Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Edition

Well after last week's onslaught of posts we took some time off to reflect on 2011 and prepare for the year ahead (2012 if you were wondering). We came to the realization that all the good sites have already done their top 10's and it would dumb for us to do something like that. So as we close the door to 2011 we have some reflections on the year, but mostly want to look forward to 2012.

2011 in no particular order:

  • The State of Minnesota closed for awhile
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a kid with a maid and his marriage ended. Maria Shriver is still very thin.
  • The last Harry Potter was released in Theaters. I watched it in an actual movie theater with my wife. It was like a date. We had popcorn and diet soda.
  • US & Japan Womans World Cup Final was one of the most entertaining sporting events in the last decade. It was an incredible game even if the US lost. Hope Solo is still hot.

  • Steve Jobs - RIP
  • Gadhafi & Osama Bin Laden are killed after years and years of killing and pissing people off.
  • St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series. Game 6 of the series is deemed the best World Series game ever unless you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 
  • To keep with the topic of STL baseball, God talked Albert Pujols to signing a contract for $250 million dollars with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim Baseball. Now every time Albert's heart beats for the next 10 years it will cost the Angels $8* (*Assuming an avg HR of 60)
Image via
Ok I think that's it for 2011. There was some other stuff that happened but i think that's a good snap shot. Now some future aspirations for 2012 from the both of us:
  • We would like to monetize this damn blog. Someone please help us. We don't like our real jobs enough to want to do them forever.
  • Become more attractive
  • Lose a combined 50lbs. We are the sum of our parts or something like that.
  • Grill more pork
  • Wrestle a bear or get a Wii (either or, but not both)
  • Make more money. Like serious money. You know like Ballin'/Makin' it Rain Money. Or if we could just get a significant discount on Daycare that would be nice.
  • Review more Beer. We got away from that after Pumpkin Beer Season.
  • Question more Authority.
  • Teach our kids more about Star Wars and other life lessons

Thats it. We had a blast this year writing about stuff and are shocked we got over 10,000 views at our crap. Thank you all for reading, commenting, and spreading the SFA word. 

- John & Jamie

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Movie Countdown: Christmas Vacation

Well folks you have endured an entire week of posts from us. I know, I know we are awesome. 6 posts in 6 days? Unheard of.

But back to business and in the words of Casey Kasem "...and back to the countdown."

With this being the final post before Christmas we thought we would save the best for last. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is not only the funniest Christmas movie out there, but can hold its own as one of the great comedies of all time. It is simple, wonderful, slapstick comedic genius with a cast of funny MF'ers. Chevy Chase's role of a dim witted father blinded with visions of holiday grandeur is spot on. His delivery of jokes is superb and should be studied by scholars or teenagers for years to come. However, no one can argue that this movie's main draw is Cousin Eddie. While he is featured in the other "Vacation" Movies (minus European Vacation), this is his moment in the sun. I really don't think you could paint a better portrait of what distant hoosier relatives look like than this:
So, mix in Cousin Eddie, Clark, and a number of other wonder characters you have what makes to be the most heavily quoted, laughed-at-hysterically holiday movie of all time. In fact, I am pretty sure while I am writing this on 12/23/11 this movie is on TV somewhere and is supplying joy and cheer to someone with cable (probably on TBS).

Today's Honorable Mention goes to Die Hard. If the movie above wasn't enough for comedic one-liners, Die Hard does not disappoint with Tough-Guy phrases none more than "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf**ker." It also introduces us to one of the more bad arse cops in movie history, John McClane who goes on in other Die Hard movies to kill lots of people. Finally I can't leave this out but what was it about the late 80's movies and their distaste for foreign people (mainly Russians and in this case Germans).

We thank you all for reading this week and on behalf of Jamie and me we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and thank you tremendously for your readership. The only better gift you could give to us than reading this blog is large sums of money or free electronics and clothing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Movie Countdown: Scrooged

So I love this movie. It is probably because anything that Bill Murray touches is brilliant, but the premise is that of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol." Frank Cross (Murray) is a TV Exec and is a complete a-hole driven by money with no care for those around them. Yes the premise has been done before but Murray makes this movie awesome. His ability to deliver dry witted callous remarks is tremendous in this movie. His mullet is also tremendous.

There isn't much more to say on this because Bill Murray is awesome. So lucky for you some dude on the internet compiled the top 10 moments from the movie. Enjoy.

Ok so for today's Honorable Mention we are going with It's a Wonderful Life. It supposed to be THE Christmas movie and I am sure it's been review at least 200 times a year since it was made in 1946. That is like a thousand reviews or something. So I will spare you the details and just say that "When a bell rings an angel gets its wings." Profound.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Movie Countdown: A Christmas Story

Welcome to yet another entry in our Suburban Father Christmas Movie Countdown. We've already talked about Elf, and today's entry is A Christmas Story.

Everyone has their own favorite scene from this 1983 classic, but our favorite thing about the movie is how the film manages to convey the entire adolescent experience. The following themes are presented by Ralphie, et al,  in a tight 94 minutes.
  • Sexuality. This was a little before our time, but it seemed like the leg lamp was the Sears catalog and a Madonna video all rolled into one.
  • Male bonding. FUDGE.
  • Bullying. The boys, terrorized for years by an idiot in a coonskin cap, finally get back their dignity when Ralphie rages out.
  • Interpersonal relationships. Flag. Pole. Licker.
  • Disenfranchisement. If the nasty elves didn't do it, the reminder to drink more ovaltine sure did.
  • Crime and punishment. We still fear soap blindness.
  • Small arms safety. He did damn near shoot his eye out. 

In the end, this nostalgic tale does a great job of giving people something to relate to. Making a timeless period piece isn't easily done, but the Pink Nightmare came through to the point that the house used in filming has been turned into a museum. We leave you with a collection of memorable clips (Youtube sort of let us down, but it'll do).

Today's honorable mention (a film we don't have time to flesh out) is Trading Places. It seems that for this committee a drunk Dan Akroyd in a Santa suit trying to kill Eddie Murphy does not a Christmas movie make.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Movie Countdown: Elf

We'll start the list of great Christmas movies off with Elf. Unlike my conspirator on here I have seen the movie. So with that, I have the street cred to review it. Elf while recently released in 2003 was an instant classic. A movie with Will Ferrell dressed up as an kind of mythical creature is worth the price of admission. However this movie has a lot more to offer. The story is that of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) and how he set out in search of his real father (James Kaan) after 30 years of being raised by Santa and his elves in the North Pole. He treks from the North Pole to NYC and the movie shapes up from there. He meets a pretty attractive/fantastic singer named Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) along the way and everyone is happy in the end.

I probably didn't do the movie too much justice but I am really having an issue reviewing a movie that is 8 years old and that 95% of you have probably already seen. I can tell you that my kids love the movie. They think Buddy is great and they learned the words to "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" from this movie. Also, I have convinced them that I know Buddy the Elf personally and will call him to relay messages about what they want for Christmas or if they are misbehaving. Its really a nice break in the day from threatening Santa all the time.

Not all movies can be that great. So we are also instituting a Horrible Mention for every post. Today's is Polar Express. The movie is about a doubting boy who gets on a train and then with the help of Tom Hanks believes in Santa. I don't know why I don't like this movie outside of the fact that it boring and it looks like a really bad video game. Oh wait, now I know why I don't like it...

Ok so tune in tomorrow and we will have some more magical BS coming your way.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Movie Countdown: The Ref

We hope you've been enjoying our Christmas Movie Countdown so far (check out our thoughts on Elf, A Christmas Story, and Scrooged). Now it's time to enjoy the more dysfunctional side of the holidays and look into 1994's largely forgotten The Ref.

Why is this movie largely forgotten? We're not sure. It has all of the elements of a classic 1990's era Christmas story. No-good hoodlum son home from military school for the holidays? Check. Hateful, dim-witted family members at each other's throats? Check. Bungling cops? Check. Former stand-up comedian trying desperately to finagle a film career? Check.

This movie did actually make use of every one of Denis Leary's considerable talents. He was snarky. He smoked. He smoked snarkily. You watch a movie like this and for a moment remember when we all thought Denis Leary was going to rule the world. And then we realized that no matter what, he could really only play one character: Denis Leary. To be fair, Denis is, and was, a very funny character, but he's probably best left to playing a crook who breaks into the middle of a dysfunctional family holiday and ends up salvaging everything. Unfortunately, he already made that movie, so we're pretty much done with him now.

This film actually had a great cast all around that included a pre-The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, who was pretty damned good. And the wife/mom? She's actually Australian. But she doesn't sound Australian. How is that even possible?

In the end, the film isn't challenging, it isn't dangerous, it isn't unpredictable, but you know exactly what you are getting yourself into, and it is a lot of fun.

Today's honorable mention movie is Bad Santa. The mom from Gilmore Girls making "requests" of Billy Bob Thornton isn't nearly enough to make us forget that it's still Billy Bob Thornton playing a miserable alcoholic who aspires to be a marginally-less miserable alcoholic, and we still can't forgive him for giving up on Angelina, weirdo that she may have been.

The week ahead

Seasons Greetings. We here at the SFA are working to make your holidays brighter one half-arsed blog post at a time. Through a IM session between Jamie and me we have decided you our reading public would really like to hear our reviews on Christmas movies that were released years ago. We also determined that Top 5 or Top 10 lists are kind of dumb, and would only take up 1 post. We need to stretch this out as long as possible so we don't have to write about other crap.

However if we are going to do this right, we need to get out as many reviews as possible before Santa arrives. So starting Monday and throughout the week you can expect some literary gold on movies you have probably watched already this holiday season.

Now while I should end the post right there, I am going to forge on because I am just that great. What I'd like to do is offer some wisdom or nuggets (apparently with a theme of "butthole") to think about while leading up to the Big Baby J's birthday.

  1. Remember what the Holiday is about. No I am not going to get all Catholic on you, but remember its the season of giving. So don't be a butthole this week.
  2. If other people are being buttholes, take it with a grain of salt and totally get back at them in March (but not too close to Easter).
  3. Spend some extra time with your kids and teach them how to be grateful for what they already have (read: Not Buttholes). Let them know and appreciate that other kids aren't as lucky and could not be getting anything for Christmas.
  4. If you haven't started the tradition, I cannot suggest enough the Elf on the Shelf. We have had some fun times with that elf (Jingle Bells) and my kids look forward to seeing what that tricky little butthole has been up to the previous night.
  5. Buy an ornament every year and put the year on it. It may seem pretty dumb right now but 20 years from now, It will be pretty cool to look back and remember that year of Christmas. My wife still has ornaments from the year she was born and I think its pretty incredible. And not to brag too much on my ornament collection, but I have a Willie McGee Jersey & Spuds McKenzie.

That's it. Looking forward to having your virtual faces staring at our poorly written blogs this week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Split Personalities

If you haven't been here for long (you know, on this blog, that you most likely found through either Facebook or Twitter) you may not have realized how much I love social media. That said, I do occasionally have to hold myself back. Today is not one of those days.

For a long time I've been trying to maintain my work/life balance with one twitter account. Not really working out for me. As such, I'm splitting my twitter account into @OswaldXXL for my more SAP-related stuff, and @JamieXXL for my suburban/fatherly/alliancey type stuff.

For more info, check out the new online home of The Jamie Oswald Experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cards

I don't really get "into" Christmas. My wife does, God bless her. From the beginning of October she's constantly abuzz, switching the house (and the kids) from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Me? I won't even help with decorations. Oh sure, I'll bring the boxes up from the basement, and I'll carry them back down, but aside from hanging 3 ornaments up one year, and helping with an occasional gift or two, I'm sort of scrooge-ish.

The exception? Christmas cards. I really enjoy a good Christmas card. I like the ones that show the whole family -- there's nothing worse than putting a card on the mantel and looking at some kids you don't recognize for a month because their parents were too insecure to be photographed themselves.

Because I enjoy Christmas cards, and because I get bored easily, I floated an idea past the wife that she actually jumped all over: non-boring Christmas cards. Nothing flashy, nothing obscene, but we decided then and there that the whole family would be on it every year, and every year we'd have a different shtick.

Our first year we came out with what is probably my favorite to date, the Pirate Card.

The next year we celebrated my favorite collegiate sports team, the Buckeyes of the Ohio State.

Last year we put my mad photoshop skills to the test and came up with this realistic looking card.

And this year we gave ourselves an excuse to buy me some footie pajamas.

When the kids get a little older we'll probably let them toss some ideas out there, too. I personally can't wait for the Disney Princess Christmas card. 

To see some of our more recent Christmas Cards, please visit this update.

Friday, December 2, 2011

They're going to Sizzler

Not us actually, but rather the winners (read: participants) from our Manniversary comment contest.

First up: Tom Wailgum
"Keep up the great work! My submission: One of my twin sons (now 8) has always had a passion for relieving himself outdoors -- doesn't matter where, the temperature, who might be watching, or if the authorities (DSS) might be nearby. My wife pleads for more discretion, but I typically don't discourage it. (It's one of the best perks about being a guy, I tell him.) Next to the Verizon Wireless store dumpster? Sure thing. The bush next to his uncle's house during the birthday party? Go for it. Outside the State of NH Fish & Game building? You gotta go, you gotta go, son. Some people might refer to me as Whiskey Tango, but the little guy just seems to enjoy it so much. When in Rome..."

To tell a family secret, I've had as many kids number two on the side of the road as not. You do the math.

Second up: My sister
"my story for this "manniversary" might be one of my trade secret, so enjoy. What I love about nephews/nieces is getting to teach them all the life secrets mom and dad won't. I personally liked teaching my amazing nephews catch phrases like "i don't care". It is amazing how utilitous and annoying it is to have "i don't care" become the response of choice. And you thought NO was bad. Ha!" (sic -- she's only a college professor, people)
And now you know why so many of my progeny seem so open to public evacuation.

I'll try to snag you each the smallest shirts we've got in inventory, but I'd recommend really, REALLY enjoying the holidays. When we first ordered them, we had assumed more of our readers were Jamie-sized than Shepard-sized.