Saturday, December 30, 2006

Random MLB Rumblings

Since the hot stove's been cooking over the past few days, and I’m bored of watching the Navy-BC bowl game (with 14:20 left in the first quarter), here are a few random observations from the world of MLB:

-First thing’s first—I’m kinda getting worried about the Cardinals. So far I like the signing of 2B Adam Kennedy, who not only is generally good for a .350 on-base percentage every year and plays solid defense, but who also forms the “whitest double play combination in baseball” with David Eckstein, which should be good for about 500 jokes or so between my brother and I this summer. I also like re-upping staff ace Chris Carpenter for a few more years at what now seems to be a reasonable rate after the insane Barry Zito deal (more on that later).

That said, it doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in you when your number 2 starter is some asshole who wears high socks and a flat-billed hat (Anthony Reyes), your number 3 is your lights-out closer from the playoffs who has struggled as a starter at lower levels (Adam Wainwright), your number 4 has a shoulder and leg held together with bubble gum and rubber cement (Kip Wells), and your number 5 is…who? Oh yeah, the team is talking about having Braden Looper be the fifth starter. Yes, that last sentence isn’t a typo. Braden Looper. Starting. If that happens, I think I just might try to jump the Grand Canyon on the back of a motorcycle, without a helmet, with Ben Roethlisberger at the wheel. Yeesh…

-The Red Sox and Cubs are spending money right now like a couple of feuding families of hoosiers who try to one-up each other. I can just see Theo Epstein. “Oh yeah? $136 million for Alfonso Soriano? Well we’ll pay $51 million just to negotiate with a guy who’s never pitched in the majors before, AND we'll give J.D. Drew $70 million for 5 years! That oughtta show ‘em!”

-Speaking of the Cubs, I can’t wait for the avalanche of “This is the Cubs year” articles that should be popping up after the Super Bowl. I like to call this the “Arizona Cardinals syndrome”. There are several symptoms of AZ Cards Syndrome. They include:

1. Going out and spending money on the biggest name available in the off-season to generate some buzz. The Cards went out and got Edge James. The Cubs got Alfonso Soriano. This gets the fans interested in buying tickets and the media sniffing for a story or two.

2. Making sure that the big name acquisition is in direct conflict with the biggest weakness of your club. As many Gridbirds fans know, the problem with Edge James, other than he has more miles on him than the Indians’ plane from Major League, was that their o-line is absolutely horrific, thus giving Edge no chance to succeed in the first place. The Scrubs didn’t realize that, even though Soriano can put up huge power numbers, THE REST OF THEIR LINEUP ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GET ON BASE! Soriano doesn’t even get on base at a very good clip. So even if Soriano can keep up his monster numbers from last year, he’s going to be trotting around the bases on his own a lot.

3. Signing some more marginal, overpaid free agents to “complement” the big signing. See Marquis, Jason, Lilly, Ted. In the case of the Cardinals, this was done through the draft, where Matt Leinart was hailed as the immediate savior, even though he clearly needs a little time to adjust to the pro game.

4. Throw a bone to a few hungry writers wanting to make headlines going into the year. I mean, if you’re Denny Green, and you’ve offered Sean Salisbury the position of quarterbacks coach in the past (why in God’s name any sane human would, I don’t know), and you give him a call saying, “Hey, we’re looking pretty good in practice here”, you don’t think Salisbury is going to flap his big trap on NFL Live about how the Cards are a “sleeper team” this year? You don’t think Salisbury’s going to beat John Clayton within an inch of his life in the ESPN break room and threaten to take his lunch money if he doesn’t (or even does) pick the Cards as a sleeper team? My point is, these things become self-reinforcing, and before you know it, everybody and their brother is touting the Cards as a great team.

Well, in the case of the Cubs, you can already see it coming. Old Gravelly-Mouthed, “Please don’t take my wallet” Lou Pinella probably is already working his media contacts (except Steve Lyons) to tell them “If this kid Prior comes back, and I can get Marquis and Lilly straightened out, and we can score some runs, then look out”. It is going to be a disaster.

5. Have a horrendous first month. Check and check.

6. Writers recanting their earlier words and writing pieces about how the “gravitational pull of the culture of losing is too difficult to overcome.” Basically, we were wrong and stupid, but we have secure jobs so long as we don’t criticize our employers so it doesn’t really matter how much we know or whether we actually put time in to things like "research" and "original thought".

7. Rinse and Repeat. Wait 'til next year.

-The Yanks have to be sweating a bit. They’re like the big-time high school quarterback who’s just finishing up his senior season, but for whatever reason can’t get a scholarship to even a 1-AA school. Before you know it, they’ll be marrying the head cheerleader, knocking her up, becoming a cop, handing out traffic tickets and investigating TP'd houses for ten years, and then one day, all of a sudden, they’ll wake up and think “What the fuck happened? I was the fucking star high school quarterback, dammit!” Well, the Yankees are right on the cusp—a little too old, have enough to compete right now, but who knows if they can make it to the next level with this team? And what the fuck happens if they don’t win in the next year or two? It could get ugly…

-Congratulations Gil Meche! You’re the winner of the annual “D.B. Cooper Award” for stealing money outright from a team without getting caught. It’s almost like Royals GM Drayton Moore (Yes, that’s his real name. I know, it sounds like a porn star name—and a chick porn star name at that) looked at his team and thought, “Shit! Mike Sweeney’s $11 million per year contract is about to expire! I have to fill that slot quick with another overpaid underachiever who we’ll be trading for pennies on the dollar two years from now, if there’s a stupider GM than me out there” (Bill Bavasi in Seattle, anyone?).

-Jeff Suppan’s headed to the Brewers. Good for him. There’s no way I would have come close to 4 years and $42 mill, especially when the team offering it is the Brewers and the most marketable skill that Supp offers is being able to pitch in big games in the playoffs. That's like a farmer in Kansas buying a lot of volcano insurance. I mean, he might be able to use it, but it would be a lot more valuable to a guy in a place that has a chance in hell of seeing a volcano erupt. What’s even worse is that after his brief detour to spend a little time being a successful starter on a winning team, he’s going right back to the same formula that produced this line:

9-16, 5.32 ERA, 68 BB, 109 K, 32 HR, 208 IP (with the Royals in 2002)

In other words, he’s back to being an innings eater on a shitty team, even though the innings that he’s eating are pretty horrible-tasting.

-Vernon Wells has to really be buying into what the Blue Jays are peddling. 7 years and $126 million is a lot of money, to be sure. The only problem is, are the Blue Jays really ever going to have a legitimate shot at winning the AL East, let alone a World Series? I mean, they’re maybe going to have a year or two while the Yanks try to reload in the next few years, but they’ll still have to fight off the Bosox, as well as the building Rays (don’t laugh. They are stacked in their farm system like Carmen Electra). He could have probably pushed for close to $200 million next off-season from the Yanks. Still, as long as he’s happy, he really shouldn’t give a fuck what some jaded law student thinks.

-I think Brian Sabean has the inside track on winning the “race to see which West Coast GM is completely bat-shit crazy”. I mean, Barry Zito’s a very nice pitcher, maybe even a number 2 on a Championship-caliber team if he gets his massage and meditation break (with happy ending), or whatever the fuck he needs to do to get ready on game day. But still, paying him the same amount as a cornerstone franchise centerfielder (Vernon Wells)? That’s just insanity. Let’s see, he’s a lefty, and right-handed pull hitters just need to somehow find a way to drop one in between Barroid and Dave Roberts in the cavernous gap in Pac Bell or whatever the fuck it’s called these days. I mean, so long as he can stay away from right-handed hitters at home, and if he can stay healthy, then it should be an ok deal.

That’s it for now. Back to bowl-watching.

Until next time…

DJGel

Friday, December 22, 2006

Seinfeld's Greatest Minor Characters

In celebration of Festivus, here’s a list of the 10 best minor Seinfeld characters. All those characters besides Jerry, Elaine, George, Kramer and Newman were eligible. Happy Festivus!

10. Dr. Tim Whatley

Re-gifted: A label maker.
Waiting Room Magazine of Choice: Penthouse.
Religion: Judaism (converted just for the jokes).

9. Keith Hernandez

Wrongfully accused of: spitting on Kramer and Newman.
Expert on: The Civil War
Life mantra: “I’m Keith Hernandez.”

8. Milosh

Profession: Tennis professional.
Actual tennis skill level: Low.
Dabbles In: The Flesh Trade.

7. The Soup Nazi

Motto: “No soup for you!”
Price of Bread: Free and/or $3.00.
Stolen: His secret recipe for wild mushroom soup, among others.

6. J. Peterman

Covets: JFK’s golf clubs.
Favorite Asian Nation: Myanmar (always Burma to him).
The Real J. Peterman: Kramer.

5. Kenny Bania

Profession: Comedian.
Favorite joke subject: Ovaltine.
Trademark quote: “That’s gold, Jerry!”

4. Jackie Chiles

Response to society’s conventions being flouted: “It’s Lewd, Lascivious, Salacious, Outrageous!”
Legal gaffe: Allowing Kramer to settle for a lifetime’s supply of coffee instead of cash.
Sample Legal Advice: “Your face is my case.”

3. Bob Cobb (aka the Maestro)

Favorite Region of Italy: Tuscany.
Way to Prevent Wrinkled Pants: Not sitting in them before a performance (an old conductor’s trick passed on by Leonard Bernstein).
Favorite Member of the Three Tenors: Not Pavarotti, not Domingo… the other guy.

2. Frank Costanza

Favorite Holiday: Festivus.
Inventor of: The Bro (aka The Manssiere)
Will Not Tolerate: Infestation.

1. David Puddy

Favorite Professional Sports Team: New Jersey Devils.
Preferred Dining Establishment: Arby’s.
Reason why Elaine Started Dating Him Again: She “needed to move a bureau.”
Religion: Born-Again Christian.
Offended By: The term “grease monkey.”
Recovering: Germophobe.
Happy to Dole Out: High-Fives.
Trademark quote: “Yeah, that’s right.”

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Mailbag

Allright, so I know what you people are thinking. "Wow, a mailbag! This site is really taking off!" Unfortunately, we didn't even have an email address until I signed up for one roughly 30 seconds ago, so these questions are all going to be fake. If you do have any questions for the future, please feel free to e-mail them to blogmogger@yahoo.com and they will make it into a future edition of the mailbag. Until we get enough of them, though, I'm going to have fun making these up.

My Goodness, I'm just as angry as the dickens about your article slamming ESPN.com analyst Keith Law! He is a brave American who speaks his mind. So what if he liked to frolic with the artsy-type guys for a while in high school? You're just a big poopyhead. Now I'm going to go see a new off-Broadway play with "the boys" before I come home, stuff myself on a pint of Haagen-Dasz and cry myself to sleep.

-Keith L., Bristol, CT

Well, I'm sorry, Keith L., but Mr. Law wrote a cowardly, terrible series of articles during the playoffs. Don't pull the bull's tail unless you want to get a horn up your ass, or something like that. Unless you're into that type of thing...

Oh my God! You guys are the coolest! You are SO funny and culturally relevant! That article about the PS3! OMG LOL! :-) I love videogames too! They are the COOLEST! Why don't you guys come out and stay with us for a while? We'll make it worth your while! See you soon, OMG! I just read another article--LMFAO!!! Smooches!

-Jessica A., Keira K., Lacey C., Rachel M., and Giselle B., Hollywood, CA

Hey, thanks ladies, we do what we can. Keep the hot tub warm--we'll be there soon.

(Note to Jamie: remember, this is a FAKE mailbag. Don't actually pack your bag and head out to L.A. just yet. It'll take another week or 2 for us to get this e-mail in real life)

You guys are the inspiration to a new generation of all generations in time, across time. Every person is special and you guys outspecial all of them. It's like we're the new advent(sic)-guard.

Lindsay L., Hollywood, CA

Interesting, Lindsay. Hey, Bogota called, they want all of their cocaine back.

Love the blog, and it's sort of funny. You know what would make it better? More racial humor! You need more columns about [racial slur deleted]s and [racial slur deleted]s! That's the direction comedy is headed! [Racial Slur Deleted]!

Michael R., Los Angeles, CA

Uh, yeah buddy, we'll keep that in mind. Keep up the comedy...

My God! I have so much money I don't even know what to do with it! Thank God I'm pitching for the Cubs--I don't care about winning--so long as they pay me money!

Jason M.
, Chicago, IL

Well, uh, good luck, I guess, Jason Marqu...err...Jason M. Have a great time pitching to Albert a couple of times a year.

I made a TERRIBLE movie a few months ago, and now I'm worried that you guys will make fun of it! Please don't! "16 Blocks" is a serious commentary on something, though I have no idea what it's supposed to be about and I concede that the ending is fucking pathetic. Please, please give me a shot!

Bruce W., Hollywood, CA

Uh, allright, Bruce. Still, I just saw your movie, and...er...I don't know how to tell you this, but, 16 BLOCKS IS FUCKING PATHETIC! AFTER SEEING IT, I WANT TO POUR KEROSENE ALL OVER MYSELF AND LIGHT IT ON FIRE BY RUBBING MY COCK AGAINST COARSE SANDPAPER FOR 15 HOURS! Still, though, good effort.

Well, that's all for now. If you all want to see a real mailbag, remember, e-mail us at blogmogger@yahoo.com and we'll answer them. I promise...

Until next time...

DJGel



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Idiot's Guide to Lost

WARNING: If you have not seen this season's 6 episodes of Lost yet, do not read this. It might ruin some of the plot elements.

WARNING #2: If you have never seen Lost before GO OUT AND RENT THE DVDs FOR THE FIRST 2 SEASONS IMMEDIATELY! The pilot kind of sucks, but by the 3rd episode of Season 1, you'll be hooked. Tell your boss you have bird flu, take off for a week and watch them consecutively. You won't be disappointed.

OK, now that the disclaimers are out of the way, as you may or may not have been able to determine by my colleague's Lost references in his posts, we are both pretty big Lost fans. Not to the point of some of the lunatics out there, but we watch all the episodes, come up with our own (probably crackpot) theories, and (much to Jamie's chagrin) a few of us keep a running commentary as to what's going on while we watch the show, leading to more than a couple rounds of me asking, "What did he say?", followed by Jamie replying "I don't know I COULDN'T HEAR WHAT'S GOING ON!", followed by me telling Jamie to "Cool the fuck out" and him telling me to "Shut the fuck up" for the next minute or so. It's always good times.

I initially wanted to do a Season 3 recap to date, since this season has already been quite "spicy", as my brother would say. However, I realized that it was going to be by far the longest post on the page, so I decided to split it up into a few posts. This one is mainly going to deal with my thoughts on the characters on the show to date. More will follow in the next few days. At any rate, here's how I see each of the characters:

Jack: When you first see Jack in the pilot, you think that this guy has his shit together. First of all, he's a doctor. Secondly, he's the first one to hit on Kate, so he's not stupid. However, as Jack keeps going, you begin to get sick of his "holier-than-thou" attitude. He thinks he knows everything and can save anybody, and he's not afraid to tell anyone else about it. Also, he's just fucking annoying. He's like the kid in grade school who reminds the teacher that she hasn't given out the homework assignment for the next day yet. You want to stand up and strangle the little kiss-ass motherfucker, but social conventions prevent you from doing so, even though you're only 8 years old. Granted, he has gotten a lot better in Season 3 when all he does is yell out things like "Where--are--MY FRIENDS!" and "What do you think I am, stupid?", but still, he alternates too much between "I'm so cool" and "I'm a huge puss" that I really can't stand him.

Kate: Wow, she is a looker. And she has conned her share of people in the past. Oddly enough, she still has a kind of innocence about her, even though we know she's a stone-cold criminal. That said, she's a total cock-tease. She keeps playing Jack and Sawyer off against each other for her own benefit, until she finally gives Sawyer the business in the last episode that aired. If I was Sawyer, I'd be watching for that knife in the back any minute, 'cause I still don't trust her...

Sawyer: He is a badass. Period. If his clever one-liners and nicknames weren't enough, he is both a con artist and a stone-cold killer. He also matched Jack's Alcoholic Father drink-for-drink in Australia...and he lived. Oh, and did I mention, "HE JUST SHOT A BEAR!" He finally got the girl and escaped execution, so he's got that going for him...which is nice. The best character on the show. I've told Jamie many times that I'd stop watching the show if Sawyer was killed--he's that fucking awesome.

Hurley: Everyone (especially all the girls I know who watch the show) say that the "love Hurley" and how he's "so funny". Let's cut the bullshit already, people. Hurley is one of the most annoying people on the island. He clearly can't handle any form of responsibility (as evidenced by the "Let's put Hurley in charge of the food" incident. Yeah, that worked really well. What's next? Putting Charles Manson in charge of the guns?), and he asks way too many questions about shit that he doesn't even need to know in the first place. Oh, and did I mention that HE CHASES HIS FUCKING IMAGINARY FRIEND AROUND THE ISLAND? I swear, if you had a conversation with Hurley for 15 minutes, you would hate him.

John Locke: Boy, this guy gets swindled. First, his dad takes his kidney after a "long con". Then his dad faked his own death so that Locke could get $600,000 for him AND ruin his own life at the same time. Then, on the island, he's beholden to Jack, gets conned into giving Michael shooting lessons, and Sawyer cons him out of the guns. To top it all, he brought a narc to his hippy, smoke-weed-every-day fest to kill the buzz. I can't wait to see how he got in a wheelchair. Did he answer one of those e-mails for a Nigerian "Bring us $10,000 in person for our cause and we definitely WON'T kidnap you" schemes? Did he get run over trying to catch the guy who sold him the Brooklyn Bridge? I mean, the possibilities are endless. Still, he isn't afraid to cut up animals. And he's finally regained his faith. Also, he cooks up a mean batch of hallucinogenic paste, so he'd be a good guy to have on your side. It'll be interesting to see where they go with Locke from here on out.

Jin & Sun: Man Sun is a whore. And a bitch. You wonder in their first episdoe why Jin is such a prick. Well if I had to put up with Sun's lying, cheating, unappreciative slut routine, I would be a little ticked-off, too. This guy slaves away for her dick of a father every day with no end in sight, and she repays him by fucking her English teacher and lying about everything. I'm sick of her shit already. Despicable.

Sayid: Another bad motherfucker. This guy is a torturer, son! He isn't afraid to fuck some assholes up. He started out looking for some Iraqi woman that the was in love with, but once he saw Maggie Grace on the island, he figured, "Fuck it. hot, blonde, American chicks are more my type, after all" The one guy that you always know will be in charge of whatever situation he is in. I wouldn't fuck with this guy. I hope the Others don't, either, for their sakes. Also, somehow he has become the go-to guy for Eulogies on the island. Even if it was to initially impress Boone's sister after he died. Still, any time you start a eulogy with "I did not know Boone very well..." you know it's gonna be straight from the heart and amazingly poignant.

Charlie: Wouldn't blink twice if the writers killed him off. The whole "fighting his drug addiction while having insane hallucinations" thing was OK for a while, but he's degenerated into the Whiny, annoying, overly-territorial sidekick who just wants to give it to Claire and defy Locke for no reason. Now, if he gets back on the drugs, things might get interesting again. Until then, though, fuck him.

Claire: Speaking of annoying, how bad was the end of the first season when this chick was yelling out, "My Ba-BY! Where's my BA-BY!" in that harpy-esque cockney accent of hers? Now, normally I'm all for the ladies with accents, but she is just getting on my nerves. Also, she continues to prove that girls prefer "bad boys" by shacking up with the resident heroin addict who almost killed her kid...let's see...3 times now, I think. Smart idea. You ladies have no room to bitch that there "aren't any nice guys out there". There were, but after you see this kind of shit, you start to think "Hey, being an asshole pays!" So you ladies are left to pick between true assholes, nice guys pretending to be assholes, and nerdy guys who wouldn't know what to do with a girl if they could ever get up the nerve to talk to them. Way to paint yourselves into a corner...

Michael: "I've got to find my boy. WALT!" This was his only line for Season 2. What a dick--killing people to get off the island. Yeah, I wonder why they didn't give you custody of your kid, Judge Dredd. Also he was overprotective of Walt to the point of making an enemy of Locke--a big mistake.

Walt: What a snotty little brat. Granted, he does realize that his dad is full of shit and that Locke has a lot more to teach him than his dad does, but still, his sense of entitlement is amazing. Good riddance.

Jack's Alcoholic Father: Now here's a character! Definitely one of the most underrated characters in the show. I mean, the guy downs a fifth of scotch before he goes to bed EVERY NIGHT. And hey, I probably would too if I had to come home and deal with a little sanctimonious prick like Jack at the end of the day. The guy literally drank himself to death on a multi-week bender in Australia, which has to be one of the top 5 ways to go out, right next to "Randy Quaid sacrificing himself to kill the aliens in Independence Day" and "Smothered in Jessica Simpson's Tits". The man acts like it's Christmas morning every time he sees a bar or a drink in the show. If only I had that same wide-eyed enthusiasm for anything--I wouldn't be such a jaded bastard all the time. Just really a great character

Ana Lucia: She was a bitch. I know it sucks that her unborn kid got shot and everything, but still, she was a bitch.

Libby: This chick liked Hurley. She was crazy. Oh, and she was in an asylum. She goes around, giving away her husband's boat to strangers, and is still somehow hot and nice. We used to joke that after takes with Hurley, Cynthia Watros would get all bitchy, like, "Jesus, if I EVER have to do that again, I'll, like, totally throw up!" Still, I guess she's a cool character, if you like hippie chicks.

Desmond: Awesome. This guy leaves the hatch, goes sailing for 2 weeks tanked out of his fucking mind on Dharma vodka, and then reaches the island again. He has been through hell, and put Jack in his place very early on, even before they got to the island. Apparently he's a coward, but since the producers are being dicks and focusing on story lines we don't even care about now, we haven't seen why yet. Looking forward to getting the scoop on him...

Mr. Eko: In the words of the immortal Rick Ross (sort of), "Look, Bitch, Every day Mr. Eko is hustlin'". He was a bad motherfucker. The scene where he slit the throats of the rival drug runners in season 2 is still one of my favorites. It's a shame that he was killed off recently, but his death gave me more info for my theory about...

The Smoke Monster: Who knows what this thing is? My theory is that it somehow can take the form of anyone's body that it has taken. For example, Jack's Alcoholic Father's body is gone, but Jack sees him walking around the island. Same thing with Eko's brother. And the same thing, maybe, with Vincent, the Dog. There's this weird shot in the pilot of Vincent looking out on what some other people are doing on the island, and he looks a little too intelligent. Granted, this could all be my bullshit, and if so, feel free to lock me up.

Rose and Bernard: I'm sick of them. Time to move on.

Ben Linus/Henry Gale
: My God this guy is creepy. He gives Jamie a run for his money. He can make anything seem like a totally twisted mindfuck. His speech to Kate before breakfast on the beach in Ep 1 of Season 3 made me wonder if I was watching one of those "To Catch a Child Predator" Datelines. Something tells me that you don't want to fuck with this guy, though. He could mean business.

Juliette: She has the "nice girl" act down around Jack, but something tells me that this girl is a stone cold bitch. I don't trust her.

Boone/Shannon: Glad they're dead. The whole "step-brother and sister who fucked" storyline always creeped me out a bit. Though Maggie Grace was pretty hot, they had to be killed off. And though Boone was Locke's Lieutenant, his death served a purpose in the grand story arc.

And finally, That new Brazilian Guy and his Extremely Hot Girlfriend: The new Brazilian guy is a TERRIBLE actor. Yikes, hopefully he's not long for the island. his girlfriend, though, is incredibly hot, even hotter than Kate. Unfortunately, because of this, she has a bit of a bitchy streak in her, which is incredibly unattractive in a girl. Still, kill the hack and more of his girlfriend.

Phew. That was a long one. That's all for now. Until next time...

DJGel

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Random Ramblings

By popular demand, I'm writing a non-sports column. I figured for my first venture outside the world of sports I'd venture outside into the world in general and share some random thoughts:

- Thanksgiving is officially the greatest holiday ever. Mandated 4 day weekend, holiday-related feast, acceptable excessive drinking, football all day, no religious obligations, family time. How could this get any better?

- Kudos to those who reason their way into Thanksgiving week off with "I have to leave town Wed anyway, Im not going to get anything done Tuesday if I have to leave the next day. If Monday is the only day, why not skip one day to get a whole week off?" Brilliant.

- I hate when the pilot announces the good weather in the town you just landed in like he is personally responsible for it. "Folks, I'm just circling and about to land us in Miami, where it is 70 and sunny. Hope you enjoyed your flight!"

- Does anyone else laugh when a biker falls?

- Why do people feel it is ok to rudely mock total strangers just bc they have on a shirt of a school that lost a game? I was wearing a Virginia shirt (NOT a UVA football or basketball) and this woman says, "too bad they lost" this weekend. So I figure she's a fan and say "yea, too bad". She then responds "yea - for you because I am a Virginia Tech fan!" Wow nicely done 40 year old Hokie fan, you got me good. (by the way, I am a Gator fan so suck it bitch)

- Do any companies still make gum in wrappers or are they all punch out style? Was there a meeting of the gum execs where they all decided this was it from now on?

- PSA: Not turning left when the oncoming traffic is a safe distance away is not safer than turning, it is more dangerous; especially when the people behind you expect you to go. Same thing with not going on your turn at a STOP sign.

- Why are the people who drive insanely fast always the ones who claim to be great drivers?

- I recently sat next to an 8 year old on a plane who had an iPod, a portable DVD player and a Nintendo DS. When I was 8, I had to play alternate lives in MarioWorld on our familial GameBoy. By the way, did anyone else show no emotion while playing and then try to hide the fact that you died so that you could steal your sibling's turn or am I an asshole?

- I got my first laptop last year and now can't get on a flight w/o it. I used to hate that prick who had the computer, DVDs, cushy headphones watching the latest movie from Netflix while I'm forced to watch Jingle All the Way and Scooby Doo 2 then reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond on the plane's 15 inch monitor. Now I am him and I love every fucking second of it.

- What is the etiquette on the shared armrest on the plane? Clearly, the aisle guy is entitled to the aisle arm and the window the window arm, but what about the two arms of the middle guy? I always seem to get in these mini-battles with the guy next to me. At first, it's like "ok, he's using it, that's cool but it would be nice to have both". Then he grabs a pillow or shifts in his seat - it's over for him, that shit is all mine. Then you're dominating that shit feelin great until you have to get something out of your bag. First move: try to catch him when he's lookin the other way (but of course he is pretending not to notice you have the arm when really he's waitin for an opening like a sketchy drunk at a bar). Then you try some yoga-esque move to dodge the foldtray, that's not workin - you are done and he is back in.

Now it's "prison rules" time. Next time he so much as covers less than 95% of that arm, you are on it like a fat guy on the last roll at a buffet. I don't care if you have to contort your arm into some Cirque de Soleil posture, you are getting on that thing. Then the nudging starts.
Classic moment: when you first get too greedy and hair-to-hair brushing takes place. He knows what you are trying to do and yet pretends he is surprised by the contact. You of course give the quick glance nod of "sorry" and do not budge an inch. The next 20 minutes is a battle of epic proportions: Millimeter by millimeter you are fighting, all the while acting like nothing is going on. SkyMall has never been so enthralling.

Finally, when you have made it past the half-line - he concedes. Of course, he has to fake a cough or a stretch to try to save face but we both know what just took place here. Didn't middle guy learn from WWII that appeasement never works? Maybe that's why he will always be in the middle seat.

Alright I'm done for now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Review: "Casino Royale"

Thanksgiving weekend is always an occasion to break out a few traditions. Aside from the traditional feast with family and friends sometime on Thursday, my brother and I and our friends have come to celebrate several Thanksgiving traditions that are left off of many people's itineraries. Here's a small sampling:

-The Turkey Day Football Game: Basically over the course of Friday and Saturday, my brother gets a bunch of our buddies to drag themselves out of bed and play touch football with mind-splitting hangovers. Why we call it the "Turkey Day Game" as opposed to "The Days After Turkey Day Games" is beyond me. All I know is that it's a hell of a good time, and gets you ready to go for those last two crucial nights of drinking.

-The "Mini-Reunion the Day Before Thanksgiving": Basically, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, everyone from our high school descends on the part of St. Louis called "The Loop". Everyone sees everyone else, tries to pretend that they're excited, and is sometimes shamed into remembering...how shall I say...unfortunate happenings from high school. Good times!

-The "Dave and Buster's Happy Hour": All drinks half price from 10 pm till closing at D&B. Get shitfaced. And play videogames. Or don't even fuck around with the videogames and watch some of our creepier friends hit on the hot bartender chicks with lines like "What time do you get off tonight?" The thing about Happy Hour is that even if you lose, you win. I think. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention, I was too busy DRINKING MY FUCKING ASS OFF.

-The "2 or 3 Movies": My brother and I always make it a point to see a couple of movies over the break. This is because a) I finally think to go watch a movie instead of just punting and watching stuff we have on Tivo, and b) the studios finally release a couple more good films to go along with all of the generic romantic comedies and horror movies that are released from August-Mid November. This break, we happened to see both "Tenacious D" and "Casino Royale". Since Tenacious D is more my brother's area of expertise, I'll let him make a post about it (If he ever posts anything...) so that leaves Casino Royale to me.

When I first heard that they were going to let a blond guy (Daniel Craig) play James Bond in the new film, I have to admit, I was happy. Being a blond guy myself, I feel a connection with other blond people, much like Larry David does with other bald people in "Curb Your Enthusiasm". Blonds are the only remaining minority that are openly ridiculed with scandalously discriminating jokes about our level of intelligence (Well, I guess unless Michael Richards, Rush Limbaugh, and Pat Buchanan get together, but I digress...) I thought that we were starting to turn the corner there for a while, but then Jessica Simpson showed up and set us back years with her dumb blond routine, which I still think could be an act (for our sake, I hope it is). However, not until Daniel Craig was cast as Bond did I feel that we had accomplished something as a group.

Fortunately, my optimism was not misplaced. "Casino Royale" is easily the best Bond movie since "Goldeneye", and better than a lot of the older ones. Let me give you a little perspective as to where I thought the franchise was going before this movie. The last film featured an incomprehensible plot, an attractive-yet-clearly-mailing-it-in Bond Girl (Halle Berry), terrible dialogue, and randomly thrown in puns that either didn't make sense or somehow referenced "Getting the point" (Example: a guy gets stabbed. Bond: "I think he got the point" After a swordfight "What a pointed remark". It would be a lot better if they didn't do this ten times during the movie.) My brother and I nearly walked out with a half hour left, but we were our buddy's ride home and he wanted to stay. Of course we gave him shit about the "What the fuck?" ending all the way home.

Well, this Bond is back to basics. He's a stone-cold killer. He chases people on foot for miles. He has a couple of hot ladies sweating him the whole time (Eva Green is something else. My God she is spectacular.) He drinks like a dehydrated fish. He gambles like John Daly after winning the Valdosta, Georgia Muni Long Drive Contest. He drives a BAD ASS car. It's just like the good old days. Perhaps most striking is that the dialogue is actually clever. There are plenty of self-referential jokes thrown in for fans of the series, and puns are used in clever ways, though I would have been satisfied if they just cut out all of the "he got the point" puns. Basically the dialogue is smart, and in being smart it naturally becomes clever, as opposed to the forced "cleverness" that marked the end of the Brosnan era. In this way, it is really more like a graphic depiction of one of the original Fleming novels, as opposed to the...what's the word...oh yeah--shit that they were turning out but 3 years ago.

That doesn't mean that the movie isn't without its problems. It is a little long (2:24!) and thus can drag in some parts. It moves around a lot, and the pacing suffers. It's not really a traditional "three act" film. There are a couple of "What the fuck?" moments where you wonder why Bond is doing something. Also, though I may be at risk of giving too much away (READ: SKIP THE END OF THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT READING TOO MUCH) the movie ends rather abruptly, without much in the way of resolution, at all. I was hoping for a grand climax, but it never arrived. It actually probably dragged the movie down 1/3 of a grade to just leave it hanging, but still...

All in all, it's a very good film, and I really like the way that the franchise is going these days. That's why Casino Royale gets a "B"

Previous Reviews:

Borat "B+/A-"
Casino Royale "B"

Until Next Time...

DJGel

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Best/Worst Night of the Year

Here's a little running diary of what we all were up to last night:

10:00 pm: I'm playing N64 Zelda while Jamie is watching a DVD of the American version of The Office. It's a Thursday, and we should be getting hammered by now, but we're still reeling a bit from the bowling/beirut extravaganza from the night before. We both seem halfhearted about going out. If anything, we really would like to play more beirut at our friend Billy's house. Jamie sends Billy an IM to that effect.

10:28 pm: I'm getting frustrated by Zelda. Still very tired, I say to Jamie "Fuck it, let's go out." Jamie gets really pumped up about how he's going to "creep it up" at the bars.

10:31 pm: Jamie gets out his special "blackout mug", which is, in fact, one of those cheap plastic mugs from a local bar. I grab a beer. We are ready to call a cab to go out to the bars. I'm even starting to talk myself into going out. Jamie correctly notes that sometimes the best nights are the ones where you initially feel like shit and are dressed like a bum. Fortunately, we both fit that description.

10:32 pm: Billy calls seconds before we call the cab. He says that he's doing work and getting sick, but we can come over and play some pong if we want. We now have to make a split second choice to either go out and try our luck with the ladies at the bar, or to grab a couple of cases of Natty Light and play one-on-one pong against each other until we black out, or as I like to call it, my favorite pastime. We decide to play beer pong.

10:33 pm: We call out buddy Jimmy Hannigan to see if he wants to play beer pong. He says that he's down, but he'll drive over to Billy's separately because he might want to go home earlier than than we do. We head out.

10:40 pm: We stop at 7-11 to pick up beer. The clerk has one of those "I'm kinda crazy, but working at this fucking job has killed my spirit" looks in his eye. We head for Billy's.

10:44 pm: We arrive at Billy's. He is apparently a little sick, but in good spirits. We shoot the shit for a while, then head down to the basement to clean up from the night before and play some pong.

11:11 pm: I beat Jamie in the first game handily. Keep in mind that this is beer pong with paddles, a game played almost exclusively at either Dartmouth College or places that have assholes like me that try to export the game elsewhere. It is NOT beirut, which most people errantly refer to as "beer pong". My confidence is building. I'm finally getting the old pong stroke back.

11:16 pm: We set the over-under for Hannigan's arrival at 11:35. I take the over.

11:17 pm: Hannigan arrives.

11:18 pm: We go upstairs to talk to Hannigan and Billy. Billy has the news on, and they have a story about the launch of the PS3. We look at the lines of people outside of the Best Buys and Targets of the World and deride them as "Losers".

11:23 pm: Later in the story, they mention that even though PS3's cost $600 up front, they are getting up to $3000 on eBay. Our ears perk up a bit, like someone said that there's a Star Trek convention in town, but Jessica Alba will fuck the first 30 people in line to get in. You might not be interested in the convention, but the thought of waiting, you know, just for the ancillary benefits, starts to creep into your head.

11:25 pm: Hannigan mentions that all of us either have no class on Friday or classes that we could skip, so maybe we should go stand in line somewhere. We all start laughing.

11:27 pm. Hannigan makes a more persuasive pitch. When will we get another chance to do this in life? We might as well do it now while we're all in law school and there's no penalty for missing classes, right?

11:28 pm: Hannigan boldly announces that he's going to Best Buy to see if they're opening at midnight. We tell him to give us a call with a scouting report as to what the situation's like.

11:34 pm: Hannigan calls. Apparently Best Buy isn't opening until 8 am, but they will have at least 26 PS3's. He's number 31 in line. Hannigan hears from other people in line that other places have far fewer. Wal Mart has 10, but is opening at midnight. We figure "What the fuck? Why not?" and head over to Wal Mart with visions of an extra $2400 in our heads

11:50 pm: We arrive at Wal Mart. Of course, a local TV crew is stationed outside. We head inside to the line. There are maybe 16 people already in line. Now, growing up in St. Louis, you've seen your hoosiers, and you've seen your nerds. However, it is rare that you see a hoosier who's also a nerd. Let's call them "Nerdoosiers" Well, let me tell you, in Central Virginia, there are apparently at least 16 Nerdoosiers, and they were all at Walmart at 11:50. They blurt out incomprehensible shit like "Yee-haw! Lets see that Blue Ray Drive!" and harass the few apparently normal mothers who loved their kids enough to stand in line for this goddamned thing for 3 days. Now, I'm normally not the sentimental type, but that really is dedication. My hat is off to you, moms like this.

11:58 pm: The nerdoosiers are really getting out of control. The line is right by the employee exit, so every Wal Mart employee is filing out, looking like their soul has been sucked out of them. Or they're strung out on PCP--it's tough to tell with some of them. An old hoosier is behind us in line now, regaling us with war stories of how he got in line at the same time last year for an XBox 360 and got one, so we should all get PS3s this year, no problem. Man, sometimes I wish hoosier logic really worked. The world would be a lot easier if it did.

Midnight: The night manager of Wal Mart announces that they're open for business. We ask him how many PS3's they have. He ignores us. The mom at the front of the line gets one. Good for her! However, she's immediately harassed by the nerdoosiers in line, offering her $1000 for it, browbeating her when she says that she loves her kids too much to give it up. A heartwarming spot in an otherwise dark, snarky tale.

12:15 am: These geniuses at Wal Mart are still only on the third person in line. Meanwhile, the second guy is screaming at his credit card company over the phone. The asshole handling the cash register has a Kevin-Federline-esque dumb grin on his face. Billy's starting to get restless. They still refuse to tell us how many PS3s they have. We're in good shape!

12:35 am: They're sold out. 10 PS3's exactly. We're minorly bummed out. We call Hannigan.

12:36 am: Apparently, Hannigan has learned more info. He was the first new person in line since 5 pm, so he went home and got various supplies, including:

-A sleeping Bag
-A Comforter
-Hat, Gloves, Coat
-A backpack full of beer
-Today's and Yesterday's Wall Street Journal
-A bottle of bourbon
-Two Fold-Out Chairs
-A case of water (what is this, a fucking earthquake drill?)

He claims that he is going to wait it out. We tell him that he's an idiot for doing so, since they only had as many as they were guaranteeing at Wal Mart. He claims that they have a legit chance of more at Best Buy. We say that we'll visit him after we finish up our beer pong series. The disappointment in Hannigan's voice is tangible.

1:17 am: Jamie has just beat me 2 games in a row in beer pong. I feel like John Wayne Bobbitt.

1:22 am: Billy, Jamie and I have a quick discussion as to what we're going to do. We call Hannigan for advice. Apparently the kids in line have information that Best Buy is likely to get more units than they were guaranteed for. Hannigan reminds us that this will be a good experience, regardless of whether or not we get our greedy mitts on the damned thing.

1:38 am: After much deliberation, Jamie and I decide to get in line with Hannigan. We start to get really excited that we might get one of these things. Billy, though, decides to stay home because he's "sick". I diagnose him with a "hurt vagina".

1:44 am: We're back at 7-11, loading up on cigarettes, dip, and gum to stay awake through the night. The same clerk is working there as earlier, only this time there's a little more "murder" in his eyes.

1:58 am: We pick up the following supplies at our apartment:

-1 case of beer
-1 comforter
-1 laptop computer
-1 copy of MI:3
-4 jackets
-2 pillows
-1 bottle of bourbon
-1 mini-football

2:05 am: We're off to Best Buy. Fuck Yeah!

2:16 am: We get to Best Buy. I see a line of tents out front, but no Hannigan. Oblivious to the fact that some people might be sleeping, I yell out "Jimmy!", to which I hear a "Yo!" in reply from the side of the building.

2:17 am: We find Hannigan on the side of the building, sitting in one folding chair with his legs in another, wrapped in the comforter and sleeping bag. He is in great spirits, though he does mention that it gets a bit cold after 3 hours.

2:18 am: Hannigan introduces us to Andy, Number 30 in line. He is a true game fan--he walked about 4 miles to get to the Best Buy to stand in line at 5 pm the day before because he doesn't have a car up at school. He's a very nice kid.

2:22 am: Hannigan has apparently been talking to a lot of people, though oddly people start to identify solely with their place in line. We get introduced to numbers 15, 17, 27, and 29. I cease to be D.J. and become "Number 33"

2:43 am: Hannigan's wrong. It gets cold out here after 30 minutes. Getting bored, I decide to start drinking. I tear into the Natty Light like a hungry lion into a wobbly-legged baby gazelle. Hannigan starts dipping to stay awake, even though he's "quit" for 4 days now. We start talking baseball.

3:22 am: We start hearing more gossip about the system. I must say, the more Hannigan hears about it, the more he wants to just keep the damned thing. Jamie, of course, keeps raving about how he could sell it for a huge profit. I don't know what I would do with mine. I'd probably end up giving it to my brother if he wanted it since he was kind enough to let me keep the Xbox 360 we got last year. I think it says a lot about a person as to what they'd do with the PS3 once they get it.

3:57 am: Our first new person in line. Akash, or "Number 34" just got of his shift working at a bar. He seems like a cool enough guy--we shoot the shit with him about how it is working at the bars and stuff. Good times.

4:14 am: Hannigan and I start throwing the mini football around. Of course, it's dark as fuck, virtually impossible to see, and so cold that my fingers feel like they're going to break off whenever they touch anything--or "ideal conditions" as I like to call them. Luckily the booze is keeping me going.

4:45 am: We meet Stacy, "Number 13", as he's coming back from taking a piss. He's 30, has a wife and 2 kids...and of course has been in line for 2 nights now. And naturally, his wife brings him meals. I swear to God, this guy has his shit together. He's a Yankees fan, so Hannigan and he do a little good-natured ribbing about the Bosox-Yankees thing. He's excited about being in the guaranteed range, but he's going to sell the thing on eBay. He's heard that they're going for $6000 on eBay now. I briefly think that Sugarman's eyes actually morph into dollar signs like in a Looney Tunes cartoon, but it's probably just the booze and lack of sleep. I think.

4:58 am: We meet another guy from the Law School, "Number 19". Amazingly this guy:

1. Is good friends with one of Hannigan's best friends

2. Was in the same frat at Wash U as my brother was, and

3. Has some connection to Florida that I can't remember right now, but it involves Sugarman.

Amazingly, none of us have met this guy before. It's like an episode of Lost, though any of us could be Jack's Alcoholic Father right now. Our night brightens up a little when he and I trade stories about this guy Joe in his frat that was absolutely nuts. The guy, Joe, used to show up to baseball practice absolutely shitfaced and still jack balls over the fence. My favorite story about Joe involves a pirhana tank that these guys had in their frat. Number 19 noted that normally once you throw a goldfish in there, the pirhanas would tear through it so fast that it "looked like fireworks". Well, apparently Joe used to dangle his pecker in there just to prove that he wasn't chickenshit. He was nuts. Good times.

5:15 am: Jamie can barely stay awake. Jimmy is talking to either his friend Simon or his girlfriend--I can't tell anymore. Even though I'm not a smoker, I'm going through cigarettes like Vince Vaughn before a transatlantic plane flight to try and stay awake.

5:50 am: Jamie gives in and goes to sleep in Hannigan's car. Hannigan and I just keep talking about random shit. I guarantee if we had a rested observer watching us right now, they would wonder what Eastern European language we were speaking.

6:20 am: The tent people are starting to pack up. Apparently the Best Buy people will be handing out coupons at 7 am. Everybody is getting in a much tighter line. We wake up Jamie. He's a bit sour.

6:35 am: This has been the longest, coldest 15 minutes of my life. The sun's just starting to peek out from above the hills to the east. I feel like I've spent the night on an outdoor riverboat casino somewhere in Northern Canada. We can feel the anticipation. Or maybe that's just because I have to take a shit.

6:45 am: Best Buy employees begin to arrive, decked out in their sharp-looking blue polos. Each of them has a look on their face like "You motherfuckers! I shouldn't have to be here for another 2 hours!" as they pass by. Fuck 'em.

6:55 am: My God what I would pay right now for a hot coffee. I AM GOING NUTS! WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING OUT HERE! I NEED A CIGARETTE!

6:57 am: OK, I'm back. Lost it there for a second, sorry. 3 minutes to go.

7:00 am: WHERE THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE! WE'VE BEEN WAITING LONG ENOUGH! GIVE US THE GODDAMNED MACHINES ALREADY!

7:05 am: The lazy-ass Best Buy employees finally saunter out of the front door. I think Jamie's right--this is the one chance these guys get to act like they're big-dick-swinging dealmakers, and they want to milk it for all it's worth. Well, here you go. Hope you feel better tonight, chief. This guy is claiming that the things are going for $12,000 on eBay now. Yes, that's not a typo--twelve thousand dollars. It's a bit odd that these things double in value every 2 hours, don't you think? I mean, fuck mutual funds, I'll invest in videogame systems from now on.

7:06 am: They announce that you have to stay in line outside until 8 am if you get a ticket. Great, just what I need. It might send me from frostbite into full-blown "exposure" or "shock" territory.

7:10 am: They're getting close! Just ran out of the expensive models, but they still have a few more of the cheaper ones...

7:12 am MOTHERFUCKING COCKSUCKING SHITBAG MOTHERFUCKER!

7:13 am: If you couldn't tell, we didn't get the PS3s. They had 28 of them. Numbers 29 and above are losers. Devastating.

7:15 am: Fuck it, let's go to IHOP

7:33 am: At IHOP. We feel like assholes. Still, though, Hannigan was right. It was a good experience to go through while we still have the chance to do goofy shit like this. Shit, the trip to IHOP was probably worth it.

7:44 am: Fuckin-A Right! These pancakes are awesome! Who needs a PS3 anyway?

7:54 am: Done paying the check. Used my last $1. I have no cash in my wallet and a huge pain in my ass from being fucked by Best Buy. What a night.

8:03 am: Safely back in my room. Too tired to think. Dreading the call from Billy later today telling us what idiots we were. It was one of the most miserable nights of my life. Still, though, I'm glad I did it. We are all a reflection of the experiences that we have and share with others. This is definitely something that showed me what people are capable of. Sure, not everyone in line was the coolest guy in the world, and we didn't have much in common at all other than we were waiting for some entertainment system. Even our motives differed from one person to the next. However, no one tried to pull any shit in line, and everyone respected everyone else. If nothing else, I have a lot more faith in common decency after waiting those long, cold 4 1/2 hours outside.

Still, I wish I had one of those fucking machines...

Until next time...

DJGel

Monday, November 13, 2006

NFL Media Coverage - The Coronation of Romo

Instead of doing a mid-season NFL report, I'd like get some things off my chest about the way the NFL is reported.

A few observations:
- the sports media loves Tony Romo. Living in Virginia, I am treated to/tortured with a double-header of NFC East football most Sundays and the lovefest for Romo is ridiculous. Yes, the guy is playing well, but c'mon its been 3.5 games. Joe Buck sucks Romo's dick so much, Troy Aikman's balls are starting to get sore.

- the media is obsessed with T.O. (shocking, I know). He is definetely a relevant story-line when the Boys play Philly, but do we really need a T.O. reaction shot for a Marion "Psycho" Barber 4 yard gain in the 2nd quarter? Also, Marion Barber is certafiably insane - he runs like his ass is on fire, even after the play is over. It's only a matter of time until the Redskins grossly overpay him.

- It's just great to see Brett Favre out there having fun, you know? Did you see him pick up Driver and sling him over his shoulder after a long TD? He's such an every-man. He just really belongs on the football field, I can't believe he ever considered retiring. He is what football is all about....(the media is slurping Favre so much you'd think he's Tony Romo or something). Hearing the "experts" talk about Favre is like watching a broadcast of the Special Olympics, they call his good games like he's splitting the atom

- Michael Vick has finally turned the corner. Atlanta's coaching staff is so clever to just let him go out there and play the way he wants to play. His running and passing make him the ultimate weapon.... until the Falcons lose to Det and Cle, then he needs more discipline and needs to focus on becoming a pocket passer.

- Joe Theisman is an obnoxious jerk. Every Monday he waits for Kornheiser to make a joke then does his pretentious ex-jock buzzkill routine, it's like clockwork. An example: During the horrid Seattle-Oak game, Sapp is introdcuing his defensive teammates and refers to 7 of them as "my man ___(insert name)."
Kornheiser: "I love how during the intros everyone is 'My Man' or 'My main man', how many men can 1 guy have?"
Theisman: "It's a way of bonding for football players. Comradarie and brotherhood are important when you are playing football."
Uh, Joe, a sense of humor is important when you on a broadcasting team. Theisman is "that guy" you watch a game with who after someone says, "that's the worst pass I've ever seen" responds, "Hey, c'mon, it wasn't that bad. I mean it was off target but it wasn't the worst pass ever."

Random Thoughts:
- despite their professed love for Steve McNair, the Ravens D must hate their offense. Every week the Ravens pick off a pass and during the return execute 4-5 laterals in an attempt to take it to the house. It's amazing. My theory is that Ray Lewis and Co are so used to losing 13-10 type games over the last few years because of their pathetic O that they don't even trust them with the ball at the opponents 20 yard line.

- last week I was ahead 23 points in fantasy and the other guy had the Seattle D vs Oakland. I knew it'd be close. Has there ever been an offense as predictably bad as the Raiders this year? Andrew Walter looks and sounds like a punter, I swear I turn on one of their games, he's in the Shotgun, I think it's 4th and 12.

- the Colts should open a brokerage firm. They got rid of Edge just as the price peaked and are 9-0 - amazing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Review: Borat

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of viewing a movie that I have been eagerly anticipating for several weeks now: "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan". Since I did thoroughly enjoy the film, I thought that I would review it. First of all, here are some key points that I use when reviewing a movie:

-Never give away more plot/content than absolutely necessary. I think Entertainment Weekly is the worst at this--they seem to think that "reviewing a movie" consists of writing a brief plot summary with enough buzzwords in it to show the rest of the world that they went to film school, even if their own film-making careers were utter failures. I, on the other hand, think that reviews should be helpful tools that help you decide whether or not to ultimately see the film, so for any plot point that you give, there better eb a damned good reason.

-Give an honest opinion. Self-explanatory--I won't bullshit anybody here, save for humor's sake.

-Entertain people. Again, self-explanatory.

-Give a realistic grade. See the grading scale article below.

-How does the movie play in theaters? Do you HAVE to go see this one in theaters? Or could you wait to rent it?

Without further adieu, here is the review of Borat:

I first encountered Sacha Baron Cohen's "Da Ali G" show on HBO Comedy about 2 years ago. What little I had gleaned about his flagship character, Ali G, was that he was a white guy who was always trying to act black--a familiar sight to people in certain parts of south St. Louis County.

I gave the show a shot, not really expecting too much, to be quite honest.

Boy, was I wrong.

"Da Ali G Show" was hilarious. If you all don't know why, you probably haven't seen it. If so, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you've been on a four-year long, Hunter S. Thompson-style, ether, mescaline, and God knows what else bender. Welcome back. Now, go out and get Da Ali G Show on DVD. Yes, I know there are giant manta rays flying around outside, and yes, they DO look hungry. Well, now that you mention it, maybe you should stay inside. Giant, hungry manta rays would scare the shit out of me, too. OR YOU SHOULD SOBER YOUR HIPPIE ASS UP AND GO GET ALI G ON DVD! Either way, you know, whatever, I don't give a fuck.

At any rate, one of the characters on Ali G is Borat Sagdiyev, a TV reporter from Kazakhstan, who generally makes fun of all manner of hoosiers, snobs, and just political correctness in general. He reported on everything from Wine Tasting to Elections, and each time, there was so much awkwardness and hilarity that it's tough to compare it with anything else. Just brilliant stuff.

I have to admit, I was extremely happy when they announced that they'd be making a Borat movie this fall, even though my brother has seen the straight-up Ali G movie and said that it was absolute garbage. I thought Borat could translate better to being a movie so long as he stuck to what is funny--the interviews he has with these morons.

Well, I was right. The movie does generally stick to the old, tried-and-true Borat formula, and it works great for most of the film. There were several times that I was laughing harder than I have in a long time. It has some amazing comic bits, and really does innovate at a high level.

However, there are just some things with the pacing and story that prevent this movie from getting an "A". Toward the end, especially, when they focus more on advancing the story than on just making good comedy, the movie tends to drag a bit, and it suffers because of it.

That's not to say that borat isn't a great movie--it absolutely is. It's just that you should be ready for things to wind down at some point.

I have to admit, though, part of the comedy came from the wide variety of people in the audience. Here's a small cross-section of what I saw:

The "True Borat Fan"--surprisingly not a huge part of the audience. Basically groups like my buddies and I interspersed throughout the entire theater that would laugh at even the most inappropriate jokes they could come up with. The audience that the movie was made for.

The "Grad School Snob only going so that he has some standing in hippy, liberal arguments"--unfortunately, I saw about 10 or 15 of these in the theater. They were other kids from our grad school who not only do every assignment, but feel like it's their God-given right to explain to everyone else why the professor is wrong and they are right. Instead of getting blasted of of bourbon and Natty Light six nights a week, they have "Dinner Parties" where they discuss "Intellectual Issues" and pretend that they're "Not Pussies". They want to be the snob that, when they get in an argument about how terrible media has become today, and someone pulls out "Have you even seen Borat?", they can say "Actually I have!", followed by them turning their nose up at you and prancing away like the Princess of San Francisco. All I could see these people doing the entire time was shaking their heads, as if to say "What have we done? Has society sunk this low?" Fuck them. Pricks.

The "Progressive Parents Who Bring Their 8-year-old Son to Borat to Teach Him Something"--there were some of these there, too. Now, I personally have no problem with this. My parents let me watch Major League, T2, and Die Hard when I was around the same age, and those movies aren't exactly Bambi. The problem I have is when they're sitting next to you and they're explaining every joke to the kid. This has two bad side effects. First, you feel like you're getting the idiot's commentary on the entire film, which can definitely take away from the experience. "You see Billy, it's funny because she's a woman...oh, wait, what did he say now?" Just shut the fuck up! You're at a movie theater. Get it on DVD and you can freeze frame it and hire John Madden to go over it with a telestrator at home! Just shut your fucking trap for 90 minutes! Secondly, as a fan of comedy, Borat is a movie that has many intricate, complex jokes in it, and there's no way to possibly explain that to the kid when he's 8. So where do these parents get off thinking that they'll be able to translate for the kid? If I was him, I'd be pissed off that they didn't just let me see it when I was 16 or 17 and could actually get all the jokes the first time. But that's just me.

The "Stoners"--I don't know if it's a good idea for you guys. There are some movies that lend themselves well to you people (Grandma's Boy), but Borat might not work as well. Then again...

The "Underaged Kids"--Good for you, buddy! You snuck in! Good luck understanding all of the jokes, but bravo.

The "Disappointed Indie Crowd"--I attribute these people to all of the "buzz" Borat was getting from indie types a few weeks before it came out. There was so much indie buzz around it at one point that I thought that it might just be a big tank job, but luckily, that wasn't the case. These people read "Variety" or EW and go and see anything independent. They laugh when they hear other people laughing, but it's halfhearted. It's like figuring out whether or not someone's a real sports fan. You ask them questions of varying levels of knowledge until you determine how much they really know. I think I'll call it "The Real Sports Fan Test" from now on.

At any rate, by looking around the theater, you can tell who's really getting the jokes and who isn't. Well, is it any coincidence that a lot of the people not getting it were wearing horn-rimmed glasses, all black clothing, and scarves? I don't think so. At least they'll have something else to talk about other than Little Miss Sunshine at their next get-together.

And Finally, the "Embarrassed/Angry Girlfriend"--not TOO many of these, as most guys know whether or not their girlfriend will be cool with seeing Borat. However, there are always a few guys that want to try and gauge how cool the girl they're with is by taking her to a certain movie that pushes the envelope, or by laughing loudly and yelling "What a fucking moron!" after somebody slips and falls on an icy sidewalk. You can generally tell a lot about a girl by her reaction to either one of the situations above.

Well, gentlemen, apparently Borat isn't necessarily the best "Coolness test" out there. Reactions that I saw from some girls with their boyfriends ranged from "mild discomfort as if they've been sitting in a room full of farts for 1 1/2 hours" to "Yosemite Sam level steam-out-of-the-ears Anger". This was followed by some of these idiots trying to explain that they didn't know what the movie was going to be about--smooth, Don Juan, smooth. Needless to say, if she's not cool with Borat, it's probably not a match made in heaven. Unless you're a snob or an idiot hoosier--then it might work out.

Overall, Borat was a hilarious movie. However, the pacing and dragging at the end prevented it from being an Anchorman-level comedy. Still, well worth your time, with at least one scene towards the end that'll make you glad that you stuck around. That's why Borat gets an "A-/B+"

Until Next Time...

DJGel

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NBA 06-07 The West

Let's take a look out West..

Dallas Mavericks - Cuban's boys were essentially up 2 1/2 - 0 on the Heat before DWade went Jordan on them in the Finals. After years of playing second fiddle to the Spurs in Texas, the Mavs have finally shed their "Colts of the NBA" label and proven they can get it done in the playoffs. The suits in the league office may hate Mark Cuban and traditional fans may label him a distraction and blame his antics for the Mavs losing their nerve in the Finals, but I'm here to remind you that WITHOUT CUBES THE MAVS WOULD NEVER HAVE SNIFFED THE FINALS! The Mavs were like pre-Pulp Fiction Travolta until Cubes pulled a Tarantino and made them respectable and marketable. The man knows business so before you lay blame on him, maybe you should consider that the first significant move of his ownership tenure was dealin the rights to Tractor Traylor to the Bucks for Dirk..how'd that work out for them?

San Antonio Spurs - Timmy and Co are back to lead the most boring title contenders in any sport. While I appreciate the merits of the back-door cut and good weak-side help D, the vast majority of America couldn't stay up through an entire Spurs game if they downed a whole bottle of Viagra. Manu Ginobli looks more like he's playin mid-field than 2-guard and while Tony Parker is the league's best young PG, he's got a lot to learn about how to excite people (according to Eva Longoria). As usual the Spurs will be the class of the West and should challenege Dallas for a spot in the Finals.

Phoenix Suns - Did you hear that Amare is back? Everyone's hot pick to take home the hardware is by far the most entertaining team in the league but their Sun and Gun offense never measures up to the big boys come playoff time. The Suns are the Mavs of 4 years ago - all offense and no D, but if Amare can get back to some semblance of his old self, that may change. At least with the shorter hair we won't have to suffer through the 40 times a game Nash hair brushback, the single most effeminate move in the NBA.

LA Clippers - Death, Taxes, and Elton Brand gettin 20-10, there are so few sure things in life. The Clip Joint has become a respectable team after bouncing the Nuggets last year in the first round but I'm not ready to sit them at the adult's table yet. Why is it that wherever Sam Cassell goes, the team gets better? He may be one of the most underrated players of the last 10 years, plus he looks like an alien so if a studio in town green-lights Mars Attacks 2, they won't have to look far.

Sacramento Kings - I love that the Maloofs dealt Peja for Ron Artest. These guys own The Palms in Vegas, when it comes to bad behavior inciting a riot in Detroit is like the equivalent of cheating in Scarbble. I'm thinking it's gonna be a relatvely incident-free season for RA, so now that he's teamed up with "Lobster" Bibby and Bad Brad Miller, the Kings should be a solid playoff team out West.

LA Lakers - 24-7 (Kobe's new # and Lamar Odom's #) gives the Zenmaster a poor man's Jordan and Pippen. If everything stays in harmony at the Staples Center and all of their shakras align, the Lake Show should be able to play their way into the 1st round.

Houston Rockets - T-mac and Yao are a tough combo, but Michael Jackson is in court more often than those two are on the court together. I like the Swift-for -Battier trade, he can be for them what Bruce Bowen is for the Spurs. The guy is all hustle - he's on the his knees chasin balls more often than Tom Cruise. Toughness may be a question mark down the road.

Utah Jazz - these guys are so vanilla they make the Spurs look like the U. But while they don't scare you, they play good, solid ball and AK-47 is a freak of nature. Factor in the return of Carlos Boozer, who hustles more than Rick Ross, and you've got a team capable of nabbing the 8 spot. They are kind of a "Prison Break" team though, they'll expend all of their effort makin the playoffs and then have no idea what to do once they get there.

Denver Nuggets - Melo has improved every year and this season should be no different. Kenyon Martin plays like he was shot out of a cannon but he is unhappy and still not fully recovered from a knee injury. Marcus Camby boards and blocks with the best of them but he gets hurt more often than Wile E. Coyote.

OK City/NO Hornets - Chris Paul is like Will Ferrell in his SNL days - ridiculously talented but surrounded by nuthin. The addition of Peja was a nice bump for their O, but they are still sittin at the kid's table in this conference.

GS Warriors - with Don Nelson back in town the Warriors should improve dramatically on offense. Baron Davis and J-Rich are a great backcourt but the supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired. As long as Baron stays healthy, they could hover around 500 and catch the occasional good team napping.

Seattle Sonincs - Ray Allen has the sweetest shot in the league and Rashard Lewis doesn't get enough attention but the Sonics are thinner than the Space Needle up front. I'd be shocked if the Sonics win 40 this uear.

Memphis Grizzlies - Lo siento osos, pero sin Pau Gasol, tienes nada!

Minnesota T'Wolves - it's gettin painful watchin KG put up MVP-type numbers year after year only to have the Wolves fall farther from the top. It reminds me of McNabb with the Eagles. He had early success. you thought he'd get a title for sure once the franchise put some pieces around him, they got pretty close (Conference Finals loss to the Lakers), then they started gradually declining and the young star suddenly didn't look so young anymore. The only way KG gets a title is to skip town and that's not happening for a few years so for now, his 22-13-4 will go to waste again.

Portland Trailblazers - It's come to the point where when I see a Blazers score on the BottomLine, I expect to see (DNP - Drug violation). The Jailblazers arrest/win ratio is impressivley high and they have overhauled the team in hopes of a culture change but their starting SF is named Outlaw. Making jokes about the Blazers is like aiming for the fat kid in dodgeball, they make it so easy it's almost not even fun...almost

That's all I got so enjoy the season and plug your ears when Bill Walton is working a game. trust me it's for the best.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NBA 06-07 Preview - The East

Tonight is Opening Night for the 06-07 NBA season, so I thought I'd share some predictions and observations:

Eastern Conference
Miami HEAT - I am extremely bias towards these guys since I've been fanatically following them since the Sparrow-Seikaly-Sunvold days so Ill keep it short and sweet. The Heat begin defense of the first title in franchise history with all their impact players back in the fold. D Wade has established himself as the premier clutch player in the league. Honestly, who would rather have with the ball in his hands with the game on the line? (Maybe Kobe if you are coming from behind - but that's a different story altogether). Even with Shaq's Opening night scheduled for its' customary tip-off in mid-April, the Heat are clearly the team to beat in the conference.

Cleveland Cavs - Lebron returns for his senior season after giving the Pistons all they could handle in last year's conference semis. Larry "St. Loo" Hughes is healthy and ready to try to be the Pipp to the King's 23. Throw in Z in the middle, even with the injured foot and an eerie resemblance to Snuffaluffagus, and you've got a team that could be as good as any north of SoBe.

Chicago Bulls - they are the Luke Wilson of the NBA. They've been surprisingly solid the past few years flyin under the radar and out of the playoffs in the first round (Bottle Rocket, Royal Tenenbaums), but how will they do now that they've got top billing? Im guessin a mix of "Old School" and "Alex and Emma" as Big Ben excites the crowd and adds some toughness, but who do they go to with the game on the line?

Detroit Pistons - The bad news? the Pistons still may have the best 4 in the East without Big Ben but they'll miss the Fro's toughness and effort more than I think Joe D estimated when he let him go to ChiTown. The undrafted 4-time Defensive Player of the Year played with a chip on his shoulder the size of which rivaled the hair on his head and it remains to be seen if Chauncey, Rip, Tayshaun, and Sheed can keep up the intensity.
The good news? if their season goes up in flames in the 1st round of the playoffs, you think anyone in Motown will notice the smell over the usual scent of burning cars?

New Jersey Nets - J-Kidd, Vince, and Jeff might be the best 1-3 combo in the league but this ain't NBA Jam my friends. Collins twin #1 and Nenad Krstic (do Nets fans chant "Go Nad"?) don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposing frontcourts, so unless the 10 point hot spot is on the Commish's to-do list, the Nets aren't getting past the 1st round.

Wizards - Gilbert Arenas is the John Locke of the NBA, do NOT tell him what he can't do! Every off-season he convinces himself that there is a conspiracy against him ( this time around he claims Team USA never gave him a fair shot at making the squad) and uses it as inspiration for the season. The self proclaimed "Eastern Conference Assassin" and "Mr. Game 5" (are those really compliments?) combined with Antawn and Caron should be enough to get the Wiz back to the playoffs.

Pacers - the squad with the most fight in the league is more athletic after shipping Austin "the $40 million man" Croshere to Dallas for Marquis Daniels. SJax provides firepower at the SF spot (get it?) and Jermaine "Giant Baby" O'Neal is still a legit all-star in the middle. Indy is the Grizz of the East, solid core but just not good enough to get into the upper echelon. Is it ironic that someone tried to hit a speedy Pacer with a car? (if you are trying to think of the difference between irony and coincidence right now - kill yourself)

Raptors - the UN North has 4 Euroleague players and "Baby Turtle" Bosh in the low post. MoPete is underrated but the Rap Pack need TJ Ford to go back to his Tex form if they are going to make a run at the playoffs.

76ers - AI has a bigger entourage than Vinnie Chase, unfortunately he's got a Mandy Moore sized load to carry on his back. C-Webb is a shadow of his former self and Kyle Kutcher is hoisting 3s like he's Antoine Walker. It's gonna be hard to blame this one on T.O but I have a feeling the Philly fans will find a way.

Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard should be workin at Halloween Horror Nights because he is a beast! Jameer Nelson was a nice surprise last year but I'm not ready to crown him yet and Hedo Turkoglu, who if it weren't for sharing a hotel elevator with me would never get recognized in O-Town, is underappreciated. Word is that Grant Hill is healthy, no really, so he should prove a potent scoring threat for the first half of Opening Night. I'd call him Grant "Over the Hill" but I'm afraid he'd break his ankle on the way down.

Celtics - Paul Pierece is like Ed Norton, one top-notch performace after another but nothing to show for it. "Extremely accurate when given time and space but below average when you put pressure on him" - it's not a good thing when your 2nd best player, Wally Szczerbiak, has an identical scouting report to Drew Bledsoe. Maybe Danny AInge should stop brain-typing his players and start using his own.

NY Knicks - Starbury, Franchise, Jamal Crawford, QRich - so much scoring right? Too bad for Isiah that this isn't NBA Live. Nice move signing Jared Jeffries, he's the 6-11, 238 pound defensive presence they were sorely lacking, plus when Eddy Curry finishes his 5th rack of ribs, he won't have to look far for some toothpicks.

Milwaukee Bucks - Villaneuva may add something and its too early to judge on Bogut, but this team has a long way to go. They took their shot with Ray, Sam, and Big Dog and came up short and are paying for it now. I can see them playing scrappy ball and being the kid on the playground who isn't that good but pisses you off because he tries so hard on D.

Charlotte Bobcats - Adam Morrison is the hot pick for ROY, that is if he deoesn't sprain an ankle slipping in a pool of his own tears. The Cats have stuck to the Bulls strategy, draft established college players while the other teams nab the 6-10 swingman who can jump out of the gym but averaged 4.2 ppg in school. If healthy, Felton, GWall, Morrison, Emeka and Brezec could give some teams more than they expect when they visit MJ's house.

Atlanta Hawks - The team's owners were so divided on whether to trade for and max out Joe Johnson that the team had to be sold. The most entertaining thing about the Faux-Hawks this year will be the announcers trying to pronounce Zaza Pachulia's name.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Blogmogger Movie Grading Scale

With the eagerly-anticipated Borat movie coming out this weekend, and a review of it likely to be posted this weekend, I figured that it was the right time for me to outline the scale that my brother and I use when grading movies. The reason for this is because, as opposed to the hippy, liberal "B+" curve that everyone has adopted in recent years (and which I currently benefit from at my grad school), we use a strict "C" curve, meaning that the average grade that we give to movies is a "C". Though the reasons that we do this are myriad, the main one is that a couple of summers ago, we were giving every movie we saw "B+"s, so we needed to re-balance the scale out.

The criteria we grade on aren't really set in stone. Some of them include:

Genre appropriateness--did a comedy make us laugh, did a drama...err...have drama?

Acting/Directing--was there an amazingly good performance in there? An amazingly bad one? These things count.

Creativity--Is this something that we've seen before in a different wrapper?

Lack of "what the fuck?" scenes--See Syriana if you need to know what a "what the fuck?" scene is

Excellent lines to use for the future--Perhaps a somewhat undervalued category. Does the movie have a few lines that you and your buddies can start using?

Expectations going in--For example, Borat has pretty high expectations since Borat was so awesome on Ali G. However, we thought that Harold and Kumar was going to be absolute shit, yet it surprised. Movies should get points for that.

Replay value--probably the most important criteria. is this a movie that you can watch again...and again...and again without getting tired of it?

These all come into play when we make these decisions. And, hopefully, at some point, we'll get reviews up for the examples I'm going to provide. So without further adieu, here's the scale:

"A+" : A masterpiece of a film. You come out of the theater thinking "Wow, that was fucking incredible!"...and the feeling continues upon subsequent viewings. A movie that never gets old, has amazing acting, and really is enjoyable from start to finish. High innovation abounds--at least a scene or 2 where you find yourself saying "whoever made this is a fucking genius". If someone tells you, "Oh, I haven't seen that movie before--is it good?", you immediately begin to have serious doubts as to whether or not you could ever be friends with that person. That's how fucking good an A+ movie has to be. Also has to be something a little intangible that says "this is what an A+ movie is supposed to be", though since it's intangible, I'm not going to pull a Joe Theismann and try to explain what it is. You'll know it if you see it.

Examples: A Few Good Men, Dumb and Dumber, Return of the Jedi

"A": A really, really great film, but lacks that little something extra to make it an A+. Needs great acting, direction, dialogue, and replay value. Solid "A" movies are increasingly rare, and thus an "A" grade should not be handed out like hooker cards on the Vegas Strip. When someone says "Hey, let's pop in __________", there is not only no hesitation on your part, but also elicits a "Yeeeaaah!" or "Fuck yeah!". You and your buddies can recite multiple lines from the film and know exactly what the fuck you're talking about, other people be damned. They would know the lines had they watched the movie, so if they don't get the reference, the suck anyway.

Examples: Miracle, Pirates of the Carribean, Major League, Caddyshack, Crimson Tide, Swingers, Anchorman, The Count of Monte Christo, 40-Year Old Virgin, Back to the Future

"A-": A great film, definitely well worth your money. Has everything that an "A" film has, but there might be a blemish or two on it, in terms of a couple of scenes/jokes that don't work, or a "what the fuck was that?" moment where the pacing is off. Still, a very enjoyable film that should provide entertainment for you and your buddies for years to come.

Examples: Super Troopers, the Original Matrix, It's All Gone Pete Tong, Made, Office Space, Ace Ventura II, Total Recall, Wedding Crashers

"B+": Still a very good film. Glad you saw it in the theaters instead of waiting for the DVD. A movie that you were excited to see that somehow exceeded fairly high expectations. Good use of jokes/drama/suspense. Good acting, direction. Maybe a few more fuck-ups than an "A-" movie. Maybe one actor that is "mailing it in" for the film takes away from it a bit. Still, though, absolutely a good movie.

Examples: BeerFest, Grandma's Boy (Under the Influence), Harold & Kumar, Major League II, Ace Ventura I, the original Star Wars (it's not THAT good folks), Private Parts, Bottle Rocket, Breakfast Club

"B": A good film. Not great, but good. Maybe a bit less than what you were expecting based on what you had read/heard. Good acting, dialogue, directing. Maybe a few too many awkward moments, kind of like a movie version of a Jay Leno interview with an otherwise entertaining star. These are the movies that you can see once in the theater, think "It was good, probably glad I saw it here instead of on DVD." You don't want to see this movie again until it comes out on HBO. That said, when it finally does come out on HBO, you can get a little excited, like, "Oh good, I've been wanting to see that again with my buddies at home so that we can do some play-by-play on it".

Examples: Superman Returns, The Manchurian Candidate, Tango & Cash, The Rookie, The American President, Dave

"B-": An above-average film. A "B-" is like a girl that you call after you meet her at a bar, only to find that when she shows up at your place, she's maybe about a 6 or so. You aren't thrilled...but you're not slamming the door in her face and diving for cover, either. More often than not, this is a movie that you had big hopes for, but either failed to deliver or went in a totally different direction than you thought that left you thinking "That was OK, but could've been better". However, there is the odd movie that you have lower expectations for, yet somehow manages to deliver (see Click). Maybe one absolute tank job by a lead actor that sinks the movie. Can maybe watch it once a year, twice if sufficiently drunk.

Examples: Click, The first Lord of the Rings movie, Ocean's 12, DaVinci Code, Cars (I liked it the first time when it was called Doc Hollywood), Bruce Almighty

"C+": Barely above average. Generally good, formulaic fun that somehow does things a little bit better to make it somehow better than the average movie. No stand-out performances, acting and directing maybe slightly above average. Still entertaining, though as you're leaving the theater, you wonder if it was worth the $9, or if you would've been better off renting it on DVD in the first place. Still a decent effort at a movie, if a bit disappointing. Maybe has some novelty value for re-watching--after a couple of years, and only if you and your buddies are sufficiently hammered to make an outrageous commentary.

Examples: You, Me, and Dupree, Snakes on a Plane (towards the beginning before you get drunk), Shade, The Paper Chase, Passenger 57

"C": The average movie. Average directing, acting, and writing. I guess it can be enjoyable to some people, but if you've seen a lot of movies, it's pretty formulaic and dull. Most romantic comedies fall at this level or below, even though every time a woman sees a new romantic comedy, the studio is able to trick her into thinking that she's never seen it before. A lot of times these end up being "borderline" theater movies--you really don't want to go see it in theaters, but you have nothing else to do, so you see it anyway. Consequently, most of the time you wish you'd waited for it on DVD. Often a tough grade to assign because you want to give them either a C+ or C-.

Examples: Along Came Polly, The Terminal, War of the Worlds (because of the shitty, original book ending), The Mask, Kate Hudson's BEST work.

"C-": A below-average movie. Something about it is just not good enough to give it a "C". Generally you see these on DVD, and don't even think about going to see them in the theater. However, if you do go to see it in the theater, even with low expectations, you'll end up disappointed. You probably don't want to see this movie again. You like it less and less over time, like your buddy's hot girlfriend who has been with him for a couple of years, only you know that she's been fooling around on him. The more you think about her, the less you like her. Well, that's a C- movie.

Examples: Tomcats, Agent Cody Banks, Camp Nowhere, Contact, My Fair Lady, Star Wars Episode II, Michael, Welcome to Mooseport, Matrix III

"D+": A bad movie. You really have to be desperate to watch this in theaters. If you do, when you get up at the end, you wonder if the pain in your ass is that it has fallen asleep, or that the theater-owner has just finished railing $9 out of you. Some bright spots--if you watch it in theaters, you're guaranteed at least one unintentionally comedic scene where everyone laughs at a very inopportune moment. However, that doesn't come close to the shame you feel when you casually drop that you've seen the movie in conversation, followed by one of your buddies saying, "Are you serious?", to which you can only muster a weak "...yeah...", before they start giving you shit. Maybe acceptable if it's the only agreeable movie out and you're on an early date, or if it's showing on an airplane, but otherwise total garbage.

Examples: Panic Room, Many other Jodie Foster movies, Coyote Ugly (the hot chicks save it from being lower), Summer Catch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version), It Runs in the Family, Bad Company, Most Chris Rock movies (the guy is talented as a comedian, but his movies are TERRIBLE)

"D": A movie that you can barely sit through. If you see it in the theaters, you feel like Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" by the end. You think about getting up and leaving at least 3 times before it's over. A really bad movie with few, if any, redeeming qualities about it.

Examples: Die Another Day, Cheaper by the Dozen, Father of the Bride (I and II), Rat Race, Twister, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana

"D-": I (thankfully) haven't seen too many D-'s but I imagine they would consist of some of the worst romantic comedies out there (i.e. Kate Hudson's typical fare). Not too much to say about these, but just try to figure them out for yourselves and steer clear.

"F": An absolute trainwreck of a film. No redeeming qualities about it. You stand on a ledge for five minutes contemplating whether or not to take a step after seeing it. You can't finish the entire thing. The DVD's fast forward can't go fast enough to make this movie bearable. No opportunity even for unintentional comedy. You wish you could hit whoever made this movie in the face with a sack of wrenches, then force them to burn every remaining copy of this movie. Whenever someone mentions "Oh, have you seen ________? It's, like, so awesome!", you feel the anger welling up in you and your fists begin to clench. You immediately know that you can never be friends with that person, ever. Just an absolute abomination.

Examples: Stealth, Zardoz, Napoleon Dynamite, The Benchwarmers.

That's about it. More to come.

DJGel

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cards Win! Cards Win!

Holy fucking shit, I still can't believe it! The Cards actually won the World Series, for the first time in my life. Abso-fucking-lutely amazing!

I'm obviously still drunk and happy, but here are a few obserations from the game:

-Boy that Scott Rolen really got a fire lit under his ass after his benching. Unbelieveable. During the season, my brother and I watched damned near every Cards game on TV, and since Rolen never got any hits, we came up with the idea that he was paying off STATS, Inc. to give him 20 HR and 90 RBI. Little did we know that a good old fashioned pissing contest would be enough to get him good to go for the WS. Rolen, though I still am not a huge fan, you've proved enough worth that I can stomach the rest of your contract as a Cards fan. Congratulations!

-David Eckstein's cock must be sore from the slurp jobs that he's been getting tonight. Don't get me wrong, I love Eck, it's just that now that the Cards have won the Series, the national media is looking for any positive spin to put on this absolute trainwreck that they've created by licking the Yanks and Bosox all year, so they pick the guy who is all hustle, all team, all the time to do a slurp job on. I mean, not that there's anything wrong with that...

-Chris Duncan was almost a toal goat this game. You trust the coach's son to be at least decent at D, but it was obvious by the 4th that Duncan wasn't hitting worth shit tonight, and he was the biggest liability in the field since "Simon the Law Review Kid" who happened to show up during one of our softball games a few weekis ago. LaRussa almost shit the bed, but to his credit, once he realized what was up, he brought in the biggest badass this team has had since Pedro Guerrero (Preston Wilson) to man the other OF spot, and it paid off. Bravo, Tony, bravo.

-The Tigers' D was equally as terrible. Why the fuck can't pitchers throw to bases? I witnessed a similar problem 7 years ago. I was playing first base, and one of our pitchers skipped a pickoff throw IN PRACTICE over to me. Not expecting the shortcut through the grass, I got clocked right in the jaw before the state semi-final. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly as happy as Cao Boi from Survivor after taking 4 huge bong rips. Though the pundits blame Leland for not practicing the situation enough, I fully blame these pitchers. How long have they been playing baseball? All their lives? And you CAN'T EVEN MAKE A GODDAMNED THROW TO A FUCKING BASE? FUCK YOU! Ridiculous.

-I do feel bad for Tigers fans, though. They were not at all obnoxious like Mets fans, who strut and preen like they're Elton John at a sailor convention. They were legitimately invested in their team, something that I can respect as a Cards fan. Unfortunately, their best player in the Series was Sean Casey, whom my brother and I have referred to as "the Fat Little Leaguer" ever since his time on the Reds when he used to kill the Cards. He could have been called "The Gardener" since he used to rake so much against us. Unfortunately, that wasn't nearly enough for the Tabby Cats. They have a bright future, I'm just so blinded by the reflection off of the World Series trophy right now that I can't make it out.

-Finally, I give a lot fo credit to John Kruk, who did one of the most graceful 180's of all time, especially for a large man. He admitted that, though the Tigers made a fair number of errors, they were pressured into them by a Cards offense that was getting guys on however they could (namely, walks). In fact, this Series was a perfect example of "Moneyball" come to life--the Cards took their walks, while the Tigers hacked like tuberculosis-infected asbestos removers. I almost (ALMOST) felt bad for Jim Leyland when Kenny Rosenthal interviewed him after the series (what a job that must have been, huh? How long did Chris Myers have to throw a tantrum to get the job of reporting for the winners instead of the losers? And do you think they held it over Rosenthal's head, like--"You interview the fucking losers, goddamnit, or we can find another 5' 1" baseball reporter to be the second sideline guy, peckerhead!" Baseball--what a game)

However, it all went away when I realized that THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ARE 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONS!!! And I will sleep tonight knowing that, for the first time in my life, we were the best team in the game, at least come October.