Category Archives: pop culture

The Plot of Every Hallmark Christmas Movie

Yes, it’s that time of year. “Christmas?” you say. No, Christmas is just a secondary annoyance. To all the people born with a uterus it’s the most wonderful time of the year, otherwise known as Hallmark Christmas movie time! Or as Lacey Chabert, Dean Cain and Candace Cameron Bure call it, “The only time we make any money.”

Being married to one of these Hallmark movie loving people, I’ve inadvertently seen several Hallmark Christmas movies and I couldn’t help but notice that each unique Hallmark Christmas movie has the exact same plot as every other Hallmark movie. To save you time watching the actual movies, here’s how it goes:

Guy or gal who left home several years ago and is very successful at some high falutin’ job in a big city somewhere comes back to their Smalltown, USA hometown for Thanksgiving or a funeral. Oh no! Their family’s business is failing! What? They need to stay longer than they planned. Maybe until Christmas! I can’t believe it. What are the chances of that?!!?

Successful and attractive returning guy or gal runs into the sister or brother of a friend they knew in high school. He or she “was just a kid back then” but now they’re “all grown up” and they’ve really blossomed into a hunk or a hottie. At first they may not like each other but everyone else can see the obvious chemistry. Despite the fact that they annoy each other, they have to work together to save the business, ranch or whatever.

Of course it will all inevitably lead to a playful snowball fight between the two in the town square. And they both realize they like each other and they kiss.

Guess what everyone, that’s the plot of every episode of The Gilmore Girls too. You’re welcome. I’ve just saved you the trouble of watching every single Hallmark movie this year. But you know what? I know you’re going to watch them. It’s as inevitable as that moment when the returning hometown hero says that “this is where I’ve wanted to be all along” as they hug their new love and gaze at the Christmas tree.  Cue Christmas music and fade out to credits.

Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Newsflash: People Mag Cheats Phil Factor Out of Sexiest Man Alive Nod

In an obviously underhanded maneuver last week, People Magazine named Idris Melba as Sexiest Man Alive while I was away on vacation. People magazine very obviously was trying to avoid the comeuppance of years past when my annual Sexiest Man Alive post always shows up their flagship announcement by getting more comments and views.

Aside from being related to the family that invented the worst toast ever, what has Idris Melba ever really done? First of all, his name is a nightmare. Just a random assortment of letters. Once his name was used on Wheel of Fortune and it took contestants two weeks to figure it out. Also, his birth name is Idrissa. What does that even mean? Did his parents want him to be a girl? Maybe, that’s why he has a doll.

What kind of arrogant ego-maniac signs off on having a doll made of their likeness? Here’s an earlier picture of him when he was a homeless drifter in East London:

Not so sexy there is he ladies? Good for him for picking himself up and making a go of it as an “actor”. That’s fine. I have no issues with Idris Melba. He seems like a fine actor and a good guy.

The real story here is how People magazine attempted to slip this announcement into the public arena when they knew that I was away. I’m flattered that People Magazine tracks my movements so closely. Every year for thirty years they’ve announced the Sexiest Man Alive like clockwork, the second Wednesday in November. And for the past ten years on the very day of their announcement I have blogged about their poor choice and my obviously stellar qualifications. (Don’t believe me? Google The Phil Factor Sexiest Man Alive. It’s even better if you click Images) This year I plan a vacation the first week of November and BOOM!  People drops the announcement a week early. Coincidence? Obviously not. That’s OK People, do what you want. Me any my readers know who the true Sexiest Man Alive is.

Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

Alec Baldwin: Terrorist or Adorable Curmudgeon?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock (9688107v)
tvline.com

 Alec Baldwin was arrested Friday and charged with assault and harassment after allegedly striking a man in the face during a dispute over a parking spot outside his New York City home, authorities said.

Police said the actor claimed he had a family member holding the spot for him as he attempted to park his black Cadillac Escalade around 1:30 p.m. when a man driving a black Saab station wagon pulled up and took it.

Police said the men were arguing and pushed each other before Baldwin, 60, got more aggressive. The driver of the station wagon told police Baldwin hit him with his hand, but wasn’t sure if it was a punch or a slap. The driver, 49, was taken to a hospital with jaw pain and redness in the neck area, police said.  All type in italics is from The Chicago Tribune.

Gasp! A celebrity attacking a commoner! How dare he! If we replace the name Alec Baldwin with Justin Bieber, we’d all be outraged and call for him to do jail time. And it does seem like the kind of thing that the Biebs would do, doesn’t it?

In my mind, because it’s Alec Baldwin, it’s OK. And because it’s New York City it’s OK. In New York City a slap in the face is how people greet each other. Arrested over a parking dispute? Ridiculous. Why am I so willing to take Alec Baldwin’s side on this? This is why:

Before Alec Baldwin did a Trump impression he was an obnoxious ass with several instances of public boorishness on his record. Now, since his Emmy winning Trump impersonation I consider him a national treasure, an adorable curmudgeon if you will.

First of all, what’s a 49 year old doing getting in a fight with a 60 year old? And more embarrassingly, losing. Secondly, a guy in a Saab fighting with a guy in an Escalade? If one of these wasn’t Alec Baldwin, wouldn’t we all just say “Let the rich S.O.B.’s fight it out. They both probably deserve a good slap in the face.” ?

When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass two laws. 1) Alec Baldwin will be required to do President Phil impersonations, and 2) There should a statue of Alec Baldwin, as Donald Trump, erected at the site of the disputed parking spot so that he has dibs on it forever.

 “I wanted to be president of the United States. I really did. The older I get, the less preposterous the idea seems.” ~Alec Baldwin. Sorry Alec, you’ll have to get in line behind me, but I promise you can be my Vice-President. What’s your opinion? Take the poll below:

Please share this post to and fro. I’d love to see the poll go viral. Have a great weekend everybody! ~Phil

TBT! The Phil Factor: Sexiest Man Alive? Maybe.

This is my Throwback Thursday post and also kicks off my annual campaign to be named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

Sexiest

It’s time.  If you’ve been following The Phil Factor for a while you’re well aware of my past campaigns to be elected President or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first. When I say “my past campaigns” what I mean is my annual post expressing surprise that I wasn’t selected as Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. Click HERE to see last years.

I’ve decided that it’s time to be proactive rather than reactive. This year instead of just sitting back and hoping that I’ll be noticed, I’ve decided to actively campaign for Sexiest Man Alive.  I’m serious and I’m going to need your help. Here is my platform:

1. I’m a normal guy. Aren’t we all tired of magazines pushing these unrealistic expectations of what is sexy on us? It’s always rail thin models with implants and “hunky” guys (also maybe with implants) who have no real jobs so they work out all day with a personal trainer. How about if People chose a “real” man for Sexiest Man Alive? A normal guy who is sexy because he’s smart, funny, works hard, and provides for his family? Isn’t that what most women really want at the end of the day instead of an unattainable playa’? As you can see from the picture below, I don’t have a single implant, hair or otherwise!

Arnold

2. No nightlife? No problem. It’s hard for your man to be sexy for you if he’s out at the clubs or allegedly “on location” shooting his next project. You know what I think women find sexy? A man who comes home at night with flowers, helps clean up from dinner, takes the kids to the park and then sits down with a glass of wine next to you on the couch while you watch those ridiculous cooking and home improvement shows. Of course if I had a nightlife, or friends in real life who invited me out that would be different, but I don’t, so consequently, I’m sexy as hell to real women who want a real man. I’m not even sure I can find my Hammer pants anymore. Is that still a thing?

3. Intelligence. Now I know nobody is going to mistake me for Leonardo DaVinci, but I’m pretty sure I could crush Leonardo DiCaprio at Jeopardy! Most people think intelligence is sexy. Marilyn Monroe once said that the sexiest man alive was Albert Einstein. I’m not going to give you a lecture on physics, but I can hold up my end of a conversation.  Just like Spike TV has that Pros Vs. Joes show where former pro athletes take on “ordinary guys” at a variety of sports challenges, I’m willing to pit myself against any show biz pretty boy in a Jeopardy! challenge. C’mon People magazine! Set it up! Let’s make this years Sexiest Man Alive earn it by being sexy inside and out. How about me, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet vs. Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper & Ryan Reynolds in a game of Trivial Pursuit? That would be riveting television!

BigBang

So I’ve made my case as to why I should be named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive this year, but how can I get People Magazine to find out about me? That’s where you come in. If everyone reading this does two small things I think we can change the world, or at least a magazine cover. As I’ve already done, just e-mail the link to this post to:  editor@people.com and make sure you hit the re-blog or Facebook share button below so this goes viral.

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Scariest TV Shows

There’s nothing I enjoy more than being on the edge of my seat. I’m not talking horror or gore. I’m talking pure, can’t take your eyes off the screen, I can’t believe this is happening suspense. With the news that the early 90’s classic Twin Peaks would be returning next year with eighteen new episodes I began re-watching seasons 1 & 2 from 1990 and 1991. I also got to thinking about the best suspense TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve watched 8 of the 10 on the list and included the two others on reputation. This is a very subjective list, so if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Twilight Zone: This may be the original classic suspense show. I didn’t see it in it’s first run, but saw it later in re-runs. I fly fairly regularly for my job and I’m always tempted to yell ‘There’s a man on the wing!” If you get the reference, in the comments tell me what actor screamed it.

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The X-Files: A 90’s classic that returned to the small screen for a limited run last year. It was great in it’s time and improved as it grew in popularity. Not every episode was the perfect cocktail of suspense and disbelief, but it was often enough to make my list.

American-Gothic

American Gothic: Maybe I just like this because I have the painting on a tie. Which is more famous, the painting or the movie? Who heard of one but not the other? I didn’t see this show, but loved the title and heard others give it high praise. You win 50 points to spend in The Phil Factor gift shop if you can tell me, without looking it up, what artist did the famous painting.

LOST: Apparently I’m stuck in the 90’s. For one glorious season LOST was awesomely suspenseful and mysterious. Then the writers all seemed to lose their minds.

The Walking Dead: There’s just so many. So many zombies. Just the tiniest scratch. Any moment you could become one of them. Your group is getting picked off one by one. There could be one or one hundred around any corner. You just never know.

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American Horror Story: I haven’t watched this one. Yet. I plan to, but no one else in my family wants to see it, so I have to find some time to watch when no one is around. That’s the best time to watch scary stuff anyway, right?

In Search Of… Leonard Nimoy rest in peace.  This was a late 70’s-early 80’s show that was part documentary, part reality show where they tried to debunk paranormal phenomena. As a kid I wanted to watch but it always freaked me out.

Kingdom Hospital: Also known as Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. This was a one season series that was based on a Danish show.  Look it up on Netflix or Hulu. Completely creepy, suspenseful and weird. I loved it.

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Stranger Things: Check this one out on Netflix. It was a new series for 2016. There’s two 8 episode seasons out already. Season 3 will be out next summer.  This show set out to capture the aura of those cool, creepy 80’s Stephen King based movies and it succeeded brilliantly.

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Twin Peaks: As I said, I recently began re-watching the original series and it stands the test of time. It’s still awesomely creepy and weird. If you were a fan of the show and want to see a funny, hour-long spoof featuring many of the actors and actresses from the original look up the show Psych on Netflix and find the Dual Spires episode in 2010/5th season of the show. After you do that, go back and watch the entire Psych series from season 1. It’s brilliantly funny with a little suspense.

So what did I miss? What would you add to the list and what would you take away? Please give opinions and suggestions. I’d love some good, new or old shows to watch. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Ten Best TV Show Theme Songs Ever!

Thanks to the Netflix/Hulu era, everyone in every country can watch the popular TV shows from anywhere, so regardless of your home country, I hope you’ll know some of these. Although this is going to be a very United States centric list, I’d love to hear suggestions and maybe links in the comments to anything from anywhere else. This was the toughest Top Ten list that I’ve ever put together.

10. Scooby Doo: Yes, the cartoon theme song. I requested that this be played for my first dance at my wedding but  my bride Velma objected.

9. The Golden Girls: I can’t vouch for this because I never watched the show, but in a lot of other online lists this was included. I didn’t even listen to it when I added it to this list.

8. The Love Boat: Love, exciting and new. Climb aboard, we’re expecting you! When I was a kid I had very little realization that the entire show was about people trying to have sex on a cruise.

7. The Big Bang Theory: A masterpiece by the quick singing lyrical geniuses of The Barenaked Ladies.

6. Family Guy: How could you not sing along to this?

5. Mission Impossible: No lyrics, but iconic nonetheless. Who doesn’t feel some sort of pressure to get something done quickly when you hear this?

4. The Brady Bunch: All of them had hair of gold, like their mother.”  Who doesn’t know that line?

3. Friends: I hate to be the hipster guy who says “I knew this band before anyone heard of them”, but yeah, I had their album before the Friend’s theme song on cassette tape, so suck it losers.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: This is still Will Smith’s best work to date.

1. Cheers: Who doesn’t want a bar that feels like home where everyone knows your name?

That’s it. I feel like I needed to make this a Top 20 list to include all the worthy possibilities. What would you add to the list? What would you take off of it? My blogging friend Haylee recently did a great post about TV theme songs as well. You can check it out HERE

Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! Who Is The New host of Jeopardy, Alex?

This was originally from March 2013 when nobody was reading me. This post is relevant because 107 year old Jeopardy host Alex Trebek announced this week that he would retire in 2020. I’ll believe it when I see it Alex. You’ve teased me like this before. Also, read down to the last paragraph to see who was Alex’s supposed replacement in 2013. Very interesting….

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Don’t know what I was thinkin’ of
I guess I just wasn’t too bright
Well, I sure hope I do better
Next weekend on The Price Is Right, -ight, -ight
I lost on Jeopardy, baby (oooh)  ~ Weird Al Yankovic

The answer is Phil Taylor for $500. After all these years my dream job is finally available! Rumor is that if Alex Trebek lives long enough to complete the 2014-2015 season he will finally retire. From blogger to Jeopardy host! My ascension to the throne is near. Admit it; if you’re being perfectly honest with yourself, once Alex shaved off his porn mustache he completely lost his game show host mojo. That is not a mistake I will make. I am in fact working on a handlebar mustache as we speak.

What is jumping to conclusions Alex? Not so fast my little pretty.  I’m not going to be happy just hosting Jeopardy! I’m going to revamp and revitalize that tired old game show to return it to its rightful place as an American institution as respected as the Presidency itself. How am I going to do that you ask? Please state your answer in the form of a question. What is, introducing new categories Alex? For a while Jeopardy was fun, but eventually the common man (me) got tired of Alex and all the smug little contestants and their snooty little answers to Potent Potables and Potpourri.

Categories I would introduce would include Beer Pong Rules, Lindsay Lohan arrests, and Crazy Celebrity Quotes. Oddly,  the correct answer to every question in all three categories is “Who is Alec Baldwin?”. The Visual Daily Double will be Name that Roadkill. Which brings me to the next change I would make to the show.

Enough with the “I’m sorry; the answer must be in the form of a question.” If it’s in the form of a question, it’s not an answer, it’s a question! That idea had to be some weird Canadian voodoo Alex brought across the border from our neighbors to the North. On Phil Taylor’s Jeopardy! if you get an answer right I don’t care how you say it, as long as you don’t say it in Canadian. I can’t believe Alex Trebek didn’t get punched in the face more often over this rule.

On Phil Taylor’s Jeopardy! there will also be no more High School Week or College Week either. All of us grown adults who have navigated the universe successfully enough to get where we are do not need any snot nosed little punks acting all superior because they know a word that rhymes with orange.

Right now the talk is that Matt Lauer has the inside track on the job. Puh-leeze! His popularity is receding faster than his hairline. If you’d like to support my bid for Jeopardy! host, after Alex retires or is the victim of an unfortunate accident, you can follow me on Facebook or try my humorous murder mystery novel, White Picket Prisons, available for just $2.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.  I also want to say a quick welcome to all those who came to The Phil Factor from Candy’s Raves after reading my guest post this week.