On Sunday evening, my scariest nightmares that don’t involve alien abduction or public speaking came true. The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles set a date to meet in the Super Bowl, pitting an unstoppable force of evil against an immovable object of hatred.
I am a New York Giants fan who came to football during the 2005 season, which luckily came directly after those two franchises previously butted heads in the big game. I was a football fetus the last time the Eagles had a chance to take “you have no rings” jokes away from Giants, Cowboys and Redskins fans all over the globe. They didn’t.
I am unequivocally supporting the Patriots this year to keep those jokes around, because the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if only for a couple of hours. But that doesn’t mean I have to watch the damn thing, and neither do you, fellow NFC East fan and possible cretin. Do one of these entertaining things instead.
Catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Black Panther” drops on Feb. 16, and the mad titan of all superhero movies, “Avengers: Infinity War,” drops in May. Both films will be cultural forces of nature and you’re going to want to see them to hang around the watercooler.
Marvel Studios had a strong year in 2017, as they seemingly always do, but none of last year’s three films (the best of which is “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) are essential viewing for what’s to come. What you must see is “Captain America: Civil War,” from 2016, which introduces Black Panther and sets up the organizational pickle the Avengers will find themselves in at the start of “Infinity War.” You’ll only have time for one movie during the Super Bowl anyway.
Play nine holes. Yes, sports will make an appearance in this sports column. For those living near Dallas, bad weather shouldn’t keep you off the fairways, but let’s be real: not many Cowboys fans can claim that they were “born and raised” in those parts.
During the game, the course will be completely empty. Mulligans, practice swings, putting around, all these practices are viable and encouraged. You won’t have a more peaceful day on the course all year, unless you run into a band of rowdy Giants players that have been hitting the Sunday links for weeks.
Plow through a “Black Mirror” or two. The “Twilight Zone” of the social media age returned to Netflix in late December with six new episodes of varying lengths and quality. The worst ones bash the viewer in the head with unwieldy commentary like an errant Kirk Cousins pass. The best ones, while not all-timers like “Fifteen Million Merits” and “The Entire History of You,” are worth your time.
Go for “USS Callister,” a devilishly clever story of consciousness and virtual reality in the wrong hands, and “Hang the DJ,” which runs Tinder through the wringer with surprisingly favorable results.
Listen to Jaden Smith’s “SYRE.” Will Smith’s woke son, author of classic tweets like “How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real,” makes rap music, and released his first full-length album “SYRE” last November.
Don’t scroll ahead just yet. Yes, there are ridiculous lyrics like “The Illuminati’s real, that’s the deal,” and Smith mentions his Tesla no less than six different times, but there is a Kanye-esque creative vision behind the whole thing. The lavish instrumentals, ostensibly purchased with the same money that brought us “Suicide Squad” and Bright,” are truly excellent, and the rapping is good enough. Like BROCKHAMPTON’s “Saturation” trilogy, “SYRE” paints a suitable picture of lost youth rhyming to air the dirty laundry.
Play some “Call of Duty,” but not “WWII.” If you were a “CoD” fan back in its heyday that found yourself sniffing around the venerable shooter series after it triumphantly returned to Normandy last November, stick around for a while. They’re not all this bad. Some of them feature competent map design and a functional meta deeper than “use a BAR and crouch behind a barrel.”
Return to the present with “Modern Warfare Remastered,” a perfectly functional version of “Call of Duty 4” in super-HD on next generation consoles, or take your boots off the ground with 2016’s “Infinite Warfare.” That game received so much pre-release vitriol from the most despicable parts of the Internet that you’d think Adolf Hitler was the playable protagonist, but it’s quite good.