Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Belichickian Deception

We all know Bill Belichick eats kittens. Hell, he probably has someone videotape it so he can lie about it later.

It's what he does. It's called plausible deniability. Yet while watching the draft this weekend, NFL Network spent waaaaaaaay too much time interviewing the "genius" behind the hated New England Patriots. Something disturbed me about the way he looked...


When Belichick smiles, it's unnatural. It's soul-stealing. It's just plain wrong. In fact, there's really nothing more hideous.

Actually, there is something more hideous. It's the fact that Belichick, while trying to play nice to the media during the draft, tried channeling Christopher Reeve. If ever there were a man truly worthy of sympathy and admiration, it would be Mr. Reeve.
And that brings us to this...
Yes...Belichick is as stiff as the once great Christopher Reeve. But while he tries to put on a good show for the media, his smile is missing that optimistic hope.

Instead, it looks like he's ready to eat a puppy. Or a kitten. Or maybe both.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

DVD Collection Parts 34 & 35

U-571

Rating: 79

Plot summary: A group of U.S. sailors takes over a German submarine, hoping to gain access to Enigma, the German's system for encrypting messages. If the U.S. can gain access to the system, it would give the Americans the edge by giving them access to the Nazi's intel. Bon Jovi stars (but sadly doesn't sing) and Jack Parkman makes an appearance! So loosely based on a true story, that it spawned an international backlash! And Matthew McConaughey actually keeps his shirt on!

Favorite Quote 1: "I can't read it! Everything's in German!"
Favorite Quote 2: "You're the skipper now. And the skipper always knows what to do whether he does or not."

Acquisition story: I wanted a movie that would help my surround sound system soar. With a ton of depth charges, U-571 doesn't disappoint.

Lingering questions: Why did the movie studio have to change the story to make the Americans heroes? While the Enigma machine was captured, it was done by a British force. You'll find a subtitle at the end of the movie stating this. Can't the Brits be heroes, too? Also, one of my favorite lines ("everything's in German!") comes from Harvey Keitel, who sounds so indignant and surprised that the writing on a German u-boat would actually be in German. The line was in the trailer for the film; it cracks me up every time!

Saving Silverman

Rating: 83

Plot summary: When Darren Silverman meets a control-freak of a woman, his best friends J.D. and Wayne do their best to derail it. After their attempts to break off the relationship fail, they fake the woman's death and kidnap her so that Darren can reunite with his long-time love. Thankfully, Neil Diamond is here to save the day? What? Neil Diamond? Oh yeah...Darren, J.D., and Wayne are all HUGE Neil Diamond fans who play in a Neil Diamond tribute band (Diamonds in the Rough). Also around to help, R. Lee Ermey as the trio's old high school football coach. Yes, they actually made this movie.

Favorite Quote 1: "Neil, I want to party with you!"
Favorite Quote 2: "Love on the rocks, ain't no surprise."
Favorite Quote 3: "Come on Neil! Turn on your heartlight!"
Favorite Quote 4: "My hat goes off to you, you boys are smart. That's the perfect crime."
Favorite Quote 5: "Sportsmanship! Sportsmanship! Sportsmanship!"
Favorite Quote 6: "Nice to meet you, Mr. Diamond."
Favorite Quote 7: "Die replacement friends! Eat this, fake Wayne!"
Favorite Quote 8: "Comin'-ah-yeah-haw!"

Acquisition story: This movie became one of my favorite crappy comedies immediately after I saw it. One of my friends really liked it; another one didn't. We originally saw theatrical version, but later rented the R-rated cut. To tell you the truth, I found the theatrical version funnier in parts. So that's the one I bought!

Lingering questions: How did this movie ever get made? I have a best friend from high school who is also a Neil Diamond fan. However, the third part of our triumvirate (another friend from high school) is not a fan. If that third friend actually liked Neil D, would we have ended up like Wayne, J.D., and Darren?

Colts NFL Draft

I wrote an overview of the Colts' picks in the NFL Draft.

You can find it here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An MVN "Perspectives"

Thank you, Kenton Keith. You've provided some great material.

Humble MVN musings

Another MVN post...

This time, I "dissect" the Colts' wide receiver situation concerning Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Anthony Gonzalez. You can find that here.

And don't miss my thoughts on Kenton Keith.

Please, do yourself a favor and visit http://www.kentonkeith.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Songs that make me happy...

I was driving home from work today when I heard Stan Bush's immortal anthem "The Touch" from Transformers the Movie. That song always puts a smile on my face! I'm sure a lot of folks think it's awful, but darn it, it never fails to entertain me.

So, I thought I'd write a quick post of some songs that always cheer me up, make me laugh, or work as great road music...

  • Pretty much anything from Neil Diamond (especially "Sweet Caroline," "America," "Thank the Lord for the Night Time," and "Holly Holy")
  • "The Touch" and "Dare" from Stan Bush
  • "Higher," "My Sacrifice," and "Are You Ready" from Creed
  • "Jukebox with a Country Song" from Doug Stone
  • "The Fireman," "Ocean Front Property," and "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by George Strait
  • "Standing Outside the Fire," "Not Counting You," and "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks
  • "Bit by Bit" and "Get Outta Town" from the Fletch movie soundtrack
  • "Dead or Alive" and "Blaze of Glory" by Bon Jovi
  • "Ain't that a Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin
  • "My Way," "French Foreign Legion," "Come Fly with Me," and "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra
  • "Big Iron" and "El Paso" by Marty Robbins
  • "My Life" and "Pressure" by Billy Joel
  • "Beyond the Sea" and "Mack the Knife" from Bobby Darin
  • "Shipping off to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys
  • "We Belong" by Pat Benatar (reminds me of the end of Talladega Nights)
  • "Imitation of Life" by R.E.M.
  • "Street Fightin' Man" by the Rolling Stones
  • "Desert Rose" by Sting
  • "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones
  • "Vertigo" and "Beautiful Day" from U2

      Wednesday, April 16, 2008

      DVD Collection, Parts 32 and 33


      Starship Troopers
      Rating: 90

      Plot summary: Johnny Rico isn't good at math. Johnny Rico can't get the girl. So what can Johnny Rico do? How 'bout blowing up gigantic bugs? How 'bout getting trainees under his supervision killed (like the poor catcher from Major League II)? How 'bout getting it on with the girl who's always had a major crush on him who he was too blind to give a chance to? How 'bout telling Jake Busey to shove it? How 'bout them Cowboys!? Anyway, Johnny Rico joins the military to fight some bugs; he's about ready to wash out when the bugs attack his hometown and he vows revenge! Featuring Michael Ironside and Doogie Howser, this is one trip to the stars you don't want to miss! Based VERY LOOSELY on the book by Robert Heinlen.

      Favorite Quote 1: "Medic!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "You're some sort of big, fat, smart bug, aren't you?"
      Favorite Quote 3: "Would you like to know more?"
      Favorite Quote 4: " This is for all you new people: I only have one rule. Everyone fights. No one quits. You don't do your job, I'll shoot you myself. You get me?"

      Acquisition story: After having a copy that I taped off Showtime serve as my primary window to the world of Starship Troopers, I found a good deal at Best Buy and bought the two-disc set. I was enticed by a friend who already had the DVD version; we loved Paul Verhoeven's commentary. Every time the man wants to say "bug," it comes out as "burg." Very, very funny.

      Lingering questions: Um, just how in the world did this get licensed as "based on the book?" Aside from some character names and a couple situations, this bears little resemblance to Heinlein's novel. Even if you were hot on Denise Richards, how could you not at least glance at Dina Meyer? Seriously! Hey, did anyone see that Johnny Rico himself, Casper Van Dien, is back for Starship Troopers 3? Coming straight to DVD at a big-box retailer near you!


      Davedevil: Director's Cut

      Rating: 85

      Plot summary: When you're blind, Catholic, and a lawyer, there's only one true profession for you: superhero. Prowling the streets at night, you'll find Daredevil out there. His thirst for justice is insatiable. But when a beautiful and mysterious woman comes into his life, Matt Murdock hardly knows what to do. He tries courting her, but when her father is killed and Daredevil blamed, there will be hell to pay! Featuring standout performances from Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Joe Pantoliano! Plus, don't miss the touching flashback scenes featuring none other than Jack Parkman! Based on the Marvel Comics property.

      Favorite Quote 1: "That's the C train!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "Let's bring on the pain. Let's bring on the noise."
      Favorite Quote 3: "I'm not the bad guy, kid."
      Favorite Quote 4: "They say that right before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. That's true, even for a blind man."

      Acquisition story: I went to see this movie with Krildog a few years back. It rained horribly that night. I think we ended up at Steak n' Shake. Anyhow, we liked the movie just fine. I liked it just enough to buy the DVD. But as the years wore on, we realized the theatrical cut really screwed everyone over. That was corrected with a director's cut...which Krildog bought for me as a gift.

      Lingering questions: Why is this the only movie in which I find Jennifer Garner even passibly attractive? Can they remix some of Bullseye's scenes with music from the Dropkick Murphys? That would be awesome! Has any line ever been delivered worse than the Kingpin's vow to "get back" at Daredevil? Isn't it a shame some of the stunts are ruined by some questionable CGI? Was anyone else looking forward to the sequel that's apparently never coming?

      About that Colts' schedule...

      My thoughts on the Colts' 2008 schedule...click here.

      Tuesday, April 15, 2008

      A Tale of Four Shepards

      I've made no secret about it: I love Mass Effect. The game came out in November...yet it's April and I'm still raving about it. I was just thinking about something to write when I figured I could go through the different Shepards who I've played as during the game.

      Matt Shepard
      Origin:
      Colonist
      Reputation: War Hero
      Class: Vanguard
      Level: 60
      Bio: This is the ultimate Shepard. Forget about what you see in the commercials for Mass Effect or the Shepard you see on the cover. They're all pretenders next to this man. He's a complete war machine, a powerful biotic who's equally as deadly with a pistol as he is with a shotgun.
      Mass Effect Experience: If there's a heavy lifter among these Shepards, it'd be this guy. I played through the game as Matt Shepard at least four times. He's the owner of the majority of the achievements on my Gamerscore. I leveled him up to 60, then breezed through the game on Hardcore. I'd also like to note that I started him off on Veteran difficulty instead of the easier ones. That's right...I dove head-first into the Mass Effect experience. I played Shepard as a truly good guy my first time through (he tried to save all the colonists on Feros); when I went back on Hardcore, I gave him a nasty streak just to see what would happen. This particular Shepard was immensely attracted to Liara and he chose four out of four times to send Kaiden to his death on Virmire. Had I known then what I know now about the ally achievements and their rather quirky nature, this Shepard would own a few more achievement medals. Despite that, he is by far the most decorated of my Shepards, owning 30 medals.

      Silas Shepard
      Origin: Spacer
      Reputation: Ruthless
      Class: Engineer
      Level: 55
      Bio: Silas Shepard is the kind of guy who makes everyone in the room uncomfortable. Chalk it up to his engineering background; after all, we know your typical engineer isn't much of a people person. This Shepard doesn't want to get to know you and won't tell you how he managed to get that massive scar on his face, no matter how many times you ask. He just wants to be left alone to tinker with his tech mines.
      Mass Effect Experience: Silas settled for the pistol. A of lot people would probably find that boring, but I've found the pistol to be my favorite weapon in the game, especially once you get the Spectre Master Gear. Silas holds the distinction of being the first Shepard to play and complete the Bring Down the Sky expansion pack. Oddly enough, despite his ruthless nature he decided to save the hostages instead of going after the bad guy. Good thing he was an engineer, too: that Sabotage ability came in really handy against those missile turrets. Silas doesn't radiate much warmth and he's generally unpleasant. Thus, his attempts to seduce Ashley and Liara failed miserably. That's okay, though...he's the second most-decorated Shepard, owning eight precious achievement medals. How ruthless is he? Well, once it was clear Ashley was sweet on Kaidan, this Shepard delighted in sending her to her death. Most jealous guys would've sent their rival to his death. But if he couldn't have her...no one could. And as for those poor colonists on Feros, Silas decided they all had to die. He's not much of a botanist, either.

      Mango Shepard
      Origin: Earthborn
      Reputation: Sole Survivor
      Class: Soldier
      Level: 54
      Bio: A bona fide street urchin from Earth, this Shepard doesn't take crap from anyone. Yet, she's got a tremendous soft spot for worthy causes. Call it her curse. Even when she knows she's going into a hot LZ, she simply doesn't care. She's a walking tank, heavily armed with the best sniper and assault rifles the galaxy has to offer.
      Mass Effect Experience: Keeping her anger in check is hard for Mango Shepard. Really, can you blame her? I'd be pretty stinking angry at the world if my name were "Mango," too. She has a bit of a ruthless streak in her when it comes to bureaucrats. When given a choice, she typically ignores an incoming comm messages from members of the council. She also told Admiral Hackett to stick it after he asked for just "one more mission" before the Normandy headed off for Ilos. Yet, underneath that tough exterior lies a woman who has needs. And while running off with an Asari is just a little too daring for this Shepard, she doesn't mind hooking up with a human biotic (which is kind of weird when you're a dude playing as a girl in this game) right before the final mission. Mango is so sentimental, she sent Ashley off to her death on Virmire simply because she couldn't bear the pain of living without Kaiden. Isn't she sweet? The third most-decorated of my personal Shepards, she earned four medals.

      Trish Shepard
      Origin: Spacer
      Reputation: War Hero
      Class: Adept
      Level: 41
      Bio: She's traveled the stars all her life, interacting with all kinds of different aliens. Yet, she's always known she's different because of her powerful biotic abilities. Though she's comfortable with a pistol, she'd rather put enemies in stasis or blast off a massive singularity so her partners can pick away at her foes. A genuinely good person, she has no problem sharing the Normandy with a bunch of aliens.
      Mass Effect Experience: The least decorated of these Shepards, Trish's story is still being written. I can tell you she doesn't have much tolerance for intolerance, having sharply chastised members of her own crew for looking down on alien counterparts like Liara, Wrex, and Garrus. On the other hand, she has a low tolerance for the council, being the first Shepard to disconnect from those blowhards in the middle of a transmission. They really don't like that. Trish had the bonus special ability of sabotage. However, her mastery over this particular skill simply disappeared following the VI Mission on the moon. I guess she really was too talented. Trish isn't interested in forming a conventional relationship with Kaiden. I'm guessing the biotics must be the "artists" of the Mass Effect universe: she's a little liberal. That must be why she finds herself intrigued by Liara. Oh yeah...things are getting weird. Trish owns two medals (since she's an Adept, she took care of those pesky Singularity and Stasis achievements that were still unachieved). Her big selling point: Trish helped me get 100% completion in the game; a 1050/1050 on my Gamerscore. Lots of people have done that, but it's the first game in which I've accomplished that.

      Saturday, April 12, 2008

      New MVN article

      I blogged on the Colts' running back situation last night.

      You can find it here.

      Wednesday, April 09, 2008

      DVD Blowout! Collection Parts 28, 29, 30, and 31


      300

      Rating: 300

      Plot summary: It doesn't get any simpler than this: with a huge invading army of Persians on their way, good King Leonidas assembles his best warriors for what should be the greatest mismatch of all time. Handcuffed by sellouts in the leadership ranks, the king and his "300" Spartans fight valiantly to defend their homeland in what eventually became known as the Battle of Thermopylae. Awesome visuals, a star-making turn from Gerard Butler, and spectacular fight sequences make this one impossible to miss. Based on the graphic novel from Frank Miller!

      Favorite Quote 1: "THIS IS SPARTA!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "It's an honor to have died at your side./It's an honor to have lived at yours."
      Favorite Quote 3: "Come back with your shield, or on it."
      Favorite Quote 4: "Spartans! Prepare for glory!"
      Favorite Quote 5: "Well, let's give them something to drink!"
      Favorite Quote 6: "This is where we fight! This is where they die!"

      Acquisition story: My wife and I had seen the previews for this movie and walked away fairly intrigued. When we saw it on the big screen, we knew we must have it. So when it came out on DVD, I went to Target to buy the two-disc special edition. I have a thing for two-disc sets (yeah, yeah...I'm "that guy"), so I paid a little extra for it. Packing some mighty fine candy, I waited for my wife to get home so we could be entertained. Our quote of the night: "Tonight we dine on jelly beans! THIS IS MOVIE NIGHT!"

      Lingering questions: Why isn't Gerard Butler a HUGE star yet? I hope this will happen soon. He's simply awesome. In a fight between Leonidas and Maximus, who would win? If Mark Wahlberg had been available, do you think he could've played Theron? For some reason, Dominic West reminds me of Wahlberg in that role. Is Sarah Connor descended from Queen Gorgo?


      Cars

      Rating: 82

      Plot Summary: A hotshot racing car called Lightning McQueen takes an unexpected detour into the slow lane when he winds up in Radiator Springs, a town way past its prime. While the other cars there are slow to warm up to Lightning (and he to them), they eventually come to accept him as one of their own. When Lightning's big chance to claim the Piston Cup comes along, even his most reluctant supporters transform into true fans. Based on a true story.

      Favorite Quote 1: "Ka-CHOW!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers."
      Favorite Quote 3: "There is a real Michael Schumacher Ferrari in my store! A real Ferrari! Punch me, Guido! Punch me in the face! This is the most glorious day of my life!"
      Favorite Quote 4: "Oh, take a carwash, hippie."

      Acquisition story: The summer of 2006 was pretty generous to my DVD collection; there were several films during that time span that are now in my DVD collection. Included among those movies, Cars. It's a fun movie that my wife and I enjoyed immensely in the theater. We also rented it (for the bargain price of $15) as an on-demand splurge during our honeymoon. Hey, since our cable was broken (despite repeated attempts by the staff to fix it), on-demand was the best we could do. Could anyone be better at voicing Doc Hudson than the great Paul Newman?

      Lingering questions: How is it that Talledega Nights and Cars managed to come out in the same year? I mean, it's basically the same movie, except in Cars the characters actually are cars. I mean...lots of racing terms, a story about a down-on-his-luck racer...they just seem a little similar. Would anyone other than Owen Wilson have worked as Lightning McQueen? In the world of Cars, do they build new cars or do the existing cars "hook up" to produce new ones? I must know!


      Jurassic Park

      Rating: 97

      Plot summary: After pouring money into advanced cloning techniques, eccentric billionaire John Hammond has one heck of an idea: open a theme park full of living attractions we all know as dinosaurs. In order to convince his corporate lawyers that the park is feasible and safe, he enlists several experts to take a tour, including paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, equally eccentric mathematician/chaotician Dr. Ian Malcolm, and weak-kneed, sleezebucket lawyer Donald Gennaro. Plus, Hammond throws in his grand kids, and when things go wrong (just blame Newman!), it's a race for survival. Based on the book from Michael Crichton.

      Favorite Quote 1: "Shoot her! Shoot her!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "Some of them smell, babies smell!"
      Favorite Quote 3: "Hold onto your butts."
      Favorite Quote 4: "Dodgson! Dodgson! We've got Dodgson here!"
      Favorite Quote 5: "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
      Favorite Quote 6: "But John, when the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists!"
      Favorite Quote 7: "Must go faster."

      Acquisition story: This was a Christmas gift from my parents, along with The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

      Linqering questions: Did anyone else not find Laura Dern all that attractive in this movie? Couldn't we have had a better end for Muldoon? He was the coolest character...and in the book he survived the whole ordeal! Anyone else imagine a world in which Raptors became kings of the world? Isn't that a scary thought? Is a T-rex's visual acuity really based on movement? Can you find any better scientist type than Jeff Goldblum? Of course not!


      Independence Day

      Rating: 90

      Plot summary: The aliens are coming, and they've parked their spaceships over some of earth's most important and populous cities. Are these visitors peaceful? Are they ready to usher in a whole new era of peace and togetherness? Or have they actually come to wipe us out? I think we all got the answer after they blasted the White House into a billion pieces! Thankfully, crack scientist/computer hacker/M.I.T. man David Levison is here to save the day, along with his cigar-chomping papa, Julius. While David sees a sinister pattern in a signal the aliens are broadcasting, no one believes him, except his wife (who happens to be an aide to the President of the United States). Finally, David gets through to everyone that this alien threat is real and deadly. Meanwhile, in a different take on the alien invasion front, Captain Steven Hiller tries to juggle family, duty, and "kicking E.T.'s ass." He eventually pairs up with David on a suicide mission that's absolutely Mac-tastic.

      Favorite Quote 1: "Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"
      Favorite Quote 2: "Must go faster."
      Favorite Quote 3: "All you need is love, John Lennon, smart man, shot in the back very sad."
      Favorite Quote 4: "Now that's what I call a close encounter."
      Favorite Quote 5: "Are you sure?"
      Favorite Quote 6: "Why we are on this particular mission, we'll never know. But I do know, here today, that the Black Knights will emerge victorious once again."

      Acquisition story: I felt this movie was quite an oversight from my DVD collection, especially since I have surround sound and a big-screen TV. My lovely wife corrected this tragedy by getting it for me for my birthday.

      Lingering questions: Just how cautious would the current administration be with an alien invasion? Wouldn't the people in charge now have been more prone to nuke 'em first, and ask questions later? Where have you gone, Judd Hirsch? I love Bill Pullman, always have...and I think he was great in that film. That said, however, he has a reputation for being the "poor man's" leading man. Is that the same fate that awaits Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey? After watching Enchanted (which I enjoyed), I'm afraid Dempsey may be the poor man's Bill Pullman. If a Mac computer from the mid-90s could bring down the entire infrastructure for an alien invasion...imagine what the iPhone would've done! I didn't even mention him in the movie summary, but where would this flick have been without Randy Quaid? He was awesome as the comic relief.

      Oh...one thing I forgot...

      One reason I haven't been posting much other than the DVD reviews (which I again slipped in updating) is because I've been writing Colts stuff for a website called Most Valuable Network. From this post on, every time I've had an article up on that site, I will put a link up on TFT.

      And, every once in a while, when the mood strikes, you may find some extra special TFT Colts content that's TOO HOT for MVN.com.

      My most recent article concerns the Colts' offensive line.