Welcome to The Kolb Review; a daily blog covering all the pop-culture you could handle.

Expect some guest posts from our pop-culture liaison Leora Horowitz and sports and movie man Moshe Kolb.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why Every Movie Franchise Should Learn From The Fast And The Furious and Flying Head Butts.

As I sat watching Fast 6 with my boys Ari, Marc, Sam, and Danny I was thoroughly impressed. Time after time I say these films are going to be stupid actions flicks and time and time again I am left in awe. You see, somehow, the worst acted movie of all-time became the greatest action series of all-time. Let’s see how that happened and what every movie franchise could learn from the Fast and Furious franchise.
The first film in this series was a ridiculous action flick with fast cars, hot girls, and absolutely horrendous acting. No seriously, go back and re-watch this film. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel offer some of the worst acting to ever hit cinema. The plot ridiculous, the driving sequences faked and fighting telegraphed, yet people came and people watched. As films 2-4 moved along, something amazing started to happen; the films started to not only be entertaining but began to be true action flicks. Horrible tough-guy sayings became classic Fast and Furious lines, ridiculously unrealistic action sequences became expected, and over-the-top jokes became actually funny. So how did this transformation happen?
Two things occurred.

1)      The Fast and The Furious franchise bought into its own ridiculousness.
Having cars fly into boats, having guys been thrown 50 feet in the air only to land on a car windshield without a scratch may seem crazy but they actually became acceptable because the franchise just said, we are going to be ridiculous but are going to be awesome at it. Once you suspend your belief and allow your imagination to run wild, these movies are more than watchable, they are enjoyable. If you try to be a serious movie but have a ridiculous action sequence like Die Hard, it almost comes off as too comical and ruins the integrity of the film. But when you initially go out there and say we are going to do some insane sh*t, then they become good movies.

2)       The Fast and The Furious franchise actually started making awesome movies.
Very often in movie franchises, people get lazy and rely on prior films to continue the fan base. But when your original films are horribly acted and ridiculous, sometimes you actually need to make your movies better than the prior ones. That is what TFATF has accomplished. Around film #3, these movies actually became awesome action films with beautiful scenery, amazing car chases and some of the best action in the past 20 years. Fast 5 brought the franchise to a new level and was objectively and awesomely fun film with insane car chases, and awesome fights including an epic showdown between the Rock and Vin Diesel.  Fast 6 was just as amazing if not better. Amazing driving was actually overshadowed by some amazing fight scenes and martial arts. The shot of a flying headbutt and a tag team move partnering Diesel and The Rock will forever live in movie infamy.

The lesson is as follows. For all movie franchises out there, don’t stop making your films better, don’t be lazy and most importantly, recognize your franchise for what it is and stick with it, embrace the craziness and maybe just maybe you can catch up to The Fast and The Furious!

Action and Violence
No sex or drug usage (bare back of a woman)
4 Stars

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Similar Movies Coming Out At The Same Time

If you were at the theaters recently you may have seen a trailer for the upcoming film White House Down featuring Channing Tatum as a secret service agent who saves the President (Jamie Foxx) when the White House is overrun. You may be thinking to yourself that you just saw this film except the agent was Gerald Butler, the president Aaron Eckhart and the film called Olympus Has Fallen. While I have not seen White House Down, I have seen Olympus Has Fallen and I would be shocked if the Tatum film delivers. It had me thinking of the other times where two movies, with basically the same plot came out at the same time. I even made my picks for the better film.

Armageddon (7/1/98) vs Deep Impact (5/8/98)
Two movies in which a comet/asteroid is hurling towards Earth as some brave astronauts and drillers try to save the nation. While Deep Impact may be a better film in the purest sense, there is no question that Armageddon was the grander and more entertaining film. With more money and a soundtrack to back it up, Armageddon dominated the box office and has cemented itself as the destruction movie of the 90s.
Rotten Tomatoes
Armageddon- 40%
Deep Impact- 46%

Chasing Liberty (1/9/2004) vs First Daughter (9/24/2004)
Two films about the 18 year old daughter of the President of the United States came out in 2004. Both Katie Holmes and Mandy Moore played the role of the daughter who gets frustrated with her constant protection and decides to rebel. In both films however, the girls falls for a boy who in both films happens to be a secret service agent. Both films flopped at the box office but Mandy Moore’s popularity earned Chasing Liberty a better box office return.  Both films stink but the edge probably goes to Chasing Liberty.

Rotten Tomatoes
Chasing Liberty- 19%
First Daughter- 9%

The Illusionist (9/1/2006) vs The Prestige (10/20/2006)
Coming out just a month in a half apart, these two period pieces were set in Europe and explored the world of seemingly supernatural magic and its role in life or death rivalries. Ed Norton starred in the slower yet more mystical Illusionist while Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman starred as dueling magicians in the Prestige. It is almost a joke to compare a Nolan film to anything else so you can trust me when I say that The Prestige wins.

Rotten Tomatoes
The Illusionist- 74%
The Prestige- 75%

Antz (10/2/1998) vs A Bug’s Life (11/25/98)
Two computer animated films about ant colonies dominated the end of 1998. With the same plot of a average ant becoming heroic, I honestly felt like I saw the same film twice. Both of these films were big hits at the box office but A Bug’s Life ($162.8 million) dominated Antz ($90.6) as Disney/Pixar dominated Dreamworks.  It would appear that A Bug’s Life was the winner but when you rewatch these films, you may start to to think that Antz is actually the smarter film.

Rotten Tomatoes
A Bug’s Life- 91%
Antz- 95%

The Truman Show (6/5/1998) vs EdTV (3/26/1999)
These are two films that show both the upsides and downsides of having cameras broadcasting your every move to millions of captivated Americans. As Both Truman (Jim Carrey) and Ed (Matthew McConaughey) are stars of reality TV the films follow a very similar generic plot. However on a closer look, this one is not close. The Truman Show is a fantastic film and is Jim Carrey’s best dramatic role. Truman Show banked on Carrey at the box office and succeeded with $125 million while EdTV only mustered $22.4 million. The Truman Show won awards and simply dominated this battle. We love you Truman!!!!!!!!!

Rotten Tomatoes
The Truman Show- 95%
EdTV- 63%

Saving Private Ryan (7/24/1998) vs The Thin Red Line (1/15/1999)
These were two World War 2 films about a man’s heroic battle while overseas. Saving Private Ryan was directed by Spielberg and starred Tom Hanks. Throw in the fact that it is a superior film and features arguably the greatest battle scene ever captured on camera, this was a no brainer. With numerous Oscar wins and a whopping $216 million to Red Lines’s $36 million, Ryan was simply a superior film on every level.

Rotten Tomatoes
Saving Private Ryan- 94%
The Thin Red Line- 78%

Iron Eagle (1/17/1986) vs Top Gun (5/16/1986)
These two movies are about young hotshot fighter pilots who fight enemy pilots while avenging the loss of these close to them while living up to the destinies of their fathers. Top Gun may not be realistic but it is definitely in the realm of possibility. Iron Eagle on the other hand has a ridiculous pot in which a high school student successfully take on an entire fleet of an unnamed Muslim country. Top Gun earned $176 million and is one of the most quoted and culturally iconic films ever while most people have not heard of Iron Eagle and its $24 million. Winner is easily Top Gun.

Rotten Tomatoes
Top Gun- 55%
Iron Eagle- 50%

Dante’s Peak (2/7/1997) vs Volcano (4/25/1997)
These two films about experiences experts fighting off a Volcanic eruption came out only a few months apart. Dante’s Peak threatens a small town protected by Peirce Brosnan while Volcano has Tommy Lee Jones trying to save LA. Both films were flops at the box office and suffered major losses. While the spectacle of Volcano is greater being filmed in LA, Dante’s Peak is a better all around film.

Rotten Tomatoes
Dante’s Peak- 32%
Volcano- 42%

Mirror Mirror (3/30/2012) vs Snow White and the Huntsman (6/1/2012)
It took tens and tens of years for them to make a Snow White film. Then amazingly they made two of them in the same calendar year. Thankfully, these films were very different and offered a different perspective on the classic story. Mirror Mirror stared Julia Roberts and was a very whimsical and comical look at the classic tale while Snow White and the Huntsman starred Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth and took a very dark and epic look at the story. While SWATH made more money at the box office, the film actually failed to deliver in its goal other than the wonderfully evil Theron. Mirror Mirror went for the whimsical feel and nailed it. It gets our vote.

Rotten Tomatoes
Mirror Mirror- 50%
Snow White and The Huntsman- 48%

Friends With Benefits (7/22/2011) vs No Strings Attached (1/21/2011)

Both of these “sex between friends makes them fall in love” films came out only a few months apart. With tons of star power on both side, we saw JT and Mila Kunis go up against Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The films are literally the same movie but one takes the comedy part to a new level. Coming off her Oscar winning performance in Black Swan, No Strings Attached dominated the box office using Portman’s popularity. But despite its cute humor and good dynamic between its stars, NSA fell short in comparison with Friends with Benefits. FWB fully bought into the ridiculousness of its story and let JT truly shine. In a very very close one, I have Friends With Benefits by a inch.

Rotten Tomatoes
Friends With Benefits- 71%
No Strings Attached- 49%

Despicable Me (7/9/2010) vs Megamind (11/5/20100
Both of these animated films were extremely successful. In both films, we see a master criminal/villain have a change of heart and become the good guy. Despicable Me starred Steve Carrel and was hillarous at points and cute the other. Megamind starred Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell. In my opinion, Megamind is one of the most underrated films of the last 10 years. I literally could not stop laughing this entire movie. It is essentially Will Ferrell humor at its best. While Despicable Me had the box office chops and will probably live on longer, I absolutely loved Megamind and couldn’t vote against it.

Rotten Tomatoes
Despicable Me- 81%
Megamind- 73%

Capote (9/30/2005) vs Infamous (10/13/2006)
These films came out the same year and focused on the life of infamous writer Truman Capote. While both films didn’t do well at the box office, Capote is clearly the winner. With an Oscar performance by Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Capote was just a better film than Infamous. Infamous starred a big cast with Toby Jones, Daniel Craig, Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver and Gwyneth Paltrow. While it was a good film and focused on the early life of Capote, it just didn’t match PSH’s performance.

Rotten Tomatoes
Capote- 90%
Infamous- 72%

Madagascar (5/27/2005) vs The Wild (4/14/2006)
Less than a year after Pixar brought us the hilarious and still money making film Madagascar, Disney made an attempt at an animated film about zoo animals being released into the wild with it’s The Wild. This one is not even a joke on every level. Let’s put it this way: they are still making Madagascar films which have grossed over a few hundred million dollars and I didn’t know The Wild was ever made until I wrote this blog.

Rotten Tomatoes
Madagascar- 55%
The Wild- 19%

Finding Nemo (2003) vs Shark Tale (10/1/2004)
Both of these animated films about fish and sea creatures came out around the same time. While Will Smith’s Shark Tale had its moments, great animation and funny lines, it doesn’t come close to the dominating Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo is considered by some the best animated film since the Lion King and Toy Story and still lives on in homes today. Winner: Finding Nemo
Rotten Tomatoes
Finding Nemo- 99%
Shark Tale- 36%

Orange County (1/11/2002) vs Stealing Harvard (9/13/2002)
Both of these hilarious films about getting someone into college are underrated comedies of the early 2000’s. OC puts Jack Black and Colin Hanks together as Hank’s character tries to get into Stanford while Stealing Harvard has Tom Green and Jason Lee trying to get Lee’s niece into Harvard. Both of these films have some hilarious moments from both Black and Green and both Hanks and Lee play their roles to perfection. While Tom Green makes me laugh as much as any human being on the planet, I am going to have to go with Orange County as the better overall film.

Rotten Tomatoes
Orange County- 46%
Stealing Harvard- 9%

Powder (10/27/1995) vs Phenomenon (7/5/1996)
Coming out less than a year apart, these two films featured average people with supernatural powers. Both were intriguing films and definitely worth a watch. However in my opinion, Phenomenon is the more clever film and it doesn’t hurt that it had a great performance from John Travolta.

Rotten Tomatoes
Phenomenon- 50%
Powder- 47%


Striptease (7/28/1996) vs Showgirls (9/22/2005)
Both films had popular stars stripping down in these two films. I won’t go into it more but just know that Striptease is by far the better movie. Showgirls is quite ridiculous.

Rotten Tomatoes
Striptease- 11%
Showgirls- 14%

Babe (8/4/1995) vs Gordy (5/12/1995)
Two films about a pig in the same year?? What was 1995 thinking? Babe all the way.

Rotten Tomatoes
Babe- 98%
Gordy- 14%

Little Big League (6/29/1994) vs Rookie of the Year (1993)
These two films featured young boys getting a career started in Major League Baseball; one as a pitcher for the Cubs ,the other as the manager of the Twins. Both are entertaining watches but Rookie of the Year is by far the better film. The movie is as funny as it is fun and I still quote this film with brothers today.

 Rotten Tomatoes
Little Big League- 33%
Rookie of the Year- 39%

Turner & Hooch (7/28/1989) vs K-9 (6/1/1989)
Both of these films feature Cops whos’ partner in fighting in crime is also his best friend, aka a dog. The films came out only a month apart but there is no question that Turner and Hooch starring Tom Hanks was the better overall film.

Rotten Tomatoes
Turner and Hooch- 62%
K-9- 22%

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Movie Trivia

1) The Director has an obsession with plane crashes.
2) The Actor has big dreams to reach the moon.
3) The Film served as an ad for a sporting goods store.
Whats the film???

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One Weekend, Two Very Different Movie Experiences. (Olympus Has Fallen, The Place Beyond the Pines)

This weekend I saw two films. For those of you who are thinking it’s the Omer, yes that is true, but I have asked my Rabbi and been given the ok. So I saw two films. One hand I saw Olympus Has Fallen: a high octane action flick with Gerard Butler playing a secret service agent who must fight off hundreds of Koreans after they take the White House and the President (Aaron Eckhart) hostage. The other film was The Place Beyond The Pines, an artsy film about a Bank robbing motorcyclist (Ryan Gosling) and the cop (Bradley Cooper) who tries to stop him.

What I Expected
On the surface these films just scream two extreme opposites. On one hand, Olympus Has Fallen screams cheesy action flick. With the plot of the White House falling into enemy hands and one man with the help of the interim President (Morgan Freeman) killing all the bad guys, I expected nothing more than an entertaining film. On the flip side, The Place Beyond the Pines was screaming Oscars. With highly acclaimed director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) behind the wheel and Oscar nominated actors behind it, this was a sure hit. With some of the artsy feel of the very good Driven and the action innate to a bank robber film, I was expecting the world from this film.

What I Got
Simply put, Olympus has Fallen was an awesome film. With insanely good action, and surprisingly good acting, the film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Despite the likelihood of one man dodging every bullet, the film was surprisingly realistic taking into consideration the plot of the film. The takeover of the White House felt very real. The action is awesome, detailed and some of the best and most realistic fight scenes I have seen in quite some time.  Warning, the film is very gory and holds nothing back. This film is not one for the faint of heart. There is even a tint of humor in the film that adds some great breaks from the non-stop violence. After the horrific events in Boston this past week, the audience erupted in a clap at the end, and just a spoiler, USA comes out on top.
To say that I was disappointed in The Place Beyond the Pines is an understatement. People actually walked out of the theater and I found myself asking for the film to end. As always Bradley Cooper was great and Ryan Gosling was electrifying; but sometimes, good acting can’t save a bad film. The film was too artsy for its own good. It tried too hard to teach me a lesson. I don’t want to know when I am being given a message; I just want to get it. The film is oddly paced, split into almost three different stories, the last of which could have easily been cut out of the film and I would have never have noticed.  Had it kept the film to parts 1 and 2, I would have enjoyed/liked the film but not had many gripes with it. However, the last 3rd of the film is so absurd, predictable and poorly done, I almost forgot how decent the first parts were.

Olympus Has Fallen
Sex: None
Violence: One of the gorier films you will ever see.
Language: plenty of cursing
Rated: R
Run time: 120 min
Grade: 4 Stars

The Place Beyond The Pines
Sex: Some sexual references
Violence: Some violence and punching.
Language: plenty of cursing
Rated: R
Run time: 140 min
Grade: 2 Stars

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some Good Movies With Horrible Endings

No Country For Old Men

This Coen Brother’s masterpiece was an otherwise great film. Sadly the film ending left us with an annoying and dragged out scene with Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) going on and on about a dream he had. I would have much preferred the film ended with the second to last scene in which our assassin Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) kills a victim and then survives a car crash despite a broken limb.

Indiana Jones & Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 
Some may think the whole movie was ridiculous, but really … a circle of crystal aliens coming to life, making things swirl around, blowing up the bad lady’s (Cate Blanchett) head before said aliens zoom off into outer space in a subterranean space ship. Without even ruffling Indy’s fedora? Get real. 

War of the Worlds 
Talk about Good Luck! We didn’t mind that it was germs that did in the evil aliens. But when Ray (Tom Cruise) arrives in Boston to find that his ex-wife's neighborhood as been untouched and his whole family there, safe, waiting for him … well, it all seems a little bit too perfect.

 LOTR: Return of the King 
It ends with Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) making it off that fffing Mt. Doom. No, actually, it ends with Aragon (Viggo Mortensen) becoming king, getting his Elf queen (Liv Tyler) and bowing to the Hobbits. No, wait, it ends with the Hobbits going back the Shire, and Sam marrying his Hobbit lady. Wait, there’s more. It ends with Frodo writing his account of his adventure. Fitting. No, wait -- for heaven sakes already -- it ends with Frodo sailing off into the sunset on some boat with Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Bilbo (Ian Holm) and a bunch of Elves. Is that it? Is it really over? Whew. 

In this otherwise awesome M. Night film about Aliens invading Earth, we were dying to know the big reveal that became MNS’s claim to fame. But when it is revealed that sophisticated Aliens are done in by nothing other than water, it felt like a sell out. Why would sophisticated aliens conquer a planet that is 80% covered by water.

As this quite interesting film comes to a conclusion, most of the characters have been killed as we are told the entire story through flashbacks. So how does this crime/military thriller end? Well basically everyone is still alive and it was all a hoax to cover up an army smuggling ring. Seriously?

Man on a Ledge
I loved the premise of the film and enjoyed 90% of it. Obviously this is an inplausible action/heist film, but the actors were great and I simply enjoyed the film. That was until of course the director essentially got bored of filming and decided to just end the film. So he has our lead, Nick Cassidly, simply jump of a building, amazingly land on a blow up landing pad, and then fight through a crowd of cops to instantly attack Ed Harrison’s villain, revealing the diamond and instantaneously earning his freedom.  I mean literally in the span of 45 seconds Nick is chased by cops, jumps off a building, proves his innocence, and then gets interviewed about how it feels to be a free man.
The Village
MNS’s premise of a colonial village being controlled by mysterious Creatures who hide in the woods was slightly intriguing. Again, as we awaiting the big reveal, we had high expectations. But then once again we are let down. As it is revealed that the village was actually just a walled in compound in modern day times, MNS sat there laughing as he duped us once again. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Biggest Blindsides In Survivor History.


This past week featured an awesome Survivor blindside. Totally cocky how the game was falling into her hands, Corinne decided to tell Dawn her master plan. But Dawn didn’t want to repeat her past mistakes and decided to use the secret info and flip the game on Corinne. She organized a coup and Corinne was totally blindsided as she was voted off. This had me thinking of the best Survivor blindsides ever.

1.      Erik (Micronesia)
In arguably the best season ever, there were turns and surprises every week. With Ozzy already voted out in a shocker Erik seem to have all the power. Then after winning immunity in the most recent challenge and with apparently all the power and resume to win it all, Erik was the victim of a massive blindside. Cirie came up with a crazy scheme in which they the women of the tribe would convince Erik to pass off the immunity necklace to Natalie to atone for his disloyalty. To all their surprise, Erik complied and handed away immunity only to be immediately voted off by the ‘Black Widow Alliance’.
2.      Tyson (Heroes vs Villians)
Tyson was Boston Rob’s right hand man until Russell convinced him to essentially vote himself off. You see Boston Rob planned on splitting the vote between Parvati and Russell, guaranteeing one them be voted off. But Russell was able to convince Tyson to waste his vote as to not make enemies. Russell then gathered the votes and had Tyson eliminated.
3.      Ozzy (Micronesia)
In another shocker in the best season ever, Cirie pulled off yet another big movie as she convinced all the ladies of the tribe to vote off the dominating Ozzy. With every challenge won and a hidden immunity idol in his pocket, Ozzy was convinced by Cirie that he was safe. Of course he wasn’t and was voted off with immunity in his pocket.
4.      James (China)
Arguably the cockiest player ever, James Clement was a dominating force. But when you get voted off with not one but two hidden immunity idols in your pockets, ouch! Amanda and Todd were able to join forces and catch the big dude off his guard. This was arguably the worst show of confidence in Survivor history.
5.      Parvati’s Move (Heroes vs Villains)
With her entire tribe in jeapordy by the hand of the Heroes, Parvati made the greatest and most selfless move ever. She plays two hidden immunity idols and saves both Sandra and Jerri, flipping the game on the Heroes.
6.      Kelly (Samoa)
Kelly fell victim to the greatest single season performance ever. With an entire tribe gunning for the infamous Russell Hanz, Russell pulled and played an immunity idol telling Jeff “Keep hope alive.” The move was revolutionary because Russell was the first to revolutionize the game. He was the one who actively looked for hidden immunity idols, which has become common practice ever since.
7.      J.T. (Heroes vs Villians)
After the Villains tribe dwindled down to just Russell, the Heroes believed the Villains tribe was being controlled by an all-women alliance. To save Russell and thereby win his trust, J.T. passed off his hidden immunity idol to the fedora-sporting castaway during an immunity challenge. Russell, who at this point had just finished filming his debut season and was unknown to his fellow Survivors, had no intention of changing sides. Once the merge came, J.T. was blindsided by the Villains and booted off the island. He handed his immunity idol to the people who voted him off.
8.      Keith (South Pacific)
As two tribes came to the merge completely even in numbers, the vote was all but a certain tie. At that point it was almost the first ever ‘drawing rocks’ in Survivor history. With it all but written in stone (pun intended), it was the lowly life-long fan Cochran who turned the game around by jumping ship and giving the opposing team his vote.
9.      Gretchen (Borneo)
The first blindside ever in Season 1 was not an actual blindside. You see, after the first merge ever, some of the players didn’t get the rules of the game and thought they should vote out who was not ‘surviving’ the best. The stronger players took advantage of this idiocy and voted off the physically strong Gretchen.
10.  Grant (Redemption Island)
Boston Rob dominated this season in every possible way. He and Grant Mattos dominated every challenge and the game’s strategy. With only his alliance left, Boston Rob made a very difficult decision and voted off his legitimate best friend Grant. This became more than a game play, it was personal. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Worst Best Picture Snubs In Oscar History.

The English Patient (1996)
This good film featured nothing more than a dragged out love story. How this beat the clever, entertaining and rewatchable Fargo still baffles me. Coen brothers, I am sorry.

Forrest Gump (1994)
Don’t get me wrong, Forrest Gump is a great film with an all-time great performance. However, despite how much we all loved Forrest Gump and its catch phrases, Pulp Fiction is one of the most influential films ever. Tarantino’s picture is an amazing work of art. While I can’t fault people voting for Gump, I would have hands down voted for Pulp Fiction.

Dances With Wolves (1990)
It's a good thing Martin Scorsese won Best Picture for The Departed in 2007. Otherwise, I may have stolen an Oscar and given it to him myself. First Raging Bull loses and then this dragged out Kevin Costner film beats out Goodfellas! arguably the greatest crime film of all-time!?!?! Insane!

Gandhi (1982)
I could barely sit through the very long biopic despite how good Ben Kingsley was. I don’t understand how this was even considered in the same league as E.T. or Tootsie. Can someone please explain this to me?

Chariots of Fire (1981)
The slo-motion was awesome, the soundtrack epic but there is no way this was a better film than Raiders of the Lost Ark. Adventure is defined as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Even Reds could have beat out Chariots!

Ordinary People (1980)
In the greatest snub of all-time, a film which is essentially a Lifetime movie beat out Raging Bull. Raging Bull was a lesson in acting and film making that should have taken home the Oscar. Period. End of Story.

Oliver! (1968)
That exclamation point in the title is easily the most exciting thing about this Dickens musical. While a good film, Oliver!’s win essentially shows how square the Academy is. The fact that neither Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby were even nominated is shocking.

How Green Was My Valley (1941)
This film beat Citizen Kane. Ladies and Gentlemen, what has happened to the universe?

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
A clever film basically pushed its way for an Oscar. But to think that Shakespeare in Love will ever be rated higher than Saving Private Ryan scares me. Spielberg epic film will be remembered forever. I have already forgotten Shakespeare in Love.

Crash (2005)
For a movie about race and stereotypes, Crash is both simplistically black-and-white and loaded with characters who are themselves stereotypes. Brokeback Mountain should have won.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The 10 Best Comedies On Right Now.

Its Friday morning and there was no 30 Rock to watch. We have said goodbye to one of the greatest and most revolutionary comedies ever. This got me thinking. We need to appreciate the comedy we have on TV while it is on TV. So without further or due I figured we should recognize the 10 best comedies on TV right now (removing the Simpsons, Family Guy, and SouthPark).

10. Louie, FX
Louis C.K. is arguably the funniest comedian working today. His stand-up is globally praised and he has captured viewers with this hilariously dark comedy about a fictionalized version of himself. As a divorced comedian father, Louie makes fun of himself and life, and we enjoy every second of it.

9. How I Met Your Mother, CBS
Though many feel the show has run its course as it wraps up its 8th season, there is no doubt of the mark this comedy has left on the world. Many of the show’s catch phrases have become part of every day language. With awesome stars like Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris, the show is hilarious. NPH’s Barney Stinson will go down as one of the greatest comedic characters ever, like Kramer before him.

8. Parks and Recreation, NBC
This very funny show stars Amy Poehler as a mid-level government worker in the parks department of a fictional town in Indiana. The small town politics mixed with the mid-American humor spells pure genius. With an excellent supporting cast, this comedy in its 5th season continues to please viewers.

7. Shameless, Showtime
Though the show takes some very serious turns, this UK converted comedy is amazing. With an amazing cast, the Galligers led by Frank (William H Macy) wreak havoc on their Southside community. The show knows no boundaries and the audience benefits from that.

6. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FX
I absolutely love this show. With an unreal cast the show flourishes on amazing characterization. The short but sweet episodes are comedic magic. The mid-seasons’ addition of Danny Devito really raised this show to new and unimaginable heights.

5. The League, FX
Though no one will ever say it, the characters of this show are loosely based on ‘Its Always Sunny’. The show revolving around a group of best friends who share a love for Fantasy Football provides hilarious laughs. The show creates unreal situations that truly feed into the amazing characters. This trait, I believe separates this show from many others.

4. Community, NBC
Thank god this show has been brought back. Though way too over the top at points, there are very few shows that have made me laugh as much as Community. Some of their works and storylines are the funniest ever seen on TV.

3. The New Girl, Fox
In only its second season, the New Girl continues to shock in its hilarious ways. The emergence of Schmidt as an all-time classic character and the growth of Jess and Nick’s relationship is something special to watch. Please go and watch this show now.

2. Modern Family, ABC
Modern Family has totally dominated the comedic awards for a reason. This show about the most functional/dysfunctional family ever is so funny I promise you that you will laugh. If you need any motivation at all to watch, just realize that Ed Bundy is on the show.

1.       The Office, NBC
If there was ever a college course in the formation of characters in a work of art, theater, TV or Film, they should simply show the office. The show requires some dedication but with an appreciation for great storylines and amazing characters, the Office will wrap up its final season this winter, thus ending one of the best comedies ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Most Unrealistic Action Scenes Of All-Time.

We may love it, but we are not naïve enough to believe it.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle- Helicopter Scene
In this awesome action flick, the three ladies do some unreal stuff. But it was almost too unreal when these girls drove a huge flatbed off a bridge and while falling, jumped into a helicopter, started it up and flew away. This was somehow all done mid-air. I don’t believe physics would agree with the director.

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of Crystal Skull: The Fridge Scene
Indiana Jones can get out of any pickle. Thought when he finds himself in a nuclear bomb testing zone, Jones jumps into an old refrigerator and manages to survive the blast as the nuke thankfully just throws the fridge beyond the blast radius, leaving Indy without a scratch.

Live Free Or Die Hard: The Fighter Jet Scene
While John McClane is the man, it was pretty ridiculous that he was able to defeat a high-tech fighter jet with nothing but a truck. Also, did they find the most horrible shot ever to fly this plane? He has target guided missiles yet can’t hit an 18 wheeler.

The A-Team- The Tank Scene
Though this entire film is unrealistic, it is quite enjoyable. They took many liberties with this film. But when they have the team plummet from a plane inside a military tank, they go too far. The Tank is held up only by a parachute. The A-Team then decides to fire the main cannon in order to adjust its descent.

Speed- Bus Jump Scene
In this gravity defying scene, a bus driving only 60 MPH makes a jump over a huge gap in the interstate. With no incline or ramp whatsoever, the bus seemingly is pulled up into mid-air as it miraculously makes the jump. Mythbusters disproved this as being physically possible; though I am pretty sure I could have told you that.

2 Fast 2 Furious- Boat Landing
This won’t be the first scene from this franchise. At the end of the film, the two stars are in pursuit of the villain who has run off in his yacht. To catch him, the two heroes jump their car into the boat. The jump is timed perfectly and instead of crashing into the boat, it simply crunches on top of the boat as the two  emerge without a scratch.

Die Another Day- Tidal Wave Surfing Scene
Even if you ignore the rocket car, gigantic ice hotel, and deadly space laser, this 'Die Another Day' scene is still ridiculous. James Bond finds himself dangling from the edge of a cliff and devises a unique means of escape. Using the rocket car's parachute and engine cover, he surfs away to safety on a gigantic tidal wave. If that wasn't bad enough, the entire scene is done with terrible CGI.

Mr. And Mrs. Smith- Tool Shed Scene
With an army of assassins around them, the two lover assassins hide in a tool shed. For some reason, the assassins didn’t shoot the crap out of a wood shed. Then as the couple emerges shooting, these trained assassins all miss horribly at a couple coming out of a 3 foot doorway. Wow!

Fast Five- The Safe Runaway
And we are back. In this awesome yet ridiculous scene. The  two heroes hook up a seemingly huge and heavy vault to the back of two reinforced Ford Mustangs and then proceed to drive the safe through the streets of Rio. This is not possible for anyone planning a heist. And the fact that these cars didn’t rip apart is laughable.

Cliffhanger- Plane Transfer
There's a major scene in 'Cliffhanger' where people transfer from one plane to another mid-flight. This scene was done by a real-life stuntman, so it's surprisingly realistic. However, things go wrong when a man fires a single machine gun and absolutely tears apart the second plane despite being hundreds of feet away in the air.

'Shoot 'Em Up' was solely created for the purpose of being over the top, but that doesn't excuse it from this list. There are a number of scenes that defy reality, but the sex scene is especially ridiculous. The main character is getting it on when the bad guys show up and start shooting at them. Rather than allowing their love-making session to get interrupted, he grabs his gun and starts firing back as they roll around the room.

Commando- Entire Film
Pity the fool-hardy faceless drones of Val Verde. They definitely didn't sign up for this, being butchered indiscriminately by John Matrix, who's turned up looking for his kidnapped daughter, "Chenny". After making a splash playing an indestructible robot who can single-handedly massacre a police force, Arnie opted for the crowd-pleasing option, playing an indestructible elite Special Forces type who can massacre an entire army. Still, given that he does a lot of this standing perfectly upright, without cover, just pumping out bullets, suggests that maybe the aim-retarded morons of Val Verde had it coming to them.

True Lies- Missile Shot
The film did overreach itself somewhat, though, in its final ten minutes, as Arnold Schwarzenegger took to the skies in a Harrier Jump Jet. Having snagged wild-eyed terrorist Aziz (Art Malik) on the pointier section of a Sidewinder missile, Arnie issues forth one of his stirring one-liners (“You’re fired!”) and launches both bad guy and missile through the side of a building and straight into a waiting helicopter.

Transporter 2- Bomb Scene
There are some movie sequences that steam straight through implausibility and straight into the realms of chuckle-inducing madness. Jason Statham’s Transporter and Crank movies are jam packed full of them, but if we had to choose just one, it has to be the moment in Transporter 2, where Statham manages to do a spot of bomb disposal while driving at what appears to be 600 miles per hour.
Hurtling along in a glistening Audi A8, Statham has mere seconds before the evil Lola (Kate Nauta) detonates a bomb strapped to the car’s undercarriage. Statham, extraordinarily skilled as he is, drives up a conveniently placed ramp, flicking the car upside-down, and manages to snag the bomb on a waiting crane hook. The Audi then continues on its 360-degree barrel roll, before landing neatly back on its wheels like a gymnast dismounting a pommel horse.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Best Hoaxes in Sports History.

 Rosie Ruiz
Appearing to win the Boston Marathon in world record time, Rosie Ruiz would have become a legend. Unfortunately, after many runners claimed they hadn’t seen her during the race, it came to light that Ruiz had actually skipped more than half the race and jumped onto the course with half a mile to go.

Stella Walsh
This multi-Olympic Gold winning female track and field star dominated the track for years before entering the Hall Of Fame. Sadly, upon her shocking death in hold-up, the autopsy revealed that in fact Stella was a man with male genitalia. According to doctors she possessed both male and female chromosomes.

The Turk
In 1769, a Hungarian nobleman named Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen constructed a chess playing machine for the Austrian Queen Maria Theresia. Supposedly a completely mechanical device, the automaton consisted of a box filled with levers and gears supporting an animatronic figure dressed in a turban and known as the "Turk." Kempelen took the device on a tour of the finest courts in Europe and it defeated many of the finest chess players in the game. After years and years of touring and defeating some of the best chess players in the world, it was finally revealed that expert chess players, recruited during stops on each tour, were hiding within the gears.

David Robertson
After 14 holes in a qualifying tournament for the 1985 British Open, several players summoned a tournament official to discuss the play of David Robertson. Their complaint: Robertson wasn't placing his ball in the correct position on the green.  Robertson was actually racing to the green ahead of his playing partners, where he would pretend to mark his ball. In reality, however, he was simply picking it up, then placing the marker on his putter -- carrying it across the green to a more favorable lie closer to the hole. Robertson was fined the equivalent of more than $30,000 and banned from the pro tour for 30 years. About seven years later, he reapplied for amateur status and played in several events near Lothian, Great Britain.

Fred Lorz
In the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, before Rosie Ruiz was even born, New York native Fred Lorz cruised to the marathon finish line in three hours, 13 minutes -- far ahead of his nearest competitor. Lorz had already broken the tape, posed for photographs with then-first daughter Alice Roosevelt and made ready to receive his gold medal when organizers figured out how he'd established such a lead: by flagging down a passing car and riding 11 miles as a passenger. Lorz claimed his own short cut was a practical joke but still received a lifetime ban from the sport, though track officials later allowed him to run again. He celebrated his reinstatement by winning the Boston Marathon the next year.

Ali Dia
Like American pro sports teams, soccer clubs in the United Kingdom are constantly looking out for unknown talent. So Southampton manager Graeme Souness was grateful when he received a call in 1996 from a man who identified himself as World Footballer of the Year George Weah and extolled the skills of his "cousin," a 30-year-old nobody named Ali Dia who, the caller said, had played in 13 international tournaments for Senegal.
Impressed by the recommendation, Souness signed Dia, sight unseen, to a 30-day contract and put him on the bench for Southampton's next game, against Leeds. What Souness didn't know was that the man he'd spoken to on the phone wasn't actually George Weah -- it was Dia's agent. Unfortunately for Souness, he didn't learn this fact until after he'd sent Dia into the game as a substitute, where the striker played 14 minutes of embarrassingly bad soccer before Souness figured out the con.

Dora Ratjen
Unlike Stella Walsh, who possessed both male and female chromosomes, there was nothing at all feminine about Dora Ratjen, who competed in the high jump at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Least of all "her" real name. Dora was, in fact, actually Hermann Ratjen, a detail not discovered until after the Second World War, when he was found working as a waiter -- not a waitress -- in Hamburg.
Ratjen claimed that leaders of the Hitler Youth had coerced him into binding his genitals and competing as a woman. But in the end, the joke was on them and their theories of Aryan superiority: Ratjen finished fourth, behind three actual women.

Sidd Finch
He was an unknown rookie pitcher, invited to camp by the Mets, who could throw a 168 mph fastball. He had pinpoint control. According to an article by George Plimpton in the April 1 edition of Sports Illustrated, Sidd Finch was one of the strangest ballplayers ever -- an orphan raised by anthropologists who grew up into a yogi, a virtuoso on the French Horn and a Harvard alum. Players said it wasn't humanly possible to hit his pitches.
That's because they didn't exist. Finch was an elaborate joke cooked up by Plimpton, author of the sports classic "Paper Lion." The magazine received more than 2,000 letters seeking additional information before admitting on April 15 that the story was a joke.

Carl Power
Shortly after Manchester United published its team photograph in 2001, fans began asking for the identity of the extra player appearing with the otherwise well-known lineup. Included in the picture was a slightly overweight man, dressed in uniform, whom no one had ever seen play.
After the BBC launched a nationwide manhunt, the non-player was identified as Carl Power, a 36-year-old Manchester resident and practical joker nicknamed "Fat Neck." Power had managed to get into the picture by waiting in the stadium for three hours until the team arrived, then wandering over. None of the real players noticed him joining them. It wasn't Power's final exploit. Shortly thereafter, he dressed in a batsman's helmet during one of the English cricket team's matches and almost made it into the game. He played a few serves with a friend on Centre Court at Wimbledon before a Tim Henman match. And he even dressed in a driver's uniform and leapt onto the winner's podium ahead of Michael Schumacher during a Formula One awards ceremony.

Sylvester Carmouche
A heavy ground fog had settled across Louisiana's Delta Downs racetrack in December 1990 when jockey Sylvester Carmouche pulled off a surprise upset by finishing first on the 23-1 long shot Landing Officer. But even more surprising was the magnitude of his victory. Landing Officer won by 24 lengths, finishing just 1.2 seconds shy of the track record for a one-mile course.
It wasn't that Landing Officer had discovered an inner reserve of strength somewhere in the backstretch. As it turned out, the jockey had steered the horse out of the race while lost from view in the fog, cut across the course and rejoined the field again as the other horses came around. Other jockeys admitted they'd never even seen him. Carmouche received a 10-year ban but was reinstated after serving eight.

Donald Crowhurst
The 36-year-old sailor set out from England in a plywood trimaran as a competitor in the 1968 Golden Globe round-the-world yacht race. Though he had little prior experience and his boat, the Teignmouth Electron, was frighteningly under-built, Crowhurst managed to convince a wealthy backer, race judges and the media that he was a serious contender.
He wasn't. After several weeks fighting leaks and making slow progress, Crowhurst began sending bogus radio reports indicating amazing success. At one point, he claimed to have covered 391 kilometers in a single day -- a world record, at the time. In reality, however, Crowhurst had sailed off the route to the coast of South America, where he decided to lie low and wait for the other competitors to come back around. He spent 111 days in radio silence, then called in and reported another bogus position behind the race leader. But when a competitor sank trying to "beat" the Teignmouth Electron for second place, Crowhurst was overcome with guilt. He confessed all in his logbook, then stepped over the side and vanished into the Atlantic.

When competition ended in the pair skating event at the Salt Lake City Olympics, fans in the audience and around the world thought they knew who'd won. Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier circled the ice triumphantly, while fans chanted "Six! Six!" demanding a perfect score for the team's performance. Those fans were silenced, however, by scores that handed the gold medal to the Russian team of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, even though Sikharulidze had failed to appropriately land one of his double-axels.
The results spurred immediate accusations of cheating -- which proved justified when French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne said she had been pressured to vote for the Russian skaters by the French skating federation. After four days of argument, the IOC awarded Sale and Pelletier an unprecedented extra gold medal. Later that summer, Italian authorities arrested a Russian mobster named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov after the FBI accused him of masterminding the fix. An Italian judge, though, overturned a previous order to extradite him to the United States.

Boris Onischenko
An Army officer from the Ukraine, Boris Onischenko was a respected pentathlete with a silver medal from the 1972 Munich Games. But in the 1976 Olympics, competitors noticed something strange about his fencing style. Jim Fox, of the British team, found that his Soviet opponent was scoring points even when his épée missed Fox by a considerable distance.
Fox and the other Brits convinced Olympic officials to examine Onischenko's sword, which turned out to be wired with a clever system that allowed him to score points at will by means of a hidden trigger. The Soviet was disqualified and the rules changed to ban grips that could conceal wires or switches.

Danny Almonte
The left-handed pitcher became a media darling and an overnight sensation when he pitched a perfect game on national television while leading his team of Bronx youths to a third-place finish at the Little League World Series in the summer of 2001.
But the star of the Baby Bronx Bombers wasn't quite as preternaturally talented as he seemed. Though Almonte could, in fact, throw a 70 mph fastball -- an impressive feat for a 12-year-old -- officials in the Dominican Republic later confirmed that records showed Almonte was actually 14. The age advantage gave him a considerable edge over his mostly pre-pubescent competition. Almonte's father and coach, who forged the boy's registration form, was banned from Little League for life.

Spanish Paralympians
It was a heartwarming story -- a group of mentally challenged basketball players pulling together and producing an outstanding performance that won the 2000 Paralympic gold medal for Spain, beating the Russian team 87-63 in the finals of the intellectual disability tournament. The only problem with the tale: It was fiction.
Shortly after the team returned to Spain, Carlos Ribagorda, a player on the team and a working journalist, wrote an article in the Spanish magazine Capital, in which he said that 10 of 12 players on the team suffered from no intellectual disability whatsoever.