Sunday, April 26, 2009

Top Ten Highlights of Fall by Dave

*Posted September 4, 2008*

(this isn't some cheesy list of why fall is great. i don't care about leaves changing colors. if that sort of thing can get tom brady back for my fantasy football team i'm all for it, else it's garbage.)

10. 2008 Election & Election-related Coverage Woo Hoo!

We cover this sort of thing almost every week (about as biased as MSNBC, too), and for the most part it is interesting stuff. Like the Summer Olympics, the anticipation of the event itself has a way of drumming up interest for those involved. Also like the Olympics, once the event is over everyone forgets the losers because let’s face it, they’re losers (Gore in 2000, Kerry & Edwards in 2004, Nader, etc.) Come November, all the trash talk from McCain and the trashy talk from Obamanation will come down to a vote (not Kevin Costner’s either), and then we can go back to not carrying about politics. On this website, we don’t make a stance one way or another about voting, it’s all up to the individuals. So McCain fans, if you feel like getting out to cast a ballot, follow through. Obama groupies, you have all day, so celebrate your historic ticket by sleeping in late, maybe having a dozen beers throughout the day with your liberal buddies, perhaps go catch Dark Knight at a cheap movieplex nearby, and then go analyze how great it was at a 24 hour diner before your back home for shots of schnapps while watching Shephard Smith break down the election returns. Sounds nice, right? Why is this number ten if it only comes around once every four years? It’s like I’ve been saying, politics is boring.

9. Brits & Giggles

Our penchant for humour from across the pond sneaks through every now and then, so I feel it important to plug a few events scattered throughout the fall season that I know you’ll enjoy (unless you’re my oldest brother who just doesn’t “get” it.) First up is Ghost Town, premiering September 19th. Ricky Gervais is a bloke who usually doesn’t miss, so even though this film is written and directed by David Koepp (aka the writer who cheapened Indy’s fourth adventure), I’m sure Gervais will be able to elevate the material. The premise is a little familiar, but the thing about comedy is that it’s all about delivery (and with Kristen Wiig to help out a bit, I’m sure they’ll deliver this bitch like Karl Malone.) In related Gervais news, his hilarious stand up special will be coming to HBO sometime this Fall (if you’re impatient you can find it all on youtube). Next up is a guy you’ve seen in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Run Fatboy Run. Simon Pegg acts alongside Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox (hot), and Kirsten Dunst (hideous) in How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. Again, don’t expect the funniest movie of the year, but if you’re a fan of his other movies, check it out. If you get caught wondering aloud why Ugly Dunst still gets cast as romantic leads, I’m sure you won’t be alone, but Pegg should be spot on.

8. Cinema Summer Ale

Same Great Taste of Summer w/out the Buggy Heat! The fall movie season, as most of us know, is riddled with artsy movies vying for Oscar’s attention. In most years, its enough to make you wanna stick a tazer in your ear. Thankfully, Oscar season also goes hand in hand with DVD releases of your favorite movies from the summer. And while that means shit like Hancock will be taking up valuable shelf space, you can just pass it on by like you did in the summer. The highlights (of course) include Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (out on DVD October 14th) and The Dark Knight (out the first or second week of December – still technically Fall you know). Sure, we like to rag Crystal Skull now and then, but it still stomps most other movies this year and Harrison Ford wipes his ass with Hancock’s ticket receipts. Other summer favorites include Iron Man, Hellboy II, Pineapple Express, etc. More than enough to give you comfort when you don’t feel like seeing Body of Lies, Rachel Getting Married, The Women, and The Express.

7. Crossing Over

Still alive, still healthy, and still kicking ass, Harrison Ford returns for Part 2 of his 2008 Double Header with this multi-character drama centered around the issue of illegal immigration in the United States. From the guy behind The Cooler and Running Scared, a Crash-like look at immigration is what you can expect from Wayne Kramer's buzzing-since-2007 drama. Kramer himself is a naturalized citizen of the U.S. and he cribbed from his own experiences to create the character of a South African artist scheming to become naturalized; look for Kramer's focus to hone in on H-Ford as a Customs Enforcement agent in Los Angeles and for a storyline concerning Sean Penn as a Border Patrolman (who will probably cry a few times) along the U.S./Mexico border. Also stars Ashley Judd (hot) and Ray Liotta and premieres December 3rd. The last time I championed a non-Indy Ford release as ‘must-see’ was Firewall (aka old man turd), but it’s a safe bet this will be far more entertaining.

6. Football, Collegiate-style

Packed with more drama than the NFL season, every win game counts in this league where one loss probably means your national title dreams are kissed goodbye. Each conference has plenty of compelling storylines to keep you interested, but we’re all Penn State lads on this site, so that’s who we’re gonna plug. Lots of new talent, same old Joe Pa highlights this season and so far we’re looking pretty dominant (granted it’s against teams USA Women’s Softball could probably beat. Still, ask dumb Michigan fans how they’re doing so far). College football rarely gets mentioned on this site because Herb hates it, but I’m sure everyone there will disagree with him. For me, Penn State football has been a Saturday staple for over four years and it’s an excuse to be lazy on Saturday afternoons with a few beers and some chips.

5. Burn After Reading

You’ve seen the trailer on this site before (more than likely on TV, though), so I’m sure you know about. You’ve heard all the buzz about the Coens follow up to No Country For Old Men so I don’t need to dwell too much on it. Just remember that it comes out this week and you’re sure to laugh your pants off. Best buds Pitt and Clooney (Pooney? Clitt? oops.) are already attracting big buzz for the roles as the not-so-bright gym employee and the womanizer, respectively. Again, no one does comedy like the Coens, so just go and see it already. If Bangkok Dangerous finishes in the top three come weekend’s end, I’ll be convinced that only idiots go to the movies while the smart ones pirate them off the internet. Prove me wrong people!

4. Quantum of Solace

The first true sequel in the 007 universe (premiering November 14th), this movie brings back Daniel Craig for another go-round as the world’s best spy (it’s true, Bourne. suck it.) Casino Royale’s domination is reason enough to see this flick, even before I saw Quantum’s awesome trailer over and over again before Dark Knight screenings. In coming up with a list for this website, I scanned through all the releases due out between now and mid-December and this is literally one of the only must-see movies for the mass movie going audience. The gigundo hole left in the wake of Harry Potter’s departure leaves plenty of room for everyone to experience Bond’s latest mission at least once. Bond’s plots are always a little vague before you actually see the movie, but here is what the good folks at IMDb write: Picking up where Casino Royale left off, James Bond sets his sights on the organization behind Vesper Lynd's betrayal. The mission puts him on a collision course with Dominic Greene a ruthless businessman who, Bond soon learns, is brokering a deal to take total control of one of the world's most precious resources. Relying on allies new and old -- including Camille a beautiful woman with her own agenda -- Agent 007 looks to bring down Greene and his conspirators.

Intrigued much?

3. March of the Penguins

I had $20 on the Pens to win it all last year back in early March when the odds were 7 to 1, meaning I fell a couple games short of winning $140 just for being a great fan. It sucked hard. Why were the odds not tighter for the Pens? Because people slept on their chances until they started dominating the last quarter of the season. Don’t expect that to happen again this year. The defending Eastern Conference Champs have a bulls-eye on their backs as big as Obama’s mouth, so anticipate rough and physical games from day one. The preseason begins on the 20th, and the puck drops on the regular season Oct. 4th without a few key cogs from last year’s run (Benedict Hossa comes to mind, Greedy Malone is another), but they’ve added a few nice additions to fill in the gaps. The major guns are all intact though, and that leaves the Eastern Conference shaking in their skates. Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, even loser Staal are all one year older and one year scarier, and with Genius Therrien still holding the reins, I think I might put another $20 down on Lord Stanley’s Cup four months in advance. Also, dear readers, if you run into a Red Wings fan (or anyone from Detroit), punch him in the dick. (If it’s a women, punch her in the hockey mullet).

2. TV’s Back!

No more annoying labor strikes to shortchange our need for night by night entertainment. Most of your favorite shows (and mine) return in the upcoming weeks. The summer shows this year did a great job at occupying us during rerun season (special thanks go out to Mad Men and Burn Notice), but nothing compares to what’s in store for us this fall (except the far better stock on hold for the winter premieres – Lost, 24, Nip/tuck, Flight of the Conchords) This Fall, we welcome back the return of Michael Scott, who will still be funnier than Jim Halpert for a fifth straight season. Jack Donaghy & Co. also return to our living rooms to assure us how 30 Rock will always trump American Idol. Away from NBC, we welcome back Entourage, The Simpsons, It’s Always Sunny (and Super Bowl Free) In Philadelphia, House, and all the other shows you might watch to escape from the daily grind. Update the batteries in your remote and reserve your favorite chair, the wait is over. I mean, fresh television during the week is the greatest thing about TV right? Right?!?! WRONG……

1. Pro Football, Pittsburgh Edition

The event I plan my weeks around, Steelers football will forever be the highlight of the Fall season so long as they keep up their championship caliber play year in and out. Lucky for Steelers fans, it looks to be that way for quite some time. You’ve read enough Steelers propaganda already from our writers, so it’d be fruitless to analyze the team one more time. It’s enough to just say that Steelers football is something we all look forward to more than anything else, and even though the black and gold is enough to catapult them atop this list, the return of the Steelers also signifies the return of the NFL in general (and with it comes great hobbies). Fantasy football, like it or not, is lots of fun and incredibly addictive, making all the games every week instantly more engaging. Only poor bums like me who bet the farm on a healthy Tom Brady are doomed to suffer apathy in fantasy football. Still, that leaves leagues where you pick the winners each week against the spread, and every now and then there’s always some tasty action that calls for a modest bet with your local sports bookie. And even if none of that tickles your fancy, pro football is still an excuse to be lazy on Sunday afternoon with a few more beers and some chips.

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