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Monday, May 17, 2021

Avoiding Shame

Happy Anniversary!!! LTC celebrates EIGHT years with the release of Episode 586. And this episode is the one that could heal us all. Follow ya BOI everywhere @GermarDerron.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Shortie: Black Superman

In Shortie #28, Germar delivers the best thoughts on our first live-action BLACK Superman. Follow him everywhere @GermarDerron.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The DEFINITIVE Ranking of 90s R&B Girl Groups

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Germar has HAD IT! Enough with the debates. Here, he settles it once and for all. En Vogue, TLC, or Destiny's Child? Xscape or SWV? Total or 702 or Blaque? If your fav didn't make this list, here's a tissue. This is SCIENCE. Who's the finest? Who had the best choreo and executed that ish? Who had the most hits, honors, and awards? And most importantly, who had the voices?

Note: Germar does judge appearance here, and some of these women were minors in the 90s. In those cases, that judgment will be based on their appearance after they reached the age of majority.

22) MOKENSTEF had ONE hit song, but it was a banger.

Sex Appeal: 5.5/10     Moves: 3.5/10    Hits: 0.1/10    Honors: 0.0/10    Pipes: 12/20    Total: 21.1/60 

21) VOICES featured a then unknown Tia and Tamera, and ONE hood-ass hit. Rumor has is that if you were in middle school when this song dropped, it was the most magical moment of your young life.

Cutesie Babies: 6.7/10     Moves: 5/10    Hits: 0.1/10    Honors: 0.1/10    Pipes: 10/20    Total: 21.9/60

20) TOTAL-ly Puffed out. 

Sex Appeal: 6.9/10     Moves: 4.0/10    Hits: 1.6/10    Honors: .1/10    Pipes: 13/20    Total: 25.6/60

19) ZHANE should have done a lot more . . . .

Sex Appeal: 6.0/10     Moves: 4.5/10    Hits: .4/10    Honors: .2/10    Pipes: 16/20    Total: 27.1/60 

18) NUTTIN' NYCE were the woman's response to west coast, weed smokin', raw doggin' gangsta dudes.

Sex Appeal: 7.0/10     Moves: 7.0/10    Hits: 0.5/10    Honors: 0.0/10    Pipes: 13/20    Total: 27.5/60

17) BLACKGIRL was a media darling very briefly, but never quite lived up to the hype.

Sex Appeal: 5.0/10     Moves: 5.5/10    Hits: .3/10    Honors: 1/10    Pipes: 15.9/20    Total: 27.7/60

16) DIVINE makes the list based on one surprise hit.

Sex Appeal: 5.7/10     Moves: 6.0/10    Hits: 0.2/10    Honors: .2/10    Pipes: 16/20    Total: 28.1/60

15) CHANGING FACES probably held back by R. Kelly, but super successful notwithstanding his presence. 

Sex Appeal: 7.9/10     Moves: 3.5/10    Hits: 2/10    Honors: 1.1/10    Pipes: 15/20    Total: 29.5/60

14) JADE is more talented and more beautiful than you remembered.

Sex Appeal: 9.2/10     Moves: 4.0/10    Hits: 1.0/10    Honors: .5/10    Pipes: 15.1/20    Total: 29.8/60

13) VYBE is the best group that you've never heard of . . . and "Summer Daze" is the best song.

Sex Appeal: 8.9/10     Moves: 3.5/10    Hits: 1.9/10    Honors: .1/10    Pipes: 15/20    Total: 30.3/60

12) BROWNSTONE was Michael Jackson's one girl group . . . because no one could follow them. Vox had to be ON POINT!

Sex Appeal: 8.0/10     Moves: 3.0/10    Hits: 0.5/10    Honors: 1.5/10    Pipes: 18/20    Total: 31/60

11) ALLURE is to Destiny's Child what The Sylvers (look 'em up) are to The Jacksons. 

Sex Appeal: 8.0/10     Moves: 4.5/10    Hits: 1.2/10    Honors: .3/10    Pipes: 17.5/20    Total: 31.5/60

10) KUT KLOSE in one song smashes most of this list. And they're the only group that never had an ounce of drama. 

Sex Appeal: 9.0/10     Moves: 4.5/10    Hits: 1.9/10    Honors: .1/10    Pipes: 16/20    Total: 31.5/60

9) CLEOPATRA is a group of British babies, but probably better than your guilty pleasure. 

Cutesy Wootsies: 8.5/10     Moves: 6.5/10    Hits: 1.0/10    Honors: 1.1/10    Pipes: 15.1/20    Total: 32.2/60

8) XSCAPE has a legacy that far surpassed their output.

Sex Appeal: 5.8/10     Moves: 6.0/10    Hits: 5.0/10    Honors: .4/10    Pipes: 15.2/20    Total: 32.4/60

7) THE GOOD GIRLS may be the group that got this whole thing started.

Sex Appeal: 9.4/10     Moves: 8.0/10    Hits: 1.9/10    Honors: .1/10    Pipes: 14/20    Total: 33.4/60

6) 702 is an underrated underdog with hits that could go toe to toe with anything on this list.

Sex Appeal: 8.2/10     Moves: 6.4/10    Hits: 1.6/10    Honors: 2.0/10    Pipes: 15.6/20    Total: 33.8/60

5) BLAQUE is TLC 2.0, but maybe better than the originals. They just barely make the 90s grouping.

Sex Appeal: 8.4/10     Moves: 7.3/10    Hits: 3.0/10    Honors: 1.0/10    Pipes: 14.5/20    Total: 34.2/60

4) SWV may be the realest group on the list. If you want silky smooth vocals and a wheel-woman it's gotta be ess-double-you-vee-vee-vee.

Sex Appeal: 6.7/10     Moves: 4.5/10    Hits: 6.0/10    Honors: 4.9/10    Pipes: 16/20    Total: 38.1/60

3) TLC is still number one in terms of sales . . . .

Sex Appeal: 9.1/10     Moves: 7.0/10    Hits: 7.0/10    Honors: 7.0/10    Pipes: 15/20    Total: 45.1/60

2) EN VOGUE is a group of four lead singers. They're the only group to pull this feat off successfully . . . almost (thanks Dawn). 

Sex Appeal: 9.7/10     Moves: 7.0/10    Hits: 5.0/10    Honors: 6.1/10    Pipes: 19/20    Total: 46.8/60

1) DESTINY'S CHILD is actually three groups, two solo artists, and one of the biggest stars of the 21st century. This was a tough placement. So much of their honors and awards were earned during the 00s. And DC is like if Michael continued to perform with his brothers . . . "ain't nobody coming to see you Otis!"

Sex Appeal: 8.0/10     Moves: 8.0/10    Hits: 7.0/10    Honors: 9.0/10    Pipes: 16/20    Total: 48/60

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Comic Art Hurts Us All Equally?

In Episode 585, Germar upsets 50% of liberal women. That recent social media-based comic book art rave was not wrong, just not complete. Follow the great one everywhere @GermarDerron.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Shortie: NBA Playoff Play-In

In Shortie #27, Germar . . . tackles? the NBA Playoff Play-In. But don't worry, it's five minutes of sportsball before he explains why you're an awful person. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Original Poetry? About Dating?

In Shortie #26, Germar says what he always says about his dating life. But this time he rhymes it, mimes it, meters it. I don't know. I just work here. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerronNSFW.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Power Rankings: the Marvel Cinematic Universe [UPDATED 4/24/21]

 You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 23 released Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as determined by the entire LTC staff that wears glasses and has dark skin . . . named Germar.


23. (22)  The Incredible Hulk 6.5/10 This film works on just about every level. It ranked poorly solely because the field is stacked. Bringing in the Abomination for a show-stopping city-smashing finale was genius. Seeing hints of the Leader was cool. Edward Norton did what he does; he killed it. Some parts drag, but it's about as good as a live-action Hulk film could be outside of The Avengers.

22. (21) Ant-Man and the Wasp 6.5/10 THIS. This is what people are talking about when they say that "superhero movies aren't good" and that "they're all the same" and that they "hate Marvel movies." The best scene takes place mid-credits. Yes, it's sci-fi or fantasy or something, but they break all the rules they made. It's not very funny. And they should have just called it Ant-Man 2

21. (20) Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.6/10 Maybe I just hit that age where cutesy teen movies lose their charm. If I have, this is a sad sad time for me. Michael Keaton can do no wrong. And Marvel's actually inspired inspiring casting excites me--sexually (so many shades of brown). This version of Spidey is the most realistic, which often means boring. Tobey > Tom > Andrew

20. (9) Captain America: The First Avenger   6.6/10 Updated Opinion: I've fallen asleep to this many times.  Surprise motherf*cker! (that's a Dexter reference) Honestly, I can't even get through this now, but I remember what it meant then. I'm not a Captain America fan. This film made me care about him. They poked fun at him. He was a guy and not an Uncle Sam poster (except for when he clearly was, but that wasn't by choice). Most importantly, my female non-nerd friends thought this film was dope and not just because the Human Torch starred in it.

19. (23) Thor  6.7/10 Thor Updated Opinion: This is the worst version of Thor. But it's not a bad intro to a damn good trilogy.  The only movie on the list that is absolutely awful. Whenever I hear someone say they liked Thor, I want to punch them in the face very hard. I watched this awful film twice because my ex's sister-in-law convinced the family that it was good. They all hated it. I feel like Thor was the most cartoony or comic-y of the movies. If you liked this movie, you're probably a Thor fan or hardcore comic fan, or you have absolutely terrible taste, or you want to feel my fist.

18. Doctor Strange 6.7/10 Ok, MCU fans stahp it. Every next film cannot be their best film. This was good film, but mediocre in this collection. They've perfected the genre, and now they can crank them out in perpetuity. But Doctor Strange lacked the team dynamic and history that recent entries contain. And while the movie remained active, it wasn't the action of "Winter Soldier," "Ultron," or "Civil War." Yes, magic, but still. Dormammu ending perfect.

17.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier   6.8/10 Somehow this average flick fooled the world. It wasn't nearly as clever as you think.  It did, however, make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a much better series. The action, especially between Cap and Bucky dwarfs the other non-ensemble films. This rendition of Falcon fits nicely. The Winter Soldier appeared as he might in my dreams and nightmares. Oddly, I enjoyed it more the second time.  Expectations? Hype?

16.  Ant-Man  6.9/10 I found this film to be the least "Marvel-y," which is fine. Because it wasn't a typical Marvel film, it was American film-making 101 and quite predictable. If you like mediocre movies, you will LOVE this. That said, they did pull this off well.

15. (14)  Iron Man 2  6.9/10 Updated Opinion: It bores me. No one liked this film, but me; I understand that. But hey, I have a sense of humor. Drunken Iron Man dancing and fighting, stolen suits, HAMMER and weapon malfunctions, the bird, the Widow . . . c'mon!!! 

14. (15)  Iron Man 3  7/10 Ughhhhh. I loved the Mandarin thing, but was this really an Iron Man movie? I appreciated the Mandarin ruse because we weren't ready for the actual Mandarin yet.  I understood the stuff with the kid, but really? There were two iron men that rarely got to suit-up. Annnd the weird fire volcano people . . . . Annnnd Pepper became Iron Man and Fire Lady . . . .  Annnnnnd how did this get ranked so highly? Oh, there were lots of suits fighting at the end--that was cool. Although it was wise of the writers, I never bought RDJ's portrayal of PTSD

13.  Thor: Ragnarok 7/10 Updated Opinion: It wasn't as silly as I remembered. I get it now. I like it now. Watching the three "Thors" back to back to back really helps this entry. Comedy is fine, but comedy in every single line of dialogue for an hour straight is weird. This is the first movie EVERRRR where every actor played the role of comic relief. Beyond that, it was somewhat amazing--beautifully shot, amazing performances, and CGI excellence. They get bonus points for a decent villain, an Executioner sighting, and a Planet Hulk nod.

12.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 7/10 They almost did it again. Odd that this film isn't more connected to the Avengers part of the universe. It was hilarious, but almost not a movie. The typical conflict and tension were non-existent. The twists were predictable in a typical way. The B-villain and story were laughable. But to be fair, how do you follow one of the biggest films of all time--the biggest, most-universally loved, surprise hit since The Matrix? They almost did it. 

11. (10)  Thor: The Dark World   7.5/10  Yes, I appreciate this film more than most of you, but that's because I get things and stuff. Yes, the bad guy was weak, unimportant, and not memorable, but so what. They took a big cue from The Avengers, and made a film that was fun, funny, action-packed, and included a beginning, middle, and end. I only hated that it was so short.

10. (11)   Avengers: Age Of Ultron   7.5/10 Updated Opinion: And now that the Infinity Saga is done, this is a good filmNot a good film, but a HUGE film. They attempted to pack too much into one film. Ultron and Spader dominated. Why do Ultron, and later the Vision, exist and how? . . . not that important really. They attempted an attempt at explanations all over this thing. Nothing made sense, but it was a wild and fun ride.

9. (8) Spider-Man: Far From Home 7.6/10 All of that Spidey building in Captain America, The Avengers, and that awful first movie finally paid off. This is fun and MCU connective and logical and different from the other twenty something films. If you know Mysterio, then you knew the story. Still, the spectacle, the possibilities, and the performances made it all worthwhile anyway.

8. (7) Avengers: Endgame 7.7/10 Like its portioned-prequel, this is more of an experience than it is a film. Unlike Infinity War, this isn't very good. It is a somewhat perfect--albeit predictable--conclusion. But most importantly, this IS the biggest film event ever.

7. (19) Captain Marvel 7.8/10 Updated opinion: I let one scene, expectations, and the lack of a super-powered ensemble ruin what was otherwise a damn good movie.  First of all, women are superior to men in every way. Secondly, I prefer women led movies. Room (starring Captain Marvel herself) is the best film of the last five years. And Captain Marvel is not a very good movie . . . like at all. It may be an important movie (not on Black Panther's level, or Wonder Woman's but important). But importance does not equal entertainment. This should've been better.

6. Iron Man   8/10  I never understood why you feel so strongly and positively about this film. I re-watched it. It's solid, and really solidly establishes the entire universe. I had far more fun with 2 and maybe even 3, but this is a far superior film.

5. Black Panther 8.4/10 Deep. I have no jokes here. Even though this wasn't the best film, or my favorite film, it is by far the most important. Had it been less predictable, with a T'Challa that was cool and mysterious like in Civil War, it's a 10/10.

4. (1)  The Avengers   8.5/10 Updated Opinion: Post-Infinity Saga and after seeing most of these films multiple times, the champ has tumbled. But still, long live the king.  Nailed it. THIS is what I want to feel every time I pay $50 for popcorn, soda, and Raisinets. What can I say that hasn't been said before? The most balanced movie I've ever seen, if you forget that Hawkeye is also sort of an Avenger. 

3. (4) Captain America: Civil War 8.7/10 #TeamIronMan all day! This IS actually "Avengers 3: Civil War," but it doesn't lose points for that. Marvel Studios does an unbelievable job of adding characters, combining worlds, and progressing their universe. It's very well balanced. It loses points (and me) in some of the more verbose scenes. The dialogue wasn't too complex, just too much. The conflict was simple and obvious--show us more of that. Spider-man was flawless. Black Panther was more flawless. 

2.  Guardians of the Galaxy  9/10  People that don't include this in their top two also get punched in the face.  80s references "never go over my head" because "there ain't no thing like me but me" whore. The flick's fairly flawless. 

1. (3) Avengers: Infinity War 9.1/10 No, this isn't a movie, but it's THE best movie-going experience, unless you get down like Pee Wee Herman. I saw it 2.5 times, in theaters, because I just needed to see Hulk get dat ass beat one mo' time. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Ma'Khia Bryant

In Episode 584, stop killing us. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Privilege and the Positive Perception Problem

Shortie time! Apologies for the hiatus. But happy birthday to the best host from coast to coast who does the most. Germar often tells you that "what matters most is what people think about you." Here, he finally finishes, wins, and loses that argument. Follow him everywhere @GermarDerron.  NSFW.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Rankings: the Theeuhtahr [Updated: 4/11/21]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. Plus, Germar's life has shifted from music, to film, to . . . stage. And because he sees so many theatrical productions, he will rate and rank them here. Additionally, you're going to click this link because you want to know where your production ranks. This list does not include grade school or "junior" productions.

And remember, a score of 5.5 does not equal 55% failure. It means that the show was better than 55% of all shows.

32. Silent Sky (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 6/10 This is the toughest entry. People involved in this production will think I'm a hater. But a large component of the scores is "rewatchability." And even though this show may be better technically than "Mermaid" or "Wonka," it's not something you'd watch again and again. And that might not be fair, because we sing along to the hits from "Wizard of Oz," "Mermaid," and "Rock of Ages." But rules is rules. To justify this ranking, I'll include quotes from audience members: "the leads lacked chemistry" "I didn't get the set" "where were they supposed to be" "it didn't really catch me" "I didn't get the lights" "why are those stairs so big?" COVID-era shows are tough.  

31. The Wizard of Oz (2013, Southern Arizona) 7.2/10 Monkeys flew, witches melted--an all-around technical achievement. But it was also three hours long and you know how it ends.

30. It's a Wonderful Life (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 The leads dazzled. But you really have to love this era of storytelling, to love this show, in 2018.

29. Willy Wonka (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.2/10 It's always all about the Oompa Loompas! It was Wonka . . . wacky and colorful and kid-friendly.

28. 2 Across (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Pandemic plays = smaller shows, smaller casts, smaller sets, smaller audiences, smaller applauses, smaller laughs. Two people talking on a train is a tough sell, even when it's perfect.

27. The Complete History of America (Abridged) (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Tough to believe that three non-professionals (cast members) could pull this off--but they did.

26. The Little Mermaid (the 2020 pandemic, Michiana) 7.2/10 Full disclosure: Germar works on most of these productions. He failed this production. Amazing performances, but inconsistent tech and art direction. #maskup  

25. Harvey (2020, Central Indiana) 7.2/10 Each cast member played their part to perfection. Also, see above: It's a Wonderful Life.

24. A Musical Christmas Carol 7.3/10 (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) The same perfect performances that we now take for granted from this production company. BUT a really poor technical outing. Me thinks "the -VID" strikes again.

23. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 7.3/10 (2021 Farmland Indiana) "Hunchback" is one of the oddest shows that people absolutely adore. Great performances and decent tech, but overall inconsistent.

22. Mamma Mia (2019, Michiana) 7.3/10 This Sophie SANGS. Beautiful cast. The director and choreographer put professional stamps all over this thing.

21. Tarzan (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.3/10 They used a real baby! They swung on vines and climbed trees. Go-ril-las stole the show. 

20. Scrooge: The Musical (2017, East Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Classic and timeless tale, done by a big diverse cast. Costumed fun.

19. Into the Woods (2019, Central Indiana) 7.4/10 Talented cast. The set designers and builders optimized, and creatively utilized, a tight space.

18. The Music Man (2019, Michiana) 7.5/10 The best ensemble performance ever. 

17. West Side Story (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.5/10 Every time Maria was on stage was the best thing you've seen on a stage. Rosalia . . . Anita . . . . Tony.

16. Now and Then (2019, Michiana) 7.6/10 Casual and modern. And by the end of the show, it's life-changing.

15. Cinderella (2018, Tour) 7.6/10 Beautiful set, world-class dancing, but no soul.

14. Into the Woods (the 2020 pandemic, Farmland Indiana) 7.6/10 Pitch perfect ensemble singing. 

13. The Little Mermaid (2018, East Central Indiana) 7.6/10 Ariel nailed it. And the magic of the sea was felt throughout the performance.

12. Big River (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 I can't decide if the show is a story about:   1) two cons on the run; 2) crazy Tom Sawyer; or most likely 3) a love story between a white boy with a heart of gold and a runaway slave. Five outstanding performances made this a tough call.

11. First Date (2020, Michiana)  7.7/10 A show for people born after 1984, who would rather see a movie than a play. A home-run from the director.

10. Of Mice and Men (2019, East Central Indiana) 7.7/10 Tough tough show, made better and worse by excellent performances.    

9. Animal Farm (2012, Southern Arizona) 7.9/10 Beautiful, moving, and important. When those pigs started walking around in their overalls, you couldn't help but feel the hopelessness of the cycle. 

8. Peter and the Starcatcher (2018, East Central Indiana) 8/10 Odd. And one of the best stagey mcstage plays of all time. And who doesn't love Peter Pan?

7. Sister Act (2019, East Central Indiana) 8.5/10 F.U.N. Also, it's sexy (or it could be), funny, and colorful. Everyone in the cast got a chance to shine.

6. Matilda (2020, East Central Indiana) 8.7/10 Story? Weak and common. Writing? Random and superfluous. 8000 kids dancing in perfect sync, and singing in perfect harmony with perfect pitch in perfect Harry Potter accents? Nailed that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

5. My Fair Lady (2017, East Central Indiana) 9/10 The perfect Eliza. Perfect direction.

4. [title of show] (2021, Michiana Indiana) 9.1/10 Four people. Four chairs. No set. These emeffers pulled it off. Good choreography and sick vocals made this an instant classic.
Photo-David DuFour

3. Rock of Ages (2018, East Central Indiana) 9.3/10 If you like the 80s, or listen to the same 10 songs on some whack work FM stations, you'll love this. Plus, it's sexy and makes no sense.

2. Annie (2018, East Central Indiana)  9.5/10 THIS is cheating. Cute little girls, performing classic choreography, to Jay Z's most popular song.

1. Beauty and the Beast (2019, Farmland Indiana) 9.6/10 Everyone sang everything like Whitney sang The Star-Spangled Banner. Plus, they DANCED--DANCING in a show, in Indiana!!! I guess when you collect a check, you get the steps right.

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