December 30, 2009

Movie Review #26 Avatar

Avatar (2009) Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana Directed by James Cameron

As far as big blockbuster events in the movies tend to go…this one hits a good chord. I normally kill films that are full of all special effects and offer no substance, or bad substance (pay attention Transformers). Almost nothing makes me happier than pointing out plot points in films that make no sense, (remember when that kid had a piece of the cube in his pocket the whole time in Transformers 2, and that piece could bring robots to life, like it did with that Stealth bomber dude, why didn’t the kid just use that to wake up Optimus Prime instead of going to Egypt to get the matrix…hmm) anyway this film has its share, but just few enough that I’m fine with it. Like Star Trek (the highest ranked, on my list this year in the blockbuster department) it is fun enough that when things like (um twin brother?…Hollywood loves twin brothers) pop up, you live with it and move on.
Avatar is the story of Jake Sully (like the guy who crash landed in the Hudson?) a wounded paraplegic Marine who is thrust into a high tech government program (the Avatar program) because he shares the same DNA as his twin brother who has died unexpectedly (they really don’t go into this that much). So with no training or scientific knowledge whatsoever this Jarhead takes over this Avatar body that is made in the likeness of the native Na’vi people, who live on top of a rare mineral that humans want to mine. His mission is two-fold: 1- create a diplomatic way for these people to move out of the land so the humans can get that mineral 2- report back to the evil Colonel Quaritch (played well enough by Stephan Lang…who was better in The Men Who Stare at Goats ) so that if diplomacy fails, they can gather intelligence on how to kill or force these people out. Jake performs this task very well; as he is right away accepted into the tribe and taught the ways of the people (again they don’t really go into why this would happen either). While there, he falls in love with Neytiri (play by the wonderful Zoe Saldana), and begins to sympathize with the people. Ultimately it all comes to a blow when the people refuse to leave and Jake must make a choice. The story is good enough, and the only fault is that with a 240 minute runtime you think there was enough time to patch up a few plot holes, but again I was entertained enough so..I'll live with it. I saw it in 3D which is a first for me, and though it did give me a headache, and I had to do the one-eyed pirate a few times, it was indeed great to look at. The undertone of the film also makes the movie more attractive, it is very much politically active in its message. You should see this film, and you must see it in a theater…3D or not. 500 million dollars (the reported budget) isn’t going to get Avatar an Oscar, but it should get it plenty of box office (250 million and counting domestically). I recommend it; it is indeed a solid blockbuster.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) The right message, very cool special effects, and some hot blue people are enough to warrant a very good 7.0 on the scale. It is definitely a great popcorn film, though it is just short of making my top ten of the year list.

Food For Thought: Listen caramel and coffee go together very well…just add caramel to any coffee or espresso drinks that you make and it works! Sam Worthington, who I was happy to find out was older than me, though yes still better looking, takes on Clash of the Titans next year. Up next for Zoe Saldana is bank heist movie with Hayden Christensen and Paul Walker called Takers, and of course Star Trek 2. It looks like James Cameron is back to work sooner this time with a cyborg film called Battle Angel and he is also rumored to be writing Terminator 5…hmm.

December 29, 2009

Coming Soon !!!

Movie Reviews 26-Avatar 27-Sherlock Holmes, as well as the years wrap up in Football (I finished 3rd, 4th, and 5th in three fantasy leagues...first year I didn't get a win...but I'm still in, and it's still fun). Also some baseball and basketball why Jason Bay is a sell-out and the Sox are better off without him, and who the hell does Tracy McGrady think he is? Plus some in depth Social Commentary on Tiger Woods...just kidding about the Tiger Woods stuff...who gives a crap, he is one of many many celebs who do this, and the rest of sports can now thank him for TMZ sports...Thank You Tiger.

DVD Review #21 District 9

District 9 (2009) Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope Directed by Neill Blomkamp

I knew I would eventually get to this film, but to be honest I thought it might have taken longer, that is until I figured out that Sharlto Copley was going to take on the role of one of my favorite characters growing up…”Murdock” from the A-team (anybody remember the episode where Murdock sings about trash bags in a prison cell, frustrating the guards until they eventually give him a trash bag an hour to shut him, then they build a hot air balloon to escape the prison using said trash bags…no?...oh well anyway) I had to check this guy out and see if he was up to the task…Um yeah this guy will be just fine. Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) throws an assist to the director Neill Blomkamp, as he helped him get this film to the big screen. Blomkamp seems to have a bright future, as this film is both intelligent and action packed. I think this is kinda what McG was trying to do with Terminator Salvation but failed, here it works perfectly. I don’t think District 9 wins an Oscar, but it wouldn’t shock me (now that the best picture category is 10 films) if it gets some consideration.

District 9 is the story of a stranded Alien Race that has been stuck over Johannesburg, South Africa for years (which is a great location to put this story in). They have been set up in a displacement camp partially quarantined from the human race (though humans do live among them). They are being moved by a private company from the more open District 9 to a more concentration camp like District 10, that is where are man Murdock…I mean Wikus comes in. He heads up the operation to move the Aliens out of District 9 and into District 10…however things don’t go quite as planned. The film does get off to a bit of a slow start, especially if you aren’t into Aliens, but picks up as we watch Wikus struggle through the film. His character is really the only one you connect with throughout the whole film, and if you buy into his situation, my guess is that you will really like the film. I recommend it, and if you do get it…make sure you stick with it till the end…it is a fringe top ten of the year candidate for sure.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Aliens, concentration camps, and interbreeding species…ok, toss in a little heart and sympathy and I’m buying it…a worthy 7.0, and just good enough to consider for this year’s top ten.

Food For Thought: Blomkamp has been green lighted for the sequel to District 9 (presumably District 10) and I will be there to see it. Sharlto Copley becomes Murdock next summer for The A-Team with Liam Neeson as Hanibal, Rampage Jackson as B.A. Baracus (Mr. T), and Bradley Cooper as Pretty Boy “Face”…I’m giddy!

December 28, 2009

Movie Review #25 Up In The Air

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Up In the Air (2009) George Clooney, Vera Farmiga Directed by Jason Reitman

In 1996 Cameron Crowe released Jerry Maguire, A film that had Tom Cruise playing a guy who falls flat on his face in almost every aspect of life…repeatedly. It was groundbreaking work for Cruise who up until that point never played against type…at least not successfully. It was a riveting movie that was both realistic and relatable, and it was nominated for best picture. I was 16 years old then and I was rooting heavily for Jerry Maguire to win (ultimately the Oscar went to a good but not great film, The English Patient). Since I’ve had a top ten list, only four movies have ever sniffed the top spot…the longest running is Field Of Dreams, which was the first, it was unseeded for a time by Shawshank, then Jerry Maguire, and lastly and briefly Good Will Hunting…then Field of Dream’s rewatchablity factor kicked in and it went back to the top of the list, and Shawshank followed it as a close second. I have not watched a movie in a long time that made me think “this one has a shot at the top 10 list”, let alone the top spot. Call me crazy but I think I just may have seen one…it is this year’s, this decades, Jerry Maguire…and I say “better late than never!”

Jason Reitman the genius that brought us the great Thank You for Smoking, and the adorable Juno, brings us his most poignant film yet: Up In the Air. The film follows Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) who is a traveling corporate mercenary, hired by companies to fire people. His life is a walking Organized Living store…and he loves it. His empty clockwork lifestyle is rattled by two women, Alex Goran (played beautifully by Vera Farmiga) and Natalie Keener (a perfectly casted Anna Kendrick of Twilgiht fame). Like Jerry Maguire we see him struggle with his fall from grace, and we watch his realization that his life that he has convinced himself was good enough, is starting to cave in like a house of cards. The film is for adults unmistakably, and since I am now one of those, I totally get it. It took me awhile, but I get that women have plans and they map out things, thus creating expectations, which inevitably get dashed with every loser they date. I also get that being your own man, on your own hand built perfect island, though at times feels just right, is so often not enough in the long run. These are things only adults will relate to (at least those who have been exposed to this kinda stuff), and when they watch this film, and they relate to things like that…it’s going to hurt. The genius of the film lies in its humility, just like it did in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, we have to watch Tom Cruise trip on his way out of his office, and we have to watch Clooney stress out as things unravel…not just because it’s entertaining (and it is) but because its real…it’s what most of us would do.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Whereas 500 Days of Summer (the current #1 film thus far) resonates soundly with young adults and their passion for love, Up In the Air resonates with older adults and their passion for complicated reality…and again since I suppose (as I turn thirty in this coming year) I am now a reluctant adult…I will bump Up In the Air above 500 Days…it absolutely deserves the highest mark since the blog started 8.5…the clear frontrunner for Best Picture. SEE IT NOW!

Food For Thought: For the holidays I made a Bone-In Rib Eye Roast which was awesome. I pepper encrusted the whole thing, and added Accent and lemon…then you just slow cook it. Up next for Clooney is a more upbeat film, where he plays an assassin called The American. For Vera Farmiga there is a Keanu Reeves prison drama called Henry’s Crime. Anna Kendrick reprises her role as Jessica in the Twilight Saga and Jason Bateman reprises his role as Michael Bluth in the Arrested Development film.

December 16, 2009

Fantasy Football Update #11 (week 15 playoff week 2)

Ok so how can I be happy with a 1-2 week...let me tell you, I started out in the ESPN League 1 (Pats) 2-6 and now I'm competing for a 3rd place spot (which is in the money if you play that way) so I can't complain there, it was a long road back and I had to sacrifice some of my awesome playoff week guys (T-Jones) in order to build that 5 game winning streak that got me in. In CBS League 2 (Dirty Dawgs) I put together an impressive win that puts me into the final four (3 week playoff format) against one of the better teams in the league (I am defending champ in this league so I suppose this would be the one I really wanted, if I had to choose). In the mysterious 3rd league I did lose but I don't feel bad about it because I didn't follow my own advice (never start old man Warner in the playoffs...he can't be trusted!) so I deserved to lose...I am competing for fifth in that league. Brady has killed me all year, but to make the playoffs in all three leagues despite that, I have no problem calling this year a success...Ok enough of that, it ain't over yet! (Quote of the week) “About the only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them.” Meltzer Let's break it down!

Pats (League 1) 10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) Record 7-7 (playing for 3rd place), Points 1383 (3rd).
I faced my fantasy arch-nemesis Gridiron Greats and like last year he knocked me out...I will point out that I did have the 2nd highest total of the week, so I would have beat the other two teams (who played each other in a 4 team/2 week playoff system). 149-103 was a tough score but I got C Johnson-ed and J Charles-ed. Looking at that roster and those match-ups I was happy to be in it as long as I was. Another bright spot within the loss was that I started all the right guys...I left C Johnson (3 pts), A Boldin (2 pts), and Matt Forte (6 pts) all on the bench in favor of F Jackson (11 pts), C Benson (9 pts), F Gore (25 pts), and W Welker (12 pts), so I was happy with making the right calls, I just had a tough opponent, and I would've tried to make it work out to play someone else in week 1 of the playoffs, but I was unable to do that because of my 2-6 start and the tough road I had to walk, just to get in. Ok no more excuses I am playing for third place and I have to get it done. Congrats to Gridiron Greats as he tries to go back-to-back in this league.
Week 15 (Final Week playing for 3rd) lineup (subject to change)-T Brady (@BUF), F Gore (@PHI), C Benson (@SDG), A Boldin (@DET), W Welker (@BUF), D Clark (@JAC), K Brown (@STL), and the Seahawks D/ST
I may find a way to get C Johnson in there somewhere, it's too hard to bench Boldin against Detroit right now though. I feel confident and would love to finish 3rd, it would be a nice if not great comeback story for me.

Dirty Dawgs (League 2) 10 team, non-standard scoring (CBS), Record 7-7 (2nd), Points 971 (3rd)...(in final four in a 3 week playoff format, playing for a Superbowl berth...I'm defending champ)
In this league where 8 of 10 get into the playoffs you have to shape your team around the playoff weeks, I did that and got the balance I was looking for. In a 93-55 week one playoff win I was paced by the unbelievable B Marshall and his record setting 21 catch performance (28 pts), I also had T Jones (14 pts), W Welker (8 pts), T Gonzalez (6 pts), and the Eagles D/ST (19 pts). Brady and Benson both didn't play great, but it didn't matter as I had enough good match-ups to pull off a solid win. I scored the 2nd highest score of the week, but the guy who scored the most of the week is who I have up is going to be tough.
Week 15 (playoff week 2, final four, trying to get back into Superbowl for the 2nd year in a row) lineup (subject to change)-T Brady (@BUF), C Benson (@SDG), T Jones (ATL), Brandon Marshall (OAK), W Welker (@BUF), T Gonzalez (@NYJ), K Brown (@STL), and the Eagles D/ST (SFO).
I have enough good match-ups to win here, but my opponent has C Johnson, R Rice, and R I am going to need another break out a la B Marshall type game from somebody...with any luck it's W Welker (who needs to get in the end zone for me) so I can benefit from Brady as well, if Brady lays another egg...I'm playing for 3rd in another league.

Fantasy Basketball Note-Still holding on to 1st place thanks to Tyreke Evans and the resurgent Al Jefferson...D Wade is killing me the last week or so as well. Full updates still coming soon!

Baseball Update-Cliff Lee and R Halladay will be fantasy studs next year...but let's mention whats important...RED SOX (who else)-John Lackey isn't great as an ace...but as a #3 for the next 5 that's pretty good, and his playoff record is great (although why does he always look homeless with his ten o'clock pm beard at noon thing?)...I am sad that we won't be getting M Holiday from the looks of it, and if we don't get A Gonzalez for the Padres and we settle on A Beltre instead, the offense will be in trouble, and I'm not sure Papelbon will be able to close all those close (pitching/defense) type games.

No Bet on this segment this week-not enough lines up at the time of posting-but we had a good week last week-I will mention that the Colts should lose to the Jags (if the line goes up and if its more that 3 1/2 bet it ML) and I think that Patriots and the Giants will both cover whatever the line is.

Good Luck to all in Fantasy and Reality.

December 13, 2009

Good Luck!

I have played with my lineups all night and will continue to play with my lineups till kickoff...Good Luck to all in their fantasy playoffs!

Right now don't have a great vibe.

December 7, 2009

Fantasy Football Update # 10 (week 14 playoff week)!

It's never a good sign when you are already crazy excited about the Baseball Hot Stove League, and your 14-4 Basketball team, but such is life in the brain of fanatical sports fan when he comes to realize that his football team is a pretender not a contender. As many of you know I am not a great speller (nor am I great at grammar), kinda makes you wonder why I blog...anyway one of those words that I never quite get right is a little word called "Mediocre"...that is a strange word right? M-E-D-I-O-C-R-E...I never get that one for this weeks Football Update opening, I thought I'd give myself some exercise with this word. MEDIOCRE...let's see...M-stands for Maturity-as in the Patriots team lacks Maturity (why else would they always go for it on fourth down when they should be kicking field goals, because their red zone offense is awful) E-stands for Every fantasy season is filled with it's good calls and bad calls(like good call Matt Schaub or Thomas Jones, or bad call Julious Jones or Jason Witten) D-stands for Defense is also important, the Patriots realize this...and my fantasy team realizes this (maybe I should've gone after a stud defense earlier in the draft?) I-stands for I can't believe we (and be we I mean the Patriots) gave away games to the Dolphins, Jets, and Colts! O-stands for Only relying on one guy to carry your fantasy team (um's no secret that in the one league, where Mr. Brady is not my Quarterback I am 10-3) is a bad idea C-stands for Cedric Benson...he literally saved my season in two leagues R-stands for Richard Seymour...remember him? I do he was awesome, and he was the Patriots Pass Rush...I miss having a pass rush and E-stands for Every league I have been in so far in fantasy football...very single one thus far, I have made the how about I stop complaining now. My teams mediocre as they may be...all snuck into their respective playoffs...let's break it down!

Pats (League 1) 10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) Record 7-6 (3rd), Points 1280 (3rd)
I close out the regular season with a win 94-81 (which I needed to get into the playoffs)...5 teams at 6-6 were vying for the the last two spots in the playoffs (4 playoff spots in this league)...I get in with a well rounded lineup...T Brady (24 pts), C Benson (14 pts), Forte (13 pts), W Welker (18 pts), and Matty Prater (15 pts)...guys like Gore and Dallas Clark let me down but I got enough.
Moves-I did a ton of moves in frantic panic trying to get that last win so I could go from 2-6 to 7-6...I may have cost myself a win in the playoffs with all the moves and a lack of good match-ups this week but at least I got in. I traded S Rice and J Witten for Dallas Clark and M Prater (just got tired of Witten and though Clark was bad this past week Prater was great) I also traded Slaton and K Smith for A Boldin and F Jackson, who both have better match-ups this
Week 14 (playoffs week 1) lineup (subject to change)-T Brady (CAR), F Jackson (@KAN), W Welker (CAR), A Boldin (@SFO), C Benson (@MIN). M Parater (@IND), and Green Bay D/ST (@CHI)

Dirty Dawgs (League 2) 10 team, non-standard scoring (CBS), Record 6-7 (2nd), Points 878 (3rd)
I close out the regular season with a win here as well which inmy awful divison is enough to boost me into second place...I like my week one playoff mat-up but after that it gets shaky...I am the defending champ in this league. Again a blanced attack got me thorugh this one as well...led by T Brady (30 pts), C Benson (8 pts), T Jones (8 pts), B Marshall (8 pts), W Welker (12 pts), and T Gonzalez (6 pts)...the only guys who let me down were the Chargers D/ST (3 pts) and K Brown the kicker (4 pts)...but it was enough so i'll take it.
Week 14 (playoffs week 1) lineup (subject to change)-T Brady (CAR), C Benson (@MIN), T Jones (@TAM), B Marshall (@Ind), W Welker (CAR), T Gonzo (NOR), K Brown (SEA), and the Eagles D/ST

In the mysterious 3rd league I made it a clean sweep going 3-0 in all leagues...I am am 10-3 and hoping for a first round win!

Some advice from the guy who is 7-6 and 6-7 and in the playoffs in all leagues-Don't get cute play your studs and only if the match-up is really good make that change...Give F Jackson, J Charles, T Jones, and R Mendenhall the respect they deserve this week!. Good Luck! For those who didn't make it...go ahead and make trades if you are in a keeper are never going to get the kind of value for those mediocre guys that have a good schedule than you are right now...make the trades if it helps your team next year!

Bet on this (just don't get mad at me)-What was my word of this week again...oh yeah mediocre and yeah that sounds about right for last weeks picks...Dam You Bellichck!...ok so let's try again.
Like Em (14-21 on year)-Den (+7.5) @ IND...i'll keep trying till they lose, Green Bay (-3) @ CHI...the bears are awful and the Packers will get 3 Cutler interceptions to work off of, and the over 43 in the NWE vs CAR game...think they are mad...I do.
3 if you can stomach em (6/21 on year)-Looking for a big payday try DEN ML @ IND, SDG ML @ DAL, and CIN ML @ MIN...these guys all have a shot at pulling upsets.
1 Parlay (14/23 on year)-Take the over in the NWE game 43, the over 37 in the BUF @ KAN game, and the NYJ (-4) @ TAM...see how that works.

Good Luck in the fantasy playoffs and in reality!

December 3, 2009

Fantasy Football Update #9 (week 13) and Fantasy Basketball Update 1.99!

Tom "F-ing" Brady...why!!!! So the last time I checked in I was a paltry 4-6 in League 1 (ESPN) trying desperately to fight back into the playoffs as my Tom Brady experiment was failing me, In League 2 (CBS) I was also 4-6 and holding firm at a low level playoff spot...and of course in the mysterious third league (Yahoo) I was a sharp 7-3. Well two weeks later there is some drama to report. In the beginning of the year I thought in the ESPN league I was a sure fire top three team, as the year went on it was apparent that the Fantasy gods hated me for my cocky attitude and trust in Brady so at one point I was a sad 2-6 in the after a 4 game win streak I find myself in a win and I'm in situation and their are literally five 6-6 teams all with a chance at the last two playoff spots (that's what it's all about...makes for great fun) in the CBS league again because of what I gave up for Brady and what I thought to be a bad draft I was sure I would stink this year and I would return next year (with Brady as my keeper and redeem myself...I was last years champ) but although in the last two weeks I went 1-1 and have only a 5-7 record it does look good for me playoff wise and I am happy with the moves I have made with this team which is much better now than it was in week 1. So here it is the last regular season week, let's break down the last 2 and see if I can redeem a very mediocre season thus far with a couple of wins this week. Quote of the week-You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might get what you need-That was the great Rolling Stones-and one of my most used quotes of all time.

Pats (League 1) 10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) Record 6-6 (3rd), Points 1186 (3rd)
2 Weeks ago (week 11) I beat my arch-nemesis Fredo 108-102 with a balanced attack from 4 solid players...he even had Rickey Williams when he he blew up for 33 points, but I held him off with T Brady (20 pts), K Smith (22 pts), S Rice (20 pts), and Patriots D/ST (22 pts), then last week (week 12) in a lackluster performance, I lucked out (as things balance themselves out from earlier in the year) with a 70-47 win (the two lows of the week) T Brady kills me with (5 pts), and my only stud was the waiver wired Packers D/ST (23 pts)...I'll take it!
Moves-In a move that really helped me I counter-offered somebody a quick thoughtless I'll give you Colston and a recently added L McCoy for his Matt Forte (i figured I ranked him so high that maybe I deserve to have him) and S Rice...he went for it...and Rice has been great for me...though I miss Colston. In a late move I acquired Wes Welker for a recently added T. Owens who some guy in the league fell in love with again...I'll take it, and now I have to decide to start Welker or's tough.
Week 13 lineup (subject to change)-Tom Brady (@MIA), Frank Gore (@SEA), Matt Forte (STL), C Benson (DET), W Welker (@MIA), Jason Witten (@NYG), Shane Grahmam (DET), and Chargers D/ST (@CLE) C'mon!

Dirty Dawgs (League 2) 10 team, non-standard scoring (CBS), Record 5-7 (3rd), Points 799 (4th)
2 weeks ago (week 11) I won a nail-biter 60-57 led by T Brady (16 pts), W Welker (14 pts), V Shiancoe (14 pts), and T Jones (8 pts), turns out that win was really needed for me because in a league with non-standard scoring I had an awful (week 12) as T Brady (0 pts) had his worst game of the year and led me to an awful 25-33 loss that may have cost me 2nd place in my division. In this league 4 out of 5 in the divisions make the playoffs and I am in pretty good shape to make it in, but I really need this week 13 win to have a shot at 2nd place in my division and to not have to sweat making the playoffs. C'mon Dawgs! This is what fantasy is all about meaningful last weeks in the fantasy season...this is why it's fun to play (and so hard to watch Brady get pulled from a game where you need 1 TD...AHH!)
Moves-No moves, I win or lose on the backs of what I did all year...this team was awful, had a bad draft, and no depth, I was lucky to get it to have a roster that has a shot...and I hope it makes me look good here!
Week 13 lineup (subject to change)- Tom Brady (@MIA), T Jones (@BUF), C Benson (DET), W Welker (@MIA), B Marshall (@KAN), T Gonzalez (PHI), K Brown (@JAC), and the Chargers D/ST C'mon!

Quick Update in the mysterious 3rd league...I stand at 9-3 and am led by the mighty Bret Favre!

Some advice from the guy who is 6-6 and 5-7-It is time to see if all that knowledge paid off, make sure you play your best match-ups and be confident in the guys acquired all year long. As always don't be afraid to bench guys even in the playoffs if the match-up dictates it. It is a little late to be picking up guys off the scrap heap but take a good look at V Young and K Brit, their match-ups are good and they are on a roll...also kickers can make or break close ones as you know, so look at Matt Bryant (recently added on the Falcons) and S Graham (CIN) who is making long field goals right now.

Fantasy Basketball Update 1.99
10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) 1st place
I'm still in first led still by Wade and Melo, however since Al Jefferson (who I got for G Arenas) is still struggling for me I am dangerously close to losing my top spot. I am in the middle of several trade offers as I search for rebounds and assists. In the meantime I got Tyreke Evans (SAC) from the waiver wire and he has been great, and also I couldn't resist picking up The Answer (Allen Iverson) after he signed with the 76ers. More to come!

Bet on this (just don't get mad at me)-So not a great week 10 but we hung still up for the year. Like Em picks we went 2-0-1 in week 10 with the Lions late win (-3) so we are 13/18 for the year. In the 3 if you can stomach em we went 0-3 for the first time in week 10 which puts us at 5/18 on the year betting the dogs...and finally in the 1 parlay we got greedy with a 4-teamer and split it to go 12/20 on the year. Not terrible but could be better...let's get it back together this week (13).
Like Em-NWE (-3) @ MIA...the Pats rebound attacking a bad secondary, The over in the Minn @ ARI game could it not? Denver (-4.5) should beat up Kansas City soundly as they get their run defense together for the stretch run.
3 if you can stomach em-Take NYG ML @ DAL as it is December and Romo is Romo...Try yet again to take TAM ML @CAR as the Panthers season is over and John Fox should be gone soon...and lastly give a shot to TEN ML @IND because they are red hot and Indy still can't stop the run.
1 Parlay-Take NWE (-3) and the over 44, and add on Denver (-4.5) for hopefully a nice win.

December 1, 2009

DVD Review #20 Paper Heart

Paper Heart (2009) Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec

In this very watchable and very cute mockumentary Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi go on a journey to discover what "Love" really is. This film follows Yi and Cera in a semi fictional way (as they were rumored prior to this film being made to be dating...Yi denies they did) as they date each other. Their story splits time with documentary style interviews with mostly random people, though there are some funny cameos (Seth Rogen and Demetri Martin to name a few), about love. Some of the interviews are very cute, and one playground scene where Yi interviews some grade school kids about love is great. The documentary style mostly works for this film, only confusing us every once in awhile as we wonder if this story is real or not. Cera who is quickly becoming one of my favorites, is really cool and fun to watch and his chemistry with Yi is for real. This story whether real or not is worth watching, I highly recommend you go out and rent it. This kind of sweet love story doesn't come around all that often. Not quite (500) Days of Summer but better than both The Proposal and Ghost of Girlfriends Past.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) With Paper Heart you get the best of both worlds: A new age honest depiction of love today, and the old school romance of boy meets girl...go get it...I did and it was well worth it, I very worthy 7.0 on the scale which puts it in contention as a top ten of the year.

Food For Thought:So Thanksgiving was this past week and all I can say is aside from maybe deep-frying your turkey, the best way to go is to put the bird in bag! So far in my life I have made 4 of these things, two in a bag and two not in a bag...I will never not use the bag, it is a must. I would give you my stuffing or Yams recipe...but i'd have to charge you for them. Cera has both Youth in Revolt and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World coming up...and for those who love the show, the Arrested Development movie is officially on again. You can spot Yi in All About Steve which is out now.

November 18, 2009

Fantasy Football Update #8 (week 10) with Fantasy B-Ball Update 1.75...and the picks!

The Vatican recently stated that the world should prepare themselves to meet aliens within the next 10 years...I hope to ask them what they think of the Patriots going for it on 4th and 2 on their own 28. Quote of the week-Greed is Good (that's from Wall Street...and yes Wall Street 2 is in the works). The Pats got a little greedy and I'm Ok with that...I like swagger. My only issue is if you are going to go for it there, A-go for more than 2 yards (which they got) and B-throw it to Welker or know, for the Fantasy guys! I went 1-1 this past week and with 3 and 2 weeks to go in my two chronicled leagues time is running short...(sadly just 4-6 in both those leagues, 7-3 in mysterious 3rd league not covered here) Let's Break It Down!!!

Pats (League 1) 10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) Record 4-6 (6th), Points 1007 (3rd), Points Allowed 1039 (um by far the most).
Tom Brady
(33 pts), Frank Gore (20 pts), and my kicker Dan Carpenter (14 pts) lead me to a lackluster 81-56 victory...allowing me to continue barely hanging on to some playoff hopes. Cedric Benson (2 pts), Marques Colston (-1 pts), Zach Miller (0 pts), and Marshawn Lynch (4 pts) all suck for me.
-I pick up LeSean McCoy for the Dolphins D/ST (which filled in nicely for me 9 pts)...and I'm flirting with the idea of starting him.
Week 11 lineup (subject to change)-Tom Brady (NYJ), Frank Gore (@GNB), Kevin Smith (CLE), Calvin Johnson (CLE), Marques Colston (@TAM), Jason Witten (WAS), Dan Carpenter (@CAR), and Patriots D/ST (NYJ)

Dirty Dawgs (League 2) 10 team, non-standard scoring (CBS), record 4-6 (3rd), Points 714 (4th)
Tom Brady (36 pts), Thomas Jones (8 pts), and Tony Gonzalez lead me in a sad 58-70 loss...Cedric Benson (0 pts), M Lynch (0 pts), Eagles D/ST (2 pts) all let me down. Worse off my win was left on the bench for the first time this year as Brandon Marshall who I replaced late for M Lynch scored 24 points. With only 2 weeks to go and a tough matchup this week, I need some luck.
Moves-Still no moves in this league though I tried to get J Forsett but somebody else had a faster waiver claim. Right now I'm conflicted with the status of Cedric Benson, wondering if a angry Patriot team will let Thomas Jones score, and if my instincts that Cadillac Williams does well is for real here.
Week 11 lineup (subject to change)-Tom Brady(NYJ), Thomas Jones (@NWE), Wes Welker (NYJ), Brandon Marshall (SDG), Greg Jennings (SFO), Tony Gonzalez (@NYG), Kris Brown (TEN), and Eagles D/ST

Some advice from the guy who is 4-6 and 4-6-I did get some sh*t about leaving out Julius Jones on my Mia Culpa (I was wrong) list...I'm not sure about him just yet, he still has 600 total yards and 4 TD's...he is injured now and I don't think the advice was that wrong...(I told you to draft him way late because he will start all year if he stays healthy)...but yeah maybe by the end of the year I will have to concede. Ok LeSean McCoy(PHI), J Snelling (ATL), and J Forsett are all great pick ups..go get em, they may save your season...I may start McCoy against a rocky CHI defense. ***Update so since last week I went over some things I was wrong about...let me quickly gloat about the firing of Dick Jauren from Buffalo, because I nailed that...though I will admit after signing T.O. we probably all saw this coming...paging Bill Cowher!***

Fantasy Basketball Update 1.75
10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) 1st place
So I jump into first place because of some savvy moves...picking up C Frye (Suns) and R Hibbert (Pacers) have helped me all around. Wade and Melo still lead the way in scoring for me so that is working out. Russell Westbrook has played better of late and A Bargnani, J Richardson, and C Kaman all continue to defy the odds and are playing great.
Moves-I ditched Beasley for Landry last week, then read a blogger who said that Beasley was great after a 24 point performance and he has I picked him up...then I remembered I was a blogger and WTF do I know so I got Landry back again...that's it. I will break it all down in the full Fantasy Basketball Update #2 toward the end of Football Season.

Bet on this! (just don't get mad at me)
-Ok solid week, got a little ripped off on some potential W's...but that's gambling. I feel pretty good about this week, so for whatever that's worth to you...for me it means make a big raise and try to catch some luck. Like em picks (11/16 on year) we went 2/3 here (NWE +3 and SFO -3...missing on DEN -3.5 to WAS). 3 if you can stomach em picks (5/15 on year) continued to only catch 1/3, but we had a shot at all of them, which might mean we are getting close (CIN ML came through over PIT, SEA ML @ ARI was no good, and PHI ML @ SDG came up short)...(note if you listened to me late Friday I did push the GNB over DAL game...but since I didn't blog it here I won't take credit)...On the 1 Parlay (10/16 on year) we go 2/3 again hitting on the under in Pitt vs CIN game 41.5, and SFO -3 (if you were mad at the SFO game going up on Weds for a Thurs game I gave you NWE +3 which did cover as well), but missed on Orton getting hurt and the Broncos -3.5 losing to the Redskins outright. Ok lets hit a home run.
Like em-NWE -9.5 vs NYJ-the Pats are angry, very angry, PHI -3 @ CHI-yeah the Eagles are slumping but the CHI defense blows and they are going to give the Eagles defense like 3 freebies, and go ahead and take the favored Lions -3 vs CLE-they should be good, watch for K Smith and Megatron to step up.
3 if you can stomach em-Try SFO ML @ GNB-the 49ers look to build on a win and try to score a little bit more, the GNB defense should allow that to happen. STL ML vs ARI-There is no way ARI is this good on the road, and Warner will throw an INT or two. TAM ML vs NOR-Tampa is on fire believe it or not, and the Cadillac should get some room and Kellen Winslow will score...they gotta lose sometime.
1 Parlay-NWE -9.5 vs NYJ and the over 45, Cinn -9.5 @ OAK, and the over in the NOR @ TAM game 50. A four teamer!

Good Luck to all in Fantasy and Reality!

November 17, 2009

Movie Review #24 2012

2012 (2009) John Cusack, Amanda Peet Directed by Roland Emmerich

So Mr. Emmerich tackles his second straight film with a year as a title (10,000 BC and now 2012), his next project is untitled...may I suggest (the year 3000) if your stuck?...maybe you can get Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter to star? So he did The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, Independence Day, Stargate, and he even did Universal does this guy love blowing Sh*t up!

2012 is the story of a family trying to get to some government sponsored "Arks" before the end of the world catches up with literally they are running from the end of the world...and it is always just a step or two behind them. It does kinda get old seeing the family repeatedly cheat death like seconds before an entire state goes under water or explodes...but what did I expect? John Cusack plays the father here and he doesn't really seem all that affected by the world ending and he is fairly optimistic that he can get his family to these Arks even though he doesn't know where they are half the movie and has no permission to get on them. Cusack actually is not believable as the dad of these kids (more like their creepy Uncle) and is pretty uninteresting throughout the film. Amanda Peet plays mom and she has remarried but it seems like the end of the world favors her old husband to her new one (Spoiler...get over it), and a wasted cameo by Woody Harrleson is worth mentioning because it sucks so bad (he plays crazy tin foil hat guy). Oliver Platt shows up as White House somebody who has way to much authority....and Danny Glover does a reasonably good job as the Prez (he's no Bill Pullman in Independence Day though). Thandie Newton is also in the film, and she is hot...that's pretty much all I have to say about that because I don't want to disparage her. The premise of this film is kinda cool (The Mayans warned of us of a huge event that will cause the Earths poles to shift and thus cause the earths crust to move), so that's good, however the film is 158 minutes, kinda like Transformers 2 earlier this year...if you are going to make a film that long, how about a rewrite or three...I mean did anyone even look at the story beyond the aircraft carrier hitting the White House storyboard (which is pretty cool)? I lost track of how many times a plane takes off just before fire, water, smoke, or buildings hit it...I mean after hour two you kinda root for the lava...but it is entertaining enough to sit through...and there are a few moments that are cool (like the Dali Lama giving a kid his truck), so whatever, go see it, it is mindless fun. I marginally recommend it...but if you want to save a few bucks just go rent Deep Impact (better) and Armageddon (much better) erase all the scenes with Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, and Will Patton (you know the good, well acted ones) and tape a Mayan calender up above the TV and you should pretty much have 2012 there.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) So the end is about I don't waste 158 minutes watching a preview of that and go get some Ribeye. Again it is watchable but you can kinda see why John Cusack thought you were "Better Off Dead" at one point. (um it is an old 80's movie that is young-ins need to brush up on your old Cusack films). It gets a 5.0 on the scale.

Food For Thought: I had a couple brownies because they go well with my Pumpkin Spice Egg Nog (for which I have to run many miles now that I drank)...Up next for Cusack is Shanghai which is about a man in Japan months before Pearl Harbor...Amanda Peet has the Jack Black driven Gulliver's Travels ahead.

November 15, 2009

Movie Review #23 The Men Who Stare At Goats

The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009) George Clooney, Jeff Bridges Directed by Grant Heslov

The government's black operations program wastes so much money on goofy things you never end up hearing about, that it should come to no surprise to you at all that this movie is based on real events and accounts. Jon Ronson wrote an awesome book in 2004 of the same title and though the book is better than the film in many ways (it will shock you), it is nowhere near as entertaining.

Grant Heslov, a hollywood guy (works with Clooney frequently, produced and co wrote Good Night and, Good Luck, a great film) does a solid job piecing together a story out of a whistle-blower type book that aims to expose government idiocy. To tell the story we have the excellent Ewan McGregor who plays reporter (Bob Wilton) who is down on his luck and is looking for a story to tell. McGregor's character serves as narrator and paces us along this crazy ride. Bob ends up running into an old spec ops guy named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) who then goes on to not only spill the beans on the whole "Jedi" First Earth Battalion's exploits, but also works out a little adventure of his own, as we are told he has been reactivated. So while Bob and Lyn go out getting themselves in some pretty odd calamities, we take breaks to flashback to the genesis of the Jedi project. The film, though lead by McGregor and Clooney, is carried by some pretty amazing supporting performances. Kevin Spacey (Larry Hooper), Stephan Lang (Brig. Gen. Dean Hopgood), and the Oscar worthy Jeff Bridges (Bill Django). The movie provides several crazy scenes, and there are lots of laughs. The film gives you the daily doses of drug use, comedy gold, and sweet irony...maybe a weeks worth. There are moments in the story that are lazy and maybe not all that logical, but as a vessel to tell the story of this infamous Black Ops program, what they have come up with is fine. I really had a good time at this film, with strong acting, and some lines that will live on forever (quick ex: (Bob)-We put LSD in the eggs, don't eat the eggs. (Django)-And in the water. (Bob)-But we drank the water. (Django)-We had to, we didn't want to attract suspicion. ) this film will sneak into my top ten of the year. So if you are keeping track still, in this order we have (500) Days of Summer (8.0), Capitalism A Love Story (8.0), The Hurt Locker (8.0), Star Trek (7.5), Inglourious Basterds (7.5), The Soloist (7.0), Where the Wild Things Are (7.0), Coraline (7.0), The Men Who Star At Goats (7.0), and The Informant (7.0)...that's where we are at so far, though it is always subject to change and the fall season usually brings about several Oscar worthy movies.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) So "The Dude" (Jeff Bridges) leading a group of drug-taking Jedi warrior spec ops guys through a training yeah, maybe it's not Mick and Rocky, or Pvt. Joker and Gunny Hartman, but it is very strong. I think it warrants a 7.0 on the scale, and I recommend you see it in theaters.

Food For Thought: So I brought in a sandwich with some hard I love that stuff. I am training for a run coming up here soon so no recipes this week, as we build up to Turkey Day, however...I did spoil myself with two great meals: at an event I had a peppercorn encrusted fillet med-rare that was great and at a great Vegas joint called RAKU I had the worlds best Blue Fin Tuna! Up next for Clooney is his Oscar buzz films The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which is a lovely story by Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) and Up in the Air. For Bridges there is Crazy Heart about a often divorced country music singer and of course there is Tron Legacy the sequel to the 1982 film Tron, the ATARI game system I think, who asked for that sequel...oh well "The Dude abides".

November 11, 2009

Fantasy Football Update #7 (week 9) with Fantasy Basketball update 1.5

Alright it's fantasy football update time again, and I know the direction I have been going with the quotes lately has been profound (notice the R. W. Emerson from update #6), so let me throw this one at you real quick (In reference to two men who just got in a helicopter and flew away) "Nobody ever saw them again, the official word from the Army was that they crashed in the desert, which would make sense because that's what happens when you try to fly a helicopter F**ked up on acid" a perfect line from a good move The Men Who Stare At Goats...go see this!!! Ok now that we got that out of the way let's go back to profound..."Questions are a burden to others. Answers are prison for oneself." (that line comes from the great 60's TV show The Prisoner, which they have just rebooted on it this Sunday!). You see I get a lot of questions about fantasy sports, not just because I write this blog (which makes sense because nobody reads it why would I get questions?), but because I tend to answer things with confidence. My answers are often wrong (just look at my records...btw I am 7-2 in the mysterious 3rd league I partake in), but when I deliver those answers, I really believe they are the tone is confident. Because I don't want my past answers to be a prison for oneself (follow along here) at the halfway point of the year, I'm going to do something that is hard to do, I'm gonna admit where I was wrong...this may take awhile...

But First let's break down the week briefly...summary style
Pats (League 1) 10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) Record 3-6 (7th), Points 926 (2nd)
Tom Brady (21 pts), Frank Gore (21 pts), and Cedric Benson (19 pts) lead me to a lackluster 96-84 victory...I survive having to start S Slaton (8 pts) who does nothing but convert his goal line carry, M Colston (4 pts), J Witten (4 pts), and the Pats D/ST (6 pts) all let me down. Nobody on my bench does a whole lot.
Moves-I drop Hasselbeck (QB), John Carney (K), and John Carlson (TE) for Dolphins D/ST, Zach Miller (TE), and Dan Carpenter (K)...I didn't need Matty Hasselbeck anymore and it looks like with all those hits he is taking lately, he will be joining his brother in the ESPN studios sooner than later anyway, Carlson is a matchup victim I still like him in certain games, and I think the same for Carney who I doubt kicks too many field goals against St. Louis. I'm not in love with my lineup and if Megatron (Calvin Johnson) has a good week of practice...he's in.
Week 10 lineup-subject to change)-Tom Brady (@IND), Frank Gore (CHI), M Colston (@STL), C Benson (@PIT), M Lynch (@ TEN), Z Miller (KAN), D Carpenter (TAM), Dolphins D/ST (TAM)

Dirty Dawgs (League 2) 10 team, non-standard scoring (CBS), record 4-5 (2nd), Points 656 (2nd)
In this League though Julious Jones (13 pts) did his job, and C Benson (14 pts) rolled on, I fell short in a 72-91 loss. Now my division sucks so I am still alive for even the top spot, (who I play this week) but still my good team really should be piling up more victories. G Jennings (0 pts), W Welker (2 pts), and Eagles D/ST (7 pts) all let me down, Jennings should have got in the endzone but poor clock management and some sloppy late play by the Packers (who seemed to not care that they lost to the worst team in football) really hurt Jennings, Welker did fine but in this league you have to get in the endzone, and K Brown (my kicker) missed a 42 yarder to tie the game!!!! WTF Kris! Houston had it in the grasps but once again played the Colts well and let it slip away. Nobody on my bench would have got me the win, but B Marshall (8 pts) and S Breaston (6 pts) both played well.
Moves-The trade deadline has passed, and G Jennings was my last get, I almost picked up a D/ST for this week but thought better of it. It is hard to play C Benson after watching that PIT Defense tear apart the Broncos...but he has been a reliable "every week" back and his first game against the Steelers: 75 rush yards and a TD...I'll take that again Ced-Ben
Week 10 lineup-subject to change-Brady (@IND), C Benson (@PIT), T Jones (JAC), M Lynch (@TEN), W Welker (@IND), T Gonzalez (@CAR), S Hauschka (@CLE)

Some Advice from the guy who is 3-6 and 4-5 (Mia Culpa Edition) Ok so in my Football 2009 Preview with my Fantasy Rankings (April 9, 2009) there may be a few things I would like to take back...Here are the top five: 5-Ok so maybe ranking T.J. Houshmandzadeh as my #9 overall WR was a little out there...but don't give me crap you thought he was gonna be good in Seattle too. 4-J Witten, he's not in my overall top 25 but when ranking TE's at the beginning of the year I basically said there is this guy, and everyone actually he is currently 15th overall in TE stats and everyone else...well they are better. 3-S Slaton/C Johnson, ranked Slaton 7th on my RB's list, ahead of um...well Chris Johnson...I really didn't think C Johnson would be this good, and I actually thought LenDale White and his Tequilla free ways would steal all his TD's again...actually S Slaton now tri-splits his touches, and C Johnson only gives pity carries to Mr. White from time to time, oh well. 2-Bret Favre-is not in my top 10 QB's and though I drafted him on one team and even tried to get him on the other I really only counted on him having two good games (both against Green Bay) let me tell you how hard it is to sit this guy in fantasy-in 8 games 16 TD's 3 INT's (I know right only 3), and a rating of 106.0-that rating is 2nd to only Drew!1-So Ok in my Overall top 25 he was #2, he was also my #1 RB...and I have to swallow this one as maybe the worst call in my Fantasy Football "advice giving" career (which to be fair started last year), his numbers 441 rush yards in 123 carries, 3 TD's...Mr Matt Forte is behind guys like F Jackson, Ricky Williams, and Rashard Mendenhall...and if you would have told me that would be the case in April, I would let you in my league so I could beat's not too soon to call this a bust year for Matt Forte, no matter what he does the rest of the way (and his schedule ain't great) he is a super dud...and for ranking him ahead of Peterson, Turner, Johnson, and D Williams I have to say I am sorry. Well then, this was good, got all that extra weight off, can't wait until the season is over and I have to admit how wrong my football season predictions are (Texans in the AFC title game...anyone??) My advice this week, write me and tell me what to do...after this segment I feel a little too queasy to give advice...thank god I lost my pride a long time ago :)

Fantasy Basketball Update 1.5
10 team, standard scoring (ESPN) 4th place
It's a little too early to be filling you in but I'll give you the quick rundown. Wade 29.9 PPG, Melo 30.2 PPG, and Shockingly Chris Kaman's 21.7 PPG have me way ahead in total points. Al Harrington, Jason Richardson, Andrea Bargnani are all playing good all around Basketball early, so I'm feeling good about my team. Trading Arenas was tough and Al Jefferson still hasn't gotten going, but I feel good about him in the future. My Young Guns (What a great movie) Roy Hibbert and Channing Frye are playing great as well. Still waiting for Blake Griffen and Devin Harris to get healthy, Russell Westbrook hurt his ankle but it shouldn't be serious...if he goes down I need a PG.
-So Michael Beasley is gone for Carl Landry (just a better all around player). DeJuan Blair is gone for Roy Hibbert (he gets more minutes) and Kevin Love is gone for Channing Frye (just a cool player to watch).
Update-The update returns in full force in a few weeks, until then if you haven't yet, pick up...B Jennings (MIL), C Frye (SUNS), and R Hibbert (IND)...thank me later.

Bet on this! (just don't get mad at me)
-So the mighty fall, after a great week 8, we come back to earth with a crappy week 9. We hit 2/4 of our Like em picks-(9/13 for year). Once again (although we were close to getting all three) we only bring home one of our 3 if you can stomach em picks (upsets), SDG vs NYG-(4/12 for year). On the 1 Parlay we go down in flames hitting only 1/3 on the card...The Packers don't even win let alone cover -9.5, the Pats miss it by a half a point (though some people got it at 10...good for you), and the Falcons manage a -10 cover (8/12 for year).
Like em-SFO -3 vs CHI-Yeah I tried this last week, but the San Fran Defense can handle Cutler and his INT throwing ways. NWE +3 @ IND...well what do you expect, Indy is beat up and although they will get a pass rush from Freeney it won't be enough to stop Brady. Lastly DEN -3.5 @ WAS, Vegas is giving no respect to the Broncos who will bounce back fine here.
3 if you can stomach em-CIN ML @ PIT...they did it once already, why not? SEA ML @ ARI...I don't love it but the Seahawks can stop the run and their defense can get turnovers...we all know after Warner shows us he is a 5 TD guy, he usually reminds us he can also be a 5 INT guy. Lastly take PHI ML @ SDG...Philly defense is capable of getting turnovers and SDG is basically a one dimensional team right now with the carcass of LT still getting the handoffs.
1 Parlay-Yeah so the 3 favorites with the big lines didn't work so let's go back to basics. Take the under in the Pitt vs Cin game 41.5 or the under in the TAM @ MIA game 44, SFO -3 vs CHI, and DEN -3.5 @ WAS...this one should work.

Good Luck to all in Fantasy or Reality!