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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Top 20 Favorite Shows of 2015

20) Fargo (FX)
Season 2
Created By: Noah Hawley

Thoughts: I have no doubt that Season 2 of Fargo will end up being #1 on many people's year end list, but for me, the FX show almost didn't crack my Top 20. However, I started comparing it against other shows for this last spot (Catastrophe, You're The Worst, Community) and I realized no other show in competition with Fargo made me tune in every week to see what fascinating and exciting new adventure was awaiting me. I absolutely believe that season 1 of Fargo- as a result of better and more interesting characters (both main ones like the ones played by Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, and Allison Tolman, but also the minor characters like the ones played by Glenn Howerton and Kate Walsh)- is better than this current season, but that shouldn't take away from my enjoyment for what Noah Hawley and company created in 2015. Also, please give Bokeem Woodbine all the awards.

19) Mr. Robot (USA)
Season 1
Created By: Sam Esmail

Thoughts: When Fargo's Noah Hawley spoke with Andy Greenwald to promote his show, he never referred to his product as a "show"- he always referred to it as a movie. Television shows have become more serialized than ever nowadays that they basically are 10-13 hour long movies. This concept couldn't be more true than with Sam Esmail's great, of-the-times masterpiece Mr. Robot. Esmail starting writing a script for his new movie that was so long that he just decided to make it a television series. Season 1 of USA's amazing new show about a schizophrenic hacker trying to take down the fictional E-Corp was just Esmail's first act. If this is just beginning, then I can't wait to see what's in store for Seasons 2 and 3. Also, check out Sam Esmail's interview with Andy Greenwald, but only after you've been on the exhilarating roller coaster that was Season 1 of Mr. Robot.

Click here to read my thoughts on how Goodfellas influenced Mr. Robot's voice over

18) Other Space (Yahoo!)
Season 1
Created By: Paul Feig

Thoughts: I originally came to Other Space thanks to Yahoo! airing the sixth (and hopefully final) season of Community, but I stayed thanks to Paul Feig's (you know, the guy that brought us Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids) simple yet hilarious new show. While I don't expect Yahoo! to air a second season of Other Space thanks to the massive amount of money they lost trying to get into the television game, I still enjoyed the 8 episode first and final season. The premise of the show is straight-forward, a small group of 20-something's in a Star Trek -esque Star Fleet Academy get lost in space and attempt to get back home; however, the success was in the execution. The humor works thanks to the relationships the show was able to give us from the get go, and it turns out those actors you see in commercials are actually great when given a larger opportunity.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Top 10 Favorite TV Episodes of 2015

Alan Sepinwall from wrote an excellent article a few weeks ago defending the seemingly now lost art of the singular episode. While it was not the inspiration for this article as I've done the best television episodes in a given year before, it is a great read (like almost all of Alan Sepinwall's pieces are) and an excellent introduction into this article.

Since I will be discussing the specific episodes as well as the specific season of the show, obviously each blurb will contain lots of spoilers.

10) "One Last Ride"
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Episodes 12 & 13, Season 7
Written By: Michael Schur & Amy Poehler / Directed By: Michael Schur

Thoughts: Ever since the first episode of the show's second season, Parks and Recreation has been one of the best comedies on television. The show has been so consistent and operating on a higher plane than almost everything else on TV. That's what makes choosing a single episode from the show to make this list so difficult. However, with Parks and Recreation's final season, I had to go with the two-part series finale. The show has always been optimistically hopeful, and held the belief that when you do good, good will come back to you. That's what made the finale so satisfying. We got a chance to glimpse into the future of all of the major characters we care about and see the greatness that awaited for them throughout their lives.

9) "Rhinoceros"
Fargo (FX)
Episode 6, Season 2
Written By: Noah Hawley / Directed By: Jeffrey Reiner

Thoughts: I hadn't much cared for Season 2 of Fargo until they aired "Rhinoceros" aka Assault on Precinct Minnesota. While the classic trope of outlaws staging a coup on a small town police force to rescue 'one of their own' who's been imprisoned could have sunk the show for me, it was Noah Hawley's execution and Nick Offerman's silver tongue that turned a cliche into a classic. Part of what made Season 1 so great were the secondary and tertiary characters that you loved and cared about, and Season 2 of Fargo didn't have that until Offerman's Karl Weathers had to drunkenly protect his friends using only his vocal chords, charisma, and power of persuasion. The highs of Season 2 (which is essentially this episode) haven't lived up to the highs of the first season IMO, but I'll still enjoy a great episode when I see it.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Death of Network Sitcoms

Seinfeld is not only the greatest sitcom ever made in the history of television, but it might be the greatest show of all time. The show ran for nine seasons, and still holds up remarkably well 15+ years after it went off of the air. Despite the fact that multiple stations (and now Hulu) run Seinfeld multiple times a day and we've all seen every episode at least 50 times, the show is still hysterical. And yet Seinfeld almost didn't happen. The pilot episode of the former NBC show (at the time it was called The Seinfeld Chronicles) was so bad (and it is bad) that it almost never made it to air. Luckily, there were executives at NBC who believed in the show and kept it around, and Seinfeld went on to become a mega-smash hit.

Unfortunately, we might never see another Seinfeld again. We live in an Era of Too Much Good TV. There are many benefits to Peak TV, but one of the major downsides is that you need to be good immediately. There are just too many other good shows to exist, that if your show if just mediocre, people will bail and watch something else. That creates a problem for sitcoms, as they're rarely great (or even good) right away. Seinfeld deserved its bad ratings and negative test focus reviews, but it also deserved to stay on the air and get the benefit of the doubt from NBC. Comedies almost always get better, and just because you're bad now doesn't mean you can't be great later.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Marvel's Small World Creative Success with Daredevil and Jessica Jones

In 2015, Netflix released two Marvel produced television shows- Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Both shows are excellent and will earn a spot in my end-of-year Top 20 list. There are many reasons why both of these shows are so good, but the main reason they work is because their stories are simple and their world is very small. Both of these stories take place in a small section of New York City (Hell's Kitchen) and tell a straightforward hero vs. villain story. Despite the fact that Daredevil and Jessica Jones will eventually team up and form The Defenders (along with Luke Cage and Iron Fist who will eventually get their own stand alone shows), their stories are self-contained.

Daredevil is an origin story telling defense attorney Matt Murdock's (Charlie Cox) rise becoming the superhero vigilante Daredevil in Hell's Kitchen. Early on, Daredevil discovers a crime syndicate run by Wilson Fisk (a.k.a Kingpin) played by Vincent D'Onfrio. Kingpin runs his gang mainly within Hell's Kitchen, and Daredevil spends 13 episodes finding and fighting Kingpin. Daredevil spends the first act discovering a sex traffic ring, the second act figuring out that Kingpin is the head of that ring (among many other criminal activities), and the third act bringing him down. It follows traditional superhero tropes (albeit the execution is darker and more effective that most), but its story follows one hero and his journey.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#PoorLeo: Leonardo DiCaprio's Failure Playing The Oscar Game

On January 16, 2014, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his 4th acting Academy Award for his performance as Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. On March 2, 2014, Leonardo DiCaprio lost his 4th acting Academy Award as Matthew McConaughey beat DiCaprio for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. The Internet exploded after this loss. There was no shortage of memes, .gifs, and tweets surrounding the subject. My personal favorite comment of the night was this comment. After nearly spending his entire life in show business and having zero Academy Awards to show for it, it certainly appears as if The Academy hates Leo. While that's obviously not true as no man with five total Oscar nominations can ever truly say The Academy dislikes him, it does seem that after Leo has tried so hard to win and has come up short every single time that Leo will never win that Golden Statute.

Leonardo DiCaprio has a new movie coming out this Oscar season called The Revenant. It's made by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- the man who just won two Academy Awards for directing and producing Birdman a few months ago- and the Oscar hype train for Leo has already started. Leo has already stated how grueling and agonizing the filming conditions were, how he ate raw bison meat, and how he actually slept in an animal carcass. He is certainly setting the stage early and creating a narrative for himself in hopes in endear himself to other Oscar voters. Yet the mood that I am sensing from people not in the industry is the same one my wife had after she saw a trailer to The Revenant, "Well, that's another film Leo isn't going to win an Oscar for."

I am not suggesting that Leo will not win an Academy Award for The Revenant just because he hasn't won one before, I am saying that he will not win one for his role in the film because Leo has a fundamental misunderstanding of how The Game is played. I have no idea if Leo will or won't get nominated for his work in Inarritu's latest, but I do know that he will not win.

You can claim talent and performance all you want until you're blue in the face, but talent and quality is not indicative of Oscar success. It's why Dances With Wolves can defeat Goodfellas for Best Picture, why The Social Network can get screwed by The King's Speech, and why Leo won't win for his work in The Revenant. The Academy Awards are not an objective opinion of who or what is best, it's an opinion by a very small, non-diverse, closed-minded group of what they collectively think is best. To The Academy's credit (detriment?), they are consistent on what they determine is best, and for some reason, Leo hasn't figured this out yet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

My Review of The Martian and How It Helped Resurrect Ridley Scott's Career

“I’m pretty much fucked.”

This is the first line in Andy Weir’s 2011 novel The Martian, but it might as well have been the words uttered by director Ridley Scott after his 2014 film Exodus: Gods and Kings was released. Exodus did end up making its money back (assuming the marketing budget wasn’t astronomical- which it might have been) but it’s 27% on Rotten Tomatoes (RT) was just another film in the laundry list of terrible Ridley Scott films that he’s made within the past 15 years. Ridley Scott will be remembered as an all-time great director thanks to BladerunnerAlien, and Gladiator, but since the release of 2001’s Black Hawk Down, Scott has made a lot of terrible films including 2013’s The Counselor (35% on RT), 2010’s Robin Hood (43% on RT), 2008’s Body of Lies (54% on RT), 2005’s Kingdom of Heaven (39% on RT), 2006’s A Good Year (25% on RT), and 2012’s Prometheus (which I don’t care what RT says about this one, this was a huge disappointment among all Ridley Scott fans and fans of the Alien franchise). Certainly Scott has made some good films including 2003’s Matchstick Men and 2007’s American Gangster, but the perception on Ridley Scott as recently as the summer of 2015 was that this was a man who seemingly forgot how to direct.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Black Mass Hole: How Scott Cooper's Vision of the Whitey Bulger Story Ruined the Film

James J. “Whitey” Bulger is one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. He is responsible for at least 19 murders plus extortion, racketeering, and drug trafficking. With Steve Flemmi and Kevin Weeks by his side, Bulger and The Winter Hill Gang terrorized South Boston for decades. The actual events of Whitey Bulger's life are so damn interesting that a Hollywood version of his life should have given us a better movie than the final product of Black Mass.

Black Mass is directed by Scott Cooper. The film uses the same techniques that Cooper has used on Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace, his first two feature films, and Cooper's fingerprints are very much on all three of his movies. All three films are methodically paced, bleak-looking, character-driven, and frankly often times outright boring. I actually enjoyed Out of the Furance, but I understand its 53% Rotten Tomatoes score. Crazy Heart, despite being an excellent showcase for Jeff Bridges' talent, is a dull and meandering film. Black Mass pulls a little bit from both of Cooper's previous films as this is an excellent showcase for Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger but moves with a sense of purpose from scene to scene. All three of Cooper's films are extremely character-driven, often times to the story's detriment. That was the case here with Black Mass as this story deserves an action-packed, fast pace script. There was no reason Black Mass couldn't be this generation's Goodfellas- interesting characters that were fun to be with that, while still being plot driven, never lost sight of its characters. Unfortunately, I'll have to "settle" for this generation's actual version of the Whitey Bulger story- The Departed.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Influence of Goodfellas' Voice Over Narration on Mr. Robot and Narcos

"...and God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you! It's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character. You must present the internal conflicts of your character in action."

Robert McKee (Brian Cox), Adaptation

Anyone who has ever taken an introduction to film writing class (raises hand) knows that it is a Cardinal Sin to use voice-over work. You are supposed to, say it with me now, show, not tell. However, we know that this generic, broad rule is not true. It's not that you're never allowed to use voice-over work, it is that you're not allowed to use it as a crutch for your storytelling and character development. However, this archaic belief that you are never allowed to use voice-over means that it's rarely used in the visual medium. That means when it is used, it's seemingly always discussed. That's why it has become a discussion point for two of 2015's best (and new) show TV shows of the year- USA's Mr. Robot and Netflix's Narcos- both of which owe a debt of gratitude to The Godfather of voice-overs: Goodfellas.

Goodfellas is most certainly not the first film to use voice-over. Blade Runner used voice-over. A Clockwork Orange used voice-over. Most film noir films used voice-over. However, Goodfellas perfected and solidified the use of voice-over. The film follows Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and uses his narration to describe his ascent and fall from his mafioso life. The film starts off with Hill saying, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" and uses Hill's perspective to tell this incredible story of his life in the mob. The use of voice-over is effective in multiple ways throughout the film. We get a clear vantage point for how this story is told, we're able to get a sense of how deep and connected this world is, and it's even used to heightened tension and advance plot. Director Martin Scorsese still gives you wonderful characters- Joe Pesci won his sole Academy Award for his work in the film- and gives you an interesting and engaging take on the mob genre, but also uses voice-over to coalesce the entire project and gel everything together.

There are a lot of things that make Goodfellas's 17th best movie of all time and rank it on AFI's top 100 list, but there should be no denying that Ray Liotta's voice over work is one of those reasons. Goodfellas' voice over just works, and because it was so effective, it helped inspire movies and TV shows for years and decades to come.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Bad Quarterback League Rankings

As Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is gaining steam and quickly becoming one of the most popular fantasy games you can play, the more obvious it is that traditional fantasy formats will soon go the way of the dodo bird. Personally, I play in five different types of fantasy football leagues, one of which is a traditional fantasy league, one of which is DFS, and one of which is a Bad Quarterback League. A Bad Quarterback League (BQBL) was started by in 2011 and I immediately became hooked. Unfortunately, Grantland recently stopped posting about the league; however, that has never stopped my interest in it. It certainly makes it more difficult to score your league, but the fun makes it worth it.

The first thing you need to do it set up your players and rules. The way my league is set up is that there are five players in the league, and each player must draft, and start, four teams each. That way each team must choose some "sleeper" teams without having to choose from some truly elite teams like the Green Bay Packers or Indianapolis Colts. After 20 teams have been drafted and each player has their four teams, it is time to set up the scoring. We play in a rotisserie style league where we use Grantland's original scoring. We only play through 16 weeks (because playing in Week 17 is terrible for all formats) and the team that has accrued the most points based on the previous individual 16 weeks is the winner.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Best Movie of the Summer is Dope

Grantland's Mark Harris is an avid spokesperson for "prestige" films (my words, not his)- films focusing on story-telling and characters and art versus big budget epic blockbusters that would rather replace CGI with its script in order to rake in massive amounts of dough. While I do share Harris' love of a good prestige film, I also can't say I share Harris' dislike of big budget actions films as well. I love a good summer movie when it's done well. Most recently we received The Dark Knight, Edge of Tomorrow, and Mad Max: Fury Road thanks to Hollywood's love of capitalizing on the summer season and I don't want to live in a world without those films. The summer of 2015 hasn't given us a shortage of money-making epics leading off with Furious 7, bouncing to Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now leading the pack (and the world) is Jurassic World. But in a season where Hollywood (mainly Universal Studios) is looking at its pile of money like its Scrooge McDuck about to nose dive into a pile of gold coins, the winner of the summer season is a little Indie that could. Well, winner is a relative term. Jurassic World and Chris Pratt are obviously the true winner, but in terms of quality film making, Dope is the best film you'll see this summer.

Dope is a film written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa- a man who's credits before this looks like a grocery list. It premiered at Sundance, and thanks to Open Road films, Dope was released domestically as counter-programming to the big budget action flicks. Considering Open Road bought the film for a little over 3 million and it's already grossed over 14, it was money well spent. And I personally thank Open Road (and Sony) to give me ability to watch a film this good.

Dope follows around high school seniors Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his two best friends Jib (Tony Revolori aka the young Indian boy from The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons)- self-proclaimed Black nerds who love 90's hip-hop and live in the poorest of poor neighbors in Southern California. All three are smart and Malcom has realistic ambitions of attending Harvard and getting out of the ghetto. These three do everything together: they play in a rock band called Awreeo (pronounced "Oreo"), they hit on girls together, they study together, and they get beat up together.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Orange Is The New Black Became The Best Show On Television

Last year I posted an article about the four contenders to replace Breaking Bad as the unequivocal best show on television. There were four main contenders: Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Orange Is The New Black. Since Vince Gilligan’s epic went off the air in the fall of 2013, three of those shows have made strong cases to be the champ. Mad Men ended up being the weakest out of the four, but it has helped define the standard for prestige television and is part of the reason any great non-super hero story isn't shown in movie theaters but rather on the small screen. Game of Thrones is the most watched show out of these four (most likely, since Netflix doesn’t release its viewing numbers) and has transcended the fantasy genre into something incredible, but it’s uneven-ness in storytelling and reliance on its source material ultimately forces the show to play second fiddle. Parks and Recreation is brilliant in every way, but the fact that it’s a sitcom first and foremost lowered its ceiling.

On the other hand, Orange Is The New Black managed to take the best parts of these shows and rise above them to become the best show out there. Orange has the storytelling skills of Mad Men, the grandeur of scope a la Game of Thrones, and the heart of Parks and Recreation while still telling its own stories. There are most certainly faults with the Netflix dramedy, and truthfully it probably has more faults than any of its competitors, but the fact that it’s still so damn good proves why it deserves to be the champion.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jurassic World Movie Review: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Jurassic World
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, & Vincent D'Onofrio
STARS: 3 out of 4

If you were pumped to see Jurassic World based upon the trailers, then you are going to love this movie. It delivers on everything it promises and then some. You have Chris Pratt doing an incredible Harrison Ford impression and being the bona fide action star / movie star that he is, you get to see Pratt riding around on a motorcycle with velociraptors, and you have the newly created Indominus Rex wrecking havoc among the Jurassic World theme park. It's the quintessential summer blockbuster. You get explosions, chase scenes, and CGI dinosaurs.

I can also see little kids growing up loving this movie the way I loved Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park as a kid. Like most little boys my age, I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up. I had dinosaur toys, dinosaur books, dinosaur clothes, and I even tried to read the Michael Crichton books the Spielberg movies were based upon. If you have a young kid seeing Jurassic World today, I can imagine that kid having the same sense of wonder, imagination, and amazement seeing Jurassic World as I had seeing Jurassic Park.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Should You See It? Reviewing 5 of the Biggest Documentaries of 2015

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)
Directed By: Andrew Jarecki
Release Date: February 8, 2015
Should You See It?: Absolutely

Brief Description: The Jinx is a six part documentary true-crime series regarding the infamous real estate mogul Robert Durst. While it is, obviously, not technically a movie, it is a compelling documentary that works better as a limited event show rather than a movie. It seems that many documentaries don't work as a one-and-a-half / two hour film and work better as either a short film or a TV show, yet are forced to package itself as a full-length movie in order to maximize profits. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the epic 1994 film Hoop Dreams- which follows the lives two black basketball players from the inner city of Chicago through all four years of their high school career. The film is great, but it's too long (its run time is 170 minutes). It should have been a TV series limited event, but based upon the viewing habits of Americans 20 years ago, it was a documentary film. The Jinx would be too compact as a full length documentary, but is perfect as a six episode event.

The Jinx is a fantastic series because it follows around a compelling sociopath- Robert Durst. The access that Andrew Jarecki was able to get (multiple one-on-one interviews) is incredible and you're both horrified at the actions of this man that you're watching, but you just can't help but be glued to your TV screen because of how charming Durst is. You learn about the three murders Durst was accused of committing and Andrew Jarecki has an incredible sense of storytelling. I know Jarecki has been criticized for messing with the timeline of events, but he did so because he's a master of story and plot. We like to assume documentaries should just be events as they occur, analogous to the news, but we expect the same arc and tropes in our documentaries as we do in our feature films, and Jarecki knows this and used this to his advantage to create one of the best documentaries of the year.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How The Flash Pulled Ahead Of Arrow As The Best Superhero Show On Television

Does anyone dispute that CW’s Arrow and its spin-off The Flash are by far and away the best superhero shows on television right now? While I have high hopes for Netflix’s Daredevil (its entire first season will be made available on Netflix on April 10th), FOX’s Gotham, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD and Carter, and NBC’s Constantine (that’s still a show, right?) aren’t even close to being in the same conversation as CW’s DC properties. When our Nerd King Patton Oswalt recently went on a Twitter rant about the embarrassment of riches that is quality television programming, he had this to say:

“No, Gotham isn’t perfect, but neither was Agents of Shield. They’re being given time, and they have Arrow and The Flash to guide the way”

Arrow and The Flash are television's Golden Standard for how to run a quality superhero epic on cable TV. While sometimes the CW melodrama of both shows can drag it down, there’s no denying the crossover success the CW was able to have. Hell, I’m a 27 year old man and I fully admit to watching two shows on the CW. I don’t think those words would have dared to have been uttered three years ago. While both shows essentially have the same smart brain child running them, and exist in the same universe (It seems like Starling City and Central City are like right next to each other), the two shows could not be more different from each other.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

10 Years Later: A Look Back On The 2005 Chicago White Sox, The Greatest Team No One Remembers

I was raised a White Sox fan. My father was born and raised in Boston so he's always been a fan of the Red Sox. However, after spending his college years in the Boston area, he came to The University of Chicago for graduate school. After living in Chicago's South Side and always being a fan on the American League, the Chicago White Sox became his second team. He eventually moved back to Massachusetts, met my mother, had me, then my brother while living blissfully in New England. When I was three, he moved my family to the Northern Suburbs of Chicago. Cubs territory. But through and through, he remained loyal to the White Sox and my brother and I grew up White Sox fans. We would spend our summers going to Comiskey Pahk (I refuse to call it U.S. Cellular Field) and Frank Thomas was our childhood hero.

The Chicago White Sox had been competitive every now and then throughout my lifetime, but they never seemed to be able to take the next step, While all of my friends would bemoan the losing streak of the Chicago Cubs, the White Sox as a franchise were not all that far behind them. But then something magical happened. In 2005, the Chicago White Sox took a team full of scrubs to not only become one of the best teams in baseball that year, but rode a dominant post-season performance to eventually claim the title of World Champs. I was a freshman in college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and myself and the rest of the student body could not have been more excited to root for a team to bring the championship back home to Illinois.

This blog post is a dedication to that 2005 White Sox team. It's been a decade since that glorious season, and it seems as if the 2005 White Sox have been lost to history. This is both a combination of my own oral history of their 2005 season combined with historical data to help bring back the glory years of not only one of the greatest baseball teams I was fortunate enough to root for, but also one of the best major league baseball teams in our life time. This is a look back on the 2005 Chicago White Sox, the greatest team no one remembers.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Fantastic Been There Done That Feeling of Better Call Saul and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Not only is Breaking Bad my personal favorite television show of all time, but it's the greatest thing that any television network across the entire planet as ever shown. It's really freaking good, and I don't know a single person alive who doesn't love the show. Unfortunately, the show went off of the air in 2013. We'll still have its incredible legacy, but we won't get any more new episodes of the show again.

Luckily for us though, we have Better Call Saul in our lives. AMC's newest show is a Breaking Bad spin-off about Albuquerque's best criminal defense attorney (If you want a criminal lawyer, you want a *criminal* lawyer) trying to start his own practice and about Jimmy McGill becoming the sleezeball Saul Goodman you saw on Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad stepped into a higher gear once the show introduced Saul Goodman, because the much needed levity Bob Odenkirk's character brought to the show cut the tension and drama the show had created for itself.

Because Odenkirk and his character were so good, Breaking Bad's creator Vince Gilligan always joked that he'd have to create a Saul Goodman spin-off show once Breaking Bad ended. Well, 16 months after Breaking Bad went off the air, we have the Breaking Bad spin-off the writers always joked about.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Wonderful Dominance of Netflix Over Television

The very first television program produced and originally distributed by Netflix was a David Fincher produced series starring two-time Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey called House of Cards. The show first aired in 2013, and when I wrote about the show then, the title of my article was "Series Review of House of Cards and The Start of a New Era of Television." I absolutely loved the first season of the TV show which is why I couldn't stop fawning over it. Now, after three season my personal feelings on the show itself have waffled, but as I reflect upon it more, the more I realize that House of Cards is the most important show of this generation. Whether you enjoy the show or not, there is no denying the importance it has had on our culture thanks to this new and improved ability to consume television programs.

I refuse to believe that the era of traditional television is over. I believe it is dying, but the TV industry is constantly finding medication for itself. The early part of 2015 saw massive hits like FOX's Empire and minor hits like CW's Jane The Virgin and ABC's Fresh Off The Boat. These shows have proven that network and traditional television is very much alive and well. Furthermore, as someone who has became a cord-cutter for a brief period of time, I cannot imagine living out the rest of my days without the ability to flip through channels I don't like in the hopes of landing on something I do.

But maybe I'm too old, naive, and insulated to be making these sorts of claims. Hitfix's Donna Dickens wrote an excellent article examining how her young children watch TV nowadays and the potential negative effect it will have for cable companies. She wrote about how her kids can't even watch commercials without being impatient and bored. One of them even said, "Live TV is awful" and they would just wait for the show to come to Netflix. They couldn't comprehend the concept that if they didn't watch live TV then there would not be a show for Netflix to even air.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why It (Sort Of) Makes Sense To Trade Away Brandon Marshall

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears are actively shopping wide receiver Brandon Marshall. As a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, I’m very upset by this news. Brandon Marshall is arguably the greatest receiver in the franchise’s history (from both the numbers he put up in his limited time here and from a pure skills standpoint, I dare you to name someone better) and when healthy, he’s one of the best receivers in the game. Plus, it’s just fun to scream MAHHHHHH-SHHHHHHAAAAALLLL every time he does something excellent. But from the Bears perspective and a GM perspective, it makes sense why they’d want to trade him.

The big reason to trade away Brandon Marshall is that he’s decently expensive. It’s almost the exact same reason the Philadelphia Eagles traded away LeSean McCoy. Marshall is currently under contract for the next three years, and he earns an average of $10 million a year. That makes him (on a yearly average) the 9th most expensive wide out in the game. That’s extremely fair and market price considering Marshall’s skill set and considering his production during his tenure in Chicago, but also not exactly cheap either. According to, Brandon Marshall is set to cost a little over $9.5 million against the cap in 2015, a little under ten million dollars in 2016, and about $10.375 million dollars in 2017. While that’s not a ginormous, Jay Cutler-in-2014 chunk of change, it is still a decent amount of money that will come off of the books. And speaking of Jay Cutler, his contract nose dives over the next few years as his contract was extremely frontloaded. The Bears will save another two million from this year compared to last just the way Cutler’s contract is structured. I bring this up because the Bears will have a guaranteed $11.5 million freed up in 2015 based upon two players alone. That may not be enough to go out and get Ndamukong Suh, but it should be enough to get stud offensive lineman Mike Iupati or Orlando Franklin or a stud defender like CB Byron Maxwell, DB Devin McCourty, or DT Nick Fairley. I would love for the Bears to get help on their back seven on defense as they have had historically bad defenses the past two years, and trading away Marshall will help improve the defense. I contend the Bears have a few good pieces on defense currently on their roster, and a stud free agent acquisition and their 7th overall pick in conjunction with the coaching of the excellent John Fox could easily be enough to bring the Bears to a respectable place on defense and therefore an above average team.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why The Philadelphia Eagles Were Smart By Trading Away LeSean McCoy

We live in an era of football where Fantasy Football matters more than the actual NFL. We care about the offensive players on our fantasy roster and we overanalyze every quarterback, running back, and wide out, and only halfheartedly pay attention to any defensive players. It’s why we care about Ray Rice’s domestic abuse scandal and couldn’t care less about former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy’s domestic abuse case, it’s why a quarterback HAS to win the MVP over a defensive player, and it’s why we think the Philadelphia Eagles trading away a running back to the Buffalo Bills for a linebacker is one of the worst trades that has ever existed in the history of mankind. I understand the initial reaction of All Pro RB LeSean McCoy being outright traded. It seems unfathomable. I couldn’t even trade for McCoy in my Fantasy Football League last year (despite his poor fantasy numbers all season long) yet the Eagles traded him away willy nilly.

People who think the Eagles made a bad move trading away LeSean McCoy aren’t looking at the big picture. They see a guy who is immensely talented at a “premiere” position who is soon to be 27 years old and think “DaFuq?”. However, these people are missing two key facts: 1) LeSean McCoy is insanely expensive and 2) Running backs are completely replaceable. First, let’s take a look at LeSean McCoy’s contract. According to, in 2015, McCoy was set to earn $10.25 million dollars in salary which counted $11.95 million against the Eagles cap. If they outright released him, they would have owed McCoy a guaranteed one million dollars. McCoy was the second highest paid running back per year behind only Adrian Peterson. On the other hand, the Buffalo Bills take a HUGE cap hit, and nearly 1/3 of their cap room next year is going to Shady. According to Ross Tucker, the Eagles have now gotten rid of 3 out of their top 4  salary cap hits for 2015, and now have over $20 million dollars in cap space (Bill Barnwell puts that number closer to $30 million). That’s money the team can now spend on free agent Jeremy Maclin (or any other free agents they so choose) and rebuilding their defense that ranked 28th in 2014.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of House of Cards

When I first wrote about the First Season of House of Cards, my waxing of poetic might have gone a little bit overboard. I mean, I did call it the official beginning of a new revolution of television. But that being said, if the time between The Sopranos to Breaking Bad constitutes The Golden Era of Television, then we are most certainly in The Silver Era now. We are in a era of television marked by a vast quantity of shows, many of them great, with no real consensus of which one is the best. Netflix and House of Cards is a major reason for the current proliferation of great TV dramas as we don't even have to watch traditional TV channels to find great television programs. And House of Cards is currently back in the fold to be considered great.

I absolutely love the first season of House of Cards. I literally lost sleep just so I could binge watch another episode of the show. In the end, I placed it as my 4th favorite show of 2013 behind Justified, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men and right above Netflix's other major television program Orange Is The New Black. Not a bad company to be joined by.

House of Cards' first season was as good as it was because it had interesting characters (obviously most notably The Underwoods) that you couldn't wait to see what they were up to next. The actions of these characters might not have been wholly believable- mainly the idea that Frank Underwood could get any bill he wanted to passed with a little bit of elbow grease and blackmail- but you didn't have to suspend your disbelief terribly to envision that this version of Washington D.C. actually exists. House of Cards was first and foremost a political thriller where the web of lies and deceit was a chess game for Frank.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Farewell To Parks and Recreation

The first season of Parks and Recreation, which thankfully is only six episodes long, is horrendous. It's still close to being unwatchable to this day. Having left The Office midway through its run, writers Michael Schur and Greg Daniels tried to create a second version of that show with Amy Poehler taking on Steve Carell's role. It was a disaster. I started watching Parks and Rec when it originally aired because the trailers looked funny and I was excited to see a vehicle for former SNL alum Amy Poehler. Then I quickly bailed after seeing the final results.

Despite the train wreck that was Season One, NBC, for some reason, greenlit the show for a second season. I did not watch it, but my roommate at the time did. He gave the show another chance and tried to convince me to do the same. I was rightfully skeptical at the time, but he did just get me hooked on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I watched Episode One of Season Two and from the beginning moments where Leslie Knope starts rapping The Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand", the show that we all know and love not only stopped being bad, but became one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The show has never looked back since, and I was hooked.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What Does The 2015 Academy Awards Say About Future Oscar Predictions


In 2013 and 2014, the winner of Best Director and the winner of Best Picture came from different films. In 2013, Life of Pi's director Ang Lee won Best Director defeating the hypothetical nominee Ben Affleck. We'll never know if Ben Affleck had received an Oscar nomination if Argo still would have won Best Picture, but since the Director's Guild of America Awards gave Affleck a nomination (and eventual win), there was clearly strong support for the film and the director before and after the Oscar snub.

In 2014, 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture yet its director Steve McQueen lost to the eventual winner- Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron. Neither win was a surprise as both 12 Years A Slave and Cuaron were each the favorite to win their respected categories before the 2014 Oscars.

In 2015, I think we were conditioned to have some sort of split with many predicting Boyhood's Richard Linklater to win Best Director and Birdman winning Best Picture. I think that was a condition of the past two years and not seeing the broader picture. Almost always, the Best Picture and Best Director come from the same picture and that held true for the 2015 Academy Awards.

Further, do not doubt the DGA! Not only are they an incredible predictor of who will eventually go on to win Best Director, but they also are a great predictor of Best Picture as well. Birdman was both the DGA and the Producer's Guild of America (PGA) Award winner, which means it was going to win their respected Oscar statutes.


A lot of people expected The Grand Budapest Hotel and Wes Anderson to win the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award; however, I correctly predicted Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Birdman to win. Hotel had won the BAFTA (a terrible predictor) as well as the Writer's Guild of America Awards (a great predictor); however, Birdman was not nominated for a WGA Award. This isn't terribly surprising, as many people (seemingly) can write a great script without being a member of the Writer's Guild.

Again, the biggest predictor of a screenplay award is if the film wins Best Picture, which means one should look heavily at the DGAs. 2015, probably more than any other year, shows us that the film that wins Best Picture will have a trickle down effect for other categories.

Still, the WGA is an incredibly reliable predictor of a Best Screenplay Oscar win. Graham Moore and The Imitation Game won the WGA for Best Adapted Screenplay and it also went on to win the Academy Award. I don't fault anyone predicting the WGA winner for Best Original Screenplay, Wes Anderson, would go on to the wins the Oscar, but the use of common sense (Anderson not going against Inarritu at the WGAs) in conjunction with other factors (Birdman's DGA and PGA win) to predict correctly.

Also, for the past four years, the winner of Best Original Screenplay was for a writer who also directed his picture. That would have held true for Wes Anderson, but it also is still true for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

10 "Quick" Reactions to the 2015 Academy Awards

1)      Birdman tied The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of total Oscar wins with four. Birdman took home the big three (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay) and well as Best Cinematography (which any cinephile knows is also another huge accomplishment, but we’ll get to that in another bullet point). After its SAG, DGA, and PGA win, Birdman and its director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu became the favorite to win the biggies and considering how creative and unique Birdman is, it’s not hard to see how these wins aren’t well-deserved. I personally did not like Birdman, but I respected the hell out of it and I’m not terribly bummed that it won.

2)      Inarritu's (and others) win for Birdman’s screenplay will be considered an upset by many as the general notion was that Wes Anderson and The Grand Budapest Hotel was going to take the category. However, if you followed me and my advice, this Birdman win should have been expected. Since the film was projected to win Best Picture, it was the favorite (by me) to win Best Original Screenplay as it’s tough to claim a film is the very best without its screenplay also being the very best. If only people listened to me more.

3)      As mentioned earlier, The Grand Budapest Hotel also won four Oscars (Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Make Up and Hairstyling, and Best Score). While all technical awards, Wes Anderson films, especially Hotel, tend to be grand productions so it’s not surprising it won so many technical awards. Again, this is another film I didn’t care for (I actually hated it), but the sets were remarkable, the costumes really were outstanding, and they did such a great job making Tilda Swinton look like a completely different person that I didn’t know she was in the film until much later.

4)      Alexandre Desplat was nominated twice in the Best Score category (for his work on Hotel and The Imitation Game) but since voters only see the name of the movie when they vote, many people thought (including yours truly) that Johann Johannsson would win Best Score for his work on The Theory of Everything. This was one of the few upsets of the night, but an overall well-deserved win by a talented composer. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Final Predictions for the 2015 Academy Award Winners


BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, et al (Birdman)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)


BEST ANIMATED PICTURE: How To Train Your Dragon 2

Friday, February 20, 2015

Do The Oscars Have A Race Problem?

Soon after the Academy Award nominations were announced, the hashtag #OscarSoWhite started trending on Twitter. It was not difficult see why. All 20 of the acting nominees were white, all 5 directors were either White or Hispanic, and 7 out of the 8 Best Picture nominees featured a predominantly White cast. So what gives? What’s with all of the white-washing?

The first discussion topic regarding race at the 2015 Oscars starts at Selma. Selma is a film directed by a black woman, written by a white man, starring a black man, in a cast that’s predominantly black. Selma was nominated for Best Picture, but other than that, its only other nomination came in the Best Original Song category. People cry out that Ava DuVernay failed to receive a Best Director nomination and the Selma’s star David Oyelowo failed to receive a Best Actor nomination. For some reason, people aren’t clamoring that Paul Webb, the film’s screenwriter, deserved a nomination, but that’s for another topic I guess. Anyways, if DuVernay and Oyelowo earn a nomination, is there discussion about race and the Oscars over? That seems to be the next logical step in people’s arguments, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Oscar Preview: Best Picture


- American Sniper
- Birdman
- Boyhood
- Selma
- The Imitation Game
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Theory of Everything
- Whiplash


Recently I wrote about why Edge of Tomorrow should have received a Best Picture nomination, Action flicks and superhero flicks can be good and there's no reason we can't say they're one one the 8 to 10 best films of the year when they're done properly. Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture in 1978. The Dark Knight may not have earned a Best Picture nod, but its snub was the main reason The Academy changed how voters choose the Best Picture nominees. Frankly, the way Hollywood is leaning with more emphasis on Marvel and DC properties and less emphasis on "prestige" films, the Academy might as well steer into the skid.

However, there's no way on God's Green Earth that a film like Edge of Tomorrow or Guardians of the Galaxy was going to get a Best Picture nomination in 2015. A film that actually had a chance to earn a nomination was Dan Gilroy's dark and twisted thriller Nightcrawler. The acting in the film was spectacular, the story was so complex, layered, and nuanced, and it sucked you in from the get go. Just an incredible film and a perfect movie to speak to those 30 and under- which of course is not in The Academy's wheelhouse which is why it didn't receive a nomination.

Click here for my full review of Nightcrawler

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 14 Best Films of 2014

Only about 6 weeks ago I posted my list of the 10 Best Films of 2014 with the caveat that I had not seen many films (especially many Oscar contenders). I openly admitted that the first few films on that list (mainly Veronica Mars, Wish I Was Here, and Fury) would not make my true Best of 2014 List. I still stand by those selections as films you should eventually see one day, but I was correct in that they did not make my final list. I have seen a considerable amount of films over the past few weeks and many of them are worthy on making my final year-end list.

In the end, I think 2014 ended up being a pretty good year for films. We had quality prestige Oscar-worthy films, classic summer Blockbusters, and delightful Indies. We still haven't had that Holy Shit Movie since The Social Network (only Drive comes close) and we certainly didn't get that film in 2014. But the fact that I needed to expand this list beyond 10 films should tell you something about how good and deep 2014 ended up being for movies.

Similar to my 14 Best T.V. Shows of 2014 list, the number of films in relation to the year may seem gimmicky, but I assure you the number of films I will choose to discuss mainly relates to the quality of good films there are to discuss. Before I write a post like this, I type up all of the films I plan to write about into my iPhone. I initially only wanted to do a Top 10 list, but I had considerable trouble narrowing down the list into only 10. I`could choose to leave off films I discussed in my initial Best-Of Year End list, but not only would that be a disservice to certain films, I use these posts as reference points in later years. Eventually, I was able to pair down my list to 13 solid and worthy candidates- none of which I wanted to leave off of my list. I did add a 14th film because "The Top 13 Films of 2014" doesn't flow quite as nicely, but like I said, all of these films are worthy of being considered the best of the best.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Oscar Preview: Best Director


- Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
- Alejadro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
- Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
- Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
- Morton Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

SHOULD BE HERE: David Fincher (Gone Girl)

James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, recently ripped the Best Director nominees, mainly the fact that Bennett Miller earned a nomination for Foxcatcher yet the film itself didn't get a Best Picture nomination. He had this to say about that selection:

The director has creative control of a film... although there are some great films made without great directors, it is impossible to distinguish that without being on the inside.

It's an extremely valid point, and frankly probably the correct outlook, but I also think how good the screenplay is factors a lot into how good a movie is. A great screenplay can make an average director look great (we'll see an example of that below) and a great director can make a terrible screenplay a palatable movie. That's what I think is the case with David Fincher and Gone Girl. I think the story is so bonkers and bat shit crazy that this flick would have been awful in the hands of a lesser director. In fact, if almost anybody else but Fincher directs this film it doesn't become the national sensation it did.

There's a baseball statistic called VORP: Value Over Replacement Player. Basically, this statistic measures how good a baseball player is compared to an average one at the same position. Mike Trout- the reigning AL MVP and best outfielder (and player) in the game- has an extremely high VORP because he's so much better than just an average outfielder. The reason I bring up this up is because that's how I look at some categories and nominations. In this case, Fincher's VORD (Value Over Replacement Director) is extremely high because almost no one else could have made Gone Girl. Only Fincher could have told a story as bananas as Gillian Flynn's story was and turned it into the really good movie it turned out to be.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Using Oscarmetrics To Win Your Oscar Pool

I'm a huge proponent of using numbers to analyze sports data in football and baseball, and that carries over into how I predict Academy Award winners. I use numbers to analyze data in order to seek the truth. You can claim emotional reactions, but at the end of the day, numbers never lie. That's why these numbers are going to help you predict the winners of the 2015 Academy Awards.


BEST PICTURE: Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, John Lesher, & James W. Skotchdopole)
BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

WHAT DO THE OSCARMETRICS SAY: Whether you want to claim that the Director's Guild of America (DGA) awards (12 out of the past 15 years correct) or the Producer's Guild of America (PGA) awards (11 out of the past 15 years correct) is the best predictor on who will win Best Director and Best Picture, Birdman won both major guild awards this year. Further, a film winning both the Best Director and Best Picture Academy Award is extremely common- 62 out of the 86 previous award shows had that happen. This makes sense because the reason a film is good is because of the director and the way you know a director is good is because of how amazing the film is,


BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

WHAT DO THE OSCARMETRICS SAY: All four of these actors not only are the favorite to win their respected category (which always helps), but these people have won BOTH a Golden Globe and a SAG award for their work. The percentage of the people who have won both awards since 1994 (the first year the SAG wards existed) that also went on to win an Oscar is just incredible. Listen to this: 100% (14 out of 14) of the Best Actor nominees, 85% (11 out of 13) of the Best Actress nominees, 90% (9 out of 10) of the Best Supporting Actor nominees [1], and 92% (11 out of 12) of the Best Supporting Actress nominees [2] who won both a Golden Globe and a SAG award also went on to win an Academy Award. It's extremely rare that a person wins both a Golden Globe and a SAG award yet doesn't take home the gold. Bet on the boring.

[1] Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) won the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Oscar, but won the Best Actor SAG award
[2] Kate Winslet (The Reader) won the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe and SAG award, but won the Best Leading Actress Oscar.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Movie Look Back: American Sniper

When I write movie reviews, I prefer to write them with some sort of broader context. Movies are never seen in a vacuum, therefore discussing the film beyond the film can be helpful. When I initially reviewed American Sniper, I bunched it with another 2014 “prestige” war film, Fury, and called it the death of war films in cinema. Obviously I was being hyperbolic, but since Black Hawk Down, there hasn’t been a straight forward war film I’ve enjoyed- especially one regarding any of the Gulf wars. I was not a fan of American Sniper and I expressed my dislike of the film in my review. I saw the film Friday night of its release and posted my review of the film soon after. Since then, for better or for worse, discussion of the film blew up.

First things first, I stand by my negative review. What other people have thought and Box Office success doesn’t change my feelings and thoughts of the film. The only thing that has changed is my knowledge of what everybody else thought about it. That being said, I have had weeks to reflect on the film which allows me to speak more concisely and accurately. Writing a review after watching a film can turn the review into a jumbled mess, but days and weeks pondering the film allows me time to gather and collect my thoughts.

The biggest fault with this film is Clint Eastwood’s direction, in particular his need to film things quickly and under-budget. Eastwood is notorious for not filming multiple takes and for purposefully excluding scenes from the script. The perfect embodiment of how Eastwood films his movies is the fake baby controversy that dominated your Facebook news feed for a day. Eastwood had intended to use a real baby, but when neither of the child actors to play the baby were available, he used a fake baby. The use of a fake baby was obvious to me as I pointed it out in my initial review, and it would have been noticeable to Eastwood had he looked at his dailies and what he shot. However, since Eastwood doesn’t like to reshoot and Sienna Miller and Bradley Cooper did a good job in that scene, Eastwood said "Eff It" and left that scene in his film.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Matthew Vaughn and Kingsman in a Post Dark Knight World

In a recent issue of SFX magazine, director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class) ranted against action movies being "Nolan-ized". He stated:

"People want fun and escapism at the moment. Look at the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. I think Nolan kick-started a very dark, bleak style of superhero escapism, and I think people have had enough of it."

I think it's funny how we all tend to "blame" Christopher Nolan for the serious brand of superhero and action movies we seemed to have gotten in the 2000's thanks to the incredible commercial and critical success of The Dark KnightNolan takes all of his films and the world his characters inhabit very seriously. The funniest moment in all of his films is probably the scene in Inception where Joseph Gordon-Levitt steals a kiss from Ellen Page. It’s chuckle-worthy, but it shouldn’t be the most hilarious moment of a 9 film span. The word “gritty” gets thrown around so much that it seems to be a law that you must use it when describing a Nolan vehicle. But that’s Christopher Nolan for better or worse, and we all seem to take him for better.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Oscar Preview: Best Actor


- Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)
- Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
- Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
- Michael Keaton (Birdman)
- Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

WHO SHOULD BE HERE: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

I get so incensed whenever I see this category and I don't see Jake Gyllenhaal's name listed. He was so fucking good in Nightcrawler that every acting performance this year (and especially those in this category) is ruined for me because it's not as good as Gyllenhaal in this film. Seriously. his biggest "problem" for not getting a nomination is that Nightcrawler is a film that speaks to Generation X and Millennials and the voting branch of The Academy is full of old farts who still wish Gone With The Wind was playing at the cinemas. Truthfully, I should stop expecting this branch as a whole to start making correct decisions, but I unfortunately care too much and snubs like this unnecessarily upset me to no end. Jake Gyllenhaal gave the greatest acting performance since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and gave a performance no other actor could do. Gyllenhaal not only had to have you root for this villain he plays but suck you into a pretty twisted tale and make it believable.

I'm just glad someone else is on my side in this imaginary war.

Click here to read my full review of Nightcrawler