Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
13. christopher guest & co takes on the focus group in a hysterical sketch.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
best original screenplay
the artist, michel hazanavicius
bridesmaids, annie mumolo and kristen wiig
margin call, j.c. chandor
midnight in paris, woody allen
a separation, asghar farhadi
Predition: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen. this is his 17th nomination in writing. when he loses out for best picture this will be the award he makes up for it.
My Pick: A Separation, Asghar Farhadi. for anyone who has read my top ten movies of 2011 list, they already knew my pick for this award. i really loved midnight in paris and adored the script, but a separation was a powerful film driving by the character and their stories. the dialogue was able to create incredible and complicated tension out of straightforward plot developments. farhadi wasted no words and made no attempt to subject the audience to any emotional manipulation. instead, farhadi portrayed realism and in doing so, provided multiple layers to each character so that we felt empathy for everyone in a movie that ultimately has no winners.
best adapted screenplay
the descendants, alexander payne, nat faxon, jim rash
hugo, john logan
the ides of march, george clooney, grant heslov, beau willimon
moneyball, steven zaillian, aaron sorkin
tinker tailor soldier spy, bridget o'connor, peter straughan
Prediction: The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash. this is also my pick for the award and to me the clear choice in this field having seen all of the films. hugo was a great story but mediocre script. moneyball was a sharp script but fell flat at times. the ides of march should have been an hbo movie at best. i couldn't follow tinker tailor. the descendants was witty, funny and gave nuanced depth to george clooney allowing him to give his career best performance. also, as an added bonus, jim rash plays dean pelton on my #4 ranked show of 2011 (community). perhaps i'm not completely biased here.
i am grouping these two categories together because, for me, they are inseparable. directing is many things, but one of the most important jobs for a director is to set the tone of the film. another is to frame the pictures. movies are simply a series of photographs edited together. it is often the role of the cinematographer to handle the camerawork and set the lighting for the shots which directly affects the tone for the entire film.
directors often work with the same cinematographers. the coen brothers have used roger deakins for all of their films to great success. steven spielberg uses janusz kaminski.
the academy also has a propensity to give the best director award to the director of the best picture and that oftentimes makes sense because directors usually are the main driving force behind a truly great piece of film (though this is not always the case).
i use this all as the basis for my support for both terrence malick and emmanuel lubezki to win the oscars for best directing and best cinematography, respectively for 'the tree of life'.
the artist, michel hazanavicius
hugo, martin scorsese
the descendants, alexander payne
midnight in paris, woody allen
tree of life, terrence malick
Prediction: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius. he is certainly the odd man out in a rather strong group of directors. scorsese and allen are heavyweights. payne is an indie darling. malick is the reclusive genius. hazanavicius, though, just happened to direct the clear front runner for best picture this year. just like tom hooper won, surprisingly and undeservedly, for 'the king's speech' last year, so will hazanavicius this year.
My Pick: tree of life, terrence malick. there is no one style or method to becoming a great director. woody allen and terrence malick could not be any different but they are both great in their own way. but, in my opinion, a great director is a great visionary. a great director is able to meld the different facets of a film, the writing, acting, music, cinematography, the morality into a piece of art that is greater than the sum of its parts. great directors unapologetically and unabashedly take risks that few others would even think of taking let alone dare to take.
to be clear, martin scorsese is my all-time favorite director and though i am fan of hugo (currently sitting as my 7th best film of 2011), terrence malick's vision is unsurpassed. he has made 5 films since the 1970's and they can all be considered masterpieces. and when his career is over, the tree of life will stand as his most personal and ambitious film.
the artist, guillaume shiffman
the girl with the dragon tattoo, jeff cronenweth
hugo, robert richardson
war horse, janusz kaminski
the tree of life, emmanuel lubezki
Prediction: The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki. this is also my pick for this award. as stated above, great cinematography usually accompanies a great director and this film is no different. even those who didn't enjoy the film can't deny the unmatched beauty of the film. with stunning visual effects as well, the tree of life is a vibrant display of the sublime beauty we find in the cosmos and all around us.
previously, lubezki was the cinematographer on 'children of men' and malick's 'the new world' which were both nominated for an oscar for best cinematography and were both incredible films on many top ten lists of the 2000's (not mine, however, though children of men came very close).
here is my final ranking and prediction in the category of best picture.
in a down year for film, the oscars did not need to nominate 9 pictures in this category. they are allowed to nominate between 5 and 10 films but i think 6 would have been appropriate. 2011 was a year that split most critics and fans alike. there were a lot of solid to really good independent films but most of them did not garner universal acclaim. instead this year's oscars will feature a lot of films that most people did not outright dislike instead of films people will remember for years to come.
9. extremely loud & incredibly close (rating: C)
8. the help (rating: B-)
7. moneyball (rating: B-)
the red sox would go on to win the world series.
6. war horse (rating: B)
steven spielberg is the master at making great entertainment. none of his films have made much of an impact on my life or thought process. war horse is more of the same from a stale director. though technically great and filled with a lot of entertaining and emotional scenes, war horse lasting impact was gone as soon as i exited the theater.
3. midnight in paris (rating: A-)
2. the descendants (rating: A-)
1. tree of life (rating: A)
Prediction: The Artist wins best picture because it's unhateable. the way the oscar voting works now (a single transferable voting system) it's better not to be hated (the artist) than to be polarizing (tree of life).
back in january, i expressed that my top ten movies of 2011 list should be considered a work in progress. well, all this week leading up to the oscars, i will be updating my list along with my comments on the oscar nominees and my predictions of the winners. see my original top ten list, here.
10. 13 assassins*
though listed as a 2010 film, it wasn't released in the u.s. until 2011 so it qualifies. you can read my review here.
the film is driven by one of the best performances of the year by yoon jeong-hee, a famous korean actress, retired and living in paris since the mid-90s, until her comeback with this film. a reserved performance of a woman trying to view the world through a different lense as she struggles with alzheimer's and the discovery of a horrific crime committed by her grandson.
there are few film-makers that demand the level of respect that steven soderbergh does through his films. capable of making studio money-makers (ocean series), critically acclaimed films (traffic) and indie artsy projects (the girlfriend experience), soderbergh doesn't always satisfy everyone's expectations but you can't say he isn't willing to take risks. contagion succeeded in captivating me and scaring the shit out of me even if the narrative wasn't totally satisfying.
6. midnight in paris
5. a separation is one of the best screenplays i've seen in some time and certainly the best of the year. a separation gives us a glimpse into iranian culture while also presenting the audience with a story that is universal, how the choices that parents make can have devastating effects on their children.
nicolas winding refn says he likes making visually stimulating movies. well, if that was his goal, i'd like to tell him....SUCCESS! ryan gosling (crazy, stupid, love; the ides of march) and albert brooks put on great performances... gosling as the essential strong and silent hero typically found in many westerns and brooks as the gangster villain. the camerawork was superb and the soundtrack really captured the spirit of the film. our collective vision of los angeles as a place of dreams served as a great backdrop for the film.
3. the descendants
read my review here.
2. take shelter
the only film from 2011 that i wanted to watch again immediately after it concluded. this was one tour de force of a film. great performances by michael shannon and jessica chastain. great suspense in the vein of hitchcock. i'm not sure if i've ever seen another film quite like this one. shannon plays a good husband/father who starts to see delusions of an impending storm of biblical proportions and decides to build a shelter to protect his family. it's a great ride so i won't spoil anything else. don't bother watching any trailers. just watch the movie and enjoy.
1. tree of life
terrence malick has directed only 5 films since 'badlands' in 1973. i've seen 4 of them and they've all been gorgeous examples of personal filmmaking though none have been as personal as tree of life. a semi-autobiographical film about a family growing up in texas in the 1950s set against the backdrop of the origins of the universe and life in general, i'm pretty sure i've never seen a film this ambitious. malick does a good job avoiding being pretentious with this film through his subtle and genuine appreciation of his subject matter. a cynical person will find many ways to mock this film, but if you recall, i've made a new year's resolution to be less cynical. in a very weak year in film, this is perhaps the only film on this list i will remember 20 years from now.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
tinker tailor soldier spy
Monday, February 20, 2012
And just so Colin has a reason not to fall asleep, we discuss the Grammy's and mourn the recently deceased. Because if there's anything that keeps Colin's attention, it's talking about the dead.
1:18 - Intro
2:41 - Sunday Brunch hates Bill Belichick
5:01 - Memories! RIP Gary Carter and Whitney Houston
12:35 - Grammys Hits and Misses
17:00 - OH, THE LINSANITY!!!!!
51:50 - The Linsanity continues with John "Biz" Baiano
Friday, February 17, 2012
We here at No Hyperbole Allowed have been tracking MTV’s hit sensation "The Challenge" with their 418th installment- Battle of the Exes. This past Wednesday's thrilling episode brings us to the quarter pole of this season, and in recognition of this momentous occasion we have gathered some industry heavyweights and foremost experts, who along with the NHA core brain trust, recently held a hard-hitting Round Table discussion.
AJ Golub: Welcome to the 1st Annual No Hyperbole Allowed Real World/Road Rules Challenge Quarter Pole Round Table! I’m your host AJ Golub, alongside the NHA editorial team, please join me in welcoming Grantland editor-in-chief and MTV Challenge connoisseur, the Sports Guy - Bill Simmons!
Bill Simmons: Hey AJ, you stole my column idea! Remember my Atrocious GM Summit?
AJ: Remember who won the Super Bowl! To the victory goes the spoils. Next to Bill on my right, the Pope of New York Sports Talk, Mike Francesa!
Francesa: Waitasekend. Waitasekend. Waitasekend. Waitasekend. Who booked me for dis? I have 2 numbah one shows, ok.
Golub: Yes, great to have you too, Mike.
Francesa: Who are you again?
AJ: Remember? Adam from Brooklyn?
Francesa: Next callah!
AJ: And flanking Mike to the right, its such a privilege to have this person with us, 17 time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep. Meryl, I speak for everyone here when I say its an absolute honor for you to join this round table.
Meryl: Yes Adam, I’m having a marvelous time with this bunch. Just smashing.
DJ Pauly D: Meryl, I just wanna say, you in The Iron Lady, yo, you killed it Meryl.
Meryl: Why thank you, DJ Pauly D. It was a rare challenge to portray such a bold and powerful woman like Margaret Thatcher. I must admit, I’m quite the fan of yours as well.
Pauly: You DT...?
AJ: Excuse me Pauly. Meryl, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what brings you here tonight.
Meryl: Well, Paramount has commissioned a script for a cinematic portrayal of The Challenge where I will be portraying the veteran combatant Wesley. Quite a dichotomous character with the bravado he shows in battle and the chivalrous manner by which he addresses his lady.
AJ: I'm sure you will be excellent. And closing out the round table, we have a man who is no stranger to MTV reality programming… From the smash hit Jersey Shore, we have DJ Pauly D!
Pauly D: Yeaaa Buddy!
AJ: We're all here to discuss America’s Fifth Major Sport, MTV's The Challenge.
Colin: I thought we were going to be talking about Tiger Woods and his Sunday shortcomings. Otherwise, it's nap time!
Francesa: What is dis guy talking about? I thought we wuz here to talk about this Lin kid.
Rich: Quiet you dinosaur! You're not even worthy of five minutes on the podcast!
AJ: Everyone relax. Pauly D, tell us what you like about the Challenge.
Pauly D: A couple of those guys are some old school guidos, my dude. Kids are definitely getting their GTL in early. YEAAAAA BUDDY!
AJ: What I want to talk about is who the panelists feel is the strongest team left at this point in the season. Meryl, I know your research hit a snag with the early departure of Wes, but who has impressed you thus far?
Meryl: Mark truly has the physique of an Adonis, but the social shortcomings of Robin were truly exposed this week. The inability of this young woman to adapt to her environment may be the proverbial fly in the ointment for that team. Adam I must tell you, I am enraptured by the sheer masculinity of CT. And, oh, so vulnerable he is.
Simmons: Meryl Streep knows her Challenge, guys. The show would not be the same without CT, and when he was disqualified in the first episode in both 'The Inferno' and 'The Duel 2' for punching fellow castmates, those seasons clearly floundered. The dynamic between CT and his ex-fiancee Diem is the key to this season’s final challenge at this point. I’d put them as the prohibitive favorites in Vegas right now. All things being equal, no Challenge cast members except Derek McCray, Darrell Taylor and maybe Kenny Santucci have a chance to beat CT in an elimination round, and all three have been on the shelf for the season.
AJ: So Bill, what makes you so sure there isn’t a curveball coming? The producers have been shifting the game the last few seasons with off-site challenges and location changes. They’ve been teasing a challenge on an icy mountain far from the Dominican. On top of that, Ty and Emily have gained a lot of momentum and respect in the room the last few weeks. I’d say there are a few teams with a legitimate shot right now.
Meryl: Yes… I do love that Johnny Bananas.
Simmons: Have you been paying attention to these games? Ty and Emily are a flash in the pan. CT has demonstrated success over the course of a decade when he’s got his head on straight. Check the numbers. This guy has made it to 4 final challenges. He’s an unparalleled force in this competition. I thought if you could put this panel together and steal my whole shtick you’d be smart enough to recognize what you’re watching.
Pauly D: This one is gunna fight this one! I'm getting my popcorn ready! Yeaaaaaa Buddy!!!
AJ: When was the last time you were right about anything? You're washed up! Why don't you just write 36,000 words on Drew Gooden’s career, or a mailbag about a mailbag, or relive an NBA All-Star game from 25 years ago.
Francesa: Waitasekend. Waitasekend. WHO AHR YOU CALLIN WASHED OUT! I HAVE 2 NUMBA ONE SHOWS FOR 30 YEARS. CHECK THE RATINGS, OK!
Pauly D: Stalker Alert!!! SPORTS GUY PROBLEMS!!!
Colin: This infighting is worse than the Republican debates!
Rich: NHA is not liable for any personal injury suffered while....
What transpired next has been deemed unprintable within the family friendly confines of No Hyperbole Allowed and thusly stricken from the record of the transcript. We’d like to thank our very distinguished panel and to Meryl especially, we’d like to wish you nothing but the best and look forward to your soon to be Academy Award nominated performance as Wes. We encourage you all to keep watching and keep score with us at home as we continue to churn out absurdly corny columns week in week out. Until next week!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
i was born in flushing hospital, queens, new york, in april of 1980, a stone's throw from shea stadium, former home of the new york mets. i spent my first few years living in queens before my family moved out to long island. as such, my allegiances lay with the home-borough mets, from birth.
one of my most vivid childhood memories comes from the hundreds of times i would drive past shea stadium at night and look at the neon lights of baseball player silhouettes. one was crouched down in the catcher position. that one was gary carter... our catcher.
carter's career spanned 19 seasons. it included 11 allstar appearances, 3 gold gloves, 5 silver sluggers and an induction into the hall-of-fame in 2003, although sadly he was inducted as a montreal expo (a team for which he played 12 seasons) and not as a met.
though carter only played 5 seasons with the new york mets (1985-1989), he was considered by many to the be missing piece to the championship puzzle. when he was traded to the mets before the 1985 season, they already had a solid nucleus in place with 1983 rookie of the year, darryl strawberry, 1984 rookie of the year, dwight gooden, former mvp, keith hernandez, ron darling, lenny dykstra, mookie wilson, sid fernandez and others. davey johnson was hired to be manager in 1984. all they needed was another veteran leader, someone to unite the clubhouse. that was gary carter.
in his first game as a met, he hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th. in his first season as a met, they would go on to win 98 games and just miss the playoffs. two years prior, they had won only 68 games.
in 1986, with their core intact, the now-dominant mets went on to win a staggering 108 games, 22 more than the 2nd place philadelphia phillies and most in the major leagues. in the national league champion series they defeated the houston astros 4 games to 2 to win the national league pennant and face the boston red sox in the world series.
not much can be said about the 1986 world series that hasn't been said before. entering the bottom of the 10th inning of game 6, the new york mets were down 3 games to 2 versus the red sox, a team that hadn't won the world series since 1918. and the red sox had just taken a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning.
there were 2 outs and no one on base as gary carter stepped up to the plate. the 1st pitched was fouled off. the 2nd pitch was a ball as was the 3rd. the count now stood at 2-1, a hitter's count. on the 4th pitch, gary carter lined it into left field for a single. the mets were alive. the 32-year old "kid" had kept us alive.
what happened next can only be classified as a sports miracle. pinch-hit single by kevin mitchell. a single by ray knight to score gary carter. mets down 5-4. wild pitch to mookie wilson. kevin mitchell scores. game tied at 5. and then the infamous error by bill buckner to score ray knight. mets win 6-5.
the mets would go on to win game 7 and the 1986 world championship, their only championship in my lifetime, their 2nd overall. they came close in 1988 after winning 100 games but losing to the eventual champion los angeles dodgers, 4-3 in the nlcs. they didn't make the playoffs again until back to back appearances in 1999 and 2000, the year they lost to the crosstown yankees in the world series. they were led then by another catching great, mike piazza. after another lull, they again lost 4-3 in the 2006 nlcs, again to the eventual champion st louis cardinals. i went to every single mets home game that playoffs. they haven't returned to the playoffs since.
the mets reached their pinnacle that 1986 season. though i was obviously very young then and probably don't have any direct memory left of that world series, it is preserved through our collective memory.
last may, doctors found four brain tumors in gary carter. the news was devastating and sudden. he was 57 years old. the prognosis wasn't good. everyone hoped and prayed that treatment would help but last month more tumors were discovered. his daughter kept a running journal of their family's battle with her dad's illness and this afternoon, she announced her father's passing.
mets fans and all fans of new york sports will miss and remember gary carter forever. every time i, for one, recall that neon silhouette taking the form of a catcher, it will recall memories of no one else, but ... our catcher.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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This week, we recap Super Bowl XLVI with special guest Curt Warrington. In a rematch of their 2008 battle, the Giants of New York defeated the Patriots of New England. A most riveting match in which they kicked a ball made of pigskin through a giant "H"!
Also, Rich finally saw "The Descendants" and loved it, though you already knew that after reading his review. We also read some new listener mail which only serves to stroke our ego. Ego, consider yourself stroked!
Lastly this week, we're talking race. Rich and Colin read a piece called "Notes on White Racial Identity" in Salmagundi, a literary journal that comes out of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. The conversation sometimes lacks direction and coherent thought, but we hope you'll bear with us as we begin what is to become a several-podcast theme. Race is an important topic, and through discussion can we further our understanding of one another. This is just the beginning of the conversation that Rich and Colin plan to have with one another and friends of several backgrounds, cultures, religions and races.
From Salmagundi's website -
NOTES ON WHITE RACIAL IDENTITY
An instructive and provocative column on the role of identity politics in the academy (and well beyond it) by JENNIFER DELTON, an historian of race and a writer allergic to easy nostrums. “If whiteness is ‘not black’ and if blackness is defined by deprivation and exclusion, then those Asians, Latinos, and middle class blacks who’ve ‘made it’ in American society are de facto ‘white.’ It turns out that white- ness is a lot more diverse than we thought, and may have nothing at all, or very little, to do with race.”
0:00 - Intro
1:10 - "The Descendants"
4:50 - Notes on White Racial Identity
35:30 - SuperBowl XLVI with Special Guest Curt Warrington
1:11:35 - Listener Mail
1:16:30 - Will Podcast for Food
Monday, February 6, 2012
thank you eli. that was fun. same time next year?
as i wrote in my 2011 giants seasons retrospective, this was eli's season. his development and success was incredible to watch this year and the fact that it culminated in another superbowl win is almost like icing on the cake (a lot of icing). bill barnwell on grantland did a good job dissecting the differences between eli manning in the '08 superbowl and last nite's. they can easily be highlighted by the play-of-the-game in each superbowl. in 2008, david tyree had a miraculous catch that some (including colin) would call lucky. in 2012, mario manningham caught a ball that was the result of a perfect throw and catch. no luck involved. just precise execution.
with eli's maturation, i prefer to focus on how this win affects eli's standing among the quarterback elites in the nfl. i acknowledge, first and foremost, that i can not say with a straight face that eli is the best qb in the league, but an objective argument can certainly be made that his resume stacks up against anyone else's. i make such an argument in the following one-on-one comparisons:
1) eli vs. philip rivers.
in the 2004 draft, the new york giants essentially traded philip rivers, linebacker shawne merriman and kicker nate kaeding to the san diego chargers for eli manning. a couple of years later, as rivers was putting up big numbers, merriman was considered one of the best defensive players and kaeding a great kicker, this trade looked like a steal for the chargers.
merriman is now almost out of the league and rivers just had one of his worst seasons. oh, and eli just won his 2nd superbowl. rivers has had a very good career thus far but has failed to reach the superbowl even though he's been surrounded by a lot of talent over the years. and with eli coming off his best statistical regular season, he's pretty much bettered rivers by any measure.
2) eli vs. ben rothlisberger.
in the 2004 draft, eli was selected 1st, rivers 4th and "big ben" 11th by the pittsburgh steelers. it's no wonder then that all three have been compared to each other over the years. and early on, it was big ben who was having all the success. in his 2nd year, he won his first superbowl and then followed that up with another superbowl win 3 years later. while rivers was getting all the regular season stats, big ben and later eli, were getting all the hardware.
big ben now has made 3 superbowl trips, 2 rings, and 1 superbowl mvp. eli, however, has him beat in regular season passing yards and touchdowns. and though he has only made it to 2 superbowls, he also has 2 wins AND 2 superbowl mvps.
3) eli vs. peyton manning.
assuming peyton doesn't retire, it'll be next to impossible for eli's regular season career to ever live up to his older brother's. peyton is on pace to break all of the nfl's most important passing numbers.
but for all of peyton's successes, his biggest weakness has always been his performance in big games. his biggest foil? the new england patriots. so now that eli has twice defeated his brother's arch-nemesis, where does the pecking order now stand? well, eli in the process has become one of the most "clutch" quarterbacks of all-time, breaking the nfl records for most 4th quarter touchdowns in a season (15) and most road playoff victories (5), statistics that highlight eli's dominance over his brother's when it counts most.
eli also now has 2 superbowl wins and mvps, doubling his brother's total. peyton may have his little brother in the statistics, but eli has him with the rings and i bet that at the family dinner table, that will mean more.
4) eli vs. drew brees and aaron rodgers.
like peyton manning, brees and rodgers have had both personal and team success, winning player-of-the-year awards, one superbowl ring and one superbowl mvp as well. still though, with all their personal success, two > one and eli is on the right (left) side of that equation.
5) eli vs. tom brady.
if you've noticed a trend here so far, it's that i am using eli's 2 superbowl wins to highlight the differences between him and the other qbs. and when it comes to big ben, the only other qb with 2 superbowl wins, eli has had the advantage in regular season statistics.
but there's one quarterback with whom that argument will not work and that's tom brady. a 2-time mvp winner, a 3-time superbowl winner, a 2-time superbowl mvp, a 5-time superbowl participant and holder of a multitude of nfl records, brady's resume surpasses them all in almost every respect, except 1.
he's 0-2 vs. eli manning in the superbowl.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
by Adam "AJ" Golub
This week on The Challenge: Battle of the Exes, our combatants starting embracing their familiar roles. We had the inevitable and unceremonious early-season disqualification (poor Sarah - there was no justice when her feminist fate was sealed by her oafish teammate who thought it would be cool to cause an impromptu nipple slip); the indefatigable Wes claiming how bad everyone is at life compared to him (cue his elimination this week after being manhandled by LeRoy); and the (yawn) heavily-spoilered one punch confrontation between Tyree and "Ex" one-time makeout partner, Jasmine. As will be the custom every week, I size up the competition in Battle of the Exes with a Top 5 Power Rankings.
I want to give honorable mention to our all-lesbian team of Aneesa and Rachel. For those old enough to remember, Aneesa joined us at the turn of the century in Real World: Chicago, a season best remembered for introducing future Skinemax all-stay, Tonya Cooley, upon the world. I think Tonya would have been perfect for this season, but she causes MTV’s insurance premiums to skyrocket every time she’s put into a house with these people, so I digress. Aneesa was openly bi-sexual from the get-go, so it was natural that she would hook up with inaugural Road Ruleser (Road Ruler?) Rachel Robinson on a subsequent Challenge. Kudos to the two of them being the only all-female team while staying competitive through 2 weeks.
Onto our Fab 5:
5. Mark and Robin: Veteran savvy, cagey big game experience, and steroid fueled athleticism will keep this team in the Top 5 unless they continue to perform as poorly as they did this past Wednesday.
4. TJ Lavin: 'Mr. You Killed It' is having a renaissance of his own, in his second season back from major reconstructive surgery to 97% of his entire body after a biking accident, seen here. He’s starting to look a little more like TJ and a little less like the Six Million Dollar Man as he did last season. The “You killed it’s” and in-game analysis have been flowing like wine from TJ, the best game show host since Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek. Good to have you back, my dude.
3. LeRoy and Naomi: LeRoy is the Lebron James of the Challenge. Still bursting with youthful exuberance, this, in his prime, stud is the most physically gifted Challenger to enter the scene since Kenny “Mr. Beautiful” Santucci. LeRoy was inarguably last season’s MVP in his rookie year, carrying dorky Mike to the grueling Final Challenge. Only poor teammate performance and inexperience can keep this physical freak down. Absolute annihilation of Wes in this week’s elimination challenge puts everyone this side of CT on full-blown notice.