Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bestest buds

Oddly enough, this was taken in a QuikTrip parking lot while he was filling up his '97 Civic. Dude wears his jersey everywhere.

Wait, hold on...

There. That's better.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Week Four

It was bad planning by way of epic ignorance.

Due to some last minute generosity, I found myself in St. Augustine last Sunday. One of my too-few wealthy relatives offered their beach house for the weekend, so we took advantage of one last summer-like getaway. They have a satellite dish, so I was assured all games on Saturday and Sunday could be consumed, with a beautiful Atlantic Ocean view for added pleasure.

College football was on the flatscreen all day Saturday, and we could have watched the Georgia-Mississippi State game if only it hadn't been cancelled at the last minute, never played, and never to be talked about again. The gulls announced NFL action early Sunday, and while the female half of my roadtrip enjoyed beach time, I settled in to watch - Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay. And that was it.

My assurances of "a dish" were in fact true, but my uncle hadn't realized the difference between having cable and purchasing an NFL subscription. And the ignorance was my own, having not thought to check on this before 12:57 p.m. So I was stuck flipping between a Pittsburgh domination, and the Red Zone Channel, which also seemed to air the entire first half of Steelers-Bucs.

The occasional updates of Falcons-Saints, by Red Zone and phone, weren't cutting it, and rushed packing had us ready to leave by the second half kickoff. We ended up watching the last quarter and overtime in a seedy, I-10 dive called "Applebee's." The locals, focused on their Bucs and Jags, Bud and Jack, dramatically bristled at every scream from our table - and there were plenty of 'em. When Garrett Hartley shanked the overtime field goal, I'm pretty sure our noise level shattered a nearby Tim Tebow stained glass window, and I was briefly afraid of getting a "proper north Florida greetin'." Which, to my understanding, involves meth, tattoos, and being tied to a tree.

Alas, we escaped Florida with our lives, a win, and having seen the game's most important moments. And since I'll actually be in Arizona for December's Falcons-Saints rematch, I'll chalk this up as a lesson to be more prepared next time.

The picks:

San Francisco @ Atlanta (-6 1/2). I'm excited to walk into the Georgia Dome on Sunday. The opening Cardinals home game was great, but the empty seats kept electricity from reaching a maximum. The Saints win, however, should kick things up, even if the opponent is as "boring" as the 49ers. Yeah, that's the word I heard this week: "boring." I can't really argue, but it sounds bizarre to anyone who's followed the NFL for more than 10 years. I remember being at a Falcons-49ers Monday night game in the early '90s; huge stars on the field, and even some on the sidelines (MC Hammer and Danny Glover, which was a big deal at the time). A rock concert atmosphere, to be sure. Anyway, it seems the words "trap game" have been said by every Atlanta player this week, so I don't think that'll be a problem. Roll Falcons roll. PICK: Atlanta

Denver @ Tennessee (-6 1/2). Tennesnore hosts a Knowshon-less Broncos squad, and his absence effectively sucks any personal interest out of this matchup. This is one of those "I'll watch this if one of my fantasy players is on the field" games, and there's no such luck for me. PICK: Tennessee

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-1 1/2). Walking out of Heinz Field a few weeks ago, I made a crack to my host: "We'll see you in Dallas." Honestly, I was kidding - but only because neither team looked like a Super Bowl contender that day. Now I've read mentions of this exact scenario in no fewer than three different places - and I'm just dumb enough to get legitimately excited about it in early October. PICK: Pittsburgh

Cincinnati (-3) @ Cleveland. Since the game is oh-so-creatively nicknamed The Ohio Bowl, I can only assume the stadium smells like raw diaper and back sweat. Interesting side note for Georgians, though: on Twitter, Chad Ochocinco said he'll spend $100K on parties for Atlanta fans while in town for the Falcons-Bengals game. I'm doubting the venues will be any of my regular haunts (Jason's Deli, El Pollo Loco, my house), but nonetheless, Ochocinco promises to "bring back memories of Big Meech." I have NO IDEA what that means. PICK: Cincinnati

Detroit @ Green Bay (-14). It sucks when one injury takes the bloom off an entire game. Seeing Matthew Stafford react to a Lambeau field crowd would be something, but seeing Shaun Hill do the same doesn't cut it. PICK: Detroit

Carolina @ New Orleans (-13 1/2). The schedule doesn't get much easier for a wretched Panthers team. It's 0-4 after Sunday, and Chicago comes to Charlotte next week. There are two possibly winnable games against San Francisco and at St. Louis, but then the Saints come marching in. By the time Atlanta finally faces Carolina for the first time in Week 14, John Abraham will be able to sack Jimmy Clausen with an eyebrow twitch. PICK: New Orleans

Seattle (-1) @ St. Louis. Just for fun, I swung over to NFL Ticket Exchange to see what scalpers were asking for this one. I hit "Buy Tickets" and got a pop-up window that said, "Seriously?" (For real, you can get lower level, 50-yard-line seats for $100 - $10 less than Sunday's cheapest nose-bleed Heinz Field ticket.) PICK: St. Louis

NY Jets (-5) @ Buffalo. PICK: NY Jets

Indianapolis (-7) @ Jacksonville. PICK: Indianapolis

Houston (-3) @ Oakland. Ok, so poll time: does anybody actually like 3-D? Yeah, this doesn't have anything to do with football, but you're going to get that sometimes when the game is this flaccid. So again, the question: does anybody like 3-D, when prices are inflated, you have to wear dumb glasses, the picture isn't as sharp, you run the chance of headaches, and the entire movie experience suffers because of a stupid gimmick? Now, I'm going to keep my opinion to myself as to not sway your vote. Just let me know what you think. PICK: Houston

Arizona @ San Diego (-8). That said, I think Jackass 3-D is an amazing idea, probably the only movie I'll ever again pay for in that format. PICK: Arizona

Washington @ Philadelphia (-6). Every other NFL feature this week has had something to do with this game, whether its Donovan McNabb's return to Philly, Michael Vick's amazing success, or some combination of the two. I'm not sure the nation is nearly as interested as the media, though. It just seems forced, because for all the press, McNabb was never really embraced as a big-time star, even by his own city at times. And I'm not sure a lot of people have really worked out their feelings toward Vick yet. I know I'm on the fence. My loathing for the Eagles is quite high, as is my disgust with Vick's crimes - but man, when he takes off on a run, my fandom reverts to 2004 quite easily. It feels icky to root for him, especially in that uniform - but it's hard not to do. The NFL shouldn't feel like such a morality struggle, and I can't be the only one shuffling away from Eagles games for that reason. PICK: Washington

Chicago @ NY Giants (-4). Some of the week's best reading has come courtesy of so-called NFL Power Rankings, which every sports website seems to do (and admittedly, I eat up like they were made of mustard and fried dead things). Chicago, despite its 3-0 record, isn't listed at the top of any of 'em, and Bears fans - if you haven't heard, a particularly passionate and oft delusional bunch - have been pooping out kittens for days now. "How dare people not anoint the 3-0 Bears #1, in light of their not-at-all fluky wins and ascension of Jay Cutler to the NFL elite? No, ignore the 29th-ranked rushing offense and 28th-ranked pass defense - those are the flukes! We're number one!" (I'm assuming the same thing always happens on South Carolina Gamecocks message boards, but life is too short to check.) PICK: Chicago

New England (-1) @ Miami. I'm too lazy to look up actual statistics, but this line seems to be bucking history. The Dolphins always seem to upset the Patriots in big games (ie. Monday night), so I'm not getting the New England love at all - especially since they've yet to look like a powerhouse. Chad Henne could venture into "household name" status with a big game here, and I'm thinking he'll deliver. PICK: Miami

Last week: 9-7-0
Overall: 27-17-4

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still burning

I miss movie theme songs. Really, what was the last movie that had a real theme song? Titanic?

God, I wanted to be Rob Lowe in 1985. I even played the saxaphone in my elementary school band, just because of this movie.

For the record, I want to be Rob Lowe in 2010.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Aiding And A'Betting: Week Three NFL Picks

Week Three's NFL picks are up over at SB Nation. And ya best listen good.

Last week: 11-4-1
Overall: 18-10-4

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Week Two

Due to its unfathomable popularity, Aiding and A'Betting has now become part of the SB Nation community. You can find Week Two here, and I'll continue to post links all season.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Week One

"Bitch, I ain't playin'."

Let’s enjoy this one, kiddies. With another labor squabble on the horizon, this may be the last “NFL opening weekend” we see anytime soon.

Fear not, though: for the next 17 weeks, I will guide you to a truly winning season, one that ends with a celebratory, fists-full-of-cash dance in front of your crestfallen bookie. You actually have my assurances of a massive profit if you follow my lead.

Assuming, of course, you know the 50% of picks I’m right on, and the 50% I’m just kidding about. Pay close attention.


Minnesota @ New Orleans (-5). Yeah, you have your point spreads, over/unders, parlays, teasers, etc. I’d like to bet on the announcers, though. “Which phrase will be said more during the telecast? ‘Favre is playing like a kid out there’ or ‘Five years since Hurricane Katrina’?” Can we tease the Katrina pick with the over of “shots of the Ninth Ward scored by a softly played piano?” PICK: New Orleans


Carolina @ NY Giants (-7). As a Falcons fan, I must pull against division rival Carolina. As a cognizant human, I must pull against Eli Manning. Decisions. PICK: Carolina

Miami (-3) @ Buffalo. These games always bug me. No, not the total, absolute boredom of Miami playing Buffalo. It’s the endless “can a team from a warm city win in a cold environment” debate. I’ve already heard that in reference to this game, and let me point out two things. 1) Buffalo’s high on Sunday is expected to be 69 degrees. I’m thinking the Dolphins can handle the frigidity. 2) The argument assumes everybody plays for their hometown. Chad Henne is from Pennsylvania, as is first round pick Jared Odrick. Jake Long is from Michigan. They can handle it. PICK: Miami

Atlanta (-2 1/2) @ Pittsburgh. Let something be known right now. I am Falcons Superfan #1, and there is absolutely no way I’d pick against them in this game. I’ll be at Heinz Field on Sunday (my first NFL road game) and I’m not going to jinx it with bad ju-ju a few days prior. And look for me on TV – I’ll be the guy, the one guy, in a Falcons D.J. Shockley jersey. PICK: Atlanta

Detroit @ Chicago (-6 1/2). Former SEC quarterbacks face off in what actually might be a damn good game – and when was the last time we expected that from Detroit? And am I the only one who likes Matthew Stafford more as a Lion than as a Bulldog? He just seems more at home in the pros. PICK: Detroit

Cincinnati @ New England (-4 1/2). Ah, dammit. When crafting my award-winning fantasy football team each year, I have one rule: don’t pick anybody you want to root against. That means no Saints, not ever, no way. And it typically means I have to stay away from dreaded New England – but I froze. I needed a quarterback, and the top shelf was already off the board. Do I take Brady over the screams of my Boston prejudice, or risk going through the season with Jay Cutler or – ick – Tony Romo? Pardon me while I hold my nose all the way to another title. PICK: Cincinnati (smells like a 3-pointer)

Cleveland @ Tampa Bay (-3). Oh, Cleveland – the hits just keep on comin’. God’s latest bitch slap is RB Montario Hardesty taking his talents to Injured Reserve. Of course, let’s not pretend a Super Bowl run was just thwarted. I mean, not only is Jake Delhomme Cleveland’s starting QB, but looking at the current depth chart, Jake Delhomme should be Cleveland’s starting QB. Ouch. PICK: Tampa Bay

Denver @ Jacksonville (-2 1/2). Well, it was long assumed The Tebow Era would begin in Jacksonville, but most assumed it’d be in a Jags uniform. Instead, the most hyped second stringer since George Lazenby will be wearing the orange and blue (hey, just noticed that!) of the Broncos. And hopefully getting the Jesus-loving snot beaten out of him. PICK: Jacksonville

Indianapolis (-2 1/2) @ Houston. Wait, did I just say Tebow’s snot loves Jesus? Is that a sin? I mean, a clearly marked sin I have to worry about? I’m arguing that one if it comes up at Judgment. PICK: Indianapolis

Oakland @ Tennessee (-6). Hey, did I mention I’m going to the Falcons-Steelers game? And sitting in free club seats? Did I? Huh? (Sorry, I can’t find a single damn interesting thing to say about this game.) PICK: Oakland

Green Bay (-3) @ Philadelphia. On paper, probably the best game of Week One – but before throwing Philly any parades, let’s see if Kevin Kolb can step out of his former first stringer’s large shadow and become the next, well, Aaron Rodgers. PICK: Green Bay

San Francisco (-3) @ Seattle. Pete Carroll returns to the NFL, just skirting the USC penalties with amazing and oh-so-coincidental timing. I consider his just punishment having to, you know, coach the Seahawks. Fun fact: Matt Hasselbeck turned 67 this year (yeah, suck on that age joke, guy who is five months older than me!). PICK: San Francisco

Arizona (-4) @ St. Louis. “I’m betting on Derek Anderson in a road game.” Seriously, doesn’t that sound like a really stupid thing to say? Sure, he’s up against a bad team – but a bad team with (my little ol’ opinion) the best pure runner in football, and a rookie QB who’s looked damn ready in the preseason. I’m not expecting big things from the Rams this year. I’m just expecting really, really small ones from the Cardinals. PICK: St. Louis

Dallas (-3 1/2) @ Washington. One thing ya need to learn, fast for realz: I'm am not a believer in the Cult of Romo. I think the Cowboys are only slightly better off at QB than in the Quincy Carter days. He's not, not, not a Super Bowl winner. File this for a "told you so" one day, but it. Will. Never. Happen. PICK: Washington


Baltimore @ NY Jets (-2 1/2). The Monday night double-header kicks off with the only one you want to watch. Watch with clipped breath as the defense outscores the offense, and then get to bed ... PICK: Baltimore

San Diego (-4 1/2) @ Kansas City. ... because this one is going to be a snooze-fest. Unless, of course, the Chiefs are smart enough to unveil their new eight-headed monster: DEX-TAH MCCLUS-TAH. Sadly, reports suggest McCluster may not be the focal point of every single Kansas City play on both sides of the ball, and that’s just damned disappointing. PICK: Kansas City

A new dawn

Ok, the vacation is over.

As I've basked in the summer sun, amidst the bikinis and beer, I've been a bad, bad blogfather. My last post was in July - and hell, my last post that took over 10 seconds was in April.

However, this will be changing, as I've taken a couple of writing gigs and will be reposting that work here (as seen below). Also, FOOTBALLDAMMIT. I'm not going to take away my award-winning picks column from its legion of reader(s).

Allow me some mediocrity as I shake the rust off, but Martians Attacking Indianapolis will once again be awash in a river of stupidity.

Could Derrek Lee Keep Atlanta Out Of The Playoffs? - FairWeather Report - SB Nation Atlanta

Could Derrek Lee Keep Atlanta Out Of The Playoffs? - FairWeather Report - SB Nation Atlanta

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


No. Seriously.

The best thing about this trailer - the best one by far for this film - is it's obviously not official. Some fan out there might actually want to see this as much as I do.

Although considering I don't understand any of that shit at the beginning (noob tubing, G.N.O., taping 40s), that fan is much younger than I.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Murdered by apathy

Martians Attacking Indianapolis has (obviously) been on the personal backburner, but it's just a hiatus. We'll be operational again shortly.

Thanks to the thousands of kind e-mails expressing anguish.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fast and Furious: Tokyo Draft

A perfect world. (All UGA players.)

Oh, the mock draft. My annual rite of self-flagellation.

Last year I ended up with three out of 32 correct, and hell, that kind of success deserves a parade. I hope to reach such lofty heights again in '10, but the likelihood of increased trade activity might render that impossible. So like Troy Glaus in that other awesome sport, I will look at 2-for-32 as a great success.

Anyway, on with the stupidity. In 2009, I paid less attention to college football than usual, so my familiarity with these guys isn't up to my typical glowing par. Thus, not much commentary - but it's not like you were looking for keen insight anyway. Just something you could recite to me in 2015, after Jimmy Clausen has won his third straight Super Bowl.

1) St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma.
The Rams have to do this. Let me lay it out there: Bradford is the only star QB coming out of this draft. I think Colt McCoy will be decent, and Jake Locker could surprise as well - but only because if I were writing a screenplay about a plucky underdog QB overcoming the odds, I'd name him "Jake Locker." And he'd be played by Keanu Reeves. In 1993. Or Chris Evans today, because Chris Evans is awesome. That moment in the Losers trailer when he says, "Mama didn't raise no fool?" Hilarious EVERY TIME. But yeah, Bradford is a no-brainer. (Oh right, Jake Locker isn't until next year's draft. Remember that part about "I paid less attention to college football than usual?")

2) Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska.
If Atlanta still had a second round pick (it was sent to Kansas City for Tony Gonzalez last year), I'd be talking myself into some fantasy trade-up scenario with Suh as the target. That's alright, I'll be more than OK with Gonzalez - even though he has the world's most painfully boring Twitter feed.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma.
You seem like an OK guy, Gerald. So it sucks I have to start wishing you dead as soon as this pick is made. No hard feelings.

4) Washington Redskins - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma.
Yes, that makes three of the first four picks come from Sooner Nation. That's probably a record. (Look it up your damn self.)

5) Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee.

6) Seattle Seahawks - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State.

7) Cleveland Browns - Earl Thomas, S, Texas.

8) Oakland Raiders - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State.
Let's entertain the possibility Pittsburgh could be picking in this slot, after sending Mr. Rapistburger to the Raiders. It probably won't happen - but it would be pretty damn delicious.

9) Buffalo Bills - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee.

10) Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Morgan, DE, Tickle Pile U.
No Tebow here, I'm afraid. And yeah, I'll save you the trouble - no Tebow in the first round at all. He'll go in the second, no doubt, and here's the kicker: it will eventually be viewed as a solid pick. Just not as one for a QB.

11) Denver Broncos - Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama.

12) Miami Dolphins - Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas.

13) San Francisco 49ers - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa.
Since I've never even heard of this fucking guy, let me take a second to register a complaint with the NFL. Love you guys, you're the best, kisses - but you screwed with one of my favorite Saturday afternoons of the year. This prime-time NFL Draft is here to stay because the ratings will be absurd, but that doesn't make it right to squash one of the few valid excuses to sit on a barstool for nine straight hours. Bad form.

14) Seattle Seahawks - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson.

15) New York Giants - Joe Haden, CB, Florida.

16) Tennessee Titans - Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan.
Graham is the most oft-discussed player when it comes to the Falcons, but short of a trade, he probably ain't calling Atlanta home.

17) San Francisco 49ers - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers.

18) Pittsburgh Steelers - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida.

19) Atlanta Falcons - Everson Griffen, DE, USC.
Brandon Graham is off the board in this scenario; Maurkice Pouncey likewise. It seems Falcons Nation is behind Sean Weatherspoon, but team brass might not be: increasingly loud reports peg Weatherspoon as a total asshole, and Atlanta is sensitive to that kind of thing. So flying blind here, I'm going against the tide a little bit. Pass rush is the biggest weakness, and has to be the target. (I'd slot Jason Pierre-Paul here, but I don't think Atlanta worked him out. They did see Griffen.)

20) Houston Texans - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State.

21) Cincinnati Bengals - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State.

22) New England Patriots - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma.

23) Green Bay Packers - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho.

24) Philadelphia Eagles - Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama.
Jackson wins the 2010 Award for "Player I'd Be Most Shocked To Find Out Is White." Google search commencing ... nope, he isn't.

25) Baltimore Ravens - Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona.
Oh look, it's the 2010 "Player I'd Be Most Shocked To Find Out Is Black." Nope, he isn't.

26) Arizona Cardinals - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Dungeons and Dragons A&M.

27) Dallas Cowboys - Taylor Mays, S, USC.
The player I'd be most shocked to find out isn't a female pop singer.

28) San Diego Chargers - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers.
Heh-heh, sorry, I'm still giggling about "Tokyo Draft." Get it? Tokyo Draft. (Alright, let's see you bastards come up with a different draft-related pun every single year. Crap, I already repeated myself, didn't I?)

29) New York Jets - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida.

30) Minnesota Vikings - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame.
Another prediction: before the end of October, TMZ will break the story of Jimmy Clausen's life-long struggle with Downs Syndrome. The condition will become public when opposing fans learn they can distract him by mimicking an ice cream truck. (Seriously, he's going to be horrible. Just horrible. Which is why I'm praying he goes to the Vikings.)

31) Indianapolis Colts - Charles Brown, OT, USC.

32) New Orleans - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri.
(I'd write something like, of course, this alleged a-hole would end up with all the other a-holes in New Orleans, followed by some crack about Katrina, followed by some crass comment about Jeremy Shockey's burro-related sexual preference - but there's a good chance Weatherspoon ends up a Falcon. So let's hold off.)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Fantasy baseball draft day!

(I've been waiting for an excuse - any excuse - to post that picture.)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quarter Back: March 1985

Quarter Back is a monthly feature looking back at the movies of 25 years ago. One movie will be watched for the first time, one will be revisited.

This month marks 25 years since "the shift."

In the early '80s, the success of Porky's led to a glut of imitators - juvenile comedies more interested in breasts than brains. Some recaptured the gleeful spirit of honest, R-rated fun (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds), but most were just flaccid excuses to show nipples to American teens. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

Seriously, the stretch from '82 to '85 saw so many bawdy, boob-filled flicks, today's teenagers should be careful watching. Odds are, their mom is in at least one of 'em.

Bachelor Party, Class, Fraternity Vacation, Hardbodies, Homework, Hot Dog... The Movie, Hot Moves, Hot Resort, The Last American Virgin, Losin' It, My Tutor, Police Academy, Porky's II: The Next Day, Private Resort, Private School, Risky Business, Secret Admirer, Spring Break, Tomboy, Up the Creek, Valley Girl, The Wild Life, Zapped.

A few great, some good, most bad, all R-rated and aimed at the same demographic: males who couldn't yet see naked women with the click of a mouse.

All good things must come to an end, though - and that end was never more apparent than in March '85. Within three weeks of each other, two films were released with the same general theme: "guys will do anything for sex." Beyond that initial set-up, though, their paths diverged wildly.

Featured Movies

The Sure Thing
Seen it before?: Surprisingly, no.
Release date: March 1, 1985
Actors: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Tim Robbins
Director: Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride)
Box office: $18.1 million (#49 in 1985)

"Stereotypical '80s teen movie" is well-represented on that poster. A hot bikini babe, the same variety seen in the ads for Spring Break, Private Resort and Hardbodies. The longing teenage boy. The hot girl you're supposed to think isn't hot because - gasp! - she's wearing a sweater.

There's something different, though, and you need to squint to catch it. At the very bottom. See it?


The introduction of the teen-friendly rating in 1984 put dollar signs in the eyes of studio executives. No longer would their younger-skewing films have to go all-out for the R rating (thereby losing a significant portion of the audience), or completely sanitize themselves for PG. There was a middle ground now, and filmmakers could take advantage.

On its face, Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing is about a college guy (John Cusack) going cross-country with a single-minded purpose: sex. His best buddy in California has promised him a "sure thing," a stupidly hot blonde (future desperate housewife Nicollette Sheridan) who will definitely drop trou when he arrives.

Through a set of semi-believable contrivances, he ends up road tripping with snooty classmate Alison (Daphne Zuniga, who should have eventually been A-list). It's not exactly rocket science what happens: they fight at first, but eventually learn to laugh, love, blah blah blah. But it's amazing what great performances and a clever script bring to even the most predictable of affairs.

The Sure Thing did break some new ground, however. When a female character goes topless, we only see her bare back. When Cusack gets mad, we hear nary a "fuck." And the climax of our lead couple's relationship isn't between the sheets, but a simple kiss. It was a new world for Hollywood, and would be the norm for quite awhile. (And being completely honest, the movies were a lot better. I hate admitting that.) Grade: A-

Porky's Revenge
Seen it before?: Hells to the yes.
Release date: March 22, 1985
Actors: Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Tony Ganios
Director: James Komack (this was his only feature, though he did helm episodes of "Star Trek" and "The Monkees")
Box office: $20.5 million (#43 in 1985)

Porky's Revenge was the third and final film of the quintessential '80s trilogy (screw you, Indiana Jones!). And as noted above, it was the dying gasp of the raunchy teen comedy, until a neutered revival 15 years later with American Pie and Road Trip.

A little bit of Porky's history: the legitimately hilarious original, a comedy about '50s-era high school seniors, arrived in theaters in 1982. It was a massive hit, finishing fifth at the box office that year, ahead of Star Trek II, 48 Hrs. and Poltergeist. A quickie sequel followed a year later, and ignored the raunch for - no lie - a politically correct, anti-racism theme. It crashed, burned and smoldered.

So three years after the original, Porky's Revenge arrives - with the same cast still playing high school seniors. (The film's IMDb page reveals most of the guys were in their 30s by the end of '85, so one can imagine the receding hairlines getting in the way of teenage hijinks.)

Revenge gets back to the baser aspects of the original, mostly by introducing the tried-and-true "Swedish exchange student" who constantly removes her top. However, unlike Porky's, the script falls limp, and there aren't any gags worth remembering. Still, the cast is incredibly game, and it kills me nobody ascended from that likable group.

Sure, Porky's Revenge outgrossed The Sure Thing by a couple million, but the die was cast. John Hughes was on the scene, and his PG-13 run (Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful) would soon commence. In 1989, Cusack himself would make the undisputed king of puppydog teen romances with Say Anything..., and boobs would disappear from teen flicks for over a decade.

The raunchy comedy has "evolved" in some ways, replacing the constant stream of nudity with a healthy dose of gross-out gags. So in a way, Porky's Revenge deserves our thanks for raging against the dying of the bimbo light. Grade: C

Other films 25 years old this month:

Almost You - Griffin Dunne's wife is incapacitated in a car accident, so he does what any upstanding New Yorker would do: bangs the nurse taking care of her. Can't claim to have heard of this one.

The Aviator - Christopher Reeve desperately wanted to shed the red and blue tights. No matter how hard he tried, though, the guy never had a hit without the word "Superman" in the title. His movies between Superman III and IV - The Bostonians, The Aviator and Street Smart - all failed to crack the $1.5 million mark, and it didn't help he was making stuffy period dramas like this one.

Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend - True story: When we got home from this "dinosaurs exist!" family film, my brother (then all of eight) announced his intent to build a life-size brontosaurus, stretching from our driveway to a neighbor's house. He got wood, foam, paper mache and wire, and set out to blow us away. A week later, he had moved on, and our trash can was full of wood, foam, paper mache, wire, and an eight-inch long tip of a brontosaurus tail. (And the first person to tell me "brontosaurus" isn't correct terminology gets kicked squa' in the nuts.)

The Care Bears Movie - Oh, and similarly, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves inspired him to become a master archer. A barely used bow is probably still rusting in some bushes. (Oh, The Care Bears Movie? Not sure I could tell you anything the title doesn't perfectly describe.)

Certain Fury - Tough girls Tatum O'Neal and Irene Cara are running from the law in this low-rent drama from director Stephen Gyllenhaal. Yes, Jake and Maggie's dad.

Def-Con 4 - I remember staring at this poster when I was a kid, just sure there was a super-cool movie behind that super-cool image. Seeing it hasn't been released on DVD yet, however, I'm skeptical.

Desperately Seeking Susan - Vision Quest cameo aside, this marks Madonna's movie debut - and it was huge news in March '85. To be fair, though, nobody knew what Madonna's movie career would amount to.

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning - It takes a special kind of flick to be the "the worst Friday the 13th movie." I even hated this as a kid, and I didn't hate anything as a kid.

He-Man and She-Ra in The Secret of the Sword - Again, what do you want to know that the title doesn't tell you?

The Hit - Gangster-in-hiding Terence Stamp is suddenly kidnapped by two hitmen (John Hurt and a 22-year-old Tim Roth). A '90s movie before its time.

Into the Night - Jeff Goldblum is an average guy who meets Michelle Pfeiffer and finds himself on the wrong side of Middle Eastern criminals. Mmm, mid-'80s Michelle Pfeiffer.

King David - Once upon a time, somebody thought casting Richard Gere in the story of Israel's King David would be a moneymaker. Once upon a time, somebody was really, really wrong.

The Last Dragon - This martial arts film, starring one-name wonders Taimak and Vanity, is still wildly popular in the black community. So there's no surprise a remake is on the way, starring one Mr. Samuel L. Jackson.

Lost in America - Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty travel cross-country in this critically adored comedy. According to Netflix, I watched it in March '07 and awarded three stars. I have no memory of this. Either I'm getting old, or it really wasn't that great. Or both.

Mask - Nope, not the Jim Carrey one. The Eric Stoltz-as-a-Nightmarish-Ginger one.

Mission in Action 2: The Beginning - Just four months ago, I profiled Missing in Action in this space, and found a quality nugget of trivia: this prequel was actually filmed first, but released later because it was of lesser "quality." Considering the first one was crap, I wasn't about to throw myself on the viewing grenade again. Oh, and how stupid was it to release this Chuck Norris-goes-to-Vietnam flick two months BEFORE Rambo: First Blood Part II hit theaters? At the very least, they could have surfed the copycat wave for a few extra million.

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment - My least favorite trend of the '80s: a perfectly fine R-rated original produces a de-balled sequel, all in the name of selling tickets to kids like me. Blame the invention of the PG-13 rating, I guess, but it happened all over the place: Caddyshack, Major League, Police Academy, Revenge of the Nerds, Vacation. All R-rated classics (yes, classics) with PG or PG-13-rated sequels. And you know what that meant? LESS BOOBS.

A Private Function - A pig theft rocks 1947 England, and Maggie Smith and Michael Palin are on the case! No, this didn't really play a huge part in making Smith the highest grossing actress in history. (Her participation in six Harry Potter films, on the other hand, skews the results).

The Purple Rose of Cairo - My introduction to Woody Allen. In this comedy, a movie character (Jeff Daniels) gets fed up and walks off the screen, leaving the other characters to wonder if he's coming back. Mia Farrow also stars, and no doubt brought adopted teenage daughter Soon-Yi Previn to the set.

Return of the Jedi
- The third Star Wars film returned to theaters two years after its original 1983 release, but George Lucas hadn't gone fatface-crazy yet. So there's no Hayden Christensen, Sarlacc beak, or Broadway musical in Jabba's palace. Simpler times, my friends.

The Slugger's Wife - Oh, there was excitement 'round these parts when The Slugger's Wife opened. The baseball-centered romance starred Caddyshack's Michael O'Keefe as a member of MY Atlanta Braves, and it featured cameos by a number of local talking heads: Skip Carey, Pete van Wieren and Brad Nessler among them. As godawful as the movie was - and holy shit, it was bad - I still remember how cool it was seeing my hometown skyline in a movie for the first time (my eyes had been shielded from the R-rated Sharky's Machine).

Sylvester - Every damn year would have a damn movie about a damn horse, which meant I'd have to go with my damn sister, instead of seeing something damn cooler. Like Police Academy 2. Seriously, it was all the time. The Black Stallion Returns was '83, Phar Lap was '84, Sylvester was '85, Lightning the White Stallion was '86, Hot to Trot AND Return to Snowy River hit in '88, and Steel Magnolias was '89! (See what I did there? Julia Roberts looks like a horse? Get it?)

Quarter Back: February 1985
Quarter Back: January 1985
Quarter Back: December 1984
Quarter Back: November 1984
Quarter Back: October 1984
Quarter Back: September 1984
Quarter Back: August 1984
Quarter Back: July 1984
Quarter Back: June 1984
Quarter Back: May 1984
Quarter Back: April 1984

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reader's corner

From the book, Jaws: The Revenge. By Hank Searls. Berkley (1987).
Suddenly the banana boat hit the wake of the Big Egg Harbor cruiser ahead. She could hear Thea squealing as they hobby-horsed through the waves. She turned to see that the child was hanging on.

Behind Thea, she saw a fin. From her low vantage point it looked like the Rock of Gibraltar, awash in a streaming tide. It was rushing up their wake.

Instinctively, she turned her body, yanked Thea from her place, and body-slammed the athwartship between her daughter and herself.

Her last thought, as she braced to take the impact, was that she'd sprained her back.

For an instant she was in shadow, as the great white's jaws sprung open.

Then she and the last five feet of the rubber boat were crushed into a jumble of flesh and neoprene rubber as the swords of glittering ivory met and pressed.
- page 268

Friday, March 19, 2010

An impulse buy, and this time it was personal

As if 1987's Jaws: The Revenge wasn't awesome enough - with a great white following a Bahamas-bound plane o' Brodys for shark vengeance - did you know there was a freaking book?

Yes, Hank Searls - noted author of Jaws 2 - returned to the shark-muncher genre to pen what's surely a riveting page turner, based on Michael de Guzman's amazing screenplay. You know, Michael de Guzman, the guy who wrote all those classics you've definitely heard of.

And how Mr. Searls turned a zippy 89-minute nail-biter into a 313-page obvious classic - well, that's the mark of a grade-A novelist. Can't wait.

Some people get high and watch 2001; tonight, I'm gonna get drunk as shit and read Jaws: The Revenge.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Five short months

If you were awakened this morning by some weird squealing, followed by, I don't know, what felt like seismic activity, followed by, maybe, a weird smell in the air - yeah, my bad. It was just my natural reaction upon seeing this.

Click for bigger awesomeness.

Friday, March 05, 2010

For S's and G's

So it turns out the Academy Awards are Sunday night. I discovered this half an hour ago, which isn't the way my obsessive, chart-making mind used to work. A detour into my 30s, as well as a cavalcade of legitimately bad Best Picture winners, have dulled my Oscar enthusiasm.

Seriously, fucking Crash?

And yet despite my ignorance and apathy, I still know the way the Academy thinks. The politics, the maneuvering, the complete lack of excitement and bravery. And that's why, for no reason other than to see how right/wrong I am, here are my Oscar predictions.

Picture: The Hurt Locker
Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Animated Feature Film: Up
Art Direction: Avatar
Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Cinematography: Avatar
Costume Design: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Documentary (Feature): The Cove
Documentary (Short Subject): "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant"
Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon
Makeup: The Young Victoria
Music (Original Score): Up
Music (Original Song): "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart
Short Film (Animated): "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)"
Short Film (Live Action): "The Door"
Sound Editing: Avatar
Sound Mixing: Avatar
Visual Effects: Avatar

If there's a shocker - and there never is anymore - I see an ever-s0-slight chance Inglourious Basterds wins Best Picture.

In the Academy's eyes, it has one thing going for it: it's a Jewish revenge fantasy, which the heavily Jewish voting bloc might appreciate. Alas, there is one massive detail working against it: Basterds actually was the best movie of '09, and Oscar never likes rewarding that.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Quarter Back: February 1985

Quarter Back is a monthly feature looking back at the movies of 25 years ago. One movie will be watched for the first time, one will be revisited.

Seriously, what the hell? I was all prepared to actually publish this in February - had most of it written, and both movies watched two weeks ago. And then - well, screw stupid February with its stupid 28 stupid days.

Featured Movies

Heaven Help Us
Seen it before?: Don't think so, although I recognized certain scenes. HBO, maybe?
Release date: February 8, 1985
Actors: Andrew McCarthy, Kevin Dillon, Donald Sutherland
Director: Michael Dinner (Off Beat, Hot to Trot)
Box office: $6.0 million (#110 in 1985)

Straddling a fine line between the nostalgia of Diner and the raunchiness of Porky's, Heaven Help Us is actually a pretty good entry into the '80s teen derby. In his first lead performance, Andrew McCarthy is the new kid at an all-boys Catholic school, with future stars Patrick Dempsey and Kevin Dillon as classmates.

It's easy to guess the filmmakers based this on personal experiences, as the scholastic scenes are given more attention than the wannabe lascivious ones. In fact, though it shoehorns breasts onto the screen in typical '80s fashion, calling Heaven Help Us a sex comedy is misleading. Actually, the film's strong suit is examining the testy relationships between the kids and the monks in charge (no, there aren't any cliched Catholic priest/boy subplots, although I did like using the word "testy" just then). Donald Sutherland and John Heard, in particular, have fun with smaller roles. Grade: B

The Breakfast Club
Seen it before?: Of course.
Release date: February 15, 1985
Actors: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson
Director: John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
Box office: $45.9 million (#16 in 1985)

Reviewing The Breakfast Club as a thirty-something defeats the purpose, really. The anguish seems melodramatic, the kids appear self-absorbed, the plot wraps up a little too nicely (I never bought Claire falling for Bender, sorry). But damn, it seemed true at the time - I'm not far enough away from high school to have forgotten that.

When you're a teen, the sorrows are amplified, the world revolves around you, and the teachers don't, can't, won't get it. John Hughes understood these simplicities, and his empathy is why The Breakfast Club resonates today. For anybody in their 30s and 40s, it's a 90-minute time capsule. It can't hit the same buttons it did in 1985 (that's impossible), but it reminds you they existed in the first place. Grade: A-

Other films 25 years old this month:

The Bay Boy - This long-forgotten Canadian (booooo!) drama is notable for one thing: Kiefer Sutherland's first significant film role. And the story of a murder-witnessing teen is probably 50 times more exciting than this season's snoozefest "24."

Fantasia - Walt Disney's classic briefly returned to theaters, but the coked-up teens of '85 didn't embrace it quite as much as their tripping-balls parents had.

Fast Forward - Hey, kids of today - you might have Step Up and You've Got Served, but '80s teens had retarded dance movies too! But is your A.D.D.-riddled, crumping/pop-locking/whatever garbage directed by Sidney Poitier? Hear that, you little assholes? Fast Forward, directed by SIDNEY POITIER. (He was a movie star once. Ask your grandparents.)

Heavenly Bodies - Oh '80s, how I miss you. When a small dance studio is endangered by a big corporate gym, scores are settled at a televised aerobics marathon! Yes, it's basically Dodgeball with a straight face.

Lust in the Dust - John Waters-mainstay Divine plays a wannabe saloon singer in this camp western, which hasn't been viewed by a straight person since 1986.

The Mean Season - Kurt Russell is a Miami journalist who begins receiving phone calls from a serial killer. I'd like to think it was a 15-year-old Dexter.

Mischief - This teen comedy is still talked about for only two reasons: Kelly Preston's right boob, and Kelly Preston's left boob. An otherwise lame attempt to cash in on Porky's, Mischief did in fact feature the future Mrs. Travolta's ample assets, and they were good. Google Image Search is your friend.

Turk 182 - I'd love to know what movie played more on mid-'80s HBO: Turk 182 or Just One of the Guys? This movie was impossible to avoid if you had cable, and my memories are actually pretty fond. Timothy Hutton feels wronged by New York City's mayor, and goes on a city-wide graffiti protest, becoming an anonymous folk hero in the process. A pre-op Kim Cattrall is his love interest.

Vision Quest - One of those, I don't know, very '80s movies. Vision Quest manages to package a popular Madonna song ("Crazy For You"), a decade-friendly "hot older woman seduces teen" plot, an at-the-time rising star (Matthew Modine, who would soon careen off the rails by turning down Top Gun), and wrestlin'. And in unusual form, the flick actually holds up.

Witness - Ah, the good ol' days when a Harrison Ford film was an event. I still remember standing next to a soccer field, begging my mom to let me see the R-rated drama. I mean, Han Solo, Indiana Jones - it was UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR I wouldn't be allowed to follow the travails of Philadelphia cop John Book in Amish country. Alas, I would have to wait. And now that I'm 34 and can see anything I want, Ford's contribution to multi-plexes is PG-rated dreck like Extraordinary Measures. Fantastic.

Quarter Back: January 1985
Quarter Back: December 1984
Quarter Back: November 1984
Quarter Back: October 1984
Quarter Back: September 1984
Quarter Back: August 1984
Quarter Back: July 1984
Quarter Back: June 1984
Quarter Back: May 1984
Quarter Back: April 1984

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Community college

Well, the University of Georgia seems to be the go-to fashion choice for celebs these days. Here are some castmembers of NBC's "Community" chillin' in New Orleans - and one Mr. Donald Glover represents.

Glover, a former writer for "30 Rock," was born and raised in Stone Mountain - and I'll assume he left the show before it painted the predominately black city as a whitebread, rube-filled redneck paradise in a recent episode. Either way, it's nice to see he still recognizes his roots.

(Here's Glover talking Atlanta up in a recent Craig Ferguson appearance.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grambling addiction

In December '08, the UGAniverse began buzzing about the apparent induction of a new fan: Mr. Marvin's Room himself, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sadly, the truth slapped us upside - it was, in fact, a Grambling cap. Same logo, different color scheme.

Well, just over a year later, Mr. Critters 3 has realized his mistake. C'mon Fun Police, take this one from us!

Tip o' the hat: Mirabella

Moral of the story? Grambling gets you the kid from Witness, while UGA gets you whoever she is. Winner, Jaw'ja.

Thank you for setting it straight, Mr. Quick and the Dead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big brother

Well, this was certainly a welcome e-mail.

Of course, my followers will continue reading about what they always have: my charitable work, non-denominational church events, rock-solid family life, and obsessive dedication to my job.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The 50 Best Movies of the 2000s

Nine years into the century, the decade has ended.

While many of my friends celebrated a new millennium in January 2000, I remained a stickler. You all know the argument - due to the lack of a Year Zero, the 21st century and new millennium didn't begin until 2001. A decade, however, is a different story.

Ten years equals a decade. Any 10 years, really. 1984-1993 is a decade. 1633-1642, a decade. 1702-1711, likewise. We obviously break ours down fairly easily: the '80s, the '90s, the '00s. (Isn't it weird we never really came up with a universal name for this one? How will VH1 cope in 20 years?). So I have no problem calling this list The 50 Best Movies of the Decade.

Now are these the absolute supreme examples of filmmaking from the past 10 years? Maybe, who knows. I just know they're my 50 favorites. There are some titles that'll make you nod, some that'll make you scoff, some that'll make you think I'm kidding. But I'm not - they're simply the films I'm most likely to remember, most likely to revisit.

(And about ten seconds after I hit "post," I'll want to rearrange the entire thing).

1) The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (2007) "I honestly believe I'm destined for great things, Mr. James. I've got qualities that don't come shining through right at the outset, but give me a chance and I'll get the job done."

2) Mulholland Dr. (2001) "Now you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me two more times, if you do bad."

3) Children of Men (2006) "As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices."

4) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) "I don't think you're an asshole, Royal. I just think you're kind of a son of a bitch."

5) Wonder Boys (2000) "Now that is a big trunk. It holds a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly."

6) Michael Clayton (2007) "I am Shiva, the god of death."

7) Kill Bill Vol. I (2003) "It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waitin'."

8) Inglourious Basterds (2009) "When you join my command, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps."

9) A History of Violence (2005) "I saw you turn into Joey right before my eyes. I saw a killer, the one Fogarty warned me about. You did kill men back in Philly, didn't you? Did you do it for money? Or did you do it because you enjoyed it?"

10) The Departed (2006) "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."

11) In Bruges (2008) "Don't know any Belgium jokes, and if I did I think I'd have the good sense not to - hang on. Is Belgium with all those child abuse murders lately? I do know a Belgium joke. What's Belgium famous for? Chocolates and child abuse, and they only invented the chocolates to get to the kids."

12) Rocky Balboa (2006) "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward."

13) You Can Count On Me (2000) "I just want to get out of this town. And if you've got any sense when you get old enough you'll get out of here too. Your Mom's gonna live in this town for the rest of her life, and you know why? Because she thinks she has to."

14) The Aviator (2004) "I don't want them bribed, Jack. I want this done legal. I want them bought."

15) The Incredibles (2004) "Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren't like those guys. They won't exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance."

16) Rambo (2008) "You know what you are. What you're made of. War is in your blood. Don't fight it. You didn't kill for your country. You killed for yourself. God's never gonna make that go away. When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing."

17) Signs (2002) "There are a lot of things I can take, and some things I can't. But what I can't take is when my older brother, who's everything that I want to be, starts losing faith in things. I saw that look in your eyes last night. I don't ever want to see that look in your eyes again."

18) Best In Show (2000) "Look at Scott! He is prancing along with the dog! Man, I tell you something, if you live in my neighborhood and you're dressed like that, you'd better be a hotel doorman."

19) Catch Me If You Can (2002) "Your son has been pretending to be a substitute teacher, lecturing the students, uh, giving out homework. Mrs. Glasser has been ill, there was some confusion with the real sub. Your son held a teacher-parent conference yesterday and was planning a class field trip to a French bread factory in Trenton."

20) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) "All you got to do is use your instincts. How do you think a lion knows to tackle a gazelle? It's written, it's a code written in his DNA, says, 'Tackle the gazelle.' And believe it or not, in every man there's a code written that says, 'Tackle drunk bitches.'"

21) Shattered Glass (2003) "He handed us fiction after fiction, and we printed them all as fact. Just because we found him entertaining."

22) There Will Be Blood (2007) "Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry, I'm so sorry. If, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw - there it is, that's the straw, you see, you watching? My straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I. Drink. Your. Milkshake! I drink it up!"

23) Vanilla Sky (2001) "With all the possible respect I can offer a man wearing a latex mask and spouting conspiracy theories, David, believe me, you've crossed that bridge."

24) Dawn of the Dead (2004) "Not to shit on anyone's riff here, but let me just see if I grasp this concept, ok? You're suggesting that we take some fucking parking shuttles, and reinforce them with some aluminum siding, and then just head on over to the gun store and watch our good friend Andy play some cowboy movie jump-on-the-covered-wagon bullshit. Then, we're gonna drive across a ruined city, through a welcome committee of a few hundred thousand dead cannibals, all so that we can sail off into the sunset on this fucking asshole's boat?"

25) Man on Fire (2004) "A man can be an artist at anything, food or whatever if you’re good enough at it. Creasy's art is death, and he's about to paint his masterpiece."

The next 25 (in alphabetical order): American Psycho, Amores Perros, Apocalypto, Bad Santa, Brokeback Mountain, Collateral, Casino Royale, Cast Away, City of God, Eastern Promises, The Fellowship of the Ring: The Lord of the Rings**, Ghost World, The Host, Identity, The Kingdom, Lord of War, Munich, O Brother Where Art Thou, Once, Open Range, Role Models, Shaun of the Dead, Tropic Thunder, We Own the Night, The Wrestler

** In the comments, I've been informed this title is ordered incorrectly. However, I will not edit it, and view my mistake as a point of pride.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Quarter Back: January 1985

Quarter Back is a monthly feature looking back at the movies of 25 years ago. One movie will be watched for the first time, one will be revisited.

Where the hell did January go?

Well, I have an excuse for this post showing up a few days late - this new 46-inch monstrosity, combined with my desire to rewatch "Lost" in its entirety before Tuesday's premiere (I failed, still mired in the Nikki/Paolo days of Season 3).

Really, though, I should have torn myself away and watched Tuff Turf in time. There's no justification for ignoring the classics.

Featured Movies

Tuff Turf
Seen it before?: No.
Release date: January 11, 1985
Actors: James Spader, Kim Richards, Robert Downey, Jr.
Director: Fritz Kiersch (Children of the Corn, Gor)
Box office: $9.4 million (#89 in 1985)

"Meet Morgan Hiller. He's always been a rebel. Now, he's about to become a hero." To which I say, meet Morgan Hiller. He's always been an asshole. Now, inexplicable comma, he's about to be beat up by other assholes.

This 1985 gem stars James Spader, just before he would become the Bill Zabka of the late '80s, infecting his sleazy, yuppie, Andrew McCarthy-hating charm in Pretty in Pink, Mannequin and Less Than Zero. Oddly enough, though, each one of those characters was more likable than the supposed "hero" of this movie.

He's a tough guy! He wears sunglasses in school! He treats his legitimately caring parents like crap! The teachers just don't understand why he doesn't get their vibe! He's got a totally bitchin' 10-speed!

And the movie thinks we don't want to see this guy punched in the face.

Anyway, a seemingly long story short: Spader is the new kid in school, gets on the bad side of the lamest, whitest gang in movie history, falls for the gangleader's gal, gets kicked and punched, and befriends a drummer played by Robert Downey, Jr. Yes, Downey, Jr. in his Back to School/"Saturday Night Live" days, showing zero of the Undeniable Awesome that's made him a star today.

Kids, rent this and make fun of your parents for once thinking it was cool. Grade: C-

Blood Simple
Seen it before?: Well, I thought I had. But I didn't remember a thing.
Release date: January 18, 1985
Actors: M. Emmet Walsh, Frances McDormand, John Getz
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski)
Box office: $2.2 million (#138 in 1985)

Blood Simple would probably be a forgotten piece of '80s noir, but it lives on due to the braintrust behind it. Twenty-five years later, Joel and Ethan Coen have eight Oscars between them, and a filmography of classics both cult and mainstream. But it all started here, in a now recognizable world of small-town murder and deceit.

Describing the plot does the film a disservice, but some Coen mainstays are already present: hit men, violence by way of confusion, Frances McDormand, gunplay in empty fields, the occasional flash of gore. Really, this seems like a batting cage warm-up prior to the World Series of Fargo.

It doesn't have the slickness of the Coens' later efforts, and the film pulls up a little lame with a charisma-free leading man (Getz, long before the Coens could pull the George Clooneys and Tommy Lee Joneses of the world). But as low-budget debuts go, it's an extraordinary effort, and certainly fascinating as a slice of movie history. Grade: B+

Other films 25 years old this month:

Avenging Angel - In 1984's Angel, Donna Wilkes played the title character, a high school honor student by day, streetwise hooker at night. Totally awesome, obviously. Well now it's a year later, and Angel has some avengin' to do. In a recasting on par with George Lazenby stepping in for Sean Connery, Private School's Betsy Russell wears Angel's high heels this time. And the results, I'm assuming having never seen a second of this, are no less spectacular. Amazingly, two more Angel sequels (straight-to-video, natch) would follow, with a different actress each time.

The Falcon and the Snowman - Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton try to out-brood each other in this true story about All-American boys who wind up Soviet spies. (It goes without saying Penn hired the guy his character was based on, once he had been released from prison. No, really.)

Fandango - Kevin Costner emerged as a viable movie star in 1985. Of course, it had little to do with this or August's American Flyers (grossing less than $2 million combined), and more to do with his star-making turn in Silverado. Judd Nelson joins Costner in this one, and would go on to have a great year with The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire.

Here Come the Littles - Remember those creepy hare-lipped gophers who had their own Saturday morning cartoon? Yeah, there's a movie. Who knew.

The New Kids - January 1985 was apparently James Spader Month. In this pseudo-horror flick, he terrorizes innocent high schoolers in a theme park. See, it's the flip side of the Tuff Turf coin - the dickhead terrorizee is now the dickhead terrorizer! What range! The silver lining: one of the teens is Lori Loughlin, who obviously made a deal with the devil to stay as stupid hot 25 years later.

The Perils of Gwendolyn in the Land of Yik Yak - Silly me. When I typed the title - which I'd never heard before - I assumed this was some cheapo, cheesy, Don Bluthish kiddie cartoon about a girl who runs through a gumdrop forest and fights a mean witch on her way to spend the holidays with Grandma. Nope, BOOBFEST. Tawny Kitaen, only a year after Bachelor Party, flaunts her wares throughout this - seriously - R-rated Indiana Jones ripoff. Praise be to Netflix for having this movie (now renamed simply Gwendolyn) in stock. I'll be in my room.

That's Dancing! - In the days before Netflix, Youtube or even VHS, studios would occasionally release a glorified clipshow to theaters. Basically, you'd have a few hosts - Gene Kelly and Liza Minnelli this time, among others - presenting bits from the "golden age" of Hollywood. This one, following 1974's That's Entertainment! and 1976's That's Entertainment Part II, exclusively focused on dance numbers. As proof this wouldn't work today, the $30 million gross of the first That's Entertainment was followed by only $280,000 in ticket sales for 1994's That's Entertainment III.

Tomboy - Betsy Russell is back, giving Spader a run for his overexposed money. Two weeks after avenging as Angel, Russell is a mechanic who yearns to prove she's not just a pretty face. Part of that plan, apparently, includes showing us her jibblies. Sadly, Netflix has let me down this time. (Kudos to Russell, though, for still being hot and getting work in a few of the Saw movies).

Quarter Back: December 1984
Quarter Back: November 1984
Quarter Back: October 1984
Quarter Back: September 1984
Quarter Back: August 1984
Quarter Back: July 1984
Quarter Back: June 1984
Quarter Back: May 1984
Quarter Back: April 1984

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No slouch himself

Falling down a Wikipedia wormhole can bring you the most excellent information. Do you know who was the original "SuperFriends" narrator in the '70s?


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Playoffs Week Three

Whoops, I leave town for two days and completely neglect posting the picks. The outcry was titanic.

The playoff picks:

NY Jets @ Indianapolis (-7 1/2). The Jets' chances are shakier than Michael J. Fox in Haiti. (Ok, so which part was more offensive? The too-soon earthquake joke, or the insensitive dig at the always-awesome Fox? Trying to hone my craft here.) PICK: NY Jets

Minnesota @ New Orleans (-4). Brett Favre has to be a special kind of bastard to have me rooting for New Orleans, aka The World’s Biggest Bathtub. As horrific as this game is from a cheering perspective, at least I can reflect on the last time Minnesota was in an NFC Championship Game. If anybody wants a 5-hour recap of that Atlanta Falcons victory, including what I was doing at the time, the precise ways my bodily fluids reacted to Morten Andersen’s game-winning kick, and maybe even some stuff you might consider T.M.I., give me a call. PICK: New Orleans

These picks can also be seen at Holly's Snarkastic throughout the weekend. I'm far too lazy to come up with fresh material for each website.

Regular season record: 128-125-3
Playoff record: 2-6
Overall: 130-131-3 (so I have to go 3-0 in the final three games for a winning season)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Playoffs Week Two

If things go as expected, we're looking at a nightmare scenario next week: Dallas @ New Orleans in the NFC championship game. So either the Saints go to the Super Bowl, or Keith Brooking does. What the hell am I supposed to do then?

Hell, the other possibilities aren't much prettier. If the Vikings manage a winning streak, we're in for two weeks of "Brett Favre is back in the big game!" rod-gobbling. And the Cardinals, while the least offensive of the bunch, are certainly the most boring.

This blows.

The playoff picks:

Arizona @ New Orleans (-7).
What’s the one thing consistently lacking in Arizona? Water. And what is New Orleans’ primary weakness this century? YEP. So the Cardinals are obviously ill-prepared for their visit, and the Saints will march on to next week. However, they’d better hope it’s not the Land of 10,000 Lakes coming to town. PICK: New Orleans

Baltimore @ Indianapolis (-6 1/2). I was set to join Team Manning through the playoffs, until Jim Caldwell bent over and let Mark Sanchez play out his illicit prison fantasies. And not only was it an awful way to treat fans, it was stupid. As a long-time subscriber to Rest Your Players And You Will Lose Unless You Play The Cardinals: The Magazine, I see Ray Rice and Ed Reed bitch-slapping the Colts on opposite sides of the ball. The boos will be well-deserved. PICK: Baltimore

Dallas @ Minnesota (-2 1/2). When you actively campaign for a terrorist attack, somebody do-gooder lib’rul always whines, “But what about the innocent people?” Look closely, though: there will be NO INNOCENT PEOPLE in the Metrodome on Sunday. Not only are the Vikings and Cowboys players deserving of death, but my god, have you paid attention to their respective fans lately? And with Joe Buck calling the game? WIN-WIN-WIN. Does al Qaida have an official color? I need to know what to wear. PICK: Dallas

NY Jets @ San Diego (-7). Other television options, Sunday at 4:30: “Die Hard 2” (TBS), “Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal” (A&E), “Pit Bulls and Parolees” (Animal Planet), “UAB @ Central Florida Women’s Basketball” (ESPN2), “Carnie Wilson: Unstapled” (GSN). No, I’m not making any of those up, and they’ll certainly be more riveting than this monkey-stomp. Chargers go big, Jets go home. PICK: San Diego

These picks can also be seen at Holly's Snarkastic throughout the weekend. I'm far too lazy to come up with fresh material for each website.

Regular season record: 128-125-3
Playoff record: 1-3
Overall: 129-128-3 (CRAP)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Regular bat channel

We're back to normal ol' public consumption, with the blog open to everyone's eyes. The outcry was just too monumental and far-reaching.

Seriously, my mom was pissed.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Aiding and A'Betting: Playoffs Week One

Well, I ended the season with a bang: 5-10-1 in Week 17.

Final record for 2009: 128-125-3.

LET'S GET CRUNK! (or something)

Seriously, I'll take a winning record at this point. It has been awhile.

The playoff picks:

NY Jets @ Cincinnati (-2 1/2).
PICK: Cincinnati
Philadelphia @ Dallas (-3 1/2). PICK: Dallas
Baltimore @ New England (-3 1/2). PICK: New England
Green Bay @ Arizona (PICK). PICK: Green Bay

Oh, and yes, I'm aware Sylvester Stallone broke his neck on the set of The Expendables. But don't worry - he's just lucky to have three of 'em.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010: the year we make the playoffs

Well, the Falcons have been eliminated from the playoffs for a few weeks now - so let's turn attention to 2010. The schedule hasn't been generated, but we do know who we'll be playing home and away. (Spoiler: our away schedule is 100x better than it was in '09).

vs. Arizona Cardinals
vs. Baltimore Ravens
vs. Carolina Panthers
vs. Cincinnati Bengals
vs. Green Bay Packers
vs. New Orleans Saints
vs. San Francisco 49ers
vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

@ Carolina Panthers
@ Cleveland Browns
@ New Orleans Saints
@ Philadelphia Eagles
@ Pittsburgh Steelers
@ Seattle Seahawks
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
@ St. Louis Rams

The order of games, as well as the placement of the bye week, will be determined in a few months.