Posts Tagged 'new york yankees'


Buster-PoseyName this guy who’s “worth” $18.6 million annually to his team.
I’ll wait…

With the Hot Stove season officially underway, I thought now would be a great time to finally write in-depth about something that’s driven me nuts ever since I first started following Major League Baseball in the early 2000’s. And that something is the fact that baseball players are consistently the most overpaid athletes in all of professional sports. Unfortunately, this is an issue that seems to only be getting worse as revenues increase dramatically due to regional TV contracts providing a financial boom for many clubs. This is a bubble that will inevitably burst, because even with TV networks foolishly ponying up billions for exclusive local broadcast rights to these games, the product on the field isn’t getting any better, and the stars of the game aren’t getting any more recognizable outside of baseball. Quick…name 10 baseball players who don’t play for the team you root for! Can’t do it, can ya?

So why is it worth it for teams to willfully overcompensate all these players, knowing that the latter years of many of these contracts will basically be money flushed down the commode, like so much excrement? Knowing that many of these guys provide nothing with regards to improving the marketing potential and overall awareness of a franchise? Well, the TV boom is a major factor, as is the lack of a salary cap in the sport. It also helps that the MLBPA is probably the most powerful union in pro sports. They’ve successfully convinced these owners that just because teams are reaping more rewards from the TV deals, a lot of that money should be passed down via player salaries that were already bloated before this trend even started. I find that logic incomprehensibly stupid from a business standpoint, but good on them for successfully forcing the issue. If only the non-executive employees of banks and oil companies and Wal-Mart and other big-profit corporations had such quality representation.


Game Change: The Biggest (and best?) Trade in Red Sox History

I haven’t written about sports in a good long while, and certainly not about the Red Sox (for obvious reasons), but this trade was so monumental, and more importantly SUCH GOOD NEWS, that I have to weigh in.

Continue reading ‘Game Change: The Biggest (and best?) Trade in Red Sox History’

The Worst Sports Losses of My Life (And More!)

I write this because sadly, I believe the reign of consistent, multiple, championship-caliber Boston sports teams is coming to an end. From 2000-2010, we were lucky enough to see our teams win 6 championships in 3 different sports, reach the finals of 2 more and have at least 3 of the 4 major sports teams in playoff contention almost every year. I don’t have the research in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that’s the best decade-long run any city in America has ever enjoyed. In short, we’ve been kind of a big deal. Though there were several missed opportunities along the way, Boston sports fans like me have had little to complain about in the big picture, and need to thank the sports gods that we were alive and young when all of this unfolded. I certainly don’t expect anything like it to happen again in whatever time I have left on this earth. I for one haven’t taken this for granted for a moment. We all know the highlights; the Patriots won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 & 2007, and the Celtics won the NBA title (over the Lakers!) in 2008, but this post is about the terrible lows we also had to endure. Because I just can’t get over the fact that this decade could have been (and I’d argue should have been) even better.

These are the worst losses that I personally have experienced, that I was able to watch live. This is not meant to be a definitive list of the worst losses in Boston sports history, although I think at least 3 of these would make that list as well. I didn’t become a big pro sports fan until the late 90’s, so I can’t recount the glory days of Red Sox failure, nor can I recall the joys of the 80’s Celtics.

I’m going to rank these from least epically painful to most epically painful. Anybody who hates Boston sports will be able to take great pleasure in recalling these games, but I think as our teams begin to look to the future, it’s cathartic to reflect on the worst of times as well as the best of times. Let’s face it, prior to 2001 and 2004, we were the preeminent experts in sports misery.

First, a little history about my ‘career’ as a sports fan, because everything on my list happened in the last 10 years, which may seem odd to anyone who’s been a sports fan their whole life. I grew up mostly in a single-parent home with my mom, my brother and sister. I always loved playing sports and being athletic, but other than the one organized sport I played (soccer, for almost 10 years), I didn’t understand or care about college or pro sports. I was never taught early on that I should be a fan of Boston teams, and it never occurred to me since I rarely went to any games. Even though I was a kid during some of the most important moments in the history of the Red Sox and the Celtics, I was largely unaware of any of those events because it wasn’t a big deal in my house. If my dad had been around and taught me about pro sports in my formative years, I wonder how different things would be now. Then again, as best as I can tell, my dad wasn’t then or now a huge sports fan, so it may not have been very different at all.

I sometimes wonder what would have become of me if I grew up a jock instead of a geek. I tend to think my personality would’ve gotten in the way of being a jock regardless, but given what I think of most jocks now, I’m just fine with not having gone that route. Though it’s funny now, because I do remember specific moments in high school where that door was open to me. The only thing I’m really curious about is how it would have altered my lifestyle, my career plans, etc. Hell, I might be normal, and be married with kids by now. Yeah, maybe not. Anyone who’s known me long enough knows ‘normal’ isn’t in my DNA. In the end, it was Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg who had the biggest influence on me as a kid, not Larry Bird, Roger Clemens (thank god!) or Jim Rice.

I didn’t really become a fan of professional sports until I was 14 or 15, and even then, the first team I was a fan of was not a Boston team. It was the Orlando Magic. The first pro sport I got into was the NBA, and as I began watching and learning about pro basketball, Shaquille O’Neal quickly became my favorite player. Naturally, that meant I was rooting for the Magic whenever they were on TV. Then, the Magic got Penny Hardaway in one of the most significant draft day trades ever, and that dynamic, entertaining as hell one-two punch was all I cared about for a few years. I didn’t get into the NFL until 2000 (I was just never interested in football as a kid), and oddly enough, I hated baseball until I watched one of the games listed below.

With that said, let’s get into it:

#4 – Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees, ALCS Game 7 (October 16, 2003) – Also known as “the game that made me a Red Sox fan.” Like I said, prior to this, I’d always ignorantly hated baseball. I would throw out all the clichéd reasons people that hate baseball still do now – it was boring, nothing ever happened, it was too long, etc. etc. At the same time, I always knew about the Red Sox’s tormented history, 1918, and all that. I was also keenly aware that Red Sox-Yankees was one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. I hadn’t been following the Sox in 2003, but as they made this memorable playoff run, I became interested in what would happen to them. Was this the year? I thought that would be cool, but I still didn’t really care a whole lot. Actually, I remember to this day being in line outside waiting to get into Avalon Boston (may she rest in peace) on Lansdowne Street behind Fenway on Saturday, October 4 when Trot Nixon hit an 11th inning walk-off homerun in Game 3 of the ALDS against the A’s. I was standing there in line talking to my buddies when Fenway suddenly exploded into joy. It was quite an experience fucking awesome just being in the vicinity. As happy fans filed out of the park, I went about my business into the club to drink and dance to some electronic music, like I’d done so many nights before. I’d wager to say the night was even better because of the mood in the city that night. I’m willing to bet that brief moment primed me for what was to come.

As the Red Sox advanced to the ALCS, I still wasn’t motivated enough to watch, but I did keep track of the results. On the night of Game 7, I didn’t have anything else going on, so, with a chance for the Sox to advance to the World Series, I decided I’d give it a go and watch what transpired at Yankee Stadium. I didn’t know shit about the intricacies of baseball, but a Game 7 is a Game 7. We all know what happened during the game. We all remember Grady Little “allowing” Pedro Martinez to pitch into the 8th, and just how swell that turned out. It was during the game, watching Yankees fans, that I began to understand why this rivalry was such a big deal, and I slowly felt myself getting into it, and more importantly, I began hating those arrogant fucks in New York. Their presumptuousness irritated me. They expected to win and advance to the World Series, and you could read that through the TV. It seemed offensive to them that they even had to go through with the ALCS. To me, it seemed like Yankees fans expected once the regular season ended, their team should just be given the AL’s spot in the World Series. It pissed me off.

When Tim Wakefield threw that sad knuckleball to Aaron Boone, who then took it upon himself to instantly end the Red Sox season and send the Yankees to the World Series once again, something ignited inside me, like a phoenix. I realized I had just experienced one of those classic miserable Red Sox moments live. I instantly got it. The only way I can describe it is to say that there’d been a diehard Red Sox fan lying dormant inside me my whole life, and that one homerun, and seeing the Yankees celebrate, and seeing the Red Sox players’ shocked dismay in the dugout all mixed together, released that fan, woke it from its 23-year coma. I’ve been following baseball, and despising the Yankees, ever since.

Going into 2004, I certainly had no expectation the Sox would end the curse. In fact, I quite relished the opportunity to live through more of that Sox misery, except this time I’d get to experience it with friends instead of alone in my bedroom. I assumed, like everyone else, that it would be a long time to come before the Sox won the World Series, and like I’d heard so many Sox fans say before, I just hoped it would happen once during my lifetime. Would I have become a Red Sox fan if I hadn’t watched this particular game live? I suspect so, only it would have happened one year later instead. But I’m glad I became a fan after the worst of times than after the best of times in ’04. I’m glad I got to experience that pain once before the incomparable joy of October, 2004. Still, at the time, it was extremely painful. At the time, the only satisfaction I was able to get was seeing those same Yankees lose to Josh Beckett and the Marlins.

I still can’t watch Boone on ESPN’s baseball coverage today without thinking at least once…Aaron Fuck’n Boone.

I’m sorry, guys:

#3 – New England Patriots vs. New York Jets, AFC Divisional Round (January 16, 2011) – This one is still fresh in most of our minds, and it hurts because of what an incredible season the Pats had just finished going into this game. A 14-2 regular season that had seen some of the most interesting roster moves in the Belichick-Brady era. It was Belichick’s best coaching performance (done without an offensive OR defensive coordinator), and Brady, who would become the first-ever unanimous NFL MVP, had put up the most spectacularly efficient stats of his career (his 36:4 TD:INT ratio (9:1) was by far the best in NFL history). They did it with a young team (featuring a fantastic draft class playing key roles, most notably Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and the punter with the comic book name, Zoltan Mesko), with breakout players nobody else wanted (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead) who could only have done what they did on this team. And of course, there was Brady’s epic hair.

In probably the most anticipated game of the season to that point, they’d beaten the hated Jets 45-3 at home on Monday Night Football in what I repeatedly called the single most satisfying football game I’ve ever watched, embarrassing Rex Ryan and shutting up some of their mouthy, douchebag players like Bart Scott, LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie. There was that awesome win in the snow in Chicago, another Monday Night blowout in Miami, a win against the Colts, and a sweep of the NFC North (including a W over Randy Moss and the Vikings that saw Brett Favre carted off the field after being smashed in the jaw). It was an amazing regular season, and the Patriots had set themselves up perfectly for the playoffs, getting the number 1 seed and a bye. This was a likable, ego-free team that Pats fans were immensely proud of, one that deserved win a championship.

Then the Jets came in and fucked up our hopes and dreams. It was a miserable game, one that you never felt good about as it unfolded. Even though it was close throughout, I never felt like the Pats were going to pull it together. They weren’t successful in doing anything they’d done so well the entire season. They couldn’t complete a long pass (because without Moss, they had no legit deep threats), and they could barely complete anything short, which had become their bread and butter. Tom Brady threw his first INT in 8 WEEKS (great timing) on the opening drive. There was the Patrick Chung fake punt. It was just a fucking disaster; a pathetic end to a brilliant season. Having the friggin Jets knock us out of the playoffs AT HOME like this was, how shall I put it lightly…difficult to accept. It was yet another early playoff loss (they’d been obliterated at home by the Ravens just one year earlier), and had every Patriots fan scratching their heads in bewilderment or pulling their hair out in disgust.

The reason this was so painful is because I hate wasted opportunities, and this was about as great an opportunity as we are ever gonna see for another Super Bowl. Again, this was a team that Patriots fans adored. Seeing this group of players go all the way would probably have been even more satisfying than any of the previous 3 Super Bowl wins. They’d beaten almost every team in the playoffs already during the regular season (including the Jets, Bears, Steelers and Packers). I personally was very excited to see this team play in the Super Bowl at Jerry JonesCowboys Stadium football Death Star in Dallas.

The Patriots were better than that fucking Jets team, yet they got outcoached and outplayed when it mattered most. I hate that, and like I said at the time, it made me reevaluate how passionate I should get about sports going forward, because I felt like I’d just wasted 3 months of my life being emotionally invested in this team. If THIS group can’t even win their first playoff game (at home!) – if a near-perfect regular season means NOTHING – why am I getting so excited for these games? If they’d gone 10-6, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But they were 14-2, an elite team, and still were barely able to put up a fight. It was goddamn depressing. I didn’t watch SportsCenter or look at (or any other sports site) for a week after this game, and to be honest, I’m still not fully over it. The only consolation Pats fans got was seeing THIS the next week as the Jets lost to the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Patriots have not won a playoff game since they were 18-0 in early 2008. More on THAT a bit later. Yes, it’s coming.

Oddly enough, he’d have made the same face had they won the Super Bowl.

Go literally have sex with your own mother, Bart Scott.

#2 – Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals Game 7 (June 17, 2010) – As incredible as watching the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 Finals was, seeing those same Celtics LOSE to the Lakers in the Finals 2 years later was doubly worse. On top of that, anytime you lose a Game 7, it’s that much more difficult to accept. This new incarnation of the Celtics’ “Big Three” understood fell well that the perception is that in order to truly be remembered amongst the Celtics greats, you had to deliver multiple championships. It now appears as though one is all we’ll get from the Pierce-Garnett-Allen tandem. I’m not among those who insist on that standard of excellence, but it sure as hell would’ve been nice, wouldn’t it? And it was certainly possible. If Kevin Garnett hadn’t suffered that season-ending knee injury in February of ’09, we may have been talking about a Celtics three-peat heading into this series last summer. And if Kendrick Perkins hadn’t blown out his knee in Game 6, most of us have no doubt that the Celtics would have again defeated the Lakers to bring home Banner 18. It’s sad that shitty luck with injuries may be what prevented this group of Celtics from winning multiple championships, but I would argue that’s exactly the case. The primary reason the Lakers won this Game 7 is because they butchered us on the boards with their size in Gasol and Bynum, something that would almost certainly have been negated with a healthy Perkins on the court.

The sad fact is even without Perkins, the Celtics should have won this game. Rasheed Wallace finally showed up, playing probably his best game in a Celtic uniform, and the Celtics were up by as many as 13 points in the third quarter (goddammit!!!). However, foul trouble, a lack of scoring and a lack of rebounding became their undoing, and we all had to watch Kobe Bryant dance around the court as time ran out. We had to watch that stupid llama Pau Gasol pumping his fists and screaming like an idiot, and we had to see purple and gold confetti falling from the ceiling as the dejected, exhausted Celtics walked off the court. It just sucked.

In particular, I hated seeing Kobe’s pride in that title, because he knew how it important it was to beat the Celtics in the Finals, especially after being embarrassed just two years earlier losing a closeout game by 39 in Boston. The title also put the Lakers just one behind Boston in all-time championships, 16 to 17. I was dreading the idea of seeing them potentially tie the Celtics this season, but thankfully, the Dallas Mavericks put a quick end to that possibility, and likely ended the Lakers’ chances at a title for the foreseeable future, with Phil Jackson likely retiring, Kobe only getting older, and big roster moves seemingly on the horizon.

The final vomit-inducing moment occurred with the horror of having to see Bill Russell on the podium during the postgame ceremonies, being forced to hand the Finals MVP trophy to Kobe in L.A. (which happened only because that trophy was recently named after Russell), surrounded by the rest of the team, with those a-hole fans having a circle jerk in the stands. This is the very definition of being kicked while you’re down. I’m surprised they didn’t bring Larry Bird out at gunpoint and have him kiss Magic Johnson‘s shoes, and then have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar curb stomp Kevin McHale American History X style on the street outside Staples Center. Was that too much?

If ALL of that wasn’t enough, Ron Artest got a championship ring. And that’s just wrong.

My reaction to this image is simple:

Surely, it doesn’t get worse than a Game 7 Finals loss to the Lakers, does it? Unfortunately, yes it does. Brace yourselves, New England sports fans. You know what’s coming.

#1 – New England Patriots vs. New York Giants, SUPER BOWL XLII (February 3, 2008)

YES!!! Oh, wait…

This wasn’t even close. It’s the worst sports loss of my life, and probably in the lives of everyone in New England who’s ever been a football fan. I hate even writing ‘Super Bowl XLII’. I typically refer to this game as “the events of February 3, 2008”. For my sake, and the sake of every other Boston sports fan reading this, little needs to be said in the way of a setup. We all remember the 2007 season. Spygate. Blowout wins early, nail-biting wins late. 50 touchdowns. 16-0. Just about everyone in the media openly despising our team.

Losing in the Super Bowl is already crushing enough. But this was a chance to go 19-0, to secure the perfect season- something most people rightly thought was impossible in today’s NFL. It was a chance to put the 1972 Dolphins’ record (and Mercury Morris‘ mouth) into obscurity once and for all. That’s something EVERY NFL fan should’ve been rooting for, by the way. It was gonna be one final EFF YOU to all the haters (fans, media people and players on opposing teams) who’d been bitching about the Patriots’ “running up the score” and about Spygate since the beginning of the season.

I don’t need to rehash why the Pats lost this game. We all know why. But here’s why it was especially devastating to me. The fact that I wasn’t living in New England made it a lot worse. At least back home, I’d have people around me who were sympathetic. You guys don’t know how lucky you were to have that support network in place. Here, I’d been arguing with Steelers fans, Cowboys fans, Redskins fans, and Eagles fans all season long, sometimes teasing them because their teams were inferior (the Patriots beat all of those teams that year), other times being openly boastful about how great the Patriots were. I know maybe 3 other Patriots fans down here, and none of them were as serious about this game as I was. I had to work that following Monday, and I seriously wanted to call out. You wanna talk about a walk of shame? That’s me walking into Best Buy on February 4th. And good GOD did I hear about it. All day long for days on end. Pointing, laughing, taunting, sarcasm. I got it all, and I took it as best I could. It was adult bullying. I was the toilet water absorbing everyone’s defecation. In other words, I got shit on. And this lasted probably a week. Had I still been in New England, this would not have been an issue. Were I the religious type, I’d have asked for your prayers.

Add on to this the fact that we lost to a New York team, and above THAT it was a New York team we’d already beaten in the regular season, and the volcano of pain is now fully erupting. Again we also have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady winning Coach of the Year and MVP (as they did in 2010). Unfortunately, it seems when that happens, it’s a bad omen for the Pats’ Super Bowl chances. The simple fact is the Brady-Belichick Patriots should have FIVE Super Bowl wins right now, not 3. Instead, this era is fizzling out with disappointing playoff loss after disappointing playoff loss, and the time we have left with this historic coach-quarterback combo continues to get shorter and shorter as the gap between our last Super Bowl win (now at 6 years) gets longer and longer. Again, opportunities for greatness wasted. It drives me nuts. This one season made the Patriots one of the most hated teams in the NFL, and I don’t necessarily mind that, but if that’s gonna be the case, I’d have been much more comfortable with it with a 19-0 perfect season to hold over the haters’ heads.

And of course, just in case ending the 2007 season on this apocalyptic note wasn’t torture enhanced interrogation technique enough, the Patriots opened 2008 by losing Tom Brady for the entire season to a fucking kneeplosion, thanks to the Chiefs’ Bernard Pollard. Then, despite a breakout season by Brady’s backup Matt Cassel, they became the first 11-5 team to miss the playoffs. Life was grand.

I won’t torture you or myself with video from this atrocity, but…

One of the 18.5 BILLION times Brady was hit as he threw during the game.
Great time for the previously superb Patriots o-line to EPIC FAIL.

Catch the fuckin ball!!!
The game would’ve been OVER!!!
You FUCK!!!

Literally the only significant thing David Tyree ever did on an NFL field.

Conveniently lost in the media’s jizzing over this catch is the horrible officiating that allowed Eli Manning to even throw the pass, as his offensive line held the SHIT out of the Pats’ d-line prior to him getting the pass off. FUCK YOU!

The superstitious fans like to point out that he hadn’t worn a goddamn red hoodie the entire season prior to this game. What the F were you thinking, brah?

Well, at least he dressed well after the game. That’s a relief.

Then there were the oh-so-clever t-shirt designs.

There you have it. The worst of the worst in my 15 or so years of watching sports. I’m hopeful these rankings stand forever, as I hope to never see anything like them again. If sports truly were religion (I know college football fans here in the South would argue it is), there would be two numbers representing Heaven and Hell on the spectrum of my Boston Sports Fan lifetime: “18-1” is on one end representing Hell, and “2004” is on the other, representing Heaven. I suspect I’m not alone in that belief system.

I had originally titled this post “The Five Worst Sports Losses of My Life”, but I couldn’t come up with a fifth one that came even close to resonating as powerfully as these four. One of the other options that came to mind was last year’s Bruins collapse against the Flyers (where Philly became one of only 5 teams in the history of American pro sports to come back from an 0-3 hole to win a playoff series), but I’m not a true hockey fan, and though it pissed me off, I was more embarrassed as a Boston sports fan than I was emotionally devastated. Also, if you recall, the New York Yankees swept a 5-game series AT Fenway from August 18-21, 2006 in a horrific turn of events that is sometimes referred to as the Boston Massacre. THAT fuckin sucked, but because it wasn’t in the playoffs (though it pretty much killed the Red Sox’ hopes of making the playoffs that year), that too was more embarrassing than anything else.

Let this serve as a reminder to both haters and supporters of Boston sports; though we had a magical decade of championship glory, for every moment of jubilation and success there were equally powerful moments of heartbreaking failure that few other cities can match.

As promised…here’s MORE!

-I thought my Thor review turned out pretty well last week, but then I read A.O. Scott‘s blistering review in the New York Times. I didn’t hate the movie like he did, but nothing inspires hilarity better than when a well-spoken critic truly despises a big Hollywood movie. This stuff is so much more interesting to read than glowing praise. Here’s a quick sample, “Mr. Branagh has not failed to make an interesting, lively, emotionally satisfying superhero movie, because there is no evidence that he (or the gaggle of credited screenwriters, or Paramount, the sponsoring studio) ever intended to make any such thing.” I implore you check out the whole review [HERE].

-AMUSING: The Chicago-area house that was the setting for much of Home Alone is on sale! For $2.4 million, you can own (and live in!) a piece of movie history. [THR]

-On the trailer reel to Bridesmaids was the newest clip for the second of this year’s casual sex/fuckbuddy comedies, the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis flick that’s aptly titled Friends with Benefits. But this isn’t about that trailer or that movie. I’m concerned about Justin Timberlake’s VOICE. If you didn’t know it, would you have guessed that Timberlake turned 30 this January? Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. I’m a fan of his music (where’s the next album, brah?) and I think he’s improving as an actor. That said, the dude still sounds like he’s 19 or 20. And that’s not even an exaggeration. If you listen to him now, and then listen to him in the NSYNC heyday, there’s maybe a 15% difference, if that. This guy has dated some of the hottest women in Hollywood, but apparently still hasn’t hit puberty. He’s starting to play adults now (he’ll also be seen in Bad Teacher this summer playing a grade school teacher opposite Cameron Diaz), and I’m having a very hard time taking him seriously in those adult roles. Fear not! I have a solution. Where most Hollywood stars get plastic surgery to maintain their looks, I propose Justin Timberlake undergo voice surgery or a voice transplant. Surely, this technology exists, some kind of voice-deepening procedure. They can install a miniature subwoofer in his throat to give him some bass. Right? SOMETHING has to be done. If I’m gonna be forced to watch him play adults in high-profile movies, I, as a paying audience member, insist that the man sound like an adult. And get rid of the curly hair, dude. You look 10 years younger with that shit.

-ABC has just cancelled V. For the most part, the show was average at best, but it was good enough that I DVR’d and watched every episode. I was introduced to some new actors, and was glad to see the underrated Scott Wolf featured prominently (seriously, get this guy some more work!). I also enjoyed V because I prefer good serialized TV to good episodic TV. I had originally thought the show was set up to be just one season, but then it ended on a cliffhanger, and of course that final episode was the first truly great episode of the series thus far (it had solid acting, solid action, unexpected character deaths and solid drama). What a fuckin bummer. Now I feel like I wasted 22 hours, now that I’m not gonna find out what was intended to happen next. Fuck you, ABC. And fuck Dancing with the Stars while you’re at it.

-I’ve been flip-flopping on whether or not to do a reaction post to the news of Osama bin Laden‘s death (and the myriad issues branching out as a result of it), but I found interesting the news that mere days after the raid, Disney applied for a trademark to the term “Seal Team 6.” Huh? DISNEY!? The same studio that openly doesn’t make R-rated movies anymore? The most bland, least creatively brave studio in Hollywood is gonna make a movie about this? I can understand that this story will eventually become a movie (there will likely be several movies made about it), but what does fucking Disney intend to do with it? Make a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced PG-13 action-fantasy about it? Is that gonna be the subtitle of Pirates 5? Pirates of the Caribbean: Seal Team 6? In which Jack Sparrow ventures into Pakistan seeking out terrorists so he can collect the $25 million reward the U.S. government had on bin Laden’s head? And since when can a company trademark the official name of a military special ops unit? This is baffling to me. Regardless, I’m sure it’ll be absolutely thrilling watching Osama bin Laden take a double tap to the head in 3D one day.

Mike Huckabee just announced he will NOT be running for President again in 2012. And the world rejoiced!!! I don’t have anything personal against the guy (other than the fact that it’s unfathomable to imagine a “President Huckabee”), but one can make the argument that it was his run in 2008 that handed John McCain the Republican nomination, and thus Barack Obama the presidency. In the GOP primaries, Huckabee’s nagging presence split the vote between him and Mitt Romney (their best candidate then and probably now) in several key states, so given the choice between Huckabee and McCain, the weak-minded Republicans instead were basically forced to nominate the safe choice in McCain. And look how that turned out. I’m so not ready to start talking about the 2012 election, but this was good news if you’re not a fan of Mr. Obama’s policies. [POLITICO]

-Finally, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Bill Simmons‘ new column, which focuses on Phil Jackson as his storied coaching career appears to draw to a close. As I’ve said before, I don’t always love Simmons’ stuff (I could do without his constant reality TV show references, and his opinions on movies are painfully ignorant), but he’s passionate about the NBA, and his NBA-centric columns are always great as a result. I learned some stuff about Jackson that I didn’t know, and he even manages to make a good case against the “he only won so many titles because he had Jordan and Kobe” argument. I own Jackson’s fantastic book The Last Season (which I read on my 2-day bus trip across the country from L.A. to Myrtle Beach) and I’ve always found him interesting beyond the fact that he’s a great coach. [ESPN]

Today’s Recommended Listening is some Massive Attack for yo’ ass. This track, “Paradise Circus” can currently be heard on those new Lincoln car commercials that star my boy John Slattery. Love it. 

Today Be Tuesday

Yankees. LOSE.

How’s this for a starting rotation, in the National League no less; Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels. They could put a feces-throwing monkey out there on day 5 and not miss a beat.  Is it too early to say I’m looking forward to the Red Sox-Phillies World Series? Cliff Lee left $30 million and 2 years on the table from the Yankees’ offer, and went to where he thought he would be happier (and perhaps where he knew there’d be easier opponents). 5 years, $120 million certainly isn’t a bargain (his $24 million average annual salary actually surpasses the AAV of the Rangers and Yankees’ deals), but I still give Lee a bravo for showing the Yankees they can’t get whoever they want just by spending. The Yankees are left with just an okay starting rotation, and they remain very old on the whole. On top of that, the Rays’ lineup has been decimated, having lost Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena. If the Red Sox don’t win the AL East (and lead it throughout the year), they should be ashamed. Here are a few good reaction pieces to the Lee decision; [Yahoo] [ESPN NY] [Jayson Stark] [NY Post]

Also, I’d like to give Theo Epstein and the Sox brass kudos for putting in fake bids on both Lee and Mariano Rivera to help force the price up for the Yankees.

Pretty much a perfect opening titles sequence.

Now that season 1 is over, I just wanted to profess my love for AMC’s The Walking Dead. Aside from The West Wing24, and more recently Boardwalk Empire, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more consistently cinematic TV show. Under Frank Darabont‘s stewardship, the show is beautifully shot, expertly acted, and maturely written. I’m also thrilled that the show is carried by actors who haven’t previously headlined a TV show. Andrew Lincoln is a great discovery (he’s also British, if you didn’t know), and the rest of the cast is a breath of fresh air (though Laurie Holden worked with Darabont on his films The Mist and The Majestic, and the always wonderful Jeffrey DeMunn has been in all 4 of Darabont’s features, going all the way back to Shawshank). The season finale last week drew 6 million viewers, which is gargantuan for cable (and not bad even for an average network show these days). I’m happy that AMC took a chance on a show like this, and even moreso that they were justly rewarded in the ratings when it turned out to be so good.  The upside is that the second season will be 13 episodes (as opposed to the debut season’s mere 6), but the downside is we have to wait until next October for it to return. HBO will also make an attempt at a genre series with next year’s debut of Game of Thrones, and I’m very much interested to see how that turns out. Either way, it’s a good trend. The fewer legal dramas, medical dramas, and police procedurals that get made going forward, the better. I’m thrilled that the cable networks now produce the best television, since they don’t have to make their shows PG-rated. The more R-rated, realistic, gritty TV we get, the happier I am.

-Next up on the docket, there were quite a few new trailers released this past week for some of 2011’s biggest movies.  Here are the first clips for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Thor, The Beaver, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with some reaction after each.

My first impression after watching this trailer was precisely my reaction to the announcement they were making a 4th Pirates movie…what’s the point? Other than the ability to print money of course, why is this necessary? Nevermind, there is no other reason. It looks entertaining, but it certainly doesn’t look like this was a story that was just BEGGING to be told. I was glad that Gore Verbinski, who directed the first 3, wisely stepped aside, and they’ve also dumped the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley characters. The salaries for those 3, and the fact that they seem to have cut way back on the supernatural elements of the story, should have brought the budget down significantly for this 4th installment. That’s a good thing for Disney, as each of the previous sequels cost $250 million or more (the messy At World’s End was supposedly north of $275 million). Replacing Verbinski is Rob Marshall, best known for Chicago. I’m curious to see how he’ll handle a big adventure picture with lots of effects. All the reports I’ve read say Johnny Depp came back because he truly loves playing this character (he certainly made enough money on the others so that cash wasn’t his main concern), and I think that still comes across in his performance. I’m a big fan of Ian McShane playing the main villain, Blackbeard (though no one will top Bill Nighy‘s brilliant work as Davy Jones), but I’m not crazy about Penelope Cruz as the new female lead. Though she’s talented, I’m not crazy about her in general, and I could see her becoming very annoying in this movie. The two best aspects of this movie for me may end up being Hans Zimmer‘s score and the cinematography of Dariusz Wolski, who is nothing short of a genius.

I’ll admit I know next to nothing about the Thor comic book mythology. I know he carries an awesome hammer, and that’s about it. I loved the little snippet they gave us at the end of Iron Man 2, and I love how the Marvel movies are all tying together in anticipation of The Avengers in 2012. I like the scale they seem to be going for here, but at the same time if they don’t do this just right, the character could come across as silly existing in the same world as Robert Downey Jr.‘s Tony Stark. That’s the only thing that really concerns me. The most interesting thing about this project is the choice of Kenneth Branagh as director. What I’m hoping is that a guy known mostly for his performances of Shakespeare can bring a bit of that prestige to this fantasy world. At least that’s what I think they were going for when they hired him. I haven’t seen anything he’s previously directed, so I’m curious about his style, too. It should be fun seeing Anthony Hopkins ham it up, and I’ll never complain about seeing Natalie Portman on screen. Though isn’t it also interesting looking at Portman’s career choices (the Star Wars prequels, V for Vendetta, Thor, and she’s rumored to be up for a part in The Dark Knight Rises). Am I crazy, or is she a closeted geek? As if I couldn’t love her any more.

This film is controversial only in that it features Mel Gibson as its star. It was originally slated for release this year, but because of the controversy surrounding Gibson this summer (“You should just SMIIIIILE…AND BLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWW ME!”), it was put into exile. A lot of people (including me), were very much looking forward to seeing it, because a couple of years ago, Kyle Killen‘s original script was at the top of the annual list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. It’s certainly an original concept, and the pedigree of Jodi Foster directing Gibson has a lot of people excited. I think this trailer is a good payoff for the hype. I’m glad Summit put it out, because it indicates they do intend to release the film sooner than later. The realist in me doubts it’ll make much money, but I’m hoping it represents a comeback for Gibson with regards to his performance. Despite his antics, he remains one of our greatest actors, and he deserves a chance at redemption and forgiveness as much as anyone else. Mel Gibson is certainly not the first celebrity for whom we have to separate the performance from the man.

This is a great teaser, but then again, Michael Bay‘s movies always have solid first trailers. And then the films themselves end up being 150-minute teases. Bay claims to have learned his lessons from the second film, claiming there’ll be much less slapstick comedy. He’s saying this one will have a more serious, darker tone (where’d he get that idea from, *cough*Dark Knight *cough*, ahem). I love what they did with the Neil Armstrong lunar landing (just a really cool idea), and I love that Shockwave is the main villain this time, but I don’t know if that’s him you see at the end of the trailer. There’s a debate raging online as to whether or not it’s Unicron, apparently based only on the fact that he’s yellow-ish. However, Unicron is supposed to be planet-sized, so he better not have fit inside a ship that crashed on the moon. Just sayin. Then again, after how badly they fucked up Devastator in the last one, I wouldn’t be surprised if Unicron ended up being a school bus.

How could I not…

“You shall witness…it’s dismumbumunt!!!”

Also released just today (on Vin Diesel‘s Facebook page for some reason), is the teaser for Fast Five, aka the 5th (and supposedly final) Fast and the Furious movie. Also known as 5 Fast 5 Furious, The Fivest Fastest Mostest Furiousest, 5ast cars, Bald HeadsThe Fastest Way Paul Walker Can Earn a Paycheck, and of course, the more direct…Give Us More of Your 5ucking Money! The trailer is not yet on Apple, Yahoo or the Tube, so there’ll be no linkage, but for now you can go to if you really wanna see it. And you needn’t worry, there are several obligatory shots of a pair of girls wearing tiny skirts walking by random import cars. Cuz that apparently never gets old. It actually doesn’t look all that bad (even though it brings Tyrese and Ludacris back from the second movie, which was the worst of the bunch), but it’s just too easy to mock. Dwayne Johnson is in it, so we can look forward to the inevitable scene in the film where he and Diesel have a hardcore steel cage ladder match to find out who takes home Dominic Toretto‘s 6-pack of Corona.

Xander Cage vs. The Tooth Fairy. Live, only on Pay-per-view!!!

(Is it strange that Johnson will followup up Faster with Fast Five?)

-Finally, switching gears (see what I did there?), I was glad to read today that the House is going to bring up a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a stand-alone piece of legislation. I fully support getting rid of this stupid rule in the military. If a gay person wants to serve their country, they have the same right to as anyone else. It really ought to be that simple. I’ve heard of no studies that show gay soldiers can’t integrate themselves into their units the same as anyone else, and I think it’s kind of ignorant to suggest they’d be some kind of sexual predators or that they’d spend an inordinate amount of time hitting on other soldiers of the same sex. It’s equally absurd to suggest that our hetero soldiers aren’t trained and disciplined enough to be mature about serving with gays. Any who aren’t should be relieved of their duties. A previous attempt to repeal the policy was voted down in the Senate recently, but mostly because it was earmarked to another massive spending bill. This time, lawmakers will have to be heard on where they stand on this one issue, which is exactly the way it should be.  Lawmaking doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Bills don’t have to be thousands of pages long to have a positive, lasting impact. Credit here appears to go to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA). Don’t say I never gave the Democrats credit when they did something good, and I’ll be taking note of any major Republicans who openly oppose this. Congress will get a rare thumbs up from me if they get this done before they go home for the year. [Politico]

Large with Extra Cheese: #10

Welcome to my new and improved blog, Biggie’s Place. The name is a reference to the oft-used nickname of the apartment in Natick, Mass that my friends and I lived in from September ’05 to October ’06 when I left for L.A. In an effort to make my Facebook page less cluttered with my random and frequent opinions, and because I’ve had a lot of various topics on my mind recently, I felt it was time to bring back my semi-regular column, Large with Extra Cheese. I’ll also be going back to the more random, any topic any time blog entries that were a staple of my writing for several years, most of which was done on the blog section of my MySpace page. I hadn’t logged on to MySpace in literally months, and when I did a couple of weeks ago, the site looked completely different, and they’ve made the blog section a very small part of what you can do on the site, so as if there were any doubt before, I’m officially done writing on my old MySpace blog. I’ll have to dig through the impossible-to-navigate blog section to find the old posts that I’m particularly proud of before deleting my MySpace page entirely, but that will take a while. I absolutely hate what it looks like now, and I couldn’t even figure out how to edit the blog layout, so yeah…MySpace is dead to me, but I had fun writing on there for almost 4 years, and I think some of my best stuff was in some of those posts.

I’ve been working on this WordPress page on and off for about a year now, and since I was inspired to start writing again recently, I spent a good 3-4 hours last night getting the layout to the way I want it. Although it’s not perfect and there are surely modifications to come, this is basically what you’ll be seeing going forward, and I’m glad to say I now have my own site. You can bookmark it if you like, subscribe, “Like” it (though I wish I could figure out how to integrate the Like to Facebook link), anyone can add comments, and it even has the Facebook/email/etc. share buttons. So spread the word if you like or agree with what I have to say. Or even if you don’t. Some of the best debate stems from people who vehemently disagree. And I finally have my tags, which is something I’d been praying MySpace would integrate for years. AND…I can write the entries in Word and upload them directly to WordPress with formatting intact, which is awesome good times. So welcome, and without further ado, here’s what’s been grinding my gears this week.

“The Red Sox are now the Yankees.” No, they’re not.

In the past week, the Red Sox have spent close to $300 million on contracts for two players, Adrian Gonzalez (a reported 7-year, $154 million extension on top of his $6.5 million 2011 salary, and a 7-year, $142 million deal for free agent Carl Crawford), reminding many of the 2009 offseason, when the Yankees spent more than $400 million on contracts for CC Sabathia ($161 million), Mark Teixeira ($180 million) and A.J. Burnett ($85 million). This has prompted many critics, both in and outside of Boston, to proclaim that the Red Sox can no longer complain about the Yankees’ spending, and that any World Series the Red Sox win are just as “bought” as the Yanks’ 2009 championship.

As happy as I am at my team acquiring two excellent players who are both still in their prime, I admit I’m conflicted on what I think of all this spending. Crawford and Gonzalez should both be earning their megasalaries until at least 2015, and I actually think Gonzalez will earn his for the entirety of his deal, based on his position and skill set. However, I’ve said for years that if I were a Yankee fan, I’d be ashamed at what my team had to spend to win division titles and 1 World Series, regardless of whether or not they were turning a profit as an organization. Do I feel that way now as a Red Sox fan? Do I feel bad for the majority of MLB teams who can’t spend anything near what the AL East powerhouses do? Yes and no. No, because like other sports, some teams will never sign big name free agents, whether there’s a salary cap in place or not. For example, the Buffalo Bills have no better chance of getting a blue chip free agent in his prime than the Pittsburgh Pirates do, even if they could match the offers of a team from Boston, New York, L.A. or Miami. At the same time, I don’t like that every free agent in baseball is presumed to be going to the Red Sox or Yankees. There IS something wrong with that, and as a Red Sox fan I do feel a little guilty, but still not as guilty as I believe Yankees fans should.

Do I like how much money the Red Sox have spent recently, despite the talent we’ve gotten and how potent our 2011 lineup should be? No, but a lot of it, unfortunately is a necessity, and a lot of that necessity is based on what the Yankees are doing and can do, which apparently makes the Sox guilty by association. I think the Yankees would have a $200 million payroll no matter what division they were in, and the Red Sox would not spend $150 million+ if the Yanks were not in their division. I hate that we’re paying John Lackey $18 million a year, and the Josh Beckett extension looks pretty foolish at the moment. I’m concerned that we’ll be paying Carl Crawford, whose most valuable asset is his legs, $20.2 million at age 34, 35 and 36 when he probably can’t steal 40+ bases anymore and still won’t have big money power numbers. But unfortunately, the Sox have to add those extra couple of unreasonable years, because if they don’t, the Yankees will. That’s a fact. And now the list of big spenders extends to the Phillies, Angels, Cubs and Mets as well. Bad contracts are not exclusive to baseball, but the numbers are the biggest in baseball, so these huge deals get put under a bigger microscope.

Now, let’s do some more payroll math. This offseason, the Red Sox had almost $40 million come OFF the books before these signings (Mike Lowell‘s $12 million, Adrian Beltre’s $9 million, Victor Martinez‘ $7.5 milion and the last year of paying off Julio Lugo‘s horrible deal). In 2011 they will still be under the luxury tax, and will still spend almost $40 million less in payroll than the Yankees. They may have their highest payroll ever, but we won’t be spending anywhere near $200 million anytime soon. And keep in mind that in 2012, we’ll have David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek and probably Tim Wakefield saying goodbye to Boston, which will free up about $35 million more, or in Yankee terms, just a little more than 1 year of A-Rod money. This year, the Yankees MIGHT lose Andy Pettitte, and will make Derek Jeter take a $4 or 5 million pay cut. If they add Cliff Lee (whose offers, if they’re to be believed, are approaching $25 million a year), their payroll will easily exceed what it was in 2010. Look, I’m not making excuses. The Red Sox are spending obscene amounts of money, and I wish they didn’t have to. That said, I refuse to accept the premise that we’re the “same” as the Yankees. That’s simple-minded and ignorant.

Speaking of wild spending, watching the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee has been nothing short of hilarious, because it clearly demonstrates that Lee does not want to go there. Ironically, the Red Sox signings have actually increased the Yanks’ desire to get him (really, they NEED him to help combat a Sox lineup that now has 5 lefties or switch hitters), which makes life good for Lee as they continue upping their offers. If you’re a Yankees fan, how does it feel to know that your team has to grossly overspend to get the players they want? They’re having to offer Lee 7 years to have a chance at him (in a rational world, he’d only get 4 or 5), which means they’ll be paying him more than $20 million at age 39. And because they have a reputation for overspending, they can’t get anybody for reasonable money, even if that player would accept reasonable money to go somewhere else. Cliff Lee does not want to be a Yankee and be in New York for the next 6 or 7 years, but if the Yankees end up offering, 10, 20, 30 million more than the Rangers are willing to go, at a certain point you can’t turn that down if you have any common sense. Then again, he’ll lose that extra money to New York’s absurd, myriad state taxes, which I’m hearing is something the Rangers are trying to get through to him. A wise move by Nolan Ryan and his team. This was supposedly exactly what happened with CC Sabathia, who only agreed to become a Yankee after they offered him the biggest contract ever for a pitcher. Now Sabathia is trying to woo Lee to New York, but mostly because they’ve been close friends since their Cleveland days. Sabathia may like it there now (his paycheck and the World Series ring will have that effect), but he wasn’t thrilled about it at the time, and no one else was offering anything close to what New York did. Cliff Lee is from Arkansas and still lives there full time. All things being equal, he’d rather stay with the Rangers. (He seemed to brush if off at the time, but one wonders if Yankees fans SPITTING ON HIS WIFE would affect his decision in any way.) But again, it’s a matter of how high the Yankees will go, and at a certain point it may become irresistible. If they get him, like all their other mercenary free agents, they’ll do a press conference and Lee will say how proud he is to be a Yankee, how much he’s always respected and admired the organization, yadda yadda crapola, and it’ll all be bullshit. You think A.J. Burnett wants to be in New York? No, but the idiots offered him $85 million.

On the flipside, the Sox’s biggest acquisition, Adrian Gonzalez, has repeatedly and credibly said that he’s been a fan of the Red Sox since he was a kid, and that if he couldn’t stay with the Padres, Boston was his preferred destination. The Red Sox have to overpay some guys simply because they’re competing with the Yankees. Does any of this matter when both teams are paying more than one player above $20 million a year? Maybe not, but I’m making the case there is STILL a difference between the Red Sox spending and the Yankees’ spending.


-I was browsing one of my favorite blog sites Friday, The Daily Beast, when I came across THIS article, by one Ben Crair, who uses the release of The Fighter as a basis to proclaim there have been too many “Boston movies” recently. Needless to say, that set me off instantly. Basically, he says he’s tired of seeing the same kind of people with the same accents, from the same neighborhoods, Fenway Park/Red Sox references, etc. He even vaguely tried to pull the “Boston is racist” card. I considered writing a lengthy response to him, but there’s no point trying to educate that kind of ignorance. My counter is this; so we should go back to the 80’s and 90’s when 95% of the movies out of Hollywood take place in Los Angeles and New York? I don’t fucking think so. Now, I’ve been saying for years that I want more movies set in and around Boston, but that I also wanted them to take place outside of South Boston, and that they didn’t need to prominently feature Irish Catholic characters. Those of us from the area know just how diverse it is now, and you could realistically set almost any kind of story there. I’ve also been saying that it’s okay to shoot a movie in Boston and not have all your actors use Boston accents. In these senses, Mr. Crair and I agree. And no, you don’t have to have characters talking about the Sawx or Fenway Park, but anyone from Massachusetts will tell you that conversations about our sports teams find their way into everyday conversation no matter what’s going on around us, and seeing people in the backgrounds of Boston-set movies wearing jersey t-shirts is accurate to the area, not just shameless promotion. I could list dozens of clichés that relate to L.A. and NYC-based films, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue shooting good movies there.

The primary reason more movies have been set in Boston over the past few years is because of the tax incentives Massachusetts recently passed. This is the same reason a lot of films are being shot in New Mexico, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. I don’t even know where I’m going with this except to say it’s a GOOD thing some of Hollywood’s best movies are being shot outside of the L.A./NYC. I love that M. Night Shyamalan shot his movies in and around Philadelphia, that Robert Rodriguez does all his stuff in Austin, Texas. I love that The Next Three Days took place in Pittsburgh. I love that Christopher Nolan shoots his Batmovies in Chicago. A variety of scenery, locations, and culture is a good thing in art, and definitely in visual arts like cinema. I suppose it’s no coincidence that Crair is from New York. His whole argument just sounds bitter. He whines about seeing Boston too much, but admits that Good Will Hunting, The Departed, Mystic River, The Town and The Fighter are all very good movies. But like I said, I’m also getting tired of some Boston clichés, but that doesn’t mean other kinds of stories can’t be shot in the city. That’s precisely what I hope to do as a filmmaker.


-The Red Sox get an A for the Adrian Gonzalez trade-and-sign, and a B for the Carl Crawford deal. Points off for Crawford because 7 years is too long, and he is not a $20 million player. But you give them some benefit of the doubt because they simply weren’t gonna get him for a reasonable price.

Since I post my movie reviews straight to Facebook through the Flixster Movies app, here are a few music suggestions for ya…

Kanye West‘s new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is really damn good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, though West is a complete douchebag, he is also a true artist. And he’s one of the few mainstream rappers who can ably rap about real issues and not just party song after club song after party song. An excellent example of this on the new album is my favorite song off it, “So Appalled” which is truly exceptional. It’s got one of those dark, pounding, moody beats that I prefer in rap, no real hook, and 5 verses (each by a different artist) , which reminded me a lot of old school Wu Tang (which is perfect given that RZA is one of the guest artists). There’s even a Dark Knight reference in Jay-Z‘s verse! A perfect example of what I referred to earlier comes from Kanye’s verse, where he goes;

“Niggas be writin bullshit like they gotta work/ Niggas goin through real shit, man they outta work/ That’s why another goddamn dance track gotta hurt/ That’s why I’d rather spit somethin that got a purp”

Just a great fuckin track, easily one of the best rap songs of the year. Other highlights from the album include “Power”, “Runaway”, “Monster” and “Blame Game.”

I’m also going through the new albums from N.E.R.D., the omnipresent Nicki Minaj (the track “Roman’s Revenge” with Eminem is awesome), and Kings of Leon, but I have to listen to em more than once before giving a general opinion. As always I welcome your music suggestions, particularly for indie stuff I’m not normally exposed to in my cave here in Myrtle Beach. I haven’t heard the entire new T.I. album (No Mercy), but the song “That’s All She Wrote”, also with Eminem, is excellent. It’s been a damn good comeback year for Mr. Marshall Mathers.

-While we’re on the topic of music suggestions, Chris, one of my friends in L.A., recently suggested I check out a band called Austrian Death Machine, which makes songs based off of Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners. LOL, you read that right. Some of the names of their songs include “Get to the Choppa”, “Who Is Your Daddy, and What Does He Do?” and “I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots, And Your Motorcycle.” I checked them out, and…they’re damn good! Not only is it hilarious listening to a guy rage scream “It’s not a tumor!” in a heavy metal song, but the songs are actually pretty damn good (and feature some sick guitar solos). Check it;

– Remaining 2010 movies I MUST see before putting together the Biggie nominations; Alice in Wonderland, The Fighter, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Fair Game, The King’s Speech, The Company Men, The Way Back, Buried, Winter’s Bone, Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go, True Grit, Tron Legacy. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to wait for a few of these to come out on Netflix, since some have already come and gone or definitely won’t open here. Grrr. I give the Myrtle Beach area’s ability to acquire smaller movies a D.

-I was flipping through HBO channels one day last week and happened upon It’s Complicated, the Nancy Meyers-directed romcom from last year with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I didn’t see it in theaters and was curious about it, so I watched about 45 minutes before I had to leave for work. I tried to follow the story, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how annoyingly pretentious it all was. There was absolutely NOTHING I could relate to in the film. I’m not sure there was a single non-white person in the entire movie (there may have been one black guy picking cotton serving drinks in the background of a scene at some fancy restaurant). This is the epitome of hypocritical Hollywood elitism. The title of this movie should be It’s Awesome to Be Rich and White in California. I mean holy shit. The whole movie is just a bunch of well-off white people having relationship issues while doing things rich white people do. Oh whoa is them! Should Alec Baldwin fuck his hot, 20-something trophy wife, or go back to his rich, older ex-wife?

I wondered who the audience was for this movie, but it somehow grossed more than $120 million in the U.S. And then I read that the damn thing cost $85 million to make. WHY?! I give writer-director Nancy Meyers‘ grip on reality an F. Meyers is considered one of Hollywood’s elite female directors, yet given her resume (The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give, What [White] Women Want, The Parent Trap), it seems she’s never seen a black, Asian or Latino person, despite living in Southern California. But, I guess you gotta write what you know, and she knows a lot of rich white people. Good for her. I guess.

And now comes a report that another whitewashed romantic comedy, James L. BrooksHow Do You Know, had a $120 million production budget. WHAT!?! How the fuck does a romantic comedy cost $120 million? To put that in perspective, Gladiator cost $105 million. A Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson romantic comedy cost more than Saving Private Ryan. Holy shit. You’d think for all that money they could afford a better title.

THIS cost $120 million. There better be an alien invasion in the middle of this movie.

-Finally, switching gears a little bit, I’d like to give an A+ to girls who know how to look good when the weather turns cold. Seriously, in my view, girls who can rock the tight pants and boots combo are just as attractive as a girl in short shorts and a tanktop during the summer. But that’s me. Ladies, you’re killin it this winter. Keep up the good work.


-I’m late to the Olivia Wilde bandwagon, but she was finally in something I’ve seen (The Next Three Days), and she wears a superhot little outfit in Tron Legacy, so…OH HAI, Olivia Wilde;

She’s moderately talented, too. So there’s that.

I label attractive women under one of three primary categories; beautiful, hot, or cute. One is not necessarily better than another, but there are differences. Olivia is just plain beautiful.

-And because it’s been awhile, here’s another pic of my current It Girl, Katy Perry. Damn you, Russell Brand.

She wears latex like I eat cheese; as if our lives depended on it.

Katy Perry…is hot. But because of her persona, she’s got some cute sprinkled in there, too. Probably 80% hot, 20% cute.

Quote of the Week

“Whether by the sword or the slow decay of time, Aragorn will die. And there will be no comfort for you, no comfort to ease the pain of his passing. He will come to death an image of the splendor of the kings of men, in glory, undimmed before the breaking of the world. But you, my daughter, you will linger on in darkness and in doubt, as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Here you will dwell, bound to your grief under the fading trees, until all the world has changed and the long years of your life are utterly spent.” – Hugo Weaving as Elrond in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

I know it’s random, but I was listening to some of Howard Shore‘s Lord of the Rings score this week (the Complete Recordings versions, which are a must have for fans), and you can’t help but picture scenes from the movies while listening to the music, and I was thinking about this scene in particular from The Two Towers, and about how much I love that Elrond speech. Long story short, the quality of the language in the specific line I bolded is stunning. Whenever I’m writing, and I think of how something could or should be better, and whether or not I’m capable of truly great writing, I often instinctively think of that line, as if saying to myself, Remember, THIS is what you’re aspiring to accomplish. THIS is great writing. In fact, it may be the single most beautifully written sentence I’ve ever heard (and I say heard because of how amazingly Weaving delivers it). If you can’t place the quote in context, just watch this clip on the Tube [Arwen’s Fate, “Evenstar”]. There are no perfect films, but that is a perfect scene, and it’s as good as it gets with regards to dialogue.