Culture Movies/TV

“The Book of Boba Fett” Recap: ‘The Gathering Storm’

Ah, the last of the flashbacks.

We begin this episode once again in Boba Fett’s bacta tank, where he’s having another flashback that picks up right where we left off during his last one. On his bantha traveling from the scene of the Tusken Raiders’ destroyed camp, Fett locates Jabba’s (Fortuna’s) Palace and takes account of the situation from afar, realizing that some of Fortuna’s guards are patrolling the grounds.

As it’s starting to get late, Fett calls it a day and starts up a campfire that night. He enjoys some food with his bantha but is taken aback when he hears a few explosions popping off nearby. Traveling a bit to see what the fuss was about, he finds Fennec Shand lying on the ground, nearly dead.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

He straps her onto his bantha and they head off to the outskirts of Mos Eisley, where Fett finds a mod-parlor shop (which is responsible for creating the human-droid modifications like that of the teen gang from the last episode) to save her life. Running things much like a modern-day tattoo parlor, the owner of the shop finally agrees to work on Shand after Fett hands the artist a bag of coins.

Waking up at the campfire later that night, Shand glances down and sees her droid-abdomen for the first time and Fett explains what happened. He reveals that he knows who she is and agrees that she’s worth more alive than dead. Because she owes Fett for saving her life, she agrees to help him break into Jabba’s Palace and retrieve his ship, Slave 1.

The next day, the two set off for Jabba’s Palace on a reconnaissance mission, using Shand’s mini spy droid to take a look at the situation on the inside. Upon its return, the droid creates a hologram-like map of the inside of the palace, including where the guards are stationed. With this information revealing that tons of guards are patrolling inside, Fett decides that they’ll need to time it with the guards’ shifts in order to get to Slave 1.

Taking off on their mission, they enter Jabba’s Palace after Shand cuts open the metal bars of a tiny, open-air window on the side of the building at ground level. Once inside, they first encounter the kitchen, with two droids cutting up various vegetables and cooking food. Fett quickly takes out the smaller of the two droids, moving on to the larger one, who’s wielding six different knives, spinning them in an aggressive fashion very similar to that of General Grievous. Before Fett is able to get to him, Shand takes him out from behind.

Lucasilm Ltd.

However, they’re not quite done in the kitchen just yet. They hear someone coming, so they hide on either side of the kitchen’s entryway while an extremely cute, little LEP Droid walks in and is wondering what’s going on. A quick droid, it runs around the kitchen and through smaller spaces to avoid Fett and Shand, who eventually corner him. They don’t kill him; instead, he turns himself off to avoid the situation altogether.

The two move on to the hangar holding Slave 1, which looks incredibly rusty, though a few Gamorrean Guards enter in behind them, forcing Fett and Shand to hide once again. They quickly take the guards out, but a horde of guards storm into the hangar, greatly outnumbering the two. They try to pick off the Pykes while moving closer to the ship; Fett is able to get into the cockpit while Shand stays behind and continues to take out the enemies.

Slave 1 turns on, though Fett is having a tough time maneuvering the ship out of the hangar and can’t get the door to the outside of the palace open. Shand hops onto the back ramp of the ship and fights from up there, with some of Fortuna’s men jumping up and onto the ramp to take her out. She’s able to fend them off while figuring out how to open the outside door, which she does by firing at a weight holding the door up. With that, the two are finally able to fly out of the hangar.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

After escaping Jabba’s Palace, they head over to the site of the Sarlacc pit, which Fett believes is holding his armor, obviously forgetting the fact that a bunch of Jawas stripped him of his gear. He flies the ship right on top of the pit in order to shine a light in and see better, but out of nowhere, the Sarlacc comes to life and tries to pull down the ship. The Sarlacc only lets go when Shand pushes a button to release a seismic charge into the pit—and what a throwback the sound of that charge was.

Now that the Sarlacc has been killed, Fett lands Slave 1 and heads into the pit in a deep search for his armor, though the only thing he comes up with is a thick layer of mucus from the inside of the Sarlacc. And with that, they head back to set up camp and end the night sitting by the fire. Shand asks Fett if he’s serious about starting his own “house” (collective) in Mos Espa, and he is, explaining how avoidable most of the jobs he took as a Bounty Hunter were. He invites her to join him in his new journey, and though she’s skeptical, Fett offers her loyalty (and money) to be his partner.

Back in the present day, Fett exits the bacta tank and is told that he is fully recharged, which means that we—as the audience—are now caught up on his backstory. Fresh out the tank, Fett takes on Mos Espa, making the rounds and stopping at Garsa Fwip’s cantina to show his face.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

While there, he watches on as a fight breaks out between Black Krrsantan and a few Trandoshans, simply because Krrsantan was annoyed by their rowdy behavior. Flinging them all across the room, he’s about to kill one of the Trandoshans when Fwip comes in and gives him a good talking to. However, it’s not completely good enough, as Krrsantan decides to bite one of their arms off before exiting the building. Things go back to normal almost immediately in the cantina, as Fwip says, “Hit it, Max,” which signals the band to resume playing, loose arm on the floor and all.

Fett follows Krrsantan outside and simply says, “Looks like you could use a job,” and judging by the timbre of his growl, it seems (I hope) that he’ll be joining the squad.

Fett and Shand meet with the three families who control Mos Espa: the Trandoshans, the Aqualish, and the Klatoonians, the latter of whom I didn’t realize resembled the Whos from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Fett discusses how they all need to join together as one force as the Pykes are clearly gearing up for some sort of war against him and the control of Mos Espa. Though they’re not sure if they want to create negative tension with the Pykes, they finally agree to remain neutral in the event that the Pykes want them to turn against Fett.

Afterward, Fett and Shand return to the palace and reflect on the meeting, agreeing that a war with the Pykes is definitely imminent and that they need to prepare. When Fett says that he’s lacking the muscle needed to take on a war like this, we hear the theme of The Mandalorian quietly play, possibly alluding to a Mando appearance for the next episode.

Culture Movies/TV

Abbott Elementary Is For The Culture

They’re calling it “The Black Office.” If you haven’t already tuned into Abbott Elementary, then you are truly missing out on what already has the potential to be one of the greatest shows of the 2020s. A work-place comedy where a group of teachers are brought together in a Philadelphia Public School, these teachers are determined to help their students succeed with a few obstacles along the way. While that might be a bold statement considering the fact that we are only a few episodes in, we feel extremely confident in that statement for a couple of reasons.

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The first is cultural impact, and the primary word here is Twitter. Yes, Twitter. In the age of social media, how well a show does correlates with the conversation it generates on Twitter. The first show we saw this with was Scandal in the early 2010s. The ups, downs, twists, and turns were all heavily discussed and debated on the platform, with the series biggest fans calling themselves “The Gladiators.”

We wound up seeing this phenomenon again two years later when How To Get Away With Murder joined the ABC lineup alongside Scandal, and with future series such as Empire, Power, and Insecure. When a show has the ability to get the people going, you know that you have a heavy hitter on your hands.

And that’s what makes Abbott Elementary so different.

<div class =”code”><blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=”\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading” data-instgrm-version=”14″ style=”background:#FFF;border:0;border-radius:3px;margin: 1px;max-width:540px;min-width:326px;padding:0;width:99.375%;width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px);width:calc(100% – 2px)”><div style=”padding:16px”> <a href=”\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading” style=”background:#FFFFFF;line-height:0;padding:0 0;text-align:center;text-decoration:none;width:100%” target=”_blank”> <div style=”flex-direction: row;align-items: center”> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 50%;flex-grow: 0;height: 40px;margin-right: 14px;width: 40px”></div> <div style=”flex-direction: column;flex-grow: 1;justify-content: center”> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 4px;flex-grow: 0;height: 14px;margin-bottom: 6px;width: 100px”></div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 4px;flex-grow: 0;height: 14px;width: 60px”></div></div></div><div style=”padding: 19% 0″></div> <div style=”height:50px;margin:0 auto 12px;width:50px”></div><div style=”padding-top: 8px”> <div style=”color:#3897f0;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-style:normal;font-weight:550;line-height:18px”>View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style=”padding: 12.5% 0″></div> <div style=”flex-direction: row;margin-bottom: 14px;align-items: center”><div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 50%;height: 12.5px;width: 12.5px”></div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;height: 12.5px;width: 12.5px;flex-grow: 0;margin-right: 14px;margin-left: 2px”></div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 50%;height: 12.5px;width: 12.5px”></div></div><div style=”margin-left: 8px”> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 50%;flex-grow: 0;height: 20px;width: 20px”></div> <div style=”width: 0;height: 0;border-top: 2px solid transparent;border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4;border-bottom: 2px solid transparent”></div></div><div style=”margin-left: auto”> <div style=”width: 0px;border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4;border-right: 8px solid transparent”></div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;flex-grow: 0;height: 12px;width: 16px”></div> <div style=”width: 0;height: 0;border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4;border-left: 8px solid transparent”></div></div></div> <div style=”flex-direction: column;flex-grow: 1;justify-content: center;margin-bottom: 24px”> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 4px;flex-grow: 0;height: 14px;margin-bottom: 6px;width: 224px”></div> <div style=”background-color: #F4F4F4;border-radius: 4px;flex-grow: 0;height: 14px;width: 144px”></div></div></a><p style=”color:#c9c8cd;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:14px;line-height:17px;margin-bottom:0;margin-top:8px;overflow:hidden;padding:8px 0 7px;text-align:center”><a href=”\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading” style=”color:#c9c8cd;font-family:Arial,sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-style:normal;font-weight:normal;line-height:17px;text-decoration:none” target=”_blank”>A post shared by Abbott Elementary (@abbottelemabc)</a></p></div></blockquote></div>

All of those shows listed above had something in common—an element of drama. Thrilling, unexpected moments. Times where you would become downright enraged with certain characters and their awful decision making (I.E. Tariq St. Patrick and Molly Carter), but with Abbott Elementary that isn’t the case (at least so far). The series is nothing but laughter. Extreme laughter. Thinking about it when you wake up the next day laughter. 

Created by Quinta Brunson, the show stars Brunson as a second grade teacher at Abbott Elementary. Tyler James Williams, Janelle Williams, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter, and Sheryl Lee Ralph also star, and the teachers band together for the greater good of the students. The pilot debuted in December to much fanfare, and that fanfare has increased with every episode thus far.

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The storylines have been captivating, the chemistry between has been amazing, each actor brings a different layer of depth to the show, and of course the show is hilarious.

Trust us when we say if you aren’t tuning in weekly, then you are missing out greatly.

You can catch Abbott Elementary on Tuesdays at 9pm EST on ABC, and streaming apps such as Hulu.

Culture Movies/TV

Prime Video’s ‘As We See It’ Begs the Question: What Is “Normal”?

Ever combine pineapple juice, Sprite, cranberry juice, vodka, M&M’s, lime juice, and Fruity Pebbles with a pink sugar rim and a gummy bear garnish? Okay, yeah, don’t.

Director of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, Jason Katims’ new series, As We See It, features Harrison (Albert Rutecki), Jack (Rick Glassman), and Violet (Sue Ann Pien), who are three roommates on the Autism spectrum living together in an apartment.

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Harrison is the most introverted of the bunch, especially having trouble leaving the apartment because of loud noises, random encounters, and, most importantly: dogs. A good portion of the show is spent tracking him as he works to forge past his fear of walking down the street.

Jack is a computer genius who works at a publishing house, though he has trouble keeping his job because he doesn’t hold back in sharing that he’s smarter than everyone else in the room. Jack speaks his mind, not always taking other people’s feelings into account. He’s also probably the wittiest of the bunch, with some great one-liners that don’t even seem like they were meant to be funny.

Violet works at Arby’s—first as a cashier, though she’s quickly demoted to “sandwich technician” after she makes an inappropriate comment to a customer. Similar to Jack, Violet has less of a filter when it comes to speaking her mind, though she is also anxious to be more grown-up, so she’s determined to find the perfect boyfriend.

Ali Goldstein / Amazon Studios

Harrison, Jack, and Violet also share Mandy (Sosie Bacon), their aide, who works with them throughout each day and holds morning meetings to discuss their goals for the week. Extremely skilled at what she does, Mandy can push them towards their goals without pushing too much; through these close bonds, she’s able to see how they view the world and how the outside world views them. Being able to see both sides allows the audience to see that, on top of how much the world needs to walk around with a bit more compassion for people.

Though Harrison, Jack, and Violet have a few overlapping qualities, the most apparent of them all is their shared feeling of just wanting to fit in with everyone else. The word that gets thrown around the most in this show is that infamous one: “normal.”

Each character is told at various points that their differences are the best things about them, but most of the time, all they want is the opposite. In an effort to appear “normal” to someone he likes, Jack finally asks Mandy, “Is it obvious to everyone that I’m not normal?” He has felt different his whole life, and it seems clear that he’s sick of being told that it’s better not to be normal. When Mandy responds to Jack and says, “For what it’s worth, I think you are such a beautiful person that you shouldn’t have to hide who you are,” Jack is clearly stuck in an internal struggle and simply says, “That makes me want to throw up.”

Ali Goldstein / Amazon Studios

As a whole, As We See It gently blends drama and comedy to show a realistic perspective of what it’s like to navigate the world while being on the Autism spectrum. It focuses on remembering to celebrate the little wins, as each one is a vital part of the process of growing. Progress takes time, and over the course of the show, we’re able to see how much the characters have already moved forward with their goals.

At the beginning of the first episode, Jack expresses his intense desire to buy a Roomba. When he finally buys one and starts it up, the Roomba moves all across the floor, making its way through the living room until it finally hits a piece of furniture. Without hesitation, the Roomba immediately flips itself around and heads in another direction. I’d like to think that the Roomba was given that spotlight to say a little something about the characters in As We See It.

Each character is trucking along with their own goals until they hit a little something in their paths. Though it might jar them for a second, they don’t let it bog themselves down—they keep on moving.

As We See It premieres on Prime Video on January 21, with eight episodes in total.

Culture Trading Cards

Ticket Stubs: A New Category of Sports Collectibles is Hot

In 2019, the sports trading card market started to heat up again. A rush of nostalgia and drive to acquire cards of favorite athletes triggered the revival of the sports card market that’s expected to continue growing for years to come.  

Since 2019, trading card market preferences have evolved — from prospecting on rookie players to buying Pokemon cards to funneling back to vintage cards and accomplished veterans and now . . . to ticket stubs. 

Graded ticket stubs have been on the minds of serious collectors for the past year (and beyond) and recent sales confirm the interest from a wider group of collectors. 

Ticket stubs offer a fascinating dimension to collecting trading cards because they are physical items from a specific meaningful event, and they are hard to find in good condition. 

This creates scarcity (low supply) and as demand grows, we’ve seen some eye-popping prices from decades-old tickets to games that turned out to be historically relevant. 

We’re going to dive into 10 recent ticket-stub sales that show the expansion of the market and interest in a wide variety of sports collectibles. 

1. Michael Jordan 1984 NBA Chicago Bulls Debut Ticket Stub PSA 6 — $264,000

We’ve seen plenty of headlines for all-time high sports card sales, but this PSA 6 ticket from Michael Jordan’s debut game sold in December now holds the record for most expensive ticket stub ever sold. 

Michael Jordan was ranked the best NBA basketball player of all time by ESPN and this is the ticket stub from his first-ever NBA game. Jordan scored 16 points, had 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in that game. 

This is the highest-graded ticket stub from that game and it sold in December for a record $264,000.

2. Tom Brady 2001 First Career Touchdown Pass Autographed Ticket PSA 10 — $144,000

Tom Brady has won 7 Super Bowls, but his first-ever career touchdown pass came in his second season against the San Diego Chargers on 10/14/2001. 

Brady threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Chargers 29–26 in overtime.

Heritage Auctions sold this PSA 10 ticket stub with Brady’s autograph in November for $144,000. 

3. Wilt Chamberlain 100-Point Game Ticket Stub PSA Authentic — $85,200
Goldin Auctions

ESPN ranked Wilt Chamberlain the 6th best NBA player of all time and this ticket stub comes from his March game against the New York Knicks in 1962 when he scored a record 100 points. He led the Philadelphia Warriors over the Knicks with a final score of 169–147. 

A PSA authentic ticket from that game sold for $85,200 at Goldin Co. this past August. 

4. Tom Brady NFL Debut Ticket Autographed PSA 6 — $73,200
Goldin Auctions

On November 23rd, 2000, the sixth-round pick who would go on to win 7 Super Bowls stepped onto the field for the first time to play the final series of a Thanksgiving day game against the Detroit Lions. 

The Patriots lost that game but Brady threw 3 passes and completed 1 for 6 yards. 

An autographed ticket from that game (graded a PSA 6), was sold via Goldin Auctions for $73,200 in October. 

5. Mickey Mantle Debut Ticket Stub PSA 1.5 — $67,200 (currently at auction)
Goldin Auctions

Mickey Mantle won seven World Series with the New York Yankees and was ranked the 6th best baseball player of all time by ESPN. Mantle debuted for the Yankees against the Boston Red Sox on April 17th, 1951. 

The Yankees beat the Red Sox 5–0 and Mantle was 1–4 with an RBI and run scored. 

The card is currently live on Goldin and has a bid (that includes buyer premium) of $67,200 with 19 days left in the auction.  

6. Tom Brady 2001 New England Patriots vs. New York Jets Autographed BGS Auto 10 — $44,400
Goldin Auctions

Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round by the New England Patriots in 2000 but didn’t have any notable playtime until the second week of the 2001 season. Drew Bledsoe, a former 1st overall pick who led the Patriots to a Super Bowl (but lost) suffered an injury and was replaced by Brady, who had thrown only 1 pass up until that point. 

He came in with the Patriots down 10–3 and couldn’t pull off the upset, but went 10–3 the rest of the regular season and led his team to a Super Bowl Victory over the St. Louis Rams. 

Since that season, Brady has won 6 additional Super Bowls and is widely considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time. 

A signed ticket stub inscribed “The Beginning” from that game sold for $44,400 at Goldin Co in January of 2022. 

7. Pelé 1958 World Cup Sweden Ticket Debut PSA 1 — $36,000
Goldin Auctions

Pelé won 3 World Cups and is often recognized as the best soccer player in history. He was declared a national treasure by Brazil and scored 3 goals in his World Cup debut at just 17 years old. 

A PSA 1 graded card from his World Cup debut sold at Goldin Auctions for $36,000. 

8. Diego Maradona Argentina Ticket Stub From International Debut PSA 2 — $33,720
Goldin Auctions

Sports Illustrated ranked Diego Maradona ahead of Pelé as the greatest soccer player in history after playing professionally for 21 years. Maradona debuted with the Argentinian national team on February 27th, 1977 vs. Hungary at just 16 years old as a sub in the second half. 

Goldin Co. sold a ticket stub (PSA 2) from that debut game for $33,720 in January. 

9. Kobe Bryant Signed NBA Debut Ticket Stub PSA/DNA Authentic — $33,600
Goldin Auctions

ESPN ranked Kobe Bryant the 9th best basketball player in history after 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, 5 NBA Championships, a league MVP award, and an 81-point game. 

Bryant was drafted to the NBA straight from high school as the 13th overall pick. On November 3rd, 1996, he came off the bench against the Timberwolves and had 1 rebound, but didn’t score any points. 

In May of 2021, Goldin Co. sold an autographed PSA authentic ticket stub from his debut game for $33,600.

10. Ken Griffey Jr MLB Debut Ticket Stub (1989) PSA FR 1.5 — $20,400
Goldin Auctions

Ken Griffey Jr. played 22 seasons in the MLB, is a Hall of Famer, 13-time All-Star, won 10-Gold Glove Awards, and ranks 7th all-time in Home Runs. Unfortunately, Griffey Jr. never won a World Series. 

He debuted for the Seattle Mariners on April 3rd, 1989, and hit a double on his first at-bat helping the Mariners defeat the Athletics 3–2. 

Goldin Co. sold a ticket from Griffey’s debut (PSA 1.5) for $20,400 on January 9th, 2022. 

Culture Movies/TV

AppleTV+’s ‘The Afterparty’ Is a Genre Mixing Take On a Murder-Mystery

High School reunions are a, let’s say, eclectic mix of nostalgia, catching up, and, most definitely, awkwardness.

Oh God, the awkwardness.

So what happens when someone is killed at the afterparty of a high school reunion? In AppleTV+’s new comedy/murder-mystery series The Afterparty, we try to answer that very question.

The game is afoot.

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Created primarily by Christopher Miller along with his creative partner Phil Lord, “The Afterparty is a genre-defying series centered on a murder mystery at a high school reunion. Each episode explores a different character’s account of the fateful evening in question, all through the lens of popular film genres and unique visuals to match the storyteller’s perspective.”

Featuring an incredible cast that includes Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, Ike Barinholtz, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ilana Glazer, Dave Franco, and Jamie Demetriou, The Afterparty doesn’t reinvent the murder-mystery genre by any means. Still, it does succeed at putting a hilarious spin on it.

The Afterparty tells most of the story in flashbacks with Tiffany Haddish’s Detective Danner interviewing the party’s attendees one by one. As mentioned in the official synopsis, every episode follows a different character as they recount the events of the reunion and the afterparty at Dave Franco’s character Xavier’s house.


The first three episodes follow Aniq, Brett (Ike Barinholtz), and Yasper (Ben Schwartz) as they run through the evening’s events—well, at least how they choose to remember them.

Aniq is attempting to win the heart of his high school crush Zoe (Zoë Chao), who is in the middle of an impending divorce with Brett. Meanwhile, Brett wants to persuade Zoe to call off the divorce and get back together.

And then there is Yasper, who simply wants to get pop superstar Xavier (Dave Franco) to “bless his track” so he can finally get his music career going.

Each episode embodies a different film or TV genre that, mostly, works. For example, Aniq’s episode serves as the introduction to the series, following all the standard arcs of a romantic comedy.

It is a little unfortunate that they decided to use this episode to introduce the series as it feels a little underserved compared to the other two episodes included in this review. It tries to juggle both the need to introduce the characters and parody romantic comedies and struggles to do so at times.


Where the show succeeds, though, is in its performances. 

Sam Richardson is fantastic as the awkward, nerdy guy Aniq whose day job is designing escape rooms, and who is still chasing his high school crush after all these years.

Ike Barinholtz is as good as ever as the over-the-top, tough guy who but who also is a surprisingly great Dad. His episode, a parody of action, noir films, was probably my favorite of the first three. Barinholtz couldn’t be having more fun as the dude living out his action fantasy recounting his evening to Detective Danner.

And as an unabashed of the Fast and Furious franchise, I couldn’t help but appreciate the recurring joke of Brett’s dedication to his “Family.”

In the episode centered around Schwartz’s Yasper, his talents for comedy and improv are on full display. His musical-centric episode, complete with songs that you’ll no doubt be singing after the credits roll, is most definitely another highlight for the show.


Tiffany Haddish also displays a great ability to balance off all her fellow actors very well, going from being fully engrossed in Aniq’s romantic comedy to straight-up struggling to get through Yasper’s musical numbers.

In many ways, she is used as an on-screen audience, complete with her own review of each story. She has an episode devoted to her later in the season, but she excels in her supporting role for now.


For fans of Christopher Miller’s earlier work, such as 21 Jump Street and its sequel, 22 Jump Street, as well as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the success of his latest entry into the “high school” movie/show world should come as no surprise. He and Phil Lord have a great eye for what can make these sorts of productions so fun to watch, and they definitely succeed with The Afterparty.

The first three episodes of The Afterparty premiere on AppleTV+ on January 28th, with a new episode releasing weekly until February 25th.

Culture Movies/TV

The 15 Best Al Pacino Movies to Watch Right Now

He’s one of the most legendary and critically acclaimed actors of all time, Al Pacino has come to be regarded as among the very best in cinematic history. His filmography has some of the best films ever created, and a lot of those movies’ success has to do with Pacino’s performances in them.

From Scarface to Scent of a Woman, Pacino’s range is seemingly limitless and he has shown that he has the ability to play practically any character. Listing out his best films is nearly impossible but we took a shot at it anyway.

Here are our picks for the 15 Best Al Pacino movies you should watch right now.

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1. ‘Scarface’

Next to Michael Corleone, Pacino’s role as Tony Montana is certainly his most iconic. A favorite of cinematic aficionados and frat boys alike, Scarface follows the rise and fall of a Cuban refugee as he seeks to conquer the criminal underworld of Miami in the 1980s.

A remake of the 1932 film of the same, Scarface, while it was initially controversial and poorly received, has gone on to become regarded as one of the greatest gangster movies of all time.

Watch on Prime Video
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2. ‘The Godfather’

Speaking of gangster films, The Godfather is perhaps the best and most well-known of them all. Pacino portrays Michael, the son of Don Corleone, who initially wants nothing to do with the gangster life but realizes that this life wants everything to do with him.

Michael’s journey from war hero to the head of the Corleone crime family culminates in one of the most famous sequences in film history: the assassination of the Dons and Moe Greene.

Watch on Prime Video
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3. ‘The Godfather: Part II’

When someone says “sequel,” more than likely, they’ll also say “the original was better.” In the case of The Godfather: Part II, the opposite proved true.

A grand epic that serves as not only just a sequel but also a prequel, this film follows both a young Vito (Robert DeNiro) and Al Pacino’s Michael. Michael survives an assassination attempt, and in the wake of it, attempts to reassert control over the family and protect the business.

Watch on Prime video
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4. ‘The Godfather Part III’

Now I wish I could say the same thing about Part III of The Godfather trilogy as I did about the second, but in this case, the film just isn’t on par with the other two. This isn’t Pacino’s fault, though, as he is as good as ever as an aging Michael Corleone, who is struggling with both personal and business issues and runs into conflict with The Vatican.

The movie was criticized for its convoluted plot and Sofia Coppola’s performance as Michael’s daughter Mary, but it was generally well-received.

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5. ‘Serpico’

Al Pacino might be best known for some of his gangster roles, but he plays one hell of a cop too. In Serpico, Pacino plays Frank Serpico, one of the few honest cops in 1970s New York City.

He fights criminals as much as he tries to uncover and put a stop to widespread corruption in the NYPD. The film is based on the true story of Frank Serpico, who helped blow the whistle on the corruption that plagued the real-life NYPD in the 1960s and 70s.

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6. ‘Dog Day Afternoon’

Another of Pacino’s earliest and best-known roles, Dog Day Afternoon, sees his character Sonny Wortzik (based on the real-life bank robber John Wojtowicz) attempt to rob a bank in Brooklyn to pay for his partner Leon’s sex reassignment surgery.

The film is based on a Life article titled “The Boys in the Bank,” which documented a bank robbery and hostage situation in 1972.

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7. ‘Carlito’s Way’

Carlito’s Way stars Pacino as Carlito Brigante, a Puerto Rican criminal attempting to go straight and leave his life of crime behind. Directed by Brian De Palma, who also helmed Scarface, the movie is a classic crime drama film that also features great performances from actors like Sean Penn, John Leguizamo, Luiz Guzman, and Viggo Mortensen.

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8. ‘Scent of a Woman’

Scent of a Woman was one of the most well-received films of 1992 and earned Pacino an Academy Award for his role as an irritable, blind, medically retired Army lieutenant colonel. 

It was Pacino’s first and (so far) only win at the Academy Awards for acting, and if you watch this film, it’s easy to see why he won.

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9. ‘Heat’

One of, if not the greatest heist films ever made, Heat follows a crew of bank robbers as they terrorize Los Angeles in a quest for the almighty dollar.

Pacino portrays Lieutenant Vincent Hanna, the LAPD detective tasked with bringing down the criminals, who are led by Robert DeNiro’s character Neil McCauley.

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10. ‘Donnie Brasco’

Mob and gangster movies have a lot of places on this list, and Pacino has made a habit of dominating every scene in all those films.

In Donnie Brasco, based on the true story of FBI agent Joe Pistone who infiltrated one of the New York mafia families, Pacino plays “Lefty” Ruggiero, a mobster that takes a liking to Johnny Depp’s Donnie Brasco. He unknowingly helps Donnie infiltrate the mafia, eventually culminating in the FBI being able to do serious damage to the mob’s operations.

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11. ‘The Irishman’

The Irishman centers around Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro), a hitman that worked for the Bufalino Crime Family and other criminal organizations in the Philadelphia area.

Pacino plays Jimmy Hoffa, the infamous labor leader who was also convicted for a variety of crimes in the 1960s and who allegedly had mob ties. The role earned Pacino another Academy Award nomination in 2019, but he would ultimately lose to Brad Pitt for Pitt’s role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

watch on netflix
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12. ‘Any Given Sunday’

In Any Given Sunday, Pacino plays Coach Tony D’Amato, the beleaguered leader of the Miami Sharks, a fictional football franchise in the Associated Football Franchises of America.

Throughout the film, he deals with the team’s owners, narcissistic quarterbacks and more as issues in his personal life continue to mount as well.

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13. ‘Insomnia’

Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia sees Pacino star alongside the legendary Robin Williams in a murder mystery thriller. Pacino plays a Los Angeles detective sent to a small Alaskan town to help solve the murder of a teenage girl.

Stuck in a town that is currently experiencing perpetual daylight, Pacino’s character struggles with insomnia and an Internal Affairs investigation into his ethics, all while attempting to stop the serial killer.

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14. ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’

“Coffee is for closers.”

One of the most famous lines in movies was not said by Al Pacino but it helped cement this film in cinematic history.

Pacino plays a real estate firm’s top earner, Ricky Roma, who is not above manipulating those around him to stay on top of it all. His performance was so well received that he earned an Academy Award nomination that year.

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15. ‘…And Justice for All’

Another film for which Pacino got himself an Academy Award nomination, …And Justice For All had the actor playing a fiery defense attorney who defends a judge whom he hates in a rape trial.

Recognizing that his client is guilty of the horrific crime leads Pacino to declare that he can no longer defend him, culminating in him uttering the now-famous line: “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!”

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Culture Trading Cards

Top 10 Football Cards to Watch Heading into the NFL Playoffs

The NFL playoffs are finally here and it’s time to look at the top 10 football cards to watch heading into the post-season. 

This year’s post-season offers up a lot of opportunity for quarterbacks both young and old. Joe Burrow makes his first playoff appearance. Mac Jones gets a shot at becoming the first rookie quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl. Tom Brady is seeking his 8th Super Bowl Victory, likely MVP Aaron Rodgers looks to win his second Super Bowl and Matthew Stafford could finally win his first playoff game. 

Let the games begin! 

1. Aaron Rodgers 2005 Topps Chrome Refractor #190 PSA 9

The Green Bay Packers secured the top seed in the NFC and currently have the best odds to win the Super Bowl this year. Aaron Rodgers also has the best odds to win MVP, which would make it his fourth and put him second on the all-time list for most MVP awards. 

Rodger’s 2005 Topps Chrome Rookie refractor PSA 9 has a pop of 149 and last sold for $4,000: 


Back in April, the card hit a peak price of $6,200 before gradually declining to a low in-season price of $2,652. 

This is the top card to watch as we approach the NFL playoffs because Rodgers has the chance both to win another Super Bowl and add a fourth MVP award to his resume. 

Will a Super Bowl run push this card price back to its peak? Time will tell. 

2. Tom Brady 2000 Bowman Base #236 BGS 9.5

The Buccaneers have now fallen to the fourth-best odds to win the Super Bowl, but Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl rings to prove that you shouldn’t count them out. Brady is also in the running for the MVP award and many think it should be him over Aaron Rodgers. 

Brady’s 2000 Bowman Base BGS 9.5 has a population of 565 and last sold for $5,500: 


This is one of the most interesting cards on this list. It’s an affordable, high-grade rookie with a relatively low pop. Brady is a 7-time Super Bowl champion and could become the oldest MVP in NFL history (again). 

On February 9th, just two days after the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, a copy of this card sold for $8,600 before dropping to $2,705 in June. 

The card hit a second high price of $8,500 in October before settling at $5,500. If Brady and the Buccaneers make a legitimate Super Bowl run, it will be fun to see if this card reaches the same heights it did during last year’s Super Bowl. 

3. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Prizm #269 PSA 10

Patrick Mahomes already has a Super Bowl Championship, NFL MVP under his belt, and is 6–2 in the postseason. He’s played in 2 Super Bowls and nearly made it to a 3rd. Yet, some may be counting Mahomes out due to his struggles this season. 

The Chiefs do have the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl this season but Mahomes’ 2017 Prizm Rookie PSA 10 has been losing value in 2021, last selling for $7,328 on 1/9: 


The card peaked at $15,500 right before last year’s Super Bowl and has since lost 52% of its value. It’s worth noting that in 2017, there were no Prizm base cards, which is why the population of this 2017 “silver” is higher than other players on this list. 

The supply hasn’t increased much since April, with only 22 new PSA 10 copies being graded. 

If Mahomes and crew can make a run this year, keep eye on this card. 

4. Josh Allen 2018 Prizm Silver #205 PSA 10

The Buffalo Bills have the fifth-best odds to win the Super Bowl and start their championship run against the New England Patriots this Saturday. The Bills lost their first regular-season match-up to the Patriots 14–10 but won the second match-up 33–21. 

Allen’s Prizm Silver Rookie PSA 10 has a pop of just 26 and last sold for $10,300:


The card hit an all-time high price of $15,500 in July, perhaps because Allen finished 2nd in MVP voting for the 2020 season after leading the Bills to the AFC championship.

Buffalo is currently a 4-point favorite over the Patriots. 

5. Matthew Stafford 2009 Topps Chrome Refractor #TC210 PSA 10

Matt Stafford has never won a playoff game in his 12-year career and hopes to change that this year. The Rams have the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl and open up the playoffs at home against the Cardinals. Although the Rams lost to the Cardinals earlier in the season, they beat them 30–23 in mid-December. 

Stafford’s Topps Chrome rookie refractor PSA 10 is a pop 62 and last sold for $1,475 on January 6th: 


The card hit an all-time high price of $2,600 in November but has since come down in value, likely due to the Ram’s (and Stafford’s) inconsistent play. The Rams have one of the most star-studded rosters on paper, but can’t seem to pull it together against good teams. 

6. Dak Prescott 2016 Prizm #231 PSA 10

The Dallas Cowboys have the seventh-best odds to win the Super Bowl and open their playoff run against the San Francisco 49ers at home. The last time the Cowboys faced the 49ers is the last time they were in the NFC Championship: 25 years ago. 

Prescott has played well this year after coming off of a season-ending injury but has a lot of pressure to lead his team in the post-season since Dallas has won just 3 playoff games since 2000

Prescott’s pop 1,196 2016 Prizm Silver (in 2016, there were no base Prizm football cards) last sold for $540: 


The card sold for $1,200 in August and $1,125 in October, but has since come down in price. 

7. Kyler Murray 2019 Prizm Silver #301 PSA 10

The Arizona Cardinals started off the season white-hot, going 7–0, but lost 4 out of their 5 regular-season games. The Cardinals have the eighth-best odds to win the Super Bowl but will be missing DeAndre Hopkins and possibly JJ Watt against the Rams, which are two big blows. 

Murray was playing well to start the season, but since returning from injury, he’s struggled. 

His Prizm Silver Rookie PSA 10 has also struggled, last selling for $1,133 on 1/12, its lowest price in 2021: 


The card hit a 2021 high price of $3,250 (lower than the all-time high of $4,950 in March 2020) but has been dropping since October. If Murray and the Cardinals look like they did the first half of this season in the playoffs, perhaps the trend will reverse. 

8. Mac Jones Absolute Kaboom! #K44 — Ungraded

The Patriots are a long shot to win the Super Bowl with the 11th-best odds, but they do have a head coach who is 31–12 (.721) in the post-season. No rookie quarterback has ever won the Super Bowl so it seems unlikely, but Mac Jones could be a fun play of the Patriots show signs of momentum in the post-season. 

Because Jones is a rookie, his Prizm cards won’t be released until March 2022, so we’re going with his Kaboom! rookie. 

Kaboom! rookie cards have been popular and growing in value, and Jones’ latest sale on eBay was $1,325. For comparison, Josh Allen’s Kaboom! Rookie BGS 9.5 last sold for $5,820. 

Jones could win offensive rookie of the year and frigid temps for their Wild Card game against the Bills could create some opportunity for an upset. 

9. Joe Burrow 2020 Prizm Silver #307 PSA 10

The Cincinnati Bengals have the ninth-best odds to win the Super Bowl, which is impressive considering that the Bengals went 4–11–1 the previous season and Joe Burrow is coming off of an ACL tear

Burrow’s pop 100 Prizm Silver Rookie PSA 10 last sold for $3,400 on 1/12: 


Burrow’s rookie silver has held its value well in 2021 with a low price of $2,175 and a high price of $3,500 despite the pop increasing from 39 copies in April to 100 copies today. 

It also doesn’t hurt that Burrow is paired up with a rookie receiver who looks to be on an elite career path. The Bengals open up their playoff run at home against the Raiders.

10. Derrick Henry 2016 Prizm #298 PSA 10

Derrick Henry is the only non-QB on this list and for good reason: he was largely responsible for leading the Tennesee Titans to the AFC Championship in the 2019 season.  

He rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown in the Wild Card round, rushed for 195 yards and threw a passing TD in the Divisional Round, and rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship. 

In 2020, the Titans were knocked out of the Wild Card by the Baltimore Ravens when Henry rushed for just 40 yards on 18 carries, but they are the AFC’s 1-seed and have the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl. 

Henry was having a dominant 2021 season, rushing for 937 yards in eight games before he was sidelined with an injury. This is a risky bet because it’s still unclear if he will return for the divisional playoff round. 

His pop 164 Prizm rookie last sold for $430 on 1/6: 


The card hit a high price of $800 in February and rebounded again in October. Henry’s injury is a massive risk to his card prices but there’s a lot of upside if he can come back and play like his old self in the divisional round. 

Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Independent Films of All Time

Independent films are selected time and time again for Best Picture and cover a wide variety of genres, almost always on a niche, smaller level. Though they might not have the same wide scope as a blockbuster Spider-Man movie, independent films can certainly pop off and hit it big, making those watching forget that it’s actually a smaller, independent movie.

Films like Get Out and Parasite were both independent films, though they each received widespread acclaim, basically turning them into blockbuster hits. In no specific order, these next 20 films are a few of the greatest we’ve seen across our screens in recent years.

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1. “Moonlight”

Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, Moonlight follows the character of Chiron at three different stages of his life, as he works through various emotions and life events. This includes the struggles of growing up, his identity and sexuality, as well as the emotional abuse that he endured over the years.

Watch on Hulu
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2. “Requiem For a Dream”

This classic psychological thriller stars Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, and Ellen Burstyn, as Requiem For a Dream is about drug addiction and how the different characters suffer from it. It’s a deep dive into how drugs affect people psychologically and lead them into various states of delusion.

Watch on HBO Max
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3. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

A classic Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel has a stacked cast as many of his films do, including Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Tony Revolori. The storyline follows a mystery as the concierge of an extremely upscale hotel is framed for carrying out a murder.

Watch on Prime Video
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4. “Still Alice”

Based on Lisa Genova’s novel of the same name, Still Alice centers around Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), who is dealing with a sudden Alzheimer’s diagnosis at the age of 50 years old. The film deals with the progression of the disease and how Howland copes with the diagnosis and gets through daily life with her family.

Watch on Hulu
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5. “Little Miss Sunshine”

This comedy follows Abigail Breslin as Olive Hoover, a child who has recently qualified for a beauty pageant in California, and her family, who has to get her there via Volkswagen Bus as they live in New Mexico. While it’s a comedy, the film also touches on more serious notes, like addiction and suicide, making this film more of a tragicomedy.

Watch on Prime Video
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6. “Parasite”

This South Korean dark comedy film became an instant hit when it arrived in theaters; it also performed extremely well critically, as the film ended up taking home four Oscars, including Best Picture. After Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik), the daughter of a very poor family, ends up being hired as an English tutor for an extremely wealthy family, her entire family sets out to work for this new, wealthy family in order to make money.

Watch on Hulu
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7. “Napoleon Dynamite”

This early-2000s classic stars Jon Heder as the namesake character as he navigates high school as an extremely quirky and awkward student. The film is a mish-mash of similar characters who are unusual in their own ways, like most of his family, Pedro, who decides to run for class president, and Deb, his friend who’s on the shyer side.

Watch on Prime Video
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8. “Pulp Fiction”

An absolutely iconic film starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction focuses on the crime scene in Los Angeles, going through multiple different stories within the area. The film is often considered one of Quentin Tarantino’s best, with its incredible dialogue and overall storyline.

Watch on Hulu
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9. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

A winner of multiple awards, including the Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri centers around Mildred Hayes’s (McDormand) quest to find justice for her daughter’s rape and murder. Hayes decides to pay for three billboards to call out the police department for not being able to find who murdered her daughter, leading to an ongoing conflict between Hayes and Police Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson).

Watch on Prime Video
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10. “12 Years a Slave”

12 Years a Slave follows the true story of Solomon Northup, who wrote the book of the same name about his experience as a slave in 1853. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Northup, who was kidnapped and forced into slavery for 12 years even though he was a born-free African American.

Watch on Prime Video
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11. “At Eternity’s Gate”

Willem Dafoe puts on an incredible performance as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, which tracks the famed painter in his last years of life. The film goes into great detail by showing the process behind the specific paintings that van Gogh completed in those final years, as well as the extremely emotional side of the painter.

Watch on Prime Video
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12. “Election”

With Reese Witherspoon as the overachieving student, Tracy Enid Flick, Election follows her high school campaign for class president. One of her teachers, Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), decides to sabotage her run for president through various methods as he finds her to be an extremely annoying student.

Watch on Hulu
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13. “The Wife”

Glenn Close leads as Joan Castleman, wife of Joseph Castleman (Jonathan Pryce), a famous writer who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. This moment is the culmination of years of unspoken resentment on Joan’s end, as she’s the real one who deserves the award, given that she has been her husband’s ghostwriter for all of those years.

Watch on Hulu
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14. “Get Out”

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a psychological horror film about Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), who spends time at his girlfriend, Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) house with her family. Things quickly take a turn for the worst as her family turns out to be casually racist and incredibly insane, with particularly odd things occurring around the house that just don’t add up.

Watch on Prime Video
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15. “Nomadland”

Nomadland took home a ton of wins at the 2021 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director. Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Jessica Bruder, this film stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a modern-day nomad who travels across America working various jobs and musing about life.

Watch on Hulu
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16. “Juno”

Elliot Page is Juno MacGuff in this coming-of-age film, which tells the story of MacGuff, who accidentally gets pregnant and decides to put her baby up for adoption. The story tracks her through her pregnancy and how she chooses who will be adopting her future child. Also starring in the film is Michael Cera, who plays Paulie Bleeker, her friend and the father of her child.

Watch on Hulu
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17. “Good Will Hunting”

Matt Damon is Will Hunting in this independent film that has become quite the iconic movie over the years. The story follows Hunting (Matt Damon), who is secretly a genius yet works as a janitor. When he starts going to therapy under Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams) as part of a legal agreement after getting in trouble for assaulting a police officer, things in his life start to turn around. Hunting begins working with a mathematics professor, and after that, he takes note of his life and figures out where to go from there.

Watch on Prime Video
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18. “Call Me By Your Name”

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer star in this coming-of-age film about two young men who meet in Italy and form a deep romantic relationship. Chalamet plays Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old student, while Hammer is Oliver, a college graduate student; the two meet as Oliver works as Perlman’s father’s assistant.

Watch on Hulu
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19. “Lady Bird”

Lady Bird has quickly become a classic coming-of-age film, with Saoirse Ronan as the main character of Lady Bird, a disillusioned high school senior with a broken arm who has a tough relationship with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf). The film follows Lady Bird at school as she experiences new things and looks ahead to what her future will be like, as she’s eager to finally get out of Sacramento.

Watch on Netflix
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20. “Lost in Translation”

Bill Murray stars as Bob Harris, who heads to Tokyo to promote liquor, given that he used to be a famous actor. While there, he ponders his life as he’s not used to the culture in Japan, though he eventually meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a college graduate who quickly changes things. Though there’s a fairly large age gap, the two are able to connect and form a bond over their shared feelings of alienation in Tokyo.

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Culture Trading Cards

Precious Metal Gems: The Cards That Changed the Course of the Hobby

Precious Metal Gems, “PMGs” for short, was released in 1997 as part of the larger Skybox Metal Universe basketball and football card sets. Since then, PMGs from the 1997–98 basketball set have become some of the most iconic and collectible inserts in the hobby. 

PMGs are significant because they represent the earliest implementation of what saved the hobby from the junk wax era and helped create the engine for the modern collecting economy we enjoy today: artificial scarcity

Throughout hobby history, we’ve seen vintage cards sell for record prices largely due to natural scarcity instead of artificial scarcity. 

Famous cards that have sold for millions of dollars like the Honus Wagner T206, Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps, and Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey benefitted from natural scarcity. Fewer cards were produced, and even fewer survived in good condition over the years. 

However, as the hobby grew, collectors got smarter about preserving the condition of their cards, and companies like Ultra Pro released protective sleeves in the mid-nineties. 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the hobby almost died out because card companies produced millions of cards. This caused hobby shops to go out of business, and sports card companies to nearly go bankrupt.

Card companies had to do something to create scarcity to increase collectibility, so they started adding serial numbers to cards that limited their supply in the marketplace. 

In 1990, the first serial numbered sports card was released. It was a holographic card numbered to 10,000 (meaning only 10,000 copies were printed), featuring the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy:

The cards still actively sell on eBay for around $150 for a non-graded card and $300 for a PSA 7, which goes to show that artificial scarcity created by sports card companies can make cards more valuable. 

Lowering print runs and adding artificial scarcity was a solution that has evolved into limited release inserts, rookie patch autographs, rare parallels, and created a group of collectors who study hobby history to find rare modern cards. 

Despite numbered cards preceding its release, Precious Metal Gems had quite a few advantages that helped make their mark in hobby history: 

1. The Design Aesthetic and Cultural Relevance

The Vince Lombardi trophy doesn’t have a lot of eye appeal and doesn’t depict an athlete on the card. On the other hand, the inaugural PMG set featured all-time greats like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neill, Tim Duncan, and more with attractive green and red-colored cards. 

The set also happened to release during the 1997–98 season, a pivotal one for NBA basketball. 

It was Jordan’s final season with the Bulls when they went on to defeat the Utah Jazz in the NBA Championship. Marking the end of one era, but the start of another with young superstars like Kobe Bryant entering the fold. 

Anybody holding a PMG from 1997 is immediately sucked in with nostalgia to one of the greatest eras in basketball. 

2. Ultra-Low Supply

PMGs came in two colors: Red and Green.

There were only 100 copies of PMGs printed for each player, with 10 green copies, and 90 red Copies. 

For perspective on how rare these cards are, the odds of pulling a Michael Jordan PMG insert from a pack was 1 in 17,500. 

These were the only parallels in the set, unlike modern releases. 

For example, the 2018 Prizm basketball product has 36 parallels. 20 of those parallels are numbered to 99 copies or less. If you want a rare parallel from the set, you have plenty of choices. 

With PMGs, you only had 2. 

3. The Set is Condition Sensitive

Condition sensitivity can recreate the same type of scarcity vintage cards have. PMGs are hard to keep in pristine condition, which kept the supply of high-grade copies low. Out of 501 total graded copies of basketball PMGs by PSA, only one has received a PSA 10 grade. 310 (62%) of all the cards graded received a PSA 6 or lower.

4. The PMG Revival and Expansion

In the ten years following the release of the Metal Universe cards, only one new basketball set was released, 1998–99 Metal Universe

This time around, the design was altered and the PMGs had a print run of 50 with a one-of-one PMG Masters parallel.

While there was a 1999 Metal Universe baseball and football set produced, the set faded into relative obscurity until Fleer/Skybox went bankrupt and was acquired by Upper Deck. Upper Deck relaunched the product for basketball in 2008–09, but used a different design:

Goldin Auctions

This PSA 10 copy of the Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems (numbered to 10 copies) sold via Goldin Auctions for $222,630, but it wasn’t until 2012 and 2013 releases that the set expanded into other sports. In 2012 and 2013, Fleer Retro used the same design as the original precious metal gems and released for Basketball, Football, Baseball, Hockey, Golf, Boxing, Wrestling, and Marvel:

Cardboard Connection

The iconic and original Precious Metal Gems sets and design have permeated more of the hobby and have now become popularized through its resurgence. 

This resurgence culminated with a $915,000 sale of a 1997 Michael Jordan Green PMG by Heritage Auctions. 

5. Notable PMG Sales
Sports Collectors Daily

That $915,000 marked the most expensive PMG ever sold. It was an Authentic PSA copy of the Green PMG Michael Jordan (numbered to 10 copies) in December 2020.

The card previously sold for $350,000 in February of 2019. Only 6 copies of this card have been graded by PSA. 2 were graded “Authentic”, 1 was graded a 5, and 3 received a PSA 6.

Tiger Woods 2013 Upper Deck Precious Metal Gems #E-TW PMG Purple /125 BGS 9.5

This pop 9 card sold for $11,000 on January 2nd, 2022, but once sold for $112.50 in 2017. This particular PMG is not one of the most expensive ones ever sold, but it commanded 5-figures while setting an all-time high price. 

The Purple PMGs are numbered to 125 copies and were gifted to Upper Deck staff. The cards featured athletes outside of the usual sports (basketball, football, baseball, hockey) including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, Michael Phelps, and Oscar De La Hoya. 

Spiderman 2013 Fleer Retro Marvel Precious Metal Gems Blue #5 BGS 9
Goldin Auctions

In May of this year, a BGS 9 copy of this card was sold via Goldin Auctions for $34,440. Just eight months later, the card in the same grade sold for $132,000. That represents a 283% increase in value. 

This card is numbered to just 10 copies and maybe our first instance of in-theatre performance affecting a card’s value. 

Spiderman: No Way Home was released in mid-December and just passed Titanic to become the sixth-highest grossing film (domestic) of all time. 

We’ve written about how an athlete’s performance can affect the value of cards and the popularity of the new Spiderman film seems to have the same effect. 

Alex Ovechkin 2012 Fleer Retro Precious Metal Gems Green #16 BGS 8.5

On Friday, December 17th, a seller accepted a $42,500 offer on this Alex Ovechkin Green PMG BGS 8.5 out of 10 copies. Ovechkin is an accomplished hockey player who could surpass Wayne Gretzky’s record for most all-time goals scored in the NHL. 

Add this card to the list of non-1997, non-basketball PMGs hitting record numbers in the last few months. 

Russell Wilson 2012 Fleer Retro Precious Metal Gems Green /10 #M63 BGS 9.5

This Russell Wilson Green PMG is numbered to just 10 copies and sold on November 23rd for $20,000 via Buy It Now on eBay. This is the only copy of the card in a BGS 9.5 and there are no copies graded higher (including PSA). 

The Seahawks struggled this season and did not make the playoffs, but Wilson is a Super Bowl Champion and has the 2nd highest career passer rating of all time. Although the card features Wilson in a college uniform (collectors tend to prefer pro uniforms) the $20,000 sale further confirms collector interest in PMGs outside of the iconic ‘97-’98 basketball set. 

Culture Movies/TV

“The Book of Boba Fett”: ‘The Streets of Mos Espa’ Recap

For another 38-minute episode (sigh), this one sure packed a ton of storylines in it, as ‘The Streets of Mos Espa’ walks us through the more gritty parts of the city.

At Jabba’s (Boba Fett’s) palace, the 8D8 Droid is standing in front of a projected map, giving Fett and Fennec Shand some history regarding the areas that were previously under the protection of Jabba and Bib Fortuna. He notes that Fortuna had Mos Espa divvied up into three sections by three families: the city center was taken by the Trandoshans, the Aqualish had the worker’s district, and the Klatooinians controlled the upper sprawl and starport. Given this, 8D8 makes it known that the people of Mos Espa are waiting to see how Fett will lead the area.

Fett also reflects on their meeting with Mayor Mok Shaiz from the previous episode, where he denies sending the assassins to kill him. With this, Fett now believes that the Hutt Twins were behind the attack.

Interrupting this meeting, a local water monger and shop owner, Lortha Peel, comes by for an unscheduled visit, letting Fett know that a gang of local teenagers (who are half-human, half-robot) stole some of his water inventory from him. He begs Fett to get rid of them, and finally, he agrees to look into things.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

At night, Fett, Shand, and the Gamorrean Guards head into Mos Espa to track down the teens. Outside of the Peel’s shop, he finds the group of grungy kids hanging out and decides to confront them. Expecting them to lie about their stealing, one of the leaders of the crew, Drash (Sophia Thatcher), openly admits to stealing the water. She explains that Peel is charging an exorbitant amount for water, which Fett is surprised by.

After Drash tells him that there’s no work in the area to make the money to actually pay for the water, Fett suggests that she and her crew come work for him, which they agree to. Overhearing this, Peel comes rushing out of his shop and is outraged by it. Fett calls him out for charging too much for water and reimburses him for the gang’s stealing by paying him a more acceptable amount: 500 credits instead of 1300. After that, the gang follows Fett back to the palace on multicolored sand scooters that resemble Vespas. Or, if you’re a fan of the older Nickelodeon show, Zoey101, they basically look like the Jet-X.

In his medical pod, Fett has a quick flashback back at Kamino, watching his father fly away on Slave-1. In a more recent flashback, Fett is once again back with the Tusken Raiders, where he heads out on a Bantha to go to Mos Eisley and look for the Pykes. In the background, we get a quick glimpse into The Mandalorian as Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) walks by in the background with a few of her robots.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

Fett meets with Pyke Syndicate, where they talk about the protection arrangements in the Outer Rim. He’s expecting to receive payments from the Pyke, though he refuses to pay Fett as they’re already paying another party for protection: the Kintan Striders (the speeder bike gang). As the Pyke won’t budge, Fett tells him that he won’t be hearing from the striders anymore.

Upon his return, a billowing line of smoke clouds fill the air above the Tusken Raider camp, and upon further investigation, it turns out that the entire camp was burned down by the Kintan Striders. Their infamous symbol was painted onto one of the tents, and although Fett thought that he got his message across to them in last week’s episode, they decided to take revenge on him for his actions. With this, Fett departs the camp, though he’s brought back to the present day abruptly, as Black Krrsantan unloads him from his medical pod and throws him across the room.

The two fight in the medical pod room, with Fett making unsuccessful efforts to take the Wookiee down, as he’s basically unstoppable. The gang of teens come running into the room to assist him and are mostly unsuccessful, even though there are so many of them. However, they’re able to lead the Wookiee to the main room in the palace, getting him to stand over the trap door. At this point, Shand unlocks the trap door, though Black Krrsantan is able to hold on with one hand. She takes out her small knife and throws it at his hand, which finally traps him downstairs.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

With that fight concluded, the twin Hutts show up to apologize to Fett with a massive gift (that they forgot to wrap, might I add): a “baby” rancor, fit with a trainer, portrayed by Danny Trejo. The Hutts also reveal that the territory they thought was for them was actually promised to a different Syndicate by Mayor Mok Shaiz. With that, the Twins have decided to go back to Hutta (Nal Hutta), their planet, instead of vying for the territory on Tatooine.

The Gamorrean Guards bring out Black Krrsantan, who is handcuffed, and Fett offers him back to the Hutts if they renounce their claims to Jabba the Hutt’s land. They don’t care about what happens to the Wookiee, so Fett simply releases him back onto Tatooine.

The rancor is brought to the lower level of the palace; its eyes are masked, as the first person it sees will become its leader. Trejo’s character finally removes its mask and the rancor sees Fett, which he quickly becomes attached to.

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Disney+

Fett, Shand, and the teenage gang head over to have another impromptu meeting with the Mayor, and the Mayor’s Twi’lek majordomo heads back to fetch him. However, he locks the door behind him; upon noticing this, Fett and Shand are able to break their way into the back room, though they find it completely empty.

Having to act quickly to catch the majordomo, the gang of teenagers take off on their sand scooters and begin to chase after him, who has taken off in a land speeder. They follow him through the cramped and crowded streets of Mos Espa constantly dodging droids, markets, and falling crates. It’s not a super-high-speed chase, as one can only go so fast through such small streets, though I feel like they could’ve been going a little faster just for the sake of action.

The gang is finally able to corner the majordomo after he crashes his landspeeder into a fruit market, filling his vehicle with exotic fruits. Fett catches up to them with his jetpack, landing right beside the landspeeder, and finally asks where the Mayor is. Apparently, he decided to take off with the Pykes.

Elsewhere in Mos Espa, dozens of Pykes arrive on a starliner. Shand believes that this is only the first wave of them and that there are more coming; a clear sign that they want to go to war.