Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 50 Films of the '00's

OK. This list will surely be rare among everyone. I went through each film that was released during each year and if it had some sort of effect on me I wrote it down, when I was finished I had 53 films. But, to keep it a nice round number I decided to round that down to 50.

This is just my Top 50 films, it has no barring on the actual quality of the film. These are just the Top 50 that I particularly enjoy.

Also, there were many (many) films released during this time period which I have not had the chance to see yet - some of which I have heard are rather good - but I was not able to include those, only those I have seen (and for many of them have seen a multitude of times).

Finally, I also did something that some others have done, yet others do not like, and that is group some films together as part of a series instead of separate films. It's my list and I will group if I want to. So, for the films with an asterisk next to the title I am also including the other films in their franchise.

So, here is my Top 50 Films of the '00's:

50) Blades of Glory (2007)

49) Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

48) Invincible (2006)

47) Watchmen (2009)

46) High Fidelity (2000)

45) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

44) Beerfest (2006)

43) The Replacements (2000)

42) Enchanted (2007)

41) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

40) Reign Over Me (2007)

39) Old School (2003)

38) Adventureland (2009)

37) A Knight’s Tale (2001)

36) School of Rock (2003)

35) We Are Marshall (2006)

34) Moulin Rouge (2001)

33) The Fast and the Furious (2001)

32) 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

31) Life as a House (2001)

30) Garden State (2004)

29) Knocked Up (2007)

28) 8 Mile (2002)

27) American Pie 2 (2001)

26) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)

25) Spider-Man* (2002)

24) Lord of the Rings* (2001)

23) Dodgeball (2004)

22) Stick It (2006)

21) X2: X-Men United (2003)

20) Men with Brooms (2002)

19) Fanboys (2009)

18) Cars (2006)

17) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

16) Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

15) Accepted (2006)

14) Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

13) Wedding Crashers (2005)

12) Finding Nemo (2003)

11) Miracle (2004)

10) Cast Away (2000)

9) Transformers* (2007)

8) Pirates of the Caribbean* (2003)

7) Iron Man (2008)

6) Remember the Titans (2000)

5) Ocean’s Eleven* (2001)

4) Harry Potter* (2001)

3) Shrek* (2001)

2) The Dark Knight* (2008)

1) Star Trek (2009)

Explanations for my Top 10:

10) Cast Away: One of Tom Hanks' greatest performances as he spent 3/4 of the film with no human interaction, but spent that time conversing with a volleyball. Hanks also had to lose an incredible amount of weight and grow his hair and beard out for the part. For a movie without much talking I was still engrossed with what was going on in the film. Plus is made a star out of a Wilson Volleyball.

9) Transformers*: I included both of the films in this selection, but I feel I enjoyed the first film the best. It sort of came out of nowhere, a movie based on an action figure, but it turned out to be a pretty action packed film, which in turn made stars out of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. A film that's dialogue may be lacking, but the action and CGI certainly kept me entertained.

8) Pirates of the Caribbean*: I am including all three Pirates films, although I feel the first one outranks the lot of them. I have to admit that this one really took me off guard. For some reason leading up to it I had not really heard much about it, but a friend told me I had to see it and I was thoroughly entertained. Captain Jack Sparrow is a character for the ages.

7) Iron Man: Was this going to be another Spider-Man or another Batman? The answer is somewhere in between, and that is perfectly fine. This film had a lot of humor and action, and thanks to the performance of Robert Downey Jr. really blew a lot of people away that really weren't expecting much of anything.

6) Remember the Titans: As you can see from the list I am a sucker for sports films, especially if they are well done. This movie was less about the football and more about the racial struggles of a small town and school, but it was because of the football that so many were able to accept each other no matter their color.

5) Ocean's Eleven*: The first one was a masterpiece. I love heist films and I especially love when they don't show you how it was done until the end. The cast was top-notch, and it even makes it this high with Julia Roberts in the cast (I am not that big a fan). The sequel was a little less superb, but still enjoyable as it gave us the Night Fox. The third was much better than the second, but still couldn't surpass the first.

4) Harry Potter*: This entire decade should have been named the Harry Potter decade. Just two films remain in the series (a combination of the final book), but the first six so far have been visually stunning and rather entertaining as well (even for someone like me who has not read the books). So far, I would have to say that Order of the Phoenix is my favorite of the films, but we still have the final two to go.

3) Shrek*: Yet another film that you weren't really expecting much from. Thank goodness it exists, however, for the sake of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy's careers. The first film in this series is hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. I have been fortunate to see it over-and-over again as my son has become a huge fan. The second two films are both great watches as well, but the first is still the crowning achievement.

2) The Dark Knight*: This one is a combination because without the great reboot that was Batman Begins, this film would have never existed. It is probably the top film on almost everyone's list for the decade, but it gets second on mine. Heath Ledger's Joker is quite possibly the best character in a film the entire decade, and the film was visually stunning as well and kept the story of Batman growing.

1) Star Trek: This is my absolute favorite film of the decade. As much as I loved The Dark Knight, it was Star Trek that was the lone film that when I left the theater I immediately knew I had to see it again. I grew up a fan of the original films, but the combination of humor and even better battles really took this one to another level. Each of the characters were extremely well done and I cannot wait to see the many journey's this crew takes in the future.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quick Shots 6

Title: Four Christmases.

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Reece Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight, Jon Favreau, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth.

Brief Synopsis: Brad (Vaughn) and Kate (Witherspoon) do their best to not have to see their families during Christmas time. Each of them are the products of divorced families and so do not believe in marriage or having children. They are all about each other and having a good time. When their flight is canceled due to fog and they are then interviewed on the news, the jig is up and they are forced to spend time with their families - four separate Christmases.

Opinion: Vaughn is starting to become the new Tim Allen when it comes to Christmas movies with his second in as many years. This one, however, doesn't even live up to Fred Claus, although I still felt the film was a good watch. It was rather predictable as most of these romantic comedies tend to be, but the journey to the end had a handful of funny moments worthy of a look.

Grade:

Title: The Ugly Truth.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Eric Winter, Bree Turner.

Brief Synopsis: Abby (Heigl) is a producer of a news station that, to spice up ratings, hires Mike (Butler) a loud-mouthed "pig" who hosts "The Ugly Truth". There are obvious quarrels between Mike and Abby at the start, but once Abby starts to fall for Colin (Winter), Mike begins giving her dating advice that actual works.

Opinion: Another romantic comedy that had a pretty predictable outcome, but it was also a lot more raunchy than I was expecting. I have sort of hit my limit with Heigl, which is sad because before she made it big on Grey's Anatomy I actually liked her. This movie, however, had some laugh-out-loud moments worthy of a watch.

Grade:

Title: The Proposal.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Betty White, Malin Akerman.

Brief Synopsis: Margaret (Bullock) is a very successful, yet very bitchy publishing executive. Andrew (Reynolds) is her assistant that has to continually handle her bitchiness so that one day he can be higher up in the company. Margaret, however, has just been told that she will be losing her job because her Visa to work in the U.S. has expired (she is Canadian). In order to stay in the country and remain in her job she gets Andrew to agree to marry her in order for him to move up in the company.

Opinion: Wow, I have been watching too many rom-coms lately. This is yet another one that has that typical ending that you just know is coming. This one, however, was much funnier than the other two. I really enjoy Reynolds' work and Bullock was pretty entertaining in this as well. Betty White was also pretty hysterical as Reynolds' grandmother.

Grade:

Title: Land of the Lost.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone.

Brief Synopsis: Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) has accidentally sucked himself, his assistant Holly (Friel) and a ride operator named Will (McBride) into a space-vortex. The land proves that Marshall isn't as crazy as everyone thought, but would they be able to survive and get back to prove it?

Opinion: This movie was based off a television show that I never once watch, but I had heard of. The CGI was obviously much better than the original series, but I have to say this was not the greatest of films. A lot of things were very confusing and were just not needed, plus a lot of the jokes fell flat.

Grade:



Title: Year One.

Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Christoper Mintz-Plasse, Olivia Wilde.

Brief Synopsis: This takes place a long time ago, a hunter Zed (Black) and gatherer Oh (Cera) are tossed out of their tribe and forced to fend for themselves. Along the way they meet a couple of Biblical brothers Cain and Able (played by David Cross and Paul Rudd). After killing his brother, Cain sells Zed and Oh to the king where it is discovered that the two women they desire have also been sold. It is up to Zed and Oh to rescue them.

Opinion: This sort of fell flat as well. Black and Cera have both done much better work and together it should have just been, well better. Especially with Harold Ramis behind the camera. There were a few good moments and jokes, which is why I don't give it a horrible grade. It was worth a watch, but don't expect too much.

Grade:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UP

I have been missing for awhile now, but this marks three posts in three consecutive days. I should be back for about a month before heading back to classes, but I will hopefully find the time to update more than I did during my last semester.

Also, it appears that many people are creating their Top movies of the year lists (and some are even doing top movies of the decade). I will do my best to give it a whirl as well in a future post or two.

But, I digress. The real reason for this posting is that I finally watched Up last night with my family. (Spoilers are possible).

Up to me was not truly a children's film, but dove pretty deep in the sentimental drama that many kids don't quite understand yet. I know for a fact that my 3-year old was not quite getting why Carl (Ed Asner) was so sad, although he did know that he was in fact sad.

The movie starts out with a young Carl coming back from watching a news reel featuring his hero Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). As he returns home he runs into another huge Muntz fan in Ellie. This is the start of a great friendship and soon love.

The next part of the film basically shows Carl and Ellie growing up together, getting married, and eventually shows Ellie's death.

Then Carl becomes a pretty large curmudgeon, and the house that he and Ellie had lived in their whole marriage is now in the center of a huge development project.

To save his house, and keep a promise to Ellie that he would make it to Paradise Falls, Carl gets the entire house to fly using balloons. What he doesn't realize, however, is that Russell (Jordan Nagai) is standing on his porch and is forced to take this trip with him.

The rest of the film is Russell and Carl trying to lead the house to the correct spot on Paradise Falls, except they are accompanied by a rare bird and a talking dog named Dug (Bob Peterson).

The dogs are out looking for this rare bird at the instruction of Muntz, who has spent his entire life trying to capture a live one to prove that the bones he found were not fake.

This movie has a lot of heart, and the ending will certainly pull at your heart strings. The movie does have a few laugh-out-loud moments, and Dug is certainly an enjoyable character.

Going in I had heard that this was quite possibly the best Pixar film of the bunch, but I have to say after one viewing that I would rate it somewhere in the middle of the pack. Toy Story to me is still the crowning achievement in Pixar films.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this film a lot, and it still lives up to the Pixar name. But, it isn't the best ever.

Grade:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (Cast Rumors)

Hey. This blog is about the rumored cast for the upcoming all-star version of Survivor entitled Heroes vs. Villains.

This is information I have found on other websites that I am just passing along to those who are interested. If you are not, then do not read this blog.

Again, these are just rumors so it is possible that some or even none of these people are actually going to be on the upcoming season, but I have read on multiple sites the same names so I figured there must be some truth to them.

Without further adieu:

The Heroes: Rupert, J.T., Tom, Colby, James. Stephenie, Amanda, Sugar, Cirie, Candice.



Villains: Boston Rob, Randy, Tyson, Coach, Russell. Jerri, Parvati, Sandra, Courtney, Danielle.


This seems like a rather amazing cast. I thoroughly enjoyed the other all-star versions of the show, particularly the first all-star version where each person playing had played before. Fans vs. Favorites was good as well, but we had a whole tribe who we knew nothing about.

It appears, however, that I am still going to need to be reintroduced to a pair of players. I am sort of at a loss as to Danielle on Villains and Candice on Heroes. They look somewhat familiar, but I can't really recall them. Which is odd for an all-star cast, shouldn't we remember Danielle for something horrific she did to become a villain? Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I am also sort of perplexed as to the reason Sandra was selected as a villain. I remember her season that she won and don't really recall her being a villain. Again, perhaps someone could remind me. I would possibly switch her with Stephenie or even Sugar, who despite being so sweet had a hand in a lot of the backstabbing going on.

The villains cast is amazing. I cannot wait to see Boston Rob, Coach and Russell go head-to-head. Not to mention some of the catty women they have like Courtney, Jerri and Parvati. I am also extremely interested in the reasons Jerri would want to subject herself to this again. Isn't she the one who wanted to redeem herself as a nice person, then cried when she got booed and left the stage? Why would she agree to come back again, and be flat out called a villain? I guess some people just crave the fame.

The heroes are very strong in the male department, but also seem to be a bit too nice. Rupert, J.T. and James may not have the ability to play the social game like Tom and Colby can. I don't see Cirie lasting too long on this tribe, she has shown twice already how she can manipulate the game, her tribemates won't stand for that. Be interesting to see if Amanda can get her third straight second place finish though.

I love the cast, I would have replaced possibly three or four of them with someone better, but it is possible that they declined. It is obvious they went through all of the seasons with the additions of Jerri and Colby - weird that they couldn't find people better than Candice and Danielle, but perhaps they are a good pick and I am just not remembering them.

What do you think of this present cast? Like I said, this is all just rumor.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Survivor: Samoa

Another season of Survivor ended last night and, as usual, I have a few choice words to say about the finale and the season in general.

Survivor: Samoa had two things going for it that worked well this season, Russell and the fact that the Foa Foa Four were able to rip apart the Galu Eight.

It was these two reasons alone that made the season so much fun to watch. What was Russell going to do next? Can the Galu tribe really be letting this happen?

I have to admit I was sort of against Russell from the start. He is a multi-millionaire, who destroyed his own tribe from within and made an alliance with everyone. But, the man really understood how to play the game of Survivor. It was truly amazing that as large of a target that had to be on his back (I mean this guy found three hidden immunity idols, two without clues) that not a single person tried to get rid of him after he saved himself from being voted out once.

At the end, however, I sort of started getting sick of his arrogance. Not enough to where I felt he shouldn't win, but he was so confident and snarky with his own 'friends' at the end that it was pretty harsh to even watch.

That being said, I have always felt that the person who played the best overall game and was still able to make it to the finals (lets face it, usually if you are playing a great game you find yourself a target and voted out) should win the title of overall Survivor.

This season was pretty good overall, definitely in the Top 10 of Survivor seasons, but the finale vote really ruined the season for me.

Natalie was voted the overall Survivor last night as the season came to a close. Her only strategy besides riding Russell's coattails was the ability to get inside Galu's heads to oust Erik. That was a great move, but alone does not make her the sole Survivor.


Russell was the most deserving, but it was obvious that the jury was filled with people that don't quite understand the overall concept of the game of Survivor and voted with their feelings instead of their heads.

A couple odds & ends:

  • I feel that if the overall competition for the Foa Foa is going to be Brett, then it would have been best to actually show the guy during the first two-thirds of the show. A couple of times I found myself asking, "Who the hell is that?" Even if he isn't interesting, the guy was money down the stretch and it would have been nice to know who he was before then.
  • Nice to see the "Family" portion of Survivor was missing this season. I never really enjoyed the family letters or family visits. The show is Survivor and you are supposed to be alienated for the time that you are on the show. Kudos on removing it and I hope it is not coming back.
  • Please, for the love of God, get rid of the promotions inside the show. I don't care if a tribe wins the Charmin Bowl, that is just advertising, but the over blown commercial that Jeff put on for Sprint was downright embarrassing.
  • Also, continue to give the contestants bathing suits of your choosing. It was a definite bonus.
  • Finally, and most important, get rid of the 3-person final tribal council. The show is way better when it is just two (I mean Mick had no reason to be even close to that stage). Plus, it gives the added bonus of having the person who wins the last immunity challenge have to pick who he wants to sit next to. It is added excitement.

Overall, a good season that was knocked down a few notches because of a terrible jury who just were too bitter to understand who really was the ultimate survivor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NBA 2009-10

I wanted to have this up yesterday, but again life is just too busy. Even today I really don't have the time, but I will do my best to belt this out in the short time that I have.

The NBA tipped its 2009-10 season last night with a quartet of games, including the LA Lakers being awarded their championship rings and also awarded the chance to start their season against the LA Clippers (minus top pick Blake Griffin).

So much happened in the offseason with the draft and a great many players switching teams. Did the Cavaliers get better with the addition of Shaq? Did the Celtics improve with Rasheed Wallace coming off their bench? Is Ron Artest an upgrade over Trevor Ariza for the Lakers?

With the great many moves that happened this offseason it was still sort of a surprise because, well, the rich got richer. There weren't too many great moves happening with the lower echelon of teams, but the top teams getting even better players. Now, of course this can all back fire with lack of chemistry, but it might also be a safe bet that the great teams from a year ago will again be great this year.

A few teams to watch out for and moves I have loved:

San Antonio Spurs: I have never been a fan of the Spurs and I mock them whenever I get the chance because their brand of basketball is just so boring. I cringe whenever I think of that horrible Spurs-Pistons finals from a few years ago. But, the Spurs not only got a bit younger, but they got better. They bring in a quality small forward in Richard Jefferson and a decent veteran in Antonio McDyess. Not only that, but they may have gotten a steal on draft night with DaJuan Blair falling to them in the second round - he has looked like a beast so far in the preseason.

Washington Wizards: I had the luxury of seeing this team play already last night as the knocked off the Dallas Mavericks, and one thing is for sure - Gilbert Arenas is back. The Wizards defeated a pretty darn good Mavs team with Caron Butler giving a subpar performance and Antawn Jamison missing the game due to injury. That bodes well for this team. If Gilbert stays healthy this is a team to watch.

Orlando Magic: Talk about a team not wanting to settle. Coming off an NBA Finals appearance the Magic blew up their team, but kept three of their main players (Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis). Gone is premier rookie Courtney Lee, backup point guard Rafer Alston and do-it-all Hedo Turkoglu. But, they bring in Vince Carter to replace Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson to replace Lee, and a move that isn't getting talked enough about is the return of Jason Williams to backup Nelson. And all three (including newcomer Brandon Bass) have looked great in preseason.

Predictions:

East Playoffs (in order)
Boston Celtics
Orlando Magic
Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors

West Playoffs (in order)
LA Lakers
San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets
Portland Trailblazers
Utah Jazz
New Orleans Hornets
Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder

MVP: LeBron James
ROY: Blake Griffin (if healthy)
COY: Flip Saunders
DEF: Dwight Howard
6th: Rasheed Wallace

UPDATE: I realized after I sent this that I didn't finish it. So here are my final predictions.

All-NBA
First Team
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant
Second Team
Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce
Third Team
Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol

NBA Finals
Orlando Magic over San Antonio Spurs

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall TV - So Far

I know it has been yet another month or so since I have been able to post. I also know that I continue to make excuses - but the time has just not been there to be able to sit down and post. Plus, I can't really remember the last movie I sat down to watch.

Besides watching Monsters vs. Aliens with my son this weekend.

My time is pretty much pulled to the brink with my graduate classes and homework. Not to mention working on top of that - so the little time I do have I try to spend with my family, and I haven't really had time to sit down and write something on here.

But, we have been able to watch some television. So, I thought with the few minutes I have here on my lunch break I would mention a few shows that I have been watching - shows that are brand new this season.

Let's start with comedies. There haven't been a large amount of comedies that I have been able to get behind over the last few years. I enjoy How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory. Not to mention my favorite show of all-time, Scrubs. I was pretty late to the party for The Office and 30 Rock.

This season, there are actually a trio of comedies that I have started watching and actually enjoy.

Let's start backwards:

The Middle

I was up-in the air about this show. Patricia Heaton hasn't exactly been lighting the screen on fire since leaving Everybody Loves Raymond, and her character on that show actually became pretty intolerable. But, Neil Flynn from Scrubs was cast as her husband so I thought I would at least give it a try. This actually fits pretty well with Heaton, who stars as Frankie, a horrible car salesman married to Mike (Flynn) with three kids. Mike is a manager at the quarry, and between the two of them they make just enough to squeak past. Their children are a bit odd, Axl the oldest walks around the house in his boxers all day and has no real passion for anything. Their daughter Sue tries out for everything at school, but has no real talent for anything. Brick, their youngest son, is a highly intelligent loner who reads everything in sight and talks in a weird low voice to himself.
So far the show has been pretty good, but I hope they find a little more for Chris Kattan to do. He can be pretty funny when used correctly.

Cougar Town

Cougar Town is a show that I really hope can succeed, as it is helmed by Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence. Although, I was less-than pleased with Courtney Cox's appearance on Scrubs she fits in a little better on this show. Cox plays Jules Cobb, a divorced mother of a high schooler, who is getting back in the game, and begins picking up some men a lot younger than she is. She is brought along by her co-worker Laurie Keller (Busy Philipps), but also stays a bit grounded thanks to her friend Ellie Torres (Christa Miller).
The show has started off a little slow for my taste, but has had a few good moments. I do hope that it can find its footing as there is great potential.

Community
I have to admit I was not going to watch this show. The premise seemed very odd and not very funny. But, I was able to view the pilot one afternoon on Facebook, and I thought the show had a pretty good base. Jeff (Joel McHale) is thrust back into school after his law degree is found to be less-than valid. He meets Britta (Gillian Jacobs), who is struggling with Spanish and lies to her that he is a tutor to get close to her. In their first session, Britta has invited a very eclectic bunch of classmates to join the tutoring session. Once it is found out that Jeff has been lying, they all give him another chance and continue their 'study group'.
McHale is pretty good as the lead in this show, but I have to admit the secondary characters are hilarious. Abed (Danny Prudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) have pretty great chemistry together - make sure to stick around for the credits, they always do something very funny. Senor Chang (Ken Jeong) is his usual hysterical self as the Spanish teacher. Finally, Chevy Chase turns in a very solid performance as Pierce Hawthorne. Chase has sort of become a joke in films as of late, but he is a bit more laid back and very funny as a background player in this show.
Possibilities are endless here and I am very excited for them.

Due to my classes and already large amount of television shows that I must watch, I only selected one new hour-long show this season.

FlashForward

With Lost about to check out for the last time at the conclusion of the year I thought it best that I find a new show that makes you think, although Fringe certainly continues to do that as well. FlashForward looked to me as though it may be a replacement on ABC for Lost and it even has a pair of former Losties in Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan in the cast. The show's premise is pretty simple - yet very complicated - the entire world blacks out at exactly the same time for two minutes and seventeen seconds. During that time a vision happens of a date in the future, April 29, 2010. As everyone begins to wake up and see what has happened during the time the blacked out, Agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) begins sorting things out using his vision of the future. The FBI is looking into what caused this event, and what can be done to stop it from happening again.
Meanwhile, some of the futures are not so appealing to those that had them, including Agent Demetri Noh (John Cho) who didn't have a vision. Possibly meaning that by April 29, 2010 he may be dead.
The layout to the show is amazing and it appears to have a handful of great actors. Much like Lost, however, I do hope that the show has given itself a proper end date or I feel things could be dragged out far too long. But, so far I am hooked.

NOTE: Monsters vs. Aliens was actually quite cute and B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) was downright hilarious. If I have time in the future I may touch on this as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dexter Seasons 1 & 2

This post will most likely contain spoilers, as it is hard to really explain a television series without it. So, if you have not seen Dexter, but plan to (and you should) it might be best to skip this.

That being said, Dexter is a pretty amazing television program. It stars Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, who is a blood spatter expert for the Miami Police Department. He also just happens to be a serial killer.

Dexter was adopted at 3-year's old by Harry Morgan (James Remar), it became apparent very early to Harry - a Miami Police Officer - that Dexter had a bit of a dark side. In order to quench his thirst for death, Harry took Dexter out on hunting trips. He also began teaching him what Dexter would later proclaim as "The Code of Harry". In essence, it taught him how to get away with murder, but also only to kill those who deserve it - basically murderers who have beaten the system.

Unbeknown to the rest of his fellow police officers, including his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter is leading this double life. In order to hide his identity, Dexter does everything he can to act normal around people - including starting a relationship with Rita Bennett (Julie Benz). Bennett is fresh out of an abusive marriage, so she is unable to be intimate with Dexter, which is perfect for him.

All while living these two lives, Dexter is also a blood splatter expert, but becomes extremely infatuated with a new serial killer known as "The Ice Truck Killer". It is revealed to the audience midway through the season that the killer is, Rudy Cooper (Christian Camargo), who just happens to be dating Dexter's sister.

"The Ice Truck Killer" has been killing hookers, draining them of their entire blood contents, cutting up their bodies and leaving them for the police to find. Despite not having any blood, Dexter takes a serious interest in the serial killer's work. And, as he slowly figures things out - "The Ice Truck Killer" begins to become infatuated with Dexter.

I loved the first season, my only issue is that this season may be even better if it was the third or fourth season. As you know by seeing it, "The Ice Truck Killer" turns out to be Dexter's brother. And I found it pretty odd to have that dynamic in the very first season, plus the whole sister in peril thing.

That being said - even with that happening I got totally hooked on this show. It is so well done and Dexter is sort of an odd superhero with some serious issues.

As we move to the second season, a diving crew uncovers Dexter's secret burial ground for all of his kills.

Dexter is very OCD, however, so there isn't many clues that would ever link him to the crimes. Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) is an FBI agent who is brought in to head up the search for the "Bay Harbor Butcher" which Dexter's name sort of becomes - without anyone knowing it.

Also, Dexter and Rita sort of have some issues as Dexter pretends to have an addiction to drugs to sort of hide his other issues. And during rehab meets Lila Tournay (Jaime Murray), who sort of understands him and becomes his 'sponsor'.

This quickly takes a turn for the worse as Lila accompanies Dexter to track down his mother's killer, and they stay in the same room - which Rita finds out about and breaks up with him. This sends Dexter into Lila's arms. Slowly, he begins to realize that Lila is very crazy and clingy, and even begins to become an issue for Rita and her children - Dexter breaks things off. But, Lila had already dug her meat hooks in and wasn't about to give her man up.

Meanwhile, James Doakes (Erik King) is the lone person in the police department who sees that Dexter has a dark side. It got so bad that Doakes begins stalking Dexter to keep an eye on him, and soon gets himself suspended for a fight. He continues his investigation into Dexter and finds out that he is the "Bay Harbor Butcher". But, Lundy and the FBI mark Doakes as their main suspect.

As Doakes looks to clear his name and also take down Dexter, he confronts him at a cabin where Dexter had killed his mother's killer. Unfortunately for Doakes, Dexter overtakes him and imprisons him inside the cabin.

The ending was sort of very coincidental as Lila steals Dexter's GPS and drives up to the cabin, she finds Doakes and Dexter's dark secret. In order to get Dexter back, she blows up the cabin as well as Doakes and Dexter is free once again.

I got really into this season, but again - it almost seems like we have been tossed into the middle seasons of a 10-season show. I guess it sort of makes sense to have the serial killer almost get caught, but you'd think that it would be in later seasons. Still, again it was a great season and I am hooked on another show.

I really enjoyed the addition of Carradine. I thought he was really good as the FBI agent, and also love interest for Deb (who seems to have some daddy issues). I liked Lila at first, but she sort of became over the top - which I guess was what was supposed to happen.

Anyway, great show - both dark and funny, yet also interesting.

Grade:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2009 NFL Predictions

The NFL Season is here!!!!

Tonight marks the first regular season game of the NFL Season.

Last year my Pittsburgh Steelers captured their second NFL Championship in my lifetime, so I am still riding high. The good news for the Steelers is they return 20 starters from their Super Bowl run this season and are expecting huge things from two wide receivers Limas Sweed and rookie Mike Wallace. They will also get a boost with the return of Rashard Mendenahll and punter Daniel Sepulveda (laugh, but he was missed last year). Finally, they have a huge bump in the return game with former CFLer Stefan Logan, who looked great in the preseason.


Anyway, I have rambled on about how the Steelers should win the title again this season, but will they?

Here are my selections/predictions for the 2009 NFL season. The season begins tonight at 8 p.m. with the Steelers taking on the Tennessee Titans.

AFC
North: Pittsburgh Steelers
South: Tennessee Titans
East: New England Patriots
West: San Diego Chargers
Wildcard: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts
NFC
North: Green Bay Packers
South: New Orleans Saints
East: NY Giants
West: Arizona Cardinals
Wildcard: Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons
Superbowl: New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots
Winner: Patriots (very sad).

Also, we had our fantasy football draft at the end of last month. I was unlucky enough to have the eighth pick in the draft - so I was unable to get anyone I truly wanted. I was hoping for Brees and Rodgers as QBs (every year I seem to miss out on QBs, so I was determined not to have that happen this year - I was wrong). I ended up with Cutler and - gulp - Favre.

Anyway, the rest of the team shaped up OK, but I was disappointed in my QBs. I guess we shall see what comes out.

My starters:
QB- Cutler
QB- Favre
RB- DeAngelo Williams (my first selection)
RB- Marion Barber
WR- Marques Colston
WR- Lee Evans
WR- Antonio Bryant
WR- Wes Welker
TE- Greg Olsen
K- Nick Novak
DEF- Packers
Bench
RB- Ronnie Brown
QB- Chad Pennington
WR- Steve Smith (Giants)
DEF- Colts
WR- Josh Morgan
TE- Visanthe Shiancoe
RB- Knowshon Moreno
WR- Kenny Britt

Every season I always take a flier on rookies at both the RB and WR positions. Last year I picked DeSean Jackson from the Eagles and he ended up being one of my top receivers, the same for Dwayne Bowe from the Chiefs the year before that. So, I went with the Titans' Britt this year and also Moreno for Denver, who may be their starter right away.

Wish me luck. In a league filled with Steeler fans, a Pats fan currently holds our trophy. That must end this year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quick Rant: Sox/Yanks

This will be a quick little rant since I have yet again been neglecting this blog. I have been hoping for my friend to finish my new banner so that I may begin my transition to a new name and site, and officially (I keep saying this, but it is going to happen) join the LAMBs. Then, hopefully, be much more diligent in my blog postings.

Anyway, I currently live in upstate New York - I am talking way upstate. I am pretty much in Canada, or as close to Canada as possible while still paying American taxes. There is no technical rooting franchise in sports in this neck of the woods. We are pretty far from anything that would be considered a pro sports team.

So, we have assembled a rather mixed bowl if you will of rooting interests in this area. I, of course, being born in Pittsburgh and also attending college there have most of my rooting interests in the pros sports team from there. I am, however, more of an Atlanta Braves fan than a Pittsburgh Pirates fan - but I do root for them to win (even if they never do).

That being said, the area in which I live is split pretty well down the middle in terms of Boston Red Sox fans and New York Yankee fans. There are also the occasional New York Mets' fans sprinkled into the bunch as well.

I have stated before that baseball to me is pretty painful to watch. It is probably my least favorite sport of the four majors, although it is just behind hockey - I may rank hockey a little higher due to the fact that Pittsburgh just won the Stanly Cup though.

The baseball season is just so painstakingly long. It was once called the Summer Classic - but it ends in November. How is that possible? And, just when it finishes and other sports can take the stage - pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring Training.

Look, I am a sports fan, and probably talk about my Steelers or the NBA far too much for some people. But, if you have to go from February through November hearing as much as I do about the Yankees or the Red Sox, you would be going crazy as well.

And, unfortanately, it isn't just where I live. It's also on my television. The Boston/New York rivalry in baseball is totally amped up thanks to its play on all of the major sports shows, radio shows, etc.

So, this past weekend drove me absolutely crazy.

The Red Sox had pretty much owned the Yankees this season, wining all eight of their contests up until this point. But, they were slowly falling in the standings, and the Yankees had actually overtaken them to lead the AL East.

So, everyone in my area and on television, was drooling at the fact that the Yankees could bury the Red Sox after this four-game series. How many games did each team have to win to stay in the race?, etc.

Well, New York ended up sweeping Boston and went up to a 6.5 game lead in the division. So, the Red Sox were done. Pack up their bags and wait until spring training (don't worry, it's way closer than it should be).

Then, the Red Sox win the first game after their Yankees series, and New York loses. So, Boston is now only 5.5 games behind.

This is the problem - the season is not over. But, to dig up drama every game has to matter - especially when they play each other. This is not over in the least, however, there are far too many games left to throw dirt on Boston's grave.

This just drives me crazy. Each loss we have to mourn and each win it's a celebration. For 162 games.

My only glimpse of fresh air? Preseason football started on Sunday.

That noise you hear - those are tears of joy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random Movie: Get Over It

I probably could be posting reviews of about 10 films I have watched since I have sort of taken a sabbatical from the blog writing. However, I finally finished my summer classes and have a few weeks before my master's work starts (if my B remains in my class).

Anyway, I thought I would start yet another quick blog about random movies that my wife and I watch and somewhat love. These are movies that I have watched a ton of times and are usually somewhat old. So, I am calling it Random Movie.

This past weekend we were in a flux about what to watch as nothing was on television and our almost three-year old son was still up. So, we had to watch something somewhat enjoyable, yet also meets the standards of a show that if my son gets sucked into watching won't be asking 'what is that guy doing to that lady?' or 'how come that guys arm just got caught off?'

This week, I rummaged through our DVD collection and tossed in Get Over It, a film that I don't think we have seen in many years.

The film came out in 2001 and stars Ben Foster as Berke Landers and Kirsten Dunst as Kelly Woods. This was Foster's first main star film role before he became a more successful star. Dunst, however, was a lot more well known, but this film was sort of her in between stage before she became, in my opinion, too important. This film was just after Dick, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On, but right before Spider-Man.

Anyway, the film starts off by showing Landers and his one-true love, Allison McCallister (Melissa Sagemiller), whom he has known since he was a child. (Sagemiller is currently starring in Raising the Bar on TNT, a very underrated law drama). In one of the first scenes, Allison dumps Landers as she feels the sparks are no longer there in their relationship and she needs something new.

Here we find out this isn't going to be the normal film, as when Landers leaves then popular pop star Vitamin C breaks out in "Love Will Keep Us Together".

Moving on, Landers does everything possible (while loathing) to figure out how to get Allison back. Meanwhile his two best friends Felix Woods (Colin Hanks) and Dennis Wallace (Sisqo) desperately try to get him out of his duldrums. (This was one of Hanks' first roles before Orange County. Also, remember Sisqo?).

A former boy band member, Bentley Scrumfield (Shane West) also known as 'Striker', transfers into the high school and immediately becomes infatuated with Allison. The two decide to tryout for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" being put on by Desmond Forrest-Oates (Martin Short).

To try and win back Allison, Landers also try's out for the musical, only to land a very small role. However, a stage accident knocks out one of the leads and in an attempt to humiliate the not-so great acting performance of Landers, 'Striker' nominates him to take his place.

Still trying to win back the heart of his one-true love Allison, Landers accepts the role and Kelly, who also holds a large part in the play, agrees to help him get better - while also slowly falling in love with him.

Of course, the film is cliche, because you already know what is going to happen even though I will not tell you the ending - but it is still pretty fun to watch every once in a while.

Ed Begley, Jr. and Swoosie Kurtz play Landers' parents, who are a pair of sex experts on a local television program - and who basically encourage Landers in anything he ends up doing. Te Woods' family is dogsitting their aunt's dog, who also happens to have a humping problem. And a major hottie named Dora Lynn also happens to be the most accident-prone person in the world.

This film also has small performances by some pretty large stars now. Zoe Saldana, who this sumemr played Uhura in Star Trek and is in James Cameron's Avatar, played Allison's best friend Maggie. Mila Kunis (That 70's Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) was Kelly's best friend Basin - who was also in a small love story of her own with Dennis in the background. Carmen Electra and Coolio (haha Coolio) also had a couple cameos in the film.

I enjoy this film because it was basically the start for a handful of great actors (Hanks, Foster, West, Kunis), had a few vanished from existence stars (Vitamin C, Coolio, Sisqo), some pretty funny scenes and music (Dunst actually sang her song) and a very cute Dunst before she got a little too large for her own good.

A great film? Not in a million years. But, it's an easy, quick watch that sort of leaves you somewhat satisfied at the conclusion.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It has been almost a week now since I have seen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but again my blog here has sort of taken a back seat to my summer classes I am taking. That is slowly coming to an end, and I am also hoping to make a few changes to this site - here's hoping that happens sometime around September, so stay tuned.

Anyway, to the task at hand. I have not read a single Harry Potter book, let me first by saying that. I tried to read the first book while I was on my honeymoon, but I soon realized that I would much rather see all of the movies first before reading the books.

I am still up in the air as to where I would rank this film in terms of the Potter Universe, but I am thinking it is either first or second.

I enjoyed pretty much everything that the film had to offer - it was dark and mysterious, yet also had some great laughs and awkward moments between teens falling in love for the first time.

I have done my best to not hear anything or read anything about the future books so far, and I am glad I did because this film truly blew me away with some of the things that came out of nowhere - one of which happened almost immediately, and the other at the end of the film.

These films have pretty much always been about the relationships of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) - as well as Harry's connection to Lord Voldemort. This film, however, also brought a few other characters into the limelight a little more. We still had the Harry storyline continuing to move forward, as well as some very good scenes with Hermione and Ron - but we also have a conflicted Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who to me appears to be running parallel, albeit on the opposite spectrum, to Harry. Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) is also moved forward a lot in this film, and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) had a huge part in this film throughout its entirety.

Like I said, this is either the best or one of the top two in my opinion, and although there is no confrontation between Harry and Voldemort himself, there is definitely build up and some great fight scenes. The last 'two' films will certainly be packed with action and I am certainly looking forward to them.

Grade:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised when I walked out of the theater after taking this film in. I had heard arguments from both sides, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen takes place two years after the conclusion of the first film. The Autobots are still calling Earth home and are actually helping a new branch of the military called NEST, along with Major Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Master Seargent Epps (Tyrese Gibson). Their main objective is tracking down Decepticons hidden on the planet and terminate them.

Meanwhile, Sam (Shia LaBeouf) is heading off to college and is forced to leave his uberhot girlfriend, Mikaela (Megan Fox) behind - although they do try the long distance relationship via webcam.

Of course, something goes wrong just before Sam leaves for college and the allsparks information is downloaded into his brain after he touches one of the two remaining shards from the cube.

This is where everything begins, and the action picks up as the Decepticons try to capture Sam yet again to gather this information - and finish what was started hundred of years ago by The Fallen.

I am not here to spoil this film for anyone, so I will the information at that.

Let's just say that I was pretty impressed with everything. I know that this isn't a masterpiece in terms of dialogue and plot, and all of that - but that is not the intent of the film, and for those people going in expecting Gone With the Wind 2, then your disappointment is on you.

This is a pure summer blockbuster (a popcorn flick). And boy did it deliver.

The action was pretty much nonstop, and despite how everything unfolded, I actually enjoyed the way things came together.

Not to mention, the film was pretty darn hilarious as well. I have read reviews that Mudflap and Skids was blatant racism - I would agree that it may appear that way - but they were still pretty darn funny (Note: I read that someone was up in arms that this was a knock on African Americans when one of the twins said they can't read - just wanted to make it clear that they didn't say the couldn't read, just that they didn't read much).

Also, the inclusion of a remote controlled truck known as Wheelie, also had some great one-liners in the film. And Sam's parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) along with Agent Simmons (John Turturro) were also a lot funnier in this film than in the previous.

A few things that did bother me, however, was the inclusion of yet another hottie, Alice (Isabel Lucas), and everything about her just being sort of written off very quickly. Plus, Sam's new college roommate, Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) didn't really have a lot to do with anything except whine a lot - not sure if he was really needed. Finally, Wheelie's disappearance. He was a pretty big part of everything once he arrived on the screen, then is somehow missing during the final part of the movie without any real reason.

That's pretty much the bulk of the things that bothered me. I wouldn't say this film was better than the first, but it did have more action and more comedy.

If you want to enjoy a movie for that alone, I highly recommend it.

Grade:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick Shots 5

Title: Untraceable.

Starring: Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross, Peter Lewis.

Brief Synopsis: A deranged murderer is not only killing his victims, but is allowing the entire country to view it - and with each viewer the victim is killed just a little quicker. In a world where everyone is fascinated and curious, one killer uses that as his advantage and hooks up each of his victims - in a series of gruesome deaths - to die depending on the amount of viewers on his website. With each new viewer the death is sped up. FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Lane) is tipped off about the site and tries to persuade her company to find this man before things get even worse.

Opinion: This may have been done before, but I haven't seen it. I thought that it was a pretty interesting way to not only show the sickness of the murderer, but also how many people in this world would actually log on to see someone killed. It's baffling, and pretty darn sad. I thought the ending was going to be a little predictable, but they changed it up a bit which made it all the more entertaining. My only downgrade of the movie is the killing of an animal, which always tends to tick me off.

Grade:

Title: Fired Up!

Starring: Eric Christian Olsen, Nicholas D'Agosto, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims, Juliette Goglia, John Michael Higgins.

Brief Synopsis: Two standout high school football players Shawn (D'Agosto) and Nick (Olsen) decide to skip out on football training camp and head to cheerleading camp instead, so that they can score with the opposing high school's cheerleaders.

Opinion: Pretty predictable, but the way you get there is downright hilarious. I laughed pretty hard during this movie and felt Olsen and D'Agosto had terrific chemistry together. The music was another story - it had me rolling with some of the songs that were flowed in through the movie. A pretty common story among teen movies, but done rather well which made it very enjoyable.

Grade:

Title: He's Just Not That Into You.

Starring: Kevin Connolly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Bradley Cooper.

Brief Synopsis: Gigi (Goodwin) is looking for love - hard. She is the quintessential girl that does everything wrong and drives guys away. Alex (Long) meanwhile doesn't sugar coat anything and gives Gigi straight advice in love - which of course ends up making her fall for him. Ben (Cooper) is married to Janine (Connelly), but is secretly having an affair with Anna (Johansson). Conor (Connolly), meanwhile, is totally head over heels in love with Anna. All the while, the perfect couple Neil (Affleck) and Beth (Aniston) break up because Neil doesn't believe in marriage.

Opinion: Did you get all of that? Everyone sort of meshes together somehow. This is a pretty big chick flick, which I tend to watch with my wife every so often. Most of the storylines end up pretty much the way you would think they do, however, a few curves are thrown in to make you stay interested.

Grade:

Title: Angels & Demons.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard.

Brief Synopsis: Symoblogist Robert Langdon (Hanks) returns to use his skills to help track down four missing cardinals. After the pope has died, the Illuminati have kidnapped the four cardinals that would be next in line to become pope. Not only that, but they have also stolen an antimatter container and hidden somewhere in the Vatican. Starting at 8 p.m. and on every hour, a cardinal is to be assassinated until midnight when the bomb is to explode.

Opinion: A pretty fun ride. I enjoy almost everything Tom Hanks does, with only a few exceptions. I have to say I think I liked the first one more as the codes and symbols were a little more interesting. I also basically had figured out the ending midway through the film, which I never enjoy doing. But, it was a decent follow-up to the first film. My issue may be that everything was done very quickly in this one, where there was no real race in the first. But, still pretty enjoyable.

Grade:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quick Shots 4

Title: Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Starring: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell, Jayma Mays, Adam Ferrera.

Brief Synopsis: Paul Blart (James) wants to become a police officer, but suffers from narcolepsy and continues to fall just short of making it. He is also a single father, who lives at home with his mother. He is, however, the only person that can protect the West Orange Pavilion Mall during a break in.

Opinion: Another story of the loser overcoming all odds to take down the crooks. Of course there is also the gaining of respect from other police officers and the love story between the girl that is way out of his league. There were some decent laughs, but no where near the amount a Kevin James film should have.

Grade:


Title: New In Town.

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., J.K. Simmons, Siobhan Fallon.

Brief Synopsis: Lucy Hill (Zellweger) is a pretty high up executive living in Miami who takes on the task of a company in Minnesota to help downsize the company. Along the way she seems to make fun of each and every person in the town, but because they are such decent people they come to her aid to help save the company from being closed.

Opinion: This was a pretty decent film, I actually laughed more than I did during Paul Blart. It's kind of odd how Zellweger has sort of fallen off the charts as a leading actress. This film was a pretty good date movie, nothing more-nothing less.

Grade:


Title: The Hammer.

Starring: Adam Carolla, Oswaldo Castillo.

Brief Synopsis: Jerry Ferro (Carolla) just got fired from his carpetring job. He is still, however, a boxing instructor at a local gym - and somehow impresses a local boxing coach into gaining a tryout to make the Olympics. He does everything possible along the way, overcoming insermountable odds. He later finds out that the coach was only using him as a free sparring partner for his true prized fighter.

Opinion: This movie was definitely a little known gem. If you are a fan of Carolla at all, I suggest checking out this movie. I found it hilarious, and the premise of the film was actually pretty well done. Very good flick.

Grade:


Title: Still Waiting.

Starring: John Michael Higgins, Alanna Ubach, Steve Howery, Luis Guzman, Justin Long.

Brief Synopsis: A rival restaurant opens up right next to Shenanigenz and current manager, Dennis (Higgins) is trying to become a regional manager - in this night to even get considered he has to have the best night ever at his restaurant.

Opinion: The sequel to the pretty popular Waiting film, except straight to DVD. It's pretty weird though, because this was better than some films that actually get a full release. No where near the first film, but still pretty entertaining.

Grade:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stanley Cup Champions

Things are finally slowing down for me (I think) so I should be back up and running sometime this week.

As most of you know, I am a huge Pittsburgh fan, so I was pretty stoked when the Penguins captured the Stanley Cup on Friday.

If you may recall, I wrote about this last year when the fell to Detroit.

Anyway, here is the new gatorade commerical, Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Absence

I just wanted to post a note stating that I will most likely be absent from here for a few weeks.

I am currently enrolled in a night class that is just two weeks long, but is every night for four hours.

So, with work, class, homework, house work and trying my best to see my family - this will have to take a backseat.

I do have some things to post - such as the Fall TV schedule, some movies I have seen and the NBA/NHL playoffs drawing to a close.

So, I will see you in a few weeks.

Later.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot Rod

I wasn't expecting too much when I tossed in this film, but it sort of surprised me.

I always felt that Hot Rod would have a few laugh out loud moments from the pure stupidity - which it did, actually a little more than I expected - but the true heart of the movie was actually pretty sweet when you get down to it.

Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) longs to be a stuntman. He believes that his father worked for Evel Knievel and set up the stunts before Knievel would try them. After his father died, his mother remarried Frank (Ian McShane) and they had a child, Kevin (Jorma Taccone). Throughout the first part of the film, Rod constantly fights with his father, literally. Frank believes that once Rod can beat him in a fight then he is a man - Rod actually loves Frank and longs for his respect.

Despite constantly trying to perform stunts, and with a crew of his brother Kevin, and friends Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny McBride), Rod was never a very succesful stuntman.

One afternoon Rod learns that Frank has a weak heart and doesn't have much time to live - despite obviously caring for Frank, Rod vows to raise $50,000 for the surgery so that he can once again fight Frank to gain his respect.

He sets out to perform one huge stunt that would be able to raise the money to save his step-father's life. Joining the crew is an old friend, and current crush of Rod's Denise (Isla Fisher) who motivates Rod - especially during the time that he gives up on himself.

Will Arnett plays Denise's prickish boyfriend Jonathan, which to me was basically a throwaway role for him.

Like I said, the movie had its moments for comedy - including, quite possibly, the longest fall down a hillside in movie history - which kept the film funny, but it was also the heartfelt moments that made the movie even better. Even though Rod masks his love for his stepfather - he risked his own life to save his, even if it was just to kick his ass.

Grade:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Abrams Finales

I don't want to call this guy the second coming of Spielberg or, in today's standards, Apatow - but it seems to me that everything that J.J. Abrams has touched of late has been turned into gold.

With Star Trek already cruising along as possibly the year's best film (to date), and ruling at the box office, Abrams' two other side projects, Fringe and Lost brought their seasons to a close this week.

There will be spoilers galore in the rest of this blog, so if you haven't seen the above finales, please stop reading now.

I will start with Lost because it appears that more people know about this show. How can a 2-hour finale not only give you tons of answers to things that have been brewing for five seasons, but also leave you with even more questions than when you went in. A 2-hour finale that desperately left you wanting more - and we don't get any more until 2010, I may just go insane.

We are finally introduced to the illusive Jacob - the one that is truly considered the leader of the 'Others'. But, we can't just be given Jacob without a whole background on him - he's been on the island forever; he seems to be using the island for some sort of sociological experiment; an unnamed friend of his wants him dead; he has visited a handful of members of the castaways (Locke, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, Jack, Sun & Jin). But, as soon as we meet Jacob - he is killed, by Ben and Locke(?). I have a strange feeling that we will not be seeing the last of him though.

Jack got his way, and with the help of Sayid and some others was able to toss 'Jughead' down the shoot to try and stop all of this from ever happening. A few side effects, however, was Sayid getting shot and near death - and the bomb not actually going off and the hole becoming magnetized anyway. This also started sucking everything metal down the hole - including a chain that happened to get wrapped around Juliet. So, bye bye Juliet? No so fast - not without one last heroic adventure. Juliet, near death, beats 'Jughead' with a rock until it explodes - and that is where we leave Season 5.

So many questions. Did the explosion work? Is everyone at least going to be in the same time frame now? How is Locke both dead and alive? Is the new Locke the unnamed man that wants Jacob dead? Are Jacob and Ben in on everything - including bringing back everyone to the island?

Can't wait for these questions to be answered - I am expecting a memorable season six.

As for Fringe, it has slowly been plugging along on Tuesday nights on FOX. It is quite possibly the best new show on television, however, has had a few missteps along the way. The bases of the show has always pitted Olivia and her crew against William Bell's Massive Dynamic corporation. Most of the shows have had some sort of connection to the overall tension between these two organizations, however, a few times the show stepped away from that --- sure it's fine to do that every so often, but it almost feels unnecessary.

Also, the show took at least a one month hiatus during the middle of the season - which left even me a little in the dark - when the show returned I found myself trying to remember a lot of things that happened in September and October.

That said, the final episodes really picked up and the finale that aired on Tuesday was awe inspiring and a little shocking.

The episode begins where the final left off, as David Robert Jones has shot Nina Sharp - and apparently removed an energy source that was hidden in her mechanical arm. This energy source can be used, when done correctly, to open a window to a parallel universe.

Jones has finally realized that William Bell is living in this parallel universe and will stop at nothing to track him down and kill him. It's up to Olivia to stop Jones, while both Peter and Walter Bishop search for remote that is able to close the opened portal to the parallel universe.

The final scenes are very well done as well s jaw dropping. Olivia finally gets to meet and speak to William Bell, who we all know to be Leonard Nimoy (one of the worst kept secrets in tv history). But as she looks at the window of his parallel universe office - we find that they are in one of the twin towers, which are still standing in this universe. A very gripping and emotional shot.

I was torn because I loved it - but also immediately thought 'What are people going to say?" Was it too soon? I don't think so. But there are still people who are grieving and this shot could have been very emotional for them.

But, Fringe didn't stop there. In one of the final shots we see Walter Bishop standing in a cemetary - thinking of course he is visiting the grace of his wife. But as the shot shows the head stone it is the grave of his son, Peter Bishop. So the Peter Bishop that is currently being shown is that of the parallel universe.

Walter mentioned in the episode that he had lost something very dear to him and that he went to the other universe to get it back - his son.

Very great episodes - episodes that have certainly kept me interested and looking forward to next season already.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Revist: NBA Predictions

This is technically my second revist to this subject, but due to the agonizingly slow rate at which the awards are being handed out - it's almost a necessity.

Anyway, this will be quick. And, I don't have much else to write about as of this moment, hopefully tomorrow.

The NBA announce the All-NBA teams today, and I have to admit I was pretty darn close in my selections.

First Team:
Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard

Second Team:
Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Yao Ming

Third Team:
Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O'Neal, Tony Park

Now, I had three of the four first teamers selected correctly (Wade, Bryant, James). I also had Paul on the first squad, but he made second - and I selected Amare Stoudamire, who didn't make any team - mostly due to some injuries throughout the season.

As for the second team, I had selected Nowitzki and Howard, who both made the first team, but I got Roy and Duncan correct. I had selected Pierce and Yao Ming for my third team, however. My lone whiff was Deron Williams, who had a pretty strong year despite playing mostly on one leg due to an injry.

As for the third squad, I only was able to select Parker correctly. I totally missed on the Nuggets this year, but the trade for Billups not only elevated his game, but Anthony's as well. I also missed on Gasol, but I am not apologizing for not selecting O'Neal - despite a great season, who knew he had anything left?

Another rough time for Kevin Martin in Sacramento this season with injuries and a horrible team didn't help my selection of him on my third team. Also, Chris Bosh had a down year in Toronto, which really surprised a lot of people.

This should be my final NBA blog until the conclusion of the NBA Finals in June unless something amazing happens during the playoffs (which basically did with the Boston-Chicago series, but I will talk about that in the wrap up blog after the season).