Seth’s actions while the events are unfolding are questionable every single step of the way. Not only are his actions misguided and selfish, but Evan always seems to be caught in the middle of Seth’s antics just by default. Whether he’s running from the cops, getting into fights with random bros, or coming off as a completely sick pervert, Evan is seemingly just along for the disastrously bumpy ride, stuck in the passenger’s seat because of a long-standing friendship.
Evan is your stereotypical “good kid” – brainiac grades, admitted to a good college, not really a hit with the ladies, doesn’t really participate in the weekly parties and other social activities, probably considered a “nerd” amongst high school cliques, only really has his best friend Seth to rely on…I mean he’s really what some might call a loser. Evan is content with his life though, and happy with being himself, but Seth isn’t.
Although he hides it, Seth is actually jealous and upset Evan is leaving him for a college life far from home, letting these emotions cloud his judgement as the twerp-tastic duo attempts to see high school off with a bang (literally, they are trying to get laid). But while Evan plays the voice of reason as much as possible, Seth starts letting go of reality and embraces a new attitude of sincerely not caring. Of course, this only leads to reckless behavior which brings mostly pain and hardship to Evan and their other friend Fogell (also known as Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s breakout character McLovin).
Along the way they are beaten down both mentally and physically, harassed by classmates, embarrassed by inexperience, and wrongfully entered into horrible situations because of Seth’s poor judgement. Just look at his decision to steal beer from Mark’s party – Seth and Evan are almost trampled in a riot which is started by Seth’s big mouth and utter cluelessness. Seth continually sets up Evan and Fogell for failure based on his awful and somewhat selfish intentions, starting everything off with sending Fogell in for beer with his infamous fake which gets his day rocked when a robber punches him in the face – just another shining moment of Seth’s brilliant influence.
Young, dumb, impressionable kids or not, after watching what Seth puts Evan through in Superbad, I’d never trust the dude with a single decision – even if he was my best friend.
Continue reading on the next page…
Alex -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I know that technically Ferris was the lead in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and that makes Cameron his side-kick instead of the other way around, but it really doesn’t matter to me, because there’s never been a worse influence on a good kid than the psychopath named Ferris Bueller.
We all have that friend who simply can’t say no to anything anyone asks (and if you can’t think of who it is, it’s probably you). Cameron is a textbook example of that, but it isn’t because he’s just too wimpy or anything: it’s because of how damn manipulative Ferris is.
It seems like the only reason Ferris is even friends with Cameron is so he can get his way all the time. Not only does Ferris get Cameron to get out of bed when he’s horribly ill, but he finds a way to take Cameron’s dad’s car. Yes, I know that at the end when the car crashes it’s supposed to be a breaking out moment for Cameron, but come on! If Ferris was a better friend, he would have simply helped Cameron stand up to his dad. There was no need to do something that will ultimately destroy the relationship between a father and his son.
The fact that Ferris offers to take the heat is just another manipulation in itself. He knows that by suggesting Cameron is too weak, Cameron will ultimately be the one to stand up to his dad. Just one of many instances where Ferris unnecessarily leads Cameron into sure disaster.
Ferris is manipulative and feels no remorse for anything he does. He acts like his actions don’t have any consequences, which is part of the reason that everyone loves him, but really that just makes for a horrible friend and influence for Cameron.
I could go on and on about all the horrible things Ferris makes Cameron do, but there really isn’t a ton that can be said to make any better of an example than Ferris forcing Cameron to steal his dad’s Ferrari. And really, if Ferris wasn’t the worst influence ever, he’d have let Cameron stay in bed just like any good friend would do. Instead he’s cemented himself in cinematic lore as the worst influence of any friend ever.
Can’t get enough our sweet, sexy arguments? Be sure to check out last week’s article in which we argue the most undeserving best picture winners in the history of the Academy!Previous