by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists

The List of the Day PLUS!

Y’all on Google+ yet? Ranker wanted to join, but then Google said you had to be a real person with a real name to join and not just some company. And they caught on to our “Ranky McRankerson” plan pretty quick. Clever girl…

Anyway, we’ve now been reduced to sitting on the sidelines and encouraging our faithful users and employees to do the +1-ing for us. (Please give it a try! It’s that colorful +1 button you see under the titles of every Ranker list! Vote us up and I’ll come to your house and hand-deliver to you a delicious muffin basket!)

NOTE: We have no intention of really giving you a muffin basket. How do they even keep the muffins fresh long enough to basket and then deliver them? This is not a good business strategy.

Twitter owes a lot of its present popularity to the A-list cast of celebrities who frequent the microblogging service. I mean, can you imagine ever hanging out there if Kanye West weren’t sharing insights about Persian rugs with cherubs on them constantly? UNLIKELY!

Will the same happen for Google’s upstart new social network, Google+? It seems increasingly possible. The site is already being called “the fastest-growing in history” and has added over 25 million new users while still in beta. (For comparison, it took Facebook 3 years to get to 25 million users, and Twitter nearly 30 months.) And now, the celebrities have started pouring in.

Check out Ranker’s guide to Celebrities on Google+ for a fairly thorough listing of everyone who’s using the service, from NBA great Carmelo Anthony to socialite Paris Hilton to Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell. (Dude you’re getting a Dell…post!) Imagine, being able to experience Soulja Boy cranking that in REAL-TIME. Truly, we live in a remarkable age.

The glasses are helpful whenever he forgets his own name. Hey, it happens.

by   Ranker
Staff
in Data Science, Opinion Graph, Rankings

From Ranker Labs: A Deeper Look at the Worst Movies List

Perhaps you didn’t know Ranker had a whole large laboratory full of scientists in neatly pressed white coats doing crazy, some might even say Willy Wonka-esque experiments. We try to keep that sort of thing fairly under wraps. The government’s been sort of cracking down on evil science ever since that Freeze Ray incident a few years back… you know the one I mean…

A rare glimpse behind the curtain at how Ranker lists are made. Photo by RDECOM.

Anyway, recently, our list technicians have been playing around with CrowdRanked lists. We get a lot of Ranker users giving us their opinion on these lists.

(Ranker’s CrowdRankings invite our community members to all gather together and make lists about one topic. Then everyone else can come in and vote on what they think. When it’s all been going on for a while, and a bunch of people have participated, you get a list that’s a fairly definitive guide to that topic.)

One list that has interested us in particular is this one: The Worst Movies of All Time. Almost 70 people have contributed their own lists of the worst films ever, and thousands of other members of the Ranker community have voted.

And what do we learn from this list? Everyone really, really, really hates “Gigli.” I mean, hates it. That movie is no good at all.


Ben Affleck does his impression of everyone watching more than 5 minutes of ‘Gigli.’

It comes in #2 right now, with almost 700 votes upholding its general crapitude. The only movie topping it in votes right now is Mariah Carey’s vanity project, “Glitter,” which, to be fair, barely qualifies as “a movie.”

But our scientists – because they are seriously all about science – thought, there must be something more we can do with this data now that we’ve collected it. And wouldn’t you know, they came up with something. They call it “Factor Analysis.” I call it “The thing on my desk I’m supposed to write about after I have a few more cups of coffee.”

So What Is Factor Analysis Anyway?

Here’s how the technicians explained it to me…

We’re going to perform a statistical analysis of the votes we collected on the “Worst Movies Ever” list. (Just the votes, not the lists people made nominating movies.)  To do this, we’re going to break up the list of movies into groups based on similarities in people’s voting patterns. (That is, if a lot of people voted for both “Twilight” and “From Justin to Kelly,” we might group them together. If a lot of those same people voted against “Catwoman,” we’d put that in a separate group.)

Sometimes, you’ll be able to look at the grouping and the common thread between those choices will be obvious. Of course the same people hated “Lady in the Water’ and “The Last Airbender.” They can’t stand M. Night Shyamalan (or, perhaps more accurately, they can’t stand what he has become.) Not exactly a shocking twist there.

The Airbender gains his abilities by harnessing the power of constant downvotes.

But other times, the groupings will not be quite as obvious, and that’s where the analysis can get more intriguing. Once we collect enough data, we’ll be able to make all kinds of weird connections between movies, and maybe figure out a more Unified Theory of Bad Movies than currently exists! (Hey, a blogger can dream…)

When doing this kind of factor analysis, you first must determine the number of groups that exist in your data. We used something called a Catell’s Scree Test to determine the number of groups. (This is fancy-talk for saying: “We plot everything on a graph like the one below, and look for the elbow – the point where the steepness of the dropoff between factors is the greatest.”)

The “Eigenvalue” that you see along the Y axis there is a measure of the importance of each factor. It helps us to differentiate between significant factors (the “signal”) from insignificant ones (the “noise”).

Once we decide how many factors we have, it’s time to actually extract factors whereby we determine which movies load on which factors. It sounds precise and mathematical, but there’s some amount of subjectivity that still comes into play. For example, let’s say you were talking about your favorite foods. (Yes, yes, we all love “bacon,” but be serious.)

One way to group them would be on a spectrum from spicy to bland foods. But you could also choose to go from very exotic foods to more ordinary, everyday ones. Or starting with healthy foods and moving into junk food. Each view would be a legitimate way to classify food, so a decision must be made on some level about how to “rotate” the factor solution.

In our case, we chose what’s called the “varimax rotation,” which maximizes the independence of each factor and tries to prevent a ton of overlap. This allows us to break up the movies into interesting sub-groups, rather than just having one big list of “bad” films (which is where we started out.)

Doing that yields the below chart.

Along the top, you can see the factors that were extracted. The higher the number a film gets for a certain component, the more closely aligned it is with that component. Using these charts, we can then place movies in “Factors,” or categories, with relative ease.

Unfortunately, the program can only get us this far – we can see the factors, but we can’t tell why certain items apply to certain factors and not others.

So What Can Factor Analysis Tell Us About the Worst Movies?

First, our lab rats managed to split the entire Worst Movies List (containing 70 total films) into 5 different categories.

Category 1 (we called it “Factor 1”) contained the most movies overall, so whatever the common thread was, we knew that it must be something that people immediately identified with “bad movies.” Some of the titles that most closely correlated with Factor 1 were:

- “Monster a Go-Go”
- “Manos: The Hands of Fate”
- “Crossover”
- “The Final Sacrifice”
- “Zombie Nation”

Check out the full group here on our Complete List of Factor 1 Bad Movies.

We decided that “Classic B-Movie Horror” was the best way to describe this grouping. Of the group, 1965’s “Monster a Go-Go” was the most representative item, and it didn’t really overlap with any of the other groups. The film is a fairly standard horror/sci-fi matinee of the time. An astronaut crashes back to Earth having suffered radiation poisoning, and then goes on a rampage.

So when most Rankers think about what makes a movie “bad,” they tend to think of older, low budget movies that fail at being scary, and maybe have a sci-fi element as well.

Factor 2 was a bit harder to pin down. Lots more movies seemed to fall into or overlap with this category, but it was a bit tricky to pinpoint what they had in common. Representative Factor 2 movies included:

- “Glitter”
– “SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2”
- “From Justin to Kelly”
- “Catwoman”

and the most representative of all for Factor 2 was “Gigli.” (See all the movies relating to Factor 2 here.)

We settled on “Cheesiness” as a good common thread for these movies. (Especially if you continue on down the list: “Battlefield Earth,” “The Room,” “Batman and Robin,” “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”…yeesh…)

Note here that “Gigli” was the film that most closely correlated to Factor 2 (what we have deemed “cheesy movies”), and “Glitter” was also considered highly cheesy. Yet “Glitter” is the overall most popular “Worst Movie” on the list, when going by straight votes. This seems to indicate that “Gigli” was hated SOLELY because it is cheesy, while “Glitter” commits numerous cinematic crimes, including cheesiness.

Factor 3 had even fewer films that closely correlated, but it was very simple to figure out what they all had in common. Consider the movies that were most representative of Factor 3:

- “The English Patient”
– “The Family Stone”
- “Far and Away”
- “Legends of the Fall”
- “The Fountain”
- “Eyes Wide Shut” (oh come on are you guys kidding it’s freaking Kubrick!)
– “What Dreams May Come”

Check out the full group here on our Complete List of Factor 3 Bad Movies.

Let’s call this the “Self-Important Pretension” group. People who hate movies that are self-consciously “artsy” and “important” REALLY hate those movies, and will pretty much always pick them over other bad movies from other genres. These folks are just outnumbered by the people who think it’s worse to be old-fashioned or cheesy than pompous. (At least, people ON RANKER.)

Factors 4 and 5 are sort of interesting. It’s definitely harder to make a clear-cut distinction between these two groups when you’re just looking at the films. We know they are distinct, because of the voting patterns that created them. But consider the actual movies:

- “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace”
- “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
- “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
- “Spider-Man”
– “Godzilla” (the 1998 Matthew Broderick version)
- “Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones”
- “Pearl Harbor”

(Here’s the complete Factor 4 list.)

Biggest disappointments? That was our first thought. But then check out Factor 5:
 
- “Forrest Gump”
- “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”
- “Million Dollar Baby”
- “Avatar”
– “Quantum of Solace”

(All the Factor 5 movies are listed here.)

Certainly, if you didn’t like Best Picture winners “Forrest Gump,” “Million Dollar Baby” and “Avatar,” you considered them disappointments? “Quantum of Solace” was the lukewarm follow-up to “Casino Royale,” one of the best Bond films of all time. And “Temple of Doom” is the sequel to arguably the best adventure movie ever made, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

So how come the movies in Factor 4 closely correlated with one another, and the movies in Factor 5 closely correlated with one another, if they’re BOTH groups of disappointing films? Maybe they disappointed different people, or they disappointed people in different ways?

One theory: Factor 4 films are entries in above-average franchises that are considered not as good as the other films. (This doesn’t quite apply to “Pearl Harbor,” unless you consider Michael Bay Movies to be a franchise. As I do.) The people who agreed on voting for these films felt that the worst thing a movie can do is disappoint fans of other, similar movies.


For example, movies starring Ben Affleck…

This would make Factor 5 the “overhyped” category. Everyone’s “supposed” to love “Million Dollar Baby” and “Avatar” and “Forrest Gump.” And the people who don’t like them feel a curmudgeonly sense of kinship around some of these titles. (One would expect “The English Patient,” then, to fall into this factor. Unfortunately for our theory, it’s most closely aligned with Factor 3, the “Long and Boring” category.)

More theories as to the strange circumstances of Factor 4 and 5 are certainly welcome. We just thought it was kind of an intriguing puzzle.

There were 3 movies that seemed to coalesce into a “Factor 6,” but we didn’t have enough data and enough films didn’t correlate to create a true category in any meaningful sense. So it may forever elude us what “Waterworld,” “The Postman” and “Road House” have in common. Aside from kicking ass, amiright? R-r-right?

Movies That Scored High in Multiple Factors

Some movies didn’t closely align with any single group, but nonetheless scored high for numerous different factors. For example, “Masters of the Universe,” the ill-fated live-action ’80s adaptation of the He-Man line of toys. “Masters of the Universe” was somewhat aligned with Factor 1 – the “dated B-movie genre” group – as well as Factor 3 – the self-important pretension group. Now that is just weird. I mean, yes, He-Man is kind of a blowhard, with all that “I Have the Power!” stuff. But I don’t really think of it as terribly similar to “The English Patient” when all is said and done.

Also, consider “Lady in the Water.” It aligns fairly closely with Factors 1, 2 AND 3, and even makes a showing in Factor 4. This is a movie upon which haters of every kind of movie can agree.

A Look at Things to Come

So, that’s how we’ve gotten started with using Factor Analysis on some of our CrowdRanked lists. Isn’t it very very very interesting, such that you’d like to tell all of your friends about what you’ve just read? If only there were some kind of digital environment where people could socially interact and share hypertextual links to information that they enjoy with their friends…

Be sure to check out the next edition of Ranker Labs, coming in a few weeks, when we’ll apply some Factor Analysis to ANOTHER one of our big CrowdRanked lists – History’s Worst People.

by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists

On Any Given List of the Week

Well, it’s Sunday afternoon again, and you all know what that means… time to get WASTED. But first, I’ve got to put up this post of all the great lists that went up on Ranker this week. What a drag, right? I mean, yes, Ranker has a ton of relevant, newsworthy lists that get built by users pretty much every day, sure, and it’s my job to feature and help draw attention to them. But Sundays are for relaxing poolside with the tequila and margarita mix I stole from the CEO’s wet bar when he invited us over for a BBQ last Friday.

Hang on, I think I may have gotten this intro swapped with my daily LiveJournal post. Oh well, no time to edit, ON TO THE LISTS!

Football Returns!

Well, not yet. That would be a really long season. Some of those guys probably wouldn’t make it. But it WILL return soon, because the players and owners have finally come to an agreement about raising the debt ceiling. (I’m pretty sure I have that right.)

Where do you think he got that tan? 3 hours of daily footwork and tackling drills.

And Ranker users were getting PUMPED, especially with all the last-minute deals and trades being announced every day. FrankieFrank threw together a collection of the most promising teams going into the new 2011 season. Hardtack contributed a ranking of the 25 Best All-Time Quarterbacks. And finally, it wouldn’t be an football off-season without a few dozen NFL player arrests. And thankfully, the temporary NFL Lockout was no different. I mean, what do you expect when you invite all your rowdy friends over on a Monday? Someone’s going to jail!

Late Summer Movies! Those Are Always Good!

The summer movie season kept right on rolling with a bunch of big new releases.

Included was an adaptation of the graphic novel “Cowboys & Aliens” from Jon Favreau, director of “Iron Man,” “Elf” and the underseen “Made,” in which Vince Vaughn plays perhaps the most irritating character in any contemporary comedy. The film was a relative disappointment at the box office this weekend, perhaps because once you’ve heard the title, you’ve basically seen the movie already.

OK, so this comic Western didn’t work out, but that shouldn’t stop Hollywood from moving forward with “Three Amigos 2,” right? Who’s with me??!?

Also opening this weekend, the big screen adaptation of another group of charming comic book characters. Of course, I’m talking about “The Smurfs,” whose story was finally brought to the screen by the esteemed director of “Scooby Doo,” “Home Alone 3” and, of course, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” Raja Gosnell. Presumably, he managed to squeeze in the production of the film between punching Orson Welles’ corpse and defecating on the last remaining master print of Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill Jr.” Smurfy.

VidCon!

Not all con-ned out after Nerdy Gras last weekend? Then perhaps you took in the YouTube conference, VidCon, that just wrapped up in Los Angeles. The event featured panels and performances from YouTube’s best and brightest, including special effects wizard Freddie Wong, remix masters The Gregory Brothers and the gangsta gourmands of Epic Meal Time.

Needs more Jag Daggniels if you ask me

For more YouTube awesomeness, I recommend these lists of Disney mash-up legend Pogo’s greatest hits and everyone’s favorite cat-made-of-Pop Tarts moments on our Nyan Cat roundup.

Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week

Yes, another Shark Week is upon us, which means night after night of documentaries in which people foolishly climb into cages next to sharks, for fun, because we all know that taunting wild animals with 18 rows of teeth can’t possibly end poorly for anyone.

The list inspired – naturally – a collection of the 20 Best Pop Culture Sharks of all time. (Yes, yes, before you get all excited… Sharktopus made the list… What is this, amateur hour?)

Oh my goodness sorry I totally didn’t see you sunbathing there! This is really awkward now. I guess I should probably just eat you.

Also included? The shark that Fonzie famously jumped, giving rise to the phrase “jumping the shark,” for when a TV show wears out its welcome. Or a blog post, for that matter. I can take a hint.

by   Ranker
Staff
in Pop Culture, Popular Lists

Rise of the Planet of the Lists

There are still some high profile summer movies yet to come – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “30 Minutes or Less,” um… that one where the kids all cheat death but then die anyway, which feels a bit pointless as a concept to carry five films, but here we are. Nevertheless, most of the season’s high-profile films have no opened, including a long-awaited adaptation of a popular series of graphic novels and helmed by one of Hollywood’s top directors. But enough about the “Smurfs” movie.

Personally, I think they made the CG look too realistic. But I’m not the target audience, I know.

As with every big blow-out collection of Hollywood films, Summer 2011 releases had a number of mobile apps and games come out as tie-ins. Almost none of these movie tie-in apps ever becomes popular. And this year’s crop will likely do little to reverse that trend. Hence Ranker’s Evan Hoovler’s decision to scrape the very very bottom of the barrel, for this list of The Worst Game Apps Based on 2011 Summer Films.

There’s a ton of obnoxious non-entertainment to be found here, but perhaps most egregious? The “Kung Fu Panda 2” staring contest app.

Hey, kids, want to have awesome kung fu adventures with me, Po? Too bad. This app is just about staring straight ahead.

Yes, it’s an app where Po, the improbably panda kung fu master, challenges you to a staring contest and then…proceeds to stare at you. There aren’t even hilarious asides, like when Andy and Conan used to do this on those old “Late Night” sketches. Nope, just an anthropomorphized bear using its cold dead 3D eyes to bore a hole straight through children’s souls.

Sleep tight, kids!

by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists, Trends

List of a Thousand Autumns

Konnichiwa.

Japan has developed something of a reputation for having the world’s craziest game shows. This is not entirely unearned; many of their televised contests require outrageous challenges, or feature brutal physical punishments if questions are answered wrong. Chris Farley and Mike Myers memorably parodied these imported game shows on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch I vividly remember, which must mean it was filmed approximately 20,000 years ago:

See, it’s not an offensive stereotype if… um… OK, it’s an offensive stereotype. Schwing!

But weird, wild Japanese entertainment actually runs the gamut of verticals and genres, and certainly isn’t limited to just one type of program. Take some of the programs on our epic rundown of Weird Japanese TV Shows, for example.

Sure, there are game shows present on the list, where contestants are challenged not to laugh at something funny, lest they be shot in the rear end (what our Jewish friends would refer to as a “tuchas”) with a dart gun.

But even more intriguing are some of the other shows that don’t feature any sort of direct challenges. Like the reality show in which a comedian was locked inside a hotel room for several months and forced to subsist only on what he could win by entering magazine contests. Or the show in which guests fart on cue, only to then have to dissipate their own gaseous discharge in several amusing (?) ways. (Think “Whose Fart Is It Anyway?” It’s basically like that.) Or even “Panic Face King,” where a variety of cruel pranks are devised in order to make people generally go insane, freak out and make faces like this:

How come The Situation doesn’t have to do anything to get on TV and I need to be terrified almost to the point of coma-induction? That’s it, I’m moving to Jersey…

Hey, don’t ask me to EXPLAIN any of these bizarre shows. I just blog here… Anyway, now you know about them. Uh, YOU’RE WELCOME.

by   Ranker
Staff
in Pop Culture, Popular Lists

List of the Week-Con

Coming this October to the Lawrence, Kansas, Holiday Inn… I hope. Definitely going to have to make some last-minute phone calls if I’m really going to pull this off. But I figure, if Comic-Con can get 130,000 people to flood into San Diego, then surely a week-long celebration of Ranker lists could attract a minimum of 200 times that number to the jewel in the middle of Central Kansas’s crown.

Anyway, I think we’d definitely have a panel on writing good introductions to “List of the Week” blog posts that aren’t too long, and that segue neatly into the main body of the post. Because I need to learn how to do that. Here’s what happened this week!

Comic-Con is Literally Still Going On As I Type This

I’m fairly certain they’ve redesigned the San Diego Comic-Con schedule so that the event technically never ends. As soon as they begin tearing down this year’s booths, the next year’s ones will start going up in their place. Kevin Smith gets a 20 minute rest period in between podcasts, at least. It feels like we’ve been getting a steady stream of Comic-Con news since roughly the final quarter of the Pleistocene Era. (“Avengers! Coming in just several tens of thousands of years!”)

Since Ranker has such a massive library of great lists about comic books and comic book characters, it seems like a great time to take a quick browse through the library…

- Our CrowdRanked list of the Most Ridiculous Superheroes Ever continues to grow, though I’m not sure how you could ever top Bouncing Boy. He’s a guy named Chuck Taine (so already…weird… ) He accidentally drinks a “super plastic formula” which he mistakes for soda pop. (Who’s going around drinking random items in bottles and just assuming that it’s soda?) Now he has the power to inflate his body into the shape of a ball.

Oh, no, wait, it’s just Bud Light.

- Now that superhero films have become such a part of the mainstream culture, the phenomenon of actual people dressing up in costumes and fighting crime (or just one another) has also exploded. One need only peruse the mighty and ferocious battles in our list of the Greatest Real-Life Superhero Brawls to see that masked vigilantism is on the rise. And also to get a little worried for the future of our species. Both of those.

- Finally, this rundown of superheroes who have disabilities includes a number of well-known characters – your Batgirls, your Daredevils – but also brought to mind some lesser-known crusaders for goodness and justice as well. For example, Misty Knight, a sort-of riff on Cleopatra Jones or Foxy Brown, only with a robotic arm this time.

If they ever do a movie of this character, they’d have to CGI that fro. David Hyde Pierce can do the voice-over!

RIP Amy Winehouse

Not all of this week’s news was fanboys and nerdgasms, of course. There was also the death at age 27 of singer Amy Winehouse, whose struggles with alcohol and drug abuse had become a matter of public record.

They tried to make me write a snarky caption underneath this Amy Winehouse video. I said no, no, no.

Winehouse unfortunately joins the CrowdRanked list of rock stars who died before their time, with the most potential for great future recordings. Right now, she’s at #26. It will be interesting to see if she moves up or down once the shock of her passing wears off.

Entourage Ends

Tonight kicks off the very last season of HBO’s probing, epic, sweeping series “Entourage,” based on the true story of some douchebags who moved to LA and went to a lot of parties with B-level celebrities, often with a timely side project to promote. It was this or another season of “Deadwood.” Thank goodness they took the classy route.

So in similarly sophisticated fashion, Ranker users are voting on the hottest “Entourage” ladies of all time. (My money’s on Emmanuelle Chriqui, but any list featuring Carla Gugino is suddenly that much more interesting.)

Remember…this is a family blog…a family blog…

by   Ranker
Staff
in Pop Culture, Popular Lists

Night of the Listing Dead

Zombies. A key Internet topic ANY day, but particularly noteworthy on this Comic-Con Friday, with the release of the trailer for Season 2 of AMC’s “Walking Dead.”

LET’S WATCH!

Scenes from “Walking Dead” Season 2 or Romero’s “Late Afternoon of the Dead”? You decide.

The new season debuts in October, but if you’re looking for some zombie movies to tide you over, Ranker can help! (See what I did there?)

First up, our exhaustive guide to every zombie movie ever. Think of a zombie film that’s not represented? Leave it in the comments and we’ll add it! Bearing in mind that we’re talking films that are specifically about zombies, not horror movies where the monsters are debateably undead. Trust me, we’ve given this lots of thought.

Did “C.H.U.D. II” make the cut? Yes, yes it did. Did your humble narrator know without looking it up that C.H.U.D. stands for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller”? Uh, no comment.

In fairness, he HAD asked the photographer to capture his good side.

Already a zombie expert with no need for our educational reference lists? Fine, be that way. But you can help us out by heading over to our CrowdRanked list of the Greatest Zombie Movies Ever Made and share your expertise with the rest of the Ranker community. Right now, “Dawn of the Dead” is somewhat righteously sitting in the top spot, but if you asked me, “28 Days Later” is way too high at #4. (I mean, I’m not really anti-“28 Days Later,” but NO WAY it’s superior to “Dead Alive,” “Return of the Living Dead” or “Army of Darkness.”

Wise up, you primitive screwheads.

Finally, let’s say you love zombies but you want to LAUGH. You’re in the mood for a zom-com! We’ve got you covered there, too, with user PT_Tesla’s guide to the funniest zombie movies. Who says being devoured alive by re-animated soulless corpses can’t be amusing? Not me!

by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists

Greetings, True Be-Listers!

It’s that time of year again, when all the geeks, otakus, gamers, cosplayers, LARPers and, yes, publicists make their annual pilgrimage to San Diego. Their destination? The massive Comics Convention that has grown from a niche event catering to the graphic novel enthusiast into a massive explosion of every sub-sub-sub-sub-genre of nerdistry. Several members of Team Ranker, in fact, are there right now, probably waiting in a 2-hour line to meet a high-profile professional penciller. (Say that three times fast… Eh, you know what, that’s alright.)

The rest of us have stayed behind to man the Ranker ship and enjoy the office’s temporary tranquility, a rare period of a few days when no one’s loudly arguing about which Batmobile is best during work hours.

But those of you who are venturing down to Ron Burgundy’s ancestral homeland – or who want to follow all the action from home – are still in luck, as we have plenty of Comic-Con-ish lists for you to enjoy.

Go enjoy yourself, San Diego. (See what I did there?)

First up, our Comic-Con Survival Guide, full of helpful tips to avoid, say, getting stabbed during a Harry Potter panel or being trapped in an elevator with “Twilight” fans. (Shudder.) It doesn’t include my #1 Comic-Con tip, which is: Avoid the convention all together and simulate the experience at home by paying a sweaty guy $50 to follow you around and randomly push you out of the way for 3 days straight. Think of the money you’ll save!

We’ve also got a very thorough Guide to 2011 Comic-Con Movies, aimed at helping you keep track of the various films getting panels, previews and even screenings during the event. (Yes, it even includes that “Captain America” movie that opens on Friday and is sure to be a big topic of conversation around Hall H all weekend.)

Awesome, I’m the first Avenger! When are the other guys joining up? Oh, not for 70 years? OK, that’s cool… So I’ll just wait here then?

Finally, be sure to check out our look back at filmmaker, podcaster and geek icon Kevin Smith’s Greatest Comic-Con Moments. Warning: Some of these contain some foul language and offensive content. OK, all of these contain foul language and offensive content. It’s Kevin Smith. What were you expecting?

by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists

List of the Day, Now With Punch and Pie

Sorry to disappoint you with that headline. I figured more people would come if they thought we had punch and pie.

But we do have another great list to share. (I know, who would have thought… )

Yesterday, as attentive readers will recall, Rupert Murdoch was testifying before a British Parliament committee when a burly plaid-clad “comedian” named Jonathan May-Bowles threw a “foam pie” at his face.

Yes, it was a foam pie. A pie made with foam. We’re not quite sure what May-Bowles was hoping would happen if he fully connected. Murdoch would be upset for a moment, then have a nice shave? Why not just go get a real pie like any self-respecting provocateur?

Anyway, Rupert’s sturdy and unflappable wife Wendi managed to sort of half-knock the pie out of the way, and even get a good slap in at May-Bowles, before the incident wound down to its inevitable, disappointing conclusion. (Within a few moments, Murdoch was all cleaned up and appeared so worse for wear, and we can only assume that May-Bowles is not being held in an underground bunker somewhere, getting foam pies in the face every five minutes while being forced to watch the episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” where Bill insists that no one can explain the tides at top volume.

The whole incident did get us thinking about all the various times protesters have tried to throw things at notable public officials, only to be foiled at the last moment. It turns out, this happens quite a lot, so we made a list of all the most Disappointing Object-Throwing Incidents and Protest FAILs in recent history.

Why don’t more people study the work of the Great Masters? Then they’d have more success.

Not that we’re suggesting you check out the Weakest Moments in Object Throwing as a learning aid for a future planned egging of a public official. Let me make that entirely clear. Ranker does not support or condone throwing anything silly at politicians, authors, pundits, executives or anyone else for that matter. Seriously. Not even Zach Braff. Just don’t do it.

by   Ranker
Staff
in Popular Lists

It's a Rundown…It's a Poll…No, it's the List of the Day!

Greetings, true Rankers. Today’s List of the Day finds us in the heart of Crime City, where valiant Ranker user SaintMort is rattling off a list of all the superheroes with some kind of disability. (Seems fitting on the week of San Diego’s Comic Con, when so many people will travel to California to celebrate costumed superheroes, heavy drinking, movie studio swag and, of course, Twilight movies! Squeeeeeee!)

The screaming fans are already lining up at Hall H to see us… I’m scared. Hold me.

Handicapped superheroes aren’t really as rare as you might think. Lots of characters only get their powers in the first place after suffering through some kind of freak accident. Like Matt Murdock being blinded by radioactive waste, but also attaining super-sonar! And a staggering lack of basic fashion sense! Or consider the case of Dr. Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon whose hands are damaged in a car accident, but who then gets invited to learn all the secrets of the mystic arts.

Drive safe, kids, or you may end up flying through space leaping out of psychedelic skulls. Wait, that actually sounds not so bad.

As well, a common comic book trope seems to be “The very thing that makes you powerful also can make you vulnerable,” so it makes sense that some characters with rare and unnatural abilities would also have some pretty significant disadvantages. Just kind of a bummer, though…

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