RIP Aretha Franklin

It’s always hard when you’re on the road when a pop culture figure who was important to you dies. The last time I remember this happening to me was when James Gandolfini died. Though, I suppose it’s easier with a musician. Because it made it pretty easy to decide what I’d be listening to in the car yesterday, even if the occasion was less than ideal. Even if it’s a busy day, you always want to be able to take the time and stop to appreciate the figure in question’s importance and the work they left behind, because Aretha Franklin left a ton of great music behind worth treasuring. Continue reading

R.I.P. Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison died this week and it’s a drag. Harlan Ellison was a mad genius. We hear the word “Genius” thrown around a lot when great artists and entertainers die but I want to emphasize the “mad” part for Ellison. Harlan Ellison was one of the most gifted speculative fiction writers of the 20th century. He was also batshit insane. This was a guy who mailed bricks and dead gophers to editors that pissed him off. A guy who belittled fans that asked him dumb questions and a guy who would sue at the drop of a hat.

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Who’s That Girl?

New Girl is a show that I’ve consistently found myself being surprised by, despite the fact that I’ve never had particularly high expectations for it. After all, the show’s premise was as basic as sitcom premises get – a newly single girl moves in with a bunch of single dudes and they like, get into hijinks and stuff. Yet the basic-ness of that premise is what allowed its writers the freedom to go in so many delightful directions. And in the process made me keep watching in an era where it’s become increasingly hard to stick with a show for more than the first three seasons or so. Continue reading

Worst Wednesday: John

I try not to look back at too much I’ve written on this site, but because it’s our tenth anniversary I agreed it would be fun to reflect on our less than spectacular moments. If anything writing this post was a learning experience. What was it that Batman’s dad said? Something about how we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up? Yeah, that’s the stuff. Here are all the times I fell.

P.S. I’m not going to provide links to my posts like Colin did because I’m lazy and tired.

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Worst Wednesday: Colin

I don’t know how much effort I’ll put into this post, since here I’ll be looking back at the worst posts I’ve ever written, or just the moments in Mildly Pleased’s history that I’m not super proud of. But that’s the risk you run when you start writing stuff online when you’re 18 and haven’t had anyone read your prose outside of that one creative writing class you took in high school. Which, makes me all the more thankful that I came of age when there was a pretty modest amount of social media available for teens to document the most embarrassing years of their lives on.

But at the same time, I think there is a positive aspect to this era in which creative people can use the internet as a kind of training ground. It makes me think of comedy people uploading their sketches online and honing their looney craft, or today’s major indie artists, many of whom have cut their teeth as teenagers uploading their music to bandcamp. The internet is both a wonderful and terrible place, but more than anything, it’s a great place to waste time in. Here are the moments from this blog that truly felt like a waste, even if they did (hopefully) make me a little bit better at writing for whatever the hell this blog is. Continue reading

The Big Ten

February 2008. The U.S. stock market indices plunge more than 3% after a report shows signs of economic recession. Amy Winehouse takes home Record of the Year for her hit song “Rehab” at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Fool’s Gold starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson is the #1 movie at the Box Office, and a fresh-faced junior Senator from Illinois captures the hearts and minds of a nation. This was the world Mildly Pleased was born into.

February 2018. The Dow Jones share index closes down at its biggest drop since 2008. Bruno Mars takes home Record of the Year for his hit song “24K Magic” at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Fifty Shades Freed is the top movie at the Box Office. Also, the president is a racist grandpa and some guy launched his car into space. Needless to say, a lot has changed, but one thing has remained the same. MildlyPleased.com and today is our 10th Anniversary.

Yes, for ten years now we have delivered some of the most mildly pleasing movie, music, and video game reviews. We’ve recorded podcasts and made controversial videos about Brendan Fraser being fat. Take it from our good friend Adolfuis on YouTube “You Guys are scum.” Well, we’re always trying to better ourselves Adolfuis, and I like to think after ten years we’re a little closer.

To commemorate this milestone we’ve put together a week of themed posts. Here’s the breakdown:

Tuesday – Classic Album Tuesdays – Revisited: We revisit our first ever selections for “Classic Album Tuesday”.

Wednesday – Worst Wednesday: We reflect on our less than stellar musings.

Thursday – Top Ten Favorite Reviews: We discuss our favorite pieces of pop culture we’ve reviewed on the site.

Friday: We announce our first inductee into the “Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame”

We hope you enjoy our celebration and would like to thank every writer, reader and spam bot who has ever crossed paths with this blog. Now let’s see how much longer we can keep this dream alive.

Thanks, everybody!

RIP Tom Petty

The great American rock star is a rare breed. Anyone can strum on a six string and sing a song about a girl. Or pose for pictures in tight pants with hair over their face. It takes a special person to rise above the superficial glitz and glamour of rock and roll. It takes a special person with the gift to share stories about love and loss and connect with people all over the world. A special person who in one moment can pen a lighter burning rock anthem and in another, a drunken ass-shaking sing-a-long. Losing Tom Petty isn’t losing a great musician, it’s losing a slice of Americana. There will be other rock stars, other rock songs, but there will only ever be one Tom Petty, and that’s heartbreaking.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers broke through at an odd time for music. Disco was on the rise as was punk. New Wave was still a few years out and Tom Petty didn’t fit in with the current crop of stadium rock darlings like Journey or Styx. Tom Petty’s music was simpler, shorter, more in tune with the rock and roll of yesteryear. He loved The Birds and The Beatles and sang with a nasally Southern twang, courtesy of his upbringing in Gainesville Florida. Petty didn’t look like your stereotypical rocker either. He was gangly with straw-blond hair and big teeth, like a scarecrow who had come to life, picked up a sunburst Rickenbacker and slipped on a leather jacket. He wasn’t caught up in whirlwind love affairs or on the covers of tabloids for drug-addled debauchery. He was a quiet, unassuming soul, but most importantly a master songsmith.

You could fill a whole radio station with Petty songs and never run out of quality material. His songs could be upbeat and inspiring, but also rebellious and dark like “Breakdown” or “Refugee”. He was a great collaborator, working with artists like Stevie Nicks on the classic “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” or with the late ‘80s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. In the 90s he transitioned into a folk-rock troubadour, blowing his harmonica on hit songs like “You Don’t Know What It’s Like” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. He was one of the first artists I remember liking for their words. I didn’t care for lyrics as a child but when I heard “All the vampires, walkin’ through the valley move west down Ventura Blvd.” I was engaged.

Tom Petty is one of those artists you never imagine passing away. Whether you discovered him as a fist-pumping teenager or in the back of your mom and dad’s car, you can’t deny he was an essential part of our modern musical landscape. It’s sad to lose him, but at least we have the classics to remember him by. RIP.