Who is Captain Rex in Star Wars? | Wealth of Geeks

Over the years, Clone troopers have become a cornerstone of the Star Wars universe, existing side-by-side with other notable elements of the series like lightsabers, starfighters, and even the Force itself (things that essentially make the Star Wars series what it is).

While Stormtroopers are sure to retain their iconic pop culture status as the decades go by, Clones have steadily risen to the forefront of Star Wars’ fandom. This surge in popularity can be most directly attributed to their appearances in fan-favorite TV series, like The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch.

In those shows (and most especially in The Clone Wars), ordinary Clone troopers are given a prominent place alongside their Jedi commanders, each Clone possessing their own distinct personality and physical appearances. For example, there’s the tactful, reserved Commander Cody, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s right-hand man in the 212th Attack Battalion; the energetic, explosive-addicted Wrecker of Clone Force 99; and the dedicated leader of the 501st Legion, Captain Rex.

Out of all the Clones featured in Star Wars’ Extended Universe, Captain Rex is given the most in-depth exploration, his character serving major or supporting roles in virtually every TV series created by Dave Filoni. The second-in-command of Anakin Skywalker and, later, Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars, Rex later became a hero of the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War. He’s come face to face with some of the galaxy’s most credible foes, from Sith disciples like Asajj Ventress to infamous bounty hunters like Cad Bane.

Given Rex’s prominent place in the Star Wars universe and his personal connection to notable characters like Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka, it’s helpful to know a few things about the 501st Clone Commander, especially for those who are unfamiliar with The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch, or Rebels.

Assigned to Anakin Skywalker

Image Credit Lucasfilm.

At the offset of the Clone Wars, Clone commanders were assigned to serve under Jedi Knights, aiding in the Republic war effort against the encroaching Separatist forces. In the early months of the conflict, Rex and the 501st Legion were sent to join Anakin Skywalker. During these earliest days of the war, Anakin’s bravery, unorthodox approach to warfare, and absolute loyalty to the Republic came to rub off on Rex, who mirrored his Jedi commander’s personality more and more as the war went on (an attribute shared by most Clone officers in regards to their Jedi commanders).

Amid the Battle of Christophsis in 19 BBY, Anakin was ordered to take the teenage Togruta Jedi Ahsoka Tano as his padawan, overseeing her training throughout the remainder of the Clone Wars. For the next few years, Anakin, Ahsoka, and Rex all became increasingly close to each other, their relationship on the battlefield soon evolving into a personal friendship between the three. Demonstrating an undying loyalty to his friends and to the soldiers under his command, Rex routinely led the 501st Legion into some of the war’s worst battles alongside Anakin and Ahsoka, fighting on Ryloth, Felucia, Kamino, and Geonosis. As the war drew on, Rex also continued to cement his friendship with the fellow Clones he served with, most notably Commander Cody and 501st soldiers (later ARC Troopers) Echo and Fives.

In the final stages of the Clone Wars, Rex’s dedication to the Republic and his unwavering belief in its ideals started to unravel. In 20 BBY, Rex and his men participated in the costly Battle of Umbara, which saw their temporary Jedi Commander, Pong Krell, betray his men, pitting Clones against Clones in an effort to secure a Separatist victory on the planet.

One year later, Rex witnessed a dejected Ahsoka leave the Jedi Order after being wrongfully implicated in the bombing of the Jedi Temple. Not long after, Fives – who had gone rogue upon discovering a sinister plot to destroy the Jedi (known as Order 66) – was killed by his Clone brethren as part of a cover-up to ensure Order 66’s continued secrecy. While Rex was devastated to learn of his friend’s death, his early knowledge of the Clone inhibitor chips ultimately came in handy, allowing him to escape the directives of Order 66 months later.

Surviving Order 66

Captain Rex Clone Wars
Image Credit Lucasfilm.

In 19 BBY, a joyful Rex was reunited with Ahsoka Tano, having been ordered to aid the former Jedi in her mission to liberate Mandalore from Maul’s Shadow Collective. Donning customized helmets to reflect their new Jedi commander, Rex broke off a small contingent of the 501st Legion and reorganized them into the 332nd Company. Joining Ahsoka and Mandalorian loyalists led by Bo-Katan Kryze, Rex and the 332nd Company quickly overwhelmed Maul’s forces on the planet’s surface, capturing the former Sith Lord and freeing the planet from Maul’s puppet government.

As they traveled back to Coruscant onboard a Republic Star Destroyer, Chancellor Palpatine formally issued Order 66, triggering every Clones’ inhibitor chip, effectively turning them against their Jedi commanders. Like all of his fellow Clones, Rex promptly set his sights on terminating Ahsoka, although he managed to fight the effects of his chip long enough to warn Ahsoka of the betrayal, telling her to remove his inhibitor chip the first chance she had.

Momentarily fleeing the now homicidal Clones, Ahsoka managed to stun Rex long enough to surgically remove the chip, restoring Rex to his former, even-tempered self. Recognizing the danger to Ahsoka’s life, Rex and Ahsoka tried to escape from the ship before the 332nd Company could close in. Around the same time, a recently-escaped Maul began damaging the vessel beyond repair, sending the Destroyer crashing into a nearby moon. Escaping in the nick of time onboard a stolen Y-wing, Ahsoka and Rex buried the fallen Clones on the moon’s surface, making it appear as though they perished in the crash. They then secretly attended the funeral service of Padmé Amidala on Naboo.

On the Run

Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Having faked their deaths, Rex separated from Ahsoka, fleeing into the largely chaotic Outer Rims in the hopes of outrunning the Empire’s increasingly tight grip over the galaxy. Living a fugitive lifestyle, Rex rapidly moved from planet to planet, carrying on the Republic’s main ideals in his own private war against the newly-formed Empire. Recruiting two smugglers who happened to be former acquaintances of Ahsoka (Trace and Rafa Martez) to his cause, Rex eventually reunited with the members of Clone Force 99, who had similarly gone rogue and were working against the Empire.

While the Bad Batch never formally agreed to join Rex’s freedom-fighting group – believing that fighting on behalf of the Republic was a lost cause – they did aid in several of Rex’s missions, including rescuing the captured Clone commando Gregor. As Rex continued to carry out his crusade against Palpatine’s new regime, he began to notice that an increasingly larger number of Clone troopers had started to revert back to their former personalities – the effects of the inhibitor chips slowly wearing off. Seeing this, Rex began to focus more of his time rehabilitating his Clone brothers, providing them with safety once they snapped out of their Imperial-induced trance.

Combating the Empire

captain rex star wars rebels
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

For the next decade, Rex helps rescue and reform veterans of the Clone Wars whom he knew and served with, moving into a residence with Gregor and Commander Wolffe on Seelos. In 4 BBY, Rex is contacted by the crew of the Ghost on behalf of Ahsoka, who is searching for potential members for her growing underground resistance movement. Mutually distrustful of each other at first, the former Clone commanders eventually agree to pool their efforts with the Lothal Rebel cell, aiding them in various sabotage missions against the Empire. Having joined this new Rebel group, Rex once again met with Ahsoka, 15 years after their previous encounter during Order 66.

Though he was initially disdainful towards the Clones for their role in the Great Jedi Purge, Ghost crew member Kanan Jarrus was to put aside his past animosity long enough to form a rich friendship with Rex as they carried out missions together. While he was physically much older as a result of the Clones’ advanced aging process, Rex demonstrated the same ferocity and bravery he had exhibited in the Clone Wars during this time. His service would come at a cost – with Gregor losing his life during the Rebellion’s repeated clashes with the Empire – but Rex’s military expertise helped the Alliance gain a valuable edge over the Empire in the early days of the Galactic Civil War.

After helping the Ghost crew liberate the planet of Lothal from the Empire, Rex was promoted to the rank of commander within the Rebel Alliance, serving the Rebellion with outright dedication and loyalty. Most tellingly, Rex was handpicked by Han Solo for an elite task force assigned to infiltrate the Imperial facility on Endor. As a ferocious dogfight took place in space and as his former Jedi master, Anakin Skywalker, redeemed himself by killing the tyrannical Emperor, Rex faithfully fought in the Battle of Endor, surviving the conflict and living to see the end of not one, but two momentous wars in the galaxy.

Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).

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8 Vegan Hotel Getaways Around the World Where Every Day is Earth Day | Wealth of Geeks

Recent studies have shown that swapping animal products for plants can reduce your dietary contribution to climate change by up to 60 percent—a surprising statistic that has led to many people adopting a plant-based lifestyle and a chic crop of vegan hotels sprouting up around the globe. While these plant-based properties may eschew animal products, they contain 100 percent taste and style throughout their imaginative menus, vegan wine lists, and cruelty-free décor and amenities. From Mendocino to Santorini, try a vegan hotel to celebrate Earth Day every day and prove that you don’t have to swap sustainability to have a swanky stay.

8 Vegan Hotel Getaways Around the World Where Every Day is Earth Day

Image credit: Shutterstock.

Staying in a vegan hotel is the ultimate in planning sustainable travel.

1. Mod Santorini, Greece

Santorini. Greece.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Overlooking Santorini’s sun-drenched Cycladic architecture and the sparkling Aegean Sea beyond, Mod Santorini is the first vegan and sustainable accommodation on the island. The hotel is owned by Anargyros Fousteris and Christina Boutros, both passionate vegans and animal lovers who are dedicated to creating a destination for like-minded travelers. Their hotel has become just that—a haven for earth-conscious guests unwilling to sacrifice comfort or style.

From the homecooked plant-based breakfast to the toiletries and cleaning products used in the rooms, the property comes together to create a truly holistic wellness retreat. One of the highlights? All the rooms include minibars featuring local vegan wine (wine is often filtered using animal products such as bone marrow, egg whites, or fish bladders.)

2. Saorsa 1875, Scotland

Image credit: Shutterstock.

The U.K.’s first fully vegan hotel, this eclectic property in the highland town of Pitlochry is set in a Gothic-Revival style building straight from the pages of a moody Victorian novel. While Saorsa 1875 provides cozy communal space and 11 hip, design-forward rooms with highlands views, the property is all about the food.

The chic, pub-style restaurant is 100 percent vegan, and its inventive menu of globally inspired dishes is laser-focused on providing local, seasonal, and even foraged produce. After lunch or dinner, lounge by the roaring fire with a creative cocktail, a local craft beer, or a glass from the exquisitely curated wine list.

3. La Vimea Vegan Hotel, Italy

Image credit: Shutterstock.

Set in Naturno against a backdrop of the Tyrolean mountains, this woodsy adults-only getaway imbues wellness with a decidedly Italian flair. The minimalist vibe and chalet-style atmosphere give La Vimea Vegan Hotel that old-school Italian charm. Relaxation seekers will revel in the natural swimming pond, yoga and meditation classes, and spa treatments using only organic and plant-based products.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite on a hike through the Texel Group Nature Park in South Tyrol (just a short walk from the hotel), take a seat in the property’s gourmet restaurant for a scrumptious vegan meal bursting with color and creativity.

4. Palmaïa The House of Aïa, Mexico

Playa de Carmen Mexico.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

This unique all-inclusive beachfront wellness resort is an eco-conscious oasis with Michelin-trained chefs, holistic spa treatments, and a commitment to sustainable style. Palmaïa The House of Aïa is set along the white sands and mesmerizing turquoise waters of Playa del Carmen, less than 40 miles from Cancun. But the magical location, whimsical bohemian atmosphere, and array of integrated mind/body experiences make it feel otherworldly.

From the azure views and ultrachic plant-based eateries to the sophisticated array of indigenous ceremonies and practices to choose from, this avant-garde stay is the stuff dreams are made of.

Note: While the rooms use only vegan amenities and furnishings such as featherless pillows, the restaurants do offer some meat and fish dishes.

5. The Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino, California, United States

Mendocino CA.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Tucked away along the lush Northern California coast in the quaint village of Mendocino, this laid-back hotel is a must for vegans and the plant-curious visiting Northern California. The rustic-chic resort has been a mainstay in the plant-based community for years. Not only does it feature one of North America’s most acclaimed vegan restaurants, but it offers cooking classes, an organic garden, and spectacular ocean views.

The Stanford Inn by the Sea is fully vegan and also truly animal-centric, as it allows guests to bring pets of any kind (even reptiles!) and runs an animal rehabilitation program.

6. Mother Earth Vegan Hotel, Costa Rica

Costa Rica.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

If Costa Rica is the ultimate destination for eco-conscious travelers, then this serene hotel set in the trendy Tamarindo beach area is truly Shangri-la. Though petite in size, Mother Earth Vegan Hotel packs a big punch with facilities such as a saltwater pool and a poolside bar and restaurant featuring plant-based dishes resembling miniature works of art. All things wellness are also offered, including a healing studio for reiki, yoga, and sound healing, plus individually designed paintings in each room that activate your different chakras.

7.  Villa Vegana, Spain

Image credit: Shutterstock.

This rustic retreat on the island of Mallorca is an animal lover’s paradise. The family-owned, farmhouse-style property was one of the first 100 percent vegan hotels in all of Europe and is located within a seven-acre conservation area filled with roaming wildlife. Villa Vegana’s remote location among palm trees and local flora feels miles away from the demands of reality, and the panoramic views of the Tramuntana Mountains give the location an even more dreamlike feel. A global menu of vegan comfort food features unique interpretations of dishes from as far-flung as Peru, Scandinavia, and India.

8. The Farm at San Benito, Philippines

San Benito Phillipines.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

This remote, eco-chic resort is surrounded by 128 acres of lush tropical jungle only 90 minutes south of Manila. While the property is a plant-based destination, the medical wellness program takes the vegan lifestyle a step further by incorporating raw food options, detox cleanses, and holistic medical consultations. Lounge about in your luxurious suite or villa with a private jungle-view pool before grabbing a bite in one of three farm-to-table restaurants (vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian). But perhaps the piece de resistance of The Farm at San Benito is the holistic medical sanctuary spa featuring hydrotherapy, medical advice, and traditional Philippine healing treatments using 100 percent virgin coconut oil.

 Knowing that your vacation features mindful, sustainable food, drink, room, and beauty options that are good for both animals and the environment makes a getaway at a vegan hotel the ultimate in guilt-free mind and body relaxation.

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15 TV Shows People Voted Will Still Be Airing in 100 Years | Wealth of Geeks

With attention spans shortening, media becoming over-saturated, and reboots taking precedence over new ideas, most shows don’t last for more than a few years. However, these 15 TV shows are the exception — we can’t seem to get them off our TV screens, and people don’t want them to! That begs the question, will these beloved TV dramas, competitions, educational programming, and sitcoms still be on air in 100 years?

1. The Simpsons (1989-)

Image Credit: Fox.

The Simpsons continues to be a timeless animated sitcom following the misadventures of the iconic Simpson family in the fictional town of Springfield. With its sharp wit, clever social commentary, and lovable characters, the show remains a cultural phenomenon even after three decades because it’s constantly making meta-references to pop culture and unwittingly making predictions that come true.

I wonder what predictions The Simpsons will accurately foretell a century from now.

2. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Image Credit: NBC.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit captures the world of criminal investigations, specifically focusing on crimes of a sexual nature. As a gripping police procedural drama, it tackles sensitive subjects with compassion, suspense, and thought-provoking storytelling. Its enduring popularity stems from its ability to shed light on real-life issues while providing riveting entertainment and powerful acting performances.

Though there were doubts about how successful a spinoff TV show could be, it’s not only endured to be the longest-running live-action scripted prime-time TV show, but it’s by far the most popular of the many Law & Order spinoffs.

Since airing in 1999, it amazingly has maintained most of the same original cast. While they won’t be around anymore in 2123, I don’t doubt they would still have stories to tell with a new set of characters.

3. Sesame Street (1969-)

Sesame Street
Image Credit: PBS.

Sesame Street is a beloved children’s educational program that has enchanted generations. With its colorful characters, catchy music, and engaging lessons, the show has continued to captivate young minds since 1969. Its commitment to promoting inclusivity, diversity, and early childhood development ensures its place as a timeless staple in the hearts of both children and adults.

It’s safe to say Sesame Street‘s future is secure, given that it airs on PBS, which is funded through taxpayer dollars to provide high-quality educational programming to children.

4. Doctor Who (1963-1989/2005-)

patrick troughton doctor who
Courtesy of BBC

Doctor Who is a British science fiction series that chronicles the adventures of the time-traveling alien known as the Doctor. Spanning multiple casts and decades, the show has become a cultural phenomenon and already been rebooted once.

Its ability to reinvent itself with each regeneration while maintaining its core themes of adventure, heroism, and the triumph of good over evil, makes it a timeless and cherished television experience since it first aired in 1963.

5. One Piece (1999-)

Luffys impersonation

One Piece is an epic anime series set in a world of pirates, treasure, and grand adventures. Following the journey of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as they search for the ultimate treasure, the series captures the imagination with its intricate world-building, memorable characters, and thrilling action. Its enduring popularity lies in its ability to weave together humor, friendship, and epic storytelling.

The series has been on air since 1999, and numerous spinoffs and movies have been associated with the franchise. 

6. Survivor (2000-)

Image Credit: CBS.

Survivor is a reality competition series that drops contestants in remote locations and challenges them to outwit, outplay, and outlast one another to become the sole survivor. With its strategic gameplay, dramatic tribal councils, and unexpected twists, the show continues to enthrall audiences due to its fascinating exploration of human nature and the lengths people will go to claim victory.

This is one of the few series you could imagine only becoming more interesting as time goes on. As society technologically advances, we become more intrigued by primitive survival skills.

7. South Park (1997-)

South Park
Image Credit: Comedy Central.

South Park is an animated adult sitcom known for its irreverent humor, sharp social commentary, and satirical take on contemporary issues. With its iconic quartet of foul-mouthed fourth graders, the show’s comedic charm comes from its willingness to push boundaries, challenge societal norms, and expose hypocrisy.

Its bold and unapologetic approach has allowed it to remain a cultural touchstone for multiple decades, even in the face of a changing media landscape that has become more culturally sensitive and politically correct.

8. Pokémon (1997-2023)

Electric Shock Showdown
Image Credit: The Pokémon Company International

Pokémon is a beloved animated series that follows the adventures of Pokémon trainers as they capture, train, and battle with various creatures known as Pokémon. With its imaginative world, endearing characters, and themes of friendship and perseverance, the show has captured the hearts of millions.

The original series premiered in 1997 and aired up until this year’s 25th season, but it doesn’t stop there! A new series called Pokémon Horizons continues the Pokémon cinematic universe. This franchise has come out with countless TV shows, video games, movies, and countless other popular collectibles, memorabilia, and merchandise that never wanes in popularity.

It’s safe to say Pokémon is here to stay.

9. Saturday Night Live (1975-)

Saturday Night Live Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon
Image Credit: ABC.

Saturday Night Live is a long-running sketch comedy and variety show that has launched the careers of countless comedic talents. With its live performances, celebrity hosts, and memorable characters, the show has become an institution in American television. Its ability to adapt to changing times, deliver biting political satire, and provide laughter for generations ensures its continued relevance and longevity.

Even after nearly five decades, it remains a cultural touchstone, constantly evolving to reflect the ever-changing landscape of comedy and pop culture. Even though detractors always say “SNL isn’t funny anymore,” this trend has gone on since the very origins of the series, as viewers are partial to certain cast members and lament their departure from the show.

Nevertheless, SNL continues to attract an audience, interesting guests, and musical performances.

10. Days of Our Lives (1965-)

Days of Our Lives
Image Credit: NBC.

Days of Our Lives is a beloved soap opera that has captured viewers’ hearts for decades. Set in the fictional town of Salem, the show weaves together complex storylines filled with romance, drama, and intrigue. Its ability to create compelling characters, deliver emotional performances, and tackle relevant social issues has made it a staple in daytime television, ensuring its enduring presence among soap opera fanatics. If there’s one thing that you can’t take off the TV, it’s soap operas.

11. Spongebob Squarepants (1999-)

patrick star
Photo Credit: Paramount.

SpongeBob SquarePants is an animated series that follows the adventures of the optimistic and lovable sea sponge named SpongeBob and his underwater friends in the whimsical town of Bikini Bottom.

With its colorful animation, catchy songs, and offbeat humor, the show has captured the imaginations of both children and adults. Spongebob has a timeless charm thanks to the archetypal characters it’s created, which guarantee its place in television history for years to come. Even if the show’s best episodes are behind them, people remain dedicated viewers of old reruns.

12. General Hospital (1963-)

General Hospital
Image Credit: ABC.

General Hospital is a long-running soap opera that has become a television institution. Set in the fictional town of Port Charles, the show explores the lives, loves, and dramas of the staff and patients at General Hospital. With its captivating storylines, passionate romances, and intricate character development, the series has cultivated a dedicated fanbase since 1963, ensuring its continued presence on the airwaves for generations to come.

To put that into perspective, consider this person who shares, “My grandmother watched this show as a kid, who got my mother into it, who got my sister into it. By the time my sister has kids in a couple of years, her kids will probably watch it too.”

13. Family Guy (1999-)

Meg and Stewie in Family Guy
Photo Credit: Fox Network.

Family Guy is an irreverent animated sitcom that pushes the boundaries of humor with its satirical take on American family life. Through the misadventures of the Griffin family, the show tackles controversial topics, societal norms, and pop culture references with its signature blend of wit and sarcasm.

Family Guy originally aired in 1999, and though it was briefly canceled in 2002, it was picked back up in 2005 due to its strong DVD sales and high ratings on Adult Swim, which gained it a cult following. Since returning to the airwaves in 2005, it’s remained there ever since.

14. CSI (2000-2015)

David Caruso in
Photo Credit: CBS Paramount Network Television.

CSI is a groundbreaking crime procedural drama that follows a team of forensic investigators as they solve complex criminal cases using cutting-edge forensic techniques. Although it concluded its original run in 2015, its impact on television and its influence on subsequent crime dramas ensure its continued popularity through countless spinoff series like CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, CSI: Cyber, CSI: Vegas, and a TV movie CSI: Immortality.

15. Cops (1989-)

Cops 1989
Image Credit: Fox Network, Paramount Network.

Cops is a reality documentary series that provides an unfiltered and raw look into the daily lives of law enforcement officers. Through its real-time footage and intense action, the show offers a glimpse into the challenges faced by police officers as they maintain law and order.

Viewers were glued to their TV screens in the early days of this show’s airing back in 1989, and it maintained a chokehold over the culture for decades until backlash following the shooting of an unarmed black man in 2020 sparked worldwide protests and backlash against media that portrayed law enforcement uncritically.

Though it was pulled from Paramount Network in 2020, two years later, the show returned to Fox.

Source: Reddit.

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13 Campy Low-Budget Films That Deserve More Recognition. Do You Agree? | Wealth of Geeks

Just because a movie is a small-budget indie or doesn’t have the backing of a huge studio doesn’t mean the quality of the film needs to suffer. These 13 campy low-budget films, despite their modest resources, were able to create uniquely charming, creative stories. From the hilarious antics of Big Trouble in Little China to the retro-futuristic adventure of Turbo Kid, these underappreciated cinematic treasures deserve more recognition for their campy, intriguing plots.

1. Big Trouble Little China (1986)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Follow the adventures of Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), a truck driver caught in a mystical battle in San Francisco’s Chinatown. With martial arts, supernatural forces, and a healthy dose of comedy, this John Carpenter-directed film is a wild ride filled with memorable characters and outrageous situations.

2. Turbo Kid (2015)

Turbo Kid Laurence Leboeuf
Image Credit: Epic Pictures Group.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Turbo Kid follows a young scavenger (Munro Chambers) who becomes a superhero in a world of BMX bikes, comic books, and over-the-top violence. This nostalgic and quirky film pays homage to ’80s pop culture while delivering a thrilling and endearing story.

3.  Clerks (1994)

Image Credit: Miramax

Kevin Smith’s directorial debut takes us on a day in the life of Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson), two slacker clerks working at a convenience store. Filled with witty dialogue, memorable characters, and a unique black-and-white aesthetic, Clerks captures the mundane yet hilarious experiences of working-class life.

While it does have a cult following and jumpstarted Kevin Smith’s career, the movie deserves more recognition than it gets from mainstream audiences.

4. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Safety Not Guaranteed
Image Credit: FilmDistrict.

When a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel catches the attention of a magazine intern (Aubrey Plaza), she embarks on an investigation that leads her to an eccentric man (Mark Duplass) who may or may not possess the ability to travel through time. This indie sci-fi romantic comedy is filled with charm, quirkiness, and heartfelt moments.

5. Tremors (1990)

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Welcome to the small town of Perfection, where giant underground creatures threaten the lives of its residents. With a mix of horror, humor, and thrilling action, Tremors follows a group of townspeople, including handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward), as they battle the monstrous creatures in an intense fight for survival.

6. Cube (1997)

Image Credit: Cineplex Odeon Films

A group of strangers wakes up inside a deadly maze of interconnected cubes and are forced to work together to navigate its traps and escape. This psychological thriller cleverly explores human nature, paranoia, and survival instincts while unraveling the mystery of their entrapment.

7. Attack the Block (2011)

Jodie Whittaker, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)
Image Credit: StudioCanal.

Set in a South London housing estate, a gang of teenage hoodlums defend their neighborhood from an alien invasion. Attack the Block blends sci-fi, comedy, and social commentary, delivering a fresh and exciting take on the genre. With memorable characters and thrilling action, this film showcases the talent of a young John Boyega.

8. Primer (2004)

Primer David Sullivan, Shane Carruth
Image Credit: THINKFilm and IFC Films.

Shane Carruth’s mind-bending sci-fi film follows a group of engineers who accidentally invent a time machine in their garage. As they become entangled in a complex web of time travel and paradoxes, Primer challenges its audience with its intricate and intellectual narrative, making it a cult classic among science fiction enthusiasts.

9. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

Image from the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.

This horror-comedy delights in its absurd premise, over-the-top visuals, and dark humor, creating a unique and entertaining experience that has gained a dedicated cult following. When a group of extraterrestrial beings resembling sinister clowns lands on Earth, they wreak havoc on a small town. 

10. Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Blank 1600 x 900 72
Image Credit: New Line Cinema

This movie delivers non-stop gunfights, over-the-top stunts, and a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor, making it an exhilarating and unabashedly fun experience that embraces its campy nature. Prepare for relentless action as a mysterious loner (Clive Owen) protects a newborn baby from a group of deadly assassins.

11. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Wristcutters: A Love Story
Image Credit: Autonomous Films, After Dark Films.

In this darkly comedic and unconventional love story, Zia (Patrick Fugit) finds himself in a strange afterlife reserved for suicides. When he learns that his ex-girlfriend has also taken her own life, he takes a road trip through this quirky underworld to find her. 

12. Coherence (2013)

Coherence Emily Baldoni
Image Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories.

When a comet passes by Earth, a group of friends gathering for a dinner party experiences a series of strange occurrences that defy explanation. The lights go out, their phones don’t work, and something strange goes on when they wander around the neighborhood.

I don’t want to reveal too much about this one because the premise is best experienced without knowing anything beforehand, but it’s a low-budget (and it shows) sci-fi mystery that explores some of the most puzzling philosophical and scientific mysteries about human existence and identity. 

13. Resolution (2012)

Resolution 2012
Image Credit: Tribeca Film.

When a man receives a disturbing video of his friend caught in the throes of addiction, he decides to intervene by visiting him in a remote cabin. However, as they confront their personal demons, inexplicable forces start to manipulate their reality.

Much like Coherence, it’s a low-budget indie that is somewhat visually apparent but with a juicy, intriguing story that is best not to know about before watching.

Resolution combines elements of sci-fi, horror, and meta-commentary on filmmaking to produce a haunting cinematic universe with sequels like The Endless and Spring.

Source: Reddit.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Complete Chronological History in Star Wars | Wealth of Geeks

He may not be the main character in the overall continuity of Star Wars, but it’s hard to imagine George Lucas’s hit sci-fi franchise without the lovably suave Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Having been a part of the Star Wars universe since it began in 1977, Obi-Wan has become a pillar of Star Wars’ continuity, appearing in numerous films, TV series, comics, and novels over the past several decades.

Given Obi-Wan’s importance in the series – especially in his influential training of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker – there is plenty to understand regarding Obi-Wan’s canonical appearances in Star Wars.

From his earliest years as Qui-Gon Jinn’s padawan to his interactions with Luke as a Force spirit following his death, here is every film, TV show, and novel Obi-Wan has appeared in in chronological order.

The Complete Linear History of Obi-Wan Kenobi

As one of the foremost heroes of Star Wars present throughout most of the films in the Skywalker Saga, you better believe Obi-Wan has been featured in a variety of movies, TV shows, and Extended Universe lore over the years. For a straightforward guide to his numerous appearances, we put together this list that you’re able to follow along to:

  • Obi-Wan and Anakin (Charles Soule)

As helpful as this guide might be, it’s a serious commitment reading and watching all the above material in order. For the sake of simplicity then, we compiled the full chronological list of Obi-Wan’s appearances below, summarizing his life prior to meeting Anakin up to his eventual death on the Death Star.


Image Credit: Disney–Lucasfilm Press

Set in 41 BBY (about nine years before The Phantom Menace), Kiersten White’s 2022 young adult novel, Padawan, details a 16-year-old Obi-Wan’s initial training and interactions with Qui-Gon Jinn, illustrating the clash of styles between the master and his apprentice.

Initially frustrated by Qui-Gon’s hands-off approach to teaching, Obi-Wan embarks on a solo mission to the planet Lenahra, interacting with a group of Force-sensitive teens as he inwardly ponders whether he was ever meant to join the Jedi Order. Eventually uncovering a sinister plot to drain the planet of its life force, Obi-Wan – with the help of small-time prospector Dexter Jettster – saves Lenahra, relocating the displaced teens after the fact.

Reuniting with Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan is surprised to find that, rather than being angered by Obi-Wan’s defiance, his master is openly proud of him, praising him for his newfound independence and willingness to strike out on his own.

Master & Apprentice

Master & Apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi Qui-Gon Jin
Image Credit Disney-Lucasfilm Press.

Taking place in 40 or 39 BBY, Claudia Gray’s 2019 novel, Master & Apprentice, focuses on the continuing adventures of Qui-Gon and a 17-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi, roughly seven years before The Phantom Menace. A main plot point of the novel deals with both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s uncertainty surrounding Obi-Wan’s training, with Qui-Gon believing he’s failed in his duties to instruct Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan fearing Qui-Gon is secretly displeased at his pupil’s lack of progression.

Conquering their internal fears, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan grow closer after a successful assignment on the planet Teth, eliminating any uncertainty regarding their future together. More tellingly, Master & Apprentice also sees Qui-Gon confirm his own inner beliefs regarding the strength of Jedi prophecy, even as Obi-Wan himself remains reluctant to put much faith in visions of the future (a trait that would become integral in the years to come).

The Phantom Menace

Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Ewan McGregor
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Paired together for approximately decade, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s final assignment together comes courtesy of The Phantom Menace in 32 BBY. Dealing with a crisis on Naboo pitting the planet’s monarchy against the corrupt Trade Federation, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon rescue Queen Amidala and whisk her away to Tatooine. There, Qui-Gon discovers nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker, believing his influence in the Force makes him the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy.

Escorting the Queen and a now-free Anakin to Coruscant, Qui-Gon does his best to convince the Jedi High Council that Anakin is the prophesized Chosen One, sworn to bring balance to the force. Although uncertain of Qui-Gon’s belief in Anakin, Obi-Wan respectfully backs his master’s claims.

Returning to Naboo to end the Trade Federation’s invasion, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon encounter the Sith Lord, Darth Maul. After a lengthy duel that leaves Maul severely wounded and Qui-Gon mortally injured, Obi-Wan swears to his dying master to assume Anakin’s training. Notifying Yoda of Qui-Gon’s wish and his determination to see it through, Obi-Wan is granted the rank of master by Yoda at the age of 24. Yoda then reluctantly allows Obi-Wan to take Anakin as his padawan.

Obi-Wan and Anakin (Charles Soule)

Obi-Wan and Anakin star wars comic
Image Credit: Marco Checchetto/ Marvel Comics.

Three years into their partnership together, Obi-Wan and the 12-year-old Anakin carry out various peace-keeping assignments throughout the galaxy – one of which takes them to the planet Carnelion IV in 29 BBY, which forms the basis for Charles Soule’s five-issue comic series.

Even as they continue to form a close bond together on these assignments, Obi-Wan and Anakin’s partnership is mired by Anakin’s recklessness and what Anakin views as Obi-Wan’s overly-orthodox approach to adhering to the Jedi Code. Though the mission is successful, Anakin begins questioning his place in the Jedi, becoming aware of both the hypocrisy and injustices found within the Order and the Republic. Coming close to exiting the Jedi Order at the off-set of the mission, Anakin ultimately decides against it, resolving to continue his padawan training under Obi-Wan.

Attack of the Clones

Ewan McGregor in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Seven years after their assignment on Carnelion IV, the 34-year-old Obi-Wan and the now 19-year-old Anakin are assigned to protect Senator Padmé Amidala in 22 BBY, after the former queen was nearly assassinated by agents of Count Dooku. Leaving Anakin to guard Padmé against any future assassination attempts, Obi-Wan embarks on a solo mission to determine the assassin’s true identity.

Obi-Wan’s investigation soon takes him to the mysterious world of Kamino, where he uncovers a genetically engineered clone army designed to serve the Republic. Believing that the clones’ genetical template – the Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett – was behind the assassination attempt, Obi-Wan pursues Fett to Geonosis, where he’s promptly captured by Dooku and the fledgling Separatist Army.

Nearly killed in a gladiatorial fight alongside the similarly imprisoned Anakin and Padmé, the three then take part in the opening battle of the Clone Wars, pitting the Jedi and untested Clone Army against the Separatist’s mighty Droid Army. Facing Dooku in a duel, Obi-Wan and Anakin are left grievously wounded, and are only barely saved by the timely appearance of Yoda, who chases Dooku off, ending the battle in the Republic’s favor.


Brotherhood Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi
Image Credit: Del Rey/Laura Racero.

As the Clone Wars alters the political landscape of the galaxy, planets struggle to figure out where their true allegiances lie. Such is the focus of Mike Chen’s 2022 novel, Brotherhood. Taking place in 22 BBY, Anakin is promoted to the rank of Jedi Knight, leading him into conflict with Obi-Wan regarding their relationship.

No longer master and student, Obi-Wan has his patience tested when Anakin butts in on a sensitive investigation into an bombing on Cato Neimoidia that could determine the planet’s affiliation with the Republic. Clashing at first, the two eventually set the boundaries of their newfound partnership, saving their friendship – and Cato Neimoidia itself – in the process.

The Clone Wars (film)

Clone Wars Movie Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

A short time after the “messy business” on Cato Neimoidia, Anakin and Obi-Wan lead the Republic assault on the planet Christophsis in 22 BBY. During a small lull in the battle, the two meet teenage Togruta padawan, Ahsoka Tano, who is assigned to learn under Anakin by Yoda. Amused by the order and realizing his friend will experience the persistent headaches that come with training a rebellious young Jedi, Obi-Wan bides time for Ahsoka and Anakin to defeat the Droid Army, securing the planet for the Republic.

Learning that influential gangster Jabba the Hutt’s son has been kidnapped by the Sith – who are now framing the Jedi for the child’s disappearance – Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka are tasked with finding the young Hutt. Taking advantage of Obi-Wan’s famous political skills, Obi-Wan is dispatched to Tatooine to negotiate a treaty between the Hutts and the Republic. Uncovering the whereabouts of the missing Hutt on Teth, Obi-Wan personally battles Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress, easily defeating her (though she manages to escape the planet and Republic custody).

The Clone Wars (series)

Star Wars Clone Wars tv series Obi-Wan Kenobi
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

For the next three years, the Republic is embroiled in an epic, galaxy-wide conflict with the Confederacy of Independent Planets, forming the backbone of The Clone Wars TV series. From 22 to 19 BBY, Obi-Wan – like the fellow members of the Jedi – takes part in this war, with Obi-Wan personally leading his own battalion of clones with the assistance of his second-in-command, Commander Cody.

Specific narrative storylines centered around Obi-Wan in the series include his romantic relationship with Mandalorian Duchess Satine Kryze, his repeated clashes with General Grievous and Ventress, and his fateful encounter with a returning Darth Maul – now out for revenge against Kenobi for his maiming a decade prior.

Tales of the Jedi

Tales of The Jedi Obi-Wan Satine
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Obi-Wan makes a small appearance in the anthology series, Tales of the Jedi, figuring into the episode, “Practice Makes Perfect.” This episode – set early on in the Clone Wars, shortly into Ahsoka and Anakin’s partnership – shows Obi-Wan attending Ahsoka’s training session at the Jedi Temple, sarcastically admonishing Anakin for being late.

Dark Disciple

Dark Disciple Star Wars
Image Credit: Del Rey/Matt Taylor.

After The Clone Wars’ abrupt cancellation in 2013, several unfinished storylines planned for the series’ future seasons were adapted into tie-in novels, including Christie Golden’s 2015 book, Dark Disciple. Set in 19 BBY, the novel follows disillusioned Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, who Obi-Wan recommends carry out an assassination attempt on Count Dooku’s life (an assignment designed by the High Council that Obi-Wan is heartily against).

Throughout the novel, Obi-Wan works with Vos from afar, providing him with valuable intelligence and resources, and helping him make an ally out of Dooku’s former pupil, Asajj Ventress. The entire mission proves unsuccessful, with Vos briefly falling to the Dark Side after trying – and failing – to kill both Dooku and Darth Sidious. Defending Vos and the fallen Ventress – who gave her life to save Vos from Dooku – Obi-Wan convinces the High Council to pardon Vos for his failures, attending a private funeral service on Dathomir for his former enemy-turned-ally, Ventress.

Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of The Sith Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi Ewan McGregor
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

In 19 BBY, Anakin and Obi-Wan launch a successful rescue operation over Coruscant, freeing the Chancellor from the clutches of General Grievous and killing Separatist leader, Count Dooku. With the end of the Clone Wars in sight, Obi-Wan is sent to lead the Republic assault on Utapau, finally killing the wily Droid commander, Grievous. Before departing for Utapau, Obi-Wan does his best to calm the increasingly addled Anakin, who’s discontent with the Jedi High Council seems to have reached its breaking point.

With Obi-Wan no longer there to provide him with guidance and clarity, Anakin falls to the Dark Side, bargaining with Sidious (revealed to be Chancellor Palpatine) to save Padmé’s life from prophesied death. Assuming his place as Sidious’s apprentice, Anakin – now going by the moniker Darth Vader – initiates a galaxy-wide genocide against the Jedi, with only Obi-Wan and a few others managing to survive.

Devastated by his friend’s fall from grace – but realizing his death is necessary for the sake of the galaxy – Obi-Wan departs for Mustafar, engaging in an intense duel with Vader over the planet’s fiery terrain. Seriously wounding Vader yet unable to deliver the final blow, Obi-Wan tearfully laments Anakin’s transformation, leaving him to die on a nearby lava flow. Reuniting with Yoda, Obi-Wan witnesses the birth of Luke and Leia, agreeing to protect and watch over Luke on Tatooine after Padmé’s death in childbirth.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi Ewan McGregor
Image Credit: Lucasfilm

As the Republic is restructured into the Galactic Empire under Palpatine, Obi-Wan lives in solitude on Tatooine for the next 10 years, guarding Luke and his family from afar. Guilt-ridden over Anakin’s supposed death at his hands, the 46-year-old Obi-Wan severs his ties with the Force, assuming the name Ben Kenobi to avoid Imperial authorities.

When the 10-year-old Leia is kidnapped in 9 BBY, Obi-Wan reluctantly agrees to rescue her upon the request of Bail Organa. Freeing Leia from her confinement, Obi-Wan outruns Imperial Inquisitors, eventually coming face to face with Vader, who’s he shocked to learn survived his injuries on Mustafar.

Meeting in two separate battles, Obi-Wan finally manages to come to terms with Anakin’s transformation during his climactic duel with his former padawan, who fully embraces his new identity as Vader. Sparing an injured Vader’s life, Obi-Wan escorts Leiab back to Alderaan and returns to Tatooine, resuming his duties protecting Luke and finally conversing with Qui-Gon’s Force spirit after the latter’s death 23 years earlier.


Star Wars Rebels Obi-Wan Kenobi James Arnold Taylor
Image Credit: Disney XD.

For the next decade, Obi-Wan continues to watch over Luke under his guise as desert hermit, Ben Kenobi. In 2 BBY, he finds and rescues the stranded Ezra Bridger, who’s arrived to Tatooine looking for Obi-Wan in the hopes of warning him about Maul – who is similarly pursuing Kenobi to fulfill his decades-long personal grudge against the Jedi. Gently rebuffing Ezra’s offer to join the Rebellion, Obi-Wan also makes it plain that he has no desire to fight Maul – although he admits that a confrontation between the two seems unavoidable.

Sending Ezra on his way, Obi-Wan encounters Maul in the desert. Presuming that Obi-Wan has come to Tatooine to protect someone, Obi-Wan engages Maul in combat, quickly defeating his former foe. As Maul dies in his arms, Obi-Wan confirms Luke’s identity as the Chosen One, the two mutually agreeing that Luke will “avenge” them once he comes of age.

A New Hope

Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker A New Hope
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

In 0 BBY, the Rebellion steals valuable plans detailing the Death Star, the Empire launching a far-ranging search to recover the missing plans. With no one else she’s able to call on for help, Leia sends the plans to Obi-Wan through R2-D2 and C-3PO on Tatooine, asking that he personally deliver them to the Rebellion.

Rescuing Luke from a tribe of Tusken Raiders, Obi-Wan agrees to take the plans to the Alliance with Luke’s help, revealing many details about the Jedi to Luke (although he opts to tell Luke that his father was killed by Darth Vader). Together, they hire expert smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca of the Millenium Falcon, fleeing Imperial authorities on Tatooine. Making their way across the galaxy, the Falcon is soon apprehended by the Death Star itself. Deactivating the Death Star’s defenses on his own, Obi-Wan encounters Darth Vader nine years after their previous battle, fighting him for the final time.

Weakened by age and aware of his own strong connection to the Force, Obi-Wan witnesses Luke and Leia reunite for the first time since their birth. Seeing this, Obi-Wan happily assents to his own destruction, allowing Vader to strike him down at the age of 57. Later, Obi-Wan psychically communicates with Luke, encouraging him to channel the Force to destroy the Death Star and reminding him that the “Force will be with you, always.”

The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back Obi-Wan calls Luke Alec Guinness
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

In 3 ABY – three years after the destruction of the Death Star – the Rebel Alliance runs and hides from the persistent onslaught of the Empire, who are determined to decisively wipe them out. As Luke narrowly avoids becoming a meal for a ravenous Wampa on Hoth, he sees the spirit of Obi-Wan amid a heavy storm, who encourages Luke to venture to Dagobah and continue his Jedi training under Yoda.

Upon his arrival to Dagobah, Yoda expresses reluctance to teach Luke, with Obi-Wan arguing in Luke’s favor. Overcoming his hesitancy, Yoda helps Luke hone his skills in the Force, though their lessons are cut short when Luke envisions his friends in peril.

Resolving to rescue them from their grim fate, Obi-Wan materializes in front of Luke, begging him not to confront Vader. Thanking both Obi-Wan and Yoda for their guidance and advice, Luke departs, with Obi-Wan and Yoda remarking that, should anything happen to Luke, their hope will lie with Leia.

Return of the Jedi

Star Wars Return of The Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi Yoda
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

One year after Luke’s first meeting Yoda on Dagobah, the young Skywalker formally completes his training, becoming a full-fledged Jedi Knight in the process. As Yoda peacefully prepares to become one with the Force, the wizened Jedi Master confirms that Vader is Luke’s father.

Rocked by this news, Luke confronts Obi-Wan’s spirit, who reveals his duplicity and tells Luke that Leia is actually his twin sister. Once Luke tells him of his own plans to turn Vader back to the Light Side, Obi-Wan expresses doubt that any good still remains in his former pupil, encouraging Luke – for the sake of his life and the galaxy’s survival – to kill Vader when he gets the chance.

After Luke’s battle with Vader on the Death Star II converts Vader back to the Light Side, the now redeemed spirit of Anakin appears alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan, the former best friends watching fondly as Luke celebrates his victory with his friends.

The Rise of Skywalker

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

As with several other notable Jedi from the past, Obi-Wan briefly appears in a vocal cameo in The Rise of Skywalker 31 years after his last canonical appearance in Return of the Jedi. As Rey confronts her grandfather, Palpatine, Obi-Wan and his fellow Jedi encourage her to use her knowledge of the Force to finally defeat Sidious for good.

Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).

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How to Get Free Stocks – 13 Ways to Get Free Shares Today

Is a lack of money keep you from investing? Stop putting off planning for your future when there are endless ways you can get free stocks and get in the investing game today without requiring much money.

Too many people wait too many years before they begin to invest. Some don’t have the knowledge to get started and have no idea what to invest in, but many people have the misconception that it takes a large amount of money to begin investing.

The reality is the longer you wait, the more money you miss out on. But, conversely, the earlier you start investing, the more money you typically end up with.

So if you’ve been holding back until you save or earn more money, you’re in the right place. Earning free stocks is one of the best ways to start investing, grow your investment portfolio, and build wealth.

We’ve rounded up 13 ways you can get free stocks so you can start investing today.

How To Get Free Stocks

Due to high competition, many online brokers have reduced their fees over the past few years. To stay relevant, many brokers even offer free stock trading, which is good news for investors. In addition, many investment apps and platforms have stepped up their game and offer investors free stock shares to draw more active traders to their platforms.

13 Apps With a Free Stock Offer

These 13 legitimate investment companies offer bonuses or a free stock program. Score anywhere from $2 to $1,600 in free stocks or bonuses when you sign up to one of the platforms below.

1. M1 Finance

M1 Finance is a Robo-advisor that is an excellent choice for beginners who want to start trading stocks. It allows you to buy and sell stocks without transaction fees. Besides, over 80 experts have created portfolios in which all users can invest.

You can deposit money and let M1 Finance do the work for you, including rebalancing your portfolio. That’s free automated investing. M1 Finance also lets you invest in ETFs, REITs, and individual stocks. In addition, they offer fractional shares, meaning you can buy a piece of a share rather than pay for one entire share.

For example, Google stock is valued at $2,200 now, so if you want to buy one share, you’ll have to invest $2,200. However, with M1 Finance, you can invest $100 in Google and own a small part of one share.

M1 Finance has a referral program where you get a $30 signup bonus. When you have an account, you can refer new users, and you will get $30 when they sign up and fund their account.

2. Stash Invest

Stash is a bank and micro-investing platform, which means they allow you to purchase parts of shares – called fractional shares – and start investing with their mobile app for as little as $5. In addition, they offer different financial products such as stocks, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and index funds.

As a Stash user, you’ll also get access to their educational resources to teach you how to build a diversified portfolio and a debit card. Instead of cash back, you will earn online stock when you spend using your Stash debit card, which is a great way to grow your investments without requiring substantial upfront capital.

When you sign up to their platform and fund your new account with $5, you’ll receive a $5 cash bonus. Use your bonus to purchase fractional shares of stock to begin your investing journey or accelerate your wealth-growing rate. While $5 may not seem like much, even small amounts invested consistently over time will significantly impact your portfolio.

Sign up for Stash button

3. Acorns

Acorns is another app that offers free stock to new users. You will get up to $5 added to your account when you sign up for Acorns. Acorns charges you $1 per month to use their service, so use that $5 toward their $1 monthly fee. In addition, you can earn more when you spend with specific partners.

For example, you will get $0.50 every time you use Uber, $0.03 for every dollar spent on Amazon, or $75 when buying a mattress from Casper. It’s a great way to earn bonuses on purchases you already intend to make and build long-term wealth.

Acorns is a micro-investing app that rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the rest for you. It’s an excellent way to get your feet wet in the stock market by investing on a smaller scale with minimal impact on your budget.

Sign up for Acorns button

4. Public.com

Public.com is the investing social network where members can own fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, follow popular creators, and share ideas within a community of investors. Public.com’s mission is to make the stock market an inclusive and educational place for new and experienced investors alike.

Public.com Offers Two Ways To Earn a Free Slice of Stock:

  • Earn a free slice of stock when you sign up and are approved (no deposit minimum required). Offer valid for U.S. residents 18+ and subject to account approval. According to Public.com, there may be other fees associated with trading – see their disclosure for more info.
  • Public rewards its members for helping their friends start their investing journey. If you share your unique referral link and your friend successfully opens an account, you and your friend will receive a free slice of stock.

Sign up for Public.com button

5. Webull

Webull, a newer online brokerage that opened in 2018, is similar to Robinhood in that it offers the ability to buy and sell stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. The platform also provides commission-free trades. In addition, Webull offers real-time data for stocks, extended trading hours, and other tools and reports similar to traditional brokerages. Webull makes money from uninvested cash, offering premium services, margin interest, and other various methods.

Webull will give you between $3 and $300 in one free stock when you open a brokerage account with them with no deposit required. However, if you fund your account with $100 or more, you can get a second free stock valued between $8 and $2,000.

According to Webull, you have a 100% chance of receiving two free stocks. But keep in mind stock selection is random from Webull’s inventory, and you must claim your free within 30 days. The website currently states that you have a 1-in-100 chance of getting free stock of Facebook (FB), Starbucks (SBUX), or Snap (SNAP). You also have a 1-in-50 chance of getting free stock of Google (GOOG), Procter & Gamble (PG), and Kraft Heinz (KHC).

Since Webull has one of the higher-valued free stock programs on our list, it’s definitely worth a look.

Sign up for Webull button

6. SoFi Invest

A popular investing platform that offers many services, including investing, SoFi is an excellent choice if you want to trade stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. They provide active trading but don’t offer mutual funds or options trading.

In addition, ETF trades are commission-free. You only need $1 to open an eligible account and start investing. Download the SoFi app, open an Active Invest account, and get a free stock valued up to $1,000.

Sign up for SoFi Invest button

7. Robinhood

Robinhood’s app is among the best investing apps for beginners. If you’re a novice, this is the place to start. It’s one of the first apps that began offering commission-free trades. While they did find themselves in hot water after the Gamestop/Reddit debacle, Robinhood is still a solid online trading platform.

Open a free account with Robinhood, and they’ll give you your first stock for free – valued between $3-$225. While you can’t choose the specific stock you want, you could receive a share of Apple, Microsoft, Ford, Groupon, JPMorgan, and many more. It’s a great way to start or continue your investing journey and build long-term wealth.

The only condition is that you need to link your bank account to receive your free stock. Then, after you’ve signed up to the platform, you can refer users and get a free stock. If you’re new to investing, Robinhood is an intuitive app that is great for beginners. It has plenty of options, offering stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fractional shares, and cryptocurrencies. You can also purchase investment options and invest in options contracts.

However, it’s important to understand options trading, as it’s often on margin, and market volatility can heavily influence your results.

8. TastyWorks

Instead of saving the best for last, we’re giving it to you right off the bat. And, sure, while it may have a slightly misleading name for a financial institution, TastyWorks is our best choice for free stocks.

Funny name aside, TastyWorks is an online brokerage platform that is serious about helping you prepare for your future. They offer low-cost trades with a big focus on educational content and helpful resources to help DIY investors.

Plus, for a limited time, TastyWorks will give new customers $200 worth of free stock when you open an account with an initial deposit of $2,000.00 – such a generous bonus can get you on your way to building a nest egg.

Sign up for TastyWorks button

9. Stockpile

Stockpile is one of the most popular stock gifting apps out there. You can gift stocks through Stockpile and redeem gifts you have received.

Giving the gift of stocks is a unique alternative to a gift card and would be an excellent option for younger investors who may be unsure of what investments to purchase.

Included stocks are Tesla, Disney, Amazon, and more. All you need to do is sign up with Stockpile.

10. Groundfloor

Groundfloor is an online investment platform that offers crowdfunding, where you can invest in short-term real estate investments. With these investments, you provide capital to real estate investors renovating and renting out properties. Groundfloor currently has a promotion that offers $10 when you sign up through a referral link.

When you’re signed up, you get your referral bonus link, and you both get $10 for every user you refer. You can use the money to invest in more real estate projects to grow your wealth even faster.

11. Nvstr

Nvstr, pronounced “investor,” is a brokerage and investing platform. Nvstr lets you place trades for stocks and ETFs with no account minimum. Besides live trading accounts, you can also have simulated accounts in Nvstr.

Nvstr differentiates itself in two ways. First, it has a one-click Portfolio Optimizer based on the work of a Nobel prize-winning researcher. The Optimizer tries to solve for optimal portfolio allocation to maximize return while minimizing risk. You can read more about the Portfolio Optimizer in this review of Nvstr.

The platform also has a social aspect with Community Thought Leaders, Viewpoint Contributors, and a social media feed with Pros and Cons. The purpose is for you to get ideas (not actual investment advice) from community members to make investments.

Nvstr is a subscription service with commission-free trading. You’ll pay $4.99 each month for 25 free trades. Alternatively, you can pay $4.50 per trade if you’d prefer not to join on a subscription basis.

Nvstr offers real money – anywhere from $10 to $1,000 – when you sign up for an account and place a trade within a month. Use your free money to buy stocks. You have a 100% chance of getting at least $10, a 1-in-20 chance of getting $20, a 1-in-2,500 chance of getting $500, and a 1-in-5,000 chance of earning $1,000.

12. Moomoo

Moomoo is a trading app for both new and expert investors. They don’t charge commissions or require a minimum deposit and provide pre-and post-market stock trading tools.

Simply sign up for their platform, fund your account, and get free stocks. For example, when you fund your account with $100, you will get a free stock valued between $4 and $200. When you deposit at least $1,500 to your account, you will get another free stock valued between $10 and $1,000.

13. Dough

Dough is a simple and low-cost online broker that offers commission-free trades and no minimums to open an account. They offer their services only through an app, and the platform is intuitive and easy to understand. If you enjoy mobile trading, this is the best online option.

When you sign up to Dough through a referral link from an existing Dough customer, you will get a free share valued at $2-$200. However, if you want to cash out, you first must deposit $25 in your account.

Tax Consequences

While receiving free stocks is a great way to grow your net worth, it’s important to note that it may have tax consequences since it counts as taxable income on your tax return.

You also may be required to report capital gains if you later sell the stock at a higher price than when you received it. It’s a good idea to consult with your accountant or financial planning professional with any tax questions.

The Good News

Now that you have a list of options to earn free stocks, nothing is holding you back from investing. Diversifying your income streams will allow you to be less dependent on a single source of income, be it your job or business. So sign up for these platforms, get free stocks, and build long-term wealth.

Marjolein is the founder of Radical FIRE. She has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. Radical FIRE is a personal finance blog that helps you live your dream life through making more money and investing. We want you to reach your financial goals and have fun while doing it!

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The Origin of The Blue Hawaiian Drink Plus 5 Recipes From Hawaii Bars | Wealth of Geeks

A dry martini doesn’t hit the same in Hawaii. Or an Old Fashioned. The crisp freshness of a mojito is not bad. And when you’re at a bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the warm breeze flowing through your hair, a Mai Tai is close to perfection. But it’s hard to beat the blue-colored Hawaiian drink, the iconic Blue Hawaii.

This legendary cocktail’s almost synonymous with the Aloha State, offering a taste of the tropics since the 1950s. Let’s dive into its history and recipes from five Hawaii bars so you can transport yourself back to these islands whenever you’d like.

But First, What Is the Blue Hawaiian Drink?

A Blue Hawaii is a tropical cocktail that contains white rum, pineapple juice (fresh is best), sweet and sour mix (a syrup typically made using lemon juice, lime juice, sugar, and water), and a bitter-orange-flavored liqueur called curacao that gives the drink its bright ocean-colored hue. This famous blue Hawaiian drink can also contain vodka but is optional.

A Blue Hawaii is often served on the rocks. You can also request a frozen one blended with a cup of crushed ice. As for the garnish, you’ll usually find a wedge of pineapple on the edge of the glass, accompanied by a maraschino cherry, one of their Hawaiian flowers, and the all-important tiny cocktail umbrella.

Having said all that, we could have answered the question of what the drink is in a single word: delicious.

The Blue Hawaii cocktail has the sweetness of the pineapple, balanced beautifully by the tartness of the sour mix, with bitter-orange undertones courtesy of the curacao.

It’s quite a strong cocktail, especially when you include vodka. Yet it isn’t overpowering, thanks to intense tropical flavors. So you may not taste the power of all the alcohol.

Like Hawaiian food, this drink is another symbol of how Hawaii’s physical location is not just a geographical meeting point between Asia Pacific and The Americas, but so are its modern-day culinary offerings. For visitors seeking a quintessential tropical experience – at least as it’s sold on postcards and TV screens – this blue Hawaiian drink symbolizes everything they’re looking for.

The History of the Blue Hawaiian Drink

The Blue Hawaii drink is a staple on Hawaiian bar menus these days. But rewind 70 years, and it didn’t exist. Back then, tourism had just started to take hold. World War II wasn’t that long ago, and Americans started flocking there to experience what the servicemen returning from the South Pacific had been gushing about. During this time, Harry Yee, a local of Chinese descent, was a bartender at The Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.

The tourists pouring into town wanted a taste of tropical Hawaii and often asked for a local cocktail. Yee had nothing to offer; the best he could do was mix a Mai Tai. As fate would have it, though, a salesman for the Dutch liquor company Bols came to ask if he could create a drink using the liqueur they were promoting at the time: Blue Curacao. The rest, as they say, is history.

Yee named his creation the “Blue Hawaii,” and the concoction became an instant hit. Contrary to popular belief, Yee didn’t take the name from the eponymous Elvis Presley movie. Instead, he borrowed it from a Bing Crosby film called Waikiki Wedding, where the song “Blue Hawaii” plays.

Yee’s notoriety as a mixologist only continued from there. He invented 15 more cocktails, including the Hawaiian Eye and Naughty Hula.

We can’t forget his historic garnishes for this Blue Hawaiian drink. A vanda orchid replaced a stalk of sugarcane in each drink because it didn’t leave a sticky residue on the empty glasses. And you know those tiny paper parasols you see decorating drinks everywhere nowadays? According to tiki drink historian Jeff Berry, Yee is the first to put these China-manufactured mini-umbrellas in a cocktail.

The Blue Hawaii vs. The Blue Hawaiian Cocktail

People commonly refer to Blue Hawaii cocktails as “Blue Hawaiians.” And you can’t blame them. After all, they’re both blue Hawaiian drinks that derive their hue from blue curacao! Yet they’re not the same.

The difference? The Blue Hawaii contains sour mix, while the Blue Hawaiian uses Crème de Coconut.

A simple way to tell the difference on a bar menu is by looking for any coconut-based recipe ingredients. If you spot one (including coconut rum), you’re drinking a Blue Hawaiian. It will still be delicious, it just won’t be the original cocktail created by Harry Yee.

5 Blue Hawaiian Recipes From Bars in Hawaii

Here are five Blue Hawaiian recipes whether you want to bar hop on your next vacation to the Hawaiian Islands or are looking for different versions to make at home.

1. Harry Yee’s 1957 Original Blue Hawaii Recipe

If you want to step back in time to see how an original Blue Hawaii would have tasted if the legend himself had made it for you, then this is the recipe. According to Yee, if it doesn’t contain vodka, it’s incorrect.

Take a 12-ounce glass and fill it with ice, pour in 3oz of fresh pineapple juice, then add (in this order):

  • 1oz of sweet and sour mix
  • 1/2oz of Blue Curacao (preferably Bols)
  • 3/4oz of vodka
  • 3/4oz of Puerto Rican light rum

Once added to the glass, stir the ingredients together gently to mix. To finish, garnish your blue Hawaiian drink with a slice of pineapple and an orchid. Serve your Blue Hawaii in a tall glass with a piece of pineapple and a cherry, frozen or on the rocks.

“The Blue Hawaii is our second most popular cocktail on property, slightly behind the Mai Tai. Its popularity is driven by its dual association with Elvis and the Hilton Hawaiian Village,” said Nick Kabetso, Director of Food and Beverage Hilton Hawaiian Village. “It’s a bright blue drink that is fruit-forward, refreshing, and easy to drink, so you typically always come back for a second.”

2. Royal Lahaina Resort’s Pineapple Blue Hawaiian

The Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows is an iconic and historic place on the same stretch of beach where Hawaiian royalty vacationed.  This locally owned, independent resort boasts a traditional Hawaiian ambiance and offers five-star service – all with a room rate that’s far more affordable than other hotels.

If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself there and fancy a blue Hawaiian drink, ask the bartender to make their Blue Hawaiian. It’s not on the menu, but they’ll make one upon request from the following recipe:

Take a glass/cocktail shaker and add the following:

  • 3oz white rum
  • 2oz Blue Curacao liqueur
  • 2oz coconut cream
  • 4oz pineapple juice
  • 1 cup of ice

Mix well and serve in a freshly cut Maui Gold Pineapple. For the garnish, add a parasol and maraschino cherry.

3. Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s Modern Take on a Blue Hawaii

Since Harry Yee debuted his blue Hawaiian drink all those years ago, several adaptations have been made from the original recipe. One of the best comes from Maui’s beloved Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, which recently unveiled a $75 million property-wide renovation and brand-new oceanfront restaurant called Huihui.

Themed around the ancient tradition of Hawaiian wayfaring, Huihui takes guests on an exploration of modern Hawaiian cuisine and has been recognized as one of Hawaii’s top five new restaurants. Their brand-new cocktail menu is available as of June 2023. Sneak peeks include an Old Fashioned with Māmaki Tea, a Mojito with lilikoi syrup, and a delicious take on the Blue Hawaiian.

They call it “The Navigator,” made of Fid Street Gin (from the Hāli‘imaile Distillery), Blue Curacao, Ali‘i Kula Lavender reduction spray, Maui Bees Honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and tonic water.

4. Sheraton Maui’s Take on a Blue Hawaii

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa offers two cocktails inspired by Harry Yee’s original recipe. The first is a traditional Blue Hawaii on their current pool bar menu, consisting of rum, pineapple juice, and Blue Curacao.

However, in celebration of their 60th anniversary starting June 2023, they’ve also created a “Surf’s Up” cocktail, which deliciously deviates from traditional ingredients. This one boasts colors reminiscent of the blue hues blanketing the shores of Ka’anapali Beach, which front the resort. It combines Casamigos Blanco Tequila, Blue Curacao, Peach Schnapps, fresh pineapple, and lime, which get muddled and strained into a glass.

5. The LineUp’s Wai Tai

Can’t decide between a Blue Hawaii or a Mai Tai? Head down to Oahu’s Ewa Beach and grab a table at The Lookout Food & Drink, which is the bar, restaurant, and social center of The LineUp at Wai Kai.

They offer a “Wai Tai” containing ingredients and flavors from both classic tropical cocktails. Blue Curacao liqueur tops off a mix of orgeat syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, 1.5oz of Kuleana Rum Works Huihui, and 1/4oz of Kuleana Rum Works Nanea.

Serve a Blue Hawaiian Drink at Home With a Side of Aloha

Celebrities and tourists have drunk and celebrated this beautiful alcoholic beverage for almost seven decades.

Yee served notable guests at the resort and beyond during his storied career. Celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Joan Crawford, and others experienced Yee’s skillful bartending and hospitality. Yet his success behind the bar was matched with humility and a display of the aloha spirit to all he came into contact with.

“Harry Yee’s impact on Hilton Hawaiian Village and cocktail culture at large cannot be overstated,” said Debi Bishop, managing director of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. “Though his accomplishments are many, Harry was always humble, often refusing to place himself in the limelight.”

“He brought joy to many who visited Hawaii’s shores through his craft, and he will be deeply missed by our team at the hotel,” Bishop remarked upon his death in 2022 at 104 years old.

So as you toast with one at home or on vacation, remember one of Harry Yee’s wise mantras: “Everything in moderation.”

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11 Things To Do in Milwaukee With Kids | Wealth of Geeks

When someone mentions things to do in Milwaukee, does your mind go to beer or 1970s sitcoms? “Brew City” is nationally known for nearly two centuries of beer-making by major industry names like Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz. Beloved sitcoms like Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley told Milwaukee’s story through middle-class midwestern families and single gals trying to make ends meet by toiling at the fictional Shotz Brewery. Today’s Milwaukee is surprisingly kid-friendly. Here are 11 things to do in Milwaukee with kids. 

11 Things To Do in Milwaukee With Kids

Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

Knocking back a Pabst or chanting “Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated is nowhere on this list, although if parents crave that nostalgia, they should go for it.

1. Take a City Tour With Milwaukee Tours

Street Art In Milwaukee.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

I firmly believe in taking a city tour early in your visit. It’s a great way to orient yourself to the lay of the land in a new place and get recommendations from a local. We took the Iconic Milwaukee Tour and zipped around Brew City like a local after our two-hour tour. 

All tours – check what’s available on the website to see which tour is for you – are conducted in an eco-friendly electric vehicle. The doors are taken off the vehicle in warm, sunny weather, but if it’s cold outside, the doors will be on, so you’re comfy and cozy. 

2. Explore Milwaukee’s Riverwalk

Kayakers in Milwaukee River.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

If you visit during the spring, summer, or early fall before the Wisconsin winter shows up to say hello, the RiverWalk is alive with activity on land and in water. Take a boat tour, rent a kayak, explore the urban paddle trails, or explore the restaurants and bars along the river walk. 

And, if you’re going to feel cheated if your Milwaukee experience doesn’t hit you in your 1970s TV nostalgia bone, you’re in luck. There’s a life-size statue of Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli with two thumbs up, affectionately known as “The Bronze Fonz.” 

3. 3rd Street Market Hall

3rd Street Market Hall.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

I’ve included a section on where to eat below, and 3rd Street Market Hall is definitely about eating, and you can see the list of places to nosh on their website. From cheese curds, because, of course, to pizza to craft cocktails, whatever you want to eat is here.

Aside from the righteous eats, 3rd Street Market Hall has tons of fun. From free yard-style games, such as cornhole and giant Jenga, to Top Golf Swing Suites, good food might be the big draw to get you in the door, but there’s much more. There’s also a free video game station if you want to get your Super Smash Brothers on. The 3rd Street Market Hall had a Selfie Museum up until this month that visitors could explore for an additional charge, but the latest news from Milwaukee is that the space is being replaced by a bar. 

4. Milwaukee Is a Sports Town – Catch a Game

American Family Stadium.
Image credit: Milwaukee Brewers.

If you are a basketball or baseball fan, you can time your visit so you can catch a home game. Cheer for the Milwaukee Bucks in Fiserv Stadium, which is located in the heart of downtown. 

You’ll need a car to get to American Family Stadium, where the Milwaukee Brewers play, but it’s a short drive from downtown. Make sure you go early and anticipate lines to get in the parking lot and into the stadium – Milwaukeans love their baseball team. 

To take your baseball experience up a notch, reserve a table at J. Leinenkugel’s Barrel Yard & Taproom Restaurant. Patio seating overlooks the left field and offers an incredible, up-close view of the action.  

5. Eat, Drink, and Pet Cats at Sip & Purr Cat Cafe

Close up of a cat.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Sip & Purr is a unique cat cafe home to international rescue cats and is Milwaukee’s first cat cafe. Unlike many cat cafes where the “cafe” part seems an afterthought, Sip & Purr has some legit house-made baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free options and a full coffee menu. Sip & Purr also serves alcohol and has an excellent merchandise section that includes supplies for cats and lots of quirky, cat-themed merchandise, from socks to paper goods and more. 

If you want to interact with the cats, make a reservation. These felines are in high demand, and you may be disappointed if you walk in without a booked time. Guests with a reservation get a full hour to socialize with the cats, who are all adoptable. You can also watch the cats through a clear glass viewing window. 

6. Adventure Rock

Adventure Rock.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

If your answer to the question of “Should we go indoor rock climbing?” is “Yes, please!” then Adventure Rock is the place to be. Located just outside downtown Milwaukee, this indoor rock climbing gym has the goods. 

I took my intermediate-level climbing 12-year-old with a limb difference to climbing for two hours, and Adventure Rock did great with him. Sometimes, dealing with a one-handed kid for an adventure activity brings some extra questions or red tape, but this ultra-inclusive climbing gym got it right.

7. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

With 30,000 works of art and 125 years of collecting history, the Milwaukee Art Museum is a can’t-miss gallery for any art lover. The gallery has four floors of over forty galleries of regularly rotated art, with works ranked as the best in the nation for folk and Haitian art, German Expressionism, and more.

The most remarkable thing about the Milwaukee Art Museum is the signature wings, called the Burke Brise Soleil. The wings form a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan. It takes three-and-a-half minutes for the wings to open or close. Seeing the wings unfold is something to see and typically takes place in conjunction with the museum’s opening but can vary based on weather or wind. 

Allow at least three hours to fully explore the Milwaukee Art Museum, more if your child is really into the activities in the kid’s galleries, which are always themed to pair with an exhibit inside the museum proper.  

8. Discovery World

Discovery World Aquarium Milwaukee.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

Discovery World is an interactive children’s museum near the Milwaukee Art Museum. If you want to plan an epic museum day, knocking these two attractions out on the same day is easy and convenient. 

Exhibits touch on everything from how water works to the science of sound and motion. There is also an onsite aquarium showcasing marine life from around the world with a touch tank where you can pet stingrays and sturgeon. 

9. Vroom Vroom! Check Out The Harley Davidson Museum

HD Museum.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

You don’t have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to enjoy the Harley Davidson Museum, but if you are, a stop here is a don’t miss. 

Various interactive exhibits and static displays tell the history of the famous motorcycle brand over the years, along with stories from riders. Even if you don’t know a thing about motorcycles or Harleys, it’s fun to see how motorcycles have evolved. There are two onsite retail stores and a restaurant/bar.

10. Easy Like Sunday Moring Birding 

Wehr Birders.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Visit Wehr Nature Center, just outside the city of Franklin, Wisconsin. The Wehr Nature Center is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee and hosts a Sunday morning birding hike during the spring and fall to see migrating birds. The hike is easy, and there’s no need to register or sign up in advance, but you do have to get there early. 

The birding hike is free, but a small parking fee applies. Check out the website for more details and to view the schedule. 

11. Take a Swing at Luxe Golf Bays

Luxe Golf Bays.
Image credit: Luxe Golf Bays.

Luxe Golf Bays has 57 golf bays on three stories overlooking a 250-yard-long turf range. Doppler technology will track golfers’ drives down to the spin on the ball and allow games such as bull’s-eye, where points are awarded for consistent accuracy.

Neither my son nor I had golfed before, and we had a blast at Luxe Golf Bays. We got a little instruction, and then we just went for it. If you want sips or bites to go with your golf game, there’s an onsite restaurant and bar. 

Where To Eat in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Food Hall.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

Milwaukee is more than cheese curds and beer, although those are available and delicious. Here’s what else to sample. 

Cafe Benelux

Cafe Benelux is an upbeat, modern place to get a delicious, German-inspired meal with many lighter options if you’re not in the mood for schnitzel and wurst. 

Crossroads Collective

Crossroads Collective is a small food hall with some seriously good grub for everyone under one roof. In addition to being able to find something tasty for every member of your family, this indoor-outdoor space is seriously cute and Instagrammable

BBQ? Pasta? A burger you need two hands to hold? The variety available here practically screams, “Family who can’t agree where/what to eat.” The vendors may rotate periodically, so I recommend checking out their website or social media pages to see what’s on.  

Ballpark Commons Biergarten and Doghaus

If you head out to Franklin for birding and golf, stop for lunch at Ballpark Commons Biergarten and Doghaus. If you’re into burgers and dogs, this is one to put on your list. There’s a variety of creative gourmet hotdogs, burgers, sliders, and other sandwiches to tempt your tastebuds, plus a rotating selection of craft beer and a full bar for mom and dad. 

Collectivo Coffee Lakefront

Built in 1888, the historic Milwaukee River Flushing Station is home to Colectivo Coffee Lakefront, a unique cafe serving sandwiches and freshly brewed coffee, espresso, tea, and bakery items made daily from scratch. There’s patio seating available for the warmer months. Check the website’s event calendar for information on live music or other free events. 

Where To Sleep in Milwaukee

Iron Horse Hotel.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

I’ll say up front that both of these properties have an adult-y vibe, especially the Iron Horse Hotel, so peruse the websites and read guest reviews, especially if you have very young children. I stayed at the Iron Horse Hotel with my son and enjoyed it, but if the energy of these two properties doesn’t seem to fit you, there are many other hotels in the area. Check out Visit Milwaukee’s website to see a full listing. 

St Kate Art Hotel

The St. Kate Arts Hotel offers an immersive experience for the true art lover. Creativity is the strong central theme, from an impressive lobby that’s a mini art museum to a fun lobby bar to luxe rooms with a dazzling array of art-themed amenities, from eraser-shaped soaps to an in-room ukelele.

I stayed in a King room and loved the comfort and artsy touches. I found the in-room art bright and quirky without being overpowering. 

Iron Horse Hotel

The Iron Horse Hotel is a 100-year-old brick factory building turned luxe boutique hotel. The room and common spaces have a refined, industrial vibe, reclaimed wood and iron accents, and exposed brick. There’s a lively lobby bar with a pool table and an elevated dining venue serving dinner and Sunday brunch. 

I stayed in a double queen loft room. The beds and linens had a luxury feel, and I loved the rainfall shower and roomy work area. The hotel is also very pet-friendly. There’s a water bowl in the lobby with a chalkboard showing the names of the current four-legged guests.  

An Ideal City for a Weekend Break

Family in Milwaukee on the RiverWalk.
Image credit: Visit Milwaukee.

Whether you’re in the Midwest drive market or flying into Milwaukee, this is an easy city for a weekend trip. All major airlines fly into Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport (MKE), located just eight miles from the city center and all the action. Our trip focused on kid-friendly things to do, but Milwaukee is absolutely worth a look if you want an adult-only trip. While the big brewhouses like Pabst, Miller, and Schlitz are no longer making beer, the historic buildings are still in fantastic shape, and many now house taprooms and microbreweries. 

Jill is a Wealth of Geeks travel editor and an expert writer focusing on family and adventure travel as well as practical tips to help travelers get the most value out of their vacation experiences. In addition to Wealth of Geeks, Jill has written for Business Insider, MSN, Tripsavvy, Matador Network, Canadian Traveller, and Travel Awaits. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and sons but she’s usually somewhere else.

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22 Best Zac Efron Movies Ranked and Where to Watch Them | Wealth of Geeks

Zac Efron is so much more than Troy Bolton from High School Musical. Though that is the Disney Channel movie franchise that put him on the map, he has since soared into his own, starring in serious dramas, action flicks, and even the occasional non-Disney musical.

The 22 best Zac Efron movies below show that there is so much more to this surprisingly fantastic actor than how he can dance around with a basketball in hand. These are the 22 best Zac Efron movies you need to watch and how you can see them right now.

1. The Greatest Showman (2017)

Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Where to Watch: Disney+

Telling the story of Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum and his circus is an odd premise for a live-action musical, but it turns out to be the best movie to feature Zac Efron. As one of the leaders of the diverse circus group, Efron shows how far his acting has elevated from his teenage days.

His story and chemistry with Zendaya are electrifying and magnificent, while his singing and dancing are at its peak. When it comes to seeing the true triple-threat potential of Zac Efron, there is no movie that has shown off his talent better than this one.

2. Hairspray (2007)

Zac Efron Hairspray
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

This film adaptation of the classic 1960s-set Broadway musical is one to remember. As one of the best musical films to come out in the 21st century, this movie showed that Zac Efron could take his singing and dancing chops beyond Disney’s properties. It helps, too, that the characters, story, and message is fantastic.

3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

Zac Efron High School Musical 3 Senior Year
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Where to Watch: Disney+

The grand finale to the trilogy of musical high school movies is the most extravagant of them all. Entirely going all-in with much better cinematic, songs, and character beats, what it truly excels at is giving Zac Efron’s Troy his best character arc and moments in the series. His “Scream” performance is still the best single scene in the trilogy.

4. High School Musical 2 (2007)

Zac Efron High School Musical 2
Image Credit: Disney Channel.

Where to Watch: Disney+

The sequel to the classic Disney Channel movie is a step up in nearly every way. The visuals are more intriguing with the outdoor resort location, and Zac Efron finally lends his voice to Troy’s songs, and it is seen with some of the best music in the franchise. It’s only too bad that it slightly falls short of the best in the series due to the heavy editing for the music.

5. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019)

Zac Efron Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Image Credit: Netflix.

Where to Watch: Netflix

If you want the single best acting performance in Zac Efron’s career, look no further than this disturbing Netflix interpretation of the story of serial murderer Ted Bundy. It is haunting and dark at times, but there is never not a moment where Efron isn’t committed to this horrifying role.

6. High School Musical (2006)

Zac Efron High School Musical
Image Credit: Disney Channel.

Where to Watch: Disney+

This is where it all started with Zac Efron, playing Troy Bolton, the basketball star at a high school who is suddenly thrust into the theatre department. While Efron didn’t sing his songs in this movie, it is a tried-and-true classic nonetheless.

7. 17 Again (2009)

Zac Efron 17 Again
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

Zac Efron playing the younger version of Matthew Perry is already a treat, but this is a classic time-travel movie where a man gets a second chance to decide his future. Though its story doesn’t do anything too special, it’s still a fun watch for the whole family.

8. Neighbors (2014)

Zac Efron Neighbors
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Where to Watch: Max

This is a hilarious classic comedy that sets Seth Rogen against Zac Efron and shows just how funny the latter can be. The two go toe-to-toe as Rogen battles against Efron and his college pals, who are causing chaos as his next-door neighbor.

9. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012)

Zac Efron The Lorax
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Where to Watch: Netflix

While a bit weaker than some other animated films from Dr. Seuss’ books, this is still a decent watch with some great songs and fun characters. Efron’s character is a bit more bland, but it helps that the titular Lorax and others make up the difference.

10. Scoob! (2020)

Zac Efron Scoob
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Where to Watch: Max

This animated 3D movie follows the mystery gang as Scooby-Doo and the team try to stop a global plot to summon Cerberus into the world. The animation is just fine, and the writing is alright, but there isn’t anything too surprising about this big-budget adaptation.

11. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Zac Efron Neighbors 2 Sorority Rising
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

This sequel to the adult comedy that featured Seth Rogen and Zac Efron going at it is just as hilarious and messy as the original. It does lose some edge being far too similar to the first movie, though, and there’s a reason it hasn’t received a sequel.

12. The Beach Bum (2019)

Zac Efron The Beach Bum
Image Credit: Neon.

Where to Watch: Max

This adult comedy has a fantastic cast of characters who sell these over-the-top ridiculous characters well. It’s only too bad that the storyline is meh, and the only thing worth watching is Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Efron, and others onscreen together.

13. Charlie St. Cloud (2010)

Zac Efron Charlie St. Cloud
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

The premise of this romantic drama film is a heartfelt one: Efron plays an older brother who loses his younger brother but can meet with him for one hour every day. Their bond is tremendous, and Efron sells this movie, but unfortunately, the script doesn’t live up to his acting.

14. At Any Price (2012)

Zac Efron At Any Price
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.

Where to Watch: Hulu

Dennis Quaid plays a farmer father who wants his son, played by Efron, to follow in his footsteps. Of course, Efron wants nothing more than to fulfill his dreams of being a race car driver. This leads to conflict and over-the-top dramatic performances from the cast that is mixed at times.

15. Parkland (2013)

Zac Efron Parkland
Image Credit: Exclusive Media Group.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

This ensemble film takes a look at various characters and what they are up during and following the events of the tragic assassination of JFK. Unfortunately, its cast is too vast, and the script isn’t strong enough to carry the weight of its otherwise impressive premise.

16. The Paperboy (2012)

Zac Efron The Paperboy
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Where to Watch: Peacock

With a strong cast including Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and Nicole Kidman, you would think this crime thriller set in the 1960s would be so much more, but it isn’t. The actors commit to their roles, but the script and execution overwhelmingly let them down.

17. We Are Your Friends (2015)

Zac Efron We Are Your Friends
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

Efron plays a DJ who wishes to make it big in Hollywood and has the chance to do so but starts to fumble after falling for his mentor’s daughter. The chemistry is nice, and the acting is pretty good, but everything else is as bland as it gets in this story.

18. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

Zac Efron Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza are delightful companions to the stars of Zac Efron and Adam DeVine in this comedy. Other than that, though, there isn’t anything interesting or too fun about the script to make this movie worth a watch.

19. That Awkward Moment (2014)

Zac Efron That Awkward Moment
Image Credit: Focus Features.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

The trio of bros, including Efron and the fantastic Michael B. Jordan, is okay, but the acting isn’t the best of these stars, and the writing certainly doesn’t give them anything to work with. Only slightly funny at times; this is one bro flick you can safely skip.

20. The Lucky One (2012)

Zac Efron The Lucky One
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Where to Watch: Vudu, Prime Video, Apple TV+

This Nicholas Sparks movie is about as basic and unsurprising as they come. Efron does a decent job of playing a soldier who returns home to look for a girl in a photograph that kept him alive overseas. But other than that, this is about as bland of a romance as they come.

21. Baywatch (2017)

Zac Efron Baywatch
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Where to Watch: Paramount+

This ridiculous remake of the classic series sees Zac Efron take the starring role alongside other greats like Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra Jones, and more. But the movie fails to be anything other than an eye-candy, over-the-top mess.

22. Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Zac Efron Dirty Grandpa
Image Credit: Lionsgate Films.

Where to Watch: Apple TV+

Efron’s Jason finds himself in a tough situation, about to marry a controlling girl just to do better at his job, when his grandfather, played by Robert DeNiro, arrives. The two have great chemistry, and there are some solid laughs here and there, but not much else to it.

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12 Seriously Overrated Films the Internet Is Calling Out as Lame | Wealth of Geeks

A film enthusiast asked the internet a controversial question: what are the most overrated films of all time? You know the ones; everyone insists they’re cinematic masterpieces, but you just don’t get the hype. We compiled a list of the top 12 films these contrarian movie buffs think are all bark and no bite.

1. Avatar (2009)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

A paraplegic marine is sent to a distant moon called Pandora, where he falls in love with a native woman and joins her people in a battle against humans who want to mine the planet for resources. One detractor of the beloved Avatar franchise points out that while the films have stunning visuals, the story is forgettable. The sequel to Avatar was almost a comedy in that there was no story, whereas the first one was incredibly simplistic.

It’s unbelievable that both films were nominated for Best Picture. Best special effects or production design, sure, but best picture?

2. The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook e1660714930101
Courtesy of New Line Cinema.

An elderly man reads a love story to a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, recounting the story of a young couple who fell in love in the 1940s despite their differences. Nicholas Sparks has committed psychic damage to an entire generation of rom-com lovers.

Is The Notebook a sweet and endearing story? Yes. Is it the best romantic movie ever made? No. That’s what makes it overrated — people treat this film like some high-end achievement in cinema when it’s just a glorified cutesy story about a woman cheating on her husband.

3. Frozen (2013)

animated characters from the disney movie frozen
Image Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Two sisters, Anna and Elsa, must work together to save their kingdom from the eternal winter caused by Elsa’s magical powers. This viewer accurately sums up my thoughts about it, “I like it, but it’s kinda weird how it became like SUCH a phenomenon when there are so many other better similar Disney movies. It’s like a 7/10, not a 10/10.”

Precisely. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; it’s not like it’s Shrek, which absolutely deserves all the praise and hype the film has received over its life cycle.

4. The Irishman (2019)

the irishman al pacino
Image Credit: Netflix.

An aging hitman reflects on his life of crime, including his involvement with the disappearance of union leader Jimmy Hoffa. I know it’s heresy to criticize Martin Scorsese, but besides the achievement of successfully de-aging Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro and taking as long as humanly possible to tell a story, what does the movie have going for it?

You can’t just slap a bunch of big names on a movie and insist it’s good.

5. Joker (2019)

Joker 1
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The origin story of the iconic Batman villain, following a failed comedian’s descent into madness and violence in Gotham City. One spectator aptly describes my problem with Joker, “I feel like it could be fine without the Batman angle. Instead, it makes no sense with any version of the character and feels cheapened.”

Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time watching it, and I’ll see the second one, but it’s by no means Best Picture material. If anything, all of this movie’s redeeming qualities are rip-offs of two successful Scorsese movies.

6. Dunkirk (2017)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Dunkirk is the story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk during World War II, told from the perspectives of land, sea, and air. I’ll admit it; I’m a Christopher Nolan fanboy — well, fangirl. However, this is, without a doubt, his worst movie, even over the monstrosity that was Tenet (I honestly don’t know what any of the dialogue was because it’s unintelligible).

Even though token war movies are usually pretty good just by virtue of being a war movie, I have only seen this film once and plan on never watching it again. Just because something is a true story doesn’t mean the retelling of that story was a masterpiece.

7. The Big Lebowski (1998)

the big lebowski
Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

A slacker named “The Dude” gets caught up in a kidnapping plot after being mistaken for a millionaire with the same name. This is the most overrated movie of all time. “Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man” is the worst quote to ever come out of a movie. Even a self-avowed stoner doesn’t understand why people think The Big Lebowski is anything to write home about. 

8. Forrest Gump (1994)

forrest gump
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The life story of a simple man named Forrest Gump, who experiences several major historical events while pursuing his love for a childhood friend.  I couldn’t have said it any better than this person, “Forrest Gump is just about a guy that does stuff throughout the second half of the 20th century in America. There is no way it should have won Best Picture, especially that year.”

It’s an iconic film, but it’s mostly boomer nostalgia bait.

9. Paranormal Activity Franchise (2007-2015)

Paranormal Activity
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A found footage horror film about a young couple who are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. Why did the Paranormal Activity franchise have such a foothold over the horror genre in the early 2000s and 2010s? Something about found footage filming techniques makes everyone feel spooked, even if nothing remotely scary occurs during the entire franchise. You were all punked. These movies were lame, uneventful, and boring. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop watching them.

10. John Wick Franchise (2014-2023)

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Image Credit: Lionsgate.

A retired hitman seeks revenge against the criminal underworld that killed his dog and stole his car, leading to a series of intense action sequences. John Wick is great in terms of stylized action and impressively choreographed fight scenes. It’s gratuitous violence, which can be a fun and camp escape from reality.

My only contention is that it’s not a movie with a plot, and its fanboys should acknowledge that. John Wick is good for what it is, but it’s not a great film by normal standards. There also wasn’t any need for the sequels in terms of the story, but if you understand what you’re getting (stylized violence and nothing more), they can be fun movies to watch. 

11. Dune (2021)

dune 2021
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

In a distant future, a noble family is entrusted with protecting the most valuable substance in the universe, leading to a struggle for power and control on the desert planet Arrakis. A viewer regards Dune as boring and pretentious.

While I never read the book, I was excited about the release of this film and felt underwhelmed when it was over. It seems like they could have done so much more with the story, and the casting of Timothée Chalamet feels wrong for Paul Atreides.

12. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

mad max fury road charlize theron
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

In a post-apocalyptic world, a woman rebels against a tyrannical leader and escapes across the desert with a group of female prisoners and a rogue warrior named Max. Visually, Mad Max was pretty and captivating, but it’s over the top and feels like an endless 2-hour chase scene with nothing else going on. I don’t understand why it’s critically acclaimed.

Source: Reddit.

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