This year I decided that rather than just write a top ten list, I'd list every 2009 movie I saw during the year and rank them from best to worst. The total- adding up press screenings, recreational trips to the theater, Netflix and DVD rentals, etc.- is 83, assuming I didn't forget anything. Meanwhile, there were more than 200 2009 releases that I didn't see.
My year-end top ten list, with commentary on each one, will be published in The Trend next week.
Speaking of lists, I'm happy not to be on this one. Happy new year everyone!
1. Up in the Air
3. A Serious Man
4. The Hurt Locker
5. Where the WIld Things Are
6. In the Loop
7. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
8. Fantastic Mr. Fox
9. (500) Days of Summer
10. World's Greatest Dad
11. The Informant!
12. Star Trek
14. Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire
16. Anvil: The Story of Anvil
17. The Hangover
18. District 9
20. Me and Orson Welles
21. Two Lovers
22. Whip It
24. The Girlfriend Experience
25. Observe and Report
26. The Blind Side
27. An Education
31. I Love You, Man
33. The Proposal
36. Funny People
37. Inglourious Basterds
38. Julie and Julia
40. Whatever Works
41. Taking Woodstock
42. The International
43. The Brothers Bloom
44. He's Just Not That Into You
45. Public Enemies
46. Away We Go
47. Jennifer's Body
48. State of Play
51. Drag Me to Hell
52. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
53. Angels & Demons
54. It's Complicated
55. New World Order
56. Couples Retreat
59. The Great Buck Howard
60. Cold Souls
61. The Soloist
62. Hannah Montana: The Movie
63. The Invention of Lying
64. Sunshine Cleaning
65. Fast & Furious
66. Everybody's Fine
67. Monsters vs. Aliens
68. Taking of Pelham 123
69. I Love You Beth Cooper
70. Sherlock Holmes
71. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
73. Confessions of a Shopaholic
75. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
76. Big Fan
78. Bride Wars
79. The Ugly Truth
80. New in Town
81. Michael Jackson's This is It
82. Paper Heart
83. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Click here for the final Week in Electronics Retail Crime installment of the year.
Mick LaSalle of Hearst, on "Sherlock Holmes":
Guy Ritchie is the worst screenwriter in the world, but, to be fair, he is not the worst director. He is only the worst director of the people who actually get to make movies. As we speak, there are human beings walking the Earth -- perhaps as many as a half dozen of them -- with less directorial talent, but they've been safely diverted into other activities.
Ugh, what a disaster last night, as the Vikings lost their third out of four, dropping an overtime game to the Bears.
It looks pretty clear that this team, which looked for three months like a Super Bowl contender, peaked a month too early. They lost the heart-and-soul of their defense (E.J. Henderson), their offensive line can't play anymore, Adrian Peterson's fumbles have started to get ridiculous, and the offense and defense are both capable of shutting down completely and without warning.
Sure, Favre looked good, even leading a fourth-quarter comeback to tie the game, but it wasn't enough to overcome the mistakes, including a missed extra point that ended up being the difference in the game.
So now they need to both win on Sunday and hope for the Eagles to lose to Dallas in order to keep the #2 seed, which has looked inevitable since about Week 3. They'll beat the Giants, but I wouldn't count on the Eagles ending their six-game winning streak* against Wade Phillips and Tony Romo. And if Favre has to go on the road in January... forget about it.
At any rate, it's going to be fun having opposite rooting interests from both my wife and my entire city for the next week. Then I get to do it again two weeks later when they probably play each other in the playoffs...
*Cataldi and the rest of the Anti-Eagles Media Movement are now officially just as wrong about the Eagles this year as Bill Kristol was about the war in Iraq. Didn't Angelo write columns predicting the Eagles would win seven games, and that there'd be a McNabb/Vick quarterback controversy?
"It's Complicated." Here's my full review on Philly.com. The usual Nancy Meyers middle-aged woman wish fulfillment, although it has its moments, especially due to a herculean performance by Alec Baldwin.
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire"- This is a movie that touches on, literally, every bad thing in the world: rape, incest, poverty, child abuse, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, urban hopelessness, illiteracy and welfare fraud; only the period setting keeps out 9/11 and the Holocaust. (The above list doubles as likely material for Sarah Silverman's next comedy routine.) But the originality of the premise and the powerful performances are quite impressive.
The most shocking thing about it: Mo'Nique, who two years ago was the host of "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School," is going to win an Oscar.
The movie also provides us with the best keywords ever, published along with Armond White's review: oprahpreciousblacktylerperrywinfreyleedanielsitsmoniquelennykravitzrapedmolestedbeatensexfried chickenpigs feetbirthnationkkkku klux klanhalleberrymonstersballincestmariahcareypedophilia
"Sherlock Holmes." What an abominable film- Holmes and Watson dropped into a rejected Dan Brown novel. An insipid plot- based on none of the 60-some canonical Arthur Conan Doyle stories- and ugly visual style drown out a pretty damn good performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes.
"New World Order." A documentary that takes the inane rumblings of radio/Interet nut Alex Jones and his various paranoid followers and pretty much takes them at face value. Sure, these sorts of subcultures can be interesting, but why couldn't the film have challenged these people more?
During a debate on Michael Smerconish's show Tuesday (with a guest host whose name I don't remember), callers were asked whether Israel would be justified in nuking Iran. One caller's solution: the U.S. should solve the problem by nuking both Israel AND Iran. Always hilarious when talk show callers nonchalantly propose the deaths of tens of millions of people.
Nate Silver, right as always:
Over the past decade, there have been, by my count, six attempted terrorist incidents on board a commercial airliner than landed in or departed from the United States: the four planes that were hijacked on 9/11, the shoe bomber incident in December 2001, and the NWA flight 253 incident on Christmas.I'm just upset that I'm going to have to wait in line for hours before I fly to Vegas next month, all for essentially no reason. I mean, the Nigerian guy last week didn't even get on a plane in the U.S.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics provides a wealth of statistical information on air traffic. For this exercise, I will look at both domestic flights within the US, and international flights whose origin or destination was within the United States. I will not look at flights that transported cargo and crew only. I will look at flights spanning the decade from October 1999 through September 2009 inclusive (the BTS does not yet have data available for the past couple of months).
Over the past decade, according to BTS, there have been 99,320,309 commercial airline departures that either originated or landed within the United States. Dividing by six, we get one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
These departures flew a collective 69,415,786,000 miles. That means there has been one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 mles flown. This distance is equivalent to 1,459,664 trips around the diameter of the Earth, 24,218 round trips to the Moon, or two round trips to Neptune.
Assuming an average airborne speed of 425 miles per hour, these airplanes were aloft for a total of 163,331,261 hours. Therefore, there has been one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne. This can also be expressed as one incident per 1,134,245 days airborne, or one incident per 3,105 years airborne.
There were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. By contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. Therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.
Dave Weigel looks at why he ignores Sarah Palin's Facebook rants. The rest of the media should follow his lead.
What's really going on on "Jersey Shore":
News Item: Tyra Banks will end talk show
Holiday wishes from Mr. Garrison:
Vancouver Sun: "Tiger Woods: Worse Than Tony Soprano"
Who's worse- the guy who cheats on his wife with many women and also runs a crime syndicate and kills people, or the guy who cheats on his wife with many women, but has killed no one and is a professional golfer? Clearly, it's the latter.
I swear, I thought at first that this wasn't a parody.
The Redskins actually ran this play Monday night:
This might have worked better:
Jonathan Chait, on the right-wing reaction to health care:
In the right-wing mind, the world we live in at any given moment can be described as the free market, the American way of life, perhaps not a perfect world but a cherished and fundamentally free one. The next advance of liberalism will always bring socialism, tyranny, a crushing burden on industry, and other horrors. The previous liberal advances that they or their predecessors greeted with such hysteria are eventually incorporated into the landscape of the free American way of life.No, it's not the best bill they could've gotten, and yes, it shows just how screwed up our political process is. But I'm delighted that health care is going to pass.
A hilariously angry TV review on Salon by Heather Havrilesky that kicks off with two paragraphs of unrelated Tiger-bashing:
Take Tiger Woods. Time was when you could work $60,000 of discretionary whoring into your budget, and no one blinked. That's capitalism, after all. As the demand for luxury porn star hookers with not-ugly faces increases, the supply of super-deluxe star-fucking sea honkies rises in turn. The prices are high, yes, but that's because these luxurious whoring slut monkeys only grab ankle for married, internationally renowned athletes. See how classy?
The truth is, we still strongly encourage supernatural megastars like Tiger to sample a wide range of extravagantly festooned, fat-lipped trollops. After all, what good is international stardom and huge piles of cash if you can't jet off to far-flung locales where exotic sea donkeys frolic, raising their sculpted button noses in the air to sniff out large currency transactions? We want big deal athletes like Tiger to cavort with the rarefied porn porpoises, resting only occasionally to high-five themselves in the bathroom mirror. And we want these pouty harlots to tattle on the guys in tabloid stories accompanied by extra fancy photos of the girls in question bent over pool tables and the like.
Some Vikings levity, after last night's debacle in Charlotte:
Now I've gone on record as saying that NFL player-hosted radio shows are almost always awful- between Philadelphia's two stations, there are about 15 of them, and none are especially good. But I heard Jared Allen's KFAN show yesterday morning*, and it was side-splittingly hilarious. I first tuned in and was wondering, "which comedian is this?," before I realized it was Allen. Post-football, he has quite a future, if not as a studio analyst, as a stand-up comic.
* I've made it a habit in recent months to listen to KFAN on iHeartRadio while raking leaves/doing yardwork/shoveling snow on Sundays. After this weekend's East Coast Snowpocalypse, let's just say I was listening for a long time. When will they invent the Driveway Zamboni?
The New York Post asks readers to vote on the best front pages of the decade. Some of these are pretty embarrassing in retrospect, especially the "Weasel" stuff prior to the Iraq war. Maybe we could have used a bit more weaseling.
In Lebanon/Syria, life imitates "The Princess Bride."
Cinematical notices eerie parallels between James Cameron real and fictional movies.
- The Vikings, yuk. I don't know what went wrong this week, and two weeks ago against Arizona. For some reason they just can't win on Sunday night. Luckily, the next time they have to play on Sunday night is... the Super Bowl? At any rate, they're still NFC North champions.
- The Eagles won their fifth straight, beating the 49ers at home, and clinched a playoff spot in the process. Yes, I have a feeling they're going to be playing the Vikings in the playoffs again. Maybe I can get my wife to let our baby be a fan of the winner- think she'll agree to that?
- Why couldn't Chad Ochocinco wear Chris Henry's number again? I have no understanding at all of how these things work.
I review Invictus on Philly.com.
This made me laugh for about ten minutes. Brilliant.
A caller to WIP last Friday, an old timer, had the following take on the trading of Cliff Lee by Phillies: The organization is cheap- after all, they once gave Richie Ashburn a pay cut after he hit .330!
That happened in 1955. So a pay cut, 54 years ago, during reserve clause times, by a previous ownership group, should clearly reflect poorly on the current team, which has been to two straight World Series, has a $140 million 2010 payroll, and just signed the best pitcher in baseball to a $60 million deal. Same old Phillies.
Very say to hear the news today. She had an up-and-down career, I won't lie, but my favorite roles of hers were certainly "Clueless," "Girl Interrupted," and "Eight Mile." As for that SNL bit that made fun of her, two weeks ago? They might not want to ever re-run that.
Yes, Tiger Woods managed to beat the most-New-York-Post-covers-in-a-row record of 20, beating the record set by 9/11.
Swoop either falls down, or is disembodied off-camera, during today's game:
Charley Walters in the Pioneer Press has an interesting idea about the Twins/Mauer negotiations:
Mauer is represented by Baltimore-based agent Ron Shapiro, who also represented late hall of famer Kirby Puckett of the Twins. Maybe Shapiro could insist on an out clause for Mauer should the Twins finish below .500 in a season.The Twins would be insane to agree to that. Not only would they risk losing Mauer in the event of one bad year- which would sort of defeat the purpose of the whole idea of "locking him up"- but imagine a scenario in which the team is around .500 in September. At that point, Mauer's goal of reaching free agency would be counter to the goal of the rest of the team (winning.) There's a reason no one ever does that. It's also unnecessary- the Twins have had a losing record exactly once in Mauer's career.
Then again, in the same column Walters argues that Jack Morris should make the Hall of Fame, in part, because he tied for the second-most Opening Day starts in history.
Jonathan Chait, on what's really happening with Joe Lieberman:
I suspect that Lieberman is the beneficiary, or possibly the victim, of a cultural stereotype that Jews are smart and good with numbers. Trust me, it's not true. If Senator Smith from Idaho was angering Democrats by spewing uninformed platitudes, most liberals would deride him as an idiot. With Lieberman, we all suspect it's part of a plan. I think he just has no idea what he's talking about and doesn't care to learn. Lieberman thinks about politics in terms of broad ideological labels. He's the heroic centrist voice pushing legislation to the center. No, Lieberman doesn't have any particular sense of what the Medicare buy-in option would do to the national debt. If the liberals like it, then he figures it's big government and he should oppose it. I think it's basically that simple.I never liked that guy, ever.
The deal is now (just about) final; a few scattered thoughts:
- The Phils get arguably the best pitcher in baseball, for 4-5 years, for less money than they would have had to pay for him in free agency. So barring injury, they're assured of a sure ace for all of that time.
- Wednesday and Thursday were fun, fun days on Twitter and MLBTradeRumors, as scenario after scenario flew through the air- I think about 50 different players were mentioned as being part of the deal at one point or another.
- I love that Halladay wanted to sign with the Phillies because his house in Florida is near their spring training facility.
- Fans in Philly are upset that Cliff Lee had to be traded in the bargain. Well first of all, the question isn't "who's better, Halladay or Lee?" It's, "what's better- one year of Lee, or five of Halladay?" The answer to that should be obvious.
- Yes, losing Lee sucks for the Phillies. Should they have traded Joe Blanton instead, dumped his salary, and kept Lee for one more year? That would have been preferable- but apparently there was next to no interest in Blanton, and they couldn't have gotten prospects for him.
- It would have been awesome to have a front of the rotation of Halladay/Lee/Hamels, sure- but the Phils won the World Series in '08 with a top three of Hamels/Myers/Moyer- next year's front line of Halladay/Hamels/Happ (plus Blanton and possibly Pedro) is considerably better than that. And don't tell me they "can't beat the Yankees" with that rotation- who the hell knows? The next World Series is in ten months; we don't even know who will be in it, who will be good next year, who will or won't be injured, etc.
- If I were running the Phillies, I'd feel a lot worse about losing Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor than about Lee- they both look like studs, who are under control for a long time. Plus, the team is quickly getting older (I believe 7 of 8 regulars are 30 or older), and they need a farm system to step in once the current run is over. Then again, Taylor was quickly flipped to Oakland, and knowing the A's, if he's any good he'll be back on the trade market again in 2-3 years.
- Another byproduct of this- the return of the "Phillies are cheap" meme! Sure, they gave a $60 million extension to a superstar pitcher, bringing their payroll to $140 million- those penny-pinching jackasses! Yes, people are going to be upset when a move has to be made to get under a budget- but it's a very, very high budget. Like, Top 5 in baseball.
- And yes, Philly phandom has spent the last several days (and really, the last several months) debating whether they'd rather have Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay. As a Twins fan- or really, as a fan of just about any other team- I'd LOVE to have that problem.
- Then again, it seems pretty clear the Jays got a better haul of prospects for Halladay than the Twins got for Santana. I bet the Blue Jays make the playoffs again before the Mets do.
- Phuture Phillies had by far the best analysis of the trade that I've seen.
Some brief reviews of recent holiday releases:
- Invictus. It's way too on-the-nose, and every emotion is explained and explained again. But the climactic rugby match is the best-staged sports scene in quite some time. In all, it's my second favorite Clint-directed film of the decade, after "Gran Torino." (Full review to come next week.)
- Everybody's Fine. Eh. Good to see Robert DeNiro actually acting again- rather than doing silly comedy- but this is a slight, very weak effort. I agree with Tony Scott on "At the Movies"- I didn't believe for a second that all of these people possibly came from the same family. I also accurately predicted the final scene in the first five minutes, and no I haven't seen the Italian version.
- Me and Orson Welles. Liked everything about it except for the "Me." Wonderful recreation of 1930s New York, pretty good top-to-bottom cast, beautifully staged, and a performance by Christian McKay as Orson Welles that should win awards (they should make a ten-part HBO mini-series where McKay plays "Citizen Kane" Welles, "Touch of Evil" Welles, interviewed-by-Bogdanovich Welles, etc.) The only drawback? A super-hollow lead performance from Zac Efron, who isn't the slightest bit convincing as a '30s character.
- It's Complicated. The usual middle-aged female wish fulfillment from Nancy Meyers, essentially remaking her own "Something's Gotta Give," only with Meryl Streep replacing Diane Keaton and Alec Baldwin (as her ex-husband) stepping in for Jack Nicholson. There's some funny moments, and Baldwin and Streep are great together, but it's generally weak overall. And the less said about John Krasinski's embarrassing turn as Streep's girly-man son-in-law, the better. (Full review to come later.)
There's also supposedly a new "Broken Lizard" movie that guest-stars both Carla Gallo and Robin from "How I Met Your Mother," but it appears to barely be getting a theatrical release at all. "Avatar" tomorrow night...
I don't like it. First of all, I'm still not entirely comfortable with Penn State being in the conference, even though it's been almost 20 years. The Big Ten should have TEN teams, and they should all be in the Midwest. No New Jersey allowed (sorry, Rutgers.) And this idea that there should be divisions so there can be a championship game- why not do that now? What's so bad about five teams in one division and six in the other?
Four days ago, Ken Rosenthal laid out a loony-tunes scenario on FoxSports.com: The Phillies, unable to sign Cliff Lee, trade him, in a multi-team blockbuster, that lands them the pitcher they really wanted last year, Roy Halladay, who would then agree to a deal with the Phils. "Call it a hunch," he wrote.
Crazy, right? Until guess what- it happened today:
An agreement is now in place to send Roy Halladay to the Phillies, Cliff Lee to the Mariners, and prospects to the Blue Jays, major-league sources confirmed to FOXSports.com.Yes, it's a huge risk for the Phils. They get rid of Lee about six weeks after he won two World Series game for them and was lights-out throughout the playoffs. And Halladay is older than Lee. But, they're trading, essentially, one year of Lee for five of Halladay, and will have the top of their rotation (Halladay, Hamels, Happ) all locked up long-term. Plus, they keep Kyle Drabek, who will join them at some point next year.
The sources said Phillipe Aumont — a Canadian right-hander — is among the players headed from Seattle to Toronto in the deal; the source added the Philadelphia is expected to send one of its outfield prospects, possibly Michael Taylor, to the Blue Jays.
I review the best movie of the year, "Up in the Air," on Philly.com. My top ten list will follow once I see "Avatar" on Thursday, but in case you missed it, my Top 50 of the decade is here, and my Rotten Tomatoes page is here.
iSportacus, on the Philly sports radio scourge:
Sometimes I just want to put the thoughts I hear on WIP onto paper and look at them for a few minutes, trying to figure out how many levels of irrationality go through the mind of a sports fan. Is there any other realm of human activity where people rely solely on their own assumptions and desires for their sense of reality with absolutely no regard for what anyone else is trying to accomplish?After eight months of solid Eagles hate (through the Dawkins departure, the Vick signing, the Raiders loss, Fire Reid/Fire McNabb etc.) the team's current four-game winning streak has been met mostly, on the station, with... non-stop Iverson talk and now, I suspect, Halladay talk.
On what I heard of the morning show this morning, last night's win barely came up; they had a long interview with some stripper who was in Penthouse, until they got into Wing Bowl tryouts. Clearly, listening to people eat is the best radio humanly possible.
John Scalzi shares the 10 Least Successful Holiday specials ever. They're fictional, but that Rosie O'Donnell Thanksgiving show a few years ago was worse than all of the above would've been, combined.
Happy Hannukkah, by the way. My favorite recent Hannukkah song; apologies for the poor sound quality/"Rock Band" visuals:
Oh, what's so bad about having this condition? Especially with the Vikings now 11-2- I'd be honored!
A good night for the Eagles two, winning their fourth straight to beat the Giants and take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The game also gave us this wonderful moment.
Cracked, with a must-read recap of "Jersey Shore":
"It’s exactly like the Corleone family, except there’s no morality and everyone is Fredo."Not even Fredo would've thrown charcoal on a gas grill. Or named himself "The Situation."
Looking back at the decade. Here's my list:
Top 50 Films of the '00s
1.“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Michel Gondry, 2004)
2.“Big Fish” (Tim Burton, 2003)
3.“The Royal Tenenbaums” (Wes Anderson, 2001)
4.“The Dark Knight” (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
5.“Almost Famous” (Cameron Crowe, 2000)
6.“Munich” (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
7.“Road to Perdition” (Sam Mendes, 2002)
8.“Mulholland Drive” (David Lynch, 2001)
9.“A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (Steven Spielberg, 2001)
10.“Up in the Air” (Jason Reitman, 2009)
11.“A History of Violence” (David Cronenberg, 2005)
12.“Juno” (Jason Reitman, 2007)
13.“Capturing the Friedmans” (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
14.“The Departed” (Martin Scorsese, 2006)
15.“Thank You For Smoking” (Jason Reitman, 2006)
16.“The Incredibles” (Brad Bird, 2004)
17.“Y Tu Mama Tambien” (Alfonso Cuaron, 2002)
18.“The 25th Hour” (Spike Lee, 2002)
19.“Up” (Pete Docter, 2009)
20.“Children of Men” (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)
21.“Kill Bill: Volume 1” (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)
22.“Spider-man 2” (Sam Raimi, 2004)
23.“Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (Peter Jackson, 2003)
24.“No Country For Old Men” (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
25.“High Fidelity” (Stephen Frears, 2000)
26.“Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” (Peter Jackson, 2001)
27.“The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” (Wes Anderson, 2004)
28.“Brokeback Mountain” (Ang Lee, 2005)
29.“Stranger Than Fiction” (Marc Forster, 2006)
30.“Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist” (Peter Sollett, 2008)
31.“A Serious Man” (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)
32.“The Hurt Locker” (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)
33.“Sweeney Todd” (Tim Burton, 2007)
34.“Sexy Beast” (Jonathan Glazer, 2000)
35.“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2000)
36.“The 40 Year-Old Virgin” (Judd Apatow, 2005)
37.“Milk” (Gus Van Sant, 2008)
38.“There Will Be Blood” (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
39.“Where the Wild Things Are” (Spike Jonze, 2009)
40.“Once” (John Carney, 2007)
41.“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” (Seth Gordon, 2007)
42.“Talk to Her” (Pedro Almodovar, 2002)
43.“Lost in Translation” (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
44. “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (Peter Jackson, 2002)
45. “American Psycho” (Mary Harron, 2000)
46.“Charlie Wilson’s War” (Mike Nichols, 2007)
47.“Ocean's Eleven” (Steven Soderbergh, 2001)
48.“Rachel Getting Married” (Jonathan Demme, 2008)
49.“Grizzly Man” (Werner Herzog, 2005)
50.“Southland Tales” (Richard Kelly, 2006)
Honorable Mention: Eastern Promises; Ali; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Memento; Black Hawk Down; Amelie; Murderball; The Wrestler; The Devil Wears Prada; In the Mood For Love; Punch Drunk Love; Borat; Requiem for a Dream; Catch Me If You Can; Frost/Nixon; Dreamgirls; Donnie Darko; Elephant; Gangs of New York; The Man Who Wasn't There; American Gangster; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Offside; Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Movies Omitted Because They're Overrated: Zodiac; Mystic River; Slumdog Millionaire; Before Sunset; The New World; Doubt, Minority Report; American Splendor; Sideways; The Bourne Ultimatum; City of God; Inglourious Basterds; Million Dollar Baby; Finding Neverland
Movies Omitted Because I Hate Them: Crash, Little Miss Sunshine, A Beautiful Mind, The Reader. Revolutionary Road, In the Bedroom, entire Michael Moore canon
In this week's Jamboroo, Drew notices something I've heard about a million times:
Cowboys fans lead the league in calling in to sports talk radio stations in other cities and assessing other teams for no reason at all. And they'll only reveal that fact after being on the air for three minutes ("Actually guys, I'm not even a Broncos fan. I'm a longtime Cowboys fan. But lemme tell you what I see wrong with Denver…"How many more years can they go without a playoff win before their nationwide fanclub dissipates?
Thomas Frank, on the contradictions of anti-Obama memes:
When the entertainers of the right aren't declaring their disgust with President Obama for groveling before foreign potentates, they're pretending to fear him as a left-wing thug, an exemplar of what they call "the Chicago way." As imagined by the right, the men in the West Wing are like a demonic cross between the antiwar demonstrators who gathered in Grant Park in 1968 and the Chicago cops who cracked their hippie skulls. Tremble, men of commerce, before this infernal combination.
News Item: "The League" renewed for full season
Watch Rachel Maddow completely dismantle ex-gay charlatan Richard Cohen- and do so without raising her voice, or using any demagoguery whatsoever:
If O'Reilly had on whatever the left-wing version is of that guy- probably, say, someone who really does want to ban Christmas- I'm guessing he wouldn't have been nearly as restrained.
The shocking news was reported today that the legendary baseball writer will leave ESPN later this month. He will join both MLB Network and NESN, according to reports; I think it would be cool if he started writing for SI again.
i've been ready Gammons on ESPN.com for as long as I've had the Internet; him not being there anymore will take some getting used to. A song in tribute:
I review a new iPod dock that also includes a mini-TV screen- a must for your next tailgate, along with the Grooler- on E-Gear.com.
Matt Yglesias knocks down this particular persistent bullshit.
What Luke is really trying to say:
- Well that was an awful day for the Vikings in just about every way. They lose to the Cardinals, Favre throws two interceptions, Adrian Peterson is a nonfactor, and worst of all, E.J. Henderson suffers a gruesome, Joe Theissman-like injury. Ugh. Good thing is, the Vikes are still 10-2 and in position to have a first-round bye, and they bounced back from a similarly embarrassing loss to the Steelers. It's not bad if your only losses in a season are to the previous year's Super Bowl team.
- The Eagles won their third straight, crushing the Falcons in Atlanta, as Michael Vick had his first game of significance as an Eagle, rushing for one touchdown and throwing for another. The Eagles are now 8-4 and tied for first in the NFC East, meaning that they'll play the Cowboys in Week 17 and then, very possibly, play Dallas again the following week in the first round of the playoffs.
- You think Redskins fans were upset before? Then they almost beat the Saints, prior to missing a gimme field goal that would've iced the game and then lost in overtime, at home.
I review a quirkily designed set of headphones on E-Gear.com.
Matt Taibbi on the Sullivan/Palin feud:
Getting back to the present, even though Andrew Sullivan is a Republican, it’s not hard to see why Sarah Palin lumps him in with the left. Sullivan is gay, has probably been to a non-Christian bookstore more than once in the past six months, uses multi-syllabic words, is a member of the media and, most importantly, hates Sarah Palin. It may sound like a mistake to say that it was reporters “on the left” who harped on the whole Trig business, but it’s not a mistake if she’s using the word “left” in the sense of “Godless east-coast intellectual watcher of subtitled movies who disagrees with me,” which is where we’ve allowed this word to go.Sullivan's not a Republican, but the rest is all true. It reminds me a bit of Bill O'Reilly's measure of how "left-wing" someone is, the sole criteria seemingly being "how much they hate Bill O'Reilly."
Anyway, the kicker in all of this is that we now have a left-right controversy that has nothing to do with either the left or the right. What we have here is the nutty Birther movement dueling with a mostly imaginary Trig-conspiracy movement that the Birthers believe comes from the left, or at least their idea of left, anyway. This battle will be hard-fought, prolonged, and ridiculous, sort of like that fight sequence in Naked Gun where Leslie Nielsen struggles with the pillow thrown in his face. I imagine this will also be a good preview of the kind of thing that will pass for “left-right debate” in 2012. God, I love politics in this country!
Yes, all you have to do to get a job in sports radio in Philly is have "ex-Eagle" on your resume, no matter how insane you are.
The trouble with conservation efforts: according to a Sullivan correspondent, it's MPWDS- "Most People Won't Do Shit."
Alan Sepinwall, on "Parks and Recreation":
"I have a very complicated love-hate relationship with "Unskinny Bop," the first song played in this sequence. On the one hand, like "Jersey Shore," it brings back horrifying memories of a certain time and/or place in my life, and it reminds me of how low humanity's ambitions can sink. On the other hand, it's a damn catchy song, and the perfect accompaniment for both pole-dancing and breakfast buffet-enjoying.
This was the funniest thing I've read all week, by far. Bravo.
And you thought she was dishonest and loathsome last week...
I think that's the unstated subtext of this Droid ad:
Big Daddy Drew sees parallels between this year's Vikings and those of 11 years ago:
Vikings at Cardinals: This is the best Vikings team since 1998, which is terrifying. In fact, the similarities between that Vikings team that was favored to go to the Super Bowl and this one are numerous. Both only have one loss (and given the rest of the schedule, it's not unreasonable to assume these 2009 Vikings will also go 15-1). Both have aging QB's who came out of retirement and played flawlessly (Favre and Randall Cunningham). Both have home run threats at running back (Purple Jesus and Robert Smith). Both have Rookie of the Year wideouts (Percy Harvin and Randy Moss). Both have relatively soft schedules. Both have enormous young right tackles (Phil Loadholt and Korey Stringer). Both have shitty head coaches (Denny Green and Brad Childress). Both have Hall of Famers at left guard (Randall McDaniel and Steve Hutchinson). Both have a dominant pass rusher (Jared Allen and John Randle).I hope that's where it all ends, I really do.
Does it traffic in the basest stereotypes of Italian-Americans, in a way that puts "The Sopranos" and "Real Housewives of New Jersey" to shame? Hell yea it does.
But you know what? I've lived in New York, Hoboken, and Philly, and I go to the Shore every summer. To paraphrase Louis CK, "that guy exists, by the thousand!"
Thursday saw the return of a legendary former Philadelphia athlete whose absence in the last few years has been felt dramatically here in town. I'm speaking, of course, of Placido Polanco, who signed a three-year deal with the Phillies today, and will replace Pedro Feliz at third base.
Polanco is certainly an upgrade over Feliz, and is better than Mark DeRosa would've been. But shouldn't this team be getting younger, instead of older? Mightn't Adrian Beltre have been a better choice?
Oh yea, and Allen Iverson is back, too. It's got people talking about the Sixers, at least.
Bravo to Janice MIn for noticing something- every one of these celebrity mistresses has the exact same look. And it's not an attractive one, if you ask me. One of the alleged Tiger mistresses looks like a transvestite, while the other looks like she could kill a man with her eyebrows. If you ask me, the gorgeous Swedish wife has her merits, even if she is swinging a golf club at you.
This item has it all- 100% fealty to WIP conventional wisdom! Belief in multiple McNabb-related myths, from "financial apology" to "jealous of Vick"! A jump to a wild and ridiculous conclusion! It's a surprise he at no point wonders whether Andy Reid will be fired.
Attention "Glee" fans- did you know the actress playing Quinn the blond cheerleader is not only Jewish, but more observant than the girl playing Rachel? Strange but true.
I love the show, and now that the ridiculous fake-pregnancy thing is over, I love it even more. But the show seems to have an "Old Christine" problem- why all the jokes about Rachel being dorky and/or unattractive, when it's plain to see she's f'n hot?
Neil Patrick Harris gets even more versatile:
Wildly off the mark as Jason Whitlock can be, I can't say he's in any way wrong here. Some of those anti-Tiger columns were the most sanctimonious sportswriter bullshit I've ever read that didn't involve steroids.
Star Tribune: Verne Gagne's granddaughter charged with sex crime
I didn't think I'd see a more disturbing story out of the Gagne camp this year than Verne killing a guy in a nursing home, but there you go.
First the Muppets, now Jon Stewart:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Tiger Woods Newzak|
From the caucus to bowling in just a few short months.
News Item: Meredith Baxter comes out as lesbian
I have a new roundup of electronics retail crime on Dealerscope.com.
Prediction- one of the cast members will be a rabid "Wire" fan who quotes the show constantly, while the other six are vacuous idiots who have never heard of it and just want to get drunk.
James Fallows on Bush and Cheney, post-office:
Since the results of the 2008 election became clear, the 43rd President of the United States has behaved in a way that brings honor to him, his family, his office, and his country. By all reports he did what he could to smooth the transition to his successor, including dealing with the house-is-burning-down world financial crisis. Since leaving office he has -- like most of his predecessors in their first years out of power -- maintained a dignified distance from public controversies and let the new team have its chance. He has acted as if aware that there are national interests larger than his own possible interests in score-settling or reputational-repair.
The former vice president, Dick Cheney, has brought dishonor to himself, his office, and his country. I am not aware of a case of a former President or Vice President behaving as despicably as Cheney has done in the ten months since leaving power, most recently but not exclusively with his comments to Politico about Obama's decisions on Afghanistan. (Aaron Burr might win the title, for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, but Burr was a sitting Vice President at the time.) Cheney has acted as if utterly unconcerned with the welfare of his country, its armed forces, or the people now trying to make difficult decisions. He has put narrow score-settling interest far, far above national interest.