Thursday, April 30, 2009
"The Philanthropist" chronicles the heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist. James Purefoy ("Rome") stars as Teddy Rist, a successful and impulsive tycoon who decides to channel his passion, power and money into helping those in need.
Teddy Rist loves women, money and power. After the tragic death of his only child, Teddy has an awakening and becomes the world's first vigilante philanthropist -- a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth and connections to help people in need. Instead of spending $25,000 a plate at a fundraiser, he's dodging bullets in third world countries to hand deliver vaccines. It's an inspiring global adventure that will take you to the ends of the earth.
Rist's actions are not just about helping others -- he is purging his soul to help exorcise the inner demons that have been festering ever since his young son died and he lost everything he truly loved. The danger and risk to his life is the only way he can feel genuinely alive and he'll do anything in order to achieve his goals.
A man who has everything but can feel nothing, Rist keeps his adrenaline pumping by putting his business head and money-making skills to good use through bargaining with the self-righteous, making deals with drug barons, and trading with the nefarious.
"The Philanthropist" boasts a heady cast of established and up-and-coming talent. Purefoy takes on the lead role of Teddy Rist, Jesse L. Martin ("Law & Order") plays Teddy's business partner and friend Philip Maidstone, and Neve Campbell ("Burn Up") plays Philip's wife Olivia.
Personally, I think the summer offers up tub loads of generic shit, but if Burn Notice (and even the Nip/Tuck series premiere long ago) taught me anything, it's that a gem can sneak through no matter what time of year it is. What worries me is that it does seem to fall right into network primetime's trend of the year; while last year was the year of the flawed, complex heroine (Saving Grace, Damages, The Closer), this time around, the men get their chance (Lie to Me, The Mentalist, Castle) While this series may have been white noise in the fall or spring, summer may end up being the perfect spot for it. I'll definitely be tuning in.
For some choice quotes and insight about the show from Purefoy himself (including advice he received from fellow Roman Lucius Vorenus!!) , follow the link below.
|Year||Interview Dates||President||% |
|% No |
|1969||May 1-6||Richard Nixon||62||15||23||59||3|
|1977||Apr. 29-May 2||Jimmy Carter||63||18||19||66||-3|
|1981||May 8-11||Ronald Reagan||68||21||11||51||17|
|1989||May 4-7||George Bush||56||22||22||51||5|
|1993||Apr. 22-24||William J. Clinton||55||37||8||58||-3|
|2001||Apr. 20-22||George W. Bush||62||29||9||57||5|
And what do we notice? Since Nixon, every GOP President has seen an increase in his rating after 100 days, while every Dem. President has seen a decrease in his approval rating after 100 days. Obviously there are a million factors that go into this, but I'm finding the change in rating very interesting.
To further highlight Obama's first 100, the NY Post ran a piece on 100 blunders that his administration has made, some of them lighthearted jests (Obama didn't adopt a dog from a shelter), but most of them big slaps in the face. Some of my favorites...
28. In their first meeting, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave Obama a carved ornamental penholder from the timbers of the anti-slavery ship HMS Gannet. Obama gave him 25 DVDs that don't work in Europe.
48. "While the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008." -- Washington Post, 3/27
54. After saying he wouldn't have lobbyists in his administration, Obama made 17 exceptions in the first two weeks in office.
Now of course this list includes big gaffes like his Special Olympics comment, his "bowing" incident, and how his two flights on Earth Day used 9,000 gallons of fuel.
The liberal media (TV and internet) remains faithfully by his side, calling out any attack by Fox News. Digg, a site I frequent every day, is always digging up articles from Huffington and the Daily Kos, and anyone who comments against Obama or in favor of "Faux News" is immediately buried. Take this article for example. This is the sort of thing (story and comments) that is typical of any politcal article on Digg. Still, it's humorous that the video from the Daily Kos is mostly just a string of "attacks" from Fox's opinion triumvirate (Hannity, Bill-O, and Beck) where they say things like "Socialism" and "Fascism." They're quick to call out Fox for roughing up Obama, but when their own networks point out the same mistakes? Check out this video below that feature anchors like NBC's Brian Williams.
The nuts and bolts of S5: "Because You Left" and "The Lie" were probably average for season openers, but I liked them more than most people did. "Jughead" awesome, island history, i.e. Widmore and Eloise as Others/Hostiles. "The Little Prince" sucked because of Kate. "This Place is Death" shows Rousseau and arguably the best scene of the season with Locke meeting Christian in the Orchid. "316" as well as "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" return to LA and shows the process the Oceanic Six takes to head back to the island, both very solid. We then move into the Dharma Initiative with "LaFleur" and "Namaste", how about that sneak peek, or look back at the statue, what does lay in the shadow of it? "He's Our You" follows Sayid, best character, why he came/was forced back to the island and that he shot Ben, where exactly is that Iraqi now? Another Kate episode with "Whatever Happened, Happened," not bad, not great. A Ben episode with "Dead is Dead," always pure, although the Smoke Monster was a little bit of a letdown. And we finally get Miles with "Some Like it Hoth" and Faraday with "The Variable." With two episodes left, there have only been a small amount of average to below average 'sodes in the entire season. Not bad at all. Season one had some duds as well as Charlie and Shannon. Season two had the tail section crew minus Eko. Season three had some snoozers as well as Nikki and Paulo. And four had, well, the writer's strike. If "The Incident" is great, best season ever?
What has intrigued me about Lost and more specifically the island itself over its 100 episodes? Probably its mysteries: the Others, Rousseau, Dharma, etc. Not only do we get to see how these people and events have unfolded, but the main characters are wrapped up in them. Back to Seinfeld, probably my favorite all-time show, Lost a close second. Seinfeld's best season in my opinion was Season 4 in which they produced their pilot "Jerry," virtually a show within a show. Look what Lost is doing now, events within events divided by years of time yet happening at the same time. Time travel and crazy theories and yet a non-nerd like me gets it, well, kinda, a mark of great entertainment.
I think you can comment on these. Please do. Opinions: favorite seasons, predictions for the finale.
"Mom" from Observe and Report
A role so small, no name is ever given to her, yet Celia Weston made sure to bring the funny. She plays the boozy mom to Seth Rogen's bipolar Head of Mall Security. Being piss drunk for most of her scenes (and slightly drunk for the rest) doesn't prevent her from being an encouraging, nuturing single parent to Paul Blart, Jr. Most of her parenting comes in the form of advice, and praise, and when she can't think of the right things to say, she just utters "stuff that Mom's are supposed to say to their sons." The bottom line is though Seth Rogen is a twisted mall cop (well, the whole movie is twisted, and in a very good way), "Mom" never fails to be 100% on his side ready to propel him forward to capture his dreams, even if she's passed out cold on the carpet in her soiled sweatpants.
And now....the Bad Mom.
"Mrs. Miller" from Doubt
The mother of the only African American kid in a 60's Catholic school, this character (and by extension, the actress) has received a lot of acclaim due primarily to the Oscar nomination that followed. Yes, she's only in the film for about 10 minutes, and yes, she musters up some serious tears and nose-goo that probably won a lot of folks over, but I still feel it necessary to spotlight the idiot parent that she portrayed. Cleaning homes to make ends meet, Mrs. Miller is confronted by Principal Meryl Streep with a very disturbing claim: The parish priest Father Flynn (P.S. Hoffman) is having an inappropriate (i.e. Michael Jackson-type) relationship with her son Donald, an alter server. The reasoning behind it? He's the only black kid at school and the priest has gotten close by looking out for him so the others don't bully him too bad. Principal Meryl suspects the priest gave him wine and yada yada yada. When she lays out all her suspicions for this mother, Mrs. Miller becomes outraged, right? Wroooong. She basically says, "Well, this priest has been good to him when everyone else wanted to beat him to a pulp, and he only needs to make it to graduation and then he'll go off to another school." As Meryl presses further, Mrs. Miller feeds up further rationalization: Her husband is an abusive bastard who already beats the kid for being kinda different (in a fruity way) and if news of this scandal got out, he'd straight up go to town on the boy. She pleads with this Head Nun to keep her suspicions quiet, pretty much sentencing the boy to months more of man-boy sickness. I won't say how the movie ends, but her little 10 minutes that won over so many Academy voters made me want to puke in her mouth.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Ever had a bad day? I'm sure they come up now and again. For contributors of this site, bad days probably max out at spirit crunching Pens losses, a half-cocked Indy sequel, or on that rare occasion, house parties being mistaken for meth labs (cops are idiots). However, I'm pretty sure this woman's bad day trumps most anything you or I have been through.
Ashley Swendson, a 26 year old hippie living in Colorado Springs with her hippie boyfriend, was having her typical pregnant day, taking in a little exercise with her usual stroll on a path near her house. She had gotten well into her walk, eventually passing a stream that looked the way a stream usually does, not too much out of place since her previous walk. Oh, but this time there was a 225 lb. black bear staring her right in the eyeballs (I hate it when that happens). Their eyes met, and after shitting her pants (I'm just going to assume that happened), she pulls an about face and starts to walk away from the bear. Good thinking, you don't want to run and give him something to chase, and you don't want to stand still unless you plan on making a lot of noise to scare the big bastard along. Calmly walking away, she turns and notices that the bear is following her. Though not giving chase, he's definitely taken an interest and is walking along after her.
You can't fault the bear for this either. If you're an animal, just waking up from hibernation, probably starving, you take a look at this woman (a hefty pregnant gal) and you must be thinking, "Okay, obviously big and fat, slow moving, I can just smell those milk filled jugs...If this isn't the easiest lunch I've ever hunted then I'm a retard. Imagine how all the other bears will be laughing if I can't maul this bipedal walrus." So, with his common sense, he walks after her. For about 100 yards (yes the size of a football field), he trails her, at times only a few yards behind.
Swendson doesn't put up with it much longer, and soon her fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. Obviously she goes with flight, and pretty soon starts cheesing it down the path. The bear, trodding after her at first, soon loses interest and instead goes back to being a sucky hunter somewhere nearby. But the woman is long gone by now, running as fast as the bowling ball in her stomach would allow. She's screaming for help at the top of her lungs but no one is answering or coming to aide. Finally, the walking path intersects a roadway right before a bridge. Separated by a guardrail, she thumbles over the obstruction and with no sidewalk to cling to, flees right into the middle of the road.
The bear story would be enough to make the headlines, but instead this woman goes 2 for 2 on Terrible Things To Avoid While Pregnant. A car comes flying down the road as she clears the guardrail and BAM! She topples across the hood of the car. The gall-darn-crazy-woman-driver behind the wheel, audible through a cracked window, yells "I tried to slow down!!" And as Swendson gingerly removes her fat ass from the hood with a cry of "I'm being chased by a bear!!!!!", the lady speeds away. Three other vehicles were behind this loon's car, all driving away too.
It's okay to laugh at this story (unless you've been laughing the whole time anyway because you're a dick) because both Mama and Child are fine. A few superficial injuries later and she's the spotlight of her backwoods community, even getting onto the Today Show this morning. That's not the end of it, three big points to close out the aftermath:
1. The bear, obviously mad at himself for not catching the easiest of adult human prey (I guess adult cripples would be the only thing easier), wanders into a neighboring family's backyard hunting for some juicy kiddies. After getting a description and possible location of the bear, Animal Control confronts the beast, takes it down with a heavy tranq gun, then euthanizes him. So passes Brown Bear, maybe the dumbest bear in Colorado. His passing, however, leads to....
2. The local neighborhood BLAMING Swendson for the bear's death. You heard correct, they blame the pregnant lady who saved TWO lives. The same TWO lives who were victims of a hit-and-run moments after they escaped the jaws of Baloo. The neighbor whose yard the bear frequented blamed Swendsen for what she called the unnecessary death of the bear. A local newspaper printed the story, and the hate messages directed at Swendsen started pouring into chat rooms and message boards. And finally...
3. The idiot who performed the hit and run. Apparently she turned herself in to police two days after the incident. No word yet whether or not Swendson will sue, stating “I wasn’t hurt, but at the same time, why didn’t she stop? I would have done that. What if I was a teenager or a kid? You would have just kept going? That doesn’t make sense."
Bad day or not, Swendsen and her fiancee have decided that they will honor the memory of the bear. When her baby is born, its middle name will be “Little Bear.”
No spoilers here, LOST fans, just plain old conjecture. Every season, one of the original 815ers bites the dust. Boone died toward the end of season 1, Shannon early on in season 2, Charlie at the end of 3, and Michael at the end of season 4. This year, only Charlotte has died, and she doesn't count. So here is my list of characters most likely to die.
1. Sayid - I was a little peeved in Season 3 when Sayid told Jack that he would gladly sacrifice his life if it meant getting everyone else off the Island. He was obviously ready to go then, so Tom should've upped the stakes in the Others vs. LOSTies war and killed Sayid. Since then, Sayid has gone on to become a cool assassin, but recently his story line has reached a bit of a conclusion. He has no more purpose. His long lost love is dead. He returned to the Island to do what he thought he was meant to do (kill Ben Linus). Now he's in the middle of the jungle. I just don't see a happy ending for Sayid.
2. Kate - I really want her to be the one that dies. All the guys are drooling over hot Juliet right now, for good reason, and Kate is just taking up space. It's unlikely that she actually will die, since her goal is to track down Claire.
3. Sun - How great would this be? LOST has teased us with Jin's fate twice (first tricking us into thinking he was alive, and then tricking us with his "death"), but perhaps the real twist is Sun getting gunned down by someone like Ben. Her mission is to find her husband again, but who's saying they'll be reunited that long?
4. LaFleur - Jim's life was perfect when everyone else was out of the picture. He was happy playing house with Dharma Iniative, but he's never been able to fit in in the present world. Something big is coming up with the Incident. LaFleur has grown close to his Dharma buddies over the past 3 years, perhaps he tries to do something to protect Horace or Amy and ends up getting killed for it. We talk about everyone's mission in returning to the Island, but Sawyer doesn't really have one. He doesn't care about seeing his daughter, and he doesn't care about returning to the future. There's a big wave coming over the horizon, and anyone who's treading water is going down. It's a shame though, I'm starting to warm to Jim.
I think everyone else (Locke, Jack, Jin, and Hurley) has nothing to worry about.
As you can see, Top Ten has moved to blogspot because googlepages is shutting down and moving everything to googlesites. Because we don't care for the added restrictions, we jumped ship. So what's different? For starters, we will no longer be doing once-a-week issues. Since we're in blog country, expect articles to trickle in every day. Other than that, it's the same old bullshit here at Top Ten. Pro Steelers, Pro Pens, Pro GOP, you get the idea. To ease you in, I will tease you with some upcoming articles.
1. My guess as to who will die on LOST before the season finale.
2. A review of NHL 09
3. A look at the polls and how Obama's first 100 days stacks up compared to other chiefs
and so on... enjoy the day!
Just like article number one of Top Ten, it's time to look at the NHL playoffs. Instead of trying to figure out potential late round matchups and such, I am just going to rank the 16 playoff teams with some analysis. Oh, and by the way, I do not endorse my look on the "new" logo with the Obama shirt and over sized sole patch.
1. Detroit Red Wings - Pretty much the same team as last year plus Marion Hossa. They do have a tricky little first-round matchup with the up-and-coming Blue Jackets and stud rookie goaltender Steve Mason. He could steal a game or two, but I still see the Red Wings as too strong. San Jose has recently choked in the playoffs, and that's enough for me to put Detroit ahead of them. Will trying to repeat be too tough? Will Osgood play as good as last year? Maybe not, but the Red Wings are still the team to beat.
2. San Jose Sharks - I picked the Sharks last year, and they fell flat. They cruised through the regular season and won the President's Trophy. Thornton and Nabakov are studs, but does anybody feel like betting on these guys against Detroit in the 7 game series? That's if they get there, another tricky first-round match against the veteran Ducks who backed into the playoffs.
3. Boston Bruins - They should get by the Canadiens, but after that, the Eastern Conference is anyone's guess. They were the best team in the regular season, but the playoffs are such a crapshoot and the East is quite deep this year.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins - I would still rather have Hossa and Malone over Kunitz and Guerin, but the Pens are playing their best Hockey as we speak. I have them over Philly and Carolina, because they have home ice over the Flyers and over the Hurricanes in a potential later round matchup. The first round will be tough with a probable 6 or 7 game series. If they get through that, they can get to where they were last year.
5. Carolina Hurricanes - The Canes are pretty live in these playoffs. Cam Ward is back to his level of play when he won a Stanley Cup and Staal is playing at a very high level. I hate to go against Broduer, but I really like Carolina in the first round.
6. Philadelphia Flyers - If they can get past the Pens, big if, they can really make some noise in the East. Their special teams play may be the best in the entire NHL when you combine the Power Play and Penalty Killing. Their big question mark is their goaltender Biron.
7. Vancouver Canucks - If anyone can dethrone Detroit or San Jose in the West, it may be Vancouver, but it's really tough to see that happening. They come into the playoffs hot, but so do their first round opponent, the St. Louis Blues. Probably second round is the furthest they can go, and I wouldn't be surprised if they lost in the first round.
8. St. Louis Blues - Just like Vancouver, who they face, they come in hot but have a difficult first round series. They can easily win over the Canucks, but probably will not go past the second round.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets - Go with the hot goaltender in the playoffs. It's just a shame for Columbus' sake that the Blues got hot and the Jackets got stuck with Detroit in the first round.
10. Chicago Blackhawks - Be weary of young and up-and-coming teams that are making their first playoff appearance in a number of years, reminds me of the Pens a few years ago that got smoked by Ottawa in the first round. But, I'll give Chicago a slight edge in the first round for having home-ice and the fact that Calgary backed into the playoffs.
11. Calgary Flames - Gotta like Kiprusoff and Iginla, but the Flames are really playing bad hockey right now.
12. New York Rangers - If I can choose one goalie to play in a game seven, I will probably take Hendrik Lundqvist. Steve Avery has made the Rangers a tough and scrappy team once again. My one big first round upset, Rangers over the Capitals.
13. New Jersey Devils - It's really hard to go against Martin Brodeur and Zach Praise, but talk about really backing into the playoffs.
14. Washington Capitals - Bad goaltending and a weak defense is an absolute disaster for the playoffs. Czar Ovechkin and loser Semin are about to find that out in a few days.
15. Anaheim Ducks - They have a chance against San Jose. A very small chance. Ryan Whitney sucks in the playoffs too.
16. Montreal Canadiens - I was hoping Florida would have gotten in, and we would have gotten a chance to see Thomas Vokoun against Boston.
First Round Winners - Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina, New York, San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago
Second Round Winners - Boston, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Detroit
Stanley Cup Finals - Pittsburgh, Detroit (rematch) ?
At the risk of having this issue be a little too right leaning, I still need to vent about this. Back in high school and college, the kids (including me) thought the Daily Show was cool because it was a show that had fun sticking it to the man. They took their shots at President Bush, but sometimes that needed to happen and it was pretty funny. But since Obama won the election, do you think the Daily Show would've kept that same "fuck the man" mentality? Nope. Instead, Steward enjoys ripping into whining GOPpers who criticize the Obama administration. He likes going after Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O, and Sean Hannity, but rarely takes on the Prez. The other day, he said "You see, now YOU'RE in the minority. It's supposed to taste like a shit taco." He was referring to Republicans getting upset with a President, who they didn't vote for because they didn't agree with his policies, now doing things they disagree with. Shocker.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Baracknophobia - Obey|
Need to feel better about yourself? Whenever you are feeling down, you can check out www.fmylife.com/. The site consists of thousands and thousands of 2-3 sentence sob stories about horrible things that happen to people. They can be....
To coincide with the NFL Draft, Madden football will announce this years cover boy. They already sent out a list of potential candidates, including Ben Roethlisberger, Adrien Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Troy Polamalu, and Ed Reed. There are some rumors swirling about that they may try something revolutionary this year and have more than one person on it, like Polamalu covering Fitz. In 2006, Big Ben was also a finalist that year, but the honor went to Shaun Alexander. That year, Alexander was bit by the Madden curse and had broken bones in his foot and ended with a terrible season. He has since been released by the Seahawks. In spite of the curse, I still think should be Big Ben's year. He has suffered car crashes, knee injuries, and concussions every season anyway so I don't think the curse could throw anything more at him. But last year they went with QB Brett Favre, so what are the chances of them going with another QB?
Eminem recently released a music video that pokes fun at many women who were famous this past year. Among them are Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Sarah Palin. In the song and music video, Eminem refers to fucking the former VP nominee. We all know Eminem pushes boundaries and has a history of degrading women with his music. In my opinion, it doesn't really bother me because I don't listen to him anyway. But Bill O took exception to his barbs on Palin, and criticized him on the Factor. He believes that while it's absolutely insulting to ALL women that this stuff is allowed to be put on air in and in stores, it's even more disturbing that no one is sticking up for Palin. O'Reilly was the only one in the media to come to her aid, and he claimed that if it had been Hillary Clinton in the song, or, heaven forbid, Michelle Obama, the media would've been up in outrage. I think he's right. If anyone took a public shot at Michelle Obama, especially if it refers to sex, we wouldn't hear the end of it. So that's O'Reilly's opinion and you can judge for yourself if he's right or not, but to prove his point further:
If you like Danny McBride, then you'll love this show even if you have no interest in the plot. If you remember his small role in Tropic Thunder as the special effects guy who blows up the jungle, just take that guy and make him racist, selfish, and oblivious to anyone else. The HBO show (just renewed for a second season) is a quick 6 episode story of a former All-Star MLB pitcher who has an ego the size of his gut who now has to adjust to small time life with his brother's family. McBride (as Kenny Powers) starts teaching gym at a high school but is more importantly on a quest to get back to the big leagues. He is the latest in a string of characters that are so terrible and self-absorbed, but the audience can't help rooting for and liking this guy (see also: any Will Ferrell movie this decade). The supporting cast is interesting, but this is mostly a one man show. Kenny is the kind of superstar with catchphrases ("You're fuckin out!"), memorabilia (toilet seats, masks, and guitars), and even an audio book-on-tape (read by himself) of his autobiography. Here's an excerpt:
I've watched Glenn Beck for the past 2 years, so I find it interesting that all of a sudden, the left wing media is up in arms about his end-of-the-world paranoia at FOX News. To be clear, Beck was ALWAYS an over-the-top conservative entertainer. He did well at CNN and iwas the host of the 3rd most popular show on radio. Nobody was calling for his head. He wasn't the Worst Person in the World for Olbermann every other night, and he certainly never showed in the NY Times or on sites like Digg. Yet, now that he is affiliated with the Fox News brand, the left has gone ballistic! Olbermann claims he is responsible for encouraging the guy who went nuts and killed 3 cops in Pittsburgh. Colbert and Jon Stewart have all of a sudden taken an interest in mocking him. The NY Times wrote a cover story about him. Being the conservative that I am, I think they do these things out of fear because Beck has caught fire at Fox News and is speaking to a much larger audience. They are now threatened by him. So what's his shtick and why are the fans loving him? Glenn hits such a range of personalities during the course of his show (self-deprecating comedian, angry populist, teary-eyed patriot, paranoid harbinger of doom) that you can't help but be entertained. He has been predicting this mess of an economy at least a year or two in advance of it actually happening. Since the start of the mess in October, he's been predicting a march towards Socialism (and with the Govt. firing and influencing CEOS of once-private companies, might he be on to something?) Incidentally, I love how the new word that the Dems don't want people associating with them is "socialism." In 2004, John Kerry did everything he could to distance himself from the "liberal" label because he thought it would freak people out. Now, we are okay with liberal but just don't mention "socialism." Anyway, Beck's success is unheard of for a 5:00 pm show (eat it, Around the Horn) since he's already the 3rd most popular cable news show. Is the left too late in trying to stop him?
- The Old PA license plates (like these)
- Kennywood (Phantom, Thunderbolt, Paddle Boats, Paratrooper, Turnpike, the Arcade, etc.)
- Some guy wearing a Lambert jersey (but why did it have the Steeler logo on the chest?)
- The skyline of Pittsburgh
- The Iron City Beer sign
- Bill Hader's Mustache
- The soundtrack was almost non-stop (like Am. Grafitti), but the songs always seemed to feel right, as opposed to distracting (WATCHMEN, anyone?)
10. The Tailies
LOST was riding high at the end of season one thanks to its 20 million viewers (isn't it weird that the lowest rated ep. from season one was the awesome Jack-centric "White Rabbit," and the highest rated episode from season one was the stinky Kate-centric "Whatever the Case May Be" (That's also when Sayid started getting close to Shannon. Barf.) But anyway, Season 2 started off with an astounding 23 million viewers, but that number dropped more and more each week. Why? My belief is that it is the stupid tailies fault. In an effort to keep things fresh, the writers brought in the survivors from the tail section of the plane, but that meant giving even less screen time to the 12 or so main characters from season 1. One episode (the Other 48 days) was an exclusive Tailie episode. I think that the new viewers that signed up for Season 2 didn't get that a lot of the big guns were only in one scene each week. And what have the Tailies done since arriving? Eko was killed in Season 3 (he quit the show), The DUI sisters were dropped at the end of season 2, and Bernard is the only one left alive (but is currently MIA). It wouldn't bother me so much except that these characters contribute almost nothing to the overall mythology of the show. They didn't solve any big mysteries or create many big events. They were just some extra pieces brought in to be moved by bigger and better characters. I think we can all agree that we would've rather seen more Locke, Jack, and even Charlie than these bums. (For all the screen time they got that year, they were outdone by the other new addition that year... Henry Gale)
9. Anthony Cooper Goes to the Island
In season 3 (the Man From Tallahassee) when Ben talked about a magic box that could give you anything you ever wanted, would any of us expect that something to be Locke's dad?!?!? No, because this is one of the worst twists that the smug writers could ever come up with. The fact that Cooper is also the original Sawyer who caused the murder-suicide is actually a great twist. But for us to believe that Alpert and the Others kidnapped Cooper, brought him to the Island on the sub just so Locke could kill him is a bit of a stretch. I don't see why Locke having to kill his dad is a prerequisite for joining the Others, and I just sour about the whole thing. Wouldn't it have been cooler if the original Sawyer, after conning the Fords, left and joined the Dharma Iniative? Wouldn't it have been better that when Sawyer travels back in time to the 70s, only then does he encounter some guy with "Sawyer" on his jumpsuit. Plus, he couldn't kill him without compromising his position with the Dharma folks, so who knows how long he would've had to wait. Admit it; my story is ten times better than loser Sawyer giving papa Locke the Jabba treatment in the Black Rock.
8. The Significance of Aaron
Ever since the beginning, Aaron was supposed to be this incredibly unique child. He was born on the Island. The psychic said that he was not to be raised by another. Well Kate raised him for 3 years and then left him behind with his grandma. I guess you could even say that Claire was punished for NOT giving him up (she is now hanging with her undead pops in the cabin). The Others wanted to cut the kid out of her but failed. Big deal. Unless the Losties get off the Island AGAIN, which doesn't seem likely, we may never see Aaron ever again (and really, none of us want to).
7. The Hydra Station
Season 3 started off with such a bang. We were finally going to learn about the Others and find out why they have this beef with our castaways. But the first 3rd of the season took place in those lame cages. The story was almost always focused on Jack, Sawyer, or Kate, leaving Locke and Co. in the dust. The scenery never changed, and then when they finally broke out of the lame cages, LOST went on a 3 month break. The writers like to excuse this by saying "Well, we felt metaphorically that we were trapped in cages because LOST didn't have an end date." Great. You suck.
6. Time Travel Conundrums
I've always thought that if you're going to introduce time travel into any movie or show, you have to be wary about how you use it because everything has to fit. There must be no room for "Well... that doesn't seem right." Give credit to the dopey writers of Lost for taking us to the 70s, but there are still some questions to be asked. For instance, at the end of Season 3, Ben, on the radio, orders the deaths of Jin, Sayid, and Bernard. How can he do this when he knows that Jin and Sayid end up in the 70s with the Dharma folk? At the beginning of Season 3, Ben okays the execution of Sawyer via angry Pickett. How can he order this when he knows Sawyer ends up in the 70s? Why would Ben tempt fate like this? Just saying that "whatever happens is supposed to happen" is a cop out. We know that Ben has some memory of the past because he remembers Juliet (remember the loser therapist saying she looks just like her?), so how can he remember her and not remember LaFleur? How could he not remember Sayid as the guy who shot him 30 years ago? How could he not remember Miles (when he walked in demanded millions of dollars) as the security guy from 30 years ago? Why was he surprised when Bentham told him that Jin was alive when he knows that Jin ends up in the 70s, alive and well? Only some of this could be explained by...
5. Baby Ben Forgets His Past
The premier example of lazy writing. I was much happier thinking that Ben knew all along what Sayid was (he seems to imply this at Habitat for Humanity) and chose to play it close to the vest like he does with, oh I dunno, EVERY OTHER BIG SECRET! Ben is notorious for lying and hiding the whole story, this could've been the best example of that. Instead, Dick Alpert takes him down into and robs the kid of innocence in a sleazy, Jessica's law kind of way. I refuse to believe that Ben would have no memory of his time with Lafleur, Juliet, Jin, and Miles.
4. The Significance of Walt
Even more so than Aaron, Walt was the "special" one on the Island. He could make birds commit suicide! He made us believe that he manifested that polar bear from the comic book! There was so much for potential for what could become of Walt. The Others went after him just like they went after Aaron, yet in the end, Walt sails away with his dad and never looks back. He ends up hating his dad for what he did to Libby and Ana Lucia, and just when you think that he might be coming back, Bentham decides to not invite him. What a waste...
3. Kate's Reduced Sentence
Not only was Kate guilty of pre-meditated murder, but she also ran from the law numerous times, caused the death of her old boyfriend, and robbed a bank. When she finally was brought before a judge, her defense was "he deserved getting blown up, and oh, by the way, 5 years later I would crash on the Island and, according to my buddy Jack, I turn out to be a pretty swell hero." And just because her mom refuses to testify, she gets ZERO prison time!?!?! She is given 10 years probation and is not allowed to leave the state (which she ends up doing, anyway). Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
2. Season 3 Flashbacks
In season one, using flashbacks as a storytelling device was a fresh and original idea. We got to learn about Locke's past as a pussy cripple. We got to see Jack's drunkard of a father. And we got to find out all the skeletons in the castaways closets. In season 2, we were still happy to see more Sawyer cons and Sayid torturing his superior officer in Iraq. We even got some fresh meat from the Tailies (meh) and Desmond in the big finale. But in Season 3, the device starts to fall to pieces. Fantastic flashbacks from Ben, Juliet, Desmond, and Hurley couldn't save it, either. This season would have Sun cheating on Jin with the bald manky English teacher, Locke working on a weed farm (!?!?!), and goth Claire in the hospital. Oh, and how about the widely recognized (even by Cuse and Lindleof) WORST episode in series history, Stranger in a Strange Land? "Let's tell a story about Jack's tattoos!!!!" In the old days, when Andy, Dave and I would watch LOST in the dorms, there was build-up and anticipation when the episode started because we wanted to know who the focus of the flashback was. But around this time in Season 3, we really just wanted to get back to the Island events.
1. Nikki and Paulo
They tried adding castaways from the other end of the plan and failed, in my opinion. They tried introducing brand new characters from the Island (the Others), and it was a stroke of genius. In Season 3, the writers thought to themselves "Hey, we've got plenty of castaways walking around in the background, let's try and tell their side of the story." And thus, Nikki and Paolo were abruptly thrown into the mix. It was like the stinky LOST video game, where you bring in some nobody loser to interact with the heavyweights of the show. The characters weren't likable, and frankly, weren't needed. Once again, LOST had plenty of main characters to work with, there was no reason to stretch themselves even thinner. The only redeeming part of their story was Sawyer repeatedly saying "Who the hell is Nikki?" just like the rest of us. And while I did enjoy their fun send off episode (a cool plot if nothing else), these two will never ever ever ever ever be missed. The writers learned their lesson, and next season they brought in some talent fresh off the boat (pun!!!!).
*Posted April 7, 2009*
It's really hard to believe that this website has been going strong for one full year. 99.9% of the credit has to go to Dan for keeping the site afloat and relevant. All I really do is write a few paragraphs every week or so and sometimes do a Top Ten about once a month. Just like the beginning, Top Ten remains heavily conservative and pro-Pittsburgh, which is great. Besides Doc Jensen, this website has some of the most cutting edge LOST content and discussion on the internet. Hopefully Top Ten continues its solid run and makes it through year two as swiftly as it did during year one. When nothing else pops into my mind, I usually write about sports. Here are my Top Ten sports moments from the past year (April 2008-April 2009), and wow, what a great year it has been.
10. 3/28/09 - Villanova 78 Pittsburgh 76 - Even though it was a loss, it was one of the better college basketball games I have ever watched. It was nice to see Pitt make it past the Sweet 16 even though they missed out on the Final Four. This is probably the furthest the Panthers will go in the foreseeable future.
9. 1/11/09 - Steelers 35 Chargers 24 - The ESPN idiots were praising the great Chargers all week. After the Steeler victory, I thought to myself, if the Steelers play to their capabilities, they are going to win the Super Bowl.
8. 5/18/08 - Penguins 6 Flyers 0 - Pundits were saying the edge was with Philly after their game four victory. The Pens quickly put that to rest with an absolute shellacking in game five and moved on to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in roughly 15 years.
7. 12/7/08 - Steelers 20 Cowboys 13 - Romo throwing interceptions and Terrell Owens crying on the sideline. Is there anything better than that for Steeler fans?
6. 4/25/08 - Penguins 5 Rangers 4 - I thought New York may pose a challenge to Pittsburgh in the second round of the playoffs. Things were not looking great with an early 2-0 or 3-0, can't remember, lead for the Rangers. The Pens came storming back and capped it all off with a Sidney Crosby third period go ahead goal. Game one was the turning point of this series and propelled the Pens past the Rangers and subsequently past the Flyers.
5. 12/14/08 - Steelers 13 Ravens 9 - Before this game, I was not the biggest Big Ben supporter. After, I realized he was a true winner.
4. 10/25/08 - Penn State 13 Ohio State 6 - I remember being so nervous beforehand and was just pacing around my living room during the entire game. This was probably Penn State's best road win since the 1980s and propelled them to stay in the hunt for the National Championship Game.
3. 6/2/08 - Penguins 4 Red Wings 3 - After the first two games, I think we realized it would take a monumental effort to beat the mighty wings, but this game made Penguin fans believe. Marc-Andre Fleury moved into the upper echelon of NHL goaltenders, and Petr Sykora capped off a game for the ages.
2. 1/18/09 - Steelers 23 Ravens 14 - Pittsburgh's first home win in an AFC Championship game since the Jim Harbaugh game in early 1996. Top it off with a victory over the most hated Ravens, then you have an easy pick for inclusion towards the top of this list.
1. 2/1/09 - Steelers 27 Cardinals 23 - The James Harrison interception. The Ben Roethlisberger drive. The Santonio Holmes catch. What a game, and what a way to cap off Pittsburgh's magical season. If you are from the Pittsburgh area and were born after 1980, this is probably the greatest game of your life, and along with the 2005 season, the greatest feeling a Pittsburgh fan can have.
*Posted April 7, 2009*
With apologies to Barry Obama, there might no other person in the country more polarizing than OctoMom, whatever her name is. We all know the story. This mentally sick woman was sad as a kid growing up by herself, so, father figure be damned, she decided to artificially give birth to a total of 14 sprouts. We can blame her fertility doctor for loading her up with 8 embryos even though she couldn't afford the 6 kids she aleady had (the doc is responsible for those, too). We could blame OctoMom for firing the FREE NANNIES that were helping her at home. But the end, we should blame the American people who sympathized with her and donated enough money so she could afford to go shopping for million-dollar homes. As my brother said (and emailed to her), he already donates enough to her through the taxes that most honest Americans have to pay. Freeloaders suck, and so does the OctoMom, the Top Ten 2008-09 Worst Person of the Year!
*Posted April 7, 2009*
The subject of 3 separate Top 10s and it's own themed week (Issue 37), LOST roared back in a big way. We can all agree that Season 3 started slow, but the second half of season 3, all of season 4, and just about all of Season 5 have been nearly perfect. Despite only having one headline, I wouldn't be surprised if we talked about LOST more than any other topic on this site, and for reason. I'd like to take a moment and remind everyone that both Andy and Dave would be clueless about the show if it wasn't for me. When I was a sophomore, I skipped an afternoon of classes and forced Andy to watch disc 1. Later that week, I forced Dave to watch disc 1. From then on out, we watched Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 together, hatching crazy theories, predictions, and lame jokes. It kind of sucks watching Season 5 by myself, but Mrs. Herb is slowly becoming a fan. If I ever wanted to pull a Kutner, I would at least wait until the end of the show before blowing my brains out.
*Posted April 7, 2009*
Another subject that was discussed in depth, I regret not doing a Steelers-themed week. Still, we covered the draft, preseason predictions (we were all wayyyyy off), midseason reviews, the playoffs, the super bowl, and the aftermath. Much like the Dark Knight, I grow tired of showering superlatives on this season. So for the final time this calendar year, our hats off to the best finish of any sports season of my lifetime. Next year's draft is almost upon us, and then the dance begins again...
*Posted April 7, 2009*
Our second themed issue (#14), Batman week, much like Indy Week, was done to analyze and rank all the previous films and buzz about the upcoming release. I'd probably argue that the most exciting movie moment prior to the film's release was the grainy pirated Dark Knight trailer that we watched nonstop for an entire weekend. TDK was the biggest movie event of the year starring the biggest performance of the year. It was the subject of 2 separate Top Tens (Top 10 Batman Villains, Top 10 potential villains/actors for Batman 3). Andy, Dave, and myself all had this as the number one movie of the year, and it easily won the Best Picture FLOBY. There's no point in praising this film anymore than we already did.
*Posted April 7, 2009*
Not only was Indiana Jones 4 the first article in our first issue, it also was our first themed week (Issue 7). In Issue 2, Dave placed Indy at the top of the Harrison Ford "Best Characters" list. In Issue 8, I broke down the film (earned a B) and compared it to the other films (it ranked 4th out of 4). My sister placed Indy 4 has her 3rd favorite film of 2008 (she saw over 50 of them). The film even garnered a Best Picture nomination at the FLOBYs. Despite later being outshined by the Dark Knight, Indy proved to be the first big event for the site.
*Posted April 7, 2009*
Pittsburgh will always be known as a Steeler town, but the Pens' run to the Stanley Cup finals was equally as entertaining as the Steelers playoff push in 2005. The Pens rolled through the first three rounds with incredible ease. In one year and 45 issues (including this one), the one article that I had the most fun writing was way back in Issue #4 when I compared (to great lengths) Star Wars and the Pens. If only Malkin didn't have a week long brain fart...*sigh.* Anyway, the Pens (currently the 6th seed) are gearing up for another run. Can anyonebest Malkin and the Kid for 4 out of 7 games?
*Posted April 7, 2009*
The historic showdown between Hil-Rod and Obama was the catalyst that "birthed" this website. I admit that we grew sick and tired of the opinion writers at the PSU Collegian paper (they handled Obama with kid gloves). Soon enough, it seemed every week for the next month or 2 we had a fun article about the campaign. The DNC, RNC, and McCain v. Obama finale was also compelling, but nothing compared to Dick Morris and Bill O' breaking down campagin stump speeches from the Dems. The Presidential campaign was a huge letdown, obviously, but mostly because as the race progressed further and further, McCain's chances circled the drain faster and faster. A lot of us can say that the primary and then the Presidential election made politics interesting for the first ever. No matter the stinky outcome, it was a blast.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOP TEN!
Today, April 7th, this great website officially turns one! And while I would love to spend this week slamming Obama for bowing to the Saudi King, sharing my shock and awe over Dr. Kutner's surprise suicide on House, and getting excited about another Pens playoff run, instead we are going to reflect on the past year. What are the stories that shaped this year?
Who is the Best Person of the Year? (nominees are Michael Emerson, Capt. Sully, and Bill O'Reilly)
Who is the Worst Person of the Year (nominees are Jon Stewart, the Jonas Brothers, and the Octo-mom)?
You'll have to read on to find out...
Bond movies all have the same formula: a short intro scene followed by the credits interposed with the theme song music video. Most of the intros were pretty sweet and Casino Royale was top-notch with the “intro” of Daniel Craig’s character, but Quantum of Solace’s was better. Herb hated the quick action cuts of fighting scenes like a quick shot of a gear, or mirror, hand, etc. It seems a little choppy in the following fight scene with Bond in the castle/temple building, but I believe it works brilliantly here. This scene is already considered to be one of the best car chases in history and probably the best scene of this above average movie, it should also be considered as one of the best opening movie sequences ever.
9. Star Wars - 1977
I remember during the special editions that the audience clapped when the Luscasfilm thing came on screen and continued to go nuts during “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and the scrolling marquee. I’m not even talking about that. How about that effortless Rebel Blockade Runner flying through space and then you see the massive Imperial Star Destroyer chasing and capturing it in its lower haul section, and you get the first glimpse of Darth Vader. Lucas made all six opening shots of his Star Wars movies special and paid homage to a New Hope with the ship approaching Naboo in the Phantom Menace. All in all, nothing beats the first intro in 1977. I still think the scene looks cool in 2009, I can’t imagine what moviegoers were feeling over thirty years ago.
8. The Godfather - 1972
Why is the Godfather one of the best movies of all-time? The story, acting, overall feel, music, nothing held back? Those aspects are all prevalent from this opening scene. Signore Bonasera’s “I believe in America” speech sets the stage for what he wants individually but also gives a quick glimpse of one of the facets of the mafia. The scene is directed beautifully with a close up of Bonasera’s face that slowly moves back to encompass his entire seated body facing Vito Corleone. The scan back ends with the first shot of Corleone’s face, played by Marlon Brando. If you remember by Top Ten overall movie scenes, not just openers, I think I used three scenes from the first two Godfather movies, a list could be made of just Godfather scenes. This sequence didn’t make that cut, but certainly deserves inclusion on this list.
7. The Matrix - 1999
The Top Man management likes to make fun of the Matrix movies but the trilogy is one of the best of all-time and the first two movies are some of the best individual films ever. Like the Star Wars marquee for the Lucas films, all the Matrix movies open with the green Matrix blueprint followed by the opening sequence. In the first Matrix, we are introduced to Trinity and Agent Smith as well as lot of WTF moments. 1999 was the same year as Lucas’ Phantom Menace and the two movies went head to head in all of the special effects Oscar categories. This opening scene shows why the Wachowski Brothers captured most of those awards over the legend George Lucas.
6. Touch of Evil - 1958
Webmaster Herb frowns at old movies so I’ll make this the only one in the Top Ten. A lot of critics say that Orson Welles hit gold with Citizen Kane in 1941, but could never make another movie that was close to the level of that masterpiece. Touch of Evil comes fairly close in my opinion. It is a disturbing film, like a lot of Welles’ movies, with Charleton Heston playing a Mexican detective who matches wits against Welles playing a crooked cop. The film is known publicly for its opening scene in which Welles opens with a shot of a hand and ever slowly pans back. The youtube video calls it a crane shot, and the scene is famously referenced in the opening shot of Robert Altman’s The Player.
5. Saving Private Ryan - 1998
Most of the scenes on this list have famous images or shots that resonate in the viewers mind like the Star Destroyer in the Sky or Trinity hanging in mid-air. The opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan doesn’t really have a strong image for me, other than perhaps Tom Hanks’ shaking hands, but the opening sequence, the landing on Omaha Beach, the first 20-30 minutes of the movie shown in a flashback is the extended sequence that I have chosen to use. The most violent and realistic scene in movie history? Probably, easily in the top 3. Spielberg holds nothing back with views of broken and blown limbs as well as spilled intestines. In 2001, TV Guide ranked this number one on its list of the top Movie Moments of all-time. This is not a quick five minute opening like all others on this list, it’s really just a half-hour of hell that certainly captures the audience’s attention.
4. Jaws - 1975
Steven Spielberg again. His first major movie hit, Jaws, is filtered with many memorable moments and the opening sequence is certainly one of them. It starts out innocent enough with a beach party that leads to a couple running off and the female going into the ocean. It’s pretty chilling when the music starts and Jaws eyes the girl’s dangling legs. The dark ocean and the sense of total loneliness in the water is certainly frightening. Spielberg decision not to show the shark until much later in the film works well for this scene. It’s a great beginning to an outstanding film.
3. Sin City - 2005
Special credit for this selection goes out to disgraced former Top Man writer Dave who showed me this scene on his computer about six months before the movie actually came out. It certainly got me hooked and evoked all that Sin City was about. Sly, sheik, mysterious with a film-noir backdrop. Josh Harnett is a loser, but is pretty sweet as a smooth-talker slash assassin. I didn’t see the hit coming, the scene itself minus the kill would have been a solid opener and good intro for the rest of the movie, but with the big shocker this becomes one of the better opening sequences in movie history.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark - 1981
Lucas and Spielberg seem to dominate this list. The opening of Raiders is the perfect intro for the Indiana Jones character: leather jacket, whip, fedora, and the face of Harrison Ford. The booby-trapped jungle temple is awesome with the numerous tarantulas, the traitor Alfred Molina, and the boulder. The height and climax is when Indy switches the bag of dirt and sand for the gold idol. All three Indiana Jones films, nobody cares about the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, have a solid beginnings, with Shanghai in Temple and the River Phoenix flashback in the Last Crusade. My favorite Indiana Jones scene is probably the Map Room in Raiders, but this opening sequence is not far behind.
1. The Dark Knight - 2008
When I first starting looking at this list, I checked out the one I made for just scenes in general a couple of months ago. This scene was the only one that was on that list. Not much needs to be said about the beginning of the Dark Knight that has not already been discussed. It has the WTF moments like the Matrix, the music that made Star Wars, Jaws, and Raiders so popular, and it has the huge reveal like Darth Vader or Vito Corleone. It is an all-around perfect scene for a near-perfect movie. The first look of Heath Ledger’s Joker, probably the best villain in movie history, is outstanding and stands right next to if not surpassing other great villain intros like Clarice Starling descending to see Hannibal Lector or Anton Chigurh killing the cop with his handcuffs. 2008's best film contains the best opening sequence in the history of movies.