Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Bowl Prediction XLIX

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
I caught my attention the other day that I hadn’t done a lot of movie reviews since Christmas… so here are a few that I’ve seen while catching up with everything else the past month or so…
First up is “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington, which is basically a pseudo-reboot of the Ed Woodward TV series from the 80’s… but it brings Denzel back together with “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua to establish him as a veritable badass in a day where the biggest action stars of our day… are in their golden years (yes, Denzel is 60, and black don’t crack). Robert McCall (Washington) is a quiet man who works at a Home Depot knockoff and is trying to put his mysterious past behind him… but then he stumbles upon a young Russian prostitute (Chloe Moretz) and before you know it… he’s up to his eyeballs in badass Ruskie gangsters. Luckily, his mysterious past involves Mr. McCall as some kind of super CIA agent or something… or in other words… he has a certain set of skills to help him destroy his newfound enemies. Basically the movie is kind of what you expect, lots of slow-mo action between long bits of tense moments… and a lot of jabbering in between too… you know, gotta fill in the full two hours-plus. Denzel is awesome of course… and I actually want to give a shout-out to Marton Csokas… who you probably know from a bunch of other movies, but he’s basically got the evil Russian badass typecasting on lock (he’s in “XXX”, “Aeon Flux”, “Bourne Supremacy”, “Kangaroo Jack”, and a few others that you probably wouldn’t recognize him… but you know him). Aside from that though, there are quite a few points in this movie where… they basically just lost me with a LOT of things that simply wouldn’t happen in real life. Overall though, I’d say check it out if you like the genre… of either secret agent stuff, or badasses of a certain age, or just action directors trying to be artsy. Check it out.
Next up was “The Interview” starring Seth Rogen & James Franco as a TV show host and his producer who stumble upon the opportunity to interview the most reclusive world leader in the world, Kim Jong-un… and then are recruited by the U.S. government to assassinate him… apparently because he has nukes at his disposal & they thought this was their best bet. Now, a lot has been made about the Sony hackers getting a hold of this movie… and then the threats… and essentially all the free marketing that came from it… and the (alleged) loss of millions in revenue from the fallout of it… but let’s be real. Sony didn’t lose money on this movie… and if so, somebody is fudging the numbers. Even with a very limited theatre release, basically everybody I know has seen it… and it’s already on Netflix about a month after it was officially released… so stop with that. The movie is obviously not supposed to be taken seriously… but you can see where some might take offense to the material. I don’t care. I think that if there was a North Korean team of stoner stars that could come up with a funny enough script, they’d probably fire back with their own spoof on action films… but they don’t. This movie was actually a LOT better than I was expecting. Yes, Seth & James play their usual kind of loveable f**k-ups with plenty of poop jokes & all that… but beneath all that, there’s actually a little bit of miniscule character development… and the guy who played Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) was probably the best part of the whole movie. At times, he’s absolutely loveable & heartfelt… and at other times, he flicks the switch onto evil… and through it you sense a little bit of the character… and that’s kinda what acting is, right? Then he sh*ts himself & you’re back to the movie… but overall, I’d say check it out on Netflix… and I really liked the soundtrack too (especially the Isaac Hayes intro as they approach Kim’s palace).

Aside from that, I’ve been basically playing catchup the past few weeks/month. You know… trying to come from behind like the f**king Seahawks in that NFC Championship game a few weeks back. So on that note, I thought I’d help break down the Super Bowl for you. Now, I know that a LOT of my readers don’t know a whole lot about football… and care even less… but basically in the end there’s a prediction… but before that, the reasoning… behind my Super Bowl XLIX pick of the defending champions Seattle Seahawks (still sounds weird) and the New England Patriots!!!

Coaches: You REALLY have the two ends of the spectrum here. Patriots coach Bill Belicheck is the grumpy-looking, short-answering three-time Super Bowl Champion coach who will apparently do anything to win, even if it means bending the gentlemen’s agreements rules a bit. He’s the Gregg Popovich of the NFL, except I’m pretty sure Popovich has a soul. Why is Bill so willing to bend the rules? Well… probably because HE GOT KICKED OUT OF CLEVELAND!!! Seahawks coach Pete Carroll will also do what it takes to win… as he’s proven by throwing out the rulebook while coaching the USC Trojans dynasty a decade ago… and with all the PED suspensions the past few years… and basically daring the NFL to change every rule in the book defensively. However, he’s also charismatic, fun-loving & boisterous… and basically lets his other coaches & players kinda do what they feel to build a team… which may be the future of the NFL, where the players have more pull than the coaches… and Bill actually replaced Pete in New England shortly before the championship rings started coming… hmm… Advantage? I’ve gotta go with three rings over one (and anybody can coach USC to a national championship, let’s face it… you’re convincing the best 18-year olds in the nation to go to Hollywood to f**k starlets during their prime f**king years… and you can throw cash at them? Come on, son).
Advantage: New England (but close)

Quarterbacks: Sigh… these mother f**kers are just too damn handsome. I mean… let’s be honest, the good-looking quarterback has been around since the beginning… but these guys are both literally GQ model handsome… and supremely talented at the most difficult position in the most difficult sport in the world… and from what I can tell they’re both f**king SAINTS!!! Patriots QB Tom Brady is the late round draft pick from the Bay Area with a chip on his shoulder for the past 15 years… whose married to a Victoria’s Secret supermodel… has sired progeny… and from what I can tell is pretty f**king nice to everybody who’s not talking sh*t on him. Then you have Seahawks QB Russell Wilson… who’s a 3rd round draft pick… who’s too small to play in the NFL (under six feet tall) so he’s also got the chip on his shoulder… but he’s also the nicest guy you’ve ever met… and literally visits hospitals every Tuesday to say hi to kids… and currently makes about 3% the salary that Brady makes… for the reigning NFL champions. He’s almost TOO perfect. Basically, Wilson is what Brady was 12-13 years ago when the Patriots had their dynasty. He’s the “game management” QB who does what he can, but not too much, just avoiding turnovers if at all possible to give his team the best chance to win. Brady has kinda morphed from that into the pass-first superstar that he’s paid to be… and has done it well… but is he on the downhill of his career? Is Wilson the next Brady? Is this game the 2015 Patriots vs. the 2003 Patriots if they had twitter? Maybe… but that’s not the question… or is it? No it’s not. Wilson may be the future… but is he this Sunday?
Advantage: New England (3 rings versus 1 again, though dollar-for-dollar, obviously Seattle)
Running Backs & Receivers: Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch has become the most dominant running back in football (even if by default thanks to Adrian Peterson& Ray Rice taking the year off for… personal reasons). He works hard, he plays hard, he doesn’t do interviews. Over the next year, if the NFL makes him speak, I want him to transform into Clubber Lang from “Rocky III” and make a pass at Roger Goddell’s wife during Media Day at the next Super Bowl. I love his silent treatment… and the self-promotion that he’s doing… but the NFL can’t have things being promoted that they’re not getting a cut (or a monopoly) on… so that has to go. The Seattle receivers though… I can only tell you that Doug Baldwin is one because of his hilarious press conference… no real stars, mostly role players. Patriots backs? Basically a running back by committee but LeGarrette Blount is a bulldozer… and he’s almost made me forget when he sucker punched that guy after losing a game in college. The Patriots receivers… they’re marginally better than the Seahawks… but Rob Gronkowski pushes them well above.
Advantage: Seattle (BEAST MODE!!! Stop the run if you can…)
The Big Guys: Football games are won in the trenches… at least they were until every passed 75% of the time. Every single play you have 5-7 men averaging about 300 pounds each, lined up against 5-7 men of similar size… basically playing tug-of-war but with a football & no rope. Sadly, most people don’t even pay attention to it unless they’re checking the replay for “holding” or watching NFL Films’ super slow-mo battles on a documentary… but it’s literally half the people on the field all jammed up in the middle while we’re fixated on the people with the ball. It’s quite remarkable.
Advantage: Draw… until one of them gets to do an awkward Big Man touchdown dance, it’s just an unsung integral part of the game.
Secondary: Seattle of course has been called “The Legion of Boom!” which I love as an old wrestling fan… and they don’t disappoint. Is Richard Sherman too cocky for his own good? Well, he got f**king paid… and he probably wouldn’t have unless he was… so I’ll allow it. Earl Thomas & Kam Chancellor have been boss since college. New England though… they only have probably the best corner of our generation Darrelle Revis& last year’s legion member Brandon Browner, who signed on this year specifically to try to strengthen their secondary is this pass-happy league.
Advantage: Seattle (but don’t sleep on New England, pick sixes win championships)
Special Teams: The kickers in this game… are Steven Hauschka & Stephen Gostkowski… need I say more?
Experience/Luck: The NFL is weird… because as soon as you gain enough experience to be taken as an undeniable force of nature, you’re a 30-year old has-been and you’re inevitable going to end your career in a year or two. Basically experience = destruction. The trick is finding that sweet spot… and a LOT of luck. As much as I love to give the coach & quarterback props for being three-time champions… the last one was a decade ago… and I think Vince Wilfork is the only other Patriot from those teams (see big guys). Seattle has almost everybody from last year… neither team really has any glaring injuries… they both seem to be on incredible streaks at the right time in the right circumstances… and that’s all through teamwork & preparation… so what’s the deciding factor then?
Advantage: Seattle (Did you SEE how they won the NFC championship?)
Cities They Represent: Both are beautiful cities that I’ve had wonderful vacation at these links (Boston) (Seattle). I can’t stand the Bostonian accent, but they’re tough blue-collar people that I respect… and they have guys like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and half the comics in the world representing them… very loudly. Seattle is the clean, progressive hippie metropolis of the future… but they lost their basketball team to Oklahoma City just before they peaked. As far as representatives of their city, they have… like… Dave Grohl, Ed Begley jr & Macklemore. Hmm… maybe a push isn’t too far off.
Advantage: Seattle… because the games are actually played in the city of Seattle, not 30 miles away in a suburb
Media / Public Relations: “DeflateGate” is the latest for the Patriots… Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to talk to reporters, but apparently has to, but even when he does, the NFL fines him… is it really that slow of a newsweek? Isn’t there a missing airplane or war we’re not supposed to know about going on? What’s that? Only a fairly-bad storm on the East coast far away Arizona? Okay… I guess you can keep talking about footballs being a little flat or an athlete not wanting to go through the motions with the press…
Advantage: Katy Perry is going to be the Halftime Show… with “special guest” Lenny Kravitz… and everybody’s going to watch in hopes of a “wardrobe malfunction” that will never come… thanks America!!!

Overall: God I hope this is a good game… last year’s was supposed to be & it made me hurt to watch… thankfully my buddy beer was there to help Jackie D & myself through that debacle. Basically, my breakdown above has a final tally of 4 for Seattle, 2 for New England and 3 as basically a draw. So with that in mind…
Prediction: Seattle 24, New England 27 (thanks to a Darrelle Revis pick-six) What’s that? It doesn’t make sense? It doesn’t f**king have to!!! This is American Football, baby!!! Yes, Seattle looks like it has the makings of a veritable dynasty!!! So did Denver!!! So have the Patriots for the past 15 years!!! So have the Colts for just about as long (except that one year where they kinda pulled a Spurs in ’96 drop to get that #1 spot)!!! So with that in mind, I gotta go with what my gut tells me… and my gut tells me that Seattle may have some nice microbreweries like Elysian or Pike or Pyramid… but Boston has the ORIGINAL CRAFTBREW JUGGERNAUT in Samuel Adams!!! So that’s what I’m going with…
Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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