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The Friday High Five
On Strange Prizes, Funny Ladies, and Cordial Disagreements
Every Friday I share 5 things I enjoyed this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
This week’s High Five is brought to you by Super Mario Bros. No, not the record-breaking animated film currently in theaters. I’m talking about the 1993 train wreck.
It’s sort of weird. I know I saw this movie sometime after it came out, but I have zero recollection of it. None. They say the brain blocks childhood memories that are too traumatic, which is the only logical explanation.
Funny coincidence—the movie is a short topic in the Console Wars book I recently finished. The initial script was penned by an Oscar-winning screenwriter. Dustin Hoffman was interested in playing Mario, and Tom Hanks was in consideration for Luigi. But too much meddling from too many cooks ruined whatever promise the project started with.
Anyway—have a great weekend! High five!
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
Console Wars: The Movie 🎥
Medium Publication Stuff 📢
The Big Door Prize 🎟️
The League of Extraordinarily Funny Women 🤣
Agree to Disagree 😃
(Notably missing is The Mandalorian, which just wrapped its third season. Unfortunately, I am currently in a season of life known as ‘really freaking busy.’ I don’t know when I’ll actually get a chance to watch the finale. The weekend—normally a welcome respite from insanity—is not looking good. I’m accepting all thoughts & prayers.)
Console Wars: The Movie
I mentioned last week that I was enjoying Console Wars, a book about the Sega vs Nintendo battle of the 90s. I finished the book and a really strange thing happened.
I got depressed.
I eventually realized I was grieving. Which is super weird! The events from the book are 30 years gone, and they involve enormous companies battling over billions of dollars. The book does a good job humanizing the people at the center of the story, and my reaction was partly due to that. There’s also the whole “I know how this story ends” angle, which hangs over the book like the sword of Damocles. Mostly I think after spending a week marinating in 90s nostalgia, I had a visceral reaction to leaving that place and time.
While googling on the fate of the people featured in the book, I discovered that Console Wars had been turned into a documentary currently streaming on Paramount Plus. So I watched it. It’s an abridged version of the story, getting the highlights but missing the detail. I strangely drew comfort from seeing these people I’d read about, and was finally able to let them go.
Also: the documentary is quite good.
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Medium Publication Stuff
As some of you know, I run a publication called Fanfare on Medium’s network. We average about 2 million yearly page views, despite only publishing 3-4 stories a day.
Last month Medium asked Fanfare to participate in their Boost beta program. Boost helps stories get broader distribution on Medium. It’s early days but results have been pretty positive, though I personally think the program should be called Juice. Here’s a link if you are curious about Fanfare’s approach to Boosting.
Also—and more exciting to this dork—Medium asked me to curate a handful of Star Wars stories for May the 4th. Not 100% sure what that will look like, but I think the stories will have their moment in the sun on Medium’s home page. Like Phil Collins, I've been waiting for this moment, for all my life. Oh lord. More info.
The Big Door Prize
The best thing about Apple TV is they are willing to experiment and get weird. Often in 30-minute runtimes, which I appreciate. I don’t know if The Big Door Prize is a comedy, a mystery, a drama, or some combination of all three. But it is interesting.
The show is about a mysterious machine that shows up in small town and reveals people’s true potential. For instance, the store owner’s best-self is as a magician. And the machine seems to be right!
People start changing their lives according to what the machine tells them. After three episodes, I’m not yet sure if the show has something to say about destiny vs agency, if it’s a satire, or if some mysterious company is just screwing with people for lols. But I’m enjoying the ride.
The League of Extraordinarily Funny Women
I’m going to be totally honest with you—my original motive for starting Fanfare on Medium was completely selfish. It was all about me! I wanted people to ooh and aah over my brilliant-yet-nuanced Star Wars takes. But then a funny thing happened—all these wonderful writers found their way to Fanfare. Their legitimately brilliant work granted a level of prestige to my rickety stage, to the extent that Medium now looks at me as some kind of “expert” or something. Joke’s clearly on them!is one of those brilliant writers. The first thing she published at Fanfare was a story about Cyndi Lauper, feminism, the 80s, and MTV. It remains one of my favorite stories we’ve published at Fanfare.
I somehow slept on the fact that Sheila’s also a published author. I picked up her book posthaste and have been enjoying it immensely! It’s more of everything that was in the Cyndi Lauper story: deeply insightful, passionately feminist, and just so damn charming.
Agree to Disagree
I discovered this fun YouTube series a while ago, but for the longest time I didn’t know what it was called. I thought of it as ‘that show with the glasses of water,’ for reasons that are obvious if you’ve seen the show. Recently, I discovered it’s actually called Agree to Disagree. Who knew?!
Since I’ve watched a few of these before, YouTube helpfully suggested a new video in the series. Pratt vs Day is not the best episode—I’d have to give that to Chris Evans vs Taika Waititi—but it is just so pleasant. And, as someone roughly the same age as these guys, watch them talk about favorite videogames was a treat.
What are you into at the moment? Leave a comment and let me know!
If you enjoyed this, please like it and share it with someone. It’s the best way to show your appreciation and it would mean a lot to me. :)