03 January 2013

nfl playoff predictions: wild card round

cincinnati at houston

the houston texans, for the better part of the year, were the number one seed in the afc. then in the last week of the season, they not only lose the number one seed and having home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they lose having a bye week to start the playoffs. fortunately, they play a bengal team that doesn't have any offensive weapons other than a.j. green. while the bengals' defense has played well overall, gary kubiak, who is second to only mike krzyzewski [age 65] in sporting a overly black hair dye job, should be able to employ a gameplan that uses zone blocking scheme and play-action to move the ball on offense, especially if the texans start with more than a one possession lead.

the pick : houston

minnesota at green bay

green bay is one replacement referee snafu away from having a bye this week, but instead they play a team that beat them the previous week in a game where both teams were trying to win. the packers can still win even if adrian peterson has a big day, but they must limit his runs from sustaining long drives. in a game where the team with home field advantage probably wins, the packers' offense should be able to build a lead that takes the ball out of peterson's hands.

the pick : green bay

indianapolis at baltimore

even though this will [probably] be ray lewis' last game, he will [probably] not make much of a positive impact as he is still recovering from what was first believed to be a season-ending injury. this game mostly hinges on how well joe flacco can play and how well the ravens' defense can overcome injuries from key positions. the ravens also benefit from playing this game at home, where their record has been exceptional. throughout the season, the colts have played well enough to stay close to their opposition in the fourth quarter and get game-winning drives led by andrew luck [which sounds exactly like what the broncos did with tim tebow last year, yet it is so, so different]. key factors in this game include jim caldwell's lack of experience in play-calling and whether chuck pagano's inspirational story continues to translate to his player's play on the field.

the pick : baltimore

seattle at washington

a selection committee could not scheduled a better game in the first round of this year's playoffs. rookie quarterbacks robert griffin iii and russell wilson are both dynamic players who have already earned the respect of the veterans around them. while robert griffin iii's team has won seven games in a row, russell wilson's team may be the hotter team given their recent dominating victories. seattle also has the pass rushers to slow down robert griffin iii in the pocket, and an elite secondary that can contain robert griffin iii in the air. but with that said, the emergence of alfred morris may help the redskins avoid seattle's defense's strengths. in what seems to be an even matchup, home field advantage may decide the winner in this game, since seattle is a mediocre road team at best.

the pick : washington

07 January 2010

nfl weekly predictions: wild card round

ny jets at cincinnati

while it has been widely documented that mark sanchez is a rookie quarterback starting on the road in a playoff game, not much has been said about how carson palmer only had one 300 yard passing game and six games under 200 yards passing [not including the final game where he was rested after the first quarter] and how he has basically turned into an above average 'game manager.' [the label 'game manager' always seemed to be a backhanded compliment. analysts say that they don't win games, but they don't lose them either. so not being able to win a game is supposed to be a good thing?] case in point, the bengals have relied on their excellent running game and their solid defense to win games, though carson palmer did play well in the clutch. but that isn't to say that carson palmer is still an elite quarterback or that he doesn't deserve any credit, but rather that he's become a glorified brad johnson. with that said, the bengals should be able to dispatch the jets [or as jets fans and trey wingo like to call them, the 'j-e-t-s jets jets jets!']. the jets enjoyed a favorable schedule where they didn't have to play against the first string of two playoff teams, which has them looking like they're playing better than they really are. and on a side note, it would be surprising to hear that chad ochocinco actually injured his knee when he slipped and fell during warmups last week. the only thing that he hurt from that fall was his pride.

the pick : cincinnati

philadelphia at dallas

did andy reid play rope-a-dope last week against the cowboys last week? did he not show everything that his team could do so that he could save plays for the rematch? perhaps. if this is true, some may think that he is a genius. but considering the circumstances that if the eagles won, not only would they not play the cowboys in the wild card round, they would have clinched a FIRST ROUND BYE. so, suppose andy reid decided to play conservatively and throw the game in order to show the cowboys what they can really do in a "game that matters," he basically is saying that he'd rather have to win a game on the road to earn a second round berth than rest his players and do nothing to get into the second round, in addition to playing that game at home. with that in mind, the eagles may have an advantage because they didn't show everything in their playbook and perhaps the cowboys come into the game a bit overconfident. maybe andy reid is a genius after all.

the pick : philadelphia

baltimore at new england

in previous seasons, the ravens' defensive players believed they had to return a interception or a fumble for a touchdown by any means necessary, even if they had to take risks by utilizing the lateral. such risks were justified though, with the reason being that the defense had little or no confidence that trent dilfer or kyle boller could lead a scoring drive even with favourable field position. this year the ravens offense is the best they've had in their franchise's relatively short history, but ray lewis and ed reed still lead a ball-hawking defense that laterals the ball as much as any other nfl team that played before the forward pass was legalized. all of which is moot with brady and belichick, as they seem to do their best when games matter more, especially when they play at home.

the pick : new england

green bay at arizona

the arizona cardinals super bowl berth in last year's playoffs was surprising to many, mostly because no one believed the nfc west could produce anything more than terrible football teams. this year's cardinals team seems no different, but for some reason no one expects them to do much in the playoffs, mostly because the nfc west doesn't produce anything more than terrible football teams. on the other side, the packers have had a fairly good season, but their well-known losses at the hands of brett favre and the vikings has given people the lasting impression of not being able to protect aaron rodgers and being downright awful. while the former may be the true, the latter is not. in a game where the packers and cardinals can score points with the best of them, the packers superior defense should be the difference.

the pick : green bay

11 November 2009

u-s-a!! u-s-a!! u-s-a!!

VETERANS DAY, to say the least, is one day where america collectively celebrates and recognizes those who serve and have served in the military; it is a day to celebrate patriotism. and when i think of patriotism, i think of a man who [arguably] popularized the 'u-s-a!' chant more than anyone in american history. yes, i think of 'hacksaw' jim duggan.

for those who are unfamiliar with who 'hacksaw' jim duggan is, he is a professional1 wrestler who has had the same [some would say tired2] gimmick of coming into the ring waving an american flag the size of texas while starting or perpetuating the 'u-s-a!' chant [and intermittently yelling things like 'hooo!!']. by no means was he a great wrestler, but his significance transcended his sport [or 'sport']. without him, crowds everywhere who love america and 2x4's may not know what to chant to show their patriotism. so today, i thank those who have served in the american military, both past and present. i thank the same people for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families. and last, but certainly not least, i thank you, 'hacksaw' jim duggan.

1 the term 'professional' is used loosely, considering the it was 'not necessarily real.'
2 i know, how dare i.

02 October 2009

movie forecast: zombieland

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

though it is probably a common mistake, i thought zombieland's lead actor jesse eisenberg was michael cera each time i saw commercials for it. not only because he bares a resemblance to michael cera, but he also does the same michael cera routine, only he doesn't seem to do it as well as cera. i'm sure both actors are aware of each other and the situation, though i don't know if either of them would like to acknowledge it. i can only imagine how awkward it would be if they were trapped in an elevator together. jesse eisenberg should know that there's only one person like michael cera, and that's woody allen.

at any rate, zombieland looks like a film that relies heavily on humor and gore, much like shaun of the dead. whether or not that formula translates well into a version without british accents remains to be seen. with most of today's horror films lacking originality and legitimate scares, zombieland's decision to incorporate humor may be the best option to infuse life into a somewhat dead genre.

prognosis : 7/10

24 July 2009

movie forecast: the ugly truth

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

at first, i thought this movie was a continuation of the nbc tv hit, the naked truth, with katherine heigl reprising téa leoni's role of nora wilde. imagine my surprise when i learned that no such plans of making a the naked truth movie were in the works and that this is actually an original film. alongside katherine heigl in this so-called romantic comedy is gerald butler, who looks out of place when is wearing normal clothing instead of a loin cloth. i wonder if this has ever happened, where an actor is more believable and recognizable when he is wearing a hand towel around his waist.

as far as the actual movie is concerned, i don't know if it has anything to offer than a formulaic plot about a career woman in heigl who is taught lessons about enjoying life by a lothario in butler, who is of course taught lessons in fidelity by heigl. to hope that there are insightful moments of clarity about the nature of relationships seems to be a bit of a pipe dream, but judging by the commercials, even moments of comedy also seem to be few and far between.

prognosis : 3/10

22 March 2009

movie forecast: knowing

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

different nicolas cage movie, same terrible nicolas cage hairstyle. i have no idea why he insists on keeping his balding mullet, as if it were some badge of honor for middle-aged men everywhere. all i can say to nicolas cage is that his time to have long, flowing hair has pass. you're too old, let go, it's over. he needs give up on this dream, and basically take to kobe bryant's example of shaving his afro once he realized he couldn't maintain it with his receding hairline. i have no idea how no one in nicolas cage's circle has told him that he looks downright silly and is embarrassing himself with the look that he's cultivating. i'm starting to think that he has some crazy bet with drew gooden or deshawn stevenson about who can have the worst look ever.

as for the nicolas cage movie, knowing, it appears to be about a mathematician who is able to predict natural disasters based on a series of mysterious numbers. if this premise sounds familiar, it is most likely because it is similar to a previous film, the 2007 nicolas cage movie, next, which is about a magician who is able to predict two minutes into the future. i can understand why nicolas cage would want to remake one of his previous movies so that he could capitalize on his past successes, but i don't understand why he would choose to remake next instead of remaking something like the blockbuster national treasure: book of secrets or the thought-provoking ghost rider. [i am fairly certain a remake, not to be mistaken for a sequel, of national treasure: book of secrets with different actors surrounding nicolas cage in a different setting would fair better than any remake of next.] perhaps he is simply determined that this movie concept needs to be made until it is successful and will not stop until it does. i wouldn't be surprised that at this point in his career there is nothing that matters more to him and that he will remain stubborn about it. nothing, except for maybe keeping his mullet.

prognosis : 5/10

26 December 2008

movie forecast: valkyrie

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

it's curious that tom cruise has received so much public backlash even though he hasn't done anything illegal or immoral or scandalous. the only thing he has done to alienate the masses is zealously and shamelessly promote an eccentric religion, which as a side effect may or may not have resulted in erratic behavior. for example, michael jackson has collected criticism because of sexual abuse allegations, michael vick has received derision because of his involvement in dog fighting, and oj simpson has become a social pariah because he made naked gun 33⅓: the final insult, among other things. but all tom cruise has done is ask people to join his church. probably the worst thing that he did was call matt lauer 'glib.' yet, people react to him as if he eats out of a dumpster or performs illegal abortions with wire hangers. consequently, cruise's recent movies have relatively under-performed at the box office. while their disappointing performances can't be entirely attributed to an anti-cruise sentiment, it did have an effect to the point that many people did not go to see his movies simply because he was in it. it's as if people think they'll be brainwashed into believing scientology or contract gonorrhea just by watching one of his movies.

at any rate, the latest film to feature tom cruise is valkyrie, which is about an assassination attempt on adolf hitler during world war ii. when first hearing about this premise, i thought that tom cruise was going to embrace his growing villain reputation and tackle the role of hitler. instead, he does the opposite and plays the penultimate good guy as the person who is leading the charge to kill hitler. he even wears an eye patch most likely to gain sympathy from audiences. i ask why not give him a sickly kid with rickets to complete the effect? anyway, all things tom cruise aside, the main reason that i have high expectations for this movie is its director, bryan singer. with film credits such as the usual suspects, x2 and the underrated superman returns, singer is a director who is able to weave both intricate and interesting stories in a wholly unique style that doesn't sacrifice substance. with him at the helm, i can't foresee valkyrie will be any different.

prognosis : 8/10

19 December 2008

movie forecast: seven pounds

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

with seven pounds, will smith continues his streak of movies without the aid of one of his biggest co-stars: his moustache. in his last three movies [and four of his last six], will smith has been sans cookie duster. perhaps i am in the minority, and yes, i am more of a moustache enthusiast than the average person, but will smith not only looks more 'normal' with his lady tickler, he is an overall better actor when he has one. consider that in both i am legend and hancock, will smith went without his soup strainer and consequently both were subpar films, no matter what the box office numbers say. [especially hancock, that movie is unequivocally a steaming turd. and while on the subject of his appearance, why does will smith have 1920's hair in this movie? is he covertly working for lucky luciano?]

as for the actual movie of seven pounds, i have seen the both the trailer and its commercials a few times each and still have no idea what the plot of this movie is. the only thing i know is that will smith wants to favors for certain people and that he walks around on some island all day. rumor has it that the plot has purposely been kept secret because it would ruin the movie if revealed beforehand. with that being said, i expect seven pounds to deliver much in a similar vein to the pursuit of happyness, although i doubt it'll be as good. and i can think of at least one reason why.

prognosis : 7/10

05 September 2008

movie forecast: bangkok dangerous

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

one of the more interesting developments in the current world of film is none other than nicolas cage's decision to sport a balding mullet.1 to prove that it isn't just for his latest film, bangkok dangerous, he has proudly worn it with reckless abandon in his two previous films, national treasure: book of secrets and next. i'm curious as to whether or not nicolas cage believes that it's a good look for him, because anyone who isn't associated with the nhl or nascar [or billy ray cyrus] would have to say otherwise.

other than nicolas cage's creepy hair, bangkok dangerous offers action that has little explanation. the only dialogue in the commercials consist of nicolas cage saying, 'my name is joe. this is what i do.' according to that advertisement, what he does is position his body against another man from behind and cross his arms around the other man's neck as he aims a gun in each hand. not only is this confusing, it's a little... awkward. in any event, bangkok dangerous, which is one of the better movie titles, should provide decent [and unrealistic] action as well as what has become a staple in nicolas cage's movies, namely a fair amount of unintentional humor.

prognosis : 5/10

1 not to be confused with a bald mullet, which is also known as a skullet.

01 August 2008

movie forecast: the mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor

editor's note: for a detailed explanation of a movie forecast, click here

i was taken aback when i saw the trailer for the mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor since it has been seven years from the mummy returns. i suppose john hannah, who plays brendan fraser's brother-in-law, needed some work. i don't think i've seen him in any other movies except the mummy movies. is this the only character he can play? is it because that character is exactly like who he is in real life, kind of like how eminem can only play b-rabbit because he's just playing himself? is john hannah a wimpy, bumbling, opportunistic ninny in actuality?

another question is why do the characters in the mummy movies keep messing around with mummies and their tombs? i say they deserve whatever danger they bring upon themselves. anyway, in this third installment, brendan fraser and company are fighting against mummies again, but with a twist: they are asian. unexpectantly, the asian mummies consist of a decent cast of jet li, michelle yeoh and vanishing son superstar, russell wong.1 so at the very least there should be some good action sequences. in the end, the mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor should not disappoint fans of this franchise, and may even pleasantly surprise a few of its skeptics. [and on a final note, brendan fraser's son in this movie looks to be about fifteen years older than he was in the last movie, yet brendan fraser's or john hannah's character haven't aged at all.]

prognosis : 7/10

1 it appears as though russell wong has finally recovered from a serious injury where he broke every vertebrae in his spine while filming romeo must die.