Saturday, December 26, 2009

(19) - Movies of 2009


KNOCKED OUT OF TOP 20 - Invictus
This movie felt rushed to me. The high parts were great, but everything else was just sort of there. Could have been much better. Will probably be bumped out by Sherlock Holmes. EDIT:: Was bumped out by Sherlock Holmes
20 - Zombieland
Totally surprised me. Great laughs, and a surprisingly good story (except for the ending with the girls, which didn't make sense). Good stuff.
19 - Where the Wild Things Are
I was expecting this to be a Top 5 for me this year, and it just didn't deliver for me. It is the best movie I've seen about being a kid.  There was just nothing going on, and as much as I loved it and the soundtrack (best of the year?), I loved other movies more this year.
18 - The Princess and the Frog
Ahh Disney 2D animation, how I love you. Destined to become one of the Disney classics, but probably on the second or third tier of those classics. A new princess was born and more great songs to sing-a-long to.
17 - I Love You, Man
Paul Rudd might just be my favorite actor working today. I love everything he does, and he doesn't get old. He made this movie so uncomfortable it was absolutely hilarious. One of the best love stories of the year, and it was about two guys trying to be best friends, figure that?
16 - Coraline
Creepy good fun. Loved it in 3D, the world really came alive for me. Excellent characters.
15 - Observe and Report
I wanted this to be my favorite comedy of 2009. Coming into the year I was looking forward to this comedy the most, and it almost succeeded. It became my second favorite. Seth Rogen was perfectly cast in this, because everyone has been so used to his normal comedy, he went balls out in this one. Totally flips his personality. Loved it.
14 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I'm not sure if this is my favorite Potter movie or if The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite. This surprised me because it was arguably my least favorite book. Everyone knew going in this was going to be a "filler" movie for the last book and it succeeded in being a great filler story. I missed the final battle scene at Hogwarts, that should have been in the book, but I'm sure they're saving that goodness for the very final battle scene of the series.
13 - Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson hit this one right on the head. Perfect. Great cast that really made all the characters come alive. Fantastic story thanks to Roald Dahl. Great fun.
12 - Adventureland
I hated people who disliked this movie because it wasn't funny enough. This wasn't a comedy in the strictest sense. It was a coming of age film about finding yourself through a shitty summer job. I absolutely loved this movie. It made me fall in love with Kristin Stewart, and the rest of the cast was great.
11 - Taken
I was surprised this stayed in my Top 10 all year long (EDIT:: JUST GOT KNOCKED OUT). Came out in Jan 2009, I was expecting this to drop out of the Top 20 by June, but it just kept hanging around in my head. I LOVED this movie. It had a tremendous amount of flaws, and it's pretty unbelievable, and the dialogue is shitty, and so on and so forth, but Liam Neeson kicked tremendous ass in this film, and I love it.
10 - Star Trek
Best fun I had at the theater this summer. JJ Abrams knocked this one out of the park. I was never a Star Trek fan, and I was immediately entrenched in the story from the get-go. I'm hoping he does the sequel so we can get more goodness out of this series with this cast.
9 - The Hangover
Surprise comedy of the year. Best comedy of the year. Todd Phillips presents another Old School breakout. Hilarious from start to finish. I didn't laugh harder this year at the movies. Good stuff.
8 - Sherlock Holmes
Just saw this last night and I totally loved it. The dynamic between RDJ and Law was fantastic. Mark Strong was fantastic as Lord Blackwood, and having Moriarty seeded throughout the movie just added to the goodness and the hope for a sequel. They explained everything just right, not leaving you in the dark and connecting all the dots in a fun, exciting way. Good stuff.
7 - District 9
Surprise movie of the year. Was this supposed to be ANY good? These guys were supposed to make the Halo film, and then that got scrapped and made this amazing alien movie. The weapons in this movie were outstanding, and I loved the way they presented the entire situation. Entirely plausible, no? And we got introduced to a new director who can really put together nice action sequences. Nice.
6 - (500) Days of Summer
This was in my Top 4 until a couple weeks ago when two films bumped it out of the Top 5. This was a real love story. Not fairytale. I loved it. Best song/dance sequence on film this year. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great, and Zooey Deschanel, well, I can't say enough about her. I might love her, in fact I do love her. She was great.

5 - Up In the Air
Great performances and a great movie. Almost predictable but not quite. Clooney, Vera Farmiga and newbie (not if you count Twilight and such) Anna Kendrick were all fantastic, as was the great supporting cast. My favorites: Jason Bateman, Danny McBride in a surprisingly dramatic role, and Sam Elliot, who is one of the great character actors. I walked out of the film with a mixture of happiness and sadness. I wasn't sure how I should be feeling towards the movie, all I know is that I loved what I saw.
4 - The Hurt Locker
The most intense 2+ hours I have ever spent in a movie theater. Gripping, edge-of-your-seat excitement all the way through. Katherine Bigelow directed a bomb of a movie (pun?). That was an awful sentence, but I wanted to get the word bomb in there. Going through the movie there were times I was holding my breath because of how intense this movie was. Every scene, not just the bomb diffusion scenes, but the barracks scenes and when he returns home, every scene is gripping. Jeremy Renner was superb in this movie, and I hope he wins some awards for this role, or at least gets nominations. They'll be studying this movie in classes for a long, long time to come.
3 - Up
The trickiest movie in my Top 20. This sat at #1 from May until last week, and then it dropped one spot, and then another. I saw Up in 3D and absolutely loved it. The story was great and the characters were great, everything was great. It was funny, touching, moving, exciting, daring, and so on and so forth. I couldn't decide which was a better Pixar movie: Wall-E or Up? Up should get nominated for a Best Movie at the Academy Awards, if it doesn't I'll scream fix. So which movies knocked it down 2 spots?
2 - Inglorious Basterds
Tarantino's masterpiece? He makes the claim with his final line in the movie. It just might be. Right now it's my third favorite Tarantino movie, but that will quickly change. Pulp Fiction is my first favorite, but that will drop behind Kill Bill at some point, and then will drop behind this with repeat viewings. In a few years time this will probably be my favorite Tarantino movie. Why not now? Because I have to let the movie sit and see how it holds up over time. But this was a killer of a movie.
1 - Avatar
I saw this movie in IMAX 3D two times in 24 hours. I walked out of the theater being in awe of what I had just witnessed, both times. I can't even tell you if that has ever happened to me before, and since I can't tell you, I must assume that it hasn't. Avatar simply blew me a way. The plot was ok and the dialogue was eh, but wow, those visuals, those action scenes, wow. Just wow. Avatar won me over. I originally placed it at #4, but I just kept thinking about it, and thinking about it, and then I moved it to #1 because I knew that it was my favorite movie of 2009.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

(18) - Apologies

Hi faithful followers, sorry for the lack of updates. There's been a lot going on the past three weeks and I haven't really had a chance to update. Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still around. Some upcoming posts you can look forward to:

Favorite Movies of 2009 (both comedy & non-comedy)
Favorite Movies of the Aughts (2000's - again, both comedy & non-)
Finding LOST
The Book of Basketball
Teen Wolf - Best Movie Ever?

Be sure to check back!

Monday, November 9, 2009

(17) - Break Out the Popcorn

The baseball season is over, which means I have more time to do other meaningless things. Part I: Refine my top movies list. So here it is, refined, with no comedies included (they have their own list):
  • 30. The Hurt Locker (2009)
  • 29. Forrest Gump (1994)
  • 28. Goodfellas (1990)
  • 27. Children of Men (2006)
  • 26. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  • 25. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
  • 24. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  • 23. The Third Man (1949)
  • 22. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  • 21. Back to the Future (1985)
  • 20. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
  • 19. The Usual Suspects (1994)
  • 18. Up (2009)
  • 17. Wall-E (2008)
  • 16. Unforgiven (1992)
  • 15. The Departed (2006)
  • 14. Kill Bill Parts I & II (2003-04)
  • 13. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • 12. Casablanca (1942)
  • 11. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • 10. Aliens (1986)
  • 9. The Lord of the Rings (2001-03)
  • 8. The Dark Knight (2008)
  • 7. Stand By Me (1986)
  • 6. Rear Window (1954)
  • 5. The Rock (1996)
  • 4. The Godfather/The Godfather Part II (1972/1974)
  • 3. Gladiator (2000)
  • 2. Braveheart (1995)
  • 1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Some Notes:
  • Shawshank has sat atop my list for about 10 years now
  • Inglorious Basterds has serious potential to rise up in the ranks, I've only seen it once so upon future viewings it could overtake KB & PF as my favorite QT movie
  • Kill Bill will probably overtake Pulp Fiction, just not right now, sometime in the near future
  • Pulp Fiction dropped from #3 to #11 - I just like the movies currently ahead of it more
  • Wall-E and Up are too good to separate, but right now I have Wall-E ahead of Up but that could change
  • I was surprised to find The Dark Knight crack the top 10, but then I realized it had to, I don't expect a new movie to crack the top 10 for a long time to come
  • I consider The Godfather and The Godfather Part II as one movie even though they are not, my list my rules
  • Movies just missing the cut:
    • Jurassic Park
    • Raging Bull
    • Donnie Darko
    • Reservoir Dogs
    • Slumdog Millionaire

Saturday, November 7, 2009

(16) - Theeeeeeeeeee Yankees Win!

So the Yankees took the 2009 World Series in 6 games, making this their 27th World Series Championship. They opened the new Millennium with a championship and closed out the first decade with a championship. They were runner's up in both 2001 and 2003 losing to the Diamondbacks and Marlins, respectively. They went to another ALCS in 2004. They are the team of the decade, hands down. Let's take a look back at my 5 game changers for the World Series and see how they held up:

1. A-Rod - Games 1 & 2: 0-8 (.000), 6 K's. Ruh-oh! Games 3-6: 5-11 (.456), 6 RBIs, 1 HR, 5 runs, 4 BBs, 2 K's, 1 game winning 2B in the 9th inning of game 4. Series Average & Total K's: 5-19 (.263), 8 K's. Throwing out games 1 & 2, the shock factor of the World Series, and after he got plunked by Cole Hammels in his first AB of game 3, A-Rod tore up the rest of the series, unlike his counterpart Ryan Howard, who set a new WS Record with 13 K's.

2. Starting Pitching - Cliff Lee was outstanding, and had he pitched every game, the Phillies may have won the series. Unfortunately for them he only pitched 2, but those 2 were wins, including his game 1 complete game, 10 K, not allowing an earned run performance, which has to be one of the greatest pitching performances I've ever seen in my life. CC was very, very good (not as good as Cliff Lee), but didn't let the Phillies not named Chase Utley do much against him - he didn't earn a W in the series. Burnett showed just how good he can be in game 2 out dueling Pedro with 7 innings of 1 run, 3 hit, 9 K ball, and then just how bad he can be in game 5, giving up 6 runs in 2+ innings. Hammels, given a 3-0 lead, imploded after 3 masterful innings, and within 8 batters was losing 5-3 and then the game 8-4, he also gave up a hit and RBI to Andy Pettite...Andy Pettite. Joe Blanton pitched a great game 4, just not great enough to earn the Phillies a win. The game changer was Pettite, earning a win in game 3, and then on three days rest a win in game 6 going 5 1/3 innings. He battled, didn't have his best stuff, but didn't let the Phillies beat him and stuck in the game.

3. Base Running - Four words: Game Four, Johnny Damon. In what has to be one of the greatest heads-up plays in World Series history, Johnny Damon stole two bases...on one pitch. I repeat: 2 bases, 1 pitch. This was the turning point of the series. Game is tied 4-4 and Brad Lidge comes in to pitch the 9th inning and gets two quick outs, including a nice strikeout on Derek Jeter for out #2. Johnny Damon comes to the plate and falls behind 1-2, proceeds to work the count full, fouls off a few pitches, and then gets a fastball up over the plate and pokes it to left center field. A nine pitch at bat that showed the peskiness of the Yankees. Damon didn't miss a beat, and on Lidge's first pitch, a slider, took off for second base. Now is where it becomes interesting: the Phillies were in a defensive shift because Teixeira was up at the plate, batting lefty against Lidge. Tex has been pulling almost everything when he bats lefty, so the shift made sense for that reason. However, a shift, like its name, shifts everyone out of position. Rollins was now playing where Utley would normally play, and Feliz, the third baseman was playing where Rollins would play. So on Damon's stolen base, Feliz covered the throw from Ruiz (who shouldn't have thrown it in the first place). Damon beat the throw, immediately noticed no one was covering third, and raced to third, recording his second stolen base in a matter of 10 seconds. This apparently unhinged Lidge. His slider, one of the best in the game, gets in the dirt a lot. With Damon on third base now, if his slider gets in the dirt and gets away from Ruiz, that would give the Yanks a 5-4 lead in the 9th. Well, Lidge decided to stay away from his slider. Second pitch to Tex, a fastball that hits him. A-Rod is up now, first pitch is a fastball inside for a ball, the second pitch is a fastball a little more over the plate and A-Rod crushes it for a double to left field, scoring Damon. Posada is up next, and hits a single in the gap, scoring Tex and A-Rod and giving the Yanks a 7-4 lead. Yanks bring in Mo, game over, 3-1 series lead. Effectively, series over.

4. Bullpen - Outside of Chan Ho Park, each Phillies reliever gave up at least one run. Hughes was ineffective in this series for the Yanks, again. Joba pitched great in game 2, was great in game 4...until he gave up the game tying home run late in the game. But he came back and pitched great in game 6. Mo, again pitched brilliantly. Rollins after game 2 said they "saw some things," and Charlie Manuel said that they "can get to Mo." Well, 4 1/3 innings later, they hadn't scored Mo. They made him pitch about 90 pitches, but even with bad ribs, Mo continued his postseason dominance and did not let up a run. The real hero out of the bullpen for the Yanks: Damaso Marte. Unhittable. His best performance game in game 6. He came in for two batters, both lefties, the Phillies 3 and 4 hitters. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Chase Utley had came to the plate with 2 men on base and 2 outs. Marte - three pitches, three strikes, one strikeout, getting Utley to commit on a check swing. Howard up next inning, three pitches, three strikes, one strikeout, getting Howard to commit a record 13th strikeout. 6 pitches, 2 strikeouts, perfect.

5. Experience - Although the experience favored the Phillies, it was the experience of the "core four" for the Yankees that won them the series. Jeter batted .440, they couldn't get to Mo, Pettite showed his grit with 2 huges wins and a game tying single in game 3, and Posada, although had a less than great series, put game 4 out of reach with his 2 run single in the 9th. Johnny Damon hit .364 in the series including the series changing moment, Pedro pitched very well for 6 innings and 3 innings in games 2 and 6, respectively, but not for a 7th inning or 4th inning. Do I even have to mention Matsui? Batted 8-13 (.615) with 3 HRs, and won the MVP as a DH. Pretty incredible. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz were the only two Phillies who realized they played in the World Series last year (and Joe Blanton). Howard did nothing, Werth had one great offensive game, Lidge in his only appearance imploded, Hammels was awful in a stretch of 1 1/3 innings that lost his game. The guys with no experience: Cliff Lee was amazing, CC was great, Burnett was two sides of the same coin, Tex had two big hits, Marte was (almost) perfect (1 hit), Swisher was pretty bad, except for game 3 when he broke out of his slump, only to go back into it for games 4-6.

I must say, I picked the 5 defining game changers of the World Series, not to float my own boat or anything. I was at Game 6, I saw the Yankees close out a World Series, one of the greatest events of my life. I won't soon forget it. Go Yanks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(15) - A World of Series

And then there were 2. Phillies vs Yankees. A matchup of mammoth proportions. Let me be frank: I really hate the Phillies. After the Red Sox, they're my next most hated team. However, they are good. And they matchup with the Yankees very well. This series will be exciting. My five items to look for:

1. A-Rod - First things first, I literally just tried to spell his last name and failed miserably, so I'm sticking with A-Rod. This postseason he has been otherworldly, clearly putting his past failures behind him. Will the pressure of his first World Series get to him?

2. Starting Pitching - Game 1 features 2 lefties who have gone a combined 5-0 with 40 K's, 6 BBs, and an ERA around the 1.00 mark. Unreal. After Lee and Sabathia though, you have Burnett who arguably has the best stuff in the game but is often wild, Hammels who has looked nothing like last year, Pettite who has been pitching great all year, and Pedro Martinez, who could be the ace in the hole. If we have a turn back the clock moment from Pedro, this series could be heavily tipped in the Phillies favor.

3. Base Running - So far this postseason, base running blunders have killed teams, especially opponents of the Yankees. If the teams are smart on the base path, they could manage some extra runs that could give them the win. The Phillies were ranked first in the MLB in stolen base percentage (81% - including Chase Utley who was 23-23, outstanding), and the Yankees were tied for 2nd (80%). Curious to see who makes the blunders in the World Series.

4. Bullpen - The Yankees came into the postseason with one of the best bullpens of the 8 teams, while the Phillies bullpen had failed them multiple times this season (hello Brad Lidge). But coming into the World Series it's been somewhat reversed. Joba and Hughes for the Yanks have been very hittable, with Hughes the best setup man in the MLB since becoming one in June. Lidge has reclaimed the slider he had lost throughout the season, and has given up 1 hit in three games. And Mo, well he's been Mo. Still a slight edge to the Yanks, but not a massive edge.

5. Experience - Again the experience lies with the Yan....oh, no it doesn't. Wow, for the first time in what seems like forever, the experience is going AGAINST the Yankees. They have 8 players who have played in the World Series (four of those eight winning a championship), whereas the Phillies have 18 players who have played in the World Series. They've been here before, they've won before, they know what to do. With first timers such as CC, Burnett, A-Rod and Tex, I'm curious to see if the level of play gets to them.

My pick: Yankees in 7. Split at home, lose 2 in philly, and then win games 6 and 7 at home. So far my picks have been far from correct. So we'll see.

Now or Never

Saturday, October 24, 2009

(14) - The Second Third Man

I read an interesting tidbit this morning.  For those of you who don't know I'm a big movie fan.  Since Freshman year in high school I've had an interest in not only watching movies (something I've always had an interest in), but in making them and what goes on behind the scenes.  I've taken numerous film courses through high school and college and keep up on my current movie news every day.  Well the tidbit I read has to do with my 23rd favorite movie of all-time (this list fluctuates from time to time, but the top 10 is pretty unbreakable).  I read this tidbit on -

The Third Man by Carol Reed was made in 1949 and it starred Orson Welles. It should NOT be remade.  I repeat: NOT be remade!  This movie is a classic, and although Hollywood is in love with remaking classics, this is one of those that shouldn't be touched.  Much like Casablanca, Citizen Kane or The Godfather, this movie is too good to even attempt anything as dumb as this.

For those of you who haven't seen this classic, here is the plot summary courtesy of An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has lead to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime.

See the trailer at IMDB:

The two leads apparently attached are Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio (I presume DiCaprio would play Welles's character Harry Lime).  And while I like both of these actors, the latter especially has become a great fun to watch on screen, this movie is too good.  They don't have a director yet.  The screenplay is to be written by Steven Knight who wrote Eastern Promises. I'd be curious to see who the director is, but at the same time not because this movie should just go through time without even being discussed as a remake.

But what do I know, I'm not a doctor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

(13) - Live Boss

My buddy from college got tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on Tuesday. Wow can they put on a show. Bruce just goes out there and does it. He knows how to perform. The concert was slated to begin at 7:30, the band finally came out at 8:30. No opening act so we were just waiting. Usually when this happens the band then plays for about an hour and a half then leaves. But not the E Street Band. They played for three hours....STRAIGHT! No breaks at all. It was incredible. The concert featured the "Born to Run" album, as they played that in succession in the middle of their set, but they had songs from all over the place. They began the concert with Seaside Bar Song, which I later found out they haven't played live since 1973! They ended the concert with Rosalita, my favorite song by them. All in all, everything was outstanding. If you can, manage to see Bruce in concert at some point. It truly is a thrilling experience. Below I've attached a video of Jungleland live performed at MSG in 2001. Check it out.


Monday, October 12, 2009

(12) - Sweep is in the Air

....Three sweeps? Three?? THREE?!?!?!? When did the Division League Series become "easy?" The Yankees sweep was expected. But the Angels and Dodgers sweeping their respective opponents? Many people thought the Angels wouldn't even win the series, let alone sweep the team that had owned them on previous occasions. And the Dodgers/Cardinals was supposed to be a toss up series. The Cardinals had the best 1-2 punch in the playoffs, and they lost both of those games and then lost game 3 easily (granted Game w they should have won - see "Unscripted"). The Phillies/Rockies series is the only one that went past three games (Philly currently leads 2-1, with Game 4 being played right now).

For the LCS, here are the matchups:
American League
Angels vs Yankees - Game 1 Friday 10/16 at Yankee Stadium

National League
Phillies/Rockies vs Dodgers - Game 1 Thursday 10/15 at Dodger Stadium

My Series Predictions (because they were so correct for the LDS...):
American League
Yankees over Angles 4-2
Split the first four games, Yanks winning Games 1 & 3. CC wins on the road and Burnett closes it out at home.

National League
Dodgers over Phillies (my pick over Rockies) 4-3
Dodgers are coming into their own. Bullpen is pitching as well as they have all year, and they're offensive power is coming back.

We shall see, hopefully there are no sweeps, unless it's the Yanks who sweep...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

(11) - Welcome to Unscripted

It literally cannot be scripted. The MLB Postseason can literally not be scripted. Sure, I think everyone outside of a Twins fan figured the Yanks to be up 2-0 after two games. They figured two games just like Game 1, with the Yanks winning Game 2 by three or four runs. They figured Pettitte would have a chance to close out the series in Minnesota against Pavano. They figured all of that. What they didn't figure was that the Yanks would be up 2-0 after winning Game 2 with some tricks pulled up their sleeves, and rabbits being pulled out of their hats.

A-Rod delivers a 3-1 fastball deep to right center to tie the game 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth with 1 out. Let me repeat the first part of that sentence: A-ROD DELIVERS! My prediction for this series for A-Rod was 5 RBIs. Well, he has 5 RBIs already - in two games. With the first three coming with 2 outs (the third tying Game 2 1-1), and the latter two coming off a booming home run in the bottom of the ninth against one of the games Top 3 closers, to again, TIE THE GAME. Unbelievable. A-Rod, not known for his postseason heroics, has seemed to FINALLY step out of his shell. And I for one am ridiculously happy.

Teixeira had been having an AWFUL offensive ALDS. 0-6. That's what he was being paid $190 million for. A-Rod 2.0? Hold that thought. Top of the ninth comes, and he knows he has to get something started. Which is exactly what he did. Hit a deep single to begin the (short) rally. We know what happens next. Finally Teixeira gets a hit, 1-7. Next time up to bat to lead off the eleventh, everyone is thinking the same thing: "Just get on base, get a double, and A-Rod WILL drive you home." What they/we neglected to remember was that Tex lead the AL with 39 home runs this year. And what does he do? Hit a 318.5 foot home run to left field to end the game. clocked the ball coming of Tex's bat at 110mph and left the yard in 2.88 seconds - THE FASTEST home run (to leave the park) in the majors this year. Boy did he want this game to end. Earning his $$$ this post season.

Burnett, the best way to put it - Effectively wild. That's what they were saying all night, and it was true. 5 BB and 2 HBP is never good, but they had some magic to keep the game scoreless through 5. Tagging out Gomez between second and third to make sure the run didn't count in the fourth inning was unreal. Such a great heads-up play by both Swisher and (of course) Jeter. They touched Burnett in the fifth to make it 1-0. The Yanks scored quickly to make sure that lead got erased. The Burnett pitching to Molina and not Posada was a non-factor in this game, as Molina only had one AB and Posada had three.

It must be said, the left field umpire may, MAY, have cost the Twins the game. In the top of the eleventh, he called a sliced Mauer hit foul, when in fact it landed 4-5 inches FAIR and then bounced into the stands. Mauer should have been on second with a ground-rule double, instead he headed back to the plate. He eventually singled. Kubbel in the next AB singled, which could have potentially scored Mauer. If that didn't score him, Cuddyer's next single definitely would have scored him. It's tough to say the pitch calls in those two situations would have been the same, but it's also tough to argue and say the ump didn't screw the Twins chances. What I'm leaving out here is that, with the bases loaded, and no outs, the Twins did NOT score. David Robertson, after giving up the single to Cuddyer, pitched outstandingly. Gets a sharp lineout to Teixeira, who was in perfect position. Gets a check swing grounder to Teixeira, who gets Mauer out at the plate. And then gets a lazy fly ball to Gardner in center to end the inning.

Back to my point: Who would have guessed Game 2 would have played out this way? No one. No one. And that's what is so great about October baseball - you just don't know how it's going to play out. It's always exciting, even if your team is out or on the losing end. Would I be upset if the Yanks lost? Absolutely. But it would not have changed my thoughts on October baseball. Game 3 here we come - let's do it Pettitte.

Other Notes: The Angels are beating the Red Sox 2-0? What happened to past years, with Red Sox domination? Right, its 2009. Not 2008, or 2007, or 2005...The Dodgers escaped with a dramatic walkoff win in Game 2 to lead the Cardinals 2-0. Getting past both Carpenter and Wainwright with wins? Did not think that would happen, two games in a row. Phillies and Rockies are deadlocked at 1-1, heading back to Colorado. Maybe I underestimated this Rockies team?


Friday, October 9, 2009

(10) - Good Night....Moon?

I awoke this morning to startling news - the United States attempted at 7:30am ET to destroy our beloved moon. I heard about this "ridiculous" story about a month ago. I wondered, "Why would the United States want to blow up the moon? Our moon, which we fought so hard to fly to in the 1960's. The United States claimed the moon in 1969 when Neil and Buzz landed on it. We've been back numerous times. It would seem like a fun vacation trip for some astronauts. So then why the fuck would we blow this up?

I'll tell you why - the Chinese. Rumor has it the Chinese wanted to land on OUR moon. Well that is just reeeeediculous. That is OUR moon. Why can't the Chinese find their own moon? Obama heard the whispers, and they eventually became louder. The Chinese wanted a piece of what we had. They wanted to share OUR moon. Well, Professor Obama said fuck that.

In this case, I COMPLETELY understand why our president wanted to blow up the moon. Better no one has it then the Chinese. This would be their first step to Universal domination. If we can't beat them on Earth, then we better not let them get past Earth. Obama, great heads up play. I commend you.

Unfortunately, you failed miserably. Not only did the moon survive, she is angry. And she is coming for us. Soon.

We'll find out in a couple of weeks if there is a possibility of water on the moon, which would be pretty sweet.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

(9) - Doubling Up

Quick post - just changed the layout of my blog.


(8) - Peanuts and Beer

That's what October baseball is about! Welcome to the 2009 Postseason. It kicked off yesterday with a triple-header and the home teams winning each game: Phillies, Yankees & Dodgers. I was at the Yankees game last night despite my sickness and rooted them in. It's no secret I'm a Yankees fan, but I feel like I'm unbiased when it comes to sports. I love my team but I'm a realist. The following are my predictions:

National League
Phillies vs Rockies - Phillies in 4
I think the Phillies win game 2 with Hammels, and the Rockies squeeze game 3 at home. But that's it. They had a nice run, but this isn't 2007. Cliff Lee is a huge addition.

Dodgers vs Cardinals - Dodgers in 5
The Dodgers were my pick to win the National League from the beginning of the year. Not the same team as then, but I think they beat the Cardinals here. It'll be tough, considering the 1-2 punch for St. Louis is unbelievable, but they win games 1-3-5 to take the series, beating Carpenter and Wainwright once each.

American League
Red Sox vs Angels - Red Sox in 5
Angels make it closer this year with a better offensive lineup, but the Red Sox power pitchers will get them through. Beckett and Lester prove to be too much in a 5 game series, as they finish off the Angels for a third consecutive year.

Yankees vs Twins - Yankees in 3
I'm not biased I swear, the Twins just don't have enough left in the tank to compete. They don't have power pitchers and the Yanks lineup is too good from 1-9. Burnett pitches well in game 2 and Pettite closes it out in game 3. Arod breaks out of postseason slump with 5 RBIs.

Phillies vs Dodgers - Dodgers in 7
This will be a great rematch of last year, with a better Dodgers team and arguably the best bullpen in the playoffs, I pick the Dodgers in 7. Lee and Hammels are a tough duo, but it's tough for a duo to win a best of 7. Manny breaks out of his slump, and with the lineup better than a year previous, and the guidance of Torre who has been here before, I pick the Dodgers. They'll shorten the games to 6 innings and the bullpen will close it out.

Red Sox vs Yankees - Yankees in 6
Every game will be close in this series, with the Yanks closing it out in Boston. The Red Sox are built for the postseason, and their lineup is better than most people think. But the Yankees get rid of their current ghosts and continue on. Arod continues his resurgence with CC and Burnett winning big games at home, and Joba winning game 4 at Boston. They'll close it out in 6 with a statement win.

World Series
Dodgers vs Yankees - Yankees in 6
Torre vs Yankees. What a showdown. I think the Yankees are too powerful for the Dodgers. With the bullpens basically a draw (Dodgers with a small advantage), the Yanks have better starting pitching (with a good Burnett), and a better lineup. Dodgers will steal game 2 from Burnett, with the Yanks winning games 3 and 5 in LA (Pettite and CC, respectively). Burnett will close it out at home with a gem, and Mo closing the game for another Yankees championship.

Will it work out this way? Most likely not. But this is what I truly believe. I'm a realist, and I really think the Yankees have the best chance of winning. But October baseball is anything but normal. I'm ready for a wild ride.

Are you?! (Interrobang)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

(7) - Chitty Bang? Nah, Chiddy

Been listening to this song practically all day. Never heard of the rapper before, but apparently he's from the Philadelphia area, and goes by the name "Chiddy Bang." He samples the beat from Kids by MGMT, which happens to be one of my favorite songs, and does a pretty good job of rapping over it.
Onto a more important issue: I don't understand these rapper names nowadays (Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, etc). Why can't you just have a regular name? Does that not make you 'street'/cool/hardcore enough? When I become a rapper my name is going to be Thomas. I will revolutionize the way rappers present themselves and name themselves. Just use your regular name. I hate this street cred shit.
"The Life and Times of Dizzle" (my debut rap album) will hit the shelves soon, keep a look out.
Let me know what you think of Chitty Bang.
One last thing, I decided to change my rap name from "Thomas," to "GROAT."

ps. GROAT stands for Greatest Rapper of ALL TIME, bitchhhhhh

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

(6) - Are You Badass?

Hello all. Welcome to a special blog post. I'll get right down to the dirty.

My cousin recently asked me who I thought the most badass movie character of all-time was. After some thought, I told him I couldn't really narrow it down to one, but a few came to mind. Jason Bourne, Achilles, Jules Winnfield, etc etc. You get the point. He then challenged me to a duel, sort of.

We would each come up with a list of 65 Badass movie characters, and then narrow the 130 names down to 65. Obviously there was a lot of overlap, but in the end we've managed to shorten the list to 65. The next part was the toughest, and that was to create the draw, a la NCAA March Madness. I was the one who created the draw and I kept two things in mind: 1) Matchups I would love to see, and 2) Like qualities in characters.

For example, in one bracket I have Albus Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort and Merlin, because they're all wizards and I would love to see the duels between them. In another bracket I have Jason Bourne, Bryan Mills, River Tam, Pai Mei, Neo and Morpheus, because they're all badass fighters and a fight between any of them would be very exciting to watch. Some great first round matchups: Dirty Harry vs. Travis Bickle, The Terminator vs. Conan the Barbarian, William Cutting vs. Emperor Palpatine.

We've been going at this in our spare time for about two weeks now, and we're up to the point where we've each filled out the bracket, and now will compare and come up with a FINAL bracket. When we get our answers I will be sure to post them.

We tried very hard to omit superheroes or supervillains because that just brings on a whole new debate. We kept The Joker in (Ledger's version), and he comes in highly ranked, but that was our only slide. And we've also omitted very recent movies (Inglorious Basterds, District 9, etc).

I'll blog the brackets when all is said and done and we have a champion.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

(5) - Books Asylum

Recently I've gotten back into two hobbies. The first, reading. I bought a few books before my trip up to Rhode Island, thinking I'd be spending a bunch of time on the beach, I'd be able to read some books. Well I was wrong. I brought up 4 and only got through three-fifths of one. However, I finished that book the day I got back. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was an excellent read. I had heard good things so I picked it up along with YOUTH IN REVOLT (which I've already blogged briefly about - super dark comedy, but overall a good read), BLOOD MERIDIAN (after reading THE ROAD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN I had to pick up this book, which my friend says is a super tough read but the best book he's read), and DORIAN GRAY (my favorite book from college). It started out a bit slow, and in the last 50 or so pages was a tad drawn out, but the book grabs you. It hooked me at about page 50, and I finished it 4 days (600 page book).

I started two days ago THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, the sequel to TGWTDT. So far so good. Pretty same as last book except we already know the two leads, now we're just getting introduced to the new players.

I also started two days ago my second hobby, and probably my favorite hobby of all-time: video games. I cannot tell you how many hours I've wasted playing video games. But since college ended I haven't really had the time. I played NBA 2k9 with some friends this past year, but that was few and far between. I picked up the game ARKHAM ASYLUM which is absolutely amazing. I got it for PS3, the visuals are stunning and it's a great story. You're Batman in the game and you have to defeat all of his enemies who get loose on Arkham Asylum. I'm about 20% through it and cannot wait to play more. I highly recommend it.

OH. Last thing: this time of the year is my second favorite time for sports (only behind MARCH MADNESS). The NFL season is underway (Jets are looking pretty good so far, I'm excited by Sanchez and the defense - welcome Bart Scott), playoff baseball is in the atmosphere (with the Yanks looking towards a deep run - hopefully), and the NBA is right around the corner, followed closely by NCAA men's basketball. Excited?

Actually, last last thing: Two new albums came out recently. Jay-Z's The Blueprint III and Kid Cudi's new album (the name is escaping me at the moment). Both are extremely good. I've listened to The Blueprint a few times already, and ran through Kid Cudi's this morning (came out today). I would recommend those as well.

So all together now, EVERYONE should buy: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Arkham Asylum, The Blueprint III, and Kid Cudi's album.

Do it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

(4) - Flying High

Michael Jordan gets enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame this evening. My all time favorite player (this probably doesn't differ from most of America). I had most of his shoes growing up (starting in 1991ish when I turned 5). I had all of his jerseys. I was compared to him growing up (only when I was super young, clearly I was never near his ability). I cannot count the amount of games I watched with my dad. We had a satellite at our house and we were able to pick up WGN and watch all the Bulls games. The memories. It's a very special day. I'm very lucky to have watched him play. Congratulations to him.

I'm actually continuing this post right now, I saved it a few days and never got to post it. More updated stuff to follow.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

(3) - The Death of Hollis Mason

I went to the Yanks game this past Friday. Cano hit a 3-run, walk-off home run in the 10th inning to win the game. It was my third game this year witnessing an extra inning, walk-off home run. So outstanding. That was their 12th walkoff win this year, most since they had 13 in the 70s (the year is escaping me). I'm getting pumped for October.

Finally got around to watching WATCHMEN: DIRECTOR'S CUT this afternoon after I got back from the city. It upsets me that this wasn't the version released in the theaters. Still nowhere near as good as the graphic novel, but wayyyy better than that shit version released in March. One scene made such a difference in the entire movie; the death of Hollis Mason. What an unbelievable scene. This one scene bridges the gap between the Watchmen from the 1940s to the Watchmen of the 1980s. It is simply poetic the way Snyder shoots this scene, interchanging Mason getting beat up to back in his heyday when he was the one doing the beatdowns. The music choice was good too; just a simple score done by Tyler Bates. The music choice throughout the movie really annoyed me (with the exceptions of "Unforgettable" and "The Times They Are a Changin"). It was way over done. But this scene, just perfection.

I also watched the movie GIGANTIC on Saturday, starring Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel (my girl). A cute romantic dramedy that did not go where I thought it was. I mean ultimately it did, but it took a much different avenue. I really enjoyed it. Zooey, I mean she can do no wrong in my eyes, was great, and the rest of the cast was really good as well.

A little more than halfway done with YOUTH IN REVOLT. I'm just attempting to power through it now. It keeps taking funny turns, I'm enjoying it.

Thus brings my Sunday post to an end.

Just to reiterate, I have no idea what these blog posts will accomplish. No one reads these, but its a nice way of just writing stuff down. I'll post a favorite movies/tv post soon.

Be good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(2) - Basterds in Revolt

I'm trying here, to post as often as I can. Sometimes it slips my mind. It will have to be a quick post this morning.

I'm currently in the middle of the book "Youth in Revolt" by CD Payne. Probably the darkest comedy I've ever read. Now I haven't read a ton of books, but this one has such a twisted sense of humor. Sometime's I'm cracking up, and others I'm wondering what the fuck was going through this guy's mind as he was writing this? Either way, it's a decently long book, roughly 500 pages. It's separated into three parts; I'm on part two: Youth in Bondage. It was made into a movie which is being released this fall starring Michael Cera.

Saw "Inglorious Basterds" over the weekend. Simply put: outstanding. My top five movies of the year now look like: Up, Inglorious Basterds, The Hurt Locker, District 9, (500) Days of Summer. I'll release my top movies of 2009 in early January, so keep reading to find out. Back to the movie, so great. It's my third favorite of his movies (after Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill). I have it as #25 in my top movies of all-time. I'll have to repost that list at some point as the movies have gotten a bit jumbled.

Downloaded the scores to Inglorious Basteds and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly this weekend. Excellent work. Ennio Morricone really puts you in a specific mood.

That's all for now, off to a meeting.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

(1) - The Disappearance of Time

I'm going to try and blog more often now. I've said that before. But I've been thinking about it, especially today. This day marks day (1) that I shall attempt to write on my blog as often as I can.
To catch you up on what I've been doing recently: I've been going to a lot of movies (saw this weekend District 9, GI Joe, 500 Days of Summer), I've been watching the show "Torchwood" on DVD/BD, I've been trying to read more (bought three books: Youth in Revolt, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Lovely Bones), I've been listening to a lot of Phoenix.

My birthday is coming up, it's on Thursday (8/20). I'll be 23. Time has seriously disappeared. I'm out of college over a year now, still working in Real Estate Management. Not the best job, but I know a bunch of my friends who still don't have a job, so I'm definitely not complaining. I remember just graduating High School and the anxiousness and nervousness of going to college. My younger sister is currently experiencing that right now. How I envy her. Would I want to do all the work that comes with college? Definitely not, but the rest of college, I think everyone misses.

I saw 500 Days of Summer this afternoon. Great. Simply great. Go and see it right now. Magic like that is rarely shown in movies nowadays. It's not a romantic comedy, which we've seen time and time again. It's just a magical movie, it's a very truthful, honest movie.

As I'm writing this a turkey has walked onto my property.

Such is life.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TomBall Leaderboard 2009

Points - The Beast/The Best (39), AKA (27), The Horror/Pearl White (19)
Boards - The Best (52), DFA (27), The Beast/The Horror (23)
Dimes - DFA (12), The Best (11), The Horror (10)
Cookies - The Best (13), DFA (12), Litigator (8)
Swats - The Best (7), AKA (6), The Horror/DFA (4)
TOs - The Beast/DFA (10), The Best (9), Thief/The Business (7)
FG Attempted - The Beast/The Best (63), AKA (51), DFA (48)
FG% - The Beast/The Best (.619), Sooooo Good (.571), AKA (.529)
Dunks - The Best (10), The Beast (7), FX (5)

Awards for TomBall 2009

Below are the Awards I have handed out. I'm the commissioner, so what I say goes. The stats back me up too.

Most Valuable Player - The Best
Best Defensive Player - The Best
Best Player Ever - The Best
All-TomBall First Team - The Best, The Beast, AKA
All-TomBall Second Team - Pearl White, DFA, Litigator
All-TomBall Third Team - The Horror, Pasties, FX
All-Defensive First Team - The Best, DFA, AKA
All-Defensive Second Team - Litigator, Pasties, The Horror

Monday, June 29, 2009


Round Robin (TOTALS)

Round Robin (AVERAGES)

Playoffs (TOTALS)

Playoffs (AVERAGES)

Overall (TOTALS)

Overall (AVERAGES)

CHAMPIONSHIP: Team 2 v Team 4

Dio and the Novas vs Dev and the Wild Things

No need to say it, but I will anyways. $150 to the winning team. Largest cash prize in TomBall history. Who wanted it more. With both teams tired and running on fumes, it was sure to be a battle. Dio and the Novas came out literally on fire, hitting their first 5 shots en route to a 5-1 lead. Each baller had a point with The Best providing a thunderous rebounding dunk at one point. The Beast calmed his team down and eventually battled back to tie it 9-9. The Best finished with 6 points, 5 boards, 2 dimes and a tournament high 5 cookies. FX helped out with 5 points and two massive cookies that I will get to in a minute. The Business and FX each took turns guarding The Beast, trying to throw off his offensive game. He finished with 5 points on 5-6 shooting and 5 boards. DFA had an outstanding offensive game finishing with 3 points, 3 boards and 4 dimes. The Horror added 3 points and 2 swats. With the game tied 11-11, FX stole the ball from DFA and dribbled down the court and threw down a monstrous lefty dunk to take the lead. Two defensive possessions later, FX tipped a pass by DFA and chased the ball down, beating DFA to the ball. His basketball instincts probably alerted him to the fact that The Best was running down court with him, as he grabbed the ball and in a continuous motion threw it behind his back to The Best who layed it in for the victory and the championship. Throwing his arms in the air, The Best had finally added that elusive championship trophy to his list of accolades. Dio and the Novas took the championship, proving that a bunch of out of towners are just what TomBall needs to spice things up.

After all of this, the ballers ate food. A lot of food. And it was good. Real good. Another tournament by the end of the summer...? Possibly. Wait and find out. Come back soon, to The Corner.

Playoffs: Series 1 v 4

Dev and the Wild Things (2) vs Todd and the Bens (3)
Game 1
Nothing new here. Todd and the Bens win a hard fought Game 1 with a 9-7 victory. AKA goes 6-8 from the field while Thief added 2 points and 2 boards. The Beast had 5 points while DFA added 3 boards. Todd and the Bens by far have the best team chemistry. They really understand each other and know each other's strengths and weaknesses. That comes from years and years of playing together. That can't be taught, that's earned. Series: Todd and the Bens lead 1-0.

Game 2
AKA put in probably his best overall effort ever into this TomBall game. He really wanted to win. He really wanted it. Unfortunately, his team fell short 15-13 in what was the game of the tournament. AKA had 5 points, 7 boards, 4 dimes, and played stellar defense on The Beast which included 3 swats. The Beast did have 8 points, but they came on 20 shots. The Horror played a great game, going 4-7 with 6 boards. When he gets in the post he's tough to stop. DFA had another great all around game with 3 points, 3 boards, 3 dimes and 3 cookies. The Thief and The Litigator each had 4 points, 3 boards and 1 dime. This was definitely the game of the tournament. The level of play was outstanding. AKA had two chances at the end of the game to win it, with both shots hitting every part of the hoop except for the bottom of the net. The defensive pressure he was putting on The Beast was taking its toll. Series Tied 1-1.

Game 3
The winner of this game would meet Dio and the Novas in the championship. Both teams knew what was on the line. Both teams fought hard. Unfortunately, only one team could win. The Horror had his best offensive game scoring 5 points and adding 4 boards. DFA had 3 boards and 4 big dimes. AKA had 4 points and The Litigator had 3 points and 4 boards. When it came down to the end, the game plan for Dev and the Wild Things was simple: get the ball to The Beast. Let him do his thing. And that he did. Scoring two late baskets to win the game 10-8. Dev and the Wild Things advance.

Playoffs: Series 2 v 3

Commissioner's Note: There was a three way tie for first place. So to decide the three best shooters on teams shot to decide the seedings. The results were: 1-Dio and the Novas, 2-Dev and the Wild Things, 3-Todd and the Bens, 4-Johnny and the Rockets. The games alternated but the two series will be presented in total in two posts.

Dio and the Novas (1) vs Johnny and the Rockets (4)
Game 1
The Best was held without a dunk in a TomBall game for the first time ever. Pasties played great straight up defense not letting him get anything easy. The result: 4-9 shooting with 5 boards and 3 swats. FX had a rough shooting game going 0-5. 8 Bottles added a point on a nice stepback jumper. Pasties went 2-2 with 6 boards, 2 dimes and 2 cookies. Pearl White and Sooooo Good each had 3 points, 2 boards and 1 dime. Rosetta Stone had another tough shooting performance going 0-6. Game 1 went to Johnny and the Rockets, earning their first tournament win, 8-6 (there was a scoring error in this game). Series: Johnny and the Rockets lead 1-0.

Game 2
After being held without a dunk in Game 1, The Best sent a message in Game 2, grabbing a near record 16 boards (he holds the record with 17 made back in 2005 at the Thanksgiving Special. He took 14 shots and made 7 of them while adding 2 dimes and 2 swats. FX added 3 points and 2 boards. Pearl White had 4 points while Rosetta Stone added 2 points. The 1 seed needed to make a statement after losing Game 1, and they did with a 10-6 victory (there was a scoring error in this game as well). Note: the shooting was pretty horrendous in this game. Series Tied 1-1.

Game 3
You want pressure? How about this? The winner of this game goes to the TomBall championship to compete for $150. Now that's pressure. Who came out frazzled and who came out to play? Well The Best sure did not want to go home (upstairs to his room). He shot 7-8 and added 7 boards. The Business came alive at the right time. Adding 2 points, 3 boards and 2 huge cookies, he helped Dio and the Novas throughout the game. Pearl White had 3 points and 2 boards, Pasties went 2-2 from the field and Sooooo Good added 2 points. But the upset was not meant to be. Dio and the Novas took control late and won 9-7, advancing to the finals to play the winner of Todd and the Bens and Dev and the Wild Things.

Round Robin: Team 3 v Team 4

Johnny and the Rockets vs Dev and the Wild Things

In what was the game of the tournament to that point, Dev and the Wild Things won a very close game 14-12. Team 3 had an incredibly balanced offensive attack. Rosetta Stone looked deadly from deep going 4-6, along with 2 boards and 2 dimes. Pasties and Pearl White each had 3 points, with the latter also providing 4 dimes. Sooooo Good went 2-2 from the field but was still relatively quiet. The Beast went 8-10 along with 3 dimes. DFA had 3 points and added 7 boards. The Horror had his breakout game of the tournament scoring 3 points (3-4 shooting) and adding 3 boards and 5 huge dimes. This game provided an unprecedented 15 dimes, the highest combined recorded total in TomBall history. Johnny and the Rockets 0-3, Dev and the Wild Things 2-1.

Round Robin: Team 1 v Team 2

Todd and the Bens vs Dio and the Novas

Very closely contested game with great competitors, Todd and the Bens did not want to quit but they fell to Dio and the Novas 9-7. The Best contributed on all 9 of his teams points, going 7-8 from the field along with 2 dimes. He also added 8 boards and 2 swats. FX added 2 points. The Business looked a little shook up out there on offense, but he provided stellar shutdown defense on The Thief, who went 2-7 from the field. AKA had a rough shooting night as well going 2-8. Litigator shot a little better with a 3-8 performance, but he hadded 7 big boards, 2 dimes and 2 cookies. 8 Bottles looked drunk again. Todd and the Bens 2-1, Dio and the Novas 2-1.

Round Robin: Team 1 v Team 4

Todd and the Bens vs Dev and the Wild Things

Surprising? Not after this win. Todd and the Bens took down the Beast with a balanced team effort 9-7. AKA didn't shoot great, but he ended up with 4 points, 6 boards and 3 dimes, all of which were to The Litigator who ended up shooting 5-6, with 2 boards and 2 cookies. The Beast shot 4-6 and had 6 boards but had two costly 2 turnovers. DFA had a rough shooting performance going 2-14. The Horror didn't shoot well either, but he also had 6 boards. Todd and the Bens 2-0, Dev and the Wild Things 1-1.

Round Robin: Team 2 v Team 3

Dio and the Novas vs Johnny and the Rockets

After a career worst shooting game, The Best came out with one of his better games in a while going 5-7 (4 dunks), with 5 boards and 2 swats. FX added a 3-4 performance while 8 Bottles began showing some life, recording 1 point along with 2 sweet dimes. Rosetta Stone had a tough game, going 0-4. Pasties had 3 points and 3 boards while Pearl White had 2 points, 2 boards and 1 dime. Sooooo Good had a tough time getting into rhythm after coming straight in from NYC. Dio and the Novas 1-1, Johnny and the Rockets 0-2.

Round Robin: Team 2 v Team 4

Dio and the Novas vs Dev and the Wild Things

Arguably the worst performance of his TomBall career, The Best was helpless against The Beast. Shooting a career worst .385 from the field, he was hardpressed for any offense. The Beast put up 5 points and 3 boards while DFA contributed with 3 points and 3 boards. The Novas looked a bit shaky. FX looked solid with 3 points and 3 boards, and The Business added 2 points and 2 cookies. 8 Bottles seemed a bit out of it, possibly drunk after his 8th bottle. Dio and the Novas 0-1, Dev and the Wild Things 1-0.

Round Robin: Team 1 v Team 3

Todd and the Bens vs Johnny and the Rockets

AKA came out to play, to prove that he was a #1 seed. Shooting a perfect 6-6 from the field, he led Todd and the Bens to a 9-7, albeit somewhat surprising, victory. Pearl White played great shooting 4-5. The big talk was about Rosetta Stone. After two early turnovers, he hit an outside shot, and his name was born. The "translation" was occurring. His 2 points were accompanied by 4 boards and 2 dimes, including one of the greatest no-look passes in TomBall history. He came to ball. Todd and the Bens 1-0, Johnny and the Rockets 0-1 (note: Sooooo Good did NOT play in this game).

TomBall 2009

This past Saturday we had the first real TomBall tournament of 2009. The biggest tournament since 2007 (that one didn't even finish). But that wasn't the big news. The big news was that for the second time (first time in tournament play), outsiders came to ball at The Corner. Four ballers heard about the comp at The Corner, and wanted to test their game. FX and 8 Bottles from Jersey, The Business from Cincinnati, and Rosetta Stone from LI all came to see what the big deal was about. Boy were they in for a surprise. 14 ballers came together to vie not only for the recognition of winning the 2009 TomBall tournament, but to win a cash prize of $150 promised by the owner of The Corner, Dom the Great. Let's break down the teams, then I'll be providing stats along with a tiny summary of the games.

Team 1: Todd and the Bens (AKA, Thief, The Litagator)
Team 2: Dio and the Novas (The Best, FX, The Business, 8 Bottles)
Team 3: Johnny and the Rockets (Rosetta Stone, Pasties, Pearl White, Sooooo Good)
Team 4: Dev and the Wild Things (The Beast, The Horror, DFA/O'DonnellMONSTER)

The format was as follows: Round Robin where every team played the other teams once. Games were to 9 win by two, straight to 15. Then that record determined the seeding in the playoffs. The first round was a best of three series. The championship game was one game to 11 points.

Let's get to it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Top TV Comedies Ever

Same thing as my Top TV Shows, these are my top comedies of all-time. Let's do this.

16. Weeds (Showtime)
15. Chuck (NBC)
14. Wonderfalls (ABC)
13. Undeclared (Fox)
12. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
11. Extras (HBO)
10. Stella (Comedy Central)
9. Pushing Daisies (ABC)
8. South Park (Comedy Central)
7. Freaks and Geeks (Fox)
6. Spaced (BBC)
5. Entourage (HBO)
4. 30 Rock (NBC)
3. Seinfeld (NBC)
2. Arrested Development (Fox)
1. The Office (NBC)

Tally: NBC - 4, Fox - 3, ABC - 2, Comedy Central - 2, HBO - 2, BBC - 1, FX - 1, Showtime - 1

Thoughts: Arrested leapfrogs Seinfeld. 30 Rock comes in strong at number 4 after a great season two and season 3. Spaced slams in at number 6. Freaks/Geeks, Chuck & Pushing Daisies could be considered Dramas or Dramedys, but I'll throw them in the Comedy list. It's Always Sunny knocked out of top 10. Extras barely edged out by Stella.


Top TV Shows Ever

So I'm in the blogging mood again. It's snowing out, and I'm pretty much stuck here. So, TV. Let's do it. These do NOT include comedies. I'll do my own comedy list. In order from 20-1.

20. The Sopranos (HBO)
19. Generation Kill (HBO)
18. Fringe (Fox)
17. Angel (CW)
16. 24 (Fox)
15. Smallville (CW)
14. Rome (HBO)
13. Heroes (NBC)
12. Firefly (Fox)
11. Dexter (Showtime)
10. Band of Brothers (HBO)
9. Carnivale (HBO)
8. Deadwood (HBO)
7. Veronica Mars (CW)
6. Mad Men (AMC)
5. Friday Night Lights (NBC)
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (CW)
3. Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi)
2. Lost (ABC)
1. The Wire (HBO)

The Tally: HBO - 7, CW - 4, Fox - 3, NBC - 2, ABC - 1, AMC - 1, Sci-Fi - 1, Showtime - 1

Thoughts: My top 6 have all come from different channels. HBO lands 4 of the top 10. Angel, Buffy, Battlestar, Firefly & Generation Kill are my most recent additions. Buffy and Battlestar took away top spots from Mad Men and Veronica Mars. The Wire and Lost flipflop at the top. Heroes slides out of top 10 after poor seasons 2 & 3. 24 drops because of a poor season 6.

Let me know what you think!

Top Movies of 2008 (5-1)

5. Iron Man
-Where The Dark Knight showed the evil of humanity, Iron Man shows the lighter side; everyone can be a winner. Both movies great, both using completely different tones and showing two completely different universes. RDJ begins his comeback with this movie. The characater of Tony Stark is the perfect fit for RDJ and his persona, and he pulls it off with great ease. The rest of the supporting cast was perfect, they all did their job and made this movie deeper. As opposed to making this a family film with cheap stunts and bad acting, they got a fantastic team and wanted to really make a good film, not just a good movie. I honestly didn't think the superhero Iron Man would be a great movie character, but John Favreau did a great job bringing him to life. And with Marvel now slated to make Iron Man 2, The Avengers Movie, Thor and Captain America, and these actors actually playing their characters in the other movies, I'm very excited to see how these crossover movies do (ie. RDJ is signed on to play Tony Stark/Iron Man in both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers Movie -- amazing).

4. Slumdog Millionaire
-The most uplifting movie I've seen all year and in the past few years, Danny Boyle pulled a rabbit out of his hat with this movie. This movie quietly snuck past everyone until it started screening, and then boom, rave reviews. Danny Boyle directed one of my favorite movies last year, Sunshine, and this year he doesn't disappoint. It seems absurd that a story that centers around Who Wants to be a Millionaire? can be so good, but this is what that movie proves. This is a love story. The movie takes place in India and centers around Jamal and his brother who grew up in the slums of Mumbai. They meet Latika, the love of Jamal's life, early on and from there the story takes off. Jamal is one question away from winning $1 million dollars. The police believe he is cheating somehow, so for every question answered so far, he tells the police how he knows that answer. Whether it's knowing about a colt .45 or about Benjamin Franklin, Jamal has lived every answer. And the only reason why he's on this show: Latika. Great, great movie.

3. Wall-E
-Two things really stood out for me. One, how much could be said without saying a single word. Two, how a kid's movie can be so much better than almost every other movie. Throughout the first 35+ minutes of Wall-E, there are no words. And yet, we immediately identify with the character. We love him. We watch his every movement and emotion. And yes, this robot has emotion. And that's why he's so great, and arguably the greatest character of 2008. When he meets Eva, we can see what he was missing all those years on Earth alone. We can see how much he grows in the short amount of time he knows Eva, and when she leaves, he has to follow her. His survival is now dependent on her. He loves her. Yes you can argue that when the humans start taking more of a central role in the movie, it lacks that certain something that was so present in the first part of the movie, but ultimately the movie never suffers. You root for Wall-E and Eva, you love them, you want them to be in love, you want their survival. This was my second favorite movie of the year, until my new number two came out, and that movie is...

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
-I heard nothing about this movie until I saw the trailer for it attached to the new Indiana Jones. Hands down, the greatest trailer I have ever watched. And my interest to it hasn't dropped since then. And wow did this movie not disappoint. Clocking in at just under three hours, this movie could've gone another hour and I would've loved every minute of it. I just did not want it to end. CCBB is not about instant gratification, it's about unveiling a story, character after charater, moment after moment, year after year. Brad Pitt brings his A game, Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, and is in the same category as Kate Winslet for being the greatest actresses of their generation. I could go down the list of each supporting character and say a wonderful thing about all of them. But I'll move onto three other people: David Fincher, Claudio Miranda and Alexandre Desplat. David Fincher, known for his dark side (see: Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac), really brings out this storyline. I can see why he was attracted to this story. It's not necessarily dark, but as much as its uplifting it's such a sad story. In then end, there is nothing. Claudio Miranda, thank you for creating the most beautiful looking movie I've seen in years. And Alexandre Desplat, wow, you rocked my world. My favorite score of 2008, easily. The music is just as gorgeous as the movie. The movie can be summed up in one scene: after years and years of back and forth between Benjamin and Daisy, finally, they decide to be together. As opposed to rushing into the sex, they savor every single moment they have. They slowly move on to the bed and just as their about to touch Daisy moves back her head and lies down, needing Benjamin to follow. It's just, it's beautiful, and sums the movie up. Life isn't a race, enjoy anything and everything along the way, and savor all the important moments as best you can. I desperately wanted to place this movie number 1, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't. Read on.

1. The Dark Knight
-My favorite film of 2008. The greatest comic book movie of all-time. The second highest domestic grossing film of all-time only behind the unsinkable Titanic. What can I say about this movie. Christopher Nolan has created probably my favorite Universe ever. Gotham City and its darkness is unparalleled. It was already dark, and then they decided to add The Joker to the mix. That's throwing gasoline on a forest fire. Utter chaos, and wow, was it something to see. Heath Ledger truly did an outstanding job, and if he doesn't win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, there's something wrong with this world. He was, he was perfect. Yes Batman's growling voice was a little overdone, and yes the plot at times seemed a bit ridiculous, but this was a great film, not just a great movie. I just loved this film. The score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard was outstanding, probably my second favorite score of the year. I just can't say enough great things about this film.

So there you have it, my top twenty. Let me know what you think!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Movies of 2008 (10-6)

Continuing my last post, read on....

10. Pineapple Express
-Second best comedy of 2008. James Franco owns this role as a stoner. A throwback to the days of "Freaks and Geeks." He didn't quite play a stoner then, but a similar character. And Danny McBride, again, amazing. He really is turning into a gem. David Gordon Green really brings this movie to another level though. He provides a different insight to the comedy genre, and really shoots the action scenes with great poise, letting each scene develop.

9. Eagle Eye
-Just flat out fun. The plot, not great. Acting, eh. But a great action movie that just keeps you on the edge of your seat. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this movie, as should you. Great popcorn flick.

8. The Reader
-Kate Winslet's best performance of 2008. Easily. David Kross, a new comer, is outstanding, matching Winslet pound for pound each scene. He's only 18 but he shows here that he has a very promising career ahead of him. This movie just kept hanging around in my head for days after I watched it. Very controversial, but very, very good. The topic and plot of the film might turn people off but I believe it is a movie definitely worth seeing. I really can't stress how great Kate Winslet is in this movie. She's nominated for a Golden Globe in this role for Best Supporting Actress. She should definitely win. As well as earn a nomination and win at the Oscars.

7. Gran Torino
-Clint Eastwood is a man. A man's man. Plain and simple. If you want to see a man on screen, go see this movie. Great story of redemption, that almost went the route of "Unforgiven." I'm very glad it didn't. Also, this movie turned out to be the surprise comedy of the year. I use the word comedy lightly because it's not a comedy at all. But this movie had me consistenly laughing at all the racial slurs that were thrown back and forth. I don't know if they made up most of those slurs, but I didn't know over half of them. The Hmong people in this movie were mostly newcomers to the screen, and I really think that added to the realism of the movie.

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
-The best comedy of the year. Another cog in the Judd Apatow wheel. This movie, although not written or directed by Apatow, is up there with the likes of Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. Jason Segal proves he has what it takes to be a leading man in a comedy. I've had a soft spot for Kristen Bell since her two episode stint in Deadwood and the great, underwatched show Veronica Mars (one of my all-time favorite shows), and she doesn't disappoint. The scene that really gave this movie life was when she was crying to Jason Segal's character after he found out she was cheating on him for a year. That scene really gave the movie a backbone. Mila Kunis didn't annoy me in this movie, which was good because she annoys me in everything else.

For the rest of my list, check back in a bit!

Top Movies of 2008 (20-11)

Wow. I haven't had a single post in over 8 months. Two reasons. One, I basically burned out. I blogged so much in such a little time I literally burned out. Two, no one was reading my blogs, and I was pretty bummed about that. But I've since made a resolution to blog more often. Not as often as I can, but when I want to. Starting with this post. My Top Movies of 2008. Read on.

20. Quantum of Solace
-Not as good as "Casino Royale." Let's get that out of the way. This sequel was driven more by the action rather than the plot. That was a strong point of CR, it balanced effectively the action against the plot. Where CR lacked in action, QS soared. Staring off with that great car chase. QUANTUM is now a legitimate enemy of MI6 for future installments, which should still star Daniel Craig, who has seriously reenergized this role. Also, Olga Kurylenko is gorgeous. Reason enough.

19. Hellboy 2
-Better than "Hellboy." Not only were the set design and effects amazing, this movie had a soul. You could connect with every major character in the movie, and it didn't matter what world they were a part of. But what really got me was Prince Nauda, who was only trying to save his people from literally being forgotten. His world was being erased, and all he was trying to do was save it. Does this really make him a bad guy? Guillermo Del Toro knocked this one out of the park, and I hope they make the final part of the trilogy, because the story could be very interesting.

18. Step Brothers
-Another great teaming of Will Ferrel and Adam McKay. John C. Reilly has really come into his own as a comedic actor. The improv by Will and John really knock off of each other and they shine. Great comedy, but not the best of the year.

17. Revolutionary Road
-Haunting. Extremely haunting movie. Not a horror film, but this movie really shows the horrors of 'ordinary life.' Sam Mendes really digs into the 1950s and what it was all about. All of these families believed they were special, and wouldn't fall into the trap that the suburbs provided. Yet, they all failed. No matter how hard they tried, or what scheme they came up with (abandoning the suburbs and moving to Paris), they could not win. Everyone falls victim to that mundane life. Leo continues his superb acting, and will most likely garner a Best Actor nod. Kate Winslet is a lock for a Best Actress nod, as she continues to prove she is the best actress of her generation. But this movie doesn't even have her best performance, that comes later in my list.

16. The Wackness
-Amazing soundtrack. 1994 rap. So great. Great performances by Sir Ben and Josh Peck. Jonathan Levine really captured 1994 in a great way. The relationship formed by Sir Ben and Josh is on really to behold. They're both looking for something in very distinct points of their lives, and they can help each other out.

15. Valkyrie
-Best thriller of 2008? Easily. All of you who complain how they don't have accents, thats not the part of the movie you're supposed to concentrate on. This is a story of incredible, brave men, who literally risked their lives to assassinate Hitler. We know it didn't work, but that doesn't mask the fact that they tried. Great all-around cast, with Tom Cruise back in top form.

14. Tropic Thunder
-I just rewatched this, and appreciated it much more. First, it's a great look at the film industry and how movies are made. When I say great, I mean hilarious. Second, Robert Downey Jr. really is amazing to watch in this. His resurrection started in "Iron Man" and continued with this film. Amazing, amazing stuff. And third, Danny McBride. Wow. He is so great in this flick. And yes, Tom Cruise was great as a huge movie mogel.

13. Doubt
-Far and away the best acted movie of 2008. Superior performances by Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis and Amy Adams. The first three are sure to get Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress nods, respectively. Amy Adams might get the bump from the Best Supporting Actress category, however she goes toe to toe with both Meryl Streep and PSH, and is definitely deserving of a nod. Very interesting storyline as well.

12. Australia
-A bust according to many people. I really enjoyed this picture. Yes, it was a bit long and you could've cut 25 minutes off the film, but I really don't think that hurt the film. Baz Luhrman is a very unique director, and his style from film to film has drastically changed. And in that, his style has changed the same. He is willing to look at a movie in a different perspective and shoot it like that. In this, he really, really, wanted to emphasize how beautiful and huge Australia really is. And he succeeds. Australia itself could be a Best Supporting Actress. He captures the magic of Australia, and that's what he was aiming to do. Nicole Kidman does a great job in the last 2/3 of the movie, and Hugh Jackman really surprised me with his acting ability in this epic.

11. The Incredible Hulk
-The third best comic book movie of the year. Which is a shame, because it really was a great film. Edward Norton gives the Hulk/Bruce Banner life, something that Ang Lee missed the first time around. It's tough to show the Hulk as a human being, with all the CGI we forget. But they really do succeed in that. Liv Tyler does a great job as Betty Ross, bringing a sense of urgency to the character. She loves Bruce, and wants to be with him. You really feel for their relationship and the strain on it. Props for bringing in Tony Stark, a tie-in to the Avengers. Marvel is really bringing their A-Game.