Thursday, December 13, 2007

Evil Empire + Steroid Abuse = no rings this century

Well, as Gomer Pyle used to say "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise", the Mitchell report has finally come out, and guess who really stands out? - Roger "I tried to kill Mike Piazza", Clemens, man who loves himself almost as much as current Yankee standout A-Hole Rodriguez, but at least A-hole is honest. Roger... not so much. Roger was juicing up since 98, and looking at the stats when he left the Red Sox (a move I hated douchebag Dan Duquette for at the time, but perhaps the former Sox GM knew what he was talking about.) Roger finishes out his last 3 years in Boston with a record of 29-25. He heads to Toronto and it seems the miles on his arm have finally begun to catch up to him, yet magically he hits Canada and promptly drops back to back 20 win seasons, during the same period he begins to .. use ... roids! I guess that explains his Yankee career, and when you begin adding the other Roid fellas (David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, , Ron Villone, Jason Giambi, Rondell White, AndyPettite, GlenAllen Hill, Mike Stanton, Kevin Brown, and the other dozen players who put on the pinstripes, it becomes the clear that the Bronx was truly pumped up to win games. So the empire spends a ton, cheats, and loses. Meanwhile the BoSox just win championships, 2 in our new century. How fucking sweet!!!
1994 Bos 24 24 3 1 170.2 124 62 54 15 71 168 9 7 0 0 -- 2.85
1995 Bos 23 23 0 0 140.0 141 70 65 15 60 132 10 5 0 0 -- 4.18
1996 Bos 34 34 6 2 242.2 216 106 98 19 106 257 10 13 0 0 -- 3.64
1997 Tor 34 34 9 3 264.0 204 65 60 9 68 292 21 7 0 0 -- 2.05
1998 Tor 33 33 5 3 234.2 169 78 69 11 88 271 20 6 0 0 -- 2.65

Monday, December 10, 2007

Movie Review: Martin

I've recently been watching a good number of horror films. I was never a huge fan of horror while growing up, but much of that is because we didn't have cable until I was 11 or 12 and we didn't rent a lot of horror based films. As I got older I began to check out some more horror but I wanted to see a good film, not just a splatter fest. (I do recall staying at friends houses or visiting relatives who had cable and watching many of the slasher classics, things like Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, and a very odd My Bloody Valentine - )

I cultivated my tastes and reached a point where I trust certain people's recommendations on movies, and I also know that a quality film can be made in any genre; the key is to know what is quality and what isn't: Martin is quality.

Martin was a very low-budget film made by George Romero, mostly known for his Night of the Living Dead movies. (Night of , Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Living Dead, and Land of the Dead. ) Night of the Living Dead is a genuine classic of cult cinema, using horror as a metaphor for the social unrest in our country, putting a disparate group of characters (black and white) in an isolated situation, unsure what has happened and terrified for their survival. Dawn of the Dead used the Zombie plight as a tongue in cheek indictment of our country's consumer culture, and is another example of the great films being done in the auteur dominated 70's. I have never seen Day of the Living Dead, and Land of the Dead was entertaining but didn't really resonate with me. (Although Dennis Hopper does get off a few sweet lines)

Martin is about a teenage boy who believes he is 84 years old and that he suffers from the curse of vampirism. His elderly uncle believe this also, and takes Martin in to live with him and his daughter, promising to take care of Martin's soul. That's it, that's the set up. Yet within this basic idea, Romero does a wonderful job utilizing the Pennsylvania landscape to create a drearly, isolated sense of existence. (Romero mentions in the documentary about the film that the town was an old mining town, and as the mills shut down the area became more dilapidated - he used that sense of a dying town for some great shots. ) The actors are all so real, genuine, and believable. The great Tom Savini is the only name actor I recognized. I will not reveal the twists in the plot, but this is a perfect example of what a passionate group of talented people can put together with a minimal budget but maximum incentive - Check it out.

Beast Out

Friday, December 07, 2007

Movie Review: Behind the Mask-The Rise of Leslie Vernon

It's always a rush when you watch a film that you know very little about, sort of an off the beaten path kind of film, and find yourself bowled over after watching the movie. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is one of those films. This was a Netflix rental that I threw on the PS2 in my upstairs attic at around 10 pm on Wednesday night. I figured I would get a feel for the flick, and would most likely watch a bit and then return to it on the weekend. The movie had other ideas. The actors were great, especially the leads, Nathan Baesal (Leslie Vernon), Robert Englund (yeah, Freddy, one of many entertaining additions to a film about an aspiring psycho slasher, providing that very tongue in cheek meta-fictional feel that I love). Of course, being the dude I am, I had to include a pic of the super talented and incredibly attractive, (in a very approachable type of persona) Angela Goethals.

As always, I refuse to lay down too much of the plot. The basic idea is Angela Goethals, playing a grad student documentary filmmaker named Taylor, shows up with her "crew" (2 guys for camera and sound) and visit with Leslie Vernon, who begins to show the crew his meticulous preparation in order to have a successful killing rampage. As a viewer, you find yourself completely engrossed but also confused as to exactly where all of this is going - trust me, it is well worth the trip the filmmaker and his cast take you on. Incredibly well acted, very clever without being obnoxious, this will be added to the DVD shelf without a second thought. It's rare that an unknown quantity makes that kind of jump for me, but this film is well worth it. Bonus is that the director/co-writer/producer of the film, Scott Glosserman, comes off as such a nice, cool guy to hang out with in the making of documentary included on the disc. Unlike Eli Roth, who often comes off as an obnoxious frat boy, Glosserman seems to be super positive, liked by his cast, and comfortable managing the chaos and stress of a smaller, indie film.

Highly, highly recommended!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Screw the Ravens

So the New England Patriots continue on their quest for a perfect football season, and beat the Ravens 27-24 last night. The Patriots beat the Ravens. Simple as that. What I absolutely love is that these professional athletes are whining and crying, bitching and moaning, and the reality is that the Ravens have demonstrated themselves to be an arrogant team of douchebags, led by king of the douchebags with head coach Brian Billick. Now I have to listen to Bart Scott , who lost his mind and cost his team 30 huge penalty yards prior to the last kickoff to the Ravens. Were these 30 yards part of the conspiracy, Bart? Is that why you tossed the flag into the stands. How about the bad timeout called by the def. coordinator for the Ravens? Part of the lack of accountability on this team. Best of all, the Ravens emotional leader is Ray "I got off a murder rap" Lewis only 7 years ago. Ray used his big bucks to hire great lawyers, frighten witnesses, and mysteriously his bloody white suit, along with the knives used to kill 2 innocents, all disappeared! Hmm, that is a conspiracy now.

PS, Samari Rolle, who cried about the ref calling him "boy" - Shut the Fuck Up. Clearly he was implying the racial undertones of this, and he also called out the official as having never played football. Hey, Samari, the ref said "just play ball, boy" a non-racial directive to worry about playing, not whining. The official was an african american, who played NFL football in the 70's and 80's . Wrong again, fool.

Beast out

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Movie Review: His Kind of Woman

I recently purchased Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 3 by warner brothers. This was one of those box sets that had been sitting in my Amazon cart and was discounted significantly, enough so to convince me to pull the trigger on the purchase. This particular set was pretty sweet, with 5 films and a documentary on film noir. The films included are His Kind of Woman, Lady in the lake, On Dangerous Ground, The Racket, and Border Incident. I already had VHS copies of 4 of these (all but Border Incident) but these copies were taped of TCM.

I am a huge fan of film noir, but that is probably a post for another day, since it will be lengthier. His Kind of Woman is an interesting noir flick, because while it has a twisting storyline and contains a man (Robert Mitchum) who is caught up in a plot that he is trying to figure out. However, this flick also contains 3 singing performances (all by the great Jane Russell), and tremendous comedic relief via the tremendous performance by Vincent Price(?!) If the only Vincent Price you know if from his horror days (or worse yet, that 2 part episode of the Brady Bunch), you absolutely need to see this movie. Other notable actors include Jim Backus (aka Winston Howell III on Gilligan's Island) and Raymond Burr.

A good sign of an accesible film noir is that my wife thoroughly enjoyed it as well. That means the film has some noirish elements but isn't very hard-edged and nasty, lacking that bitter cynicism that a noir freak like me truly enjoys.

I generally don't like to rehash the plot of my reviewed movies because you can find that many other places (Rotten or IMDB are two good starts). I can only say that as a pretty seasoned film watcher with solid, quality taste, this is a much see film.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Novermber Saturday

Hey everyone, a quick post on Nov. Saturday, beginning of a 3 day weekend. Looking forward to meeting some good friends for dinner tonight at our traditional meeting place, the Olive Garden. Normally I am not a huge fan of chains, but sometimes location is everything, and the Olive Garden is located approximately midway between where we live and our friends live, and the bonus is O.G. is in a shopping mall section, with the Rockaway mall and a Target store nearby. So that means we can multi-task, a little clothes shopping, some checking out for action figures (much to my wife's chagrin), and other little tasks.

Of course, I am now doing something I hate; waiting for the cleaning lady. I could live without having one, but my wife really enjoys the look and feel of the place after her visits, so no biggie. It's tough because of the language barrier, and the fact that we can't communicate well with her.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Movie Review: Severance

Today's review is for a nice, tight little horror flick called Severance. The movie works very well because it contains what I believe to be a key element in a large number of quality horror flicks; dark humor and some kind of relevant subtext. I'm not suggesting that every horror film has to operate on multiple levels, or that I want some ham handed socially relevant message knocking me on the head, but I firmly believe that quite often entertaining genre flix have the ability to work on a secondary level, at least for savvy viewers. (pun intended).

The set up for Severance is pretty basic. The european sales division of a multi-national weapons company (Palisade Defence) are treated by the corporation to a trip to a lodge in Eastern Europe where they will engage in a fun weekend of "team building" (and to anyone who's had to participate in "team building", a fun weekend of such is sort of an oxymoron). The group is made up of a mixture of characters who do an excellent job of establishing themselves as individuals, rather than purely caricatures. That's important, especially in a horror thriller where we know many of them will eventually die, most likely in a horrible fashion. This is a huge element for horror flicks, and I remember something I once read in a book about Quentin Tarantino. He was speaking about Stephen King novels, (one of my favorite authors) , and Quentin mentioned that the key to those novels is that King spends time allowing the reader to get to know these people and maybe even like them or care about them, so that when the carnage begins it hits us with more oomph.

I certainly don't want to spoil too much about the plot, but simply note this: many horrible things have occurred in eastern europe in the last few decades, including attempted genocide, torture, and the use of weapons to inflict this pain had to come from somewhere. Hmm, what if some people survived these events?

The film also uses the now standard but groundbreaking in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction time manipulation, particularly in how it starts with a very intense scene, then abruptly shoots backwards , leaving us as viewers to wonder how we got there. (Sort of reminds me of the great movie Sunset Boulevard, by Billy Wilder, when William Holden is floating face down in a pool and begins the narration. We know the end, but the filmmaker is confident enough that you will enjoy the journey so much the knowledge of the end is secondary - think also about American Beauty, when Kevin Spacey starts out with the gunshot death)

The confidence shown by director Christopher Smith to attempt this is happily met by his ability to pull it off. Highly recommended film, and good enough that I have added Smiths earlier film, Creep to my Netflix que.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why the Red Sox are a better franchise than the Evil Empire

point 1 of why the BoSox are better than the Evil Empire -

2007 payroll - Yankees, 195 million. Return on Investment (ROI) - another first round loss, the 7th year in a row w/0 a championship. Meanwhile, despite the attempts by much of the NY based media (Mike "bighead I like to suck Yankee cock" Kay, Mike "I'm a miserable fat fuck " Francesca, and others of their ilk) to portray the Sox as no different than the empire, this simply isn't true. To be honest, it comes off as sour grapes. While it is true the Red Sox spent over a 100 million total for Dice-K, the Yankees threw gobs of money at a pitcher almost 20 years later to pitch part time and do absolutely nothing. (How ya doing, Roger "I tried to kill Mike Piazza" clemens.) Meanwhile, Dice-K knocks in 2 RBI's and pitches scoreless baseball into the 6th inning of the World Series!

Let's not forget, the Sox also are likely to sweep this WS (or win in 5 or 6 at worst), with a payroll of 143 million. Sure, that's a ton of money, but it's 73 pct. less than the Yankees spent, and the Sox will win the World Series. Maybe it's a fluke, Yankee fans. After all, the Red Sox didn't go through you to get there in the playoffs. (mainly because the Yankees couldn't even force a 5th game against Cleveland, the same team the Sox beat 3 straight to get to the WS) So let's look backward.

2004. Evil Empire leads 3-0 against the Red Sox, on their way to another beating of the Sox. Yankees took their 3-0 lead, their 183 million dollar payroll, and their typical Yankee arrogance. Guess what? The Sox rose up, took their relatively paltry 125 million payroll, and won 8 straight games to win the World Series. The first team to come back from 3-0 in an MLB playoff series. Even more impressive, this was with a payroll that was 68 pct. of the Yankees. Basically, the Yankees took a payroll that was spending 3 dollars to every 2 the Red Sox spent, and the Red Sox were far higher than even the 3rd highest spender.

Conclusion. The Yankees can spend their way into the playoffs every year, (woop de do) and as soon as they begin playing some legitimate contenders, they fold like a cheap suit. Enjoy, Yankee fans, while those of us with class, taste, and discretion enjoy the second championship of a truly great franchise, the Boston Red Sox.

(pt. II tomorrow, the classless treatment of Joe Torre)


Monday, October 22, 2007

World Series [part II]

Here come the Boston Red Sox, baby, looking for their 2nd World Series in 4 years. While the evil empire allowed their manager for the 12 years to twist in the wind before offering him an insulting contract and allowing him to walk away, the Red Sox were doing what they've done all year; win. Swept through the first round, fell down 3-1 before roaring back and outscoring the Indians 30-5 in the last 3 games, and now stand 4 wins away from another championship. I knew things were looking good when J.D. Drew, till this point a huge bust, hit a grand slam on Saturday night - My screams of joy probably didn't do my throat any good. Beckett has been the best postseason pitcher this year in all of baseball, and rookie phenom Dustin Pedroia finally began to hit as well during the last 2 games. The Sox are a far different team when instead of having the big 3 (Papi, Manny, and Lowell), they have a solid 6 (Pedroia and Youkoulis leading into the big 3, followed by a productive J.D. Drew.

Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University pulled off a huge win on Thursday, beating #2 ranked South Fla in Piscataway. If Rutgers can run the table through the big east they will win the title and end up the BCS player from the Big East. The only undefeated Big East team (in the conference) is currently Conn., and RU plays them next week. This week is WVU, a must win game to keep major bowl hopes alive!

Oh, and I am still freaking sick, day 12 now. I had been feeling mostly better, but my voice is shot and my throat is kind of swollen. Damn you Towlie!!!

Hope to check in later with some movie reviews - yeah, I've said it before, but this time I really mean it.. maybe, probably.. oh whatever.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Still Sick

OK, now this is pissing me off. I've been freaking sick since last Wed. I rested up a lot over the weekend, and my supercool wife handled the domestic duties. Sure, I followed some of my normal habits, hanging out with Towlie, and having a little wine, but I certainly didn't go overboard. I rested tons, watched movies, (reviews to come soon), read , basically just took it easy. Yet I am still freaking sick. I feel sweaty, feverish, clammy, with a nasty cough that is settled in my chest and reveals itself with a nasty, wet sounding cough that makes my eyes water and my head hurt. Enough is enough.

Big game tonight, Red Sox vs. Cleveland. Game 3, series tied. Time for Dice-K to offer some serious return on the BoSox investment.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

October Saturday

Well kids, the first saturday of October, 2007 now. Let's go over the good, bad and ugly.

The good is the Boston Red Sox, driving towards their second title in 3 years. A couple of weeks back I posted a blog entitled first in, hopefully last standing. I projected a Sox/indians divisional series and a yanks/angels series, with the Sox playing the Angels in the second round. Oops. Sox played the Angels in the first round and the Yanks had Cleveland. My guess then was the Sox in 3, Yankees in 5, then a Sox/Yanks ALCS, probably a 7 gamer. Funny thing, evil empire coughed up and choked their entire 216 million payroll down the crapper, and now it's Sox/Cleveland. I predict a 5 game series, especially if Schilling produces the way he normally does in the postseason.

The bad is that I am freaking sick as a dog. A monstrous cold/flu has gripped my body since Wed., and unfortunately I only have 3 available personal days left to take off from work, and I need 2 for Christmas, so I have been plugging away, with hopes that this weekend I can assist my body and rally to fight this damned thing. Bring on the Nyquil (which I had to jump through hoops to get yesterday, since it contains (gasp!) pseudophedrine! Gimme a freakin break - I really resent having to go through such a hassle to buy some medicine. Also needed will be vitamins, juices, rest, echinacea, and more nyquil.

Nothing really ugly at this point. - check back on that later.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First In (Hopefully last standing)

So now the idiot fans of the evil empire can settle down. The A.L. East lead is 2.5 games now, and the Red Sox are the first team to clinch a post-season berth. The worst case scenario now is the Sox in as the Wild Card, and although that would be irritating to watch the Red Sox fumble away the division (a scenario I find unlikely), the important thing is to just get in. Now the Sox can set their rotation, coax Manny's oblique muscle into working order, allow Dice-K and Hideki Okajima to regain some arm strength, and get ready for the playoffs. Possible starting rotation order: Beckett in game 1, Schilling in game 2, Dice-K/Lester/Wakefield for game 3. I would lean to Lester since he is a lefty and use Dice K in game 4, if needed, with Wakefield heading to the pen as possible long relief.

I really feel the playoffs will be won in the ALCS, because the NL is so pathetic. So ideally the Sox beat Cleveland in the first round, grind out a win vs. the Angels, and start ordering the World Series rings!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

September Saturdays

I loove Saturdays in September. The weather has finally cooled down, playoff baseball is on the horizon, and Rutgers football is now not only worth watching (Ranked 13 in the country, baby) but Rutgers now lays the smackdown on sacrificial lambs (todays victim=Norfolk State). It was a few short years ago that I went to the game and watched RU lose to a division 1-AA squad, the UNH wildcats. Those days are now gone, and RU could become THE Northeast football powerhouse, ala the old days of Penn State. (RU just put up 45 pts - in the second quarter!!

I went out last night to watch Red Sox Vs. Evil Empire and I got hammered. Good thing, since I missed the Red Sox implosion. Fell asleep on the floor last night, woke up a little shaky, but not miserable. (The joys of being older and recognizing the stop signs/red lights, and most importantly following them, as opposed to the younger days of plowing right on through and feeling like shit for the rest of the weekend. A little achy today, and pretty thirsty, but nothing else. the best part is that it is Saturday, day 1 of the weekend, and one more full day of not going to work awaits.

I've been feeling a little sad lately over the death of our beloved friend, Pumpkin. We miss her very much. (see pic above)

Finally, Amy Lee from Evanescene is so freakin beautiful.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

A-Hole Blows an Early Load!!!

Has anyone seen my friend towlie? I haven't seen him for 9 days, and I miss him very much.

It must be September and the regular season, because A-Hole is on fire. 2 homers in 1 inning last night. Of course, if the evil empire does spend it's way into the post season, we all know that A-hole will curl up like a man's testes in ice cold water, not to be seen until it's time for scumbag agent Scott Boras to ask for tons more money for Mr. regular season!

Boston Red Sox still lead the division by 6, and have the best record in baseball. Bring on the playoffs!

I wish it were Friday.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Busted Rockets, Heaven at 7

Well, evil empire fans, it looks like the high from your 3 game sweep is gone faster than the euphoria one experiences from a rush of bad blow (not that I know, of course) and after losing today, (the third of 4) and the Red Sox looking to close on a win, the empire is 7 games behind the heroic BoSox, and only 1 game up on the Seattle Mariners. Oh, and it looks like Roger "I got away with attempted murder on Mike Piazza" Clemens continues to prove how much he is worth... shit, although he convinced the empire he was worth over a million a start for a 5 inning, over 4 ERA pitcher. Meanwhile, rookie Clay Buchholz thrown a no hitter for the Sox, another piece of a potential championship season.



Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Red Sox, The Fog,

The Yankees have lost, again, today and as i type this trail the Boston Red sox by 7 games in the division. The Red Sox currently lead the White Sox 7-1 in the 7ths, so it looks like it will be 7 1/2 games shortly. In other words, as I have been saying to the Yankee faithful all year, you ain't catching the Red Sox. I hope the Red Sox grab this sinking Yankee ship and squishes it, crushes the spirit and life out of it, and leaves it behind, to miss the playoffs entirely.

Recently rewatched TheFog by John Carpenter. I'm a huge John Carpenter fan, even if I am not usually a horror film type of guy. The flick has to be a very good movie to pull me in if it's a horror film, whereas my standards are lower for an action film. This film is a perfect example of how to make a spooky ghost story type of horror film, with great casting, a scary soundtrack, and a tight 90 minute shooting script.

The premise is simple. On the 100th anniversary of a seaside towns founding, a terrible secret is discovered concerning an evil deed by the towns founders. Leprous ghosts come a calling, looking for revenge for the horrible wrong done to them. The casting includes Hal Holbrook at the drunken priest,the grandson of one of the towns founders. The always sexy Adrienne Barbeau is the single mom/radio station owner dj with a sexy voice and the navigator for the listeners caught up as possible victims of the wrath of the ghosts. Jamie Lee Curtis is the young hitchhiker who strikes up a relationship with the goodhearted driver who picks her up. John Houseman starts off the movie telling the ghost story about the fog to a bunch of children. Janet Leight also stars as a councilwoman who has ties to the towns founders as well.