Ten Years, Ten Songs Part 1

Ten Years Later, These Pop Songs Still Get Us

 

Believe it or not, some of your favorite songs are turning ten years old this year. Take a minute to appreciate that. Celebrate these ten favorites by taking a trip down memory lane and showing off at your next Throwback Thursday karaoke party.

 

Rihanna- Pon De Replay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEauWw9ZGrA

It’s hard to believe we’ve been jamming to Rihanna for ten years. What’s also hard? Them abs.

 

Snoop Dogg ft Pharrell Williams – Drop it Like It’s Hot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtUVQei3nX4

Admit it, you still try to emulate Pharrell’s tongue click and hum this when using a microwave.

 

Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgjkth6BRRY

Uh huh, holy s**t this song is ten years old. You still remember how to spell banana thanks to this song.

 

Ciara ft Missy Elliott- 1,2 Step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBHNgV6_znU

This…track…is… ten years old are you feeling old yet? Still can’t skate dance either. Ciara’s hips are hypnotizing.

 

Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6MOKXm8x50

The kings of guyliner, pop punk playfulness and those sweet sweet dance moves. Still don’t know what they’re saying after all these years.

 

Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0habxsuXW4g

Possibly one of Mariah’s most quotable love songs just behind “Always Be My Baby”, like MC herself has aged well.

 

Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spBU4Yv8fE

The song that always seem to be on lite radio’s perpetual loop whenever you go to the doctor’s office, drug store or a ride with your aunt in her 05 Camry.

 

Game ft 50 Cent – Hate It or Love It

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuMBmK5uksg

Bringing New York and Los Angeles rap together, however briefly, over a classic Marvin Gaye melody, this song still manages to make you bop.

Kanye West ft Jamie Foxx – Gold Digger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vwNcNOTVzY

Eighteen years, eighteen years…

 

The Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEe_eraFWWs

Few songs have boggled the mind of music fans more than what exactly humps the BEPs were referring to, 10 years later scholars and scientists alike agree, nobody knows.

 

I’m @invisiblecircus on the Twitters. Let’s talk about the good ol days and telling kids to get off our digital lawns.

How Job Hunting Brought Me Here

If you’ve looked at my bio on Twitter (which I hope you have) I have listed myself as a content strategist, digital media guru, YouTube specialist and cat lady. These are all key things to
keep in mind when you consider that I have been job hunting since April of this year. I know what you’re thinking, you played on the internet, how hard could it be to get back in the game? The answer is really effing hard.

I am self taught in the digital domain game and my mentor, an extraordinary woman in her own right, both walked into the digital realm with bright eyes and can do attitudes that meant we were ready to take on the world. We did. The world wasn’t ready for us just yet.

This is not a sob story, this is a reboot, a reimagined version of what is to come.

At around the time of my job loss, my mom had been struggling to find one of her own. She’s a 20 year veteran of the garment industry, my mom has consistently worked, paid my tuition for school and kept food on the table and clothes on my back. As of December 31, 2013, my mom has been out of work. She’s taken a few freelance jobs that lasted a few months working for the same people responsible for her job loss and continues to scour the industry pages and job listings hoping for something. Here’s the thing that breaks my heart. My mom shouldn’t have to go through this at her age. She shouldn’t have to be fighting the same kids I fight (20 something’s with stars in their eyes) to get a job in an industry focused on outsourced and overpriced goods made in countries that are getting wiser to the game. Here she is, fighting and losing. My mom has never had much love for the fashion industry. She loves fashion and really did her best to get me to quit the tired tee and jeans look that’s my trademark but she never felt passionate about making sure the clothes the toddlers wore were actually flame retardant and wouldn’t choke your kid out; it was a job that kept her idiot child out of trouble and fed. She demanded and instilled that I keep reaching for the top shelf (because that’s where there good liquor is) and beyond for whatever bizarre dream I was clinging to. My mom wanted to be a doctor but she never said why she never continued it and that’s always bothered me, how she could dream but only a little bit and want the world for me. Today, she began paperwork for early retirement.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hustling like the good New Yorker I am, networking and freelancing to keep up with the pile of bills misery and paperwork to get back into an industry that doesn’t really care how you describe yourself in a Twitter profile but how you work on a set for 18 hours delirious from lack of sleep and anxious for that email saying you’ve booked your next gig. I had something that I enjoyed after shoveling crap for so long. Yes I love creating content. I love making people laugh and think and I did it for other companies for a long time but when do you stop making things happen for other people and make things happen for yourself? And how do you do it?

The new age in technology has allowed everyone to make an impact in was we didn’t know possible. We can see opportunities wherever we are not looking because there’s so many lanes open. We are capable of designing our own paths and we can find people we didn’t know we’re looking for us. I never had a chance to really think about what makes me an individual; I never gave a quality answer during interviews about why I was a qualified candidate and I tended to make terrible jokes about cartoons, Im an idiot basically. I never thought about my value as a person to any I the organizations I had been a part of (I’ve held a few odd jobs) so the first days and weeks of being jobless hurt more than anything. I had identified with this company so much so that I forgot why they liked me in the first place. It happens. You get comfortable. Feel safe. You are one.

I weighed my job options. My old retail job was looking for people but I couldn’t go back to that, not after launch parties at 40/40 Club (yes ESPN on the screen) or crashing celebrity birthday bashes and drinking free top shelf liquor. It was like being Mase and going back to being Diddy’s gardener; I couldn’t walk away from the cool kid life. I filed for city jobs, corporate jobs, temp work everything and waited for a call from someone.

As I sat filing for unemployment I was writing. A lot. I’ve always been a writer, it’s just one of those things I was able to do without thinking but it was never asked of me to do regularly, so it was in the back burner. I wrote fanfiction (it got that grim but I have to say, some of it is really good) I wrote bad poetry, 140 character reviews, I even took the time to write Amazon reviews! I was writing articles for this blog, submitting to different digital properties I’d had professional relationships with and hoping they’d be interested in the ramblings of a now 30 year old uber child; turns out they already had a staff of 20 year old über children and they were armed to the teeth with gifs. Things were pouring out of me and I didn’t know where they could all go.

I had a bit of a rebellious summer. Cut and dyed my hair colors I couldn’t have with my 9-5, joined some fandoms, marathoned tv shows and kept up with what was going on with the digital landscape. I revamped my resume, I worked the US Open and made some connections but the confidence had been beaten out of me. The bravery to really go out and get that ESPN/CBS/TNN job just…I was rattled. Here I was, working an event meeting people right in the thick of things and I was reduced to a mess of goo because I didn’t know what I could bring to these people that they didn’t already have. You see, losing your job is a strike to the heart because you never saw it coming and what it does is rattle you body and soul. It renders you immobile because you want to know what you did wrong and no one will tell you. Everyone you hoped would help aren’t there and you’re out in the world alone and confused because it was all good just a week ago. So I sat. I waited. I submitted to more jobs and I waited. I wanted to quit but I couldn’t. What would I be quitting?

The government keeps saying that unemployment is on the decline but they always fail to mention that the resources are diminishing and that means people who were claiming it can’t anymore so of course it looks like everyone is okay. They just stopped claiming. They’re onto the next thing to make ends meet. They’re filing for social security, disability, something to keep themselves afloat in a city that doesn’t value the working class.
So I kept writing.

A friend pitched me to someone way back when and an email appeared while I was out with Waffle that changed a few things.

I was tasked with writing for and EDM property.

Now if you’re a fan of the blog (all five of you are and I thank you) you see I’ve been doing first reaction listens of albums. I figured no sweat. Someone cares right? I dove in. I dug up old stories, dusted them off and submitted them for approval. I landed a byline. A.DIGITAL.BYLINE. On a music news site that I frequented and my brain melted.

I had given digital rebirth to myself like some cybernetic Phoenix. My mom immediately took to Facebook (never doubt the power of a mothers love when it comes to her small social media presence) and demanded that everyone on her timeline read my scribblings. She had tears in her eyes. The last time she’d been this proud of me was when I’d graduated high school. I kid. It was when I landed the job that changed everything and brought me into the digital world but still.

I learned things about myself that I didn’t know. You’d think I’d have a good idea of who I am but there’s always something. I learned that I am a thinker; overthinking to the point of crippling indecision. I learned that I pick up on social cues and things people say and do, learn how to read the signs and plan accordingly. I learned that everyone will help if you help yourself and that while no job is perfect or permanent, the people who make it feel like it is are the ones you want to keep in contact with. I learned that my mom is super into puzzle games and really wants me to accept her Facebook invite to Gardens of Time (still pending) and that she still really believes that even when things are shitty, they can either be worse or get better. I learned that I just have to try, even if I don’t know what to expect. I don’t care how old you get, you always want to make yo momma proud. Bottom line.

I am a digital strategist, media mogul, YouTube specialist and cat lady. I’m also the daughter of a woman who made it possible for be to believe that for every weird thought you’ve had about making a difference in the world, you’re right. That you’re tougher than you thought, that you are not labels you write in your Twitter bio, you aren’t disposable or replaceable. You can fight your way back in and make everyone remember your name.

Job hunting made me find and create my dream job and as corny as it sounds, it really does happen.

Now if it paid better, I’d be set.

Find me on Twitter @invisiblecircus

iPhone vs Android or How I Discovered My Relationship Style

Technology is amazing isn’t it? We can communicate 24/7 we can selfie ourselves sick and we can Yelp about how awesome this Thai place is from a mobile device. Two weeks ago, Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and it’s been interesting to watch how it didn’t quite meet the standards iPhone users and tech heads had come to expect from the juggernaut company.

I wanted a new phone. I’ve had an iPhone 4s for a few years and have come to love all the things that it can do, basic as it may seem.

I wanted to feel fresh bold and new, the way a fancy new piece of tech can make you feel.

I decided to upgrade and wound up with a big Samsung Galaxy 5s.

I went back to my iPhone after one day.

What happened? Wasn’t I so totally head over heels with the Samsung? Didn’t I want to take all the elaborate photos and videos and go, ‘I’ve moved on Apple, you lack innovation’ ? Wasn’t I totally upset when U2 appeared on my phone for no reason? Of course I was. I was ready to move on and then I realized, the text messages from the one person who I value the most weren’t coming in and they weren’t seeing anything I was sending. Suddenly, a panic. All the photos and videos and easy to draw dicks on people’s faces (there’s an app for that) in the world couldn’t save me from the fact that I couldn’t communicate with the one person who means the world to me.

My brother was ecstatic.

I’d finally dumped iPhone for Samsung and he had so many things he wanted to show me but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, Black Widow had done so much for me that it was hard to just start working with Sam. I was cheating. I was cheating on the phone that had been so good and loyal to me despite all the times I’d wanted to throw it out a window, shoot it with an m-4 rifle then detonate a claymore right on top of it. It had been good to me and here I was, wanting something new when we both knew that wasn’t how this was going to work.

I researched, I toyed with it. I watched videos and tried to find reasons why having this flatscreen pressed to my face would make me happy and I realized that what I really use the phone for is communication, sending random photos and of course, talking to another person.

legit search history

I’d compared notes and tested both phones in store before walking away but I was struck with tremendous sense of guilt and a little bit of sadness, feelings you get when you walk away from a relationship. I’d had Black Widow (my iPhone 4s) for about 3 years and in that time I’d seen so many concerts, Tweeted so many douchebagy things, taken adorable pictures and watched the most random videos on this thing. I’d had arguments that should’ve never happened, text wars that didn’t make any sense and all emoji texts with said person who was really the reason why I was going back to the iPhone.

What does all of this say about me as a person?

I value experiences and memories over making something new happen. New experiences are great as long as they’re with someone or something familiar because you always want to broaden your horizons with the thing that reminds you of how far you’ve come and how much more there is to go. I like knowing that the phone I took a certain picture on is the same one in my hand when I’m taking a new picture. I like to compare their flaws, I like to know that I love them regardless of that and my having every version of a picture or operating system or hell, even a case, is enough to make me glad that I have them in the first place.

I’m loyal. Even if you’re doing something stupid, I’ll be with you to make sure you’ve learned something from this royally stupid mistake and even then, I won’t make fun of you for it, I’ll be glad that you tried something different and stayed true to yourself.

I like them shy I guess, the type that surprise you with how simple things make your day easier. They’re intuitive without needing to be shown.

A lot of Apple slander happened while I was debating phones, it sounded a lot like comparing partners. I defended Apple’s snobby elitism when it came to apps; I’d rather use who you trust than just let anybody into my life. It’s clean and fits without being eye catching. You notice it, do a double take and wonder how’d they get together. Much of what Samsung does is directly influenced by Apple so it’s like why are you doing the extra to get noticed? Samsung’s so big and bold and Apple is humdrum and simple. I’m simple. I’m boring actually, so it makes sense that I like the tried and true personality of an Apple versus the LOOK AT ME IM SO BIG I’M A BEAST bravado of the Samsung series. They’ve got a lot of great things going for them and I’m sure there will come a point where I really just don’t want to be using an Apple product anymore but again, the nostalgia, the comfort and knowledge that this phone was with you when you needed someone to talk to keeps me on the iPhone team.

I hated that the Samsung demanded I use my Gmail account to connect everything. Sure, you need an Apple ID but it asks you if you want to download things whereas with Google Play, all the things you do on your email gets shopped around and the phone just takes whatever it wants. You have to tell it to stop downloading things. I don’t want people to know that I spend way too much time on tumblr looking at gif sets of my OTP’s THAT IS MY TIME AND YOU DON’T GET TO SHARE IT!

I didn’t like that the Samsung told me I was stupid for not getting Swype or that my pictures needed to be enhanced somehow. I’m like, “sweetheart, you have a 16 megapixel camera, far better than any other phone in the market but I still see blotchy images that I have to fix in post. You’re not that good looking that I have to perform miracles on you okay? ”

Back to the relationship thing.

It terrified me walking around with this phone I didn’t know.

We were strangers on a first date, trying to get to know each other, being awkward. I asked what it liked to do and it told me, Ask Google. I asked if it liked taking pictures of cats and it said, ‘Sure yeah whatever we can do that’ I tried watching a movie on it and it was nice, we connected but we were silent, occasionally brushing fingertips in the popcorn and cringing at the contact. I changed the interface to closer resemble the iPhone, labeling my folders in the same quirky manner that I had with iPhone. It felt wrong somehow. I was making this phone more like me instead of it making me work and adapt and understand each other’s quirks.

At the end of the night, the Samsung kinda sat on my bed, big and bright, wanting me to play with it some more while my iPhone sat on an end table, quiet, stoic, understanding. I wound up Tweeting from my iPhone about how much I wasn’t enjoying Samsung, confessing to the main piece that you had one night with the side piece and it was awful. The iPhone was polite, listened and understood; it wasn’t personal, sometimes you just have to see the world to appreciate the beauty of your own front yard. I tossed and turned all night, checking on Sam and Black Widow to see who’d text me (I’d left the wifi on the iPhone on since the phone itself was disconnected) and no one said anything to me.

I work up this morning and called my carrier and cancelled the Samsung. The tech on the other line was surprised, almost shocked that I’d just bought this glorious masterpiece of tech and I was going back to the same old same old. She was understanding (I gave her a five rating for her service) and walked me through the process of one night stand with Sam. I’d have to go back to the store and tell them why Sam and I just weren’t going to work out.

I backed up Black Widow onto the Tardis, my Macbook Pro. My wallpaper the same one from an August concert with the one person I constantly communicate with (and with whom the double entendre of this post is for) my apps back where they belong and everything seemed to right itself. The simplicity of knowing that this relationship is just going to make sense because we make sense settled over me like the blanket I want my boo to cover me when it’s cold out. We read each other’s thoughts and know what the other needs without having to be explicit about it.

I’m back with my iPhone and who knows what the future holds, I just know as long as there is an outlet and I have a charging cable, I’ll trust where we’re going.

Scandal Premiere Live Watch

Sandy sunny beaches

a shameless shot of the upcoming book to movie Gone Girl

Olivia and Jake banging on the beach.

He’s all hairy and beard and I’m like….ayeeeeee

They’re making a dude deliver their shit like it’s Fresh Direct but for two people avoiding responsibilities the way we fantasize about that.

They’re in Zanzibar.

I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS REAL BUT IT’S REAL AND IT’S REAL.

Scandal is opening with an episode of Lost…its like AU Fanfiction gone wild.

OMG. Harrison was found. He’s dead and there go my dreams of handsome Harrison in suspenders.

They’re back, tan and rested in Washington, Jake promising they’re only here for a few days, in and out…like their sex session on the beach. Get It? SEX JOKE!

Olivia er Julia Baker is wandering the once former Pope offices which is a great stand in for creepy lofts and gardens.

OH FUCKING A IT’S QUINN.

She’s babbling about the red wine Olivia problem and the Fresh Delivery thing.

I WANT THE SHOW WHERE HUCK IS A GEEK SQUAD REP AT BEST BUY.

Grant is on the ill rage while whatsername is running the show. Ginger is running hard on this.

Mellie is in full blown college dropout mode. I LOVE HER.

Mellie is living la vida no fucks given in the worst fuck life pj set from Target.

HOLY FUCK IT’S PORTIA DE ROSI AND SHE’S GOT THE BIGGEST FUCKING LESBIAN HAIRCUT IT’S SO BIG AND FILLED WITH SECRETS.

Ok, So. Quinn in her all black long hair don’t care outfit is kinda doing something for me but fuck her cos she’s being a tit.

Abby has her reading glasses on, snapping away at Olivia because that’s what needs to be getting done.

All fights should be in the middle of Washington in full hearing of people who probably were like, the fuck these women fighting about? I love how Olivia did the epic hair spin.

Quinn, go home.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK: COME UP FOR AIR KIDS.

This show is amazing at getting characters to sound like human dictionaries, dropping lines like crazy.

DADDY POPE!!

Olivia knows wine the way we know mix tapes or movie lines. Terrible. I need more class.

Joe Morton is a miracle.

Fitz and Poppa Pope took out Momma Pope and you wonder why she’s so messed up…but you know he didn’t.

Cyrus is knew about the Olivia visit and he’s mad he wasn’t included in the ‘hey girl hey’ kiki party. He does’ want her anywhere NEAR the White House.

“Mellie is washing her hair.” I’m done. I’m done because I so much want to see if Mellie has a tumblr.

They’re having a deep discussion about the correct casket for Columbus Short’s career. I mean, Harrison.

Oh yes, mystery knocks and phones. Someone is needing not Olivia Pope’s help and as it turns out, someone’s dead. She sent an intern to do that.

Olivia has a job again, yay!

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Here’s where we read all the hilarious Twitter commentary and wonder why none of us are in the same room at the same time.

Cy out here trying to buy people’s loyalty.

HOLY SHIT IT’S NAN FLANAGAN TRUBIES ENJOY!

Olivia ding dong ditched 911.

Huck being a super militant on his Best Buy Geek Squad policy. Olivia throwing the new iPhone 6 around…I am Randy the Smart Guy. She broke Huck, WHO IS GOING TO FIX HUCK?!

We’re in the cemetery with Mellie and Fitz. Mellie is wearing her favorite Uggs and big fluffy robe and I really just want to know what her Tumblr handle is.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Jake isn’t interested in talking about a dead old dude, he wants to talk about the sexing and the what nots.

She just monologued during the sex Jake was wanting. What a boner killing experience. I hope he’s got something he can fap to, blue balls can kill a man.

Jake is still rambling dirty pillow talk about riding and touching and now he’s gonna go check out Pornhub and finish Jake Time.

Ok so Seriously, QUINN I HAVE MIXED EMOTIONS ABOUT YOU RIGHT NOW.

Cyrus needs someone to distract him, he’s so rumpled and sad and messy.

Oh of COURSE Fitz is asking for Olivia. Mellie is basically a character in Girl Interrupted but we’re just gonna pretend that they’re not going to be doing anything for the rest of the season.

The Senator Vaughn is fucking up her own SVU episode.

Olivia read the Senator and is gonna go update her FB status: BITCHES GOTSTA LEARN.

Quinn just said she’s finna go undercover and bust the creepy ring of creeps happening since she happens to look just like the girls who the dead Senator Sterling happened to be  a fan of.

Olivia asked the intern for  her phone, called Quinn, saw the intern called Vaughn and just like that, we have 15 minutes to solve the mystery of whether she’s going to stay in DC or not. SHIT.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

David and Abby putting their heads together about how she works for the Death Star while he’s being a creepy secret keeper. They both have weird code names: he’s Milhouse she’s Red. He has color coded files for how creepy people are. Guess what color Abby is. Red. CREEP.

Everyone is just reading everyone this episode. How does anyone remember their lines on this show.

Vaughn sold out brown eyed brown haired girls for his creepy sexual problems and Olivia wisely walks away, fresh out of fucks. That’s what you need. She’s at Harrison’s funeral and shockingly, no one else is there. Nope, here’s Quinn, all black errythang with Jake lurking in the back being weird.

OH cool, we get Harrison’s backstory over his coffin which is y’know how I like to talk about people, when they’re dead and can’t say nothing.

Nothing like a funeral to bring the family back together.

Sorry Columbus about your career n all. 

Oh good, Poppa Pope sitting there in a creepy car finding all the things out and driving off in the most not obvious car ever.

It looks a lot like you’re going to stay in DC for a little while longer Jolivia. Sorry.

 

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Mellie is planning dramatic suicide jumps from the balcony.

I think she’s having a martini at 10 am. I want one and it’s 10pm.

Fitz why did you even say anything about Olivia being back? What is wrong with you you doofus? You and your messed up wife are just working out well with each other.

I’m really a fan of fuck you and this shit Mellie. She just told Fitz, that when he sees Olivia she’s going to be put on notice. She’s not about his sexy thing either. SHE JUST TOLD HIM SHE DOESNT EVEN WAX OR MAINTAIN THE BASEMENT. IT’S 1976 DOWN THERE. Mellie, let’s just be friends, let’s hate everyone together.

Jake is getting all fed up talking about dead people when he’s been trying to get his dick wet.

David was officially nominated as attorney general and Lizzie, er Portia, and her big hair aren’t happy about it at all.

Oh and Olivia is staying, she’s also going back to the office and getting her team back together because that’s what we’re here for.

Olivia is telling you to own that shit, you the real MVP.

She’s crossed paths with Fitz and of course it’s slowmo and they almost touch pinkies which as we all know, is the universal sign for, I WANNA TOUCH YOU N KISS YOU AND LOVE YOU.

They don’t.

And we’re in for a long season.

The Fast and Furious Franchise Is A Superhero Movie

Warner Brothers unveiled the logo for the longest title in superhero movie history, Batman vs Superman:Dawn of Justice. Naturally, the internet was all over it, bagging on the decisively long title, the terrible logo and the confusion about WHY justice needed to be dawning to begin with.

It looks like when you smash a bug with a sneaker that has a pretty snazzy design on the sole

 

While promoting X-Men Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer sounded off on why the varied success of the Fox version of the Marvelverse in comparison to the Disney Marvelverse:

It’s very different universes. The appeal is different and to try and do the same thing… this in an ‘inbetweequel’, OK, of two ensemble films, Avengers and the Marvel movies are individual franchises based on major characters that’s why there are some Marvel characters in Avengers that don’t have their own movie, because I don’t know if they had their own movie anyone would be that interested.

DC/Warner Brothers have the unenviable task of taking beloved superheroes and making them work as a team, without the padding time of being able to launch standalone series in the same way Marvel launched their properties. DC essentially left their bags of money on Bats and Supes doorstep and walked away quietly, banking on the logo recognition and ability to sell millions of branded merchandise, not focusing on building an experience or enhancing their films in the way that Marvel has built out their titles. DC’s TV properties, by the way, have successfully introduced Green Arrow to the masses following the micro Justice League run in the later seasons of Smallville; Arrow, the Smallville spinoff is launching The Flash this fall. Both of these characters as well as Wonder Woman, who is yet to successfully launch in any medium, are members of  The Justice League but there is no word on whether they will appear in the film itself, Wonder Woman is confirmed but what she will actually do, if anything, remains to be seen. The DC/Warner Brothers team have to decided to take a group of people that are relatively unknown in the general movie going population and make them characters worth caring about while sharing the screen with Batman and Superman.

Sure, Marvel had standalone films before launching The Avengers but that has more to do with world building, telling a good story. It can be outlandish, seem like the strangest trip known to man but you CARE about where you’re going and that’s why movies are so good.

The Fast and Furious series may well be the finest piece of cinematic superhero storytelling we will see on screen.

The first movie, The Fast and The Furious centered around wildly attractive FBI Agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) infiltrating the allegedly impossible to infiltrate illegal street racing in Los Angeles via local family lunk Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of import and muscle car driving goons. The movie is a candy coated tribute to the car porn dreams we all have while the characters have delight they are impossibly campy car movie with one liners, tight shirts, early 2000s rap-rock soundtrack and the emergence of the new action star in Vin Diesel.

2 Fast 2 Furious would follow, starring Walker and adding model/singer/fine smile owner Tyreese Gibson, the Mouf of The South rapper Ludacris and Eva Mendez to the cast as supporting characters in the growing sexy race car business. Set in Miami, the movie ups the stakes with drug trafficking, 80s level villains and a pretty intense chase sequence. These characters would serve to bolster the further the legacy of the Fast franchise, despite lacking Diesel in the lead role.

Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift would take the franchise across the world to Japan with a completely new set of characters. If you watch this one, you’ll see where the superhero element starts to take shape. Sean leaves Alabama to live with his father, stationed in Japan to avoid a lengthy jail sentence after driving too fast and too furiously through his small town. While there, he meets another American transplant in Twinkie, played by rapper Bow Wow, who’s got a thing for Jordans and street racing. The duo connect with local drifter (driver) Han and they naturally master the racing. What’s interesting about this is that Han references a racer he met in the States, a racer he never names but another character meets at the end of Tokyo Drift that brings us back to the States with The Fast and Furious.

We return to Los Angeles, where it all began where Brian and Dom are trying to solve the mystery of what happened to Letty, Dom’s girlfriend. They bring it back to the core group and reintroduce characters that appeared in the previous films, building Dom and his crew with a wild concoction of characters that support the cause of…driving fast and furiously. The races are bigger, the fights more drawn out and the shirts tighter. The film was even billed as New Model, Original Parts. It reinvigorates a franchise after Tokyo Drift which felt a bit out of left field for some audiences, despite having a tighter storyline than the other movies. The cars are extensions of the characters, as easily identifiable as a Bat Signal, Superman’s S (correction, the symbol for Hope).  You cringe when you watch them smash (these are seriously beautiful cars), when they appear just in the nick of time, you’re swept up in the emotion of the moment of these characters doing something insane.

By the time Fast 5 is released, you’re willing to accept every type of madness this series will throw at you and by the movie’s last act, you really do. This time around, Dom and his team are being hunted down by arguably the biggest superhero of all, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. They do not make shirts tight enough for this man. The team wind up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil veritable Robin Hoods in a city run by a corrupt official with Johnson’s Hobbs hot on their heels. Without spoiling much, let’s just say, you will be hard pressed to find a better argument for American made muscle cars and their engine blocks than when you watch them literally break the bank.

Fast and Furious 6 kicks up the entire series into overdrive from the first frame, hammering you with visuals, racing, snappy comebacks and yes, tight shirts. Adding women’s UFC fighter Gina Carano to the mix as Hobbs’ new partner joining Dom’s team of international super racers, the cheesy plot includes amnesia, character retcon and this scene:

The series that started as a wink and nod to the old racer movies of the 50s spawned into a massive multi-million dollar blockbuster by following the same simple elements that we as an audience love to see in a good popcorn movie: characters we like in improbably scenarios, doing insane things because it’s the right thing to do. Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw is on his Bond-villian A game against Team Torretto, giving sleezeball realness in skinny jeans, rolling around in an Aston Martin because why not, this is London and everyone drives luxury cars and using every type of fancy new technology at his disposal. As the above sequence shows, there is nothing more breathtaking than seeing a casually roar down the highway and nary a fig given for reality. You as the viewer are so engrossed in how perfectly impossible the entire scenario is, you’re at the edge of your seat, jaw open and wondering how the hell are they going to get out of this mess.

Naturally the final act is fan service and again, forgoing spoilers, it is something you would expect from a superhero movie.

Death is defied, physics ignored and shirts are tight.

What makes the franchise work at its base is how likable each character introduced are, despite occasionally bad dialogue, they are personalities that you may know. They can provide a bit of reassurance in finding yourself as a person in the world, much in the same way a superhero can inspire you to strive for more. The series as a whole combines impossible elements with improbably scenarios and impractical uses for cars but in a bizarre way, it all works. It’s the same reason we believe that Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern ring combined with his imagination makes him the defender of Earth as part of the Lantern Corps. It’s the same reason that we believe that Tony Stark’s Iron Man is a valuable piece of machinery. It’s the reason why X-Men were formed, why The Avengers avenge and what the Justice League stands for. We want to know that a group of people with a goal can accomplish anything, whether it’s legal or illegal, in tight shirts with aliases and winning, even if we have to suspend our belief.

Gal Gadot, Giselle in the FF series, was cast as Wonder Woman in the aforementioned Superman/Batman movie. A former Isreali soldier turned model, the actress has tall boots to fill as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. With so many calling her physique and appearance into question, Gadot has the unique opportunity to cross from regular car hero to actual super hero. How much of her we’ll see is still up in the air, but the hope is that we’ll actually get to see something special. Vin Diesel is the voice of Groot in Marve’s upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy. It doesn’t get more gangsta superhero than a talking tree. If two actors from these films are already comic book movie canon, accepting the characters and plots to the FF series can’t be all that far fetched now can it?

The Fast movies argue that comic book movies have a lot to strive for. They have to find the heart and soul in one character that can understandably, comfortably and confidently bring together a group of misfits, crooks, rogues and smartasses to convincingly make the mission one worth doing. You have to care about what’s going on, who they are and the journey you’re willing to go on when it comes to spending hard earned money on any of these big budget movies this summer and every summer to come. They don’t necessarily have to wear spandex and have super powers but if they’re attractive and wearing tight shirts it’s all good.