The Worst Infomercial Ever? – Gladstone

Gladstone is back with the 80th installment of Hate By Numbers. This time he’s counting off arguably the worst infomercial of all time — The Instyler. Watch countless women degrade themselves on youtube for a chance at infomercial fame.




Gladstone is a columnist for, the creator and star of the Hate By Numbers video series, and the author of the forthcoming novel Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. Most of his stuff can be found on his site.


Everybody Loves Gladstone

OK, not everybody loves Gladstone. Unless leaving insulting comments to unleash your pent-up frustrations left over from adolescence is love. But we do.

Have you seen the HBN ep sponsored in part by Comedy Rants? It’s a chilling tale of dreadful party ideas and wicked gay puns. Tomorrow/Monday is the 4th and final episode of the fan-sponsored mini-season of Hate by Numbers. If you want to see more HBN, visit here to learn details and make a donation here. Keep the good hate alive.


Gladstone’s Great Things That Suck – REM

So the other day REM announced they were calling it quits, and I know that like many of you my first thought was “wait, they’re still a band?”  Well, apparently they were and in light of their announcement, I e-mailed the girl who broke up with me twenty years ago to let her know we were through. 

Why am I being so mean?  After all, there was a time when REM were hailed as an important band.  But that time was known as the 80s.  The decade that brought you other bad ideas like acid rain, deficit spending, and the snap bracelet.  The truth is that REM amounts to little more than a breath of non-processed fresh air during a decade of uninspired house music and hair metal. 

Look, no one is more surprised by how little I care about REM’s demise than I am. After all, there was a time when I was a fairly large REM fan. I still think 1986’s Life Rich Pageant is one of the greatest pop rock albums of all time.  That’s right. Of all time. So why all the hate

Because REM is one of the shockingly laziest bands of all time. They reached a point that many other great band reach where they had the power to progress as musicians and make their own rules, and they used that power to become increasingly safe and boring.

Compare them to U2.  Both bands require songwriting in the collective sense because unlike the Beatles or the Who or even a band like Bon Jovi no one in the group is an accomplished enough songwriter on their own.  And much like U2, REM featured guitarists who were not technically virtuosos, but who had developed unique sounds. 

But unlike U2 they did not try to grow as artists.  They did not experiment with changes in sound or style or songwriting. A few years after the Joshua Tree, U2 did Achtung Baby and Zooropa.   A few years after Out of Time, REM wrote Everybody Hurts – a song so cliché and absurd that the first time I heard it, I laughed out loud, thinking the boys were parodying saccharine boring G/C/D cheeseball inspirational music. I was wrong. So very very wrong.

The songwriting stalled and Stipe decided to use less and less of his vocal range on every single album.  Their instrumentation remained unchanged as did their songwriting. Zero musical growth rate, which I guess is OK if you’re the Ramones, but they weren’t.  They were just four guys from Georgia who had a neat sound reminiscent of the Byrds who polished their product to perfection in 1986 and then repeated it until everyone including themselves apparently lost interest.




Gladstone is a columnist for, the creator and star of the Hate By Numbers video series, and the author of the forthcoming novel Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. Most of his stuff can be found on his site.


Hate by Numbers: Afro Bomber – Gladstone

Gladstone just loves to give the press a hard time, and who can blame him? Though I think he gives CNN a little more credit than they deserve. I see some frizzy Jewish hair going on with Mr. Gladstone, he might be hiding something under there…

Gladstone’s Great Things That Suck – Face Off

by Gladstone

face offMaybe at some point I’ll rant about more recent things, but as for now I still have some residual animosity to purge. Last week, we discussed Wall Street from the 80s, and now we turn to the 90s’ Face Off.  (So I’m improving. . .) Now, some of you may be saying, “wait, does anyone think Face Off is great in the first place?” If that sums you up then chances are you’re under 30.  It seems today’s sassy generation recognizes Face Off for the campy disaster of crap that it always was – probably because Travolta and Cage went on to make many more very bad movies, but for anyone sentient during its release, you’ll recall that this movie was praised as the blockbuster action film of the summer.

The plot? In order to thwart a psychopath bad guy (Cage), a law enforcement agent (Travolta) steals his face through new miracle science. Well, things go bad and Cage steals Travolta’s face right back and then everyone in the world thinks the guy who looks like Cage (who is Travolta) is bad and the guy who looks like Travolta (who is Cage) is the good guy! OH NO! Btw, did I mention Cage murdered Travolta’s son before the movie started?

Anyway, I get it. It’s a big fun action movie. You have to suspend your disbelief. I mean, don’t go see Face Off if you can’t accept people can steal each other’s faces. But if you’re gonna ask your audience to swallow such a massive conceit, then you have to give them a break at some point, and Face Off never does. 

So, ok, back to the action.  Good guy gets sent to jail.  Bad guy gets to sleep in good guy’s bed. Gets to sleep with good guy’s wife.  (Yep, the mother of the boy he murdered).  Gets to corrupt good guy’s daughter. (Not sexually, just, y’know, teaches her how to use a knife).

Fast forward to the end. Good guy escapes.  Goes to a church where the bad guy is.  Why? Because churches look cool I guess. He has a clear shot at the bad guy who as you’ll recall, murdered his son, got him imprisoned, and banged his wife.  What do you do? YOU KILL HIM. Instantly. No questions asked. But where’s the cinematography in that you ask.  (If you’re director John Woo, and/or an imbecile).  So the good guy tells the altar boy to go tell the bad guy in the pew that he’s arrived to seek his vengeance. Guess what?  Although that does lead to a slow motion gun fight replete with inexplicable doves flitting about, it does result in the bad guy’s quick easy death. 

After about 25 more minutes of completely goofy action, good guy kills bad guy and gets his face back. Oh, and by the way, the bad guy has a son the same age as the good guy’s dead one.  Accordingly, Travolta (now with Travolta’s face) silently gestures to the boy and his wife nods because all adoption decisions (especially ones about adopting your son’s murderer’s child) can be made as easily as “say, you want to get coffee from this Starbuck’s here?”


Hate by Numbers: Real Steel – Gladstone

HBN 72: Is “Real Steel” The Worst Hugh Jackman Movie Ever?



In the return of the fan-sponsored Hate By Numbers, Gladstone asks – is Real Steel the worst Hugh Jackman movie ever? (Yes, including Van Helsing). Check out more HBNs at