Friday, January 30, 2009

Child's play

The film Idiocracy had a simple premise: with dumb people multiplying at a much higher rate than intelligent folk, our collective IQ will spiral down the drain. In the film's future, the House of Representatives had become the House of Representin', law degrees were awarded by CostCo, and Carl Jr's corporate slogan? "Fuck you, I'm eating."

Reading today's newspaper, it's not too difficult to imagine this outcome.

"We didn’t get any kind of shut-off notice — nothing," said 22-year-old resident Quaneisha Pittman. Pittman is eight months pregnant with her sixth child. (Thanks to writer and college buddy Chandler Brown for sneaking in that tidbit).

Of all the silly issues brought up in last year's Presidential campaign, I didn't hear a single mention of what I consider to be the most important one: our welfare rolls are expanding daily due to mothers having multiple children when they can't even afford to take care of themselves.

If you live in Atlanta, take a drive down Buford Highway. It's the city's Hispanic capital, and you will quickly lose track if you try and count the pregnant women. Our elementary schools are overflowing - one in the immediate area has EIGHT kindergartens, and has already announced teachers can no longer make copies for the rest of the year. The money is gone. And by the way, that's on top of the previous announcement that no teachers will receive their annual raise because of a budget shortfall. (This is what happens when a majority of the families are here illegally, and pay no income tax to support their child's education).

I used to work in one of these schools, and you'd be shocked to learn how many families have one kid in 5th grade, one in 4th, one in 1st, one in kindergarten, and then another who is so excited to start school next year. By the time the last kid shows up, the parents are well-versed in filling out the "free lunch" form.

When are we going to wake up to this? And what is the solution? And I must ask, why are pro-amnesty people so intent on importing a new lower class when we can't even pay for the one we have now?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Vote yes for 'Swing' (that would have been my lame Red & Black headline in 1997)

I'm not surprised this movie died at the box office last year, because even as a Kevin Costner fan, I wasn't interested. Finally seeing it tonight, though, I'm pretty damn amazed how good it was.

It's a perfectly non-partisan political comedy, featuring one of Costner's best performances, rivaling his work in Tin Cup, A Perfect World and The War. I just wish the marketing geniuses had realized it might have been better served in an election year November than August.

Most impressive of all, I watched it in one sitting. I just don't do that anymore.

Write me off?

Today, the New York Times' Paul Krugman lobbed a grenade full of stupid in favor of Obama's "stimulus package."

Next, write off anyone who asserts that it's always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.

Here's how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets — and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.

The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending.

Ok, here's a quiz. Please tell me, in 20 words or less, the difference between a customer willingly paying an extra fee for safety, and a government taking a person's money to spend as it sees fit. You have 60 seconds.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It moved. A little. I'm not gonna lie.

This is 62-year-old Sylvester Stallone in pre-production of his next film, The Greatest Fucking Movie Of All Fucking Time. Also known as The Expendables.

I'm not going to pretend there aren't a whole fucklot of drugs at work here - but man, the guy knows how to pick his drugs.

1/25 update: So, um, I just found out those tattoos are real. Seriously. I assumed he was just doing a makeup test for his new film, in which his character was saddled with stupid tats done against his will in Vietnam by evil captors. But no. Um, ok, I admit every idea of Stallone's isn't completely perfect.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So close, and yet so stupid.

In my last minute, not-entirely-thought-out Oscar prognostication post, I forgot the Academy's most important rule: It's all about the Holocaust, baby!

Yes, any Holocaust-themed film, no matter how inane (Life is Beautiful) or dull (The Pianist) is honor-bound for nomination glory. So for me to forget the by-most-accounts-mediocre The Reader was just silly. Forgive me my oversight; you pay me to perform better than this.

A quick recap of my predictions (for a complete list of nominations, head here):

Best Picture
Four out of five. I included The Dark Knight - like most people - and whiffed on The Reader.

Best Actor
Four out of five. I believed the rumor that Eastwood's schticky performance in Gran Torino would get a nod, but instead Brad Pitt's schticky performance in Benjamin Button did.

Best Actress
Two out of five. Ouch. Ok, technically I got Kate Winslet correct, but I nominated her for the wrong film. And of a trio of lauded indie performances, I picked the two that didn't get nominated (Michelle Williams, Sally Hawkins) and overlooked the one that did (Melissa Leo). And Angelina Jolie? Really?

Best Supporting Actor
Four out of five. Maybe some wishful thinking - I wanted James Franco to get his due, but Revolutionary Road's creepy Michael Shannon was slotted here instead.

Best Supporting Actress
Four out of five. Winslet's Reader performance was deemed to be a lead, so Doubt's Amy Adams slid in.

Best Director
Three out of five. Another case of wishful thinking, that the Academy would notice The Wrestler's Darren Aronofsky. I also missed Christopher Nolan, while Oscar singled out Ron Howard and Stephen Daldry instead. Interesting tidbit about Daldry: he's directed three features (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader), and he's been nominated for all of them.

What I want to happen
I don't care, to tell you the truth. 2008 was a fairly weak year for films, and the nominations are somehow even weaker. No Wrestler, no In Bruges, too much recognition of the safe and saccharine. My only rooting interest, I guess, is for Rourke to take Best Actor, and Tomei to win just so she can hold up the envelope and prove it's actually her name inside.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh, right. Those.

So I just read the Academy Award nominations are being announced tomorrow morning.

Fifteen years ago, I would have already written seven volumes of predictions, had a odds board plastered on my wall, and made plans to somehow skip first period so I could see the announcement live. Now I hear about it eight hours beforehand, woefully unprepared.

Yeah, I think this way is a bit healthier.

However, because old habits die hard (hell yes, die hard!), I find myself finding it necessary to scribble down some predictions. Call it OCD, call it nerd porn, call it "Lost"-just-ended-and-I'm-pumped-even-though-I-can't-remember-who-that-old-lady-was-but-I-am-too-excited-to-go-to-sleep. But here they are, your 2008 Oscar predictions, completely pointless because you probably won't read this until after the real ones are announced.

Remember, these are predictions, and absolutely not what I would vote for.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

In a perfect world: The Wrestler

Best Actor
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

In a perfect world: Colin Farrell, In Bruges

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Michelle Williams, Wendy & Lucy
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

In a perfect world: Elizabeth Banks, Zack & Miri Make A Porno

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
James Franco, Milk
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

In a perfect world: Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, The Reader

In a perfect world: Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
Gus Van Sant, Milk

In a perfect world: Sylvester Stallone, Rambo

Monday, January 19, 2009

Curious case of Forrest Gump

No 2008 film was more disappointing than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - and not because it was bad, but because it was merely good.

I didn't hate it, and in fact never grew bored during its 166-minute running time. However, Brad Pitt's previous collaborations with director David Fincher resulted in two of my all-time favorite movies (Seven, Fight Club). To walk out of the Button theater struggling for praise was unexpected.

There were many things I could quibble about, but my primary criticism was that it's a nearly scene-for-scene remake of Forrest Gump (both films share a screenwriter, Eric Roth). The Fiancee and I discussed some similarities in the days after we saw it, but neither of us came up with as many as this guy did.

If you haven't seen Benjamin Button, beware - there are some minor spoilers here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A toughie

Multiple choice quiz time, kiddies. Do your best.

Four people were stabbed during an after-party for which new film?

a) Paul Blart: Mall Cop
b) Hotel for Dogs
c) Bride Wars
d) Notorious

The oh-so-shocking answer is here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Betcha Bott ... Oh, screw it

If I tell you how much I want to see this, you'll think I'm joking. So I won't bother.

Oh, and of course the one week I don't post NFL picks, I would have gone 4-0. Seriously. I can't access this site from work, and my home Internet was down for a few days - thus, no blogging. But if you want to see my real life betting slip showing all four winners, be my guest. (Betting $5 on each game, I have a fresh Jackson comin' my way).

Just to get it out of the way, because I don't really care anymore:

Philadelphia (-4) @ Arizona. Yep, if Atlanta had taken care of business against the Cardinals, and then defeated an increasingly shaky Panthers team, this game would be in Atlanta. No, I haven't let it go. PICK: Arizona

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-6). About a year ago at this time, I had already envisioned the perfect draft for the Falcons. Take Glenn Dorsey with the third pick, then trade one of our bevy of later round picks to move up and take QB Joe Flacco. Instead, Atlanta took Matt Ryan, then later traded up to select tackle Sam Baker. Obviously, I'm glad Atlanta did what they did - but I don't think my scenario would have worked out too poorly. Especially since Flacco is the guy still in the hunt. PICK: Baltimore

And before I go, let me direct you to the latest column by Camille Paglia, my favorite Yankee atheist lesbian Obama-loving liberal. Obviously I want to highlight her dead-on observations on the Fairness Doctrine and global warming, but it's especially worth reading for her disemboweling of Katie Couric. God, I hope I never piss Paglia off.

P.S.: Next year we might actually see the worst movie ever made. I mean, not actually see it, because I'm certainly not supporting this excrement. But this might just be the perfect storm of the worst idea, the worst casting, and the worst execution ever. Now that I really think about it, I'm almost looking forward to it, in a sick, self-hating way.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Demolition men

As I continue to pick up the tattered pieces of my "Super Bowl champion Atlanta Falcons" dreams, I turn to face a shiny, happy light of positive brightness and wholesome joy.

Because who could stay down for long when remembering that next month, Sylvester Stallone begins filming The Expendables, which he wrote and will direct (as he did his recent classics, Rocky Balboa and Rambo)?

Who could stay sad when realizing that the film will reteam Stallone and Rocky IV co-star Dolph Lundgren?

Whose face could stay droopy when seeing the film also co-stars Forest Whitaker, Jet Li, and Jason Statham as a guy named "Lee Christmas?"

Who could let the tears continue to flow when knowing that, instead of Stallone transcribing the action-filled finale in the script, he simply wrote: "What ensues is a remarkably savage ebb and flow battle. To describe the action designed for this scene would take many pages, so trust me, it'll be like nothing seen before?"

Who could still pout when realizing The Greatest Movie Of All Time is just over a year away?

1/07 update: Oh good God. Apparently Mickey Rourke has joined the cast. I'm starting to resemble Cartman and his desire for the Wii. I want to climb into a snowy bank and freeze myself for a year, just so opening day gets here quicker.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cardinals Victory: The Immediate Reaction

Georgia Tech graduate Keith Brooking lost this game for the Atlanta Falcons.

I hope he dies in a car wreck tomorrow and burns for eternity in Hell.

That is not an understatement.

Sunday morning update: Ok, maybe that was a slight exaggeration. Heat of the moment, and all that. Anyway, a car crash and then Purgatory should be fine.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Betcha Bottom Dollar: The Fucking Falcons Are In The Fucking Playoffs Edition, Week One

What the Atlanta Falcons accomplished in 2008 is nothing short of amazing, but one group has not been given enough credit for it - the NFL Scheduling Gods.

If a team is featuring a rookie quarterback, there are a few matchups it would kill to have. This year, you're looking at Detroit, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Those teams will have the first three picks in next year's draft, having finished the season with the worst records in the league. And they were all on Atlanta's schedule. Not to mention 5-11 Oakland.

That's what you call a trio of confidence builders - something a young team desperately needs. Those victories, two very conveniently scheduled in the first three weeks of the season, directly helped in the Falcons' more daunting wins - @Green Bay, @Minnesota, @San Diego, Chicago, Carolina, Tampa Bay, New Orleans.

Well, those days are over with. On Tuesday, the NFL announced each team's home and away matchups for 2009. The home schedule includes the three division matchups, plus Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Buffalo and Miami. The away games include the division rivals, plus Dallas, San Francisco, New England and both New York teams.

For those scoring at home, the Falcons will only be playing TWO teams next season that had a losing 2008 record - and nobody that finished worse than 7-9. Hardly Detroit, St. Louis or Kansas City levels of talent.

Remember, the Atlanta Falcons have NEVER had back-to-back winning seasons. If they do it in 2009, the team has truly arrived.

The picks:

Atlanta (-2) @ Arizona. Not only did Atlanta's regular season scheduling benefit the Falcons, but the postseason one has its own helping hand. If you have to play a first-round game - and dammit, my least favorite UGA alum John Kasey, we do - this is the best opponent you could hope for. And how absurd is it that, as of Friday morning, the game still hasn't sold out? PICK: Atlanta

Indianapolis (-1) @ San Diego. If the Falcons do bow out of the postseason before the Super Bowl - and that's a big "if," homie - I'll be pulling for the All-Manning Super Bowl. Peyton and the Colts vs. Eli and the Giants. Because, really, there's not another team in the postseason I could rally behind. And plus, that would mean the Panthers were out of the running. PICK: Indianapolis

Baltimore (-3) @ Miami. The Fiancee and I have talked about going to the Georgia Aquarium for awhile now, and I suggested early Sunday afternoon would be a great time to go. But during the NFL playoffs, you say? Whaaaaa? Is anybody outside of Maryland or southern Florida excited about this game? I can't think of anything more imaginative than "The Wire" vs. "Miami Vice" when trying to anticipate it. PICK: Baltimore (because "The Wire" is better than "Miami Vice," I guess)

Philadelphia (-3) @ Minnesota. I'm picking Minnesota here because nobody else is picking Minnesota here. And because four road favorites won't cover in the playoffs. They won't. I don't think. Of course, all Falcons fans should be pulling hard for the Eagles, as Philly going on a run is the only way Atlanta sees a home NFC Championship game. PICK: Minnesota

Last week: 6-9-1, but who's counting?
Overall: 55-63-4, but seriously, who's counting?

Stop counting.