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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Predicting the Best Picture Race: Argo vs. Lincoln

It seems that the two legitimate contenders to win Best Picture at the 85th Oscars are Lincoln and Argo. Of course anything can happen but the common perception is that these two are the two to beat.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Best Films Of 2012

20) The Hunger Games
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, & Woody Harrelson

Brief Description: Anything that stars my girl Jennifer Lawrence is bound to be good and even though the violence is toned down for teenie-boppers, The Hunger Games was still a very enjoyable flick.
19) Bernie
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, & Matthew McConaughey

Brief Description: Jack Black gives the best performance of his career as the titular character who is accused of murdering his friend/the town bitch played by MacLaine. It makes for a great rental (currently streaming on Netflix).

18) The Amazing Spider-Man
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: James Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, & Dennis Leary

Brief Description: Despite the fact that Raimi's Spider-Man came out only a decade ago and despite the fact that Andrew Garfield is too good looking and charming to play a convincing Peter Parker, I thoroughly enjoyed this re-boot. Plus, anything with Emma Stone in it is worth watching!

17) This Is 40
STARS: 3 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, & Albert Brooks

Brief Description: This Is 40 Minutes Way Too Long was still an enjoyable film despite the obvious edits Apatow could have made. Despite Mann's and Rudd's characters not being relatable to me, the characters felt honest and true which I loved and respected. Plus, I was laughing throughout the entire thing which is always a good thing for a comedy.

16) Zero Dark Thirty
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Katheryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, & Kyle Chandler

Brief Description: Maybe it was because I came into the film with too high expectations but I wasn't THAT overly impressed with ZDT. This was a thriller that didn't thrill and a character piece about a woman who I knew nothing about besides her obsession with catching Bin Laden. From an emotional standpoint, I wasn't really thrilled nor entertained and most of the time I wished I was watching Homeland or Argo instead. However, the entire ending sequence was spectacular and saved the film for me.

15) 21 Jump Street
STARS: 3 out of 4
Directed By: Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Brie Larson, Ice Cube, & Rob Riggle

Brief Description: Easily the best Channing Tatum film of the year (I mean, he WAS more charismatic and funnier than Jonah Hill) as this film found a way to be good and entertaining by not taking itself too seriously. Also, I like how Hill lost 60 pounds before this role and still ended up being the fat guy (Although, he WAS standing next to Tatum the entire time)

14) Celeste and Jesse Forever
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, & Ari Graynor

Brief Description: Celeste (played by Jones who also co-wrote the film) struggles to deal with the fact that her longtime childhood friend and ex-boyfriend Jesse (Samberg) is having a baby with another woman. Another great hidden gem of 2012 and just a great character piece and performance by Jones.
13) The Cabin In The Woods
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, & Bradley Whitford

Brief Description: A fun, campy, and extremely meta movie about all horror films. The less you know going into it the better.
12) Skyfall
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Sam Mendez

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judy Dench, Javier Bardem, & Ralph Fiennes

Brief Description: Die hard Bond fans need to relax about this film and actually judge it on its own merits as a stand alone film- which is that it is very good but not even close to the extreme love it's getting by the internet. Casino Royale is still the best Craig Bond film, but Mendes' great vision to this franchise along with another incredible performance by Javier Bardem makes Skyfall a superb movie.

11) Chronicle
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, & Michael B. Jordan

Brief Description: A superhero film but done using the found footage style. A great slow build to what crates a (super) villain and what a hero must do to stop him. You can't help but feel for the main character (played by DeHaan) despite the awful things he ends up doing.

10) Premium Rush
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: David Koepp
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, & Dania Ramirez

Brief Description: Joseph Gordon-Levitt can do no wrong and this action packed thrill ride is no exception. Most really good action films hinges upon the villain and you can find no better actor to play a villain than the great Michael Shannon who delivers another outstanding performance.

9) The Master
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, & Amy Adams

Brief Description: The fact that no one can explain what this film is really about or what P.T. Anderson is trying to say is disturbing (which also makes Sight and Sound pretentious as hell) but The Master features some of the best acting of the year and some scenes that will stick with you and that I will never forget.

8) The Dark Knight Rises
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Co-Written and Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, & Anne Hathaway

Brief Description: It is a great ending to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy as a whole but it doesn't hold up as a stand alone film due to the glaring and unforgivable plot holes. Don't believe me? Read this amazing Cracked article which I promise will change your mind.

7) Django Unchained
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, & Kerry Washington

Brief Description: I put this as Tarantino's 4th best film behind Basterds, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs because I didn't feel the same emotional connection to Django as I did to those other three. However, this fairly straight forward story (especially for Tarantino's standards) is still fun and violent as only Tarantino can do.

6) Seven Psychopaths
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, & Woody Harrelson

Brief Description: A meta film about action movies and the genre in general, McDonagh again utilizes Colin Farrell perfectly to make for an enjoyable and fun movie. Sam Rockwell is great and a delight in this movie like he is in all of his films.

5) Life Of Pi
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, & a CGI Tiger

Brief Description: The cinematography is gorgeous (easily the best of the year) and Ang Lee does an amazing job making the story of an Indian boy named Pi who is alone on a raft entertaining, wonderful, and thought-provoking.

4) Silver Linings Playbook
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Written and Directed By: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, & Robert De Niro

Brief Description: Bradley Cooper gives the best performance of his career (and one of the best of the year) as he plays a bi-polar man prone to violent outbursts who is struggling to keep his disease under control. Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro are also amazing in this film as they help him cope with his illness.

3) Argo
STARS: 3.5 out of 4
Directed By: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, & Bryan Cranston

Brief Description: The second half of Argo alone is some of the best film making you will see in 2012 and Ben Affleck directs the hell out of this film. His Oscar snub for Best Director is a downright atrocity. Affleck plays a CIA operative who has to get American hostages out of Iran and it is gripping from start to finish with absolutely no fat or fillers along the way.

2) Wreck-It Ralph
STARS: 4 out of 4
Directed By: Rich Moore
Voices Of: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, & Jane Lynch

Brief Description: Surprisingly, Sarah Silverman brings this amazing film into the elite stratosphere. Wreck-It Ralph (Reilly) is an arcade bad guy who copes with being the "bad guy" all the time so he goes off into different video games to become the hero he desperately wants to be. Move over Pixar, there's a new Sheriff in town.
1) Looper
STARS: 4 out of 4
Written and Directed By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, & Jeff Daniels

Brief Description: An inventive and original film and really the only film of the year that made me want to scream "fuck yes, this is the best film of the 2012." (For comparison, two films made me do that in 2010- Inception and The Social Network- and only Drive made me do that in 2011.) Rian Johnson easily overcomes any hurdles that come with time travel films and creates a film that is both a science fiction and a western and overall just amazing. Of course there is great acting by everyone you would expect (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt) but there is the cutest little boy in Looper played by Pierce Gagnon who also gives an amazing performance. Everything about this film is incredible: from the script, to Johnson's visual style, to even the subtle yet great make up Gordon-Levitt wears to make him look like Bruce Willis, Looper is hands down my top pick for the best film of 2012.


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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Looking Back On My Predictions For The 2013 Oscar Nominations


How Did I Do?: 8/9

BEST CALL: Beasts of the Southern Wild

WORST CALL: Not selecting Amour

NOTES: A pretty good list from me if I do say so myself and I'm also going to pay myself on the back for saying 9 films would get selected. If I had to extend my list to 10 I would have selected Amour as the 10th but I am shocked The Master didn't get a nomination and a foreign language film did.

What I Got Right: Argo, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life Of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

What I Should Have Done: Selected Amour instead of The Master


How Did I Do?: 2/5

BEST CALL: Ang Lee (Life Of Pi)

WORST CALL: Every one of my other selections

NOTES: What a complete at utter joke these five nominees are. Ben Affleck (Argo) and Katheryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) absolutely needed to be there. I'm actually fine with no Tarantino and I really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook so I'm not super upset to see David O. Russell there but still, he probably shouldn't be nominated considering how super deep 2012 is.

I think Affleck needs to be there because Argo was incredible (and because Affleck did the best directing out of everyone in 2012) and based on what I've heard about Zero Dark Thirty so does Bigelow. Despite my opinion on Lincoln of course Spielberg was going to get nominated and Life Of Pi was too brilliant to leave Ang Lee off of the list. That's four (Affleck, Bigelow, Lee, Spielberg) selections right there with maybe Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts), or Tarantino fighting for the fifth. That would have been both fair and just. (Although personally having Beasts get no nominations is probably fair and just. Have you seen it? It's boring as all hell).

What I Got Right: Ang Lee (Life Of Pi), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts Of The Southern Wild), and David O. Russell over Ben Affleck (Argo), Katheryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)


How Did I Do?: 4/5

BEST CALL: Saying BOTH Bradley Cooper (SLP) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) would get nominated since it seemed like these two were fighting against each other for the "fifth spot"

WORST CALL: Saying Denzel Washington (Flight) would not get a nomination

NOTES: There were six obvious contenders for only five slots. Daniel Day-Lewis was a mortal lock and I just knew that both Bradley Cooper and Joaquin Phoenix would get a nomination because they were both incredible. That left Hugh Jackman (Les Mis), John Hawkes (The Sessions), and Washington fighting for two spots. It turns out that Hawkes was the odd man out and not Washington. In my defense though, I DID SAY that I was guaranteed to be wrong about Denzel missing out.

What I Got Right: Bradley Cooper (SLP), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Hugh Jackman (Les Mis), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Denzel Washington (Flight) over John Hawkes (The Sessions)


How Did I Do?: 4/5

BEST CALL: Qu'venzhane Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)

WORST CALL: Not going through one of my last second edit of deleting Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and adding Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

NOTES: I am so proud of myself for this one. The only locks were Jennifer Lawrence (SLP) and Jessica Chastain (ZDT) so the fact that I got four out of five correct in what I said was the category I felt the weakest about feels pretty good to me.

What I Got Right: Jessica Chastain (ZDT), Jennifer Lawrence (SLP), Qu'venzhane Wallis (Beasts), Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) over Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)


How Did I Do?: 4/5

BEST CALL: The four that I predicted would get a nomination and did get a nomination took no big leaps of faith on my part so no real "best call" here

WORST CALL: Claiming that all five of my selections would be 100% correct and "stone cold locks"

NOTES: God does the Academy hate Leo. I know he has three nominations and two are for Best Lead Actor but listen to the list of films Leonardo DiCaprio has been in in which he DID NOT receive a nomination: Django Unchained, Inception, The Departed, Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, and Gangs of New York. I bet DiCaprio wished The Great Gatsby was a 2012 film not, huh? Although with the Academy's hatred of him, it might not matter and he'll probably get snubbed again at next year's Oscars.

What I Got Right: Alan Arkin (Argo), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Robert De Niro (SLP), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Christoph Waltz (Django) over Leonardo DiCaprio (Django)


How Did I Do?: 4/5

BEST CALL: Amy Adams (The Master). She was no lock to getting a nomination considering her SAG snub, but I also really didn't go out on this one either.

WORST CALL: Thinking Jacki Weaver only had a 10% chance of getting nominated.

NOTES: Even though Weaver neither received a SAG nomination nor a Golden Globe nomination and even though Nicole Kidman received both, Weaver earned the "last spot" over Kidman.

What I Got Right: Adam Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Mis), Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Jacki Weaver (SLP) over Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)


How Did I Do?: 4/5

BEST CALL: Michael Haneke (Amour)

WORST CALL: Thinking the Academy actually liked, or at least respected, The Master

NOTES: Out of the four selections I got correct, only two (Moonrise Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty) earned WGA nominations. However, Quentin Tarantino (Django) is not in the WGA so of course he was not going to receive a nomination (although weirdly that hasn't stopped the WGA from nominating him in the past) and Haneke wasn't eligible because the "A" in "WGA" stands for "America" and Haneke is not from America. Even though John Gatnis did earn a WGA nominations, I really did not think that it would translate over into an Oscar nod. However, it did. It's a shame the same didn't hold true for Rian Johnson (Looper).

What I Got Right: Amour (Michael Haneke), Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola), Zero Dark Thirty (Mark Boal)

What I Should Have Done: Selected Flight (John Gatnis) over The Master (P.T. Anderson)


How Did I Do?: 5/5

BEST CALL: Picking all five nominations perfectly


NOTES: The only other contender for this category was Stephen Chbosky for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower because it earned a WGA nomination. However, because Benh Zeitlin is not in the WGA (in fact, no one associated with Beasts Of The Southern Wild is in ANY guild) he wasn't going to be nominated for a WGA. However, I knew Zeitlin would earn Chbosky's place come Oscar time.

What I Got Right: Argo (Chris Terrio), Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin), Life Of Pi (David Magee), Lincoln (Tony Kushner), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell

What I Should Have Done: N/A


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Final 2013 Oscar Nomination Predictions


- Argo
- Beasts Of The Southern Wild
- Django Unchained
- Les Miserables
- Life Of Pi
- Lincoln
- The Master
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Zero Dark Thirty

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Beasts Of The Southern Wild getting a nomination


- Ben Affleck (Argo)
- Katheryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Ang Lee (Life Of Pi)
- Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
- Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) not getting nominated. Probably over Ang Lee


- Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
- John Hawkes (The Sessions)
- Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
- Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

WHAT I'M DEFINITELY WRONG ABOUT: Denzel Washington (Flight) not getting a nomination. He'll probably get it over Phoenix.


- Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Marion Cotilliard (Rust and Bone)
- Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Qu'venzhane Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)
- Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: In a weak year (in an always weak category) this is the category I'm the most unsure about. I could see Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), and Rachel Weisz (Deep Blue Sea) each getting nominated. Only Chastain and Lawrence are locks.


- Alan Arkin (Argo)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
- Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Nothing. All five of these are stone cold locks.


- Amy Adams (The Master)
- Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
- Helent Hunt (The Sessions)
- Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)
- Sally Field (Lincoln)

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Maggie Smith not getting a nomination. Probably for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Also, for some reason Amy Adams' nomination is in jeopardy.


- Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
- Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
- Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Michael Haneke (Amour)
- Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

WHAT I'M MAYBE WRONG ABOUT: Possibly John Gatins for Flight but overall I think this is a good list


- Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
- David Magee (Life Of Pi)
- David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Chris Terrio (Argo)
- Benh Zeitlin (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)

WHAT I'M MAYBE WRONG ABOUT: It's hard to get a gauge on Beasts Of The Southern Wild considering it wasn't eligible for any of the guilds (WGA, SAG, DGA, and PGA) so it hasn't gotten nominated for anything beforehand. It's possible Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) gets nominated considering it has some Oscar buzz and it did get a WGA nod, but I'm still putting blind faith in Beasts (whether or not I think it deserves to be there is another story)

NOTE: This is a list of who I think WILL get a nomination and not about who I think DESERVES to get a nomination. That post will come later.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Bad Quarterback League: Final Update

This calculates both Week 16 and Week 17

1) Cahal

Total Points: 1,529
Points This Week: 197

New York Jets: 26,47
Tennessee: 27,22
Chicago: 27, 2
Philadelphia: 4, 42

2) Adam

Total Points: 1,379
Points This Week: 160

Miami: 14, 30
St. Louis: 16, 5
Kansas City: 51, 50
Minnesota: 11, -17

3) Bryan

Total Points: 1,062
Points This Week: 93

Arizona: 87, 5
Seattle: 1, -10
Dallas: -22, 27
San Francisco: 5, 0

4) Colleen

Total Points: 1,059
Points This Week: 118

Cleveland: 16, 15
Oakland: 31, 11
Buffalo: 10, 5
Baltimore: -11, 41

5) Ben

Total Points: 1,016
Points This Week: 205

Jacksonville: 21, 67
Pittsburgh: 32, 17
San Diego: 6, 6
Carolina: 21, 35

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ten "Quick" Reactions To Lovie Smith's Firing

As a die hard Chicago Bears fan, I was happy to see Lovie Smith go. I think everyone in Chicago was. Don't get me wrong, I harbor no ill will towards Lovie and I am grateful for his tenure here, but his time as the Bears head coach had passed. While many people across the country view Smith's firing as an outrage and felt he deserved to stay even longer, these people are not Chicago Bears fans and do not know the intricacies of Smith's coaching style. They do not know Lovie's strengths and weaknesses across his nine year run to truly know if he was a good coach or not. I will try to take an unbiased look at Lovie Smith and will try to react to this firing without acting like a typical, stupid, and rash Bears fan.


1) Lovie Smith always had the respect of his players. I think the number one thing a coach needs to be successful is to have the respect of the locker room so he can implement his scheme and plan. Great football minds have been terrible head coaches (Wade Phillips and Rex Ryan first come to mind) because they didn't have the player's respect. Everyone loves Lovie.

2) The Bears defense has always been elite or really good under Smith. Say what you will about his teams as a whole but offenses were always afraid of Lovie's D's.

3) If you are a good coach you should be able to build up your team within three years. Lovie was able to do that. Lovie was hired in 2004 and took over an average club at best. Within three years he made the Bears one of the best defenses of all time and they forced their way into the Superbowl. The Bears have, for the most part, been a legitimate playoff contender ever since then and they went to the NFC Championship game in 2010.

4) While Lovie Smith is generally known for a being a conservative guy on offense, he takes chances and has balls when it comes to 4th and short situations near the goal line / red zone. Especially in the past few years when he has non-Matt Forte backs like Marion Barber and Michael Bush who generally convert in those situations. Many coaches will take the guaranteed 3 points but many times Lovie doesn't. He risks trying to get the 7 and even when he fails to do convert (like in the Seahawks game where those three points probably would have won the Bears the game), it's still the correct decision to go for it.


5) Despite always seemingly being a playoff contender, Lovie Smith has only taken the Bears to the playoffs once since 2006. That's only one time in six years. Most coaches don't even get six years and they most certainly don't get six years with only one playoff appearance. In the past two seasons, the Bears were an almost guaranteed lock to make the playoffs and both times they suffered an epic collapse to allow another NFC North team to take their place

6) As GM Phil Emery said during his press conference:
Lovie Smith is a good defensive coach who was never able to develop a consistent offense in his nine seasons as head coach of the Bears, and that's what cost him his job.
Truer words have never been spoken. No one within the Bears organization knew ANYTHING about running an offense. The only person that had a proven track record of knowing what an offense looks like was former offensive coordinator Mike Martz and he was too stubborn to be good. Lovie Smith did not show any semblance of knowledge that he knew what it took to run a successful offense. Here's a list of the points per game the Bears scored during Lovie's tenure (and BTW, these stats are flawed because many of Lovie's teams scored a bunch of defensive and special teams touchdowns):

2004: 14.4 PPG (32)
2005: 16.3 PPG (26)
2006: 26.7 PPG (2)
2007: 20.9 PPG (18)
2008: 23.4 PPG (14)
2009: 20.4 PPG (19)
2010: 20.9 PPG (21)
2011: 22.1 PPG (17)
2012: 23.4 PPG (16)

And by the way, when you take out an NFL record nine touchdowns (and extra points) scored by the defense in 2012, that means the Bears would have only scored 19.5 Points Per Game which would have been good enough for 24th in the league- just behind the Tennessee Titans and above the Cleveland Browns.

Excluding 2004 and 2005 seasons which were (justifiably) rebuilding years for Lovie, the Bears were only in the top half of points per game scored only twice and one of those times the Bears were only the 14th best team- which is barely above average. Also, the other time the Bears were in the top half of PPG scored was in 2006- the Superbowl team led by Rex Grossman. I don't think anyone would claim that a Rex Grossman led offense is a good offense and I have to believe those PPG totals were skewed both by the special teams/defensive touchdowns that were scored plus the first five or six games of the season were the Bears were undefeated and no one knew just yet how bad Grossman really was. Plus, according to Football Outsiders, the Bears had the 20th best offense in the league in 2006.

The point is, Lovie Smith does not know how to run an offense and he had the pieces and weapons to run a good offense- especially once Jay Cutler arrived. This fact alone is enough to easily justify firing Lovie Smith.

7) Lovie Smith is atrocious at challenging plays. Unfortunately, coaching challenging percentage data is not widely available, but I was able to find this statistic from a 2010 Chicago Sun-Times article. Between 2004 and 2010, the Chicago Bears were 19-61 (31%) in terms of challenge percentage which was 5th worst among all NFL teams. It seems to me that Lovie has gotten better at when to throw the challenge flag and when not to in the past few seasons, but any Bears fan can tell you Lovie is bad at knowing when to throw that little red flag.

8) Lovie Smith is really bad at making in game adjustments and while I have no stats to back me up (I don't even really know what statistic(s) I should even be looking for), the eye test shows that Lovie is really bad at making the little adjustments within a game and within a season to have prolonged success. Lovie is also terrible at making adjustments from season to season as it appears that he will always stubbornly use his scheme to a fault. It is common knowledge that Lovie Smith runs a Tampa-2 / Cover-2 defensive scheme; however, this scheme is only effective if you have a successful pass rush. During most of Lovie's nine year tenure he has had a really good pass rush and a really good defensive line, but in the years when there is obviously no pass rush, Smith's defenses are maddeningly frustrating. When you see coaches out there like Bill Belicheck who is constantly tweaking his scheme week to week and quarter to quarter, Smith's stubbornness can not be tolerated.

9) I keep hearing (mainly from ESPN) all about the 2012 season and the fact that the Chicago Bears just won ten games. That is irrelevant. Lovie Smith got fired based upon his nine full seasons where he was proven to not be a good head coach time and time again. It was not just the 2012 season but a cumulative effort since 2006.

Plus, even if you want to talk about his 2012 season, he still missed the playoffs and his team did not control its own destiny. Games versus Houston, versus Seattle, versus Green Bay, and at Minnesota were all winnable for Lovie's team and if the Bears were a legit powerhouse like we all thought they were after 8 weeks, then they should have won at least ONE of those games. Lovie and the Bears benefited from an extremely easy schedule which had them playing the Jaguars, the Titans, the Colts (in Andrew Luck's first game), the Cowboys, the Cardinals, the Panthers, the Rams, and the Lions twice. That's a cake schedule. They lost to the Texans, the 49ers, the Vikings, the Seahawks, and the Packers (twice). All those teams are in the playoffs and they couldn't get one measly win in that bunch.


10) I personally don't mind Lovie Smith as a head coach as much as other Chicago Bears fans do. I think the fact that he had the respect of the locker room is good enough minimum requirements to be a head coach. However, I also think he needs a great offensive and defensive coordinator (mainly offensive) in place to actually make specific calls. Lovie at least has the appearance of being inept during the game (for the most part and only for the little stuff. I think the big stuff like what to do on 4th downs and such is pretty good) and so he needs a great play caller on his sidelines. The problems is is that you shouldn't have to say that about a head coach. In order to truly be allowed to keep your job after a decade you need to prove you can run an ENTIRE team, and not just parts of it. I thank Lovie Smith for his time in Chicago and I hope he finds success and whatever team he coaches next, but his firing from the Chicago Bears was long overdue.


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Most Anticipated Films Of 2013

10) Oz: The Great and Powerful
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams & Rachel Weisz

Why I'm Excited: After the Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi will get the benefit of the doubt until he's proves me wrong otherwise. Despite the word "Disney" slapped on to this film, despite the fact that this looks like Alice In Wonderland 2, and despite the fact that The Wizard Of Oz was really just Dorothy's dream and thus it is impossible to have a sequel, it's still Sam Raimi's vision which means it's bound to be excellent.

9) The Hunger Game: Catching Fire
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks & Philip Seymour Hoffman

Why I'm Excited: I really liked The Hunger Games book and movie. While the movie was unfortunately less violent than the book to earn a PG-13 rating, it was still enjoyable nonetheless. PLUS, the sequel adds Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman to the mix and an amazing actress that I really enjoy and that you've never heard of: Jena Malone.

8) Anchorman: The Legend Continues
Directed By: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, & David Koechner

Why I'm Excited: 1) Adam McKay is awesome. 2) Will Ferrell is awesome. 3) Anchorman is fucking awesome. Good enough reasons for you?

7) This Is The End
Directed By: Seth Rogan & Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson & everyone else associated with Judd Apatow

Why I'm Excited: While Goldberg and Rogan scripts have been more Green Hornet than Superbad recently, This Is The End seems like the great comedy writing duo finally found their mojo again. Plus, any chance these amazing comedic actors can get in a room and just riff and just try and make each other laugh seems like it will be a good time enjoyed by all.

6) Kick Ass 2: Balls To The Wall
Directed By: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, & Jim Carrey

Why I'm Excited: THREE actors who all have three names in their name? It seems like the perfect trifecta! I love the original Kick Ass when it first came out. I'm a sucker for both superhero flicks and Chloe Moretz so bring on the sequel! Also, any chance you can see Jim Carrey dressed up like THIS, the film's viewing is a must.

5) Star Trek: Into Darkness
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, & Benedict Cumberbatch

Why I'm Excited: 1) I really enjoyed the first Star Trek a lot, 2) J.J. Abrams is a pretty darn good director, and 3) I've recently gotten into Sherlock so now I enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch. BTW, we all know Cumberbatch is playing Khan. There's no need for the studio to treat us all like fools. Remember when we all thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was Robin in The Dark Knight Rises from the get-go and then we saw the film and we were proven right? Yeah, same goes for BC except we we'll be proven correct from the onset of the film.

4) Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, & Dennis Haysbert

Why I'm Excited: Because the first Sin City was mind blowing and fucking amazing. The characters are so rich and the film is so stylized that I just want to see what adventures these characters are up to now. A sequel has been rumored for a LONG time, but with an official October 4, 2013 release date, we finally all seem to be getting what we wished for.

3) Iron Man 3
Directed By: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, & Ben Kinglsey

Why I'm Excited: Since The Dark Knight, our superhero movies need to be Nolan-ized. There needs to be grittiness and vulnerability and actual, three dimensional characters. We got that in the original Iron Man. We did not get that in the crappy sequel. It looks like we get it again in Iron Man 3 where we see the effects the events in The Avengers had on Tony Stark.

2) The Great Gatsby
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, & Carey Mulligan

Why I'm Excited: I was excited to see this film when this trailer was first released in July of 2012 and it was supposed to be released opposite of Django Unchained this past Christmas. But the movie studio decided to act like a fucking moron and pushed back The Great Gatsby to July of 2013. While I'm not a big fan of Luhrmann's past work (Moulin Rogue, Romeo + Juliet), the man is great at making things extravagant and there's nothing more extravagant that the Roaring 20's in this classic F. Scott Fitzgerald tale.

1) Man Of Steel
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, & Michael Shannon

Why I'm Excited: Do I really need to give you a reason why I'm excited about Man of Steel?! It's a superhero movie from the minds of the brilliant Christopher Nolan and the incredible Zack Snyder (Watchman, 300). Plus it's written by David S. Goyer who helped and influenced Nolan on The Dark Knight movies. You're super stoked to see this film as well. I'm even more excited that the underrated and excellent Michael Shannon gets to play the film's villain: General Zod.


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