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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 4 Most Baffling Nominations From The 1994 Oscars

1994 was a tremendous year for movies. The three best movies of that year, in no particular order, are Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, and Pulp Fiction. These 3 films were (unsurprisingly) nominated for Best Picture that year. While almost everybody believes that Forrest Gump robbed Pulp Fiction that year of everything at the Oscar, that's not what this post is about. I'm not going to complain about the winners (and truthfully, I believe The Shawshank Redemption was robbed of everything, but that's for another time), I'm going to complain about the nominations themselves. It's weird looking back at who and what got nominated, especially in a year as incredibly deep and good as 1994 was. Here are the 4 most baffling nominations from the 1994 Oscars:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014 Weekly TV Recap (April 20 - April 26)


Sunday April 20th

Game of Thrones (HBO), Episode 3 "Breaker of Chains"

Brief Description: After the thrilling episode of last week that included The Purple Wedding, there was no way that "Breaker of Chains" wasn't going to be a let down. Game of Thrones is at it's best when it can stay in one location for a long period of time. That's what made Season 2's "Blackwater" the show's best episode. Spending so much time at Joffrey's wedding was just a delight, so going back to the normal pace filled with a litany of scenes was disappointing. I get it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. We're at the beginning of the season, so characters and arcs are still being set up. Once the season goes along and these arcs come to a close is when the show gets really good. 

Mad Men (AMC), Episode 2 "A Day's Work"

Brief Description: Creator Matthew Weiner is a true artist. There's so many things to talk about and discuss on this show, and so much symbolism and themes pouring at you. I can understand why TV critics love the show, but the show's getting extremely boring. Mad Men is starting to feel like a book your forced to read in a high school English class rather than a show that brings your satisfaction.

Silicon Valley (HBO), Episode 3 "Articles of Incorporation"

Brief Description: For the first time this season, I finally enjoyed an episode of Silicon Valley. The show is full of great comedic actors and stand up comedians such as Kumail Nanjiani, TJ Miller, and Martin Short and for the first time I feel like these actors were able to just be funny. While there was of course a problem to be solved (this week getting naming rights to Pied Piper), the scale seemed smaller which allowed the humor to be bigger.

Friday, April 25, 2014

10 Most Anticipated Summer Movies of 2014

Generally speaking, the summer movie season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Maybe May 1st to the beginning of September. Not coincidentally, this is the time frame we Americans consider "summer". But that's not the case anymore. The summer movie season starts earlier and earlier now. In 2014, Captain America: The Winter Solider was released on April 4th. The Hunger Games was released on March 23, 2012. It doesn't need to be the summer anymore for Hollywood to release a summer Blockbuster. But with that being said, here is my list of the 10 most anticipates summer movies of 2014. The time frame of movies being released may be the same, but the release of this post gets earlier and earlier.

10) Edge of Tomorrow
Release Date: June 6th
Directed By: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt
Excitement Level: 6

WHY I'M EXCITED: Because Tom Cruise really doesn't make bad movies. While Tom Cruise hasn't made a great movie since 2002's Minority Report, he hasn't made a bad (action) movie either. Films like Knight and Day, Oblivion, and Jack Reacher were at the very least worth renting. Doug Liman is the director of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the first Bourne movie (the best one IMHO), and Swingers. He doesn't make great movies, but he doesn't make bad ones either.
WHY IT COULD BE BAD: The floor for Edge of Tomorrow might be high, but its ceiling is low. I don't know that anyone was clamoring for a science fiction Groundhog's Day, and I can't imagine people will be clamoring for one after this film's release. I don't see this being a huge phenomenon, but rather a solid rental, and that's not high praise for any film.

9) Lucy
Release Date: August 8th
Directed By: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson & Morgan Freeman
Excitement Level: 6

WHY I'M EXCITED: Luc Besson is a great director with a cool and unique vision. The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional are excellent flicks and the Taken franchise is great. Scarlett Johansson is also becoming a bona fide action star with Lucy coming on the heals of her three Avengers flicks. It'll be refreshing to see a great action movie led by a female.
WHY IT COULD BE BAD: Luc Besson has made some awesome films, but he's also made some duds as well. His most recent film, The Family, was just a waste of everyone's time. Also, this whole "humans only use 10% of their brain" Hollywood plot point could actually come across on screen just as annoying as it sounds.

FX CEO John Landgraf Complains About HBO, Emmys

On Wednesday April 9, 2014, John Landgraf (left), the CEO of the FX Network, told that HBO allowing True Detective to enter the Emmy race as a Drama Series as opposed to a Mini Series is "unfair". Current Emmy rules says that shows like True Detective (and FX's American Horror Story for that matter) can choose which category they fall into, because they can qualify in either. Landgraf also goes on to complain that shows like Shameless and Orange Is The New Black should not be eligible in the Comedy Series categories, because they are an hour long, as opposed to the normal 30 minute sitcom.

I encourage you all to check out the interview as Landgraf makes some interesting points, mainly that the only reason True Detective can get huge stars like Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson is precisely BECAUSE it's a mini series with a limited schedule, but truthfully, Landgraf just comes across as whiny. The Deadline article paints Landgraf in such a light that he sounds like a toddler who's just been told he has to go into Time Out.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Discussion Of The Five Tool Players In The MLB

The five tools that baseball scouts look for when they are scouting MLB prospects are: hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, defense, and arm strength. If a player has all five tools, they are considered a super star. They will be drafted at the top of the amateur draft, and will be expected to make in into the major leagues sooner rather than later. A five tool player is the white unicorn of the major leagues.

However, being a five tool player is overrated. You don't need to possess all five tools to be great. Hell, you don't even need to possess half of them. Reigning and 2 time A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera only possess two out of the five tools- hitting for average and power. He's a terrible defender with no speed and no arm. Yet he's one of the best players in baseball. In fact, there are very few players in baseball who can even be considered a five tool player. This post will explore the five tool players in the game, and in turn, will show you just how outdated, rather unnecessary, the designation of a five tool player is.


Mike Trout (LAA)

While Miguel Cabrera is the true 2 time reigning A.L. MVP, the player that that designation deserved to go to was Mike Trout. He is without a doubt the best player in the game, and he has led the major leagues in WAR for the past two seasons. Trout batted over .320 in 2012 and 2013, hit 27 and 33 home runs for the past two years respectively, and stole 33 and 49 bases for the past two years respectively. The Angels outfielder was 9th in Isolated Power in 2013, and 14th in 2012. He was also 4th in the majors according to Fangraphs base running statistic in 2013 and first (by a wide margin) in 2012. Mike Trout is also an elite defensive outfielder. He has a career 10.2 UZR/150 in the outfielder, and is widely regarded by baseball scouts as the best defender in the game. Mike Trout is the quintessential five tool player. He doesn't just have all five tools, he's one of or THE BEST in all five of the tools.

Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

Gonzalez has consistently been one of the best outfielders in the game since playing 89 games for the Rockies in 2009. CarGo has had over 20 stolen bases and over 20 home runs for the past four years, and he would have had more had he been able to stay healthy. Gonzalez also consistently bats around or over .300. Here are his batting average numbers since 2010: .336, .295, .303, and .305. Gonzalez is a pretty good defender as well. He has an excellent arm, and has posted positive defensive stats in all 3 outfield positions. While he most certainly should be a right fielder, he still is a pretty good center fielder.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Tough 2014 Away Games For The Chicago Bears

The 2014 NFL Schedule was released earlier today, so being the huge Bears fan that I am, I had to take a look for myself. The one major thing that stuck out in my mind is just how tough their away games are. I mean freaking brutal. I expected the Bears to have a tough schedule considering they have to play the AFC East, and NFC South but the Bears schedule is just insane. Let's take a look at the Bears away games:

September 14, at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have been to three straight NFC Championship games, have the best coach in the game, a great defense, and an offense that can move the ball. 

September 22, at New York Jets: This is by far and away the easiest away game of the Bears schedule. While I personally don't think the Jets will be that good in 2014, if Geno Smith takes a huge leap forward and Eric Decker and Chris Johnson turn out to be great additions, then the Jets will be a tough team to play.

October 5, at Carolina Panthers: Last year the Panthers finished 1st in the NFC South, earned the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs, have a tough defense, and one of the best quarterbacks in the game.

October 12, at Atlanta Falcons: While I have never been that big of a fan of Matt Ryan's Falcons, even when they kept finishing 1st in the division, they have always been a very good team at home. Plus, after the terrible season the Falcons had in 2013, you know they're going to return to "greatness" in 2014.

October 26, at New England Patriots: The Pats are one of the best teams in the NFL. Period. The Bears just have to hope Tom Brady and Bill Belichick injure each other the week before this game.

November 9, at Green Bay Packers: This game comes every year so of course it's no surprise, but unless Aaron Rodgers is injured and out of the game like he was last year, this game is guaranteed loss.

November 27, at Detroit Lions: THE THANKSGIVING GAME! I expect the Lions to come to play.

December 28, at Minnesota Vikings: OK, the Bears SHOULD defeat the Vikings, but never take a division game for granted. 

NOT DIVISIONAL HOME GAMES: Buffalo, Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, New Orleans. I don't expect any of those teams to be very good, so I wouldn't mind if the Bears played any of them at their home stadium. Also, the Bears face the Cowboys and the 49ers because they all finished second in their division. Of course the easier team (Dallas) they play at home and the tougher team (San Fran) they play away. 


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Marvel Hasn't Made A Good Movie Since The Avengers

WARNING: This post contains spoilers.

Marvel has a license to print money. The Avengers is the 3rd highest grossing film ever in America bringing in about $625 million dollars. Its first follow up in this Avengers franchise was Iron Man 3. Shane Black's version of Iron Man is the 14th highest grossing film all time racking up a little over $400 million domestically. Thor: The Dark World did alright as it brought in a little over $200 million. Marvel's newest film in this franchise, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has (as of the writing of this post) has brought in $200 million within its first 3 weeks. America can't get enough of what Marvel is producing. The problem, is that these 3 Marvel films since The Avengers have not been very good. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are all not good films. Despite the praise and (for some reason) the high Rotten Tomatoes score, these are not good movies.

Now in fairness, the only Marvel film in this franchise before The Avengers worth a damn was Jon Favreau's Iron Man. I think Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk was excellent as well, but the Hulk series seems to be culturally adjacent from the Iron Man/Thor/Captain America/The Avengers films. Iron Man 2 and the original Captain America and Thor flicks were not very good either. They were great to help set up The Avengers, but on its own, they were just "eh".

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What's The Best Show Currently On Television?

What's the best show on television? 12 months ago the answer to this question was easy. The answer was "Breaking Bad". Despite how annoying people like me talk about how awesome Breaking Bad is, there is not a single person who watched the show and didn't love it. Even if you personally didn't think Breaking Bad was the #1 show around, it was certainly in the running. Breaking Bad is the current reigning champion of the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Television Drama, and it's probably gonna repeat after the incredible final 8 episodes it aired in the summer of 2013.

However, Breaking Bad is no longer in the running for best show currently on television. It's now 2014 and Breaking Bad will no longer air any more new episodes ever. Shows like Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, Masters of Sex, Homeland, Justified, and House of Cards have already aired full new seasons while Game of Thrones and Mad Men are just starting up their newest seasons. This was probably a great March Madness style bracket idea, but c'est la vie; it's April now. Here are the legitimate contenders for the best show currently on television. But first, those that just missed the cut.


- HOUSE OF CARDS (Netflix): It's currently aired one great season and one pretty bad season. I know I'm in the minority for that latter statement, but the show is still good, but not great. Most critics aren't fans of it and therefore don't review it. Those who do review the show seem to do it out of necessity rather than enjoyment.

- BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO): I personally am a huge fan of Boardwalk Empire, but critics seems to be mixed on it. That could be forgiven if the show was HBO's staple show; the show that brings in subscriptions. But it's not (more on that subject later). However, the biggest blow the show took was not earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama last year. It's two year reign ended when it was replaced by House of Cards. Even when Breaking Bad wasn't winning Emmy's, it was still getting nominated.

- THE WALKING DEAD (AMC): Stop it, just stop it. It may be your personal favorite show, but there's a huge difference between entertaining and good. The Walking Dead is entertaining, but it is not good. The show's had 3 different show runners and zero major, non-technical Emmy nominations. The Walking Dead is not even close to being in the running. I guess it'll just have to settle for being the most watched show in America. Oh, well.

- JUSTIFIED (FX): I only include Justified on this list because it's a personal favorite of mine. Its Season 2 is probably on my Mount Rushmore of single greatest TV seasons and I actually put Justified as my #1 favorite show of 2013, even above the final Breaking Bad season. However, not only has Justified had up and down seasons, but it's never been nominated for Outstanding Drama at the Emmy's, and it's not within the cultural zeitgeist like any other show on this list is.

- HOMELAND (Showtime): While it did win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama in its rookie year helping Claire Danes and Damien Lewis come home with Emmy wins as well, the show has never even come close to being up to par in terms of quality with its next 2 seasons as it was in its first. The show actually earned more Emmy nominations during its sophomore season thanks to one excellent episode and the praise it earned from the year before. But now, people are off the bandwagon and I'm confident that will show come award season this year. One good season, as excellent as it was, is not good enough to make you a legitimate contender.



PROS: Outside of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones is the most popular show in America. It's the most torrented show out there, and the second episode of this past season broke the record for the most torrented episode of all time. Game of Thrones is HBO's tent pole show, and it's the reason people buy HBO subscriptions. It's been nominated for Outstanding Television Drama at the Emmy's for its first 3 seasons. Even people (like yours truly) who don't like this type of fantasy genre are huge fans of the show. The show is so popular that teachers who have read the books threaten to spoil major deaths if his kids misbehave. It's a cultural phenomenon that can't be stopped.

CONS: As awesome as Game of Thrones is, it never feels as though it's THE BEST show out there. It's very, very good, but it always felt inferior to shows like Breaking Bad and another AMC show soon to be mentioned. The show's creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff openly criticize the notion of continuity and claim "themes are for eight-grade book reports". The books have been a blessing and a curse to the show. While Benioff and Weiss are able to pull the best stuff from the books to create an amazing show, the show is still limited creatively by the books nonetheless. George R.R. Martin's anthology creates a high floor, but a low ceiling. Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall wrote an excellent book entitled The Revolution Was Televised about the very best TV dramas and The Golden Age of Television. Game of Thrones seems to fall in the class directly below this Golden Age, a Silver Age if you will.


PROS: Outside of Breaking Bad, Orange Is The New Black (OITNB) was the single greatest television show of 2013. OITNB was the second best show of last year according to Metacritic and Hitfix's television critics poll. It stands to reason that if the #1 best show is not eligible, then the #2 show becomes the de facto #1. Jenji Kohan's female prison dramedy was excellent. It created a vast world full with a litany of incredible characters. After House of Cards and Arrested Development, OITNB was just a random show Netflix released. However, because of the quality of the show and word of mouth, the popularity of OITNB boomed.

CONS: The show has only aired one season. Like I mentioned for Homeland above, one season, even a season as good as OITNB's rookie season was, does not necessarily make you the best show out there. Take a look at the show's sister House of Cards. That had an excellent rookie year, but a terrible sophomore year. Time will tell if OITNB becomes the next Breaking Bad or the next Homeland. Award season also hasn't been that favorable to it either. Failing to gain much love from the Golden Globes, the show decided to make itself a comedy as opposed to a drama at the Emmys. I expect many nominations for the show, and possibly a win, but again, only time will tell.


PROS: Who says the best show on television has to be a drama and an hour long? There's no reason the best comedy on T.V. can't also be the best show on television. Alan Sepinwall rated Parks and Recreation as the best show of 2011- even ahead of the great Season 4 of Breaking Bad. The show has been so damn good for so long, that I put it as the second best sitcom of all time behind Seinfeld. The show created three dimensional characters that you care about which forces you to feel every emotion possible. There's not a whole lot more you can ask for out of a work of art.

CONS: Yeah, it's still a sitcom, and a poorly rated sitcom at that. The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family consistently blow the show out of the water in terms of both ratings and award nominations (and wins). Amy Poehler got her first award ever for playing Leslie Knope at 2013's Golden Globes, and even that win feels more like a "thank you for being such an incredible host" versus how good her acting is. Parks and Recreation is still consistently the best comedy of this era, but unfortunately that title still probably puts it as the 4th best show on this contenders list.


PROS: If this really was a bracket, then Mad Men would have the best #1 overall seed. It would be the equivalent of what Florida had in the actual 2014 March Madness bracket. There are four shows that consistently and unequivocally get labeled as the four best shows of all time: The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. Mad Men (and Breaking Bad) helped lead the tail end of the pack of The Golden Age of Television. It's one of the best written shows of all time, and it's one of only a few shows ever to win the Emmy for Outstanding Television Drama for a record FOUR straight years. It's a creative juggernaut.

CONS: Well, it all depends on how you define this list. In terms of the quality of the series as a whole, Mad Men is easily the best show on this list. But if you're defining this list as which show is currently producing quality episodes in 2014, then Mad Men is last- because holy shit is the show boring as hell now. It's brilliant and each episode is like an incredible classic piece of literature, but it's just not that fun to watch anymore; at the end of the day, this medium still requires entertainment value. The best piece of advice AMC gave Mad Men's creator Matthew Weiner was "Don Draper needs to have a secret". What Weiner did with that note was genius and helped propel to show to its Emmy wins, but in Season 5 and 6, the show took a strong dip in quality as AMC's note became of little to no use anymore. Season 7.1 didn't start off all that strong either.


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nirvana's 5 Most Memorable Moments

Nirvana is one of my favorite bands of all time. They are #2 on my personal list right behind The Beatles. Despite my personal preference, objectively speaking, Nirvana is one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music. Rolling Stone Magazine listed Nirvana as the 30th greatest artist of all time. They also listed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as the 9th greatest song of all time (while also adding 3 more Nirvana songs into their top 500) and "Nevermind" as the 19th greatest album of all time (Nirvana's "MTV Unplugged" came in at 313 and "In Utero" came in at 435).

Even though Nirvana only had 3 studio albums and 2 live albums during their official run, they became one of the most influential bands of the 1990's and for Generation X. While Nirvana didn't necessarily didn't do anything innovative (they would admit their style is just a rip off of bands like The Pixies), they became revolutionaries.

A few days ago, Nirvana was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were unequivocal first ballot Hall of Famers, and a band that changed the landscape of Rock and Roll. Even if you don't personally enjoy their music, you have to respect their accomplishments.

I would have loved to write a full and lengthy post about the greatness of Nirvana, but I don't have anything to say. Nirvana is just an amazing band that's near and dear to my heart. "Nevermind" changed my life. They're just great- and that's all you need to know about them. Nirvana's legacy will live on forever. So in honor of their recent Hall of Fame induction and of their legacy, here are Nirvana's 5 most memorable moments:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The 19 Best Films of 1999

2014 happens to be a good year for movies. It is not because there have been a ton of quality flicks released so far, but because it's the 15 year anniversary for 1999 films and the 20 year anniversary for movies released in 1994. In my opinion, 1994 and 1999 are the two best years for film for those in Generation X. We're going to start this two part series looking back 15 years to 1999. I was only going to do 9 movies, but '99 was too good of a year to limit myself to that little of a number. So now, here are the 19 best films of 1999.

19) Toy Story 2
Directed By: John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, & Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tim Allen & Tom Hanks
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Even the worst Toy Story is still pretty good.

18) The Talented Mr. Ripley
Directed By: Anthony Minghella
Starring: Matt Damon, Jude Law, & Gwyneth Paltrow
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description:  After being sent to Italy to bring home Dickie Greenleaf (Law) to his father, Tom Ripley (Damon), a lying sociopath, forces his way into Greenleaf's inner circle. And get this, bad things erupt. Dum, dum, DUUUUUUMMM!

17) Mystery Men
Directed By: Kinka Usher
Starring: Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, & Hank Azaria
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Before The Dark Knight and Spider-Man creating superhero movies that took themselves too seriously, we had Mystery Men. After Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) rids the entire city of bad guys, he unwittingly lets Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) loose, forcing a pack of superheroes with no real powers to save the day.

16) Galaxy Quest
Directed By: Dean Parisot
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, & Alan Rickman
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: A surprisingly smart and funny satire about life for actors after starring in geek project like Star Wars or Star Trek. Don't let "starring Tim Allen" fool you, Galaxy Quest is full of fun and laughs. I promise.

15) Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, & Jason Statham
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: I unfortunately saw Snatch before I saw Lock Stock; therefore, I think Snatch is far superior and Lock Stock is just alright. I know that's unfair to Guy Ritchie's debut, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Still doesn't decrease the quality of Lock Stock as a whole, just in reference to ranking Guy Ritchie's films.

14) American Pie
Directed By: Paul Herz
Starring: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, & Seann William Scott
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Amidst the sophomoric humor and a dude shtupping a pie is a modern high school movie that will forever be a part of our cultural zeitgeist.

13) Big Daddy
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams, & Cole and Dylan Sprouce
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Remember when Adam Sandler had the ability to not only make a film that made us laugh, but also managed to be sweet and endearing? Yeah, it's been awhile. One could even say it's been 15 years...

12) Eyes Wide Shut
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Stanley Kubrick set out to make the best film in every genre. The best horror movie (The Shining), best science fiction movie (2001: A Space Odyssey), the best war movie (Full Metal Jacket), etc, etc. Eyes Wide Shut is easily the most artfully done porno flick ever made. In all seriousness, it's a great sexual thriller that only a director as great as Stanley Kubrick can make.

11) The Boondock Saints 
Directed By: Troy Duffy
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, & Willem Dafoe
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: If there have ever been any imitators of Quentin Tarantino in the past 20 years, it's Troy Duffy. While he may be an obnoxious and insufferable asshole as seen in the documentary "Overnight", Troy Duffy is certainly an extremely talented director as seen by The Boondock Saints. It's just a shame his ego got in the way of making more movies.

10) American Beauty
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, & Thira Birch
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: While it didn't deserve to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in the midst of one of the deepest years in cinema of the past 50 years, it's still a great film about the Modern American society.

9) Magnolia
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, & Jason Robards 
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: Very few directors are able to tell multiple stories with many more characters within a single film. But Paul Thomas Anderson is not like most directors. Even with a cast as huge as Magnolia, P.T. Anderson still manages to create wonderful three dimensional characters. He even managed to pull an Oscar nominated performance from Tom Cruise.

8) Being John Malkovich
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, & Catherine Keener
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: Only a film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze is allowed to be as messed up yet wonderful as Being John Malkovich is. Craig Schwartz (Cusack) finds a hidden portal that allows a person to spend 15 minutes inside the brain of character actor John Malkovich. Plus, it's great to see Diaz and Keener play against type and play roles clearly written for the other. 

7) Fight Club
Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, & Helena Bonham Carter
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: While I absolutely love David Fincher's movies, I think I might be the only person in Generation X to think Fight Club is pretty good, but not great. I actually think the twist at the end ruins the movie (don't believe me, check out this scene below and re-watch the entire movie like that), but I also refuse to discount how great the first 95% is as well. 

6) Dogma
Directed By: Kevin Smith
Starring: Linda Fiorentino, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Jason Mewes, & Kevin Smith
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: Classic Jay and Silent Bob film but with philosophical debates about Jesus Christ and organized religion. Plus, it's great to see Matt Damon and Ben Affleck going on a murderous rampage before the Bourne flicks and Argo. "Was Wisconsin really that bad?" Yes. Yes it is. 

5) Office Space
Directed By: Mike Judge
Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, & Gary Cole
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: I don't care that Office Space plays on Comedy Central every other weekend. The multiple viewings doesn't diminish how amazing this comedy is. We've all been stuck in a dead end job and how inadequate we feel. Only the mind behind King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead can make this mundane topic brilliant.

4) The Green Mile
Directed By: Frank Darabont
Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, & Sam Rockwell
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

Brief Description: After John Coffey (Duncan) is sentenced to death for alleging killing two little girls, prison guard Paul Edgecomb (Hanks) must do his best to free Coffey from prison. Frank Darabont just has a knack for not only releasing great films, but doing so amidst great years. First, The Shawshank Redemption in 1994, and The Green Mile in '99.

3) The Sixth Sense
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, & Toni Collette
STARS: 4 out of 4

Brief Description: It's easy to dismiss the quality of The Sixth Sense 15 years later considering the horrible turn for the worst that M. Night Shyamalan's career has taken. However, this film is absolute brilliant. The use of red in every shot, the legitimate sense of suspense Shyamalan sets up, and the twist at the end actually makes the film better (unlike Fight Club and every other Shyamalan film).

2) South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
Directed By: Trey Parker
Starring: Matt Stone, Trey Parker, & Isaac Hayes
STARS: 4 out of 4

Brief Description: Not only is the South Park movie one of the greatest comedies of all time, it's one of the best animated films of all time, and, IMHO, the best musical of all time. Who knew all those pesky restraints like the F.C.C. and only having 6 days to create a product were holding Matt Stone and Trey Parker back.

1) The Matrix
Directed By: Andy & Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, & Carrie-Anne Moss
STARS: 4 out of 4

Brief Description: On my old site, we did a list of the 25 Greatest Movies of the Past 25 years. The Matrix ended as #2 on the list. I wrote much more on this topic back then than I ever could fit in this little blurb. And probably much more eloquently as well. The Matrix is not only just a fun blockbuster popcorn flick, it's the greatest science fiction film ever made.

Refused to Consider
- Girl, Interrupted
- Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- The Virgin Suicides 

Ones I Haven't Seen
- Election
- For The Love of the Game
- Iron Giant 
- Run Lola Run
- Sweet and Lowdown
- The Blair Witch Project
- The Insider
- Three Kings
- Varsity Blues

What Do You Think Is The Best Film of 1999?

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

When Did Tracy Jordan EGOT?

During Season 4 of the NBC sitcom "30 Rock", Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) bought a gold chain with the words "EGOT". EGOT means "Emmy" "Grammy" "Oscar" and "Tony"- the four major awards a person can try to win in a lifetime. Tracy Jordan buys this gold chain and then tries to win all four awards. Lo and behold, about a year later in Season 5, Tracy Jordan EGOT's. The problem is, the show never explains how Tracy Jordan EGOT's. I asked's TV critic, and the man who memorizes EVERYTHING TV, Alan Sepinwall how Tracy Jordan EGOT'd, and even he doesn't know. Just coincidentally I'm re-binge watching "30 Rock" and I still don't quite know. Here is the information I can gather:


WIN: Daytime Emmy or Special Guest Star

While Tracy Jordan does spend the entire run of "30 Rock" on a television program, I do find it dubious that he actually won for his work on "TGS with Tracy Jordan". While technically I think he would have been eligible for his work on a sketch comedy show for part of TGS' run (Amy Poehler received a nomination for her work on SNL in 2008 and for the longest time, sketch comedy shows like SNL and TGS weren't eligible for Primetime Emmys), "30 Rock" doesn't paint TGS out to be a good, quality show. Outside of Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) constantly criticizing it, most people not affiliated with the show make TGS out to be a joke.

However, there's a bunch of Emmys outside of the Primetime Emmys. Whoopi Goldberg and EGOT winner has a Daytime Emmy. Recent EGOT winner and songwriter Robert Lopez won his Emmy for his work on a children's show. Tracy Jordan has been working in television since he was a kid. It doesn't sound all that difficult to get at least a Daytime Emmy nomination when you work as long as Tracy Jordan has.

I think the other option is that Tracy won a random Emmy category like Outstanding Guest Actor in a TV Series. Three of Mel Brook's 4 Emmy wins are for guest starring on Mad About You. Tina Fey won a Emmy for her work as Sarah Palin on SNL. Betty White has an Emmy for hosting SNL. Frankly, if you hosted SNL or have guest starred on 30 Rock in the past 7 years, you received an Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series nomination. I find it hard to believe that a star as big as Tracy Jordan couldn't have done that.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

5 Great Actors Who Star In Bad Movies

Forest Whittaker

Academy Awards: Best Actor win for "The Last King of Scotland"

Movies He Should Regret Doing: Lee Daniels' The Butler, The Last Stand, Vantage Point, Repo Men, Battlefield Earth, a bunch of movies I've never even heard of while scrolling his IMDB page

What's Up?: It's clear Whittaker can act. He's been doing it and working ever since 1982 and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". You don't last this long in Hollywood (and doing it with a bum eye) without being a great actor. But as great of an actor as Whittaker is, he does not take the best roles.

Colin Farrell

Good Roles: Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges

Movies He Should Regret Doing: Total Recall, Alexander, S.W.A.T., Daredevil

What's Up?: "Look at Colin Farrell, he hasn't made a good movie ever, but he has the perception of being a movie star!" -Ari Gold, Entourage- I do think there's something to making Colin Farrell good, and mainly he should just work with director Martin McDonagh for every project a la DeNiro and Scorsese. There is a certain talent and a certain je ne sais quoi from Farrell that only certain directors can get from him, but when those directors DO get that thing from him, it's pretty darn impressive.

6 Hit Songs That You Call The Wrong Name

The Who "Baba O'Riley"

What You Think The Song Is Called: Teenage Wasteland

I don't blame anyone from incorrectly calling this song "Teenage Wasteland" It should be called "Teenage Wasteland" The Who in their prime was always a band by the youth for the youth. Most great music is created through youth rebellion, and "Baba O'Riley" is the perfect example of that. Plus, you could be given a million guesses after hearing this song, and there is no way in hell you would have guessed it was these two random words.

The song title comes from a combination of Meher Baba and Terry Riley- two philosophical and musical influences of The Who. Of course! Meher Baba was an Indian spiritual leader that guitarist Pete Townshend was a fan of and Terry Riley was a music producer Townshend respected. 

Now that you know the song's correct title, you won't get fooled again! OK, I'll move on now. 

Green Day "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"

What You Think The Song Is Called: Time Of Your Life

"Look, 'Time Of Your Life' is right there in the title! You're an idiot." While I may be an idiot, the fact that the real title is called "Good Riddance" actually makes a huge difference.

Obviously Green Day isn't hiding the fact that when you listen to this song you are going to think it's called "Time Of Your Life". That's why they put it in parenthesis. The song sounds so sweet and it's the perfect song to play at every single graduation party for the rest of time. The problem is that song is a break up and it's completely sarcastic.

The title "Good Riddance" completely changes the meaning of this song. It goes from a sweet song to a bittersweet song and telling an ex to Eff Off. But the only reason you know that it's a Eff You song is solely because of the title. Telling someone "Good Riddance" doesn't make sense from just a first listening of it, but it does make sense if you're actually writing a break up song that's meant for mainstream radio play Think about that the time you're forced to go to your niece's elementary school graduation party.