Jake’s Top 20 Movies of 2017

by jake cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Hey, Jake Cordiner here. 2017 was fucking shite eh? I appreciate that this sentiment has been beaten to death but it really was. The only shining lights were found in yer music, games, TV, wrestling (shouts to Kenny Omega) and, perhaps the most important, film. So many fucking unreal films came out in 2017, I struggled like fuck to narrow down this list.

PLEASE NOTE: I haven’t seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, I’m fucking sorry, ok? There are loads of films I haven’t got around to seeing yet but I guaran-damn-tee that I’ll get the most hate for having not seen Homecoming. Right, honourable mentions:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Ramped up everything that made the first film so refreshing, but sadly felt a bit by the numbers in the process. Still worth a watch.
  • The Ghoul – A good wee British horror that I reviewed earlier on in 2017, mind-bending af, in the same vein as the likes of Coherence and Timecrimes.
  • T2 Trainspotting – To be brutally honest, this film had absolutely no right to be as good as it was. Danny Boyle used all the directing tricks he’s learned in the 20+ years that had passed since the original Trainspotting to create a film that manages to stand on its own merits.
  • Mayhem / The Belko Experiment – Both have very, very similar plots (shit goes down in an office building) so I’ve lumped these two together. Go for Mayhem if you want over the top schlock, go for The Belko Experiment if you want something a bit smarter, but more subdued.

Right, here goes. The 20 DEFINITIVE best films of 2017!!



20. Brigsby Bear

An absolutely dynamite film, this. It stars Kyle Mooney and Mark Hamill and that’s literally all I want to say. I implore you, don’t watch any trailers or clips. Go in as blind as possible and let this wonderful piece of cinema sweep you away.



19. I.T

I.T is a film that, I think, defied all expectations. It shouldn’t have been this good, but boy oh boy am I glad it is. It oozes humour and genuine dread from its every pore, in no small part thanks to some stonking performances from the central children, and of course Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. Not every joke/scare hits, but when they do, fuck me do they deliver.



18. Baby Driver

I wasn’t as head over heels in love with this yin as a lot of other people seemed to be, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great film. An utter masterclass in song choice and editing, Baby Driver is nothing but straight up fun. Add another worldie to Edgar Wright’s repertoire.



17. Thor Ragnarok

Without a doubt the most fun I had in the cinema in 2017, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok managed to capture the humour and wistfulness of his previous works (Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do In The Shadows, both fantastic films), AND on top of that he made a damn fine action film. I now want Taika to direct every film that will ever come out. I’m not sure of the logistics but I think it’s probably possible.



16. Mother!

I’m still not entirely sure what the fuck I watched, basically. One of the most batshit insane films I’ve ever seen, Mother! Is Darren Aronofsky making a film that is kind of about everything and kind of about nothing all at once? It is fucking mad, and it’s brilliant.



15. The Love Witch

The Love Witch is an incredibly strange film. A surreal horror/romance/60s throwback with deliberately(?) wooden acting and strange transitions between scenes. I’m genuinely not even sure if I liked it that much, but I’ve watched it willingly three times so that must count for something. A bizarre, but must-watch film.


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14. Dunkirk

What Dunkirk lacks in the story department, it more than makes up for visually. Some of the shots in this flick are utterly staggering. A palpable sense of dread and tension hangs over each and every scene. Whilst sitting in the cinema, I genuinely felt anxious at points, so this definitely isn’t one for the faint of heart. One of Christopher Nolan’s weakest pictures, but then again, a weak Christopher Nolan joint is still better than most directors best efforts.



13. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE LAST JEDI: I fucking loved this film. It has more heart and soul in it than any Star Wars film before it. Some of the scenes are stupid, some of the motivations for the characters are stupid, but it is an utter joy. The new characters introduced all had their place, and the way Rian Johnson decided to treat the force as a religious allegory like the original trilogy did was a wonderful touch. Do not listen to the hate, this is a wonderful, wonderful piece of cinema.



12. Logan

One of only two good things to come out of 2017 with the name Logan attached (here’s looking at you, Logan Lucky) Logan is one of the best comic book films of all time because it didn’t feel like a comic book film (for the most part). It’s gritty, moody, violent as all hell, sad as fuck and, maybe above all else, it’s human. Who’d have thought all it would take to make a great stand-alone Wolverine film would be to make him weaker? A blinder.



11. Brawl In Cell Block 99

Just missing out on my top 10 is the devilishly pulpy Brawl In Cellblock 99. S. Craig Zahler is one of the most exciting directors working today, and he only has 2 films under his belt (the other being 2015’s gory western horror Bone Tomahawk, also a great movie). The premise is simple: Big scary man (played by Vince Vaughn, in a career-best performance) goes to jail, has to do something in jail to save his pregnant wife. What follows is a journey documenting how far people will go for the people they love (hint: REALLY fucking far). If gore is your bag, look no further. Brawl… will knock your socks clean off.


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10. Moonlight

Here we go MY DUDES, tenth spot goes to the utterly gorgeous Moonlight. Barry Jenkins’ touching portrait of a young black man’s entire life as he grapples with topics ranging from sexuality to what it means to be black in modern America.

There’s almost nothing you can fault with this film, Jenkins’ writing and directing is masterful, as are the performances throughout, in particular, a star-making turn from Mahershala Ali as Juan. This film can go from melancholic to harrowing in the space of a scene, but it never feels jarring or poorly paced.

To put it simply, this is a masterpiece of cinema, and it’s a testament to how good a year 2017 was for film that it’s only ranking at number 10 on my list.



9. Colossal 

What an absolute gem of a film this is. Starring Anne Hathaway (in probably the best performance she’s ever given), Colossal tells the tale of Gloria, an out of work alcoholic who leaves her apartment in the big city and her, to be frank, total wank of a boyfriend Tim (played with aplomb by Dan Stevens, who is fucking great) to move back to her hometown and try to “find herself” (so far so bloody cliche).

After Something decimates Seoul overnight, she slowly but surely begins to realise that she might have something to do with the destruction of one of the world’s largest cities. That’s as much as I can go into without spoiling anything, so I’m instead going to gush about how fucking incredible Jason Sudeikis is in this film. Like, he SERIOUSLY knocks it entirely out of the park. He knocks whatever “it” is into the stratosphere, in fact, “it” probably landed on the surface of Mars. Where the fuck did this performance come from? He’s always been a serviceable enough comedic actor, but my man has LAYERS. He’s warm, cuddly and intimidating all at once.

I can honestly say this is one of the most surprising films of the year, for me. I stumbled upon the trailer by accident whilst traveling downwards through a youtube rabbit hole and it instantly got my attention, but it just seemed like an artsy wee weird, low budget / high production value romcom. How wrong I was, this blew me away and I can almost guarantee it’ll blow you away too.



8. The Big Sick

God this film made me cry. It made me cry more than I think any film in recent memory has. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s story is one that needed to be heard (or in this case, saw). Kumail stars as himself, doing shitey wee stand up gigs in a toilet venue in Chicago, a toilet venue that Emily (played with an effortless charm and venom by Zoe Kazan) happens to attend one night. What follows is a journey that is heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, as a mystery illness leaves Emily’s life hanging in the balance. Kumail casting himself as himself is nothing short of genius, and it allows him to give one of the most believable performances of 2017.

You feel every moment of elation and despair Kumail, Emily and Emily’s parents, played by Holly Hunter (Mrs. Bloody fucking Incredible!) and RAY ROMANO (who is genuinely all sorts of fantastic in this film) go through.

The Big Sick is one of the funniest films of the year, it is dripping with Kumail’s signature deadpan humour. Nanijani and Gordon have written one of the most stunningly human films of recent times, and for my money, the best romantic comedy ever.



7. The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected)

Jesus H Christ this film’s a journey. Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories follows three siblings who are trying and failing to escape the shadow of their father. The siblings are played beautifully by Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Jean Marvel. All 3 are nothing short of fucking incredible in this film, Sandler especially, who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that when he tries, he can be a stunningly good actor. Dustin Hoffman plays their father, Harold, a neurotic retired artist who was, for all intents and purposes, kind of a really shitty dad/husband/person in general. He’s onto his third wife, Maureen (hammed up to perfection by the ever impressive Emma Thompson). As his children try (and fail) desperately to strike up some form of connection with Harold, he takes ill. And THATS AS MUCH OF A SYNOPSIS AS YIS ARE GETTING!

Noah Baumbach is the king of writing films like this, emotional gut-punches wrapped in wittily written monologues and dialogues, and his run of form continues here. This is an oftentimes bleak peak into dysfunctional family life, and it is a vital watch.


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6. Get Out

Jordan Peele, take a fucking bow, son.

This racially driven horror/thriller/comedy(according to the golden globes) is nothing less than a slice of fried gold. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, who is about to go to his girlfriend’s family’s house upstate for the weekend. He hasn’t met them yet. Bad shit is going to go down. Everything starts off innocently enough, niceties are shared between all family members (with a bit of seemingly unintentional casual racism thrown in the mix), but soon things take a turn for the incredibly sinister.

What follows is one of the most uncomfortable films I have ever watched. I squirmed, almost non-stop throughout this films entire run time. The performances from Rose (played by Allison Williams) and her family are staggeringly good, with a real tenseness and a sense of underlying evil intentions soaking almost every line of dialogue they have. Catherine Keener as Missy especially oozes an aura of uncomfortableness throughout. But this is very much Kaluuya’s film, with a perfectly weighted performance that has seen him gain a BAFTA nomination, and rightly so.

It’s staggering that this was Jordan Peele’s first foray into feature-length film, and as I’m sure anyone who’s seen Get Out will agree, he’s placed himself firmly among the ranks of the most exciting young directors working today.


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5. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos is a mad fucking genius and I adore him. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a very hard film to categorise. On the one hand, it could be construed as a pitch black comedy, on the other it’s an eerie and skin-crawling horror. But that’s the true beauty of Lanthimos’s work, it simply refuses categorisation. The film’s advertising campaign was a masterstroke, revealing almost nothing about the film’s plot apart from the bare essentials. Colin Farrell is a surgeon. Nicole Kidman is his wife. Barry Keoghan is a weird as fuck teenager and Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic are Farrell and Kidman’s children.

The rest is left purposefully vague, and it’s all the better for it. It may seem like a cop-out to say this but the less you know about The Killing of a Sacred Deer going into It the better, but it’s genuinely true. This is a film that requires your full attention, many wee details may slip through the cracks on your first view so multiple viewings would also help. A lot of people don’t care for Lanthimos’s style after his last two films (Dogtooth and The Lobster), but those who do know exactly how talented this man is. Belting stuff.



4. Raw

The best way to describe this film is Mean Girls meets The Silence of the Lambs. What starts off as a simple coming of age fare turns dark very, VERY quickly. Julia Ducournau French language directorial debut is a masterclass in slow burning dread. Justine arrives at college to become a vet like the rest of her family, and upon arriving is subjected to a hazing ritual along with the rest of the new starts. This ritual includes the consumption of RAW (HE SAID IT) meat. There’s one wee problem, though: Julia’s been a vegetarian since birth. This hazing ritual is the catalyst for awakening a previously unknown love of meat. RAW ( there he goes again!) meat specifically.

There were horror tales surrounding this films showing at the Toronto film festival, with the usual (more often than not bullshit) stories about “PEOPLE VOMITING IN THE AISLES” and “AMBULANCES RUSHING TO THE THEATRE TO ATTEND TO CASES OF MASS FAINTING!” But I’ll give this film the benefit of the doubt, some of the scenes throughout are genuinely fucking vile. But at the same time, a lot of this film is gorgeous, with a lot of striking camera work throughout.

It’s that balance that makes Raw so great in my eyes. Garance Mallier (this is also her first feature-length film) plays Julia with just the right amount of nervous energy and (eventually) sassiness that it’s hard not to be sucked into this film. A bloody slobber knocker, and another film that showcases the trend of genuinely smart horror that we’ve been blessed with over the last few years.



3. La La Land

The film I’ve seen more than any other on this list, La La Land is, in a word, dazzling. At its heart, La La Land is a film about sacrifice. Be it sacrificing relationships, morals or dreams, sacrifice is the running theme throughout Damien Chazelle’s sun-drenched musical masterpiece.

Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling pianist and jazz connoisseur (we’ve all met one of them, bloody annoying dicks) who dreams of owning his own jazz club. Emma Stone’s Mia works at a coffee shop, but she dreams of being an actress. They fall in love, he teaches her about jazz, she tries to teach him about film, but a copious amount of roadblocks stand in the way of the relationship. From their own egos to job opportunities, to timing. It’s never really clear if the relationship will work out. And that is absolutely fine because not everything works out. Sometimes things aren’t meant to be, and La La Land excels in conveying this message. Maybe the person you think is your soulmate never really was.

The music throughout La La Land is genuinely on another level. From the jaunty and energetic opener Another Day of Sun to the slow and brooding City of Stars, not a note is wasted throughout. Performance wise, Gosling and Stone are electric together, their chemistry is through the roof and I can’t imagine this film being as good with anyone else in the starring roles. The choreography deserves a mention as well, each and every extra in the big dance numbers pops out of the screen. This is partly thanks to the costumes and partly thanks to the choreography itself, which is stellar throughout. This film simply drips class, beauty, and sadness, and it is absolutely fucking astonishingly good.



2. A Ghost Story

I haven’t stopped thinking about this film since I seen it. It is, seriously, one of the most stunningly beautiful films I have ever seen. It explores such heady topics with such a deft hand that it is almost difficult for me to talk about without tearing up, this is not hyperbole. David Lowrey deserves a Nobel peace prize for this film.

Starring Rooney Mara and White Male Shitbird, A Ghost Story tells the tale of C (man) and M (woman). C & M live happily in a lovely little home in an equally lovely little town. C is a music producer, who is happy with the house. M is not happy, she wants to leave as soon as possible. Something about the house troubles her, she feels like something will soon go horribly wrong. Hesitant of change, C laughs off these claims but soon, something does go very wrong. C is killed in a car accident. It wasn’t his fault, it never usually is the fault of the person who loses their life. M goes to identify the body, it’s him. She’s completely and utterly lost, she can bare to see the lifeless body of the man she loved, still loves. She runs away. C rises out of his body as a ghost, wearing a sheet, with wee holes cut out for eyes.

In any other film, this depiction of a ghost would be seen as pretentious and asinine, not here. C goes back to his house. He watches M live her life without him. Struggling to find meaning, she binge eats and vomits it back out. She is a husk. She leaves, C can’t. He’s stuck in this house. The next family moves in. And the next. And the next. You see where this is going.

A Ghost Story tackles time, love, loss, grief, the meaning of fucking life and treats each question with the weight they deserve. There’s barely any dialogue for over half the film. There doesn’t need to be. The imagery conveys the messages this film takes on effortlessly, arguably far better than words ever could. I’m aware I’m gushing, and I’m genuinely sorry but this film seems to have flown under a lot of people’s radars and that’s quite simply a fucking crime.

You may think a write up like that should be number one? Well, not necessarily…


1. Blade Runner 2049

This film should not exist. Not only should it not exist, it has the AUDACITY to be one of the best films ever made. Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins have gifted us with one of the most visually spectacular films of all time. EVERY. SINGLE. SHOT is desktop background worthy (high praise, I’m a man who respects his desktop and its background, anyone who knows me will tell you that).

The world building in this film is stellar, helped in no small part by the three shorts released prior to 2049’s release. The acting is second to none, Gosling is on the form of his life as K, Robin Wright shines as K’s commander in chief, a criminally under-utilized Dave Bautista steals the short scene he’s in without breaking a sweat (figuratively, not literally). But the star of the show here is Harrison Ford. I don’t know what Denis and the rest of the crew fed him, but he was a different gravy entirely in this flick. Potentially the best performance he’s ever given.

I’ve sucked enough actor dick for one lifetime, so let’s get to the story. K is a newer replicant who is hired by the police to track down and decommission older replicants (for the uninitiated, replicants are basically androids). An almost botched job leads him on a journey to discover who he is, and if he even is a replicant at all. That’s the basic premise, it goes a lot deeper than that I promise you, but you’ll have to discover the film’s intricacies for yourself.

Villeneuve has taken the concept of big bad Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (and Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and ran with it. He’s Forrest Gump’d the fucker. I think he’s still running as we speak. Though limitations due to the time it was made have to be taken into account, Villeneuve and his crew’s design of near-future Los Angeles is fucking awe-inspiring. It’s all blinding neon advertisements, towering skyscrapers and Neo-futuristic slums. And that’s just the exteriors, each and ever interior location was meticulously designed with so much love that the care that went into the sets is almost palpable.

This is a special, special film. It takes Scott’s original and punts it into orbit, answering questions that the original was either too scared or too up its own arse to answer. It’s beautiful, it’s harrowing, it’s deeply sad and it’s the best film of 2017.

Now, I should make something clear here while I’ve still got you. I might have bigged up some films more than other’s, yet placed them lower on the list. This is because I can appreciate that art is special, and still not enjoy them as much as other pieces of art. That’s a wanky way of saying please don’t hate me. As always, a massive, massive, humongous, to be honest too big thank you to Liam and the rest of the Blinkclyro team for letting me write shite. It’s truly one of the greatest privileges I’ve had in my life. And an equally as big thank you to you, for reading the shite I’ve written. It means more than you could ever know.

2017 was a shite year in a lot of aspects but it was still decent for me. I found my footing in the journalism game and I managed to write a few pieces I’m genuinely proud of.

Let me know your favourite films of 2017, let me know how you are, let me know if you’re doing ok. Follow me on twitter @jjjjaketh, have a wonderful morning/ afternoon/evening/night, and I’ll see you again soon.


Every Black Mirror Episode Ranked Worst To Best

by chris mcqueer (@ChrisMcQueer)

Since it first burst on to our tellies back in 2011 with an episode based on what would happen if the Prime Minister was forced to fuck a pig, Black Mirror has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. There’s at least one person in every group of pals who loves to tell you that it’s their favourite programme, even though you never asked. In the comments section of every technology-based news article, there’ll be at least half a dozen people cracking the same joke – ‘Ha! This is like something from an episode of Black Mirror!

Although the show has been an unrivaled success, it’s a wee bit hit and miss – to be fair, though, there’s definitely far more hits than misses. Here, I’ve ranked every episode from the absolute dirt worst to the very best.



19. Men Against Fire – S3 E5


This episode is a car crash.

The premise of it sounds amazing; Set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, soldiers, fitted with neural implants that heighten their senses, hunt down and exterminate mutants known as ‘Roaches’. However, the main character’s implant malfunctions allowing him to see that the mutants he’s been mercilessly killing are actually normal people who happen to be the survivors of a genocide during a global war ten years before the events of the episode take place. The roaches are deemed ‘genetically inferior’ and the main character is actually working for a global eugenics company who are trying to ‘protect the bloodline’ of humanity.

It all sounds quality, but it’s poorly executed with characters who come across as barely even two-dimensional and the ham-fisted social commentary does it no favours. I’ve watched every episode at least a couple of times and this is the only one I struggled to get through even on my first watching. Forgettable, dull and boring.

18. The Waldo Moment – S2 E3


The runt of the litter; well, until Men Against Fire came along.

This political satire is just about every Black Mirror fan’s least favourite episode. A failed comedian finds himself running in a local by-election as the voice of a cartoon bear. It’s hard to believe the characters in this episode found the bear as funny as they seemed to – Waldo is like an old guy down the pub doing a really bad impression of Ali G. Brooker himself has admitted that this was an episode he “didn’t nail” and it’s hard to argue with that.

The episode ends with Waldo being the leader in some dystopian nightmare world but it doesn’t explain how this happened which would’ve made a far better, more interesting episode.

17. Playtest – S3 E2


Another episode from the third series which doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by other installments.

Again, it’s an episode with an amazing premise – a guy tries out a new hallucinatory, augmented reality fear simulator, which is more terrifying than the main character could have ever imagined. It delivers a couple of twists which you’ll see coming a mile away.

It is however probably the scariest episode of Black Mirror. There’s a few good jump scares and creepy visuals and the main protagonist, Cooper, is quite likable which makes the ending all the more jarring.

16. Arkangel – S4 E2


This episode feels like it could be set in the same universe as the far superior The Entire History of You from the first series and the White Christmas special.

Directed by Jodie Foster, it tells the story of an overprotective single mother and her rebellious daughter. The mother has a chip implanted into her daughter’s head allowing her to see everything her daughter sees through her tablet. She can then pixelate distressing images so her daughter can’t see them. After a couple of years, and a visit to a child psychologist, she realises the emotional damage she’s causing to her daughter and stops checking up on her, stowing away the tablet she used. Another few years pass by and we see the daughter has grown into a happy and well-adjusted 15-year-old. But as her daughter starts to rebel and lie about her whereabouts, the mother reactivates the tablet and starts interfering with her daughter’s life.

It’s a decent episode, just not as gripping as it could’ve been and it’s very predictable how things are going to turn out.

15. Crocodile – S4 E3


One of the most gritty episodes, with brilliant performances from the lead actors and a great concept but it’s let down by a clunky, muddled plot.

It’s very dark, even by Black Mirror standards, featuring a lot of killing (including that of a blind baby) and an end scene which attempts to be funny but just doesn’t fit with the rest of the episode. The technology which the plot revolves around is a device which allows your memories to be shown on a small, portable DVD player-like device. It’s a nice take on a concept Black Mirror has already used, with the memories coming across as distorted, grainy footage.

An okay episode, just not the most memorable, even with the shocking scenes.


14. Hated in the Nation – S3 E6

The first almost-feature-length episode, this installment takes place in a Britain where tiny robotic drones have replaced the dwindling population of honey bees and taken over their pollination duties.

These drones are tapped into by a hacker and used to kill people by flying into their orifices and exploding inside their skulls. People vote on Twitter to decide who the next victim will be by using the hashtag #DeathTo followed by their chosen victim’s name. Kelly Macdonald delivers a phenomenal performance Detective Chief Inspector Karin Parke and you could imagine her starring in her own detective drama off the back of this.

There’s a great scene where hundreds of thousands of the bees descend on a safe house and try to get to their target inside which is genuinely chilling.


13. Fifteen Million Merits – S1 E2

Probably the most Black Mirror-y episode of Black Mirror.

There’s not really any backstory for the complex where this episode is set which would’ve made the episode better, I think. It’s an episode with amazing set design that makes it stand out as one of the most visually stunning episodes. It’s a scathing critique on the class system with the unfit being assigned to janitorial tasks around the complex as well as being constantly mocked by those in the higher class who pedal on exercise bikes to earn ‘merits’, the currency in this bizarre world. As well as attacking the class system, the celebrity-obsessed culture of today also comes under fire.

It’s very clearly influenced by the likes of 1984 and Brave New World. It’s a bit depressing but also very watchable.


12. White Bear – S2E2

This is a lot of people’s favourite episode of Black Mirror and it’s easy to see why.

It starts off a bit like 28 Days Later except the zombies are just people on their phones. It seems like a bit of a heavy-handed metaphor for the way people are, apparently, on their phones too much these days (someone once tweeted a Black Mirror episode pitch – “what if phones… but too much”) but there’s a big reveal at the end which is one of the best Black Mirror twists so far.

I admit this episode is brilliant but it’s so far down on my list simply because it’s let down by the constant screaming of the main character in the last 15 minutes which will make you want to stick your foot through your telly to make it stop.


11. Be Right Back – S2 E1

Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson put in stunning performances in this tender episode.

Following the death of her partner, a woman signs up for a service which allows her to communicate with AI software replicating him. She then goes further by having an android made which looks and acts just like him as she tries to cope with her grief. Again, the path this episode takes is predictable but it works here and doesn’t make it any less watchable.

It’s an emotional study of grief and a very melancholy episode which stays with you a long time after watching it.

10. The National Anthem – S1 E1


I remember sitting watching this episode for the first time absolutely stunned at what I was seeing.

The Prime Minister is woken up one morning to be told that a much-loved member of the Royal Family has been kidnapped and her captors are demanding that the Prime Minister fuck a pig on live TV or they’ll kill the princess. This was the perfect first episode and has had me hooked on the show since.

It’s the perfect mix of dark comedy, satire and social commentary. The tension throughout the episode is palpable and has you on the edge of your seat.

9. Metalhead – S4 E5


Aesthetically one of the best Black Mirror episodes, this one is filmed completely in black and white to show us that this a world completely devoid of all hope. It’s minimal, eerie and tense as fuck.

Maxine Peake is one of the few survivors in a world overrun by sentient robotic ‘dogs’, based on the four-legged robots built by Boston Dynamics, which are hunting down and killing humans. I am desperate to find out the backstory of the dogs in this episode and how they managed to turn against humanity. Brooker said in an interview that he originally wrote a scene where it shows a man on the other side of the world controlling the dog from his as it chases Maxine Peake’s character which was cut because he wanted to pare the episode right back.

The lack of backstory is why I think this episode didn’t work for a lot of people but I thought it was class.

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8. Nosedive – S3 E1

Set in a world where people can rate everybody they interact with on an Uber-like 1 to 5-star system which then impacts your socioeconomic status, the concept for this one is on the nose but done very well.

The pastel colour scheme makes this episode beautiful to look at and it’s what I imagine a sci-fi film directed by Wes Anderson would look like.  The episode tackles the way use social media to define our own self-worth and how it affects our self-esteem. It’s yet another episode that follows a very predictable plot but it’s still well-written with plenty of humour and likable characters which makes this one of the more upbeat episodes.


7. White Christmas – Christmas Special

Two men stationed in a remote outpost in a snowy wilderness tell each other their life stories.

Their respective stories from the 3 part narrative which comprise the episode and explain the two men’s situation. Blocking people in real life, a dating coach who can see everything you see and give you advice piped right into your ear and a perfect copy of your consciousness used to control your smart home make up the technology used in this excellent episode. Jon Hamm changing the way the copy of a woman’s consciousness perceives time so she experiences months of isolation while only a few seconds pass in the real is a harrowing scene and the ending of this episode takes it even further.

There’s a lot happening here but it’s brilliantly-written and the 3 mini stories link together brilliantly. After watching the newest series, this episode now feels like it was almost like a dress rehearsal for the superior…


6. Black Museum – S4 E6

Following the same kind of structure as White Christmas, this is another anthology episode.

This one, however, is bigger and better, perhaps owing to the bigger budget Netflix provided. The proprietor of a museum which houses ‘criminological artifacts’ gives a tour to a young woman, recounting to her the chilling stories behind 3 of the artifacts. A doctor is fitted with a device allowing him to feel the pain of his patients (based on a short story written by one half of the magic duo Penn and Teller, Penn Jillette), a woman in a coma’s consciousness is transferred into her husband’s brain allowing her to live again within him as a ‘passenger’ and the consciousness of an executed murderer is reborn as a hologram and visitors to the museum can pull the lever on the electric chair, punishing the man for his crimes over and over again.

The stories and characters here are all worthy of full episodes to themselves. The episode is also littered with plenty of Easter Eggs to look out for such as the hunter from White Bear.


5.Hang the DJ – S4 E4

I first watched this episode while in the throes of a behemoth hangover and at the time, I said it was my favourite episode of Black Mirror ever and it turned me into an emotional mess. Having now recovered from said hangover, I still think it’s a great episode, but it’s not quite the best.

From the very start, we become emotionally invested in the two very likable lead characters as they are brought together through a Tinder-like dating app. There’s very heavy-handed foreshadowing about the eventual twist but it’s a beautiful reveal and has an uncharacteristically happy ending. Someone described this episode on Twitter as “San Junipero for straight people” which leads us neatly on to…


4. San Junipero – S3 E4

This episode won multiple awards and has been almost universally acclaimed. It’s a lot of people’s favourite episode and it’s in just about everybody’s top 5.

On first watching, you’d be forgiven for not knowing what is going on but after 20 minutes or so all becomes clear and it paves the way for a truly emotional love story. Two women meet and fall in love inside what is revealed to be a simulation, a haven where the elderly’s conscious minds can be uploaded and live on even after death.  It’s good to see technology being portrayed as a force for good for a change and the episode asks some cool questions about the afterlife.

And since it’s set largely in the 80s, the soundtrack is absolutely banging as well.


3. USS Callister – S4 E1

When I first saw the trailer for the newest series, this episode looked to me like a Galaxy Quest style parody of Star Trek etc. and I wasn’t looking forward to watching at all.

Thankfully, it turned out to be the best of the new series and one of the best episodes so far. Merging the simulated reality story with a real-world one may have been done before in Black Mirror but here we see it on a much grander scale. It’s a not-so-thinly-veiled attack on the way guys tend to abuse their authority as well as their sense of ‘superiority’ over women and PoC. The episode explores these heavy themes with humour and a great storyline. Jesse Plemons (AKA Meth Damon) is brilliant as the twisted Robert Daly.

Brooker has managed to deliver an ending here that is somehow both dark and uplifting. He also recently revealed what happens to Daly after his consciousness becomes trapped in the game – he dies of starvation due to the ‘Do not disturb’ sign he puts on his door.


2. Shut Up and Dance – S3 E3

Where do you even start with this episode?

It’s phenomenal. Honestly, my heart was pounding watching this and you can practically feel the anxiety that Kenny, the main character, is experiencing over the course of this episode. After being videoed via his laptop webcam by a hacker as he has a wank, Kenny is blackmailed into doing increasingly bizarre and criminal acts. The pace is just completely relentless and breath-taking. You are rooting for Kenny throughout the whole episode, it’s easy to so see why, as a young guy, he’s so desperate to keep the video of him masturbating from being sent to his friends and family.

And then, right at the end, comes the twist. It’s one you don’t see coming and that will leave you feeling sick. It’s the best twist throughout the entire show by a mile.


1. The Entire History of You – S1 E3

I’m expecting to receive some pelters for ranking this as the best-ever episode of Black Mirror. The episode is based on a piece of technology that you can imagine coming true in the near future; it’s called a ‘grain’, an implant that allows you to record everything your eyes see and then play it back in front of your own eyes for yourself or share on a screen for others to see.

Liam leaves a job appraisal and heads to meet his wife Ffion at a party where he notices she seems to be flirting an old friend called Jonas. It starts off with Liam picking apart his appraisal at work but then moves on to him picking apart his relationship, ultimately uncovering his wife’s infidelity and the fact he might not even be the father to his daughter. It’s very dark, it’s very tense and it’s very uncomfortable to watch at times as Liam forces Ffion to replay her memories for him. It’s not the most in-your-face episode of Black Mirror, instead, it’s more understated. Some episodes are let down by a lack of backstory but here, as the implications of the world where everyone can record their memories are slowly revealed through snippets of conversation.

For me, this is Black Mirror at its very best.



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Top 10 Kanye West Tracks

by ethan woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Kanye West is arguably the most famous musician alive today. While this is largely down to his notorious persona and marriage to Kim Kardashian, Kanye would never be where he is today if it wasn’t for his raw talent and ambition. For years Kanye lent his skills in production to countless artists, and while this was, and still is, his specialty, he only ever wanted to be a rapper.

However, perhaps a foreshadowing of how Kanye would push boundaries in his career, the first solo track he ever recorded was done with his jaw wired shut. The resulting track Through the Wire ended up on his debut album The College Dropout which propelled him to stardom and ultimately where he is today.

Kanye West is a unique artist in many ways, and this is what makes his music so special, in that each track has at least something interesting about it; even when he misses the mark, it is never for lack of trying. Since Kanye has so many tracks worthy of discussion and praise, it’s as good an excuse as any to list his ten best tracks and celebrate the genius of Kanye West.

10. All Falls Down

One of the breakout singles from his debut album, All Falls Down remains one of his best songs and also one of his most conventional. Featuring many qualities associated with his music such as gospel and soul influences, layered production and socially aware lyrics, this track was Kanye already at the top of his game.

Accompanied by the luscious vocals of Syleena Johnson covering Lauryn Hills’Mystery of Iniquity, Kanye proves his abilities on the mic with his now signature mixture of wit, observation, and aggression. All Falls Down focuses on the pitfalls of consumerism and more specifically, how the system fails black people. By showing his frustration with hard-hitting lines about racial inequality whilst also landing quips such as “Couldn’t afford a car, so she named her daughter Alexis”, Kanye proved his multifaceted versatility and claimed his place among hip-hop’s elite at the time.

9. Flashing Lights

While Graduation is perhaps Kanye West’s least significant record, it boasts his talent for writing infectious pop-rap bangers, such as Homecoming and this track, Flashing Lights. West’s skill for production is the main attraction here, the beat being one of the best he has produced.

Lyrically, Kanye vents his frustrations with a relationship with a woman, and it is likely there is a parallel between his relationship with the public as well. Talking about how he feels dictated by the other party in the relationship and how his actions are scrutinised, the track explores how this effects Kanye. When the hook changes point of view from second person to first person, it also shows Kanye is able to look at himself critically. Although it is ultimately just a short snappy single, it was widely praised for being a breath of fresh air to mainstream rap at the time and still over a decade later, it still maintains that freshness.

8. Love Lockdown

Three albums into his career and Kanye West was a pop star. However, following the death of his mother in 2007 and the subsequent break-up of his engagement to Alexis Phifer, his public image began to fade as he consistently became the object of scrutiny. However, he proved here that he can let his skills as a musician speak for him. He created 808s and Heartbreak, a completely new direction for Kanye and the new sound is well represented on the lead single Love Lockdown.

Gone were the soul samples and witty remarks synonymous with his work, and in its place was minimal instrumentation, auto-tune vocals and more of a singing delivery. While this song and the album as a whole still divides fans and critics today, Love Lockdown still serves as a breakthrough moment in his career and music in general. The track’s production incorporates a simple drum beat, which then moves into piano chords before the iconic African drums kick in for the chorus. Once again, Kanye’s skills as a producer come to the fore here as he paces the way for a whole new wave of rap and pop music while at the same time turning his grief and pain into the recipe for his own success.

7. Bound 2

Somewhat of an anomaly on Kanye West’s sixth album Yeezus, Bound 2 features the soulful samples and playful lyrics we have come to expect from Kanye but contrasts to the abrasive and dark sound found on the nine tracks that precede the album closer. However, due to the theme of the album, the track fits perfectly. Documenting the rise and fall of “Yeezus”, the album ends with a happy ending, as Kanye accepts his past that he details on the rest of the album and looks to the future, that being with his wife Kim Kardashian.

Bound 2 is a love song in the most Kanye way possible; it oozes his personality and humour and with that shows it’s sincerity. This doesn’t sound like a man convincing himself that he is in love, moreover, Kanye is ready to move on from his past and be a better person and with that, finally enjoy a healthy relationship. Bound 2 is often overlooked for its wacky sound and often hilarious lyrics, but this gives it endless charm and personality and it benefits from that.

6. Real Friends

In 2016, Kanye finally released his most anticipated album yet. The album’s release was unlike any seen before, as its every final touch was documented via his social media, including its multiple name changes and track additions, and now removals, eventually resulting in the release of The Life Of Pablo, which was still tampered with and added to after it’s release – even at the time of writing, it’s still being tinkered with. Despite all the hype, the album ended up being his most inconsistent, but with the egotistical lows, came the introspective highs, such as Real Friends.

Laid out over a sombre beat, Kanye reflects on how his current life course has affected his friendships and family relationships. Considering his public perception at the time, this track was completely unexpected as many had assumed he was no longer able to look at himself in such a critical manner. The credit goes to the uncertainty of the track, at points Kanye blames his friends, but then blames himself, and instead of being hypocritical, this shows the complexity of human relationships and how no one really knows how to balance everything and please everyone and this results in a stunningly human moment from Kanye even at his most famous status.

5. Hey Mama

Kanye’s close relationship with his late mother, Donda West, has been well documented both in the media and in his music. Nowhere else is his appreciation and admiration for her displayed so explicitly on Hey Mama from his second album Late Registration.

After the success of The College Dropout, Kanye no doubt felt compelled to include this song he wrote a few years earlier in his next project as his mother had always supported his decision to pursue a music career despite originally believing he should complete college. Debuting the song on Oprah with Donda in the audience, Kanye shows his humility in thanking the one person who believed in him. The song tells the story of how his mother provided for him and promises that he will always be thankful and ultimately admits “I just want you to be proud of me.

Listening to this track over a decade since his mother passed away and knowing how the shock and loss affected Kanye and how is seemingly still suffering, it is an emotional listen but a wholesome moment in his discography.

4. Gorgeous

Undoubtedly his best album, Kanye solidified his status as one of the greats with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. While this list could have been the tracklist of that album, one stand out track is Gorgeous, a product of Kanye’s frustration with the racism prevalent in America.

Set over one of West’s most inventive beats, the sprawling guitar riff beautifully contrasts Kanye’s hard-hitting lyrics that express his frustration with racism in America. Perfectly executing his skill for mixing anger with humour, Kanye delivers some of his best verses on this track. Referencing everything from South Park beef to the theory that the government created AIDs to eliminate African Americans and featuring a guest verse from Wu Tang Clan’s Raekwon, the track personifies the hip-hop masterpiece that the album it comes from is.

3. Jesus Walks

Kanye continued to show his ambition on his fourth single, Jesus Walks. Told by everyone that a track about his belief on God wouldn’t get airplay, Kanye did what he wanted anyway and although this attitude has been hit and miss for him throughout his life, here it paid off and ultimately birthed his career.

The track features gospel samples and a classic Kanye beat as he discusses his own struggle with life and how his faith in God helps him through. From his first single, Kanye proved his ability to consider complex ideas such as redemption whilst still delivering a hit song with a catchy hook. Additionally, looking back at the track it seems to foreshadow his future work such as similar themes and the overlapping falsetto background vocals from Kanye himself that are reminiscent of future projects.

2. New Slaves

Yeezus is the album where Kanye showed that he really could do anything. Again going in a different direction than expected, the album featured jarring beats, violent and sexually explicit lyrics and boldly embraced his own ego.

New Slaves is arguably Kanye at his most creative, aggressive and passionate. Venting his anger at racism, especially in the fashion industry, the track sticks in your mind due to its raw power. Possibly his best verse ever appears in the latter half of the song and it has to be heard to be appreciated for its lyricism and sincerity. Ending the track stretching his vocal ability singing “I’m not dying and I can’t lose” as his vocals lead into a beautiful outro from Frank Ocean, the track claims its place as one of Kanye’s best.

1. Runaway

It’s no surprise why Runaway is often considered Kanye’s best track, and if not at least his most important in reflecting upon himself and his past. Looking back on his several failed relationships, Kanye rejects the toxic view that no one is good enough for him, but instead tragically releases it is himself that is the problem and that he needs to work on himself.

Opening with the now famous but still as haunting piano keys, the track has a chilling aura to it that is telling of Kanye’s admiration of Stanley Kubrick and the scores to his films. Kanye admits cleanly, and with no sugar coating, of the pain and hurt he has caused the people he loves and simply tells them to leave because he just is not good enough. The track ends with a long outro of initially indistinguishable lyrics that gradually clear up as Kanye sings the hook to the song once more, clearly full of emotion and sincerity. The distortion represents his own view of relationships and why he messes them up, but as his words eventually become understandable, it is clear that Kanye does have some heart, however, he now knows it’s up to him to find it on his own.

check out the tracks above in this handy playlist

Ranked: Tupac’s Top 14 Songs

By Sanjeev Mann (@Ask_Sanjeevs )

Known to many as one of the best and most influential rappers of all time, the legendary Tupac Shakur supplied the world with hits year after year until his controversial death in 1996. The King of Rap has sold over 75 million records in his short career which spanned over 100 plus songs, and still remains one of the highest selling rappers of all time.

After the release of his biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ last week, now is the ideal time to go through all of his tracks to find his 14 strongest songs and pick which one is not only the most important but the best.

  1. Smile
    Producer: Scarface, Mike Dean, Tone Capone
    Album: The Untouchable

The lead single for Scarface‘s fourth album Untouchable, Smile released 3 months after Tupac’s death. It was one of the last songs he recorded, and what a way to sign off. An introspective gem that let the world know more about the late legend, it was the perfect way to end the era of Pac and say goodbye to the world.

  1. Me Against The World

Producer: Soulshock & Karlin
Album: Me Against the World

This track shows the rappers true feeling after a tough life and bad experiences from court cases, shootings, and 18 months in prison while trying to pursue a career.  When all this happens to someone, it’s no surprise you’d get the feeling that the world is against you: it’s definitely a track that will resonate with many and act as a quintessential fight song.


  1. 2 Of Americaz Most Wanted

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

One of Pac‘s riskiest songs was this collaboration with the one and only Snoop Dog, recorded while Snoop was facing a murder charge. It also showed the dominance of Death Row Records during the golden age of Hip Hop even at a time when the likes of Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. were on the scene. It was a collab for the ages from two of the genres biggest stars.

  1. They Don’t Give A Fuck About Us

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: Better Dayz

Coming from arguably his most influential and cohesive album, Better Dayz, this defines how he and many others felt when it came to the treatment of black people by police at the time. It also was another jab from Tupac towards the countries elites. The title says it all, and these beliefs were echoed by Michael Jackson a few years prior in his song They Don’t Care About Us.

  1. How Do You Want it

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: All Eyez On Me

Released in 1996 and featuring R&B duo K-C and JoJo, How Do You Want was a club banger, but with a message, including a dig at one of Gangsta Rap’s biggest critics, politician, and civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker. She, at the time, heavily criticised the genre and especially Pac for misogynistic and sexually explicit rap lyrics that degraded women but the case was dismissed. Tupac rapped; “C. Delores Tucker you’s a motherfucker / Instead of trying to help a nigga you destroy a brother” and this certainly sent the message.

  1. Only God Can Judge Me

Producer: Doug Rasheed and Harold Scrap Fretty
Album: All Eyez On Me

I couldn’t trust my own homies, just a bunch of dirty rats” sums it up. Pac couldn’t even trust his closest ‘homies’ at the time especially after the East/West rap divide. Tupac thought Biggie set him up to get shot when he was robbed in 1994, which in turn, began the warfare between the two coasts. Also this refers to Pac being judged his whole life. He also refers to being “trapped from birth” which is a common theme throughout his lyrics.

  1. Changes

Producer: 2Pac
Album: Greatest Hits

Easily one of his most recognisable songs and biggest posthumous releases, Changes made waves in commercial success, as well as socially. He talks about everyday struggle, and the reality of low income for many families in the US, especially the black community. He wanted to represent the poorer and less fortunate sections of society and he certainly did that with this hit. “Thing’s will never be the same” suggests that, even now, this change has been limited.

  1. Hail Mary

Producer: Hurt-M-Badd, Tommy Daugherty, Lance Pierre and Justin Isham
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

Providing quote after quote of great lyricism, this track really hits home the rappers death. The track comes from his first posthumous album, and under a new stage name. Makaveli. Probably one of Pac’s most commercially successful singles, the song shows Makaveli leaving the violence behind him and praying to god with the introduction of Biblical messages, and references. “And God said he should send his one begotten son To lead the wild into the ways of the man“(a quote from John 3:1), ” Follow me! Eat my flesh, flesh of my flesh!” – get what I mean? It incredibly took only an hour to produce.

  1. Ambitionz Az A Ridah

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

The first track on the legendary ‘All Eyez on Me’ album, ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ was according to many the first song he recorded after his time in prison. It shows off some improved lyricism as well as a new record label. Pac had signed for the biggest hip hop label in the world, Suge Knight’s Death Row Records .”This life as a rap star is nothin’ without guard” shows the danger he faced even with women and money by his side, he was never safe. He also rhymes about his own problems such as suicidal thoughts but then talks about death to his enemies. The track also has references  to reincarnation, after making the move to Death Row, as well as leaving prison. He was a new man that had to get things off his chest.

  1. Me And My Girlfriend

Producer: Big D, Hurt-M-Bad, Makaveli
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

This is when things get serious: it’s the top 5! Another track from his post prison album, ‘Me And My Girlfriend’ typified his change in style. From sending social messages, to now rapping about guns (yeah when he says girlfriend he’s talking about his gun). He had now fully embraced ‘gangsta rap’. It was a track with dark meanings of murder and shootings which shows the ‘reincarated’ Pac at Death Row. The metaphors are clever, including “Hands on the steering wheel, blush while she bail out bustin’” referring to Pac shooting out of the car window. Known for featuring one of his best hooks, the tracks chorus was used by various artists including Jay Z’s 2003 version ‘Bonnie and Clyde 03’.

  1. California Love

Producer: Dr. Dre
Album: All Eyez On Me

Arguably Pac’s biggest track, California Love defined the G-funk era. Dre was now the best producer around which made the collaboration between the two stars colossus and, from it, an anthem was born. But the relationship didn’t last long, when the pair fell out because Dre refused to testify at Snoop Dog’s murder trial.  It was released in 1995 as Tupac’s comeback single after prison, and is probably his most known and commercially successful single. The man himself said “I don’t want it to be about violence. I want it to be about money.” The song itself also pays homage to L.A. and especially black neighborhoods such as Watts and arguably the home of Hip Hop, Compton. “In the city, the city of Compton” mirror’s the status of Compton as one of founding homes of the genre. The beat from Dre was energetic, and Pac’s rhyming and rapping was on point. This really was an artist at their best.


  1. I Aint Mad At Cha

Producer: Daz Dillinger
Album: All Eyez On Me

This was Pac again showing his more peaceful and perhaps more ‘real’ self. It is an emotional track telling the story of a fragile and changing relationship (maybe an old friend of Pac) rather than your typical ‘gansta’ tune. It’s sensitivity marks comparison with the likes of ‘Brenda’s got a baby’ yet the opposite of the rebellious and outspoken Makaveli. He talks about how people always change, especially those spoken about in the song: “Change, shit, I guess change is good for any of us”. With the title of the song Pac announces he ‘aint mad’ at his friend for changing. Biggie Smalls also used this line as a diss on pack on ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’: “Slugs missed ya, I ain’t mad at cha”. All this is why Pac is often accused as playing ‘the good guy’ in an era of violence that he was undeniably a part of, but regardless, his gift of telling a meaningful story is  heartfelt.

  1. Hit Em Up

Producer: Johnny “J”
Album: B-Side

This was the moment it officially hit the fan between the east, and west coast. The war began with a bang and one of the biggest diss tracks of them all. Pac fired heavy shots and his ex-best friend, the one and only Notorious B.I.G.. The feud between the former ‘homies’ had begun. Pac was mad and felt betrayed by a friend. Most of you hip hop fans will know Pac accused him and Puffy (Puff daddy) of setting him up to be shot at a studio in 1994. It was started off with a royal “fuck yo’” to Biggie and all his family. He now felt he trusted a single person, not even his own crew the ‘Outlawz’. Tupac announced his allegiance to the West coast, and talks about death row killing the East’s most prominent label bad boy entertainment he rapped “West Side, Bad Boy killers“. He not only dissed Biggie, and Puff but his whole entourage too. This was the track that opened the gates to hundreds of disses between the two coasts and in turn created an ill-fated war that Hip Hop would never forget. It was most definitely a game changer.

  1. Dear Mama

Producer: Tony Pizarro
Album: Me Against the World

Here it is then, my no. 1 Tupac track is the incredible ‘Dear Mama’, a track that every single person on the planet can relate to through their admiration of their mother. This was all about his roots and exactly where he came from. Afeni Shakur was key to the Tupac we all knew and loved at the time, and he made sure that everyone knew about it. He was never one to be shy to rap about his own problems and frailties and this was a perfect example. When Tupac started out rapping, he lived a relatively stable lifestyle in comparison to many at the time, and he even got the chance to study at Baltimore school of Arts – on the other hand, his mother was struggling for work and was linked to the infamous black panther political party. Rapping “When I was young, me and my mama had beef Seventeen years old, kicked out on the streets” Pac was forced to move home to California, and this was when he began to live the street life. Regardless, the respect he held for his mother was huge. It was his “Mama” that kept him on the straight and narrow despite her various problems. This was owed to his mother, who was the only real inspiration he had in his life. “‘Cause through the drama I can always depend on my mama / And when it seems that I’m hopeless/ You say the words that can get me back in focus” “I gotta thank the Lord that you made me/ There are no words that can express how I feel/ You never kept a secret, always stayed real/ And I appreciate how you raised me.”





Every Pixar Movie, Ranked from Worst to Best

To say that Pixar have had an impact on cinema is to put it lightly. Throughout their entire history, the animation studio has suffered either by executive intrusion or financial issues but despite all this, they’ve somehow managed to not only survive but provide film enthusiasts with some of the best movies they’ve seen.

While not everything they touch turns to gold, it’s hard to deny the sheer passion, enthusiasm and heart that goes into every film they deliver and so, it’s our pleasure to (subjectively) rank the studio’s output from Worst to Best in the build up to the release of Cars 3 next month. 

With that in mind: sit back, crack open a cold one and try not to get too angry at us for the following choices.

17. Cars 2 (2011)

Image result for cars 2

What’s It About: In this sequel that precisely five people asked for, Cars 2 follows on from the original by travelling the world with Lightning McQueen as he tries to take part in the first ever World Grand Prix. Sadly, his friend Mator tags along and ends up…falling into the world of international espionage.

What Critics Thought: Cars 2 won’t win any new converts, but will sell an awful lot of car toys. – Catherine Bay (Film 4)

What We Thought: While I never loved it, Cars was at least a nice premise that channelled those underdog stories of the 80’s: Cars 2 goes into territory that would have been much better explored by an original IP. Sadly, we get the Jar Jar Binks of animation to take us into a world that could have been so interesting but, thanks to our “protagonist”, is shallow and void of that trademark Pixar flair. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

16. Finding Dory (2016)

Image result for finding dory

What’s It About: Revolving around themes of family and love, Finding Dory is a sequel to, you guessed it, Finding Nemo that follows the forgetful blue fish in her quest to find her parents.

What Critics Thought: There are large dollops of sentimentality and we all know just how the story is going to end, but there’s an enjoyably anarchic undertow to proceedings, not least when the fish commandeer a lorry and race the wrong way up a freeway. – Geoffry MacNab (The Independent)

What We Think: In what is now an inside joke between me and my partner, after watching Finding Dory I quipped that it got “3/5: Baby Dory was kinda cute, I guess”. In hindsight, I may have been too generous. While the film is beautiful and certain characters have such an adorable design to them, this isn’t enough to help a plot that makes you think that the creative team themselves are coming down with what Dory has. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

15. The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Image result for the good dinosaur

What’s It About: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? That’s what Pixar’s 2015 flick asked as an Apatosaurus named Arlo leads the story and bumps into a new human friend.

What Critics Thought: As Pixar productions go, this one isn’t a ground-breaker, but it’s heartfelt and endearing, as well as visually splendorous, and kids will love it for sure. – Joe Morgenstern (Wall Street Journal)

What We Think: The Good Dinosaur is a classic feel good film for me, and is extremely under looked in my opinion. It tells an amazing story, and I feel that all kids should have the chance to see it. – Gregor Farquharson (@gregoratlantic)

14. Monsters University (2013)

Image result for monsters university

What It’s About: A prequel to the Mike and Sully lead original, this films goes back to the duo’s university days before they were even friends. Monster’s University explores how the inseparable pair became so and how they managed to land themselves the job of a life-time.

What Critics Thought: It has enough of the right stuff to haunt the imagination long after the immediate buzz of its fluffy-furred cuteness has melted away. For a mere prequel, that’s a result. – Trever Johnston (Time Out)

What We Think: It’s not outstanding by any means but out of all the films that got sequels bar the Toy Story franchise, Monster’s University stands out as being one of the better ones. While it plays it relatively safe, the final third as well as the ending itself do enough to make it exciting and less predictable than many would have anticipated. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

13. Brave (2012)
Image result for brave pixar

What It’s About: Merida is a skilled archer and daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin, surly Lord Macintosh and cantankerous Lord Dingwall. After making a wish to a witch, chaos ensues and Merida must do everything to restore peace to the kingdom.

What Critics Thought: By the climax, at which all right-thinking viewers will have dissolved in a puddle of warm appreciation, the new Pixar film has earned two cheers and a big bear hug. – Richard Corliss (Time Magazine)

What We Think: While a movie revolving around female empowerment is nothing new, one aimed at kids by the creative minds at Pixar definitely is. There may be a bit of Scottish bias going on here but the environments are just as breathtaking as they are in real life. On top of that, it’s great to finally a see a film where a Scottish person isn’t the butt of a joke. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

12. Toy Story 3 (2011)

Image result for toy story 3

What It’s About: The third entry in the series, Toy Story 3 sees Woody and Buzz’s owner Andy head off to college, meaning that the toys are off to somewhere…unknown. Well, that place ends up being daycare, full of careless and sticky kids which ends up with the gang plotting a great escape.

What Critics Thought: It takes a kind of genius to combine a children’s movie for grown-ups and a grown-up’s movie for children in one glittering digimated package, yet the folks at Pixar have done it time and again. – Anthony Quinn (The Independent)

What We Think: It’s by no means a bad film but Toy Story 3 comes off as a bit…stale. Many of the plot elements, from the tension between the toys to the villain having a near beat for beat backstory, have been done before and better by the series itself though there’s no denying how bloody emotional this film makes everyone who watches it. –  Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

11. A Bug’s Life (1998)

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What It’s About: A Bug’s life focuses on a colony of ants who seasonally gather food for themselves and a wild gang of rowdy grasshoppers. When our protagonist Flik destroys the food supply, the angry grasshoppers threaten to kill the ants if they don’t produce a new supply of food by the time they return — an impossible feat. Flik leaves the anthill in search of help in the form of bigger bugs, and to wage war against the grasshoppers – but ends up gathering a bunch of circus performers.

What Critics Thought: he colours are vivid, the detail incredible and the vocal performances, led by Foley, are fine. Happily, it works on both a child’s and adult’s level. – Film 4

What We Think: It may be a “kid’s film” but the topics A Bug’s Life subtly touches on helps it to be so much more than that. With one of the best Pixar villains, voiced by none other than Kevin Spacey himself, and a lovable cast of characters, it’s no surprise people call A Bug’s Life one of their favourites. –  Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Nostalgic value pushes this film to my number 2 spot and I love the originality of it. As a kid I would watch this film on repeat. – Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)

10. Cars (2006)

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What It’s About: On his way to the big Piston Cup Championship, rookie race car Lightning McQueen finds himself in the town of Radiator Springs. As he meets the characters this place has to offer, he realises that there’s more to life than just trophies and materialistic things. 

What Critics Thought: Though the central idea of nostalgia for a quieter, small-town life may well be lost on this movie’s young audience — Cars finds a pleasant and often sparkling groove. – Moira McDonald (Seattle Times)

What We Think: An Owen Wilson voiced protagonist may sound initially irritating but Lightning McQueen may be one of Pixar’s better written characters, even if he’s in a film where 50% of the characters are either forgettable or irritating. Despite its horrible sequel, Cars deserves to be said in the same sentence with other iconic Pixar films. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

9. Inside Out (2015)

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What It’s About: Riley is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear and Disgust.

What Critics Thought: The ordinary trauma of an 11-year-old girl coming to terms with a new life and school while losing all her old, comforting, childish certainties has become a glittering, bravura piece of cinema, a comedy both wise and tender. – Kate Muir (Times)

What We Think: Inside Out does what the best Pixar films do – it’ll have you laughing one minute, smiling the next, crying a wee while later and at some points, doing all at once. This was the film that helped to put to rest any doubts anyone had about the company after a less than stellar performance from the years prior – it’s safe to say we’re full of joy after it. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

8. Toy Story (1995)

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What It’s About: Woody , a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy , sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardised when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.

What Critics Thought: So ingenious in concept, design and execution that you could watch it on a postage stamp-sized screen and still be engulfed by its charm. – Derek Adams (Time Out)

What We Think: While it may not have aged well animation wise, Toy Story’s sheer originality more than two decades later is undeniable. It laid the foundations from which Pixar would build their legacy on but putting that aside, it’s hard to deny the sheer love this film radiates. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

7. Ratatouille (2007)

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What It’s About: Remy, a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to become a chef so he can create and enjoy culinary masterpieces to his heart’s delight. The only problem is, Remy is a rat. When he winds up in the sewer beneath one of Paris’ finest restaurants, the rodent gourmet finds himself ideally placed to realise his dream.

What Critics Thought: A lot of animated movies have inspired sequels, notably Shrek, but Brad Bird’s Ratatouille is the first one that made me positively desire one. – Roger Ebert

What We Think: It’s always a damn hard choice to choose a favourite Pixar film but I have to give top choice to Ratatouille: it’s a lovable rat that cooks, its soundtrack is beautiful, and it’s incredibly clever for a kids film and evokes a fair amount of emotion! It does its job and entertains everyone – I will fight anyone who says they don’t like Ratatouille! – Fraser Nunn (@badknitbeard)

6. Finding Nemo (2003)

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What It’s About: Marlin , a clown fish, is overly cautious with his son, Nemo , who has a foreshortened fin. When Nemo swims too close to the surface to prove himself, he is caught by a diver, and horrified Marlin must set out to find him. A blue reef fish named Dory — who has a really short memory — joins Marlin and complicates the encounters with sharks, jellyfish, and a host of ocean dangers. Meanwhile, Nemo plots his escape from a dentist’s fish tank.

What Critics Thought: Finding Nemo is distributed by Disney, and it has what the most heartfelt Disney animated features used to have: rapturous imagery matched with real wit. – Peter Rainer (Vulture)

What We Thought: The first film I ever saw in a cinema, so it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart. Aside from that, it’s a beautiful film that never fails to have me enthralled even after about 50 rewatches. – Rory McArthur (@rorymeep)

5. Up (2009)

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What It’s About: Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, he flies away to the South American wilderness. But curmudgeonly Carl’s worst nightmare comes true when he discovers a little boy named Russell is a stowaway aboard the balloon-powered house.

What Critics Thought: Funny and poignant and full of life, Up easily qualifies as one of the best movies of the year so far. Go with someone you care about. – Tom Charity (CNN)

What We Think: Gotta say Up is my favourite: the first 10 minutes are absolutely perfect, super lovely and heartbreaking, then the rest of it is a kinda odd couple adventure time. Just dead lovely and super simple. – Dominic Cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo)

4. Monsters Inc. (2001)

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What It’s About: Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan is one of its top scarers. Sullivan is a huge, intimidating monster with blue fur, large purple spots and horns. His scare assistant, best friend and roommate is Mike Wazowski , a green, opinionated, feisty little one-eyed monster. Visiting from the human world is Boo , a tiny girl who goes where no human has ever gone before.

What Critics Thought: It’s in the visuals that ‘Monsters Inc’ comes to life, from the jazzy, Norman McLaren influenced opening to the hilarious, shakycam amateur-dramatic recap over the closing credits. – Tom Huddleston (Time Out)

What We Think: Putting nostalgia aside, this was the first film I ever saw in a cinema after all, Monsters Inc to this day still stands the test of time: animation wise it stills looks gorgeous with Sully’s fur still looking frighteningly realistic and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end. The chemistry between characters is a real highlight, with the bond between Boo and Sully being an emotional forte. –  Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

3. Toy Story 2 (1999)

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What It’s About: Woody is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin , leaving Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang to try to rescue him. But when Woody discovers that he’s actually a valuable collectible from a once-popular television show called “Woody’s Roundup” and is reunited with his horse Bullseye, Jessie the yodeling cowgirl and his faithful sidekick, Stinky Pete the Prospector, he doesn’t want to leave.

What Critics Thought: Toy Story 2 is a brilliant example of that rarest of Hollywood phenomena a sequel to a major hit film thats as good, if not better, than the original. – Paul Clinton (CNN)

What We Think: While a totally predictable top choice, the classics are classics for a reason. Everything about the original is amped up and improved upon, leading to the second best third act in any Pixar film behind The Incredibles. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Simply put, the height of animated film. A whip smart script, fantastic performances all round and a belter of a final third, one of the best films ever made full stop. – Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

2. Wall-E (2008)

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What It’s About: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE , a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.

What Critics Thought: It indeed feels ‘new’, moving out of Pixar’s comfort zone while retaining the brand’s populist virtues: lovable characters, crafted jokes, aw-shucks niceness and wonderful images. – Andrew Osmond (Sight and Sound)

What We Think: I think I have to give it to Wall-E because of the unrivalled uniqueness of the film in Pixar’s repertoire. The apocalyptic Earth it creates is one of the most believable I’ve ever seen a movie. I think that really says something, seeing as it’s a cartoon. – Karsten Walker (@karseatheadrest)

I could list a whole array of favourite Pixar films but for me it has to be Wall-E: a masterpiece that would have surely swept all awards if it wasn’t a “kids film”, does what many films have tried to do in a much more simplistic and ultimately more believable approach with minimal dialogue creating something unique that will probably never be beaten in the animated genre. – Ethian Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Wall-E purely for the first 40 minutes of the film being almost entirely without dialogue yet still portraying the sweetest love story. Silent style harks back to their best shorts and is what makes Pixar so great. (UP was a close contender though ‘cos makes me have all the feels and anyone who claims they don’t cry in the first 10 minutes is a damn liar) – Michaela Barton (@lowkeypigeon)

1. The Incredibles (2004)

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What It’s About: Married superheroes Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are forced to assume mundane lives as Bob and Helen Parr after all super-powered activities have been banned by the government. While Mr. Incredible loves his wife and kids, he longs to return to a life of adventure, and he gets a chance when summoned to an island to battle an out-of-control robot. Soon, Mr. Incredible is in trouble, and it’s up to his family to save him.

What Critics Thought: A sharp, even amusing, homage to comic book lore, a great family-friendly action-comedy, and a thoughtful marital drama all wrapped up in a deliciously exciting package. – R.L Shaffer (IGN)

What We Think: Pixar have always lead the way and it really shows when one of the greatest superhero films to drop this century has been an animated one revolving around a family. It’s ambitious, heartwarming, adrenaline rushing gold that cemented Pixar as the all time greats for both myself and many others. While most of Pixar’s catalogue gets sequel after sequel, The Incredibles is the only film of theirs that doesn’t just need one: it deserves it.





RANKED: Kanye West

Kanye West is the embodiment of infamy: since day one, the Chicago rapper has brought controversy with him wherever he goes, dividing the public with his antics and rants. Despite this, it’s hard to think of an artist who has had more of an influence and impact on music in the 21st century quite like Mr. West had. To commemorate the man’s career thus far, everyone in the blinkclyro team has put their heads together, democratically voted and have had their say on the best and the worst of his discography. Quick disclaimer: this is, like, our opinion or whatever, dude. Disagree? The comments down below will house whatever rage you’re feeling. Without further ado, let’s get into our zone and rank…

9. Cruel Summer

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Yes, it’s a compilation. Yes, there’s filler. Yes, it’s not a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination but Cruel Summer delivers Kanye West in his “pure hits” form, bringing along his friends from the Good Music label for the ride and the results are worth your attention: Mercy.1 is a particular highlight, opening up with a haunting sample from Fuzzy Jones, and then there’s the mandatory appearance of DJ Khaled on Cold.1, backing up Kanye’s frosty flow with an equally chill beat. Cruel Summer is flawed, that there is no doubt about, but the album is still worth a listen to, regardless if it’s not essentially a “Kanye Album”.Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

8. Late Registration

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The only real fault of Late Registration isn’t really anything to do with the album itself. Unfortunately, it got sandwiched in-between The College Dropout and Graduation, two albums that are so vastly different that it makes LR’s task of standing out all the more difficult. LR still had the same heart and knack for making tunes but it felt like more of a music DLC than it did a full blown follow up to TCD. That aside, LR is still a fine piece of music, sadly given the position of forgotten middle child in the first trio of Kanye’s discography. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

7. The College Dropout

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West’s first album is often considered his best by some for its often humorous tone, impressive wordplay, and breathtaking sampling. When The College Dropout dropped in the middle of the bling era of hip-hop, it sounded like nothing the rap world had heard yet. Not only was Kanye’s lyrics on par, his production was incredible and was able to move it’s way into the mainstream pop market while still appealing to hardcore hip-hop heads. The now legendary Chicago artist was able to commentate on the education system in America while establishing a name for himself as a confident MC through hefty bars and catchy hooks. To this day, it stands out as one of the best hip-hop debuts of all time. – Ryan Martin (@Ryanmartin182)

Honestly, I expected this to be in a far higher position. Not only is The College Dropout one of Kanye’s wittiest and charismatic releases to date, it’s also one of his most polished, showing that right off the bat that West was capable of delivering great produced music much like he had done behind the scenes. Balancing bangers with introspective gems, as well as having the best Kanye West song of all time on it, The College Dropout gets my vote for being some of Kanye’s best work to date. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

6. The Life of Pablo

“TLOP is probably now my most listened to Kanye album, really connected with it and loved how different it was.” – Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)

While he may have a tendency to have a social media breakdown just as regular as his wife will post a selfie and his ambitions may have resulted in him accumulating a great amount of debt, there’s no doubt a great sense of this being art. Just like the most prolific artists who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their work, Kanye has crafted a record that radiates hip hop greatness embedded with a gospel sound as well as his own, despite the few times he colors outside of the lines. – Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

5. Watch The Throne

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“Watch The Throne really reminds me of my early teens: Otis started playing on a music channel when I was abroad one year with my family and my sister and I still adore it five years later.” – Becky Little (@sometimesboring)

4. 808’s And Heartbreak

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“808’s and Heartbreaks will always have a special place in my heart because it was an album that came out at the perfect time when I was younger, listened to it on repeat.”  Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)

“808’s and Heartbreaks blew me away when it came out. It was one of the first CDs I bought with my own money so it’ll always have a piece of my heart devoted solely to it.” – Jake Cordiner (@JJJJAKETH)

3. Yeezus

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Abrasive, crude and sometimes angelic, Kanye created a beast of a record, unlike anything he has released thus far. Influences from alternative hip-hop to acid house fill the 40-minute album and make Yeezus the most shocking release in West’s career since 808’s. Yeezus’s lyrics range from harsh braggadocio to intensely sexual and stand out as some of West’s most controversial lyrics that can come off as cringey at times, while not throwing off the tone of the album. Despite West’s harsh lyricism, Yeezus is a dark horse that powers through from start to finish with such force. – Ryan Martin (@Ryanmartin182)

2. Graduation

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Graduation is, simply put, banger central. Big Brother, Flashing Lights, Stronger, Good Life, fucking HOMECOMING. Not the best produced Kanye album, nor the most advanced in terms of rhyming ability but I love it to death all the same. – Jake Cordiner (@JJJJAKETH)

Kanye’s third LP is, in my eyes, one of his weakest. However, the importance of context is on full display here as bearing in mind the time of Graduation’s release, autotuned braggadocious hip-hop was all the rave and Kanye seemed to be focused on flinging his hat into the ring. Hit after hit after hit, Graduation holds no punches on priding itself in Kanye’s ability to tap into the public’s minds and making their favourite new chart hit well before they even thought of it. I may not be its biggest fan but when you take it for what it is, it’s hardly a letdown.  Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

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“You can’t say anything about MBDTF that hasn’t already been said, and that’s a testament to the album. It’s easy to forget that people thought Kanye was done after the Taylor Swift incident but MBDTF is the way to respond. Don’t know any albums (from any genre) that sum up an artist’s personality as well as that record does, and when the artist concerned is Kanye West then that’s vividly entertaining, ranging from tracks as braggadocious as Monster to as vulnerable as Runaway.” Andrew Barr (@weeandrewww)

“Peak Kanye in all aspects, this album combines just the right amount of ego with typically impressive production and enough variety and scope to give us the best album Kanye could offer before and since and probably for the rest of his career.” – Ethian Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

Kanye reaches blissful highs on tracks like Lost in the World and Runaway to stadium anthems on Power and All of the Lights to the dismal grimy beats on So Appalled and Hell of a Life. With his 5th studio album, the legendary artist created not only his best album but one of the best hip-hop records of all time. With some of the best production of the decade, iconic lyricism and well-placed features, West created his magnum opus and topped both his earlier catalog and most hip-hop artists of this generation. – Ryan Martin (@Ryanmartin182)

“MBDTF absolutely speaks for itself, as a complete work it’s potentially the best album in history and it definitely has a fair shout in being the best hip hop album ever as well. Apart from HOV’s verse on Monster ” – Jake Cordiner (@JJJJAKETH)

“MBDTF speaks for itself, start to finish gold.” – By Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)





On A Lighter Note: The Funniest Simpsons Moments (Part 1)

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

As bloggers will argue night and day about what is the best programme ever to be aired on television, it’s likely that The Simpsons will be missed out in favour of your Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad though that shouldn’t be the case. While animation tends to get the cold shoulder when it comes to serious recognition, there aren’t many programmes like Matt Groening’s yellow cult classic hit. Back in July, I touched on all the times the show left us a little bit teary eyed though it’s the moments that left us clutching at our sides, bursting with laughter that we all tend to remember most fondly when thinking about one of the longest running sitcom on television. So without further ado, here are some of my picks for the funniest episodes and moments from The Simpsons that you just can’t stop quoting even decades after they were first aired…

Marge Vs The Monorail

An obvious choice to start things off with but when it’s constantly regarded as the best episode of the show, how could I not include Marge Vs The Monorail? Not only does it feature one of the best one off characters The Simpsons has ever provided in the form of a fast talking salesman called Lyle Lanley but it’s also full of some of the show’s funniest moments, including an amazing song that you’ll find nearly impossible to get out of your head.


“Hey, a letter from my pen-pal, Anya.” “Dear Lisa, as I write this, I am very sad. Our President has been overthrown and…replaced, by the benevolent General Krull. All hail Krull, and his glorious regime. Sincerly… little girl.”

“My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is NOT a porn star!”


Homer At The Bat

Much like the saddest episodes revolving around the titular family’s father, so to do the funniest episodes seem to occur when Homer is at the forefront of them and Homer At The Bat is no different. Mr Burns recruits a host of baseball stars to appear on the Nuclear Power Plant softball team after he makes a $1 million bet with the Shelbyville team and what follows is a hilarious mess that ends with an unconscious Homer being paraded as a hero and a serious case of gigantism.


“When I grow up, I want to be a principal, or a caterpillar. I love you Principal Skinner.”

22 Short Films About Springfield


Arguably my favourite episode of the show laughs-wise, it’s no surprise that 22 Short Films About Springfield is a loose parody of Tarantino’s critically acclaimed Pulp Fiction. Following a bunch of intertwined stories that happen around town, the episode produced some of the most iconic scenes from the show, including the above aurora borealis/steamed hams sequence that is common fodder for Simpsons memes. Fun fact: this episode inspired Simpsons creator Matt Groening to come up with a concept of a possible spin-off series called Tales from Springfield though so far the only follow up we’ve had to it was the Futurama episode Three Hundred Big Boys.


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Homer: And Lisa. My little princess… And who could forget dear Ratboy!
Bart: Ratboy!? I resent that.
Marge: Bart I told you before, stop gnawing on the dry wall.

“Have you been up all night eating cheese?” “I think I’m blind.”


Last Exit to Springfield

DENTAL PLAN. LISA NEEDS BRACES. DENTAL PLAN. LISA NEEDS BRACES. Last Exit To Springfield is one of the first episodes of The Simpsons I can remember frequently watching as a child, eventually getting to the stage where I bought Season 4 on DVD solely to stick it on. Simply starting off as an episode revolving around Homer becoming the leader of the power plant union, Last Exit to Springfield does what every perfect Simpsons episode does by bringing the laughs as well as the heart though the former is definitely delivered in bucket-loads.



Album covers were originally just flimsy bits of paper to try and protect the shiny goods underneath but they have since evolved into something that musicians can use for their artistic expression. Although many artists tend to go for a bland picture of themselves with an equally as bland background, some musicians have produced some iconic and fantastic artwork: Here are just a handful of them.

Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album

Aphex Twin has always been a bit of a weird character. Just like his collaborations with Chris Cunningham where his eerie smile was worn by creepy school children and hydrocephalic ravers, the Richard D. James Album manages to send a menacing vibe though without any need a faceswap. Every little detail, especially the lighting which adds to the sinisterness with touches like the glimmering eyes, lets listeners know from the get go that what they’re about to witness is just as peculiar and odd as the cover itself.

Bombay Bicycle Club – I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose


Adorning the debut of geeky indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club’s debut album, I Had The Blues… smartly chooses artwork that manages to represent the music hidden behind its noir colour. Taken by the late American photographer Joseph Sterling, well known for his Age of Adolescence collection, the story behind it further reinforces the youthful nature that drives the album. In Sterling’s own words:

“I took the picture in the early 1960’s along the Lake Michigan lakefront in Chicago,” wrote Joseph Sterling “It was in an area where a lot of kids hung out. A large group would take a blanket, holding it all around the edges, one guy (or girl) would lay on it and then the group of kids would lift and then “drop” it to almost the ground repeatedly and build up power and then throw the kid on the blanket very high in the air. Then they would catch him as he came down and probably do it again. It looked like a lot of fun but you had to have a lot of trust in your friends! It was a pretty popular thing at that time. I don’t know if kids do it now. It can be VERY DANGEROUS! (But they were doing this on a sand beach)”

-Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)





John Lennon Was A Terrible Person

It’s entirely possible that you missed out on a pretty interesting news story this afternoon. If you managed to dodge all the “David Cameron loves Pigs” memes and closet racist comments about the refugee crisis then you’ll have no doubt saw a cluster of people going crazy about news about John Lennon. Sadly, or thankfully for those who detest the Beatles, it wasn’t the announcement that he had been ressurected but rather a shocking piece of footage.

Unlike most cases of celebrities being ignorant and outright offensive, Lennon won’t be able to defend himself of apologise seeing as he’s, well, dead. In fact it’ll have been 35 years this December since he was assasinated by Mark David Chapman. Although his status as a music legend is pretty much set in stone at this point, it hasn’t stopped many criticising Lennon both before and after his death for a lot of his actions. Below are 5 reasons why the musician and peace activist shouldn’t be glorified as a legend.

  1. He was violent towards women

It’s no secret that the divorce Lennon and his first wife Cynthia Powell went through was hectic, with factors such as LSD use and adultery all allegedly causing the two to part ways. However, many people assume that it was domestic abuse that resulted in their divorce. Lennon didn’t shy away from admitting he bet Powell, telling Playboy during an interview in 1980:

“All that ‘I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved’ was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.”

Although he insists that his earlier violence motivated his activism nearer the end of his life, there’s no excusing the fact he was violent towards Powell, allegedly slapping her out of jealousy. As well as this, it’s been said that his violent behaviour towards women continued into his relationship with Yoko Ono.

   2. He emotionally abused his son

Regardless if you think that Lennon’s actions towards his partners was redeemed by his supposed change during his activism, there’s no denying that his eldest son Julian was the biggest victim. It seemed as if Lennon resented him as he was absent for most of his childhood and his wife at the time Powell says he was very unpleasant to be around.

Those quick to be sympathetic towards Lennon would say that he was famous and was in arguably the biggest and best rock band in the world so his schedule would have been full to the brim. I can understand this point but that’s only the tipping point of the awful treatment Julian went through. Lennon would often berate his son to the point of breaking down crying, once yelling at him “I hate the way you fucking laugh” after he giggled.

Now all of this was pretty shocking but what was most upsetting was a statement made by Julian stated years later saying that Paul McCartney was more of a father to him than his own father.

3. He nearly killed a man


The previous two points I’ve made have been ones that I’ve always mentioned when discussing John Lennon as a person. If you haven’t realised by this point in the article then it’s important to note that to judge an artists work then you have to pay little attention to personal matters unless they relate to lyrics or something similar to that. In the same way when judging a person themselves, their music alone has little to do with their character. You can make the best album in the world and still be a shitty person.
The fact that Lennon almost punched a man to death alone is pretty shocking to read but the fact it was about something as petty as being accused of being gay is just painful to read. Thankfully the victim MC Bob Wooler, who was a close friend of the Beatles, got away lightly with broken ribs. This goes to show that Lennon’s behaviour was not exclusive to just partners or family, it was unleashed upon anyone who said the wrong thing at the wrong time.

4. He was a compulsive liar

 At this point it’ll look like I’m clutching at straws. “Everyone lies” you’ll be telling yourselves and to be fair, you wouldn’t be wrong. Most rock stars in the 60’s and 70’s lied and to this day celebrities will do the same.

The reason I bring up this point is this: did these stars lie about being from a working class background? Did these stars lie about being married? Did these stars lie about how they met their partner when in reality they stalked them? What’s probably the worst lie he told was when he talked shortly before his death to the media. “I’ve been spending time baking bread and being a stay at home dad” he told them when in reality he had been feeding his addiction to heroin and living a drug induced haze. Perhaps he was joking, perhaps he wasn’t, the fact of the matter is that Lennon lied about his life to suit his tastes and fuel his ego further.

5. He was a hypocrite

Think of John Lennon right now. The thougts that will pop into your mind might be how he wrote one of the best songs you’ve ever heard Imagine as the lyrics are powerful. You wouldn’t be wrong either since it’s a good song and music itself is subjective like any art.

However, if you listen to the lyrics a bit closer and remember who wrote them, it’ll leave a strange feeling in your mouth. “Imagine no possessions” he sang as he lived a rich lifestyle in one of New York’s poshest hotels. “Imagine no religion” even though he hopped onto everything that came his way, whether it was astrology or Hindu meditation.

While he was in the Beatles he sang about how love is all you need. Is love being violent towards your cherished ones, those who you hold close, or in Lennon’s case don’t hold close at all?

So what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you sympathise with Lennon? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me your opinion @blinkclyro. As always, thanks for reading.