Robert Brockway

Movie: 'Looper'

Looper is my pick for movie of the year, not because it was great (it was), or because it was brutal (it was), or because it featured the best chin prosthetic in history (it did), but because it was the first science fiction movie to address its audience honestly. We've all become so pop culture savvy lately that we spend most of a movie's runtime just pulling on the loose threads until it comes apart in our hands. Looper had the self-awareness and the balls to literally sit its audience down halfway through the film and tell us all to knock it the hell off.

At their first pivotal meeting, the past and future versions of the main character, Joe, sit down together at a diner. Young Joe is confused: He wants to know the mechanics of this time-travel device they're playing with, how it holds together, what the inconsistencies and internal logic are. Old Joe, played by the world's foremost shut-the-fuck-up specialist, Bruce Willis, unsurprisingly tells his younger self to stop thinking, shut the fuck up and just deal with the situation at hand. If they get into the minutiae of time travel, he explains, they're "gonna be here all day, drawing diagrams with straws."

"Listen up, because I'll only explain this once. Time travel works like this: Go fuck yourself."

Just like the audience of nerds surely would, if they couldn't manage to shut off the analytical part of their brains for a second and simply enjoy watching Bruce Willis punch time in the throat until it starts coughing up hours. Looper knew it had a logically unsound, laughably flimsy concept of time travel. And it didn't give one hot God damn; it was going to tell a bitchin' story regardless. Looper had a good point, and it's one we should take to heart sometimes: If you want to play with straws, that's fine, but you can't do that and fire futuristic blunderbusses at one another from atop malfunctioning jet-bikes.

Explosions beat out technobabble every day of the week.

I don't know about you, but the latter sounds like way more fun to me.

Tweet: YOLO in Memoriam


That was a tweet from aspiring rapper Ervin McKinness, just seconds before he died in a terrible car crash. His last words -- his enduring legacy to echo forever throughout time -- were a hashtag and a Drake meme.

Make no mistake: This is an awful tragedy. We've all done completely stupid, reckless, irresponsible things in our youth -- maybe not on this level, but stupid nonetheless -- and we only survived those days but for wild luck. Life is such an ephemeral and fragile strand, and it is broken so easily. We laugh, and we dance, and we sing, and we die. Too soon. Too soon. Indeed, the wisest among us will tell you that they know only one thing as an absolute and unerring philosophical truth: YOLO.

YOLO, my sweet friends and darling neighbors. YOLO, my happy maidens and blushing fellows. YOLO, my brave explorers and fighters of wars.



Person: Josh Romney

A lot of important things happened this year.

I'm pretty sure. I couldn't tell you. My life is entirely consumed by bullshit, paranoia, infantile self-indulgence and brief stints of jail time. I'm almost certain that some politics happened. Probably. Somewhere.

What I can tell you is that something called a Josh Romney has arrived on our planet, and thus I name it the most important person of the year, if only to delay its terrible impending wrath from finding me and mine. This is a Josh Romney:


This is also a Josh Romney:

GIF via Gawker

I could not tell you if they are the same Josh Romney or different Josh Romneys, or if their species even has a concept of "identity," but I can tell you that I now sleep in a fortified basement atop a giant pile of loose hand grenades. There is easier prey for now, Josh Romney. Please, take it.

Song: 'I Will Wait' by Mumford & Sons

It seems like every five years we get another anachronistic pop band sweeping the nation like a bunch of Mary Poppins extras. Theirs is a tragic existence, full of crackly lament, that burns brightly for, like, a year or two, until all of their fans suddenly remember that electric guitars are badass, at which point they will lapse forever into silence. Or at least into a casino on an Indian reservation. Their time in the spotlight is brief, confusing and over before too long: They're like little goldfish in open-collared rough-spun cotton shirts. They're usually folk-based, or pseudo-folk, or some kind of motherfolkin' fusion thing like the Decemberists or Flogging Molly. While their forms may vary, there's pretty much always a comically large bass and some crying white girls in the audience. I'm not saying that they're bad, or good, or emblematic of some great urge to return to a simpler time. I'm just saying that there's one thing you can never take away from an anachronistic rock band: They wear the hell out of those vests.

Wendy Redfern / Getty
Is this Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros or Fisby Hobbitbottom's Mustravaganza?
Are those even real bands?

Mumford & Sons is the vest that all of 2012 wore proudly -- out to even the most casual of social gatherings, accessorized by a hat style whose origins have to be explained, at great length, to anybody foolish enough to say "I like your hat."

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