Monthly Archives: February 2017

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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The box office, duh!

Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent
Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Godot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White
Diana Lane as Martha Kent

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was one of the most criticized movies of 2016. It shouldn’t have been but at the end of the day, this movie is only worth a rental. That said, I think it’s only the combination of these pop culture icons jacking up expectations that has people hating the film. Because there’s nothing that elevates BvS to megafilm status.

Three years after Superman emerged in Man of Steel, people have formed different opinions about him. Some see him as a hero. Others see him as a villain in the making. Senator June Finch wants Superman to speak in public so he can explain himself. But Batman has concluded that the alien is a threat to us and plans his end. Meanwhile, eccentric and opportunistic CEO/mad scientist Lex Luthor has discovered Superman’s greatest weakness: kryptonite. Luthor figures that his best plan is to help “God” and “man” kill each other so both will be out of the way.

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The God analogy works with the fancy costume material, that’s for sure.

I have to say, this is a very good plot. Fear of the corruptibility of power makes for an interesting story. The viewer can see the controversy surrounding Superman and choose whether to side with him or Batman.

Performances are quite strong. I knew Henry Cavill would make a great Superman again. Same with Amy Adams as the tough reporter that is Lois Lane. I was as worried as anyone that Ben Affleck would be a terrible Batman, but the opposite happened. He displays both intimidation and intelligence in the role (unlike Christian Bale who only showed the former in the role). Jesse Eisenberg appears to be playing homage to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in his mannerisms and it serves him well, particularly with his analogies to “man” and “God.”

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Some say that Luthor must have giant balls to fight a superdude. Turning the back to him is pretty much the final proof.

So what keeps this from being a great movie? The ending. First of all, they (spoiler alert) reenact Superman’s death a decade too late for it to have the desired impact. Yes, once upon a time, he died in the comic books and the world was shocked. But that was too long ago. At this point, it’s just a death scene that we know will be less than permanent.

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The Bat-stubble shows even in smoke.

A more nitpicky issue is the cameos. A lot of people liked seeing Wonder Woman in this movie, but let’s be realistic: this is commercial for her own movie, and frankly, it shows in Gal Godot’s performance. Aquaman makes an even more superfluous appearance as well.

All said, BvS isn’t the awful movie some have called it. It’s not particularly good, either. It’s worth renting from Netflix and that’s all.

Overall: 6 out of 10

When ignorant celebrities poison the well

celebritiespoisonwelltitleOn March 20, 2006, Charlie Sheen said something stupid. He said that the September 11, 2006 terrorist attacks looked more like a controlled demolition. As you can see above, one of the reasons was that instead of making then-President George Bush fly to Washington, Secret Service allowed him to continue reading My Pet Goat to the children he was entertaining.

Brilliant deduction, Chuck! Well, except for the fact that Bush ignoring the crisis of epic proportions, at least for the moment, made him look like an irresponsible idiot! But that was part of the plan. Why wouldn’t the American people support someone who had tricked them into thinking that he was an incompetent fool? George you magnificent bastard!

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Sometimes it seems like logic really is just a rapper.

Enough sarcasm. Sheen quickly became a hero to the 9/11 truth movement. And I use “truth” loosely because the movement was never based on anything but paranoid fantasies. Osama bin Laden bragged about the attacks in videos of himself that he sent to Al Jazeera. Not to mention that Alex Jones and other conspiracy theorists promoting this bullshit would contend that bin Laden is alive and held under lock and key. Why would a patsy be kept alive after we were to believe he was dead anyway? Because all this is a matter of shock and awe. Logic does not begin to factor into it.

It appears that Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving has decided to join noted celebrity conspiracy theorists Sheen and Jenny “the government made my son autistic” McCarthy in stating that the world is flat. He says that it’s “not even a conspiracy theory,” the implication being that it’s definite truth but everybody is tricked.

Just for the record, every scientist in the world says the world is round. Astronauts have confirmed it. A flat Earth is utterly inconsistent with the concept of outer space. It’s not only not true, it would not even be possible for it to be true.

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Bah, what would so-called scientists know about the shape of Earth? Let’s hear what the NBA superstar has to say!

In all fairness to Irving, this high profile person saying that the world is flat isn’t nearly as dangerous as Sheen claiming that the government staged 9/11 or McCarthy telling people that vaccines cause autism. It’s still dangerous. We struggle enough in educating our youths without these celebrities gumming up the works like this.

In all fairness to these celebs, why should we be believing everything they say just because they’re known? We shouldn’t. There are a lot of crazy and/or stupid people everywhere. Don’t believe people just because you’ve heard of them.

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Some people never outgrew this game.

Facts are facts. If a celebrity says something different from the facts, accept that the celebrity is wrong. I’m not saying go with the crowd either, but at the same time, the truth should trump fame.

Nashville disappointments

nashvillepredatorsIf you try to list the number of NHL teams that have mostly made the playoffs as of late, there’ll be one you probably can’t remember. That would be my Nashville Predators. Why? Because our admittedly short history isn’t too rich. We’re not only on the short list of teams that have never won a Stanley Cup. We’re on the short list of teams that have never made it past the second round.

Never said I don't love my Predators!

Never said I don’t love my Predators!

I mean, it was one thing when our first five seasons were losers. It was a new team. What do you expect? Eventually, we got to the playoffs. Lost the first round 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. What’s worse is that the Red Wings were our archrivals before they left the Central Division. No matter, we’re trending up. Next year we’ll — how the hell did we only win one game against San Jose in the first round? With starting home ice? Why, we were well into the Obama administration by the time we won our first playoff series.

I actually thought we might go all the way last year when after being a midseason dumpster fire, we streaked our way past the first round over a very good Anaheim Ducks team. Looks like we’re showing up when it counts. Next? San Jose. And this series looks no different… until game 7, when we utterly crapped the bed to lose 5-0!

Always next year. And sure enough, we got a trade you’ll ordinarily make only in the video games. Arguably the best defenseman in the game, P.K. Subban, came to town. This made Nashville the trendy pick to win a loaded Central. And after that, who knows? Sure enough, a win over the dynasty and hated rivals that are the Chicago Blackhawks opens up the season. Subban even gets a goal even though he’s not first and foremost a offensive player. What a great time to be a Predators fan. Oh no, six of the next seven games are losses. Subban’s feeling discomfort in our unique formations (we are built more around defensemen than most teams). What’s worse is he got injured for an extended period. Mike Fisher not being as strong a leader on the ice as Shea Weber was before we traded him for Subban hasn’t helped either.

Hope we're not the reason he never wins a Stanley Cup.

Hope we’re not the reason he never wins a Stanley Cup.

Thankfully, we have somewhat rebounded and are in the playoff picture. Part of the reason is that a back in action Subban seems more like the guy we thought we were getting. We have been playing fairly good hockey in the year of 2017. Thing is, the hype we brought Subban to Nashville with means that anything less than a great playoff run will be a disappointment.

Having said that, we have been playing well enough (the two losses before yesterday notwithstanding) that it’s not impossible that we again get hot just in time for the playoffs. And if we make it to the third round of the postseason, nobody cares about how badly we played in the fall.

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Winning makes Pekka Rinne happy!

So I have hope… but not necessarily too much optimism. Welcome to Smashville!

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

bigrigstitleThere are some questions I won’t talk much about on this blog. “Hardest game ever?” The clear and obvious answer is I Wanna Be the Guy. There actually can be an interesting debate if the question is rephrased to “Hardest game ever sold in stores” since I Wanna Be the Guy was not. Because then there are a number of candidates including Ghosts ‘n Goblins, the 3D Ninja Gaidens, and the Dark Souls series.

By the same token, there’s only candidate for the title of worst game ever. Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is so bad that it doesn’t even work. It’s pretty much broken and would not have been put on the market if not for the PC gaming industry’s total absence of quality control.

Plot: N/A

Graphics: -3 out of 10

Everything is as flat as a mid-1990s 3D game. This game was made in 2003. It gets better: Vehicles don’t go with the backgrounds and among other oddities, lampposts are completely lit up, not just the bulbs.

All this might have merited a 1, but…

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Yes, grass grows on the road. But disappears in a moment.

Sound: 1 out of 10

I think this is the best part of the game. Why? Other than an engine hum so loud it sounds like a jet there is no sound. Can’t glitch up what you don’t do.

Gameplay: -8 out of 10

So the technical aspects are shit. But gameplay is where it counts the most. Look at Minecraft and Angry Birds. Does Big Rigs also redeem itself here? Hell no! First, the driving controls for this racing game are rather clunky. Steering without letting up on the gas can be tricky. Also, there are only five tracks, one of which doesn’t work. Pick Nightride and the game crashes.

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They can go f*ck themselves!

Speaking of glitches, this game is just full of them. If you try driving into the small buildings littered throughout tracks, you pass through them like they’re not even there. You can’t cross bridges. Instead, you pass through them to descend underneath them, then drive up the opposite structure to get to the other side of the bridge. That’s right, you can climb walls as a truck. Faster than driving on the road, in fact.

And if you climb the hills on the extreme sides of the screen? You’ll discover that you can leave the boundaries of the game. This is where the game goes beyond a waste of money and becomes officially laughable.

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The truck of the future!

Challenge: -10 out of 10

Any game that you can’t lose get’s a -10 in Challenge automatically. Because your opponent never starts his engine. Do you really need anything else? Well, OK.

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A grammatical error in a two-word sentence? Oh… my… God!

Overall: -8 out of 10

Big Rigs is what I would expect from a high school student doodling a free game and uploading it onto the Internet. But no, the box art clearly shows a ESRB rating. So apparently, this was actually sold in stores. I never imagined that the worst game of all time would have actually been released, but there you go.

Learn from your mistakes. Super Bowl recap.

Falcons lose!

Falcons lose!

Although they have very different histories, the University of Alabama’s football program (which I also follow) and the Atlanta Falcons have very different histories, their 2016 seasons ended in pretty much the same manner in additional to both having markets in the state of Alabama.

In the National Championship game, Alabama’s offense went cold on the home stretch, tiring out our defense and allowing DeShaun Watson to start a rally that denied us a second consecutive title.

I haven't forgotten that and neither has Saban.

I haven’t forgotten that and neither has Saban.

Something similar happened tonight to the Falcons. In an admittedly great Super Bowl, particularly compared to SB 50’s slow-paced, one-sided cure for insomnia, we outplayed New England for a vast majority of the time, though I do give them credit for never giving up. Through three quarters, we lead 28-9. Tom Brady was getting beat up and their defense was getting shredded.

In retrospect, I should have seen what was coming. Another huge comeback allowed. This is the Atlanta Falcons. But after Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 28-12, I was like, “what is with the lack of blitzes and creative pressures all of a sudden?” I mean, at least look to score to put the game away. But no, we looked to kill the clock, wearing out the defense (it was on the field for forty minutes) to create another handicap on top of the wrong plays being called.

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I really wish Quinn had left the fourth quarter Super Bowl collapse in Seattle.

What’s more, this eventually instilled a since of panic in the offense that caused Jake Matthews to commit a holding penalty that got the ball out of field goal range. When New England won the toss, I knew we had lost. We had an exhausted defense going up against a red-hot Tom Brady.

No doubt the defense gets upgraded again. Desmond Trufant will either be back or free up cap space. And Chris Chester, the weak link in our overrated offensive line will probably be gone and good riddance.

But can this team please stop taking its foot off the gas before the game is mathematically out of reach? There’s a strong case to be made that if you can nuke the opposition, you should. It’s not like this is unproven. As advertised, this has happened so many times in the Matt Ryan era. If this never stops, I fear that Ryan will retire with a resume similar to Dan Marino’s.

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Fun fact: it’s been decades since the NFL MVP was on the Super Bowl-winning team. Like the award is cursed.

Of course, we have to hire a new offensive coordinator soon. Can’t imagine who.

I’m sure franchise history will recall this as a great season. But the manner in which we fell short is not OK.

I’m thinking of starting to make Youtube videos within the next few months. I may analyze the team from there next season. Either way, I will be back. Right now, season’s over. RISE UP!!!

Central Intelligence

centralintelligencetitleKevin Hart as Calvin “Golden Jet” Joyner
Dwayne Johnson as Robbie Wheirdicht/Bob Stone
Amy Ryan as CIA Agent Pam Harris
Danielle Nicolet as Maggie Johnson-Joyner
Aaron Paul as Phil Stanton

Central Intelligence is an action comedy that is very fun to watch. Its character development is quite strong, the performances are great, and the jokes make you laugh.

Twenty years ago, Calvin Joyner was a cool kid with an unpopular, fat, frequently bullied friend named Robbie Wheirdict. They lost touch over the years but have now met up again. Calvin is surprised to see that Robbie has started regularly working out since high school, enough to become a badass. But part of the reason why Robbie set the reunion in motion is because Calvin’s job gives him information that Robbie, now a CIA agent, needs. Turns out the authorities want Robbie for selling information to enemies of the U.S. Calvin has to decide whether to trust Robbie or the authorities.

Face to big face.

Face to big face.

I’m not a fan of stand-up comedy. About the only comedians of this kind  that I ever watched regularly were Chris Rock and George Carlin. But if this film is anything to go by, Kevin Hart must have been a good one. His timing is strong, his portrayal of a normal guy thrown into overwhelming situations convincing. Dwayne Johnson isn’t as solid, but he is still pretty solid. He’s not great, but give him a good script and he’ll deliver.

The action is also really good. This gives Johnson a chance to do what he does best. While he doesn’t do any wrestling moves, the fisticuffs are executed well.

Why you should "know your role and shut your mouth."

Why you should “know your role and shut your mouth.”

As far as the jokes go, they’re funny. Hart’s reaction to being thrust into a dangerous world are a hoot! This is among other very funny stuff in this movie.

Central Intelligence is a very funny comedy. Not quite a classic, but worth seeing or even buying.

Overall: 8 out of 10

Let’s do it! Super Bowl preview.

super-bowlWhen the season began, making it to the Super Bowl seemed impossible. My Atlanta Falcons hadn’t made the playoffs since 2012. Few expected significant improvement except for the snaps because we had Alex Mack at center. Of course, things have turned out quite a bit differently.

After two blowout wins over quality opponents, we are in the Super Bowl. We face the New England Patriots or as the memes put it, Emperor Belichick and Darth Brady.

letsdoit1As a fan of the other team, I have serious problems with this. For one thing, when was the last time they destroyed a planet? For another, they’ve only won one Super Bowl in the last decade, which is less than either Manning. You want an empire, try LeBron James, Alabama football, or the Chicago Blackhawks.

Anyway, we haven’t had a very rich history leading up to this. But we can still win a Super Bowl right now. Of course, beating the last team in our way is a tall order.

Currently, we are slight underdogs in Vegas… which means nothing in the Super Bowl. In the current millennium, underdogs have won the Super Bowl most of the time. Two of those “upsets” were over New England. Ironically, their only recent Super Bowl win happened with a “pick ’em” rating.

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Matt Ryan has so many targets that every game he plays has a “pick ’em” rating.

Most pundits are expecting a close, high scoring game. I’m not so sure. Atlanta’s defense has been playing extremely well in the playoffs. And pressure has been known to mentally get to Tom Brady when it happens throughout the the game. Bill Belichick knows this, which is precisely why he is partial to offensive linemen and tight ends. But our pass rushers penetrated a sturdy Green Bay offensive line, why not New England’s? Before you answer, bear in mind that Vic Beasley wasn’t pass rushing. he was spying on Aaron Rodgers in case he scrambled. No need to do that against Brady. Beasley will pursue him.

Here’s hoping we see this a lot.

On the other side of things, the Pats have a strong defense. It’s not impressive in any particular stat, but it is a “bend, don’t break” kind of unit. While their point allowances are undoubtedly downsized by weaker opponents, they are for real on this side of the ball.

That said, stopping Atlanta isn’t as easy as “take away their best player.” There’s playmakers everywhere. Most likely, they need Malcolm Butler to cover Julio without much help or someone else will be open.

All said, I don’t know who’s going to win this. Obviously, I am pulling for Atlanta so we can end the Super Bowl drought. RISE UP!!!