The 13th Floor

Take A Break 2: Break On Through

We did it boys and ghouls! We pulled it off again!. Pumpkin patches, haunted houses, movie marathons, costume parties, trick or treating, candy eating, apple bobbing. All the things we love shoved into 31 short days.

I don’t know about you, but I’m flippin’ exhausted. I’m straight worn out and, if I can be honest, I kinda want to do some stuff that isn’t quite so related to all things horror. If you’re feeling that way too, then read on! What comes next, much like last time, is a few things not exactly horror, but certainly in the same neighborhood.

Follow me into the fun!

Take a Break with MST3K

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Nothing, and I mean nothing, is better for lazy days napping on the couch than MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Over 10 seasons, Joel, Mike, and the gang riffed and snarked on some of the worst movies ever made, bringing us all endless laughs.

What makes MST, and it’s child RIFFTRAX, work so well is that you can tell that the peeps goofing on all these movies are doing it with love. These men and women love movies, and they love the bad ones the most. Both these shows celebrate film by poking fun at it, like Don Rickles if Don Rickles was a TV show instead of an actual human.

Best thing is, we can all rejoice as MST is coming back in 2017 with a new host and a mix of new and old writers! This is the perfect time to jump on the Satellite of Love and remind yourself why the show is so loved. If you’ve never seen the show, you really need to. Not just because a new version is coming, but because it is maybe the greatest thing to ever be shown on TV. Episodes can be found on Hulu and Rifftrax.

We know that Bobo and Brain Guy are showing up. We know that Jonah Ray is the new human host. We know that Netflix is about to get a lot more fun, maybe as soon as next Sunday, A.D. Well, no… not this Sunday. Like I said, it will premiere in 2017.

Take a Break with PAPER GIRLS

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Way too early in the morning on the day after Halloween 1988, four newspaper delivery girls find themselves caught up in the middle of a… well, something weird. I don’t want to give anything away, you know? Needless to say, things are cray, and only these girls can save the day.

Written by Brian K. Vaughn, with art by  Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, and Jared K. Fletcher, PAPER GIRLS is a perfect mix of 80s nostalgia, great characters, and explosive action. Vaughn, who has won too many awards to count for his work on EX MACHINA, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, and Y: THE LAST MAN, is at his best here, keeping the story moving at a breakneck pace while keeping everything easy to follow.

Of course, the art team deserves a lot of the credit for all of this. Chiang’s art has a perfect touch of punk rock 80s indie comics mixed with current day aesthetics. Wilson’s colors push Chiang’s work to the next level; the world of PAPER GIRLS is vibrant and exciting, and whole lot of that is due to the colors. Fletcher’s design work and lettering bring it all together by using easy to read and interesting styles and fonts.

Starting off in 1988, PAPER GIRLS really connects with me in a multitude of fashions. I was a young idiot at that time, and I obsessed over stories like this. There’s mutants and monsters and crazy tech and a teen girl who smokes and is all 80s suburban punk and I would have had SUCH a crush on her when I was 10. Again, I don’t want to give away too much. I fear I’ve already said things that could take away from the fun of discovering PAPER GIRLS. Get your butt to the nearest comic shop and pick up the first trade. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.

Take a Break with David Sedaris

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I spent, I kid you not, well over an hour trying to decide which David Sedaris book to put here. I figured with Christmas coming fast, I would use HOLIDAYS ON ICE, but how could I not talk about NAKED, BARREL FEVER, or ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY? I couldn’t do it! I just couldn’t. So here you are, stuck with me telling you to read all of Sedaris’ books.

If you aren’t familiar with David Sedaris, he is a writer who came to be known in the early 90s with his personal and hilarious story SANTALAND DIARIES, which covers his time working as an elf at the Macy’s on 42nd street in Manhattan. Sedaris would mine his life, and the lives of his loved ones, for every ounce of humor and humanity he could find. Sedaris’ stories about his family aren’t just funny, they’re reassuring; you read his work and know for a fact that yours isn’t the only family of crazy people.

Sedaris’ writing is quick, witty, and very familiar. His books bring with them the feeling of sitting around at a coffee shop listening to an old friend tell amazing stories. Some of the stories, like REPEAT AFTER ME, in which Sedaris describes a visit with one of his sisters and her parrot, could well make you cry from laughing, then lead you straight into the more common causes of crying. This is Sedars’ power; his stories about his life, about his brother, his sisters, his mom, his dad, and his partner, are all very relatable. You’ll find pieces of yourself in the people Sedaris talks about, or in Sedaris himself. Sometimes you’ll like those pieces of yourself you hear. Sometimes you won’t. There’s a type of horror, a type of dread that comes over you when you find yourself laughing at someone that does the same stupid crap you do. At the same time, there’s a comfort even in knowing that there are people out there who have the same bad habits as you. A comfort in knowing you’re not alone, even if sometimes you feel like you are.

Take a Break with I WAS THERE TOO

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Have you ever watched a movie, say THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and wondered what it’s like working with a great director or actor? Have you ever wondered what life is like for someone like Stephen Tobolowsky, one of those actors everyone recognizes but doesn’t really know.

Matt Gourley has you covered with his insightful and funny podcast, I WAS THERE TOO. with each episode, Matt and his guest discuss the guest’s experiences working on some of the most loved movies and TV shows in history. And just to mix it up, Gourley makes sure to cover MEET DAVE with Paul Scheer, who was fired from the movie.

Horror gets plenty of love on I WAS THERE TOO. Derek Mears talks FRIDAY THE 13TH, P.J. Soles dishes on HALLOWEEN, and THE EXORCIST with Eileen Dietz to name a few.

Gourley is a great interviewer, and he preps for each episode mainly by watching the movie(s) he and his guest will be discussing. Doing this, Gourley gets to watch a movie in a way I imagine most of us never do – he watches them not for the story or the main characters, but for his guest. He catches little moments that many of us will never notice; facial expressions, stances, or even the wrong hands attached to a body.

There’s a greatness in hearing these people, many of whom go unnoticed throughout their careers, even when they put in such solid performances, talk about their moment. These aren’t, for the most part, recognizable names who will only say positive things about the people they’ve worked with, though I will say, there is little bashing of celebrities in this podcast. The idea, after all, is to celebrate, not denigrate.

One of the great moments of I WAS THERE TOO is when Matt Gourley interviews his own grandmother Eleanor about her time semi-stalking Cesar Romero at Schwab’s Pharmacy in the early 1940s. Eleanor knows how to tell a great story, so you can see where Matt gets his talents from.

Take a Break with NATIONAL LAMPOON: DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD

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It is sadly possible that some of you only know National Lampoon for their straight to video movies like SENIOR TRIP, ANOTHER DIRTY MOVIE, BLACKBALL, and BARELY LEGAL. DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD would fix that.

The documentary covers all the things that made National Lampoon an icon in the world of comedy, and the insanity that surrounded it. Interviews with greats like Chevy Chase, Ivan Reitman, Kevin Bacon, John Landis, and Anne Beatts mixed with footage of performances by John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray and excerpts from the NATIONAL LAMPOON MAGAZINE and the NATIONAL LAMPOON RADIO HOUR make the film move fast, but never gets in the way of helping you learn, or if you already know some of the history, remember, just how important the universe of National Lampoon was.

There would be no SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, no GHOSTBUSTERS, no AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and no John Hughes films without the work of Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, and Robert Hoffman to create a magazine the likes of which the world had never seen before or since.

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