By Sidney Reilly

Entertainmental_2_5_15x445The Most Disturbing Things We Learned by Watching the Super Bowl Commercials

Vin Diesel drives a car out the window of one skyscraper into the window of a second skyscraper to avoid an explosion in the soon-to-be-released Fast and Furious 7. Future generations will watch that the way we watch commercials from the ‘50s and then look at each other with the universally understood “Holy crap, we were really, really stupid back then, huh?” face.

Budweiser made fun of craft beers, and people are having a bona fide conniption about it. In one of their two Super Bowl commercials that have people going bananas (we’ll get to the other one below), the beer Goliath tried to playfully point out that they’re the blue collar beer of choice, and that “real men” know this and prefer their watery suds to fruit-infused craft beers. Aside from being obviously true, this really pissed off craft brewers, of whom seemingly dozens were watching the Super Bowl instead of a DVR’d episode of Portlandia. While it’s undeniably true that Budweiser tastes like club soda mixed with hops residue, it’s also way cheaper than craft beer and gets you roughly as drunk. So I guess what I’m saying is, “No, Officer, I haven’t had anything to drink tonight…”

That Budweiser commercial with the puppy was stupid, boring, manipulative BS and if you liked it, I straight up hate you. Also those horses would have probably stepped on that dog without even noticing, and that guy in the window waiting for the dog to come home looks like a moron. So I guess what I’m saying is: craft beer makers, I’m ready to spend a few extra bucks now…     

We all saw a commercial from a company that specializes in insurance that disturbed us to our core. It manipulated our basest instincts and messed with our heartstrings, and it did it all with the cold, calculated goal of selling insurance. They don’t care a lick for the safety of children and claiming so is a callous PR move that we should all see right through. And shame on them for it, because the whole display was sickening. I mean, honestly Esurance… Lindsay Lohan? Not cool, bros, not cool.

Pirates of the Share-ibean

The Pirate Bay made its triumphant return on Super Bowl Sunday, and torrent users all over the world are no doubt rejoicing. The website, which has been one of the chief facilitators of peer-to-peer file sharing for years, went offline a couple months ago after a raid on their servers by Swedish police. Since then the steady flow of copyright infringement… has gone on completely unabated, but still many resented the restriction of their Internet freedoms.

Using torrents for copyright infringement is our modern equivalent of the bathtub stills people used to make moonshine during Prohibition. It’s unseemly, it’s clearly against the law, and yet everybody sort of agrees it’s not a serious crime, and anybody getting in trouble for it should be let off the hook.

The sharing of copyrighted material, which—let’s just not blow smoke up each other’s rears—is the only reason torrent trackers exist, is in a weird between-place right now. The big music labels and movie studios have come to terms with the fact that they can’t stop the rampant theft of their material, and they’ve also more or less come to terms with the fact that they can’t sue a million people for watching American Sniper before its release, particularly after it made a quarter of a billion dollars in less than a month.

It’s a problem of perception vs. reality: the perception is that the studios are making an absurd amount of money when they make movies that don’t suck, and the reality is that they also make an absurd amount of money when they poop out dreck like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So nobody’s really too sympathetic when a bunch of teenagers steal screener copies of these movies before they hit theaters.

Might I suggest a strategy for the content producers? The studios should make films that subtly discourage theft, while also being “higher quality” (read: about death and stuff instead of radioactive ooze). Maybe a tear-jerking drama about a blind orphaned child who discovers that stealing music and movies from the Internet causes puppies to get AIDS.

What? Is that more offensive than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?