Monday Match-Ups: Serenity vs. The Millennium Falcon

Serenity vs. Millenium FalconThe Setup

Oftentimes, the inspiration for our Monday Match-Ups comes from popular debates in pop culture. Things like Kirk vs. Picard, or Superman vs. Batman, or Kramer vs. Kramer (the jury’s still out on that one). Other times, it’s just the first thing that comes to mind. This week we’re fully embracing the more off-the-cuff side of our creativity by turning to the first thing that usually comes to our minds: pizza. We here at Pop Modern love pizza, but we can’t help but imagine a world where it could be even better. A world where our pizza slices itself, where the toppings are ever-flowing, where the steaming pies are beamed down from mind-bending spaceships. That’s why, this week, we dare to ask the question…Which ship would better deliver pizza, Serenity, or The Millennium Falcon?

The Contenders

Serenity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_(Firefly_vessel)
The Millennium Falcon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Falcon

The Verdicts

Allen: “Yes, let’s see here. One cheese and one pepperoni for…I.C. Weiner? Aw, crud!” -Phillip J. Fry, December 31, 1999
Fast food delivery is a relatively thankless job. The delivery man is essentially just a conduit for bringing that loveliest of foods to the front door of the hungry customer. And as the above quote clearly shows, it’s often on the delivery person to differentiate fake names from real ones. Now, if anyone knows about fake names, it’s Serenity‘s captain, Mal Reynolds. In a world where American Western and sci-fi tropes are merged in a way only Joss Whedon could, pizza is a commodity. I imagine Serenity receiving the call after a long day of work:

“Two cheese, one Hawaiian. Planet Menai, eighth sector. Ask for…Markos.” The pizza is delivered in the nick of time after Wash evades a crew of space pirates hungry for pineapple. Mal kicks the patron’s door open, slides the pizza next to the carpet, and the credits are wired to his account.

In a land far, far away, people get hungry. Same scenario, but the pizza is being delivered to Felucia, and there’s Midichlorians instead of cheese or something. Han narrowly navigates a dangerous asteroid field, and he finds a clearing on the south side of Felucia’s jungle surface. He bows to the lovely Twi’lek as he hands her the dinner, and… Chewy got the order wrong. She said Hawaiian, not “Raorrlrlrlrlrllrlrlrlrl”, you silly goof! She’ll still pay for…whatever toppings she got, but it’s not the same. The Serenity crew is just more organized, and Chewy’s so mad that he’s itching to rip the arms off some droids and drown his sorrows in pizza.

James: In the battle of delivery, let’s first look at each ship. Though Serenity is fast as a ship goes, it is nowhere near the hyperdrive capability of the Millennium Falcon. The delivery would be much faster then, leaving the pizzas nice and hot. However, there is the matter of storage. Serenity easily has an edge on this one. Not only is there an open area for storage, but there is also a smuggling compartment. This adds to the pizza that can be delivered in one run. Both ships require similar maintenance, but I am going to give Serenity an edge for the brilliant mechanic Kaylee, whose full time job is to make sure that Serenity is at her finest condition. Unlike the undermanned Falcon, Serenity is functioning as fully as it can almost all the time. Therefore Serenity wins the ship battle.

Next let’s take a look at the market. While the Star Wars universe is filled with races with various forms of sustenance, Serenity’s market is fairly uniform, consisting solely of human beings. However, the terraforming on the surface of the planet might obviate the need for outside delivery, and limits the number of habitable planets. The Star Wars universe is nowhere near as consistent, so even though the inhabitants are less consistent, the humans that are there are more diffuse and more likely to need outside food. Let’s be realistic. On Hoth, the Rebels would be ordering the greasiest pizza they could find. Nobody wants to cook when it’s cold out. I’m going to have to give the market share to Star Wars on this one.

Finally, let’s take a look at the crew. On the one hand, the Millennium Falcon is crewed with smugglers who double as mechanics who know their ship. Solo has managed to make the Kessel Run in fewer than 12 parsecs, impressively low mileage, while Chewie would be great for enforcing payment.  Still, the Serenity has a much more impressive crew. While Shepherd Book and River would be useless on most jaunts, the military experience of the crew combined with their experience as smugglers would serve them well, between Jayne’s enforcement of payment and Mal’s smuggler know-how. As mentioned previously, the crew of the Falcon is tied up with piloting the ship, so their attention cannot go towards fixing the ship mid-flight, a flaw that Serenity does not share. With a medic to heal pizza burns, and a companion to… do something unspecified in the show, the crew comparison favors Serenity, making it the overall winner.

Magellan: My crew-mates here on the USS Pop Modern have made some compelling arguments thus far, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to embody the rebel spirit of both the smugglers on the Falcon and the Brown Shirts on Serenity by offering the dissenting opinion. Sure, Malcolm Reynolds and his crew are more diversified and marketable, but in the end you’d be hiring a bunch of pretty boys and some extra dead weight for a job that can be done by one guy and his pet dog. And hey, I’m not saying that the Serenity crew is a bunch of pansies, and by no means am I trying to disparage Chewbacca with that dog comment. But, when it comes right down to it, this is a numbers game. Since when has pizza delivery been about a pretty, well-oiled machine? What happened to the glory days of ordering two meat lovers’ in the dead of night and having it brought to you by a high-as-balls, walking piece of facial hair? Han and Chewy are just more in line with what you’d expect from that employment sector. And that’s not to mention that if you ordered from the Serenity you’d probably have to hand out tips like Halloween candy. Han Solo is Wash and Mal rolled into one, and he’s running an essentially equivalent smuggling operation with about a fourth of the crew. That means less pit-stops, less detours, less overhead, and all of those savings go right back into the consumer’s pocket. Just slap a hairnet on the Wookiee and you’ve got a winning proposition.

The Results

Serenity wins 2-1

We all knew it was going to be a split vote. C’mon, when was the last time you were part of a unanimous, pizza-related decision, beyond the obvious “Hey let’s just order a pizza.”? Really, that’s the beauty of pizza; it’s one of the layman’s true remaining art forms, a culinary canvas upon which he paints his hopes, his dreams, and his pepperoni. If this debate has made you salivate, go ahead and drool all over our poll, as well as our comments section. Just, try not to ruin your keyboard. You’ll need that later for pizza ordering and what-not.

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Monday Match-Ups: Dumbledore vs. Gandalf

Dumbledore vs. Gandalf

The Setup

It’s a joyous week here at Pop Modern as we celebrate our first staff birthday! That’s when the streamers would fall, but we blew all of our money on photo-shopping all of the color out of that Gandalf picture. What’s that, the picture already looked like that? And photo-shopping something isn’t even a believable expenditure? Well shut up, man, we didn’t get James anything and he’s finally hitting single digits tomorrow. Don’t blow our excuse. Instead, we decided to make him a present, and then forced him to participate in making it. Special, right? That’s why this week’s Monday Match-Up asks the age-old question…Who would be more entertaining at a children’s birthday party, Dumbledore or Gandalf?

The Contenders

Albus Dumbledore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbledore
Gandalf the Grey/White: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandalf

The Verdicts

Allen: The complex world of children’s entertainment is a fascinating and important one. As a parent, the goal is to hire someone who charges a fair amount, knows his/her audience, and can hold their attention span for a long time. A bonus is having an entertainer who can interact with the adults in an optimistic, fun way. No angry, bitter hobos in an Elmo costume.

With all that in mind, let us examine our lovely contenders. Dumbledore has experience as a presenter in front of young children, but the Hogwarts audience skews a little older than a kid’s birthday. He could probably regale the adults and kids alike with stories of Tom Riddle and various mysteries plaguing his establishment, which actually sounds really fun to me. Then you have Gandalf, the companion and mentor of everyone’s favorite Hobbit crew. His ability to inspire and uplift them in times of strife is admirable and potentially useful in an entertainment job. But his jokes and words are for warriors and dudes with invisibility rings, which are both probably not present at the average birthday. But Dumbledore can make some harmless fireworks or sparkly doodads for the kids. Sure, he’d charge more than Mr. The White, but you’re paying for quality. I’d trust my future kids with that jolly old wizard.

James: For this scenario, I am going to imagine that any sort of magic is allowed in any form. Dumbledore clearly has an edge. Not only does he have control of real magic, but he also has a pet phoenix. However, if the goal was to keep magic a secret, according to the International Statute of Wizard Secrecy, he would need to tone down his abilities. Rather than conjuring fiery tigers and sending them through floating hoops, he would be relegated to doing card tricks and doing David Copperfield-type magic that grownups would obviously know is false. However, this sort of secret magic would suit Gandalf perfectly. Not only could he still use his fireworks, but he could create bright lights. Assuming that the child was rich enough, this could be a great show. Gandalf also has telekinesis as we saw from his battle with Saruman, so he could put on a show by combining the power with his power to create fire to make miniature fireballs. Gandalf has the edge of mundane magic which would certainly help with the child’s birthday party. And if the kids were really terrible, he could just pull out his sword to quiet them down.

Magellan: This is probably one of the hardest Monday Match-Ups to call in a while, and that has to do with the fact that it all hinges on two things: magic and children, two notoriously fickle forces of nature. In actuality, some two-bit street magician would be plenty to entertain a group of bratty kids, as long as he plays his cards right. But hey, I’ll go ahead and put myself in the place of a discerning parent, one wants the most bang for his buck, one whose wife wouldn’t let him plan anything but the entertainment. If that’s how I’m looking at things, then for my money I’d have to go with Dumbledore. It’s the glasses, I think. And the name, it just seems more kid-friendly. Yes, I’m sorry, it really is that arbitrary. Sure, Gandalf’s badass and all, but badass doesn’t play well in a suburban backyard. I’m looking for non-threatening and subdued, and that just screams Dumbledore (Sorceror’s Stone Dumbledore, anyway). Plus, the wand is a cute prop for close-up magic, and he’d probably bring a goofy hat to boot.

The Results

Dumbledore wins 2-1

In a shocking turn of events, it seems that the one bearded old magic guy has defeated the other bearded old magic guy in a completely arbitrary and ridiculous contest! Also, in a less shocking but perhaps more compelling turn of events, it seems that James has been outvoted on the eve of his own birthday. Upsetting, sure, but what’s a birthday without at least a little disappointment? If you’d like to chime in on this debate, either coming to James’s defense or piling on the birthday punches, go ahead and vote in our poll or comment below. I’m sure when James blows out the candles he’s going to wish that you had. Damn, now we’ve spoiled it, it can’t come true. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Monday Match-Ups: Peach vs. Zelda

Peach vs. ZeldaThe Setup

The boys at Pop Modern are back, rocking another Monday Match-Up, this time for all the girls out there. You see, we’re equal opportunists, we’re chivalrous, and we’re making it our duty to help womankind in the small way we can: by cleaning up the Google results for “Peach vs. Zelda” just a modicum. Yeah, we know, we’re heroes. No need to thank us, the half smile on your face is enough. Besides, we’re not going to pretend like the ladies out there need us to fight their battles for them, that’d be silly. That’s why we’ve got two Nintendo icons, so often sequestered and pushed to the side in their own games, taking the stage this week to let everyone know that they aren’t to be trifled with. So what’s the competition? Something heroic no doubt. Something daring. Something swashbuckling. Something adventurous. That’s why we’d like to ask you all this week…Who would win in a karaoke contest, Peach or Zelda?

The Contenders

Princess Peach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Peach
Princess Zelda: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Zelda

The Verdicts

Allen: It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world picking an activity for these two lovely ladies of gaming. I feel like a rockin’ karaoke contest manages to stray away from stereotypes while still showcasing the talents of the contestants. Peach would probably be coming to Mushroom Kingdom’s hottest karaoke bar with a crew of Toads to cheer her on during the chorus of “Somebody To Love”. As the drinks start flowing and the earlybirds start filing out, a man named Sheik rolls in to the bar all by…himself? Herself? He stays in the audience, enjoying the show, chatting up the bartender. Right as it seems like the night is slowing down, he steps on stage, rips off the costume, and Princess Zelda begins into the smooth intro of “Don’t Stop Believing”. The crowd goes wild, Toads literally throwing their vests on stage. Peach has been defeated by this mysterious women in a karaoke battle, and she continues to rub it in with an ocarina solo during “Black Velvet”. Although she has won, it wouldn’t be very princess-like to be such a sore winner, so Zelda and Peach end the night with a teary duet of “I Need A Hero”. People still talk about that night, the night where two princesses took the stage, and the shy Hylian lady came out the winner.

James: Zelda has owned an ocarina in the past, and plays the harp. That will certainly help with her pitch and her rhythm. But what of Princess Peach? Whenever she is captured by Bowser, she is taken away from her people and left to sit in World 8-4 until Mario can come along. With all that free time, sitting in a castle with only a few books on Goomba Horticulture or the ornithology of Paratroopas, she would be left with free time to sing. Zelda still has the ability to interact with other people, so her princessly duties would have to go first. So even though Zelda is by far the superior musician, it seems apparent to me that the winner of this karaoke competition is Princess Peach. Then again, I am not entirely sure that karaoke can be a competition, but then again, neither character can really speak, so who am I to judge?

Magellan: Finally, a little girl power in these Monday Match-Ups! Sure, the contest could have been a bit more empowering, like a sword-fight or a presidential debate or something, but at least we’re not turning these oft-distressed damsels into a couple of Cooking Mamas. Anyway, let’s get to the meat of this question, and talk about what it takes to be good at a karaoke contest. You’ve got to have pipes, of course, but karaoke is also about being comfortable in your own skin and being able to perform. Zelda’s been shown to have some vocal talent (I believe she sang a song in Skyward Sword) and a penchant for musicianship, but the sort of music you see in a Legend of Zelda game isn’t going to translate well to the karaoke stage. Besides, she’s a fairly reserved, dignified princess, and I don’t know if she’d be able to let loose the way she’d need to in order to really blow people away. Peach, on the other hand, has shown time and time again that she’s willing to step up to the plate, get her hands dirty, and compete with the best of them whenever a competition demands. Peach also strikes me as much less socially inhibited, as she’s been to her fair share of Mario’s parties (which, as we all know, can get pretty wild). I don’t know about you, but it’s much easier for me to picture Peach throwing her head back and belting out “Rock You Like a Hurricane” while prancing around the stage, whereas Zelda would at best be able to muster a shy, reserved rendition of “I Love Rock And Roll.”

The Results

Peach wins 2-1

There you have it everybody, a completely polite and in no way subtly, unavoidably sexist competition. On a serious note, we hope you all forgive the rampant lampshading that’s been going on, it’s just hard to talk about any sort of “Video Game Princess vs. Video Game Princess” contest without snickering at least a little. Of course, if you object to us in any way, be it for our flawed logic or our undying, slovenly devotion to the global Patriarchy, make yourself heard in the comments below. That, or vote in our poll. You can do that, you know, it’s in the Constitution now.

Monday Match-Ups: Kirk vs. Picard

Kirk vs. PicardThe Setup

We like tackling the tough questions here at Pop Modern. Like, what’s the meaning of life? How can one find true happiness? Who’s cooler, Captain James Tiberius Kirk or Captain Jean-Luc Picard? Indeed, we’re pulling at the frayed ends of thread that weave our society together. And we plan to tug. Hard. Of course, what can be said about these two science-fiction greats that hasn’t already been posted on forum, or shouted at some convention, or nailed to some church door (turns out Martin Luther was a HUGE Trekkie)? Well, rather than say something new, we’re going to go ahead and ask something new, like…Who would win in a pie-eating contest, Kirk or Picard?

The Contenders

Captain Kirk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_kirk
Captain Picard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Picard

The Verdicts

Allen: Gather round, redshirts! Zip it, listen! This matchup is easy as pie to predict. Kirk has this IN. THE. BAG. Picard (and Sir Patrick Stewart by extension) has the motivation and wherewithal to knock back a classy pumpkin pie or two, but I can just imagine Kirk would guffaw at Picard’s foolish attempts to consume these sugary treats before laying down the law. I like to imagine that this is all happening on some weird planet where there’s a county fair going on 24/7. Kirk pulls up to the bench, pops a squat Riker-style just to insult Picard, throws away the fork and knife, and goes face-first on some raspberry goodness. His Iowa heritage means that pies were probably a staple of the Kirk family diet, so he’s prepared for this. Four whole pies later and not a breath spared, Kirk comes out on top. It’s a match for the ages, as Picard screams in agony at his opponent’s table, “THERE ARE FOUR PIES!”

James: Obviously Kirk would win. Let’s look at the facts. Nervous habits seem to affect Kirk and Picard in different ways. Picard’s lack of hair clearly indicates that he was a hair puller, leaving him as bald and beautiful as he currently is. Kirk seems to be a stress eater. From his stint as admiral between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan, Kirk put on the pounds. It appears that he was psychologically and physiologically preparing himself for the ordeal. As a captain, Kirk also has a more hands-on approach. Used to fighting planet side and dealing with his issues face to face, Kirk sets the phasers to kill when his eyes are on the prize: in this case the pie. Picard, a captain who delegates more is therefore unlikely to deal with the singular challenge of an eating contest quite as well. Kirk would destroy those pies faster than a Klingon bird of prey can uncloak.

Magellan: Cards on the table, I have to admit that I’ve always been more of a Star Wars fan, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. That being said, I’ve seen my occasional Star Trek and Next Generation episodes (or pieces of them, anyway) and I just spent a cool fifteen minutes with the Google results for “Kirk vs. Picard,” so I feel like I’m as level-headed and rational a member of this debate as any. Now, the way I see it, this is a classic tortoise-hare situation. Kirk is brash and charismatic, charging head-first into any competition. Now, this may work for him in his travels on The Enterprise, but in a pie-eating contest that sort of behavior is a choking hazard. If you don’t properly pace yourself, you’re in for some swallowing and vomiting problems. Picard, on the other hand, is the tortoise here: wrinkle-necked, smooth-headed, and patient. Sure, he may not be as quick to plunge head-first into an apple pie Jason-Biggs-style, but against all odds I think a cool demeanor wins the day.

The Results

Kirk wins 2-1

Finally, the debate has been solved and we can all go home and watch something new for a change. Like Deep Space Nine! Oh, or Voyager! Or Enterprise! Actually, maybe not Enterprise. And then I guess there are those new movies for when we get tired of traditional, flare-less lenses. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of Star Trek we could be watching right now. It’s a wonder we wasted so much damn time on this silly argument at all. If you’re still not through with it though, go ahead and vote in our poll and comment below, just try and set your phasers on polite, people.

Monday Match-Ups: Beatles vs. Rolling Stones

Beatles vs. Rolling StonesThe Setup

Here at Pop Modern, we don’t talk about music nearly as much as we want to. There’s just so much to be said about games and movies that oftentimes it gets lost in the haze. That’s why this week’s Monday Match-Up tackles head-on one of the age-old debates in music criticism: who’s better, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? But really, it just wouldn’t be a Monday Match-Up if we had some intellectual debate on the merits of “Gimme Shelter” and “Hey Jude,” so we’re going to make things less British and more fun by asking…Who would win in a game of dodgeball, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

The Contenders

The Beatles: Paul “The Cute One” McCartney, John “Oh No” Lennon, George “Sunshine” Harrison, Ringo “Ringo” Starr
The Rolling Stones: Mick “The Dagger” Jagger, Keith “At Least He’s Conscious” Richards, Charlie “Kick Drum” Watts, Ronnie “Run” Wood

The Verdicts

Allen: Dodgeball is inherently a childish, brutish sport. Two teams stand in an enclosed space and toss projectiles at each other and try to gain the upper hand by catching them. It’s the natural evolution of gladiator battles, traditional projectile combat, and SPORTS. It’s all about strength, speed, and a willingness to take risks.

Now, how would a Beatles/Rolling Stones game play out in the fictional universe of Monday Match-Ups, where time is just a feeling and everyone can play our cruel games? Jagger and McCartney would be on the front line, dealing intimidation and brutal attacks at every opportunity. Ringo and Keith Richards would be building up a cache of caught balls in the back, but Richards would slip at one point due to his crippling drug addiction. So we’ve got two neck-and-neck headers and a loose end on the Stones. A stoned Stone if you will. Charlie Watts would use his renowned horse-taming skills to manage multiple attacks at once with the finger strength only someone who has seen into the eyes of a dangerous steed and lived can know. But the ringer is Lennon, who has the Yoko Ono cheer squad to deliver that last piercing yell, allowing George Harrison to take out Ronnie Wood. After all, the poor guy was just sitting in a corner relearning “Gimme Shelter” on guitar; all he really wants is a pillow to lay his head upon and some satisfaction.

James: Obviously the Rolling Stones would win the dodgeball match. Let’s look at the facts: The Beatles are a bunch of short Brits from Liverpool, and I am willing to discount them on the sheer basis of  the fact that the band includes Ringo Starr. Paul McCartney is far too passive, and what with George Harrison’s hippy Christian songs, he would probably be opposed to the violence of dodgeball. The only good player would be John, who is accustomed to violence, though usually in the form of abuse to his family. On the other team we have The Rolling Stones, a group notorious for their drug use. Assuming Keith Richards hasn’t overdosed on heroin, Sir Mick Jagger (who I am assuming had extensive sword training) could fend off the Liverpool hippies. Therefore I think I’m going to have to give this one to The Rolling Stones.

Magellan: Just to be fair, I’m going to assume that all of these guys are reset to their physical primes, otherwise we’d be getting into weird questions about how spry a dead man would be, especially since we all know that Paul McCartney died in 1966. I mean, we all do know that, right guys? Anyway, let’s break this down a bit. Taken as individuals, these teams are fairly evenly matched. In my mind, Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts cancel out, as well as George Harrison and Ronnie Wood, since all four of those guys are pretty agreeable chaps. They’re all team players who can subvert their egos to keep the machine running. Now, the frontmen are a little trickier. John Lennon would be a force of nature on the court, exhibiting surprising levels of violence and cunning for such round-spectacles-wearing, Yoko-Ono-marrying hippie-type. Paul, too, would be effective, dazzling the Stones with his boyish charm and likability. And the Stones wouldn’t have much in the way of countering that. Sure, Mick Jagger is a skinny, athletic-looking guy, but Keith Richards puts the “Stoned” in “Stones” on this one. So, you’d think it would go to The Beatles, right? Wrong. See, this match would go just like the bands’ careers: The Fab Four would start strong, with a couple skillful maneuvers and throws out of the gate, but Lennon is such a loose cannon that they would ultimately fall to in-fighting, maybe even resorting to throwing the balls at each other. The Rolling Stones would keep a consistent, if slightly sub-par, barrage going, with the occasional smash hit when it counts. That’s what determines victory in dodgeball: cohesion and longevity, two words which have never described The Beatles.

The Results

The Rolling Stones win 2-1

So there you go, now you can finally answer that age-old question of Beatles vs. Rolling Stones in a rational manner with which everyone will agree. Ha! Just kidding, people are going to get snotty and pissed over this question no matter what, that’s just how it goes. Instead of worrying about it, go jam to some of these bands’ world-shattering tunes. Pop in some “Octopus’s Garden” and just mellow out, man.

Monday Match-Ups: Lt. Aldo Raine vs. Django

Lt Aldo Raine vs DjangoThe Setup

We’re getting bolder with this week’s Monday Match-Up and talking about some of the films of Quentin Tarantino! No, we’re not asking who would win in a fight, Uma Thurman’s character from Kill Bill or her one from Pulp Fiction (hey, those 50’s dance moves would translate pretty well to a fistfight). Instead, we’re focusing on the stars of his two historical bloodbaths and putting them in a distinctly Tarantino contest by asking…Who would give a better foot massage: Lt. Aldo Raine from Inglourious Basterds or Django from Django Unchained?

The Contenders


Lt. Aldo Raine: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0106963/
Django: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0002064/?ref_=tt_cl_t1

The Verdicts

Allen: We’ve hit a new level of weird with Monday Match-Up this week, and that’s just the way I like it. I think that Aldo Raine has the upper hand in experience, attitude, and sexuality. He’s just bringing more to the foot massage table…thing. But Django’s your traditional western badass. He’s confident, smooth-talking, and knows when to act. Also, all that revolver firing means he has some strong hands, which is a definite plus in the foot massage department. It all comes down to who would treat the receiver of the massage better. Raine could probably quote her a mistranslated French poem he read while waiting for a Nazi ambush, but Django’s a happily married man who probably has lots of experience massaging his main squeeze’s lower extremities. I’m trying to make this sound as sexually titillating as possible, but thinking about two brave, sweaty men massaging feet just puts me in a Tarantino mindset that I don’t feel comfortable in. Django wins. I feel like I need to go wash my hands or something now…

James: It seems obvious to me that Django would give a much better foot massage than Aldo Raine. First let us define a Tarantino foot massage. According to Vinny Vega, a foot massage is inherently sensuous, in the same ballpark as third base (or 5th wicket for the Brits out there). Django is at heart a loving man who searches for his wife. True, the way to his wife is through 50 some-odd white men and women who like homogenized races more than dairy farmers like homogenized milk, but Django cares about his wife. His affection would be similarly devoted to her feet as a way of relaxing her. Lt Aldo Raine on the other hand seems unnaturally obsessed with scalps, and more particularly men’s scalps. Now, for a scalp massage contest Raine would certainly have my vote. But as for feet, his obsession with killing Nazis probably would do very little towards giving a good massage. Therefore, due to his lack of attachment to any female, and the lack of focus that he has, it seems clear to me that Raine should not be a foot masseur.

Magellan: A contentious question to be sure, one that warrants our society’s most experienced film scholars. Those guys wouldn’t answer our calls, though, so we’re just plowing ahead here. To the point, I’m going to have to go ahead and voice the minority opinion on this issue. Sure, Django is a loving married man, but I find it hard to believe that after reducing the American South to a fiery pool of blood and single-handedly ensuring both his and his wife’s freedoms he would just get on his hands and knees and give a foot massage. If anything, Django’s the one who should be getting his feet rubbed, damnit! Lt. Raine, on the other hand, would be more amicable to the idea of giving a foot massage. And, given his precise hands (thanks to all that scalping and swastika carving) and his extensive knowledge of the Italian language (he can say “Buongiorno” and “Grazie”!), it’d be a damn good one, at that. Of course, we all know that who we really want giving us a foot massage is Cristoph Waltz, no question.

The Results

Django wins 2-1

Once again, a split decision. This week it seems that love and devotion have triumphed over all, so I think we should all spend today like Tarantino would want: curled up in the arms of a lover, debating pointless hypothetical questions with as many obscenities peppered in as possible. And, as a bonus before you go down to vote in our poll and voice your opinions in the comments section, take a look at the Pulp Fiction conversation that started it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM0wP07wD2g.

Monday Match-Ups: Street Fighters vs. Street Fighter

Street Fighters vs. Street FighterThe Setup

Ding, ding, Round 1 of the week, everybody, and it’s you versus the Monday Match-Up! This time around, we’re talking about one of our favorite gaming franchises of all time, Street Fighter. The writers here at Pop Modern love to play Street Fighter (which usually boils down to Allen spamming the Hundred Hand Slap while Magellan tries desperately to break it with a Tiger Uppercut, James waiting patiently for his turn to throw one too many Hadokens), and we want to share that love with you this week. Sure, we could tell you which character we think is best, but that’s a touch too biased to be fun. Instead, this week we’re going to ask…Which Street Fighter character would be the best at playing Street Fighter?

The Contenders

Now, there are dozens of characters kicking and flipping their way around the Street Fighter universe, so to keep things simple we’re going to limit our choices to ten iconic fighters: Blanka, Chun-Li, Dee Jay, Fei Long, Guile, Ken, M. Bison, Ryu, Sagat, and Zangief.

The Verdicts

Allen: This seems like a hands-down match to me. Sagat can’t see shit with his eye patch, so that basically limits his view of the playing field and general depth perception. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stumbled on his way to the damn arcade! Ryu and Ken could probably do fine, but they’d probably miss the tournament and go to the gym next door to practice REAL MAN fighting or whatever they call staring wistfully at each other’s strong, muscular bodies…

Chun-Li would do all right, but there’s no way someone with legs that powerful can also have arms to match. I’m going to give this fight to Mr. America himself, Guile. It’s almost a guarantee that they have a Street Fighter II machine at whatever USMC base Guile was stationed in, and he also seems like he’s spent a few too many hours in the back of a Brooklyn pizza shop hustling elementary school kids at his own game. Playing as himself. I mean, would you trust anyone with that hair?

James: This discussion seems fairly straightforward to me as there is only one clear contestant in this competition of Street Fighter vs Street Fighter playing Street Fighter. The obvious victor of this battle would be M. Bison. Let’s look at it analytically. The best set of moves that would conform to video game play style obviously belongs to Blanka. Unpredictability and speed would benefit any individual trying to play a game. The lack of a discernible pattern would lead to a formidable style, with unique moves in every step of the fight, while the speed adds to the reaction time onscreen. Blanka would also be able to reset the game if he lost through his electricity generation, creating technical problems with the game at the slightest hint of a loss. So why am I giving this fight to M. Bison? It’s simple. M. Bison is obviously behind this competition anyways, secretly making plots and using his psychic powers. Sure Blanka would win, but he’s still only Bison’s pawn.

Magellan: This question, at its core, forces you to ask yourself what it takes to be an empirically “good” Street Fighter player. Obviously, the best players are the ones with experience, but I think we can assume that none of these fighters would play video games of their own accord (except maybe Ken, but he seems like the Bejeweled type), so this becomes a battle of hand-eye coordination and reflexes, which will put a few characters out of commission. Sagat (my personal favorite), for example, is going to have some depth perception problems thanks to that eye patch. Then there’s Zangief, who would crush the puny controller in his gargantuan, Russian mitts. And Blanka would fry all the electronics with that weird, crouching spark move he does. M. Bison might be a contender, except he’s the kind of guy that would throw his controller after a slim loss in the first round. Guile, too, is a bit of a hot-head, so getting him to sit down and play would be a challenge. Ryu and Ken would refuse to play anybody except each other, sharing intimate glances between Shoryuken after Shoryuken. I could see someone picking Dee Jay, but he has the opposite problem from M. Bison: he’s far too laid back and friendly to be good at a fighting game. That just leaves us with Chun-Li and Fei Long, which is a tough one to call. Sure, Chun-Li has those titanic thighs to give her some sitting endurance and provide distraction outside of the game, but Fei Long is too disciplined of a fighter to fall to anything short of masterful playing. I’m giving this one to Fei Long, because in the end he’s the only fighter out of everyone on the list who would focus long enough to learn how to play. Plus, he’s basically Bruce Lee, and it’s smart policy to always vote for Bruce Lee. Always.

The Results

A 3-way tie between Guile, M. Bison, and Fei Long

Given the number of characters to choose from, we were bound to be split when it came to tallying results. That’s because, like any conversation about Street Fighter, it still ultimately comes down to who is your favorite, who you think has the chops to win. Or, at least, who can best button-mash his way to victory (here’s looking at you, Blanka). Of course, we want to hear what you all have to say, so vote in out poll and be heard in the comments below. Then go play a game of Street Fighter with your best bud, Ken vs. Ryu, using only throws and jumps. Steamy.