Culture Feature

11 of the Weirdest Commercials of All Time

Most commercials only want your money. These want your sanity.

In the world of advertising, grabbing the viewer's attention is key.

Sure, you could just list off the benefits of whatever you're selling in a straightforward manner, but is that going to leave an impression?

You want your audience to take notice. You want to keep them thinking about your ad for days and weeks afterward — to infect their brains with a little consumerist parasite that reminds them to cough up their money in pursuit of a false sense of fulfillment. So anything you can do to make your ad stand out from the crowd is a good thing, right?

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Culture Feature

Matthew McConaughey: A Hero to Himself and a Governor for Texas?

Is a possible governor run part of the actor's effort to be his own hero?

In 2014, Matthew McConaughey was at his peak — or so we thought.

The so-called "McConaissance" was in full swing. With starring roles in indie-darling Mud, oscar-bait Dallas Buyers'Club, Nolan's Interstellar, and the acclaimed first season of HBO's True Detective, he had successfully reformed his brand.

He was no longer just a handsome, shirtless goofball to be plugged into one romantic comedy after another. Suddenly he was one of the most respected actors working in Hollywood, capable of bringing an intense energy and originality to every role he touched.

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Culture Feature

The 10 Best Memes of the Decade

If you disagree, just shout at your screen, and Mark Zuckerberg will let me know.

The concept of a meme describes a unit of cultural information that mutates and evolves as it is passed along and interacts with other memes.

This process mirrors the way genetic evolution takes place, and just like genes, it can be hard to really define the boundaries of any particular meme. Technically Christianity could be defined as a meme — though the folks over at r/dankchristianmemes might disagree.

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In the world of design, there are two ideals that must be balanced: form and function.

They rest at opposite poles of a spectrum, and a designer's vision must find a compromise between them.

At one extreme, the designer can prioritize form over function to achieve a compelling and appealing aesthetic that may be wildly ineffective in terms of their creation's intended role. At the other end of the spectrum, there is an ergonomic and effective tool devoid of flare, style, or emotion.

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Satire

How Long Before Arnold Schwarzenegger Eats His Pet Horse and Donkey?

Whiskey and Lulu were featured in a recent video in which the former governor encouraged Californians to forget about restaurants

On Sunday night, Arnold Schwartzenegger shared a video on Twitter demonstrating how to properly execute social distancing.

He pleaded with his fellow Californians to remain home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reminding them that people over the age of 65 are encouraged to stay home and saying, "We don't go out, we don't go to restaurants, we don't do anything like that anymore here. We just eat with Whiskey and with Lulu. We have a good time, we get entertained."

Whiskey and Lulu are his two beloved pets who feature in the video as they eat from his hands. Presumably, Schwarzenegger expects other Californians to follow his model and remain "sane" with the help of entertainment provided by pets and loved ones. In his case, however, those pets seem to provide more of a diversion than your cat—even if you remembered to hoard a lifetime supply of laser pointers. Nothing quite so ordinary would do for the former California governor. No, the pets he is currently sharing his home with are a miniature pony (Whiskey) and the tiny donkey (Lulu) that he puts in headlocks while laughing maniacally—a knife block visible over his head, as if it appeared in a thought bubble. When Whiskey tries to break Arnold's hold, the star of Last Action Hero admonishes her by saying, "No biting. You've got to get along," but how long will that rule protect them from his ravenous appetite as quarantine-madness takes hold?

You're probably familiar with the phenomenon that can arise in situations like this. As isolation eats away at people's sense of reality, cravings for food that they can no longer have begin to take hold. Soon an individual begins to picture their companions as giant slabs of talking (or neighing) meat. With those thoughts making Arnold's mouth water, how long will it be before he attacks Whiskey and Lulu with a frying pan or a giant wooden mallet? How long will it be until twittering birds are flying circles around their heads while lumps suddenly swell through their manes? How long before their spirits are ascending to heaven on newly-sprouted wings, playing tiny harps?

Spongebob Patrick Cologne

It may be hard to imagine that the man who played the gruff but soft-hearted hero in Kindergarten Cop would ever resort to eating his pets—after all, his usual diet has been "99% vegan" for a while now. But those habits are a lot easier to maintain when Southern California is functioning as its usual mecca for vegan and vegetarian cuisine. As Arnold says in the video, "Forget about all that." When all those fancy plant-based restaurants close shop for the Coronavirus crisis, will he maintain his composure, or will Whiskey and Lulu join the 1%? What happens when he's spent a week subsisting on the same carrots and oats that his adorable, vulnerable pets enjoy so much? He may find himself missing the taste of Beyond Burgers. Or maybe he'll remember his childhood in Austria and the melt-in-your mouth savor of Pferdeleberkäse—a popular horsemeat pâté. And if he's craving something from Chipotle, will he perhaps recall that "burrito" is just the Spanish word for a little donkey?

At this point you probably think this seems like a bit much. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the cold-hearted villain he portrayed as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. Nor is he a barbarian, like the one he played in Conan the Barbarian. And Whiskey and Lulu have been his regular companions for some time now. Last year he posted a series of videos in which he biked alongside Whiskey as part of a morning fitness routine. Then in February of this year the Internet delighted at the sight of him bringing both Whiskey and Lulu into work. They are comfortable going anywhere with him. They happily eat carrots out of his hand and only struggle a little when he wraps his sagging yet powerful 72-year-old biceps around their necks…

Mr. Freeze

There is a term in the jargon of nature survivalists known as "stocking the fridge" that involves sharing your food with wild animals so that, when lean times come, you will have a ready source of unsuspecting meat. Whiskey and Lulu will never see the end coming. As the quarantine continues with no clear end in sight, how long will it be until Arnold begins to see Whiskey and Lulu no longer as essential members of the family, but as Expendables? There's no way to be certain, but if you find yourself in quarantine, picturing your cat as a rotisserie chicken, shake the image from your head and say a little prayer for Whiskey and Lulu.

FILM

Is It Even Possible to Care About Robert Pattinson in "The Batman?"

People can find little details to obsess over in the new footage, but actually caring implies hope...

With director Matt Reeves' release of blood-red test footage, showing Robert Pattinson in costume for The Batman, one question comes to mind: Is it even possible to care?

It seems like just yesterday people were freaking out at the prospect of Ben Affleck playing Batman. After Christian Bale's virtuosic performance as a gravelly mumble personified, people scoffed at the notion of this iconic character being taken up by the star of 2003's smash hit Gigli. And they were kind of right. Not that Ben Affleck's performance was particularly bad, but the casting choice may have reflected a general lack of respect for the Batman legacy that would manifest in Batman shooting a bunch of people and the infamous "Martha" revelation.

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And now Affleck has departed from the DCEU, Robert Pattinson has been brought on, and people who can best be described as terminally online are picking apart the minute details of the costume—comparing it to Affleck's Daredevil (from 2003's Daredevil), speculating about the out-of-frame ears, and doing some CSI photo enhancement to show that the bat symbol is made of guns. But does anyone really care? Is it even possible?

The outrage that would have erupted over this casting in 2015 would have set fire to server towers across the globe—"The fuc*ing guy from Twilight?! OMFGN%E^%$"—but Zach Snyder and DC have already done so much to erase the fan sentiments that Christopher Nolan's films built up. Even the shocking critical acclaim for Birds of Prey isn't enough to get people excited for the DCEU. The only thing that is still capable of working the fandom into a lather these days is imagining an alternate reality in which Zach Snyder is actually a secret genius who made a better version of 2017's Justice League that's hidden away in a vault somewhere—because, yes #ReleaseTheSnyderCut is trending again.

Honestly this might be the best scenario for Pattinson. He's had a chance to prove his chops as an actor with movies like The Lighthouse so—while he still seems a little improbable as an action hero—at least he's not just an emo heartthrob anymore. And as of last week, he's also riding high with his laughable ascension to the title of "most handsome man in the world." Couple all this with the fact that expectations for The Batman are so low, and Pattinson and Reeves have the chance to duck the fan pressure and really surprise us. It wouldn't be the first time that Batman has bounced back from an embarrassing era—even George Clooney's bat-nips and Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze couldn't kill the bat brand. But all of this is assuming that any of us will have the capacity to care, since caring takes hope.

george clooney batman nips Wherever you go, the bat-nips follow you...

The Batman is scheduled for release in June of 2021, so they still have a year and change to work up some enthusiasm for Pattinson's turn in the batsuit. Failing that, they could just say "fu*k it," and bring back Michael Keaton.