Friday, February 26, 2010

Pic of the Week: Seinsmeld

The best Seinfeld scene you've never seen performed...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


When we last met, FLOBY was crowning the Dark Knight as the best film of 2008. Since then, we were both wowed and disappointed by the best and worst cinema had to offer in 2009; and at long last, the FLOBYs have returned to us. Here's some quick analysis as to who should and, more importantly, WILL win the 2009 FLOBY awards (and let's not forget, I went 3/3 on my predictions last year).

2009 FLOBY Best Actress Nominees

Amy Adams - Sunshine Cleaning
Marion Cotillard - Public Enemies
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mélanie Laurent - Inglourious Basterds
Zoe Saldana - Avatar

WHO SHOULD WIN: Anna Kendrick hands down. I'll admit that I was floored by Zoe Saldana's motion capture work, but she's really the only competition this year, in my opinion. Kendrick's supporting role as Natalie Keener in Up in the Air had the most nuanced character arc of any of the nominees. She started as an unlikeable, overconfident, and naive new-hire, a rival of Smug Clooney's old school charm. But as the movie progresses, she is humbled, relaxed, and humanized. At 24, you don't see many young actresses with the stones to take on veterans like Clooney and Vera Farmiga, but Kendrick owns the movie and should get the FLOBY.

WHO WILL WIN: The Amy Adams nomination reeks of Dave still being bitter for her not winning the FLOBY for Enchanted, but hopefully not enough people saw that movie, so she won't get the necessary support. Marion Cotillard is cruising on her Oscar win, but Public Enemies was mostly panned by critics, and MVP awards normally go to players on the best teams (in this case, films). So who does that leave? Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna Dreyfus, the movie theater owner plotting revenge against the Nazis... and the real competition, Zoe Saldana. Avatar was probably seen by 90% of the Academy, and most were blown away by her mo-cap acting ability. Also, she was shut out from all major awards because her character was computer-animated, so maybe the voters have a chip on their shoulder and want to see her win one. Never underestimate the underdog, and I haven't. That's why Saldana walks away with FLOBY gold.

2009 FLOBY Best Actor Nominees

George Clooney - Up in the Air
Sharlto Copley - District 9
Liam Neeson - Taken
Brad Pitt - Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

WHO SHOULD WIN: Like the Best Actress race, this one has a winner who is clearly most deserving. SHARLTO COPLEY anchored a low-budget, politically charged science fiction film that went on to receive an Oscar nomination for BEST PICTURE (interesting that FLOBY felt differently...). I've seen all of these performances, and Copley is simply a juggernaut on screen. He starts as an innocent, happy government worker in charge of evicting the Prawns. As he goes from being the oppressor to the oppressed, he lays on the frustration, desperation, and genuine heartbreak that only acting heavyweights like De Niro, Gibson, and Ford are capable of. Bear in mind that every single documentary scene (pretty much the first half of the movie) is improvised by Copley. Also bear in mind that HE IS NOT EVEN AN ACTOR. THIS IS HIS FIRST MOVIE. Checkmate... Wikus Van De Merwe.

WHO WILL WIN: There is some great depth in this year's race. I enjoyed Smug Clooney's work in Up in the Air, Liam Neeson dominated Taken, and Brad Pitt's (*another two-time nominee*) goofy face/accent was worth rooting for in Inglourious Basterds, but this is a two-horse race, gentlemen. It comes down to Copley and Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa. For a Tarantino movie, we naturally expect gruesome violence, so color me surprised when the famous Jew Hunter interrogates his suspects not with torture, but charm and grace. He already knows the answers to the questions he asks, and he mentally wears down his opponents as if he was playing chess with them. Now, if the occasion calls for him to be violent, he's certainly not against it (which is an awesome scene), but the first scene of that movie sticks out as one of my favorite scenes of the year. Since District 9 didn't get a Best Picture nod and Basterds earned a record 4 FLOBY nominations, expect Waltz to wrap this one up.

2009 FLOBY Best Movie Nominees

Inglourious Basterds
The Hangover
Up in the Air

WHO SHOULD WIN: Epic fantasy vs. Gruesome War Spaghetti Western vs. Raucous Comedy vs. Animated Family Film vs. Low Key Drama. This race couldn't be more wide open, as all of these movies are fantastic. On my year end ballot, these are 5 of my top 6 movies of the year (District 9 was my second favorite... whatever). But of these nominees, only one film combines clever laughs with an emotionally moving story, and that film was Up. First senior citizen protagonist in a CG film? Check. First big role for an Asian in a Pixar film? Check. Taking the "talking dog" staple in cartoons and turning it on it's head? Check! No other movie this year left the audience in tears after the first ten minutes WITHOUT SAYING A WORD. Basterds was too spread out over several storylines, and not in a good way like Pulp Fiction. Avatar's story was the least original story of the year. The Hangover was hilarious, but there's nothing else there. And Up in the Air is probably only appealing to white collar workers who enjoy Indie movies. Up may have had dogs steering airplanes with a chew toy, but it's got phenomenal visuals, the best score of the year (Golden Globes agree), characters you can invest in, and the all-around best story of the year.

WHO WILL WIN: As much as it pains me to say this, I believe Avatar has the best shot of winning Best Picture. A big chunk of this game is just getting you to see the movie, and no movie was seen more than Avatar. Voters who didn't see Up and Up in the Air will leave them at the bottom of the list. Most everyone probably saw the Hangover, Avatar, and Inglourious Basterds. Avatar will edge out the Hangover because of it's jaw-dropping scope and scale, and it will edge out IB because IB is such a genre or niche film. Avatar's technological prowess is impressive, but they've rehashed the same story we've seen a dozen times and don't realize it. In the end, its mass appeal, mainstream story, and fancy 3D effects will carry Jay's favorite film of 09 to victory.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LOST Running Diary: Lighthouse

I regret not live blogging the first epic episode of the year (and one of the last Locke-centric stories we'll see), and I won't make that mistake twice. Tonight, Doc Shephard is batting cleanup and he's going to bring it hard. Last week, Terry O'Quinn showed up the entire cast, and if anyone can match the intensity, it's Big Jack (and hopefully Christian as well).

8:59 - Isn't it great that we don't have to wait until 9:02 to start episodes thanks to Grey's Anatomy running over?
9:00 - Previously on LOST.... we showed everyone how dumb the Temple is... and now we'll bring Claire back. -1
9:01 - Looks like LOST is sticking with the mirror motif as seen in every other episode this season... and another mysterious scar for Jack. I'm intrigued. +2
9:02 - So much for a mysterious scar, it's from the appendectomy that he got as a kid (or rather the one Juliet gave him in season 4). The timelines are beginning to merge!!! +2
9:03 - Nice to see Jack still driving the junky Jeep in the alt. timeline.
"I'm sorry, David."
"It's okay, Dad." WHAT?!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??! Who's the mom? Hot Sarah from Modern Family?!?!? +10
9:04 - JACOB RETURNS!?!?!?! So does the awesome Jacob music. And he says that someone is coming to the Island and Hurley has the help them find it!!! Could it be Desmond... Widmore? Could it be the person that Jacob was referring to in the finale when he said "They're coming?" +8

Commercial Break 1: Here's your answer, and it's so simple. The people are coming from the OTHER TIMELINE!!!!

9:07 - Looks like David is having good old Daddy issues, like every other Shephard. But just like regular Jack, flashsideways Jack is showing infinite patience. I would've punched that kid in the face a long time ago. I mean, what kind of jerk kid doesn't want to visit Grandma? -3
9:09 - Stupid Claire returns, looking pretty terrible. I already don't care about her and Jin. -5
9:10 - Hurley is on his way to probably light the Lighthouse. "Nothin... just, you know, looking... because I'm a big fan of temples... and, uh, history.... Indiana Jones stuff." Hurley is having an awesome episode. "I'm a candidate and I can do what I want." "Why don't you go back to the courtyard?" Three straight zingers from Hugo!!!!!!!! Holy crap, I can't even type fast enough to explain how fantastic and hilarious this sequence was. Dogen, Hurley, and Jacob might steal this episode. +15

Commercial Break 2: Dave correctly points out that the "You have what it takes?" line that Jacob fed to Hurley to convince Jack to go may have to do with the Season 1 episode, White Rabbit. After getting his ass kicked, kid Jack went to Christian, who told him "Don't try to be the hero, Jack.... cause when you fail... you just don't have what it takes."

9:18 - Woo. Hoo. More Claire. Just to show you how inept Claire is, even though she spent the same amount of time on the Island as Rose and Bernard, she could only manage building a rundown homeless shelter while they had a legit house. Oh, and she also has some crazy Aaron sacrifice goin on.... insane... -6
9:19 - She is definitely Rousseau volume 2. Catchin' Others, preaching about Infections, going baby-crazy... at least Rousseau was hot. Says the black Other, "If we don't get out of here now, she's going to kill us both." I'm dying from boredom... -4
9:20 - Ohhhhhh great. Jack stumbles upon useless Kate and breaks some bad news to her about Claire. Dave's quip: "I almost shot you, Jack. More like she almost shot at him and hit the tree 5 feet away from him instead." "Dude, Jacob said just you and me... she's kinda not invited." Hugo is slaying me with his zingers. Anytime someone bashes Kate right in front of her, sign me up. +8
9:23 - Christian Shephard's will... time for a bombshell? Nevermind, it's about stupid Claire Littleton. -1
9:25 - Congrats to Kwon Jin Soo for the weekly "Why would I do that?" line. +3
9:26 - Any ideas on Claire's "friend?" Jacob? Charlie? Smokey? I'm trying really hard to care about this. +1

Commercial Break 3: I think we can all agree that Claire is going to grease that Other. I should also probably add the Shephard family reunion (Jack, Claire, and Christian) to my season wishlist only because we need to see some more Jack tears. The over/under on seconds until Jack cries when they meet up is 12.5 seconds. I dare you to take the over.

9:30 - Hurley is wearing the biggest t-shirt/mumu I've ever seen. Jack wisely admits that he'd make a terrible father, which he is in the sideways universe. THE CAVES!!!!! What a welcome return! Will we learn the identities of Adam and Eve? "I was chasing the ghost of my dead father." Has Jack ever been more willing to share info with others than this season? I'm loving it. +15
9:32 - Before I could make a joke about deadbeat dads and pizza, Dave beat me to it. "Best dad ever. Estranged doctor dads who have their kids for the weekend think alike." HAH! As Smokey would say, "Inside joke..." +5
9:34 - Ohhhhh, could it be.... YES!!! JACK'S CRYING!!!! Combine that with Daddy issues and jungle treks, and this is classic LOST. +10
9:35 - Why is Jack here? "I came back here because I was broken. And I was stupid enough to think this place could fix me." HUGE. +5
9:36 - And there's the lighthouse... with a heavy taste of CG graphics. "Why haven't we seen this before?" Good question, Jack. We are thinking the same thing... -5
9:38 - Kill him, Claire... Kill him! Jin spills his guts about Aaron (shouldn't he have done that a while ago?) And yes! Claire does her first cool thing in years and guts the Other. +2

Commercial Break 4: Okay, it's time to ask the obvious. Kate is looking for Claire, but Claire wants Aaron back, and you can bet that the writer's will mine that emotional gold by reuniting mother with son. Jacob announced the arrival of someone important. Jack and Hurley are about to light up the house. So I ask, will that person be... Aaron?

9:42 - I'm liking this lighthouse trek music... and the doc kickin' down doors. Try not to faint, ladies. +2
9:43 - Little Dave Shephard is playing the worst song in piano history. It would be cooler if he was playing the chords to LOST favorite "Life and Death," the same song Jack played in Season 3 on pian0. DOGEN!!!!!!! "How rong has he been praying?" Deadbeat Dad doesn't know... -3
9:46 - Yep. He said 108 degrees. Wait-- there is a lot of freaky crap happening right now in the lighthouse. Jack is seeing visions of temples and buildings, the freakin' NUMBERS are written on the dial!!! I'm definitely rewinding and looking at those names later. WHOA!!!! When the dial is turned to 23 degrees (Shephard), his childhood house appears in the mirror. MIND. FUCKING. BLOWN. (Jack tears thrown in for good measure). +25
9:48 - Oooooooooooo Jack does something that old Man of Science Jack would do: bash the mirror because of a lack of answers. What a waste.... +5

Commercial Break 5: Okay, a lot of info to quickly digest. Too bad we won't get to see what was in the mirror for the other castaway's degrees. And too bad that they can't set it at 108 degrees to steer in our mystery guest. And too bad Jacob didn't show up and save the day with his smirk and stubble. Christian still has not appeared, and I wish I would've paid more attention to the credits to see if he's even in it.

9:52 - Time for the flashsideways climax. DON'T BE THE HERO, DAVID!!! Jack is bustin out the greatest Dad speech/Jack tears in show history. I may have to Skype my Pops in Paraguay and tell him I have what it takes. +15
9:55 - Jacob and his smirk!!! "You have ink on your forehead." Classic Jacob. "Jack is here because he has to do something."
9:57 - Something bad is coming to the Temple. Is Smokey too simple to be the answer? +10
9:58 - Hmmm... Jin is laying on the lies big time, and stupid Claire is buying every word. What an idiot. "If Kate was raising Aaron, I'd Kill her." Kate sucks. So does Claire. SMOKEY IS HER FRIEND. WE KINDA THOUGHT THAT BUT ITS STILL SWEET. +20

L O S T.

Totally arbitrary final score: 135, the highest in running diary history by far.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOST Review: The Substitute

Similar to how “Walkabout” set the stage for the kind of show LOST would be (MINDBLOWING), “The Substitute” (another fantastic Locke story) sets the stage for how the show wants to end. It more than makes up for last week’s stinker episode, and really, who didn’t expect that? I’ll take Locke over Kate every single time… even Jacob knows enough to keep useless Kate off his candidate list. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve let this episode marinate in my head long enough… here’s a quick breakdown of 6.04:

  • STILL LEFT GUESSING: After 5 seasons and change, you’d think we’d be able to better predict the actions of the main characters, but I’m not exactly sure what Sawyer will do with Smokey. He already tried to pull a fast one on him by drawing his gun, but he correctly assumed that this “thing” wouldn’t go down from a bullet. He could still be in “long con” mode, patiently waiting for whatever might bring Smokey down, but can we be so sure of that? Like he told Jack in the premiere, he “HAD A LIFE!!!” And since Juliet is gone, he might genuinely be in self-destruction mode. I don’t think Sawyer really cares about Jacob and the numbers and candidate talk, but I kinda believe that he does want the hell of the Island.
  • SPEAKING of STILL GUESSING…. : An even bigger mystery is the debate over which person is good and which person is evil. Okay, we all saw Smokey through the white rock resembling Jacob into the ocean, but like Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, these labels aren’t so cut and dry. From the information we’ve received from both sides, Smokey is all about free will and choice. He wants everyone to see the truth, and wants them to make their own decisions. It’s probably because he wants to prove to Jacob that, when choices are left entirely to humans, they choose self-preservation over anything else (example: Kate always runs… probably why she’s not a candidate). Smokey isn’t afraid to steer people towards this path, because he’ll take on the visage of those most important to you (Yemi, Alex, Christian, a horse) to make you do what he wants. Think about Eko. The first time Eko meets Smokey, he is still torn with guilt over causing the death of his brother, Yemi. Smokey probably thinks he can use Eko by appearing as Yemi, just like he controlled Ben by being Alex. Sounds like a good plan right? BUT WAIT. In season 3, Eko sees Yemi and no longer feels guilty for what happened. Smokey’s response? Smashing Eko to bits. Oooooo, starting to make sense, right?

  • AND WHAT ABOUT JACOB: Well, Jacob is the benevolent overseer of the Island, and I guess he wants to prove to Smokey that faith in humans will prevail. What rules do they play by? I think that Jacob is allowed to handpick those that he feels are worthy enough to run Smokey’s gauntlet. He selects Alpert from the Black Rock, Rousseau, Widmore, Ben, Juliet, Desmond, 815, and a whole bunch of other people, and he orchestrates their arrival to the Island. Once there, it’s up to Smokey to interfere, corrupt, and sometimes kill them. Since Smokey changed the rules by using a loophole to kill him, Jacob changes the rules by finally appearing on Island. To my knowledge, the first time he directly alters on-Island is events is when he tells Hurley to save one of his candidates, Sayid. Now that Smokey is seeing some little brat who says “You can’t kill him,” you can bet that shit is going to hit the fan. Jacob has some crazy miracle in his bag that we haven’t seen yet.
  • FLASHSIDEWAYS: Honestly, the novelty is wearing off in bizarro world. I’m not a fan of “Ooooo look, Ethan’s a good guy! Locke and his dad are really friends! Rose finds Locke a job…. with European history teacher Ben Linus!!!” We get it, their lives intersect regardless of the universe, but there better be a big payoff here. That said, seeing Locke with Helen did sorta warm my heart, and it’s awesome seeing how different real-Locke is from Smokey-Locke. Terry O’Quinn is a locke (get it?) for his second Emmy. And finally, I was really hoping that Locke had hung up on Jack instead of his secretary.

  • THE NUMBERS: I’m really hoping that this is how LOST answers mysteries this season. I’d hate for them to explain every single facet (again, the Midichlorian theory). If this is all we ever heard about the numbers, I’d be fine with that. Even though Hurley didn’t see them (which would’ve been better), we at least get to experience Jacob’s fabled “list” of people. If you believe Smokey, these people are candidates to take over Jacob’s role as Island protector. Another theory I’m thinking of right now? That’s Smokey’s cave, and he has the same knowledge of the candidates as Jacob. He wrote the list of people that he would have to take down in order to sink the Island and get out of there. Eagle-eyed viewers out there would have seen other familiar names on the wall like LEWIS (for Charlotte “Staples Center” Lewis). The sad thing is, that cave is not really accessible, so I doubt we’ll be visiting it again any time soon…
kinda looks like......... Aaron... doesn't it?

  • WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE: Sheriff Jack is still holding down the fort at the Temple with Sayid, Hurley, and Miles. Since Kate is a weak, dependent woman, she’s going to do what she always does when she’s turned down by Sawyer… slink back to Jack. Claire is now prowling the Jungle with Jin, who’s still looking for Sun. And where else can Ilana, Sun, Lapidus (Mr. One-liner), and Ben go but the temple? Will anyone else join Locke and Sawyer? There’s a good bet that Claire is already on that team, so her and Jin might.

Top 10 Wishlist for the Rest of the Season

10. Jin/Sun reunion

9. Lapidus and Ilana hooking up

8. The moment when Flash-sideways “déjà-vu” becomes full-blown “I remember the Island!?!?”

7. Finding out which regular castaway dies (easy money is on Kate)

6. Ben overthrowing Dogen as king of the Temple

5. Jack and Locke’s consult


3. Real Locke coming back to life


1. A conversation between Jack and Smokey-Locke

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RIP Capt. Phil Harris

Phil Harris sadly passed away after complications from the stroke he suffered last week. Last season on the Deadliest Catch, he nearly died when a blood clot traveled from his leg through his heart and into his lungs. Despite the doctor's protests, he returned to the helm of the Cornelia Marie. Whether his stroke was related to that, I'm sure we'll find out, but at least he went out doing what he loves, with his sons by his side. In one of the deadliest professions, where crew members die every year because of the sea, it's strange to see Phil go because of this.

Phil was a prototypical fisherman... a gruff, stubborn, smoking sonuvabitch, and it was entertaining as hell watching him fish this last couple years. Check out the Northwestern's site for their tribute, the Cornelia Marie's tribute, or Entertainment Weekly's top Phil moments.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LOST Review: What Kate Does

Here's a quick breakdown on what I thought of Episode 6.03:
  • We've finally been told what the "sickness" is. If a person is brought back to life outside of normal means (if you consider the spring in the Temple "normal"), a darkness grows inside them and begins to "claim" them. This happened with Robert, Rousseau's husband, and since she was able to kill him with a bullet, we can assume these zombies aren't manifestations of the Man in Black. Only Locke is the true MiB, and people like Claire (and Christian?) are regular zombies. Question: Are they really evil as Dogen suggests, or merely representations of free will that the MiB supports?
  • Outside of the sickness explanation, this episode sucked.
  • Wow, I hate Claire and Kate. For some reason, the writers didn't learn from their mistake in Season 1. KATE SHOULD NOT FOLLOW PREMIERE EPISODES. You need an unselfish contact hitter batting in the #2 spot, not an emotionally dependent slut.
  • Funniest line in the episode: Jack being tough and asking if he said something funny, and Lennon quips, "I doubt it... you don't have a sense of humor."
  • Second funniest line: Kate saying "I can be very persuasive when I want to be." Really Kate? REALLY? Because it seems like you spent 5 seasons hanging on Jack and Sawyer's word. In fact, I'm struggling to think of a time you convinced anyone of anything. Remember when Sawyer pulled a fast one on you during the Long Con? Remember when Jack convinced you to agree with him WHENEVER HE WANTED?!? I guess not...
  • I bet Jin has been waiting years to tell Kate off, and he finally stuck it to her.
  • What is wrong with this country?!?!? Two separate people not only cooperate, BUT ACTUALLY HELP a murderer. Unbelievable. As Dave pointed out, "how bout a pregnant lady befriending her captor because she didnt want to wait 10 minutes for the bus." Exactly. They took the two worst characters and gave them half the episode.
  • Little thing that continues to bug me: Kate leaves the Temple, and in the next scene she's strolling into the Barracks. That must be an 8 hour trek.
  • Medium thing that continues to bug me: The writers bringing back Ethan again and again. He was so badass in season 1, and now he's just laughable. Thanks, writers...
  • Huge thing that continues to bug me: This started in Season 3 with the infamous cages. Since the cast is split between two groups, we have to spend whole episodes away from half of the story. Thanks for not giving us more Locke and Ben...

Hey, why weren't we in this episode? I dunno...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV

great article

Saints trash Peyton Manning’s legacy


the Kansas City Star

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. | Rush Limbaugh was right after all. We, the mainstream media, have been desirous. We’ve spent more than a decade trying to hype Peyton Manning into the Babe Ruth of football.

The job is too big for two Mannings, let alone Peyton, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.

Down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, 5 yards from a first down and 31 yards short of a tie score, Manning tossed his Ruthian legacy into the arms of Tracy Porter, throwing the interception that decided the game and, in all likelihood, cemented Manning’s reputation as a big-game disappointment.

Porter, a New Orleans defensive back, dashed 74 yards and across the goal line with Manning’s gift, sealing the Saints’ 31-17 shocker and permanently scarring a Colts season that at one time threatened history.

Forgive me for not celebrating New Orleans’ amazing victory, a triumph that symbolizes a great city’s rebirth and resiliency, quarterback Drew Brees’ rising star and coach Sean Payton’s fearless decision-making and leadership.

But the story is Manning and the Colts and what was thrown away late in the regular season and late in the fourth quarter Sunday night.

Having turned down a chance to duplicate the ’72 Dolphins by resting their starters the final two weeks of the regular season, Manning and the Colts arrived at Sun Life Stadium chasing a legacy and a dynasty.

The pundits predicted Sunday’s game would establish Manning as the greatest quarterback of all time, surpassing Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, John Elway and Tom Brady.

On the basis of Indy’s 10 playoff appearances in 11 seasons and possible second world title, Bill Polian, the general manager of the Colts, suggested the Colts were the team of the new millennium, better than even the New England Patriots.

Now what?

No way Brady, Montana or Elway throws the Favrelike interception Manning uncorked Sunday night. And no way can you compare the Colts to the any of the great football dynasties. The appropriate comparison is to baseball’s Atlanta Braves, winners of 14 consecutive division crowns and just one World Series.

Manager Bobby Cox is the face of Atlanta’s “underachievement.” Manning will be the face of Indy’s.

Manning, an All-American at Tennessee, entered the NFL with questions about his playmaking ability in big games. The Volunteers finally won a national championship the year after Manning departed for the NFL.

It took nine seasons, a Herculean defensive effort and three Adam Vinatieri field goals to secure Manning’s first Super Bowl victory. Despite a poor playoff run and an average performance in the 2006 Super Bowl, we, the mainstream media, awarded Manning the game’s MVP trophy.

This season, despite better statistical performances by Brees, Brett Favre and Philip Rivers, we, the mainstream media, handed Manning his fourth MVP trophy.

We love Peyton Manning. We want him to be the Michael Jordan of football, the Tiger Woods of football, the Wayne Gretzky of football.

Manning is Phil Mickelson, a wonderful talent who lacks the killer instinct of a great champion.

Despite our desires, we’re best served looking for our football superman in another uniform. Perhaps it’s Brees, the MVP of Sunday’s game. He tied Brady’s record for completions in a Super Bowl, connecting on 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two TDs.

Brees was flawless. Abandoned by his running game, Brees carried the New Orleans offense with a controlled passing game. His longest pass was a 27-yarder. He mostly worked the underneath routes, hitting timing patterns.

Despite a 10-0 first-quarter hole, Brees never flinched. He consistently produced multiple-play drives that kept Manning on the sideline. And Brees took full advantage of the game’s most daring play — Sean Payton’s decision to open the second half with an onside kick. Brees marched the Saints 58 yards and into the end zone for a 13-10 lead.

When Indy coach Jim Caldwell made the ridiculous decision to send out 42-year-old kicker Matt Stover for a 51-yard field-goal try — it missed badly — Brees took advantage of the short field, leading New Orleans on a 59-yard TD drive. Brees then hit Lance Moore for a two-point conversion that gave the Saints a 24-17 lead and put all the pressure on Manning for a game-tying TD drive.

Manning, of course, crumbled. He is not the kind of competitor who gets better as the stakes elevate. He should not be ridiculed for this flaw. He should also not be placed on the same pedestal as sports’ greatest champions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

LOST Review: LA X

Now that I've had enough time to properly digest and analyze the premiere of Season 6, it's time to comment on it. I've read a ton of reviews about the 2 hour episode, unusually titled "LA X," so I don't feel like doing an all-out recap. Instead, I'll just quickly share some thoughts.

First, I feel like I should pat myself on the back since I kinda predicted the new plot device, flashsideways (stupid name). Here's what I wrote on January 12th...

"So what's the final crazy season going to be like? They can't dismiss all of the plot threads and cliffhangers from season 5, which means they can't completely reboot the timeline. So what sort of craziness are they concocting? Perhaps one storyline follows our regular castaways in present time, while the other storyline follows the rebooted castaways on the SAME Island reliving a rebooted plane crash?!? How about one storyline following the regular castaways on the Island while we follow rebooted characters OFF-ISLAND?!?"

Ok, so I was obviously just throwing ideas against a wall, but still, seeing it actually happen was pretty mind blowing. Now, onto my random thoughts...

1. I still believe the Man in Black is a good guy. He's a fierce believer in free will, and it seems like he has a natural beef with anyone dumb enough to blindly follow someone they've never seen. He made his point pretty clear in last season's finale before leading the Others to the foot of the statue. And once Jacob dies, he honestly believes that he's done Meathead and company a favor. "Now you're free." My guess as to where his home is, the home he's desperately trying to get back to? The temple. I'm not sure why, but with Jacob out of the picture, I doubt he wants to go there just to kill a bunch of monks.

2. Speaking of killing Jacob, didn't it seem like the Man in Black was moving kinda quickly after Jacob died? The two have been at odds for over 1000 years, and now that he's finally out of the picture, he doesn't spend much time enjoying his victory. It's probably because he expects a similar loophole to be exploited, this time in Jacob's favor. If Smokey doesn't accomplish whatever the end-game is at the temple fast enough, one of our castaways will be reborn as Jacob, and no, it's definitely not Sayid. But why not the real Locke? Hmm.....

3. How fantastic is the music for the Temple people? I love it.

4. There isn't enough time to experience everything with the off-Island castaways. I feel like fans are going to get distracted with the whole "well how can Hurley win the lottery with good luck and still be on the plane from Sydney because he wouldn't know the numbers because Leonard couldn't mutter them all day becausetheIslandissunkenandHurleywon'tbevisitingSamToomeyandnowIhaveaheadache..."
Instead, they are just making a point that these castaways lives are going to intersect no matter where or when. We're going to get a large scale course correction pretty soon, and I'm betting the timelines will converge.

5. Seriously, that Temple music kicks ass...

6. I fear we are reaching midichlorian levels here. The Island magically healed Locke's paralysis, Jin's sterility, and Rose's cancer (and yet it gave Jack appendicitis?), and what was the reasoning before? "This is a place where miracle's happen!" a smiling Locke told Jack in the season 4 finale. Now, we may have our explanation. OOOOO THE WATER IS MAGICAL AND LOOK AT OUR HEALING HOTTUB OOOOOOOOO WOWWWWW!!!! Fantastic... an answer to a mystery that no one asked about.

7. Did anyone else enjoy the fun fact that unconscious people can't hold their breath under water?

8. I don't know what it is about LOST, but somehow it brings out the best in accents. The perfect example is Keamy, who sounded like a loser in Mystery, Alaska and Smoking Aces, but sounded utterly badass in season 4. This season, it's the mysterious number 2, Lennon. The actor, John Hawkes, sounded lame in Eastbound and Down, Blue Streak, and the Perfect Storm, but I like how he sounds in this..... great casting, yet again.

9. I can't wait to see Jacob alive and well in the flashsideways universe.

10. I can't wait until Tuesday (even though it'll be a predictably shitty Kate episode). If I were ranking premieres, it would go...

Pilot - A+
Man of Science, Man of Faith - A
LA X - A-
Because You Left - B
The Beginning of the End - B
A Tale of Two Cities - B-

P.S. - In normal land, the cursed numbers (and 815) appeared every where. On hatches, odometers, soccer jerseys, apartment numbers, phone numbers, Henry Gale's license, and probably lots and lots of other places. Yet, in bizarro land, there's no sign of them...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

L O S T pic of the day


Before a whole new game starts tomorrow night with "LA X", it's important to first reflect on all the times that LOST produced game-changing moments, or as Ben Linus would say, "changed the rules." Part of the fun of watching this show is that at least twice a season, it completely the knocks the storyline "off its axis" so-to-speak. Now, a lot of spooky things happen on the island, but that doesn't mean they are pivot points of the show (for example, "Help Me"). Also, you won't find fluff like Hugo driving a VW, or sappy stuff like Charlie/Claire. You won't even find Smokey running amok. Nor will you see distractions like Libby, Jin/Sun, Charlotte, or even Waaaalt. Nope, listed below are just the most mind-blowing, frog-squishing, earth-shattering moments from LOST's five glorious seasons. Enjoy. (NOTE: Ranked in chronological order of viewing. You decide which is most profound.)

"Walkabout", Season One
Not since Andy's poker face has something so slight meant so much. With the simple wiggle of his right big toe, John Locke discovers this ain't your typical Sandals vacation. Sure, the island housed mysterious jungle creatures, ominous radio broadcasts, fugitives, and general disarray, but let's be honest -- wasn't that the basic plot to Lord of the Flies? The wiggle changed all of that. Of course, for us, the payoff doesn't hit until 40 minutes later; but when it does, both Locke and the Island are seen in an entirely new light. After that, we are left hanging on every bit of Locke's non-sense. After that, dead people walking around doesn't seem so absurd. This moment took network TV story-telling to a new level, as Locke's "condition" was hung directly under our noses the entire time yet we didn't even notice. Over 100 episodes later, it's the best idea that Lindelof never thought of. Not just a game-changer, but a tone-setter for the entire show.

"Raised by Another", Season One
For 9 or 10 episodes, the show seemed to be playing out like an expanded version of Cast Away. One shattered plane. Dozens of survivors stranded on the island. Trouble signs all over the place, but by all indications, the island was generally deserted. That is, until Sayid found a cable, a French woman, and whispers. And when he came stumbling back into Jack's arms, shrieking, "WE'RE NOT ALONE," it was LOST's equivalent of 5-Hour Energy. Only seconds later, Hugo had the manifest, Ethan had Claire, and the adventure was on. What followed was a season-long string of fantastic events, from Scott's Murder, to a jungle stakeout of Ethan, to "RUN HIDE OR DIE", to "We're gonna have to take the boy."

"All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues", Season One
While Boone was easily the most overrated character on Herb's Top 90, there's no denying the fact that he was a huge part of LOST's genesis. Just think...if Boone catches that flashlight, gingerly tossed to him from Locke, then everyone is on an entirely different trajectory (hmmm....reboot idea?). Locke himself probably just hunts boar for the next 3 months before stumbling into a Rousseau trap. But instead, the loser drops it....and HATCHMANIA is born. From this moment onward, the Hatch became THE central plotline and spawned endless developments. Don't forget, 13 long episodes went by before the door was actually blown open. Trebuchets. Numbers. Glowing Lights. C4. Quarantines. Desmond. Shelter. Guns. And eventually, DHARMA. The hatch led to Jack and Locke not seeing eye-to-eye. And don't forget that Desmond's brains might be splattered next to Radzinsky's had Locke not come apoundin' on the Hatch door one night. "The Hatch, Jack -- all of it -- all of it happened so that we could open the Hatch."

"Man of Science, Man of Faith", Season Two
While this moment is ultimately a byproduct of finding the Hatch door weeks earlier, it's still huge because of all the massive anticipation as to what was actually inside (Aliens? China?). The eventual answer was always going to change the game. And whether you agreed with the revelation or not, part of what made the moment so profound was that the writers delivered an answer immediately. Who will ever forget the peaking heads of Jack and Locke playing us out of Season One....then playing us directly back into Season Two? From there, Desmond tells us the world is gonna end unless we develop a season-long obsession with the 'EXECUTE' button. That leads to a myriad of questions like, "What DO the numbers mean?" to "Why do you find it so hard to believe?" to "Walt?...Dad?"

"Lockdown", Season Two
Season Two tried so hard to make the 815 Tail Section a game-changer, but we all know how awesome the Tailies weren't. So it's a good thing that they had an ace up their sleeve with stranger getting "caught in a net". Already paranoid, most of the survivors didn't buy his story about crashing in a hot air balloon. After 3 episodes of beatings, torture, and arguments, some started to believe that this man was actually Minnesotan. Afterall, he wore shoes, spoke intellectually, and didn't mention anything about wanting to steal children. Then one afternoon, creep-o Sayid dug up the Real Henry Gale's body and brought back some ID. From that moment, the Others became smarter and more sinister than we knew. It was only a matter of time until Henry Gale né Benjamin Linus was able to manipulate pretty much everyone, capture the A-Team, start a war, and kill some of the most famous people in island history.

"Live Together, Die Alone", Season Two
While pushing the button certainly offered many overly dramatic moments that made Carlton Cuse giggle, the only moment that really mattered was when they DIDN'T push it. The result was a sweet electromagnetic pulse which exposed the island and alerted a snowy scientific base. When Penny Widmore answers their call, we realize that for the first time, someone OFF the island has noticed its position! This was a big deal for viewers, especially after zero rescue attempts, Hugo's theory that they were all dead, and Desmond's talk of snowglobes. This was a BIGGER deal for a guy named Charles, who also happened to witness this same anomaly. I wonder how many seconds passed before he speed-dialed Keamy, started digging up graves, sunk a phony 747, and ordered Matty Abbaddon to assemble a shady freighter team???

"A Tale of Two Cities", Season Three
"New Otherton" was a game-changer because it blew open the show's entire landscape, both plot-wise and geography-wise. Who knew the island was big enough to have an entire civilized town go unnoticed? Or a submarine? Or a SECOND island? Up until they revealed New Otherton, we pretty much assumed that Henry Gale and The Others were all about beards, barefeet, blowdarts, and homemade nunchuks (so dumb at 7:25). Then we caught a glimpse of their perfectly modern village, seemingly stolen from The Truman Show. Suddenly it opened our eyes to a community of wholesome people who did things like bake muffins, throw football, start bookclubs,....and annihilate hippie scientists. It didn't really come into focus as to why it was built until later, but "New Otherton" was necessary in order to show distinction between DHARMA and The Alperts, both in 2005 and 1977. And let's never forget how it saved the show from its dark times of polar bear cages and fish biscuits.

"Through the Looking Glass", Season Three
Yeah, yeah, the survivors did some sweet things in the Season Three finale, like finally contacting Penny's Boat (or not), but we saw that coming. Jack whooped Linus, Chaaalie sacrificed himself, and Tom got popped, but those were all well overdue. Great finale right? Just when America thought that they'd wrap up the evening with some parting Jack redemption on his ex-wife or dad or booze or whatever...BAM!!!!! Kate walks out of the shadows. HUH???? "We have to go BAAAAAAAAACK". The black L O S T screen hits. America collectively shits itself. Recap: Not only is there a future Jack, but he's a waste of life, and wants to GO BAAAAACK to the very island he was just begging to be rescued from. The entire 4th Season is almost exlusively payoff from this one moment. A jaw-dropper.

"There's No Place Like Home: Part 2", Season Four
The real moment here was probably when "Christian" told Locke to "move the island", but those orders seemed so absurd that it was probably a waste of your time to try and figure out what it all meant. Until, of course, the island did exactly that. Lapidus' perplexed squint said it all. I'm not sure that moment could have been executed in a cooler way, with Ben falling down a hatch to a frozen room and pushing a donkey wheel that effectively moved the entire island (islands?). It was even sad to watch him do it. But what followed completely changed the dimensions of the storyline. Dave's favorite subject -- Time travel -- got introduced, and with it: Faraday's variables, Desmond's flashes, Eloise's pendelum room, and Jim LaFleur - Head of Security. As bizarre as it all seems, so far it's been executed to near-perfection. Until the jughead popped.

"The Incident", Season Five
The opening scene between Jacob and the MIB was startling, confusing, and amazing all in one. But the dots didn't connect until much later, when Ilana revealed what was inside the Ajira crate. From there, "Dead is Dead" finally clicked, and we became all too aware of who fake Locke really was, and what he was about to do. It's still tough to gauge the impact from this moment, or what it will lead to, but the key here was more greatness from LOST's story-telling. MIB and all his cryptic comments were under our nose the entire time, yet the writers did a phenomenal job of masking its significance. It's safe to say that once deities can assume the lifeless bodies of plane crash victims, that's a severe game-changer. And hey, who's to say all the survivors aren't "assumed" in one way or another??????

"The Incident", Season Five
Juliet pounding that "son of a bitch" to its detonation (?) was another top moment in network television. It probably changes everything from the "rules of the island", to who lives there, to who even crashed there. I'm sure timelines were altered or probably even created. Then again, perhaps it changed NOTHING, and its detonation was merely just "the incident" that Pierre Change spoke of in his DHARMA films. Until we know for sure, it makes the Jughead explosion -- and the white screen that followed -- one of the cooler moments in show history, and maybe its most profound. To be continued..........................

Is this Season One scene awesome in a new way....or just a reach???