7 Places Where You Can Be A Scrub This Weekend

We’re about a week away from Christmas, and most Torontonians have either blissfully finished their gift shopping or are in the midst of a hellish mall experience. In both cases, everyone’s a little poorer, and for a lot of people a little poorer means flat out broke. To help you out, I’ve listed seven places where you can be a scrub in Toronto.

Moisturize yourself at The Body Shop


The cold is no friend to our skin. Temperature is inversely related to ashiness: the lower the temperature, the more intense the ash. Lotion is important year-round, but it is a vital pocket item between the months of November and March. Unfortunately, when money’s tight you may not be able to buy those cute portable bottles, and carrying your regular size bottle of Lubriderm is not an option. When this happens, simply pop into The Body Shop and start moisturizing. There are testers for a reason, and you are technically planning to buy something…eventually.

Charge up at The Apple Store


We’re usually just thankful for an outlet, but if you happen to be walking around Fairview Mall or the Eaton Centre and your phone (read: lifeline) is running low on juice, you don’t even need a charger. It’s as easy as popping into the Apple Store and plugging your phone in. I’ve become a little too used to the Apple Store’s layout, so much so that I recently tried repeatedly logging into a laptop at a Fido kiosk thinking it was for customers to play with before an employee asked me to stop. Turns out it was the staff computer.

Grab a bite at Costco


Unless you’re a head of household feeding your family on a budget or living with three roommates in Kensington Market, there’s really no reason to be going to Costco. But if you ever need a snack and all there is in your house is canned tuna and a celery stick, offer to tag along with one of these people while they grocery shop, and you are guaranteed an afternoon of stumbling upon random snacks throughout the warehouse. The serious shoppers do not have time for snacks, so it’s really only the teenaged kids and the out of town house guest interlopers who stop to try whatever meat and cheese combination is on display leaving you with plenty of seconds, thirds, and fourths.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Menchie’s


What’s a meal without dessert? Stop by Menchie’s and try a number of different samples to satisfy your sweet tooth, but to be a little classy you may have to fork out for something paid. You should think of this more as a subsidized spot for snacking. There are no club membership cards here, darlings. At Menchie’s, you will be openly judged for not buying something, but if you’re smart you’ll double whatever you paid for with samples. Definitely not date behaviour, but it is certainly scrub behaviour.

Doll yourself up at Sephora


You can go in there and just keep asking for help trying different products until you’ve created a patchwork – but free – makeup session. Or you can try them all yourself and then head out for the night having used Sephora as an extension of your bathroom. In addition, if you’re not smelling so great you can take a quick trip to the perfume aisle. Like they teach you in elementary school, perfume is no substitute for deodorant, but it’s an improvement until you can address the situation accordingly.

Take in a movie at Wal-Mart


Want to watch a movie, but can’t afford the steep ticket prices? Pop a squat in the electronics section at Wal-Mart (or any store with an electronics department for that matter) and watch one of the many family-friendly movies they have playing on repeat on the televisions on display.

PROTIP: Be resourceful and plan your movie around trips to Costco and Menchie’s. Now you have “theatre” snacks.

Treat yourself: Godiva for Champion Scrubs


Godiva offers samples, but they don’t really put it out there, presumably to deter any scrubs from eating a box’s worth of free chocolate in samples. Scrub-like behaviour is made increasingly difficult by the fancy atmosphere that is meant to intimidate anyone from walking in unless they plan on making a purchase. These only keep out the casual scrubs, but smokescreens are no issue for pros. Know your level and scrub accordingly.

5 Daily Habits for an Improved New Year

Two things are inevitable come January: a new year and a landslide of resolutions. For many, a brand new calendar doubles as a clean slate for setting goals for self-improvement. Sadly, most New Year’s resolutions tend to go unfulfilled due to lofty goals with unrealistic timelines. By introducing a few daily habits into your life, you can effectively work towards meeting your 2016 goals.

JUGGLE: Reduce your jiggling by juggling


A crucial part of losing weight and getting healthy is staying motivated, and it’s difficult to stay committed to a daily routine when the results won’t be visible for a couple of months. Learning to juggle might be your solution. Juggling is no Pilates, but it is a quick thing you can do with any three objects each morning, and it isn’t loaded with results-oriented expectations the way exercise is. It sound silly, but it works in terms of learning to set aside time and consistently perform an activity each day. After a couple weeks of fooling around with apples while waiting on your toast, you’ll be surprised at the new skill you’ve acquired with such minimal daily effort and be curious about what else you can do for five minutes each morning. Doing squats or sit-ups while your coffee brews will feel like a substitution for your juggling and soon dedicating more time towards fitness, little by little, won’t feel like such a chore.

DOCUMENT YOUR SPENDING: Journal by numbers


This is perfect both for people who want to start saving money and for those who’d like to begin journaling more. Documenting the day can help you decompress, but deciding which details are important is a pain that often causes aspiring diarists to toss their notebook aside. Decide to write a dated, bullet point list of your purchases at the end of each day with whatever ballpark figures you can remember. Not only will you build a daily, albeit nontraditional, diary that you can refer back to in the future, you’ll be more conscious of your spending habits without the guilt and stress associated with flow charts and spreadsheets and start rethinking purchases while out and about.

LEARN THREE WORDS IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE: Home décor brought to you by the UN

Hello in different languages
Source: SkipPrichard.com

Speaking a second language is a desirable skill, and it’s on almost everybody’s bucket list. As with anything desirable – like beauty or brains – it either takes an accident of birth or a fair bit of work. A terrific, inexpensive way to acquire a language is to incorporate vocabulary into your daily setting. Each day, look up the name of three items in your home whether it means finding the word for “dress” or the decidedly unglamorous word for “toilet”. Language learning is cumulative, and this is a quick way to build your new vocabulary. As you notice your proficiency-level increasing you’ll be motivated to find ways to expand on your existing knowledge. This exercise can be done mentally while brushing your teeth, but you could take it to “movie about a young woman in a foreign country” level and post colourful sticky notes around your living room as well.

RELAX: Take a chill…breath?

Source: The Huffington Post

It’s safe to say that we’d all like a healthy and relaxed 2016. It’d be great if we could eliminate bills, deadlines, and incompetent people from our lives, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Reminding yourself that there are factors outside your control is one good method, but sometimes you need a physical solution short of raiding your bar. A helpful technique for minimizing stress is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. In order to relax, the process involves regulating your breathing by exhaling through the mouth, inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven, and then exhaling for eight seconds. Sounds like a lot of counting, but it’s very soothing – plus focusing on all the counting and inhaling has the helpful side effect of distracting you from whatever’s on your mind.

Fish for compliments. Literally.


Grab a drink, turn on the TV for background noise, and write down compliments and inspirational words related to beauty, self-worth, hustling, education – whatever makes you feel good – on slips of paper. Find a cute mason jar and stick them in there. Put it on your bedside table or next to your keys and each morning before you leave the house literally fish for compliments. Go fishing before bed too if it’s been one of those days. You may feel self-conscious about the practice at first, but it will contribute to an increasingly positive and productive attitude. If you like, you can even pull a Charlotte York à la Sex and the City and scribble an affirmation across your mirror in lipstick. In the privacy of your bathroom, there’ll be no one to judge you.




12 Days of GTA Christmas

Join us as we count down the 12 Days of GTA Christmas. We’ll be posting Toronto-themed “gifts” every day up until Christmas Day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #12daysofGTAxmas.

On the TWELFTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: twelve cards for greeting.


On the ELEVENTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eleven Macs for typing.


On the TENTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: ten cars a-beaming.


On the NINTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: nine hours of singing.


On the EIGHTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight cups for sipping.


On the SEVENTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven calls a-ringing.


(Someone figured out what they did wrong…)


On the SIXTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six babes a-slaying.


On the FIFTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: fiiiiiiive chicken wingssss.


On the FOURTH day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four awful words.


On the THIRD day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: three bank pens.


On the SECOND day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two meatball subs.


On the FIRST day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: an elf in a Raptors jersey.



5 Initiatives Our Taxpayer Dollars Should Go Towards

City Hall has a tricky time deciding where our money should go. The production costs of the city’s last show “To Subway Or Not To Subway” are believed to have cost Torontonians millions. While it’s important to get a move on improving transit and infrastructure, I’ve rounded up some other important initiatives I think John Tory and company should get on. Immediately.

Eject systems for people with more than twelve items in the express lane

The only line-up express lane interlopers belong in. (Source: The Usual Suspects, 1995)

It is hard to understand this subspecies of human, but you know what they say: it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. Super frustrating and blatantly rude, these people have no respect for the rules and regulations behind line-ups. Everybody with a kindergarten education knows that line-ups and all their derivatives are a fundamental feature of civilized society. Express lane interlopers are only a touch better than line jumpers who will collectively cause the end of the world.

What I propose is a system that enables cashiers to press a little red button conveniently located under the till. This button activates a mechanism that catapults the offending customer up and out of the store and into a room where a video of all the dirty looks from other patrons are played on repeat.

(Alternative: Stop being so passive-aggressive, and just tell the offending customer to either forego the pack of Premium Plus crackers and marble cheese, or get the hell out of the line. This would save taxpayers a lot of money, but it is decidedly less satisfying.)

Tickets for slow walkers

Slow pedestrian ahead, indeed.

This kind of city dweller is a distant relative of the express lane ne’er-do-well. Slow walkers are benevolent whereas express lane rascals are malicious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t equally annoying. This isn’t Our Town, babe. Text your friend later because you’re holding up foot traffic, and people have got places to be. In order to put some money into the city’s coffers (and fund some of these social services) there should be a ticketing program with Pedestrian Authority every few blocks. And unlike carding, this would actually make the city a better and safer place.

Suggested punishments:

Let the big numbers scare you. They’re meant to be preventative.

  • $50 fine for slow walking
  • $125 fine for repeat offenders
  • Automatic one-day jail sentence for those who stand on the left side of escalators. Just though I’d throw that in there.

A city-funded subsidy on headphones for misunderstood youth


There you are nearly passed out on the bus, trying to get home from your double shift at whatever thankless job you work when some girl decides to bless you with her EDM playlist. And if it isn’t her, it’s the guy with the angry tracks and the aggressive dancing.

As frustrating as these people are, let’s be compassionate towards their plight. For all we know they’ve experienced some kind of trauma in their lives – rote memorization of The Odyssey in childhood, perhaps? – and must constantly listen to music as a form of therapy. Naturally, this kind of persistent audio takes a toll on headphones and with the price of bus fare going up and Toronto’s high cost of living it’s no wonder some commuters have decided “manners be damned”. If we could lower the cost of these important treatment tools, we’d be doing all of us a favour.

City-wide charging pods

Think of how much easier things would’ve been for Chris Evans in Cellular.

Call us too attached to our devices. Throw whatever anti-millennial criticism you want our way. We don’t care, because we will shout it from the rooftops (or most likely tweet it) that we love our phones. And nothing makes our heart sink like a dying phone in the middle of the day when we have no immediate plans to head home. Even if you charge your device every night before bed, if your phone has anything worth doing on it its battery-life is designed to start nosediving after the first three months to ensure you’ll definitely buy the newer model when it comes out.

Did you prepare ahead and throw your charger in your bag? Good luck finding an outlet. What I propose are cute little pods, kind of like in the Hunger Games but without the mini-parachutes, that would be located everywhere. I’m sure that’s a nightmare to organize logistically and energy-wise, but take our money and pay all those science geniuses you’ve got holed up in a basement at UofT.

Free WiFi. Everywhere.

I’m not just talking about the patchy kind you get in Pizza Pizza. I’m talking at every subway station, bus shelter, and in public bathrooms. At the dentist’s office. Your local butcher shop. My local butcher shop. Need I go on?

You’re welcome, Councillors.

Featured image from 640toronto

Timeline of a procrastinator’s all-nighter

It’s exam season and that means all across our lovely metropolis students are burning the midnight oil (or MacBook charger) in an attempt to teach themselves three months worth of material in the space of a night. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been students: we procrastinators will never learn. To all of you crying into your coffees, while I can’t do anything to save you from the awful night you’re about to have, this list is my way of telling you that you are not alone.

8:00PM: I have time to watch one more episode.

12:00AM: I’m ready to start now.

12:30AM: These are way more notes than I remember. Oh I recognize this! But I can’t remember if the prof said we should spend no time on this…or most of our time on it. Hmm… I’ll ask someone on Facebook.

12:45AM: ARTICLE: “Woman gives birth to iguana, preaches abstinence”

1:30AM: What did I come on Facebook for again?

2:00AM: I bet this textbook would taste good deep-fried. But everything tastes good deep-fried.

2:30AM: How do you even become a hooker if that’s what you decide to do? Do you make cold calls? Can I even say hooker anymore?

2:31AM: Google: “is hooker politically correct”

2:35AM: ARTICLE: “Sous-chef and sex worker: my summer as a high class escort to a wealthy restaurateur”

3:00AM: If I want to sleep I’d better make up my mind now because once it hits 4 there’s no going back.

3:30AM: Google: “do law schools mean it when they say they take a holistic approach to considering applications”

4:00AM: What’s that quote by that guy? “I don’t let school get in the way of my education” or whatever. I’m gonna tweet that right now.

5:30AM: I might as well have slept. My notes were purely ornamental.

7:15AM: I don’t look cute enough to rest my head on this stranger’s shoulder. I hate commuting.

9:10AM: Looks over questions. Okay, I know how to half-answer about half these. Not bad, not bad…

11:15AM: As long as I get perfect on everything else for the rest of the year, I’m set. Good plan.

Celebrating Hanukkah: A chat about the Jewish Festival of Lights

This evening marks the fourth night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The holiday commemorates the reclaiming of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil, but for a lot of people it’s simply known as that cool holiday where you get a present every day for eight nights.

In an effort to provide some perspective, I took the time to speak with Cindy Seni, a fourth year psychology student at York University’s Glendon College. She is co-president of Glendon Hillel, a branch of Hillel International, an organization that creates communities for Jewish students on college campuses. She had also been involved with Aish HaTorah, the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), and GoSephardic. While all of these organizations have unique mandates, they share the ultimate goal of uniting and working with the Jewish community. Cindy kindly took the time to speak with me about the meaning of Hanukkah, some of its main messages, and how one manages to keep a party going for eight days straight.

Cindy Seni, York student and co-president of Glendon Hillel

Most people have a basic understanding of Hanukkah from what they’ve seen on television or in movies: the lighting of the menorah, eating latkes, and kids playing dreidel. What are some other aspects or traditions around Hanukkah that people may not be as familiar with?

Usually the movies don’t capture our holidays perfectly, but I think for Hanukkah they do a pretty good job, probably because it’s such a popular one. Of course, there are religious aspects of Hanukkah like the recitation of prayers that people may not be familiar with, and certain songs and messages. But it is more of a laid back holiday in comparison to others. For a lot of our holidays, we aren’t able to do certain things, like use electricity for example, but Hanukkah isn’t really one of those. It’s much more relaxed in comparison.

As I understand it, Hanukkah is a celebratory holiday marking the reclaiming of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees and the sacred oil that miraculously stayed burning for eight days when there was only enough for one. Aside from the historical narrative of Hanukkah, what are a few key messages or themes of Hanukkah that are promoted during its observance?

One of the main ones is that Hanukkah is about the light and spreading the light. There’s this idea in Judaism that talks about how when you use one flame to light another, the original flame doesn’t lose any part of itself. The same idea applies when you give. When you give to others, you aren’t giving up any part of yourself. So Hanukkah is about giving. In addition, during Hanukkah we have to put our menorah in the window in order for it to be seen because it all comes back to this idea of sharing the light. I think that would be the main theme: spread the light and be a light for other people.

It’s also definitely a holiday about miracles. There is the big one, of course [about the oil lasting eight days]. But it’s a reminder that we should also be looking out for smaller, day-to-day miracles. So one good example is childbirth – the everyday miracle.

And going back to the history of Hanukkah, there is also a message about overcoming obstacles when you think about the story of the Maccabees defeating the mighty Greeks who had them outnumbered. It’s a story about fighting against the odds.

A catchy iteration of the story of Hanukkah by the a cappella group, the Maccabeats, set to Taio Cruz’s Dynamite.

Are there prominent spots in the city of Toronto where Hanukkah celebrations take place such as productions of the story of the Maccabees or a public lighting of a menorah?

I don’t know about any productions, but there are public lightings of the menorah, especially on the first night. There is one in Yonge-Dundas done by Chabad. Chabad is a group of really religious, but very tolerant and open, individuals. Their mission is to do outreach in the Jewish community. They don’t want a Jew anywhere in the world to be left alone. So they’ll go to places like China or the Fiji Islands among others, and they’ll have a Chabad house so that if you’re on vacation or on exchange and you want to keep kosher, or maintain a connection to the Jewish community, or make Shabbat, they are there to provide that. So during Hanukkah if you’re a student and you’re living away from home and you want to light the candles but you don’t know how, they’ll have a public one available. There was a menorah recently lit in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was a message to share the light and spread the light.

So eight days! That’s a lot of celebrating and a lot of presents. I imagine that work and school make it difficult for people to dedicate the same amount of time and energy to all eight days. How do families and individuals typically prepare for Hanukkah, and are there particular days that are celebrated more prominently than others?

We’re used to it. We have a lot of holidays. Traditionally, this holiday is mainly about lighting the menorah. Over the years people have added things like making latkes and sufganiyot. People usually do all of that on the first night. That’s the night when all the fun happens, and you’re baking and opening presents. If you have the strength, you do it again in the middle of the week and maybe during the last few days. But it’s mostly about lighting the candles each night.

So the whole “getting gifts for eight nights” isn’t that integral to the holiday?

Yeah, the giving of the gifts just developed as a cultural thing. It’s not really religious.

Do you have any recommendations on Jewish restaurants, museums, or entertainment in the city?

There is an official museum in New York, but in terms of Toronto one can visit the UJA. On their website there is a calendar that compiles all these events from different organizations. It doesn’t matter if those organizations are affiliated with them or not; they still include them. They also have a mini-museum at their Sherman campus on Bathurst. That’s a good place to start.

Thank you for your time and happy Hanukkah!

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Glendon Musical Ensemble to share the sounds of the season at Annual Christmas Concert

The holiday season turns cities from bustling to bright all in the time it takes to string up a few lights. For the budget-conscious Christmas lover, a warm jacket and a cup of hot chocolate is all that’s needed to enjoy the fabulous light displays set up along Toronto’s waterfront, at the Distillery District’s Christmas Market, or in Nathan Phillips Square. And in a city as dynamic as Toronto, affordable holiday activities are not limited to the sights, but can also be found in free concerts and shows around the city.

Student productions at colleges and universities are this city’s untapped resource of affordable entertainment. The amount of work and dedication that goes into these productions is enormous, and they are oftentimes free.

Glendon College’s Musical Ensemble will be holding its annual Christmas concert this Thursday. Though it is regularly eclipsed by the colossal Keele campus, Glendon is the original campus of York University, tucked away in an affluent area of midtown Toronto at Bayview and Lawrence. Originally the residence of the wealthy financier Edward Rogers Wood, it was bequeathed to the University of Toronto, and eventually became the first home of York University.

Thursday’s audience will recognize holiday favourites like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside (Photo courtesy of GME)

Ashley Moniz, general manager of the Glendon Musical Ensemble, believes the manor is the perfect setting for the concert. “Glendon is like a scene from a beautiful fairy tale, and the manor is right at the centre of its story,” he said. “Having formerly been a house, the manor still retains the cozy and relaxed feeling which we like to create for our Annual Christmas Concert.”

The concert is held in the basement of the manor in the student-run space, Lunik, where people can grab a coffee and study during the day, and enjoy drinks and entertainment in the evening. On Thursday night, guests can expect to hear holiday favourites like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside. The event is pay what you can, and attendees can expect some surprises including audience participation designed to make the show more interactive.

For students like Moniz, participating in the ensemble is a great way to share a love of music. “[It] can be very stressful and time consuming,” he explained. “But connecting with other students, and seeing how much joy our work can bring to others, makes the process so much more worthwhile.”

The Glendon Musical Ensemble will be holding its Annual Christmas Concert this Thursday December 10 at 7:00pm in Lunik at Glendon College.

“We Want Kobe”: City bids farewell to Bryant during his final game against the Raptors

The Raptors managed to secure a win from the Lakers at the ACC Monday night. Yesterday evening’s game was especially eventful not only for the team’s victory but also because it would be Kobe Bryant’s last time playing against the Raptors.

Last night’s game was an opportunity to watch Bryant play his final game in the city, and Torontonians were definitely feeling the love. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and chanted “We Want Kobe” during last night’s game. Fans also took to Twitter to express their disappointment about missing the game, and to bid farewell to Kobe Bryant.

Bryant announced that he will be retiring from professional basketball after the end of this season. This year will mark his 20th season with the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers, the only team in the NBA for which he has played. He was initially drafted by the Charlotte Hornets but was quickly traded to the Lakers.

The 37 year old shooting guard, who holds five NBA championship titles, announced his imminent departure with a poem on The Players’ Tribune. In the poem he explains that while his heart and mind remain committed to basketball, his body cannot stay in the game forever. His tweet to the piece, titled “Dear Basketball”, was shared over 100,000 times.

The Raptors won 102-93 against the Lakers.

Featured Image from NBA.com via YouTube

200% Vodka on a Monday: Year-end comedy improv show at The Social Capital Theatre

Improvisational theatre is a delightful little universe where anything goes and realism is optional. The Social Capital Theatre, just a brief walk from Broadview Station, is a dynamic space that holds a variety of classes and shows every night. Monday evenings are dedicated to 200% Vodka, a free comedy improv show that sees troupes take the stage in a risky bid for the audience’s laughter where wit and imagination are the currency of choice.

Described as both a bar and a theatre, The Social Capital serves as a spot for people to enjoy each other’s company and talent. Last Monday’s 200% Vodka and its pre-show featured a number of hilarious groups tackling a range of random topics from hockey stick advertisements to Enbridge’s tricky customer service line. Throughout the night, performers entertained the audience with scenes detailing two friends’ underwhelming journey through hell, a woman’s extramarital affair with a zombie, and another woman’s struggle with osteoporosis so bad even thoughts could crumble her bones.

The Social Capital Theatre is located about a minute’s walk away from Broadview Station.

Naturally, the point of improv is to go on stage with minimal, if not zero, preparation. Even so, it takes a certain amount of skill to ensure a storyline driven by the spontaneous thoughts of the actors doesn’t veer off course, beyond the boundaries of amusingly ludicrous, and into the realm of incomprehensible. So what key rules should an improviser always keep in mind?

“Saying yes, listening, and commitment to the scene,” said Miriam, a member of the student improv group, Gangles of New York. It’s easy to understand what she’s talking about. The last thing anyone in the audience or on stage wants is an awkward silence, and the quickest way to get one of those during a scene is to cop out or refuse an idea introduced by another improviser, something known as “offerings” in improvisational theatre.

The Social Capital Theatre is a cozy space and, most importantly for loud laughers like myself, welcoming to cute gigglers and obnoxious cacklers alike. The hosts keep the audience entertained and engaged with trivia in between groups, and drinks are available just a few steps away from the stage. According to pre-show host, producer, and performer, Matt McCready, the show will be going on hiatus for the rest of the year after December 7, so those wishing to participate in the spontaneity and hijinks of 200% Vodka will definitely want to haul ass to their final show of 2015 this Monday night at 7:30pm.

The Social Capital Theatre is on the second and third floor above the Black Swan Tavern. The year-end 200% Vodka will be held on the first floor (second floor of the building!) starting at 7:30pm on Monday December 7. You can follow The Social Capital Theatre on Twitter or like them on Facebook here.

Settle in for this Sunday’s Denzel double feature

Crappy week ahead, huh? Well, you’ve got a decision to make. You can spend Sunday bitterly fuming about all the things you don’t want to deal with this week, or you can milk it of every deliciously relaxing moment it holds. Put your phone on silent, sink back into your bed, and treat yourself to another Denzel double feature.

Last Sunday, we sought to educate you with the films American Gangster and Malcolm X. This weekend, we’re going to make you cry with our next two choices: Remember the Titans and Man on Fire.

Remember the Titans (2000)

T.C. Williams High School is a desegregated school in Washington D.C. Coach Herman Boone is hired to train the school’s football team, the Titans. The challenges of leading the Titans to victory is complicated by tensions between the white and black players of the recently integrated team. Boone comes to win, and employs a tough-love approach with the players insisting that while they may not like each other, they had better learn to respect one another. This transition from dislike to mutual respect is highlighted by the evolution of the relationship between the team’s two alpha dogs Gerry Bertier, the white captain, and Julius Campbell, a black player. It is certainly a story about racial politics in the United States, but it is also a testament to the almost godly status given to athletes. In Remember the Titans, football is presented as the force that manages to forge a sense of community between blacks and whites.

NOTABLE MOMENT: It’s difficult to pick one, but in order to avoid spoilers the winner is the locker room scene that starts off as a roasting session and ends in a sing-a-long to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Yo mama jokes are a tricky thing: they can either end in murder charges or male bonding.

Man on Fire (2004)

I’ve loved Denzel Washington since I was a child, so it should come as no surprise that I hated Dakota Fanning after watching Man on Fire for the first time. Fanning plays Pita, the daughter of a businessman working in Mexico who hires ex-Marine John Creasy (Washington) to protect her. Suffering from depression and alcoholism due to his dark past, he is initially distant but eventually warms to Pita becoming not only her protector-for-hire, but a father figure as well. When Pita is kidnapped, he embarks on a murderous mission to find her and punish her abductors. Man on Fire was Taken before Taken was Taken. Although my resentment towards Fanning has abated with age, my eyes still narrow with jealousy at certain points in the film.

NOTABLE MOMENT: I could pick any number of touching scenes between Creasy and Pita, but instead I will leave you with two words: butt bomb.