Monday, April 27, 2009

Help wanted

Somebody tell me why I shouldn't buy this.

Please.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can we call him "T-Go" now? Are we there yet?


Yes, the jersey is already for sale.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, talking to Foxsports.com:

"...I’m looking forward to making a Super Bowl run in Atlanta every year for the next three or four years. With Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White and now myself, we have the chance to be in the top 5 in the league in offense every year. How could I not be excited to join that team?"

That sound of urine soaking denim you hear? Just ignore that. No idea what
that is.

Arts & Drafts

Martians Attacking Indianapolis, April 25, 2008:
Of course, mock drafts - all 150,000 of them - are exercises in futility. One pick goes wrong, and the dominoes of dumbass fall, one-by-one, until you're left with only 10 of 64 picks on-the-nose (that's me, folks). So this year, in an increasing attempt to not make myself look like a Down's baby, I've abandoned the conceit.

So last year I refused to create a mock draft in an attempt to avoid looking stupid, opting instead to make myself look like a doucheram by using phrases like "abandoned the conceit." And then I proceeded to type this:
  • "The Falcons freak out - this has been their nightmare scenario - and take Matt Ryan."

  • "...Ryan (a buster waiting to happen)..."

  • "If I were running the (Falcons') draft, and this will probably be a good reason I'm not, I'm not necessarily taking a QB at all."

  • "Avoid Matt Ryan and Brian Brohm."

So mission accomplished, right? I mean, goddamn - I didn't sound stupid at all.

I pride myself on being a pretty good judge of QB talent. In 2007, I thought JaMarcus Russell was a wasted #1 pick. In 2006, I liked Jay Cutler over Vince Young. In 2005, Aaron Rodgers would have been my pick before Alex Smith. In 2004, I remember being apoplectic that Eli Manning was getting all the press, when Ben Roethlisberger just seemed so much more dominant to me (granted, all I knew of Roehtlisberger was what I saw in one bowl game, but the dude had been on fire). And as I love to remind my buddy Dave, I think I can finally claim victory in our long-ago Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf argument.

In 2008, though, I not only pooped the bed, but I stuck my finger in it and drew a curly-stank moustache on my face. My entire post seemed to revolve around the idea that OH NOES, MATT RYAN IZ THE DEVIL! I based everything around his interception numbers at Boston College, and obviously couldn't have been more wrong in my assessment. Twelve months later, and he's a guy who I wouldn't trade straight-up for any other player in the NFL. Seriously.

So fuck, why not go back to the well? Yes, mock drafts are lame because of their overabundance. Yes, mock drafts are pointless because draft day trades are bound to be made. Yes, mock drafts are generally spouted out of buttholes, because, hey, it's not like I've been studying these individual players, watching film late into the night. Half of the following picks were made with all the insight of, "That dude just sounds like he'd play for that team."

Unlike two years ago, however, I won't be making individual commentary for most players. You don't care, I don't have the time, and the only real value in this won't show its face until Monday, when you can see how much of a fucktard I turned out to be.

1) Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia.
As I'm typing this, ESPN is reporting a contract between Detroit and Stafford could be done by tonight. And with that, Stafford becomes the first UGA player to be picked first overall since 1953, when end Harry Babcock was taken by the San Francisco 49ers. Previously, more recognizable names Frank Sinkwich (1943, Detroit Lions) and Charley Trippi (1945, Chicago Cardinals) had gone first.

2) St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor.

3) Kansas City Chiefs - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.
My favorite rumor of the week, naturally, included the Falcons. Atlanta would send its first, second and fifth round picks to the Chiefs, in exchange for TE Tony Gonzalez and DT Glenn Dorsey. For the record, I'd do this faster than a church fart. Of course, there's only a 99.999% chance it's internet bullcrap.

4) Seattle Seahawks - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC.
Sanchez should go here, but I'm not sure it's Seattle who takes him. The Seahawks have been a little too desperate sending out smoke signals about the USC QB. It probably means they're fishing for a trade partner, somebody who wants to grab him before Cleveland can.

5) Cleveland Browns - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest.

6) Cincinnati Bengals - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.

7) Oakland Raiders - Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.
If my mock draft hasn't already fallen apart, this is where it will crumble. Who the hell knows what Al Davis will do? I hear there are even odds he takes a player who doesn't exist. "And with the seventh pick of the 2009 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select - Drywall McVolvo, quarterstuff from Shimmertown."

8) Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech.

9) Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.

10) San Francisco 49ers - Michael Oher, OT, Missouri.

11) Buffalo Bills - Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee.

12) Denver Broncos - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State.
This is earlier than practically everybody is slotting Freeman, but Denver might have to grab him now, fearful of the Jets snatching him up at pick #17.

13) Washington Redskins - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama.
Hee-hee.

14) New Orleans Saints - Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State.
If nothing else convinces the Falcons to focus on a run-stuffing defense, this should. Atlanta would have to face the two-headed monster of Reggie Bush and Beanie Wells twice a year for the foreseeable future. I've heard the Saints have a decent QB as well.

15) Houston Texans - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State.

16) San Diego Chargers - Everette Brown, DE, Florida State.

17) New York Jets - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri.

18) Denver Broncos - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Brian Cushing, LB, USC.
Cushing is my first choice for the Falcons, so I'm hoping rumors are true and Tampa trades up in search of Josh Freeman (or, hell, Freeman falls to them). That might be the only way Cushing drops to #24.

20) Detroit Lions - Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss.

21) Philadelphia Eagles - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.
In Philadelphia, Moreno joins former UGA standouts Reggie Brown, Chris Clemons, Max Jean-Gilles and Sean Jones. I still don't like the Eagles.

22) Minnesota Vikings - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.

23) New England Patriots - Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut.

24) Atlanta Falcons - Clay Matthews, LB, USC.
Nine out of 10 mock drafts have Atlanta taking TE Brandon Pettigrew, and I'd be fine with that choice. But if either Matthews or Brian Cushing are still available, I think GM Thomas Dimitroff would be wise to replace the nerd-shaped hole left by Keith Brooking. Again, Cushing is my first choice, and I'll probably be a little taken aback if the choice isn't one of those three names. All of that said, there's a hella-good chance Atlanta trades this pick, probably to move down. 3:30 p.m. update: Obviously Pettigrew is off Atlanta's board, with their our 2010 draft pick going to Kansas City for Tony Gonzalez (official verdict: AWE-some). So while every Tom, Dick and Face who slotted Pettigrew is lookin' foolish, I'm already bringin' the brains.

25) Miami Dolphins - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC.

26) Baltimore Ravens - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida.
As much as I want Harvin to fall into the second round - purely out of spite - the Ravens may take the troubled Gator here. Give Harvin a couple years of Ray Lewis's kung-fu grip on his shoulders, and the line may be towed.

27) Indianapolis Colts - Ebon Britton, OT, Arizona.

28) Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.

29) New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina.

30) Tennessee Titans - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest.

31) Arizona Cardinals - Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut.

32) Pittsburgh Steelers - Alex Mack, C, California.
I wonder how many "hey man, where's your secret world?" jokes this guy has heard over the years. And I wonder how I even knew that reference.

Well, I did a little more commentary than I intended. You're welcome, plebes. Oh, and if I bat .218 (seven out of 32), I'll consider it a huge success. I feel like Andruw Jones.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Live free or I'll be back

Next month's Terminator: Salvation has officially been rated PG-13.

From the film's website:



While the first three Terminator films all garnered an R rating, the first non-Schwarzenegger entry gets the teen-friendly tag for "intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language."

I think we all know who to blame for this:



Similarly, 2007's Live Free or Die Hard was the fourth film in an aging, '80s-born franchise. All previous entries had been for the 17-and-up crowd, but the 21st century installment had been toned down to PG-13.

The results? $383 million worldwide, making it the most successful Die Hard film ever. So we should have expected this.

That said - and this is a big "that said." I don't care. I just don't think it will make a lick of difference. While Live Free or Die Hard had to de-fuck one of the most fuckinest-saying characters in movie history, Terminator can be more easily adapted.

Ok, we won't hear "fuck," but it wasn't a huge part of the franchise. What are the lines you remember? They weren't "I'll fucking be back," or "Hasta la fuckin' vista, baby" (although that last one in particular would have been cool). There aren't any misplaced gun shots that have to be placed over catchphrases.

The violence probably won't have to be toned down, either. The series was never that gory, and most of the action in this one seems to be against machines (the MPAA definitely notes a difference). Hell, snip out some swear words and maybe a frame or two of blood, and Terminator 2 would have been PG-13 as well.

There will be some outcry, but it just makes sense. If I was relaunching a somewhat tired franchise - and spending hundreds of millions to do it - I'd certainly want my film to reach as wide an audience as possible. And audiences will be forgiving if the film is half as good as the trailer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quarter Back: April 1984 - but first, an announcement

For a few months, I've given thought to making this blog more specialized. Basically, there's no theme to it, no real focus - and so I tend to sporadically hit on a baker's dozen of topics. Chances are good I'd be more prolific if I reigned it in, if I chose one subject and stayed the course. Of course, then there's the question of What?

Movies?

NFL football?

Politics?

All Die Hard, all the time?

Politics is the first thing to scratch off. I hate politics, because I hate politicians. People always say "hate is a strong word," but in fact hate is a weak word here. HATE. So if I went there all the time, my forehead veins would pop all over this lovely computer. And I don't want that.

If I went "all Die Hard," then I'd miss dedicating 5,o00 words to the 23rd anniversary of Over the Top, only 10 short months away. So why not just do movies? They're really my first love anyway, and I'd never run out of silly theories and stupid observations to share. Why not just do that?

Because I wouldn't be able to talk about the Atlanta Falcons. And I will talk about the Atlanta Falcons.

So, basically, I'd like to welcome you to the all-new and hopefully improved Martians Attacking Indianapolis, your go-to source for dubious, puerile insight about movies and NFL football. I'd like to think I'm one of a kind.

Let's start by introducing a new monthly feature: Quarter Back, which will look at movies that arrived in theaters 25 years previous (a quarter of a century, get it?). Each time I'll highlight one film, either rewatching it or taking it in for the first time, and give short recaps/reviews of the rest of that month's releases. First up: April 1984.

In early '84, I was eight years old - basically, only attending movies with my parents. My theater-going was generally limited to PG-ish stuff they could tolerate - the oeuvres of Spielberg and Lucas, the occasional "dinosaurs still exist!" flick, and stuff my parents incorrectly assumed was kid-friendly because it was set in outer space.

Featured Movie



Iceman
Release date: April 13, 1984
Actors: Timothy Hutton, John Lone, Lindsay Crouse
Director: Fred Schepisi (Roxanne, The Russia House)
Box office: $7.3 million (#94 in 1984)
Had I seen it before?: No

On the surface, the PG-rated Iceman should have been on my parents' to-see list. It features a potentially fascinating premise - a group of scientists finds a Neaderthal man frozen in a Polar icecap, and manages to bring him back to life. While a predictibly uncaring group wants to do an immediate dissection, one young anthropologist (Hutton, still grasping to leading man status) connects with the 40,000-year-old man. Sort of. I guess.

The first 20 minutes are legitmately excellent - the thawing of the ice, the first glimpse of the frozen man within, the ever-so-slight changing of skin color to reflect life. And the acting throughout is top-notch - from Lone's work as the titular character (which could have easily turned into a "Saturday Night Live"-style parody), to supporting turns from then-unknowns Danny Glover and David Strathairn.

The film falters, I think, because it came out so close after E.T.-mania. It seems to position itself as "the story of a boy and his iceman," with a few too many treacly scenes of Hutton staring wistfully at his new friend - one who would be just as likely to give him a high five than bludgeon his brains in with a rock. If they were going to stray away from science and go in another direction, I'd rather see another snowbound horror flick like The Thing instead of Mac & Me On Ice. Grade: C+

Other films 25 years old this month (movies I've seen are in bold):

Champions - John Hurt rides horses. That information courtesy of IMDB, because I couldn't have even told you that much.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter - Corey Feldman makes his mark on the Friday franchise. I actually remember liking this one a bit when I was a kid, but my only lasting image is of Feldman with a shaved head. Am I remembering that correctly?

Hard to Hold - Rick Springfield tries to break out of the music and soap opera worlds, but instead cements his legacy of singing "Jessie's Girl" over and over at county fairs.

Moscow on the Hudson - At this point, Robin Williams was still trying to pull away from Mork, making semi-serious R-rated fare like this and The World According to Garp. This was moderately well received, but he'd struggle to find his footing - his superstar-making turn in Good Morning, Vietnam was still three years away.

Phar Lap - Tom Burlinson rides horses. You may not know Burlinson, but my sister grew up worshipping his work in the Man From Snowy River movies. She probably still stalks him, to tell the truth.

Swing Shift - Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell work together for the first time - in a comedy about wartime factories. Can't imagine why this wasn't more successful. The only Hawn/Russell movies I see involve big yachts, redneck kids, and Pee-Wee Herman jokes.

Up the Creek - Mad Magazine followed National Lampoon into the movie business, and tried to mimic the antics of Animal House and Porky's by, well, casting people who were in Animal House (Tim Matheson, Stephen Furst) and Porky's (Dan Monahan). It almost got there, only falling short of Animal House's gross by $108 million.

Where the Boys Are '84 - Another '80s movie promising bad jokes and tits. Notable for - absolutely nothing. Except tits.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Totally awesome predictions, only four short months out


I love this photo. You rule, AJC.

In 2008, the Atlanta Falcons shocked the NFL faithful by going 11-5 and grabbing a playoff berth in a "rebuilding year." A popular question at season's end concerned the team MVP's identity.

Was it quarterback Matt Ryan? Running back Michael Turner? General manager Thomas Dimitroff?

My opinion hasn't really changed since then. The clear MVP of the 2008 Atlanta Falcons season wasn't a first-round draft pick, a free agent find out of San Diego, or the world champion procurer of cool hair gel. The MVP was The Schedule.

As I've said before, the cards fell perfectly for a young, inexperienced team (though not the Cards, unfortunately). The schedule opened with Detroit, who wouldn't win a game all season. It included Green Bay, Kansas City, Oakland and St. Louis, none of whom would win more than six. Most of the tougher matchups were slotted in the season's second half, once confidence was built.

The 2009 schedule was announced Monday. We've known the opponents for a couple of months, but not how they'd be laid out over the 17-week season. Suffice to say, I won't be making another 16-win prediction (although, it must be said, my 16-0 call was a helluva lot closer than some outlets, who called for 1-15.)

We're (yes "we," goddammit) matching up with the NFC's best division, and the AFC's best. We're facing a single team that ended the '08 season with a losing record - and that was a 7-9 squad that just added Terrell Owens. Our biggest name opponents are all on the road.

So let's get this out of the way, then: the Atlanta Falcons will win the Super Bowl this season. Surprising prediction coming from me, I know. But it's just, well - the schedule works. It works better than this schedule could have possibly worked. And that's not just pried from my nether regions like the 16-0 prediction; validity is actually involved.

Week One: Miami Dolphins.
Week Two: Carolina Panthers.
The schedule's best part? It begins with two very winnable home contests. Miami is a cute preseason sleeper pick, but it's all smoke and Pennington. No way does QB Chad repeat last year's numbers, and their overhyped Wildcat Formation will have been studied by every coach for a year. Carolina is also due for a letdown after an over-achieving 2008. Unless, of course, they've secretly replaced interception machine Jake Delhomme with pick-free Sanka while I wasn't looking. Falcons record: 2-0

Week Three: @New England.
If you have to face the Patriots, get 'em early and pray Tom Brady isn't 100% yet. A loss here isn't the end of anything; as long as Atlanta is competitive, the lessons learned and confidence acquired can pay off huge as the season progresses. Falcons record: 2-1

Week Four: Bye week.
A little early. Don't like it, to tell you the truth. If we do get trounced by the Pats - a big, monster, don't-fucking-sweat-it "if" - these two weeks will be psychologically back-breaking.

Week Five: @San Francisco .
Matt Ryan vs. Shaun Hill. Matt Ryan vs. Alex Smith. Matt Ryan vs. Damon Huard. Matt Ryan vs. TBD Rookie. Those are the four ways this game plays out. I like those four ways. Falcons record: 3-1

Week Six: Chicago.
Almost a month since Atlanta's last home game, the Bears return for a prime-time rematch of 08's breath-taking (literally; I almost died) last second Falcons win. And this time, Chicago has Jay Cutler in tow. I don't like any team to run a home schedule undefeated, so I'll make a wild stab here. And yes, this stab will be reversed once game week gets here. Falcons record: 3-2

Week Seven: @Dallas.
Week Eight: @New Orleans.
A wicked stretch. One visit to Dallas's new billion dollar stadium, one visit to New Orleans' old rape-stenched shantytown (at night, no less). As a firm believer in the Cult of Romosucks, I think Atlanta has a much better chance to get out of Texas with a win. And without scabies. Falcons record: 4-3

Week Nine: Washington.
Oh, what a joyous day. I hope to have all of my Redskins-loving compatriots with me at the Dome, only to enjoy it even more when Daniel Snyder's annual vomitrrhea of a team falls by double digits. Falcons record: 5-3

Week Ten: @Carolina.
Week Eleven: @New York.
Dastardly, just dastardly. A split with Carolina can be expected, and the New York matchup will probably be Atlanta's first true frigid weather affair. Again, knowing full well I will change these predictions in a few months... Falcons record: 5-5

Let's take a break here. You're asking yourself, "Josh, you know everything about NFL football, and you have the Falcons at .500 after ten games! How could you, oh sexy wise one, still be predicting this team for a Super Bowl berth?" Yes, you're asking yourself that. You are. Trust me. Well, read on.

Week Twelve: Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay will suck this year. My first real, unwavering prediction. The Bucs are looking at 6-10 at best, and I'll be a little surprised if they even hit that. I keep reading these NFL outlook pieces saying Tampa Bay could be a contender in the NFC South, and I get the same feeling that the annual "San Diego is going to the Super Bowl this year" predictions give me. "I. Just. Don't. Get. It." This is an easy win. Falcons record: 6-5

Week Thirteen: Philadelphia.
Very possibly the shoot-out of the year. I don't believe the Eagles are as dominant as in years past, but Michael Turner might have a long day. I'll call a win, but it could easily be within a field goal. Falcons record: 7-5

Week Fourteen: New Orleans.
The Saints visit Atlanta, and the lack of chlamydia in the air stuns them into a stupor for the first half. The Falcons take advantage, and cruise. Falcons record: 8-5

Week Fifteen: @NY Jets.
I'm not buyin' what the Jets are sellin'. Not until they have a QB, at least. Falcons record: 9-5

Week Sixteen: Buffalo.
Last year's Buffalo team was one of my more left-field Super Bowl predictions in recent seasons, and I get the feeling I just jumped the gun by 12 months. If Trent Edwards is healthy, there could be a surprise in store. Falcons record: 9-6

Week Seventeen: @Tampa Bay.
A playoff spot could very easily come down to this, which may mean I'll be looking for Tampa roadtrip buddies (now accepting resumes and applications). The game starts at 1, and will be over by 1:30. Falcons record: 10-6

Ten wins should get the NFC South for Atlanta. And this is where the schedule's true beauty reveals itself - Atlanta has already faced a number of teams they'd be meeting in the playoffs, and the task of facing the Tom Bradys/Donovan McNabbs/New York Giants (can't type "Eli Mannings" with a straight face) will seem a helluva lot less daunting than they do now. The schedule prepares us for a deep, deep run.

This is one of the rare occasions when going from 11-5 to 10-6 isn't a step back. With the season landscape looking as it does, it will in fact be a huge step forward. The Falcons will claim -

Ah, fuck it, never mind. 16-0.

All hail

"(US citizens) need a government that is working to create jobs and opportunity for them, rather than simply giving more and more to those at the very top in the false hope that wealth will trickle down."
- Barack Obama, April 15th, 2009

So it's official. We have a president so economically dense that he actually believes government gives money. That the government owns all wealth, and apparently just divvies it out to those it sees fit. Nobody earns. Nobody owns. We should all just be happy with what government lets us keep.

This, of course, isn't a revelation to anybody who's paid attention to his presidency so far.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The fact they worked "Die Hard" in there only sells it more...

My friends are OK, I guess - but unfortunately, not one of them is cool enough to do this with me. Or are they?

No. They aren't.

Witness one of the greatest NFL “Die Hard” fan events – LIVE!!

NFL On Location is pleased to offer a Draft hospitality program offering one-of-a-kind experiences that you can only get from the NFL!

Event highlights include:

  • Draft ticket for Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26
  • Continental Breakfast & “Chalk Talk” session with an NFL Draft Analyst
  • Photo Opportunities at your favorite “Team Table”
  • Souvenir Draft Hat
  • Drink and snack coupons for Radio City concession stands
  • NYC Transit "1-Day Fun Pass"

Cost Per Person: $399 (tax included)

Souvenir draft hat! Tax included! This thing sells itself.