This is a depressing week to be a New York Jets fan, as I deal with the aftermath of the team trading away its best player of my lifetime, and as I prepare for a dismal multi-year rebuilding process — likely without my beloved Rex Ryan.
So thank God for you, Rick Reilly, PCHA Sportswriting Hall of Shamer, for this gem from your column dated April 18.
Welcome to the new TV roundtable discussion show, “One Take.”
Except it’s not on TV, the table isn’t round and there isn’t any discussion. It’s just me and my One Take. A lot less arguing that way. Shall we begin?
TOPIC: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently won’t give up more than a first-round draft pick for Jets superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis.
ONE TAKE: This trade isn’t going to happen. Revis is worth at least a first- and a second-rounder. Revis will be a Jet this season. Tim Tebow, on the other hand, will be a Hamilton Tiger-Cat.
I bet ESPN’s so glad they renewed his contract!
Game of Thrones is a series driven by story — a giant tapestry of a story encompassing hundreds of characters, a long time span, multiple wars and a huge geographic reach. It’s epic in scope — so huge, in fact, that there’s little time for such trivia as character development, theme, or figuring out where episodes should begin and end.
The vast majority of GoT episodes cut briskly from one character to another, and from one locale to another, sometimes never returning after we spend a few minutes with Jon Snow or Arya Stark. The result is a feeling of constant momentum, but that momentum is an illusion because the plot actually advances glacially. And when a show is so dependent on plot — when that’s all there is — a lack of forward motion is a big issue.
Compounding the problem is that GoT has shown itself capable of greatness in individual episodes, notably with season one’s “Baelor” and season two’s “Blackwater,” the latter of which set a high mark thanks to a narrowed focus and consistent tone (and big budget). Those episodes transcended George R.R. Martin’s source material, while the majority of episodes merely try to keep pace.
Once a show has proven it can be great, it’s hard to accept mediocrity. It would be like if after “The Suitcase,” Mad Men spent most its episodes following Harry Crane and Ken Cosgrove diligently working on ad campaigns, with Don Draper providing the occasional supervisory note of encouragement.
So with season three of GoT premiering last night, let’s check in and see what actually happened in this episode, and whether we saw any notable movement.
Spoilers from S3E01, obviously, coming right up.
*because I have to get a post up quick before David Simon Cowell turns this into a Mommy Blog*
Joe Posnanski, esteemed maybe of the Kansas City Sabermetric Mafia, is widely acclaimed as one of the best sportswriters in the business. I understand why. He’s accepting of analytics and new statistics while still paying heed to the more romantic aspects of sports fandom.
Lately, though, Ol’ Pos seems to be taking that romantic stuff a little too much to heart. It’s as if he’s trying to reinvent purple prose with more economical verbiage, but the most flowery, crocodile-tear-soaked emotions known to sport. As Posnanski has wandered from SI to Sports on Earth to NBC in recent months, he’s left behind a trail of heartwarming metaphors that would make Rick Reilly proud.
See if you can pick out the real quotes from Posnanski and which ones we made up.
Did you guys hear that there’s going to be a Veronica Mars movie? Because fans funded it on Kickstarter?
You did? Not news?
OK, well did you hear that two aging blog proprietors got all worked up about it and had an e-mail debate?
I THOUGHT NOT.
What happens when David Simon Cowell and I emerged from our recent hibernation to discuss the lazy abomination that is Grantland’s obituary for the very much alive David Bowie?
One person who adores David Bowie and one person who doesn’t really have a dog in that race!
We use the word “inarguable” a surprisingly high number of times, given that we are in the midst of an argument!
And David Simon Cowell writes more words for this blog than he has in the last year combined! Who can fucking resist that?
Did you know that for a mere $99, you can chat with legendary Phillies and Cubs second baseman (and proud owner of a lifetime .359 slugging percentage) Mickey Morandini?
And that’s not all. For just $300, you can “surprise your baseball buddies by inviting Mickey to a live fantasy draft!” Cough up a cool $750 and Mickey “The Dandy Little Glove Man” Morandini himself will come to your birthday party or bar mitzvah.
But wait! There’s more!
You can also talk to New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride (or have him join your pick-up game)! Or enjoy a round of golf with NBA legend Cedric Ceballos! The world is your oyster!
And luckily, this amazing opportunity isn’t limited to the greats of our sporting times. You can speak with Dennis Haskins — Mr. Belding himself — for less than 20 bucks. Or have a phone hang with original Bachelor Alex Michel, Silver Spoons vixen Erin Gray, or My Two Dads standout Greg Evigan. It’s all happening.
Sometimes, a generation lucks out and the blockbuster film franchise that dominates its time is the original Star Wars trilogy: ground-breaking, pulpy, fun, and all-encompassing. Sometimes, a generation reveals it has made some sort of pact with the devil that’s gone awry, and it gets a depressing, muddled catastrophe as its signature franchise — like, say, the Phantom Menace trilogy.
The current generation, however you want to define that, doesn’t have to quite plumb the depths of Jar Jar Binks and tiny pod-racking Anakin Skywalker, but it/we have it worse in some ways. The Avengers is clearly the film franchise that is going to define this era. Transformers may be more of its time, but also seems destined to fizzle out under Michael Bay’s incompetent watch. Harry Potter and Twilight are huge, but cater to niche (if insanely devoted) audiences. The 2010s are all about superheroes, and The Avengers are here to see that we grow more weary of them than we ever could have of light sabers or muscle-bound dudes with machine guns.
The Oscars may be behind us, but some of us can’t let the 2012 movie year go. (Maybe because some of are so far behind on movies that we’re still watching last year’s awards contenders.)
Which means that we still need to talk about Les Miserables, its successes and its (mostly) failures.
So let’s countdown the most and least valuable players involved with bringing this adaptation of Les Mis to the Silver Screen and to the Best Picture nominee list.
As our readers know all too well, we can disappear without a trace like white bin Ladens. But if there’s anything sure to bring P.C.H.A. back to life, it’s the Oscars. The self-importance, the musical numbers, the dresses… how can we resist? So, live(ish), from two different continents, here’s the chat you’ve all been waiting for. Ladies and gentlemen, your hosts, David Simon Cowell and The Dilemma!
The last episode of 30 Rock ever aired last night, and it was great — particularly if you view last week’s episode (which wrapped up most of the major plotlines) as part one of a two-part finale.
The show pulled off a delicate balancing act by: providing closure, hitting key emotional points with the main characters, being legitimately funny, and feeling like both a typical episode of 30 Rock and something a little more special at the same time. Even more impressively, Tina Fey and pals managed to produce a hilarious, compelling final season overall in this, 30 Rock’s seventh year.
I’m behind the times on this one, but I’m still trying to work my way through the 2012 movies I missed. And there wasn’t a movie all year quite like Savages.
Holy shit, what a wonderful, terrible film. The whole thing looks beautiful, from the shiny southern California landscape to the glossy actors to Oliver Stone’s polished camera moves. And its two-plus hours fly by in a rush of breezy, superficial entertainment.
But every word of this screenplay is a stinking, rotting animal carcass, piled on top of one another in a mountain of nauseous garbage death. Co-written by Stone, Shane Salerno (who helped write Armageddon!) and Don Winslow (who wrote the novel on which the film is based), Savages alternates between accepting that it’s cheap, crass pulp fiction, and aiming for some sort of wildly misplaced depth. Blake Lively narrates! And Riggins is there!
You need to watch this movie. You really do. You see, Lively has two boyfriends — Chon and Ben — and they all live together and grow pot and sell pot and are blissful until a mean old cartel comes and tries to put some muscle to them. But before you see it, take this little quiz and see if you can figure out which of these are actual quotes from Savages and which are made up:
When Rick Steff moves in with us, he’s immediately upset that we called him a keyboardist to his face. He thinks that the term “keyboardist” has negative connotations related to synthesizers and keytars and Casios, and insists that we call him Lucero’s pianist, organist and occasional accordionist. We oblige.
We offer him the couch (pretty comfy) or an air mattress, but he chooses to sleep on the floor on a dingy mat he keeps rolled up in his travel bag. I ask if sleeping on hard surfaces is good for his back or something, and he doesn’t answer.
Last night’s Golden Globes were actually fairly watchable, thanks almost entirely to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who turned in one of the best awards-show hosting performances in recent memory. They managed to be funny, charming and even pointed at times, while avoiding Ricky Gervais’s “look at me, aren’t I naughty!” schtick. But there were so, so many terrible people at the Golden Globes! So many awful winners, nominees, presenters and innocent bystanders! Let’s count down the worst among them.
…in as much as it has a soul, anyway.
Politically, Hurricane Sandy was an incredible stroke of luck for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He got to pull a Giuliani and appear heroic during a crisis. He got to cross the aisle and work with a Democratic President he’s publicly opposed to get shit done. He got to finally – FINALLY! – align himself with Bruce Springsteen for a common cause.
Coming out of Sandy, and following his fiery/crazy speech at the Republican National Convention last summer, Christie appears poised to win the GOP’s nomination for president in 2016.
Last year at this time, when the 2012 Academy Award nominations were announced in an explosion of glitter and self-congratulatory 5 a.m. phone calls, I wept brittle, jagged tears.
In my professional responsibility as co-proprietor of Pop Culture Has AIDS, you see, I’m obligated to see every film that garners a major Oscar nomination. For you. I do it for you. So last year on this same morning, I came to the sickening realization that I would need to sit through:
- The Help
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
- Albert Nobbs
- The Artist
- The Iron Lady
And that was after already enduring the likes of WAR HORSE. Guhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Thankfully, this year’s burden isn’t nearly so heavy.
Around these parts, we like to write about Elvis Presley on the occasion of his birthday. Whereas in the past we’ve recommended some music and ranked his movies, this year we’re going to take a darker turn. To mark the King’s 78th birthday yesterday, we’ll discuss Elvis in Concert, a CBS TV special (and soundtrack) showing footage from two of the handful of Presley’s final concerts, June 19 and 21, 1977, in Omaha and Rapid City. Elvis’s last concert took place in Indianapolis June 26 and he died on August 16.
If you’re so inclined, you can listen to the album here.
Validation feels so good.
When we inducted Jon Heyman into the PCHA Sportswriting Hall of Shame, we may have had a couple creeping doubts that we’d picked the right guy. After all, there are so many terrible sports journalists out there, and Heyman admittedly wasn’t as much of a slam dunk as our first inductee, Rick Reilly. We moved ahead though, confident that we had picked the best available nominee.
And Lord, were we right. In a wonderful confluence of events, the PCHA Sportswriting Hall of Shame is forming a Venn diagram with the Baseball Hall of Fame’s shameful voting practices, and Mr. Heyman occupies the center circle.
Heyman published his Hall of Fame ballot yesterday, complete with some of the most illogical, irrational, strawman-filled, irrelevant, cherry-picking arguments this side of a Republican primary debate. Even when Heyman supports worthy players or correctly dismisses also-rans, his reasons for doing so are often inane. Shall we count down his most ludicrous arguments? Shall we?
The results of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Hall of Fame voting will be announced Wednesday, and if early indicators are to be believe, there will be a lot to rage about.
This year’s ballot is stuffed with worthy candidates, several of them appearing for the first time. But rather than consider individual players on their merits, many writers are launching an offense in BaHoWa, using their votes as an opportunity to lash out against stats nerds, ILLEGAL DRUG USERS, and ideas they don’t understand. The old white men are angry, my friends, and they’re going to make sure Jeff Bagwell feels their wrath.
Three typical BBWAA voters
Well that was a fantastic weekend of football, wasn’t it? Not one compelling Wild Card game in the bunch, though that’s not the issue here. Two of the weekend’s games, in particular, brought into sharp relief two of the major problems with the NFL and the way it’s covered by the media.
Season two of Homeland may have been divisive, even among the proprietors of this here blog, but one thing remained inarguable: the cranky wonder of Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenger.
Happy New Year, PCHA-ers!
It’s time once again to present my annual mix modeled after the abysmal Now That’s What I Call Music series.
As always, this mix is not intended to be a pure rundown of the best songs of the year — it’s a mix of the best songs of the year run through my own “Now”-style filter. These are the hit singles that play on the imaginary radio station in my alternate universe where people have good taste. So it’s a CD-length (approximately) playlist of my favorite songs of 2012, heavily weighted toward the upbeat, the singles and the songs I played over and over again throughout the year.
Forthwith, the music.
We’ve done music, we’ve done television, now it’s time for the Big Daddy of them all. Has David Simon Cowell caught up? Will The Dilemma name all three Channing Tatum movies? Let’s see.
Pop Culture Has AIDS isn’t a lecture. It isn’t a monologue. It’s not a polemic or a soliloquy. It’s a conversation.
This blog is as much yours as it is ours, and you guys are what makes this a great place to live, work and write. You are the reason we do this. David Simon Cowell and I like to say that we have the best commenters on the Internet, and we often spend our limited time together poring through the comments section, letting you spark discussions and ideas and the best kind of intellectual fulfillment.
This is your time to shine. We turn the spotlight to you for the very best comments of the year on Pop Culture Has AIDS. Take a bow, you beautiful creatures. You’ve earned it.
We’ve already tackled the year in music… now it’s time for television.