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Showing posts from April, 2015

2015 NFL Draft Predictions

It's been complicated over the last few years with all the trades, so I'm basing this on whether or not people stay pretty close to where they were supposed to pick. It's just too difficult to predict when a team will move up 2 slots to take someone nobody wanted anyway.

Tampa Bay - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - I think he's going to be a bust, but he has the athletic ability to be a starter. Immaturity in the NFL isn't going to fly in the age of social media. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - I think Tennessee will make the choice and then listen to offers. If there is a trade it will be a three team deal or to Cleveland for #1's.Jacksonville Jaguars - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - Not giving Bortles a big time target is going to kill his development. They need a pass rusher, but he's too good to pass up.Oakland Raiders - Leonard Williams, DT, USC - Rated the #1 player in the draft by almost everyone. Raiders have to pick him. If Jacksonville takes …

Review - Moonrise Kingdom...Is This Wes Anderson's Best?

Only Wes Anderson, the king of quirk, cast two children who had never acted in leading roles. Jared Gilman, 12 at the time and Kara Hayward 14, knock it out of the park. The characters speak quickly and often making no sense, that is, with the exception of the children. The children are all wise beyond their years and learn from their mistakes, whereas the adults, well, they do as adults do, since the dawn of time. They repeat theirs over and over, because they are restricted by rules as is depicted obviously and openly in a scene towards the end.

Many will find the movie silly, because they watch Anderson's films the same way they watch something like Whiplash or Boyhood. They need to make sense of a child's life as an adult, where Anderson lets the children stay children, but allows us all to learn. Even with subject matter as recognizable as first love, we're shown the pain, the frustration and the inept attempts of the adult world to understand that this is everything …

Free Writing - Take 81

Too warm, too hot, I don't know, because I have lost interest in the weather. It started some time around the age of being able to bounce a ball. Every day above ground is a good the sick say. I am sick, but I don't say it. Why? I watch young wanting to be old and old wanting to be young, but their pathetic nature is no match to those who wish to impress the alternative. Children can not impress the old, because of some false sense of wisdom and the old can not impress the young, because the young will always let them know there is a better way. I watch from afar and laugh, but truly feeling sorry for those who can't embrace the age at which they stand. My grandmother understood this and realized her life of diapers to dentures were merely about memories to be shared, maybe learned from, but that wasn't important to her. She was still learning, but not from us. She was convinced those here now have nothing to offer. She would rather listen to a child bash keys…

Ten Things People Need To Stop Doing Immediately

1. Saying or writing "and it's just about the best thing ever?" Unless you're marrying the person of your dreams or having a child, let's go easy with some celebrity doing a skit being equal or better. We get it hipsters, you're expressing your joy at something you found on the Internet, which you believe you found first, but the reality is...someone posted it! You're late...let it go.

2. Parents who are over the hill, but active, we all applaud you, but forcing, yes forcing your kids to waste their weekends watching your workout, your race or your softball games is too much. That's family time, not me time. I'm all for kids supporting their parents, but support is your job. Those three hours you spent getting ready for some dumb race to prove your man or womanhood, is time your kid could have been playing with friends or you. Them being trained, obedient cheerleaders isn't parenting. Get a dog.

3. Posting pictures of their goddamn houses on F…

Quick Thoughts On Bruce Jenner

Dozing off around 11, trying to digest my odd meal of sushi, mashed potatoes, salsa and the last of my iced coffee. Don't judge. We all judge. Two hours (I believe, I didn't watch) for Bruce Jenner to come out to a world that will call him a hero or freak, but why is he doing this on TV. If he is doing for the most noble of causes, which is to help others, then yes, a hero is not too strong a word. I have more thoughts on this, but want to see how this plays out in the next few days. A book and interview tour will show me he's no better than the family he surrounded himself with. Funny how the most poignant words of encouragement are alleged to have come from Kanye West, who must himself feel like a pariah as should his wife, but I don't think she gets it.

But here's why it simply doesn't matter. Bruce Jenner is asking a world that knows him as an Olympic Men's champion, to accept the fact that he has lived his life wanting to be a woman. He's asking th…

My Movie Problem

Over the past few years, I've had two friends with whom I can discuss film in detail. I have many friends I can talk to about this film or that, but it's hard to find someone to discuss film in a way, where the simple dissection of one film turns into an elongated discussion on genre, social commentary and film as a true art form. Twitter gives me glimpses of these discussions, but I've found most tweeters are so genre specific, I find myself posting notes to no one, hoping for a response. I rarely get them. I do have a few people who can discuss at length, but this is very rare. Even those people I see now, seem so distracted by other things, they never really get what they've seen until reading a professional review and hearing someone else's thoughts. For me, that's not a passion, it's simply faking it.
I watched three films in eighteen hours yesterday. An action thriller with a subplot of how our mind works and what would happen if we could expand its u…

Review - The Babadook vs A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Horror movies have been getting a lot of hype lately and I was lucky enough to see two in the last few days that have received a ton of it. Thankfully, despite the hype, I've managed to stay away from any huge spoilers. I had thought the ending of The Babadook was ruined for me by a tweet, but in an all to common circumstance, I lucked out when the person posting completely misunderstood the film. Something I'm finding most people do these days with all films, but especially in horror. 
Both films deal with loneliness in very different ways. One takes the traditional route (AGWHAAN) and goes for the popular genre driven take on it and the other goes in a completely different direction and decides to look at depression and mental illness, one could even say PTSD. Both films use light and dark setting to convey a real sense of reality and use the proven method of something lurking in the shadows to haunt, more so than violence and gore.  The problem is, neither works on that lev…

Four Walls

I remember the first time I ever went away from home on my own. A friends house for the weekend. Somewhere about an hour, maybe two, from our home in Brooklyn. I was only worried about the evenings, as I was a chronic bed-wetter as a child.  Despite one accident, made easier by an understanding friend who had just overcome it himself, I had a great time. I learned to ice skate, he had a cute older sister and his mom made us hot cocoa, it seemed liked every 2 hours. The thing that eased my mind was knowing "home" was so close.  Throughout my life and I'm sure, most of yours, trips are always fun, but one of the best parts is being back in your own bed, your own kitchen and with the familiar surroundings that comfort you. I don't have that anymore.

People used to laugh when I'd describe my old apartment. It was tiny and awful, but it was my safe haven until it was ruined. It was my shelter, with a bed, a fridge and a bathroom. Within those four walls I realized tha…

2015 NBA Playoffs - Predictions (Is the league still fixed?)

I don't watch the NBA, because it's fixed. It has been since the the rise of MJ and the all the rules that went into the game to make him the greatest player of all-time. I'm not knocking MJ, I'm knocking David Stern. I know a few things about the man personally from his neighbors in Scarsdale that would make your skin crawl, but I'm not Perez Hilton and I don't have a team of lawyers to defend me, so I'm sticking to my predictions. I also think this new commissioner is a straight shooter, so I don't think we'll see as many phantom calls as in the past. It's literally up for grabs...almost. Stars still sell and the NBA is desperate for ratings, because nobody likes the sport anymore, they just love the jerseys. So here it goes. I haven't watched more than 20 minutes of the NBA all season, so who better to trust with your predictions?

Eastern Conference
Round 1
Atlanta over Brooklyn in 5
Washington over Toronto in 5
Cleveland over Boston in 5

My Sherlock Holmes Moment

I've been watching the BBC version of Sherlock and while I love Mr. Holmes' (played by my new man-crush, Benedict Cumberbatch) ability to read people, I find it somewhat funny that they chalk this up to some intellect. It's merely being perceptive. Most of us think we are, but the reality is, we miss so much. This is never more evident than when people post something without realizing what the article is actually saying. This isn't about you, the people that drive me batty...not this time. This time it's about me and a funny night.

I was in a bar and a girl sat down and we struck up a conversation. I was aware she wasn't interested in me, but she also didn't want to sit and stare at sports. She was overdressed for the bar she was in and in the course of about 45 minutes to an hour, she allowed me to know more about herself without her even knowing it. The strange thing was, despite her being very attractive, I never felt any physical attraction to her. Main…

Movie Review - Interstellar

Before you go on...I am not a Christopher Nolan fan. I preface this silly blog entry with this statement, because his fans are insane. They get confused thinking his name is an anagram for something surpeme. They think and over-think every scene and fail to watch things like credits and opening scenes, which he is infamous for giving almost everything away in. Interstellar is no different. First there are the books, the title, the dust, some names, the odes to every sci-fi film ever made and that fucking Dylan Thomas poem over and over again. Seriously, anyone who has seen a handful of films, read handful of books, paid attention in History class and puts their phone down for a few seconds, will not be astonished by the complexity of the film. They'll be bored to tears at it's obvious and never ending metaphors.

I won't take anything away from the acting. McConnaughey and the girl who played young Murph are very good. The rest of the cast is adequate, with a nice little su…

Two Quickie Reviews - Kill The Messenger & The Lunchbox

Kill the Messenger was one of those odd Hollywood films that flew under the radar despite having an all-star cast. It seems as though there is a name actor in each and every role and in a way, this makes and breaks the film. You keep waiting for more depth, but it never really materializes. The film is so well acted and scripted in the first 90 minutes, you're completely blindsided when the movie just fades, resorting to postscripts to explain what happens. It's a huge letdown for a movie that showed constant promise. The very fact this is a true story, with an absolutely incredibly hard to believe ending makes the movie an overall failure, despite Renner's magnificent job.

Romantic Comedies are a tough nut to crack. As a man, who doesn't seek them out, it's refreshing when one strips away the macho bullshit and goes right to the heart of what we all want from a relationship and that is to be appreciated. Being loved, even worshiped, gets old pretty fast, but appre…

2015 NHL Playoff Predictions

OK, I'll start off by saying this. I'm not really a hockey fan. I do love watching the playoffs, but I don't really have a team, so I can't claim any real knowledge. But I can make one claim. I made predictions on this blog one other time and that was the 2013 playoff season. I got all four of the semifinal teams correct and the Stanley Cup Winner correct. So here I go again.

Western Conference
St. Louis over Minnesota
Chicago over Nashville
Anaheim over Winnipeg
Calgary over Vancouver

Chicago over St. Louis
Anaheim over Calgary

Chicago over Anaheim

Eastern Conference
Montreal over Ottawa
Tampa Bay over Detroit
Rangers over Pittsburgh
Islanders over Washington

Tampa Bay over Montreal
Rangers over Islanders

Tampa Bay over Rangers

Stanley Cup Winners - Chicago Blackhawks

Quickie Review - WolfCop

Tonight I was in the mood for a mindless horror film and I came across WolfCop on Netflix. I expected to sit through an hour and a half of pure idiocy. Well, every once in a while the old adage rings true, "you can't judge a movie by the silly picture on the cover" or something like that. WolfCop is as much fun as I've had watching a so-called bad movie in a long time. Despite the silly premise, the hilarious antics, the sub effects and makeup, this film is actually pretty amazing. Successful horror movies usually add just enough humor to balance out the bloodshed, but WolfCop makes takes the humor to a new level. The movie has pace, has excitement and even has some seriously amazing plot twists. Here's the most surprising aspect of it...the acting actually isn't bad at all. The people seem real and each is likable in their own way. Let's also make things clear for the male viewers. Sarah Lind is worth the time and the price of admission and Amy Matysio i…

Writing To Write

This started out as one thing and as is the case so often, just turned into a free writing exercise.

I'm surrounded by the sounds of people so desperate to be published, yet we live in a world where every bad writer is given a degree, a grant and an internship or whatever they call it. Young men and women, dreaming of stardom and writing about everyday topics with such fabricated depth, it makes an old curmudgeon like me smile. I feel badly for people who are so transparent, yet feel their use of language gives them mystique. Professors and publishers eat this up, the public, confused by their use of multi syllabic words. But does it sell? No, idiocy sells. Straightforward, no metaphors, simplistic symbolism is what they want. Inner goddesses and dragon spells is where we have arrived.

I think my current situation has made me so much more aware of how people use words in print. They don't have smiles or hair tosses to camouflage their souls. No laughter or hand movements to di…

2015 MLB Predictions

Last year I went away from my usual way of doing my predictions and yes, I was as awful as could have been imagined. So here it is. New and improved and trying to battle Nate Silver's analytics. Here we go:

AL East
Boston* - Too many bats to lose a weak division. Betts MVP?
Yankees* - Arod and Beltran will carry this team, as pitching woes mount
Baltimore - No playoffs this year with a lack of power and depth.
Toronto - Batista can only do so much, but keeps them at .500 all year
Tampa Bay - The team lost ten games with the loss of Maddon

Al Central
Detroit** - Too much pitching and Cabrera is still the best player in the league
Kansas City* - Last years AL champs are stronger this year and hungrier
Chicago - Will miss playoffs by a game or two
Minnesota - Will be better than they look on paper, but falter in late summer
Cleveland - Francona is a great manager, but this team will be lucky to win 75 games

AL West
Seattle* - Another close battle with three teams fighting it out the las…

Quickie Review - Killers (2014)

I couldn't wait to see this after seeing the trailer a few months back. Got it the second it came out on Netflix and can not believe how bad it was. The film is nothing more than a checklist of action film cliches and gimmicks. Everything about it is stolen from something else, but that's fine, because in this day and age, it seems action films have run out of ideas. This film fails in a big way however, in that unless you're younger and haven't seen many films from the past 30 years, you'll see everything coming a mile away. The last 20 minutes could have been scripted by anyone who has seen 3 or 4 80's films. I think the directors simply bit off more than they could chew, because the basic premise is an interesting one, but it goes in too many different directions and the actions scenes seem to repeat themselves. The action is also comical in how implausible it is. If you're expecting Raid: Redemption, Raid 2 or I Saw The Devil as I've seen people men…

Free Writing - Take 80

The holidays came and went without a sound. Mixed emotions this year, more than most. No festive feelings to be had, just stuck in the middle of this land of confusion and wasted time. I'm trying, behind the scenes, but failing miserably. I've gone away from the land I lived in for so long. One made on conversations and communications, often mistaken words of feelings, but communication nonetheless. I've fallen down this rabbit hole of post it notes and e-mails, where emotions are displayed with three dollar adjectives and literary quotes. I sat on Easter, listening to the same stories I'd heard during Thanksgiving or around, then Christmas and before that fourth of July. I turn to Facebook to hear about first steps and traffic anger, but at least it is fresh. Stories that have been memorized, embellished, shall we say edited to perfection, but have lost their luster, much like Dr. Seuss' magic dwindles and for the same reason, age. I've long wondered how the h…

Quickie Review - The Drop

I'm interested to know if there were severe time constraints on this film. It felt as if so much of it wasn't carefully attended to. The first and the most glaring mistake was the title. The movie is based on a short story called Animal Rescue by Dennis Lethane (from an anthology called Boston Noir), which if you've seen the film, is the absolute perfect title, both in reality and as a metaphor for how the film plays out. Just from looking at this board the title change would have settled any doubts about the not-at-all (yet described as) ambiguous ending.

I didn't love the movie (something of a surprise considering Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace starred), but it wasn't so much the story, the acting or the odd mistakes, but the painfully obvious clues given throughout. Some coming directly before the scenes they foreshadow. In the end, if you read the short story (it's available online), you find the story is so painfully simple, it's not surprising the film la…

Quickie Review - The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - It's rare that I will say this, but it's a near perfect film. The script is incredible, acting magnificent and the music is brilliant. It covers entire topics in simple scenes and while some will complain about it's neglecting or embellishing certain aspects of the man's life, it was carefully constructed to do so without distracting us from his contributions (see Theory of Everything). Not since Argo have I seen a film where I can't imagine a single scene that should have been scrapped or a scene added. The use of humor, so perfectly displayed as to allow us a much needed breath. Can't say enough how impressed I was with Cumberbatch, Strong and Knightley. While I still have two to go, this movie should have swept the Oscars.

March Movies

Here's my list of movies I watched this month. Slow month thanks to March Madness. #26 of this month was #89 for the year. Tonight I officially dipped below the "one movie per day" quota. Cronos - Del Toro's first is a beautiful take on a classic. Aurora is the standout.Honeymoon - Atrocious acting, silly plot and not a single boo!Finding Vivian Maier - Uneven, but wonderful doc on the secret life of brilliant photographer.Foxcatcher - 90% fictional tale, ruins a fascinating true story. Awful acting or negligible?Ravenous - Silly horror flick, but elevated by the incredible Robert Carlyle.The Judge - Predictable and filled with Hollywood cliche, but stellar cast make it enjoyable.The House of the Devil - homage to 70's/80's is typical Ti West yawn fest. Nothing happens!The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wonderfully quirky Wes Anderson does it again. Stellar Fiennes.Nightcrawler - Brilliant idea falls flat with unlikable characters and implausible second half.Dracula …