2014 Movies, Ranked

Comparing movies across genres is difficult, and probably not even fair. Most importantly, everything through Fury gets a thumbs up.

  1. Birdman
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Interstellar
  4. Foxcatcher
  5. Nightcrawler
  6. Pride
  7. Boyhood
  8. Ida
  9. Under the Skin
  10. The Theory of Everything
  11. The Imitation Game
  12. Gone Girl
  13. The Lego Movie
  14. John Wick
  15. American Sniper
  16. Calvary
  17. Guardians of the Galaxy
  18. Edge of Tomorrow
  19. Fury
  20. Godzilla
  21. Noah
  22. I, Frankenstein

Why Using Parsecs Makes Sense For Han Solo and the Kessel Run

Han Solo: It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs…

Nerd: Mr. Solo, isn’t a parsec a unit of distance?

Solo: Yes, it’s about 3.26 light years.

Nerd: Then how does it make any sense to brag about your ship because of a distance it travelled?

Solo: You see, Tommy—

Nerd: Timmy.

Solo: Whatever. Traveling through space is like driving from your house to a nearby store. You can’t just go in a straight line. There are things to avoid, like houses.

Nerd: …and cows.

Solo: Sure. Staying on the road allows you to avoid running into these things, but there are many routes that you can take. Let’s look at this helpful visual aid.

StoreDrive

Solo: Here are three routes that you can take, outlined in orange, red, and blue. There is an unlimited number of potential routes you could take, and all will get you from your house to the store, but the orange one is clearly shorter than the other two.

Nerd: What’s this got to do with space? There are no roads there, so you don’t have any houses to run into.

Solo: Well, there are things like planets and in the case of the Kessel Run, there is the Maw Black Hole Cluster, which would kill you if you got too close. The big ships would plug their destination into their Universal Positioning System, which would probably give them a route like the red or blue one. But the Millennium Falcon has a navigation system, which I built, to give me an even shorter route, that still won’t get me sucked into a painful death. It’s like if you built a GPS that had twice as many roads as the standard models.

KessellRun

Nerd: Can I fly your ship?

Solo: No.

Nerd: Your wife is hot.

Solo: I know.

Leaving Guys On and Scoring

When many televised ballgames go to or return from a commercial break, they will flash up each team’s runs, hits, and errors, but sometimes they’ll throw in a bonus number: The number of runners each team has left on base. The inclusion of that number seems to indicate that stranded runners are an important aspect of the game. But is this actually true?

It does not come up often—announcers will bemoan a team leaving the bases loaded—but it seems that nobody talks about leaving guys on being bad because it is so obvious that failing to knock in runners will cost their team runs. In other words, a high number of runners left on will result in fewer guys crossing the plate. Analysts don’t tout teams for leaving another ten guys on tonight!

Here’s the thing: If we look at every MLB game from 2010-2014, we find that as the number of runners left on increases, so does the number of runs scored. Exactly the opposite of what everyone thinks!

Left on Base, 2010-14

Our conventional thinking is as if each team has a finite number of base runners each night, and the job is to knock them home. This is obviously not the case. A pitcher prevents a team from scoring runs by preventing runners from getting on base. From this perspective, the two clearly go hand-in-hand. There is a snowball effect at work; the more guys who get on base, the more are going to score.

But the number of runs scored comes down to the timing of the hits, not just the number of hits. It is obviously not the goal to leave more guys on base, it is the other way around. The teams who score runs are putting more guys on base and so they are stranded when the timely hit is not there, but at least they gave themselves a chance to hit with runners on base.

So don’t be too concerned the next time your team leaves a dozen guys on; not that you will necessarily be thrilled, but more baserunners is better than less.

Earlier related post

In Which Martin Hart and Rust Cole of True Detectives Announce A Baseball Game

Martin Hart: Welcome back folks, we’re in the 18th inning of a 2-2 marathon between the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays. Glad you are still hanging in there. I’m Martin Hart, joined by my partner Rust Cole. Looks like the Jays are going to bring in righty Brandon Morrow to face Grossman, Altuve, and the DH Carter here in the top of the frame.

Rust Cole: Well, some might call me a pessimist, but Robbie Grossman does not look like a good ballplayer.

MH: *under his breath* Oh no. *clears throat* Now now, he is still young at 24 and still improving.

RC: Perhaps, but tonight he’s oh for six and he was picked off at first base when the Astros were threatening a man on third in the 12th inning. The newspapers are going to be tough on him for that, and a locker room is very, very tough on guys who get picked off. He should probably kill himself.

MH: Not sure he has to go that far, Rust, Houston has had many chances to break this tie it would be a bit harsh to put the whole thing on Grossman, who will take the first pitch of this at-bat for a ball, low and away. I mean, there is no real need to dwell on that play in particular is there?

RC: Someone once told me that time is flat circle. Every play is going to happen over and over and over again, and he’s going to get picked off of first base again and again and again. Forever.

MH: Grossman with a sharp ground ball, but it’s right at the shortstop Reyes who throws on to Lind for the out at first. That’ll bring in second baseman Jose Altuve. He is 3-for-4 tonight with a double, he scored one of Houston’s runs after swiping second base in the 3rd. In fact, Altuve is only a few stolen bases away from a bonus.

RC: If a ballplayer needs a promise of a million dollar bonus to perform to the best of his abilities, then that person, Marty, is a piece of shit. Kind of like this whole Astros team, for example.

MH: When I talked to Houston manager Bo Porter before tonight’s game, he was pretty optimistic about the club moving forward. He does not think they will be a poor team forever, regardless of flat diamonds and whatnot.

RC: Have to say I disagree on that one. I think this Astros team is a tragic misstep in human history. Baseball has created a team separate from itself. It is a team that should not exist. They labor under the illusion that they are a real team, when in fact they are nothing.

MH: I’m not so sure abou—

RC: The honorable thing for them is to deny their programming. Stop hitting. Jog around the bases until extinction. A final few innings of ballplayers opting out of a raw deal… That is what I mean when I’m talking about time and death and futility.

MH: Oh, yes, if you weren’t with us in the 15th inning you missed a doozie, folks.

RC: Eight straight hours of watching the Astros and Blue Jays and these are the things you think of, Marty.

MH: I guess I can start to see your point there, Rust. Altuve fouls one back to the backstop. Do you ever wonder if you’re a bad analyst?

RC: No, I don’t Marty. The world needs bad announcers.

On Washing Hands

It is almost certain that “Employees must wash hands” signs exist more to reassure customers they are being serviced by persons with clean hands than to be a true reminder. But is it not unsettling that said business would imply they hire employees who need reminded of such an automatic task?