Tim Dillon is one of a group of comedians fortifying their brand through podcasting.

One Friday afternoon in my junior year of high school, we were informed over the loudspeaker that every member of the junior class would be staying after the final bell to take a writing test.

Undeterred by the groundswell of groans ringing round me, I felt that inimitable, slightly embarrassing sense of exhilaration that accompanied any opportunity to write. This was going to be fun.

We assembled in various classrooms according, I think, to our last names. Then, we were handed a sheet of paper with two prompts. Pick one and have at it.

I remember looking at the first…

Children of Men starts out with a BANG.

Down-in-the-dumps, deep-in-his-cups Theo, played by Clive Owen, ducks into a crowded coffee shop in a bustling section of London where it just so happens no one is drinking coffee.

All eyes are glued instead to the television, where a news bulletin reveals over a cacophony of gasps and sobs that the youngest man in the world has just died. Completely unmoved by this development, Theo wedges his way through the thrum, gets his drink, and heads back outside so he can pour some liquor into it.

Then, a bomb goes off.


Courtesy of AMC

I remember an afternoon in the spring of 2012 spent drifting through the Harvard Book Store.

I’d escaped the crush of mid-day foot traffic outside—it was probably cold out on those brick-lined streets, but I don’t really remember, and I know I didn’t really care. I’d been overcome by a keen desire to be alone, and a beautiful library seemed the perfect place to bask in the mind-swimming glow I’d been enjoying since I’d hopped onto a train that morning from New York City. The night before, I’d seen a girl I’d been on-again, off-again with for quite some time…

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.

Those were the words of Martin Luther, and like any pearl of wisdom that has whistled down the wind of the ages, it puts me in mind of what a wizened elder might say to a spirited youth at the outset of his, say career.

Be careful what you wish for; there’s a seamy flip side to any realized dream.

The hard-earned wisdom of experience, that the Devil, which in this case might as well refer to the baser elements of our nature, knows full well…

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Character is destiny, Heraclitus said. Know yourself, or watch helplessly as you are torn to pieces by the latest hurricane to sweep through society. You need a bedrock to cling to when that storm comes, because like a noisome wedding guest descending upon the table where you had been quietly enjoying your meal, it will try its damndest to sweep you off your feet and ruin your evening. (I’m kidding. Sometimes I do like dancing. It depends on my level of intoxication. But darnit, this isn’t about me! I’m not some self-obsessed…oh never mind.)

What a decade ago had been…

As Matthew Futterman wrote in the New York Times back in February, the decision by Melbourne officials to remove fans from the Australian Open, in accordance with the latest Covid-related lockdown in the city, immediately drained the energy from the proceedings. (After this “snap” lockdown, fans would return for the semifinal rounds on through to the finals.)

As a spectator watching remotely, I could only let out a sigh, adding it to the collection of dashed expectations cluttering an increasingly decrepit corner of my mind. Funny, how easy it is to learn to live—or at least, to function—under a never-ending…

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. (Courtesy of Focus Features)

It is in all likelihood an inextricable, incorrigible component of my male toxicity that, after watching Carey Mulligan in a scene from Promising Young Woman, the glitzy, lip-glossy, curse-wrapped-like-a-candy film from Emerald Fennell, I found myself humming the melody from Belle and Sebastian’s “Step Into My Office, Baby”—only, I changed the lyrics to Spit into my cof-fee, baby.

I’ll explain. Carey Mulligan plays Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas, an on-the-cusp-of-her-thirties medical school dropout who now works in a coffee shop and lives at home. Like so many millennials she is, on the surface, a loser.

Her comportment in both locales is rather…

Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges in The Fisher King

In January, I watched The Fisher King. It was the first time I’d seen it since my sophomore year in college, when we spent a couple of weeks studying it in a Literature in Film class I couldn’t have cared less about at the time—my mistake, like so many I committed back then.

Watching it now, I found myself transfixed. The feeling deepened as the film roared toward its finish. When it was over, I found myself filled with that sublime sense of magnified resonance that becomes rarer with age—able to only exclaim, Fuck. Here was one of the most…

Peter Sarsgaard as Mark in Garden State

I recently re-watched Garden State. Here was a film that had unmoored senior-in-high-school me the first time I’d seen it back on a dreary winter afternoon in early 2007. It must have been a Friday, one of those blessedly free slates to start the weekend I reveled in between the end of cross country season in November and the start of track workouts. Wait. Those started in January. Which is when I remember first watching Garden State.

Maybe this was how it happened. I’d gone for a run after school, gallivanting along the nearby trail to the nearby park, thus…

When I’d go out for walks toward the start of lockdown last year, I quickly noticed a recurring theme amongst the signs that began peppering the windowsills of the homes I’d pass. “We’ll get through this!” “Stay strong!” “Shine your light!!”

It was a touch implicit, and it took my dumbass a short while until I understood the message. In the face of an unprecedented pandemic, and ever-shifting goalposts about how you, citizen, are being enlisted to help fight it, in the interest of national security you are henceforth reduced to a reactionary state; you can do nothing to change…

Alley Whoops

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops

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