Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preview: Movies in 2012

by richmin3000

with new films by such directing greats as steven spielberg, ridley scott, christopher nolan, peter jackson, baz luhrman, quentin tarantino, paul thomas anderson, wes anderson, ang lee, alfonso cuaron, tim burton and terrence malick, 2012 seems like it will be a much better year in film than 2011. of course, there will be a lot of disappointments and surprises but the following are my 10 most anticipated movies of 2012:

10. the avengers (release: May 4; dir: joss whedon; starring: robert downey jr.)
marvel has been planning this film for years, getting audiences familiar with the famous comic book characters with films such as, iron man, thor, hulk and captain america. joss whedon is a fan boy's dream (buffy the vampire slayer, firefly) to direct this film but he will have a tall task in front of him to create an interesting story with so many moving parts. luckily for him, there won't be any need for any real set up since each superhero's emergence was dealt with in their own films. it's always fun to see robert downey jr. play iron man so that alone should make the film entertaining even if it falls short of the lofty expectations.

9. the great gatsby (release: Dec 25; dir: baz luhrmann; starring: leonardo dicaprio, carey mulligan)
luhrmann, famous for the dicaprio's romeo and juliet and moulin rouge, takes on this american classic by f. scott fitzgerald, who is incidentally my favorite author. i didn't see his last film, australia, which got mixed reviews at best but i'm hopeful with this one.

8. prometheus (release: June 8; dir: ridley scott; starring: michael fassbender, charlize theron)
scott's films are always exciting and tense, even if they are not always great. prometheus is a sci-fi action film that promises to deliver a lot of tension and difficult situations that the characters must struggle with. scott has had some huge hits with alien, blade runner, black hawk down and gladiator and some misses as with hannibal. this was originally thought to be an alien-prequel so expect that those types of thrills.

7. django unchained (release: Dec 25; dir: quentin tarantino; starring: jaime foxx, leonardo dicaprio, sacha baron cohen, samuel l. jackson)
django is a former slave set out to rescue his wife from a plantation owner. i expect a rom-com with some subtle social critique mixed in. or perhaps it'll just be classic tarantino with lots of sharp dialogue and sharp weaopns.

6. the master (release: 2012; dir: paul thomas anderson; starring: joaquin phoenix; philip seymour hoffman, amy adams)
phoenix makes his triumphant return to the screen after his brief and perhaps fake rap career. pta makes his first film since 2007's there will be blood. considered by some to be the best filmmaker working today, the master will certainly be dissected by every film critic and should be an instant oscar contender. the story is said to be based on l. ron hubbard and the growth of scientology so maybe the hollywood (i.e. scientology) crowd will ban it from next year's oscars after all.

5. gravity (release: Nov. 21; dir: alfonso cuaron; starring: george clooney)
a sci-fi thriller about a lone survivor in space struggling to find his way back home. with y tu mama tambien, the 3rd harry potter film and children of men, cuaron has made his mark as a versatile and incredibly fascinating filmmaker. children of men is one of the best directed films i've ever seen and i'm very excited to this follow-up.

4. the dictator (release: May 11; dir: larry charles; starring: sacha baron cohen)
after the success of borat and the disappointment of bruno, cohen embarks on another potentially hilarious journey as a man who would become dictator and enemy to the west.

3. the hobbit: an unexpected journey (release: Dec. 14; dir: peter jackson; starring: hobbits)
based on the hobbit, peter jackson splits the single book into 2 movies to be released in back to back years. he will stray from the book a bit and add in some backstory found in the lord of the rings trilogy and other material. this should be good for audiences as some of our most beloved characters from the lord of the rings, such as frodo, will return in these films.

2. lincoln (release: December; dir: steven spielberg; starring: daniel day lewis)
based on doris kearns goodwin's book 'team of rivals' this oscar-bait film will certainly be considered for at least best picture, best director and best actor for the best actor in the world, daniel day lewis, who took home the honor after his brilliant turn in there will be blood. in 2013, he will play a priest in martin scorsese's next film, silence. but now, he plays hero to the north, abraham lincoln, a role he will simply be fantastic in.

1. the dark knight rises (release: July 12; dir: christopher nolan; starring: christian bale)
in the third and final installment of nolan's incredible batman franchise, the dark knight returns to gotham to defend the city from its new enemy, bane played by tom hardy. nolan, the director of memento, the prestige and inception, will turn his sights (as producer and writer) towards 2013's superman reboot so for those of us who loved his take on batman should be excited for a run of great superman films to follow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: 2012 Oscars

by richmin3000

another boring oscar telecast. like most of the nominated films last nite, i miss the good old days. the good old days being when the oscars ran long due to a number of montages, songs and actual entertainment. now, it's a couple of terrible jokes and terrible award speeches. the oscars should have let kermit and miss piggy host the osars. no, seriously.

1. all the nominees who actually won. see here for the full list.
2. emma stone. she's a fun actress. great in 'easy a' and 'the help - her bit with co-presenter ben stiller was really really funny. watch here.
3. meryl streep wnning for the first time in like 25 years. her 3rd win in 17 nominations. i was looking forward to the emotional viola davis acceptance speech but streep was great as usual.
4. sandra bullock had a funny bit speaking mandarin (with a bit of a germanic influence).
5. chris rock talking about black people playing donkeys and zebras.
6. christopher plummer because he's old
7. the artist and hugo each winning 5 times
8. kristen wiig and maya rudolph love short films but not short.. ahem.
9. sacha baron cohen as the dictator spills kim jong il's ashes on ryan seacrest - he's just living the dream.
10. jim rash for winning the oscar for best adapted screenplay and having the balls to mock angelina jolie in front of millions. watch more of him as dean pelton on nbc's community, coming back soon on thursday nites.
11. bret mckenzie winning for best song for the muppets. he's from new zealand. and in the hysterical flight of the concords.
12. asghar farhadi's speech for winning best foreign language film for a separation. he dedicated the award to the iranian people and then the cameras quickly panned to steven spielberg. hilarious.
13. christopher guest & co takes on the focus group in a hysterical sketch.

1. the muppets. we couldn't have used more muppets? i mean, why was their only role to serve as introducers for a cirque du soleil bit that had nothing to do with movies.
2. billy crystal. i love you but i kept thinking how great eddie murphy might have been. oh, what if?
3. angelina jolie is the hollywood version of angelina from jersey shore.
4. the french. between midnight in paris beating a separation for best screenplay; hugo (set in paris) beating the tree of life for best cinematography; and the artist beating everyone in everything, i say freedom fries for all!
5. ryan seacrest because you suck at life.
6. the tree of life, which is widely considered the best film of the year by critics, getting completely shut out.
7. viola davis, for being the only frontrunner in the acting category to lose out. not that there is shame in losing to meryl. but still, nothing stings like having the rug pulled out from under you. ask the new england patriots.
8. jean dujardin's oscar speech. roberto benigni gave us this and dujardin gave us this!
9. steven spielberg. since when did martin scorsese become such a more respected filmmaker than spielberg, who garnered 0 nominations for directing even though he made two well respected films, the adventures of tin tin and war horse. tin tin wasn't even nominated for best animated feature.
10. extremely loud & incredibly close. ok, so when the oscars decided to expand the nominations to up to 10, the thought was that they wanted to add more popular films to increase interest in the awards. sounds reasonable to me. but this year, instead of nominating bridesmaids or the final harry potter or mission impossible 4 or even fast five (all got solid reviews), they nominated a movie that most critics hated and that was only nominated for other award (max von sidow for best supporting actor). i understand that it's not as if the academy is one person making decisions and that they have to leave it up to voters, but still, i think it might be time that we institute a little affirmative action into the academy.

you can read my top ten movies of 2011 list here. 'till next year.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oscars: Acting Awards

by richmin3000

best supporting actress
the help, octavia spencer
bridesmaids, melissa mccarthy
the artist, berenice bejo
albert nobbs, janet mcteer
the help, jessica chastain

Prediction: The Help, Octavia Spencer. there seem to be a lot of locks this year. both supporting actor categories might be the two biggest locks this year.

My Pick: The Help, Jessica Chastain. i did not see albert nobbs (nor do i ever plan to) but i would be happy to see any of the other four nominees win because they were all great. but 2011 was the year of jessica chastain. chastain was in 6 (6!!!) movies this year for which she was nominated for various acting awards. her films include 1) the debt, 2) texas killing fields, 3)coriolanus, 4)the help, 5) take shelter and 6) the tree of life.

two of these films (the help and tree of life) are nominated for best picture. take shelter and the tree of life are my two favorite films of the year. between just these three films, chastain shows off her incredible range of emotion, grace and comedy. oh, and before 2011, she had previously acted in only two films. incredible.

best supporting actor
beginners, christopher plummer
extremely loud & incredibly close, max von sidow
my week with marilyn, kenneth branagh
moneyball, jonah hill
warrior, nick nolte

Prediction: Beginners, Christopher Plummer. seemingly the lock of the oscars and also my pick even though i never saw the film. it's mostly because i don't really think anyone else deserves it (haven't seen marilyn) and i certainly won't be upset since i've seen 'the sound of music' like 50 times (it's my mom's favorite movie). jonah hill was not good in moneyball. nick nolte was good but nothing special. von sidow was the best part of a bad movie.

best actress
the help, viola davis
the iron lady, meryl streep
albert nobbs, glenn close
the girl with the dragon tattoo, rooney mara
my week with marilyn, michelle williams

Prediction: The Help, Viola Davis. also my pick (didn't see streep, close or williams). can't make a great case here except to say that rooney mara shouldn't have been nominated. i don't equate a great transformation with great acting. viola davis was the emotional center of a movie that only cared about emotional centers.

best actor
the artist, jean dujardin
the descendants, george clooney
a better life, demian bichir
moneyball, brad pitt
tinker tailor soldier spy, gary oldman

Prediction: The Artist, Jean Dujardin. i know people are saying it's a race between dujardin and clooney but i can't see how clooney wins. is this the second coming of roberto benigni? whatever you say about the movie or performance, everyone loves the smile.

My Pick: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Gary Oldman. of all actors working today, my level of expectation for the performances of gary oldman might only be surpassed by daniel day lewis. of the four performances (didn't see 'a better life') i saw, all the actors gave great performances (in clooney and pitt's case arguably their best performances). but none of them matched the driving force within oldman's portrayal of british spy george smiley's quiet exterior. oldman, the master at playing historical characters and eccentric villians is known for his explosive demeanor. but in tinker tailor his stillness comes across as even more intimidating and threatening. i wasn't a big fan of this film but gary oldman made an exceptionally boring plot interesting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oscars: Best Screenplay (Original and Adapated)

by richmin3000

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.

Oscars: Best Directing and Best Cinematography

by richmin3000

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'.

best directing
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.

best cinematography
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).

Oscars: Best Picture

by richmin3000

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.

the only exception to that is a film that although it was widely loved by critics, was difficult for most fans to enjoy. that is, of course, 'the tree of life' which was rated by metacritic as the top movie of 2011. metacritic aggregates many critics top ten lists and assigns point values for where the films fall on the list. tree of life received 113 points. the 37-point difference between the tree of life and 2nd place 'the artist' with 76 points is the difference between 2nd place and 10th place 'moneyball' (40 points).

in metacritic's top 30 films of 2011, here's where our oscar contenders placed. tree of life (1). the artist (2). the descendants (5). hugo (6). moneyball (10). midnight in paris (25). war horse (28). the obvious two ommissions are extremely loud & incredibly close and the help. and that takes me to my oscars rankings....

9. extremely loud & incredibly close (rating: C)
the story, the directing and the acting were all subpar, but besides that it was very heartwarming. max von sidow was the highlight of the film.

8. the help (rating: B-)
a very solid heartfelt offering. oscar bait. great acting by viola davis, octavia spencer and jessica chastain (all nominated), but the plot was a bit soft for such an important subject matter. and emma stone's protagonist story arc was quite boring.

7. moneyball (rating: B-)
i wish i could have seen this film the way god intended.. being directed by steven soderbergh. the rumor was he had intended to make it a drama/documentary with many of the real life characters playing themselves. that would have been a much more interesting movie. instead, we got a watered down, aaron sorkin rewrite.

granted, it's one of my favorite books ever and has shaped how i view baseball and life so my expectations were high. but the movie was overly simplistic. it ignored important aspects of the book and highlighted marginal aspects of the book for narrative effect. the baseball parts of the movie were terrible. i liked that billy beane was able to find success and happiness in the process rather than the results (he better because they never won a championship) and since i am a sabermetric believer, the process is the success story here.

my favorite scene is the one where john henry (owner of the red sox playing himself) offers billy beane the gm job. here is what john henry has to say:
For forty one million, you built a playoff team. You lost Damon, Giambi, Isringhausen, Pena and you won more games without them than you did with them. You won the exact same number of games that the Yankee's won, but the Yankee's spent one point four million per win and you paid two hundred and sixty thousand. I know you've taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It's the threat and not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it's threatening the game. But really what it's threatening is their livelihoods, it's threatening their jobs, it's threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it's the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They will bet you're crazy. I mean, anybody who's not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they're dinosaurs. They'll be sittin' on their ass on the sofa in October, watch the Boston Red Sox win the world series.

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.

5. hugo (rating: B+)
see my previous review of the film, here.

you can read my comments of the top four films on my top ten movies of 2011 list, here.

4. the artist (rating: B+/A-)

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).

My Pick: Tree of Life. there is no other film on this list with this level of ambition. some people are turned off by the disjointed narrative and religious overtones, but this is true artistry in the medium of film, a singular vision and the culmination of terrence malick's incredible career.

Top Ten Movies of 2011: Revised

by richmin3000

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.

9. poetry*
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.

8. contagion
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.

7. hugo
see my previous review of the film, here.

6. midnight in paris
i'm not a fan of woody allen. in the last couple of years i've watched annie hall and vicky christina barcelona and didn't enjoy either. i know, that's unheard of. my friend told me it's because i'm not a jewish male. i'm not sure if that's true, but if it is, then perhaps the reason i so enjoyed this film is because of owen wilson who played the woody allen role but with an all-american twist. i also fell immediately in love with the time travel element and all the great characters we meet along the way.

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.

4. drive
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.

*notes that the film is currently streaming on netflix

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The 2011 Movies that Missed the Cut

by richmin3000

i won't be rating the movies on my top ten list or the oscar nominees as those will be forthcoming. instead, i rate the films that either garnered love on other critics' lists or that just missed my top ten list.

hell and back
win win

*meek's cutoff
mission impossible: ghost protocol
paradise lost 3
rise of the planet of the apes
super 8
source code
the muppets
the girl with the dragon tattoo
war horse
x-men: first class

fright night
harry potter and the deathly hallows: part 2
tinker tailor soldier spy

if a tree falls: a story of the earth liberation front

*ides of march

and just for good measure, the worst movie i remember seeing this past year - horrible bosses.

*note: you can follow us at @HyprboleAllowed to see more twitter reviews

Monday, February 20, 2012

Podcast: No Hyperbole Allowed (Episode 12)

Rich and Colin get LINSANE this week with all the lincredibleness that is Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin. The story is so special that we needed 2 special guests this week to break it all down. First, Michael aka Sunday Brunch joins us to dissect the hype. Afterwards, Rich talks to semi-professional basketball player and Knicks junkie John "Biz" Baiano about whether this midnight will ever strike on this Linderella story.

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

MTV's The Challenge: A Quarter Pole Roundtable

by Adam "AJ" Golub

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.


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

Remembering: Gary "The Kid" Carter (1954-2012)

by richmin3000

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

Recap: Jeremy Lin's Week of 2/4/12 to 2/11/12

by richmin3000

has anyone ever had a better week than this kid? let's recap for a second.

8 days ago, versus the new jersey nets (soon to be brooklyn nets) and their star point guard, deron williams, jeremy lin came off the bench to put up 25/5/7 (points/rebounds/assists) in 36 minutes. the result was a 7-point knicks win.

two days later, lin got his first start versus the utah jazz and put up 28/2/8 in a ridiculous 45 (out of a possible 48) minutes. the result was an 11-point knicks win.

two days later, lin got another start at the washington wizards against their star point guard, john wall, and put up 23/4/10 in 36 more minutes. the result was a 14-point knicks win.

two days later, lin came back to ny to host kobe bryant and the los angeles lakers. in his first nationally televised game, lin outscored kobe and put up an incredible 38/4/7 line in 39 minutes. the result was a 7-point knicks win.

and finally, last nite, in his first back-to-back game, for the first time, lin started to look human. but even with the obvious fatigue he showed, he still put up 20/6/8 and in 39 more minutes. the result was a com-from-behind 2-point knicks win off of a lin game-winning free throw.

8 days. 5 games. 5 knicks wins. 26.8 points per game. 4.2 rebounds. 8 assists. 2 steals. 52% shooting. getting to the line 8.4 times per game.

to put this into perspective, lin was the first player since isiah thomas in 1981 to score 25 pts and 8 assists in his first ever start. he is one of five players to average 20 pts and 8 assists in his first two starts. his 89 points in his first three starts are the most since 1974.

his scoring average of 26.8 would put him 1st for point guards. his 8 assists would put him 7th. his 4.2 rebounds, 6th. his 2 steals, 5th. his 52% shooting, 2nd. and his free throw attempts of 8.4, 1st, 2.1 more than john wall who would be 2nd.

and this is just his basketball numbers. alone, this would be a great story, even for the 1st overall pick in the draft. but lin's story is much more than that.

a week ago, he was sleeping on couches (his brother's and teammate, landry fields'). now, he's sleeping in former teammate, david lee's, condo in white plains... in a bed.

a week ago, lin was on a 10-day contract wondering if he was going to get cut or sent back to the developmental league. on wed, the knicks guaranteed his contract for the season, for approximately $750,000.

jeremy lin is far from the prototypical nba prospect or star (i guess you can say that now). although he's listed at 6'3" and 200 lbs, he's an asian-american kid who went to harvard to play college ball. i'm sure neither one of those descriptions fit anyone's expectations of a nba player. and the prejudices were apparent when after leading his high school team to a state championship, his hometown school, stanford, didn't even offer him a scholarship. and after breaking all sorts of ivy-league records, not one nba team took a chance on him in the 2010 draft. and even though he was on both the golden state warriors and houston rockets rosters earlier this year, neither team blinked at cutting him at the first opportunity.

the story keeps getting better though. with lin, the moral of the story is to take advantage of the opportunities you are given. after being cut by the rockets, the knicks signed him on december 27, 2011. they signed him only because their rookie point guard, iman shumpert, got hurt. after getting a few minutes here and there, the knicks assigned him to the d-league on january 17, 2012. 3 days later he put up a triple-double with 28/11/12. 3 days later his was back on the knicks.

over the next 4 games, lin average about 10 minutes per game as the knicks went 2-2. the knicks record stood at 8-15. there were rampant rumors that coach d'antoni would be fired soon. their point guard savior at the time, baron davis, was nowhere near ready to play. their three other options to play point guard were underperforming to say the least. their two best players, carmelo anthony and amare stoudemire couldn't figure out how to play together. things were a mess in the mecca of basketball.

3:35 left in the first quarter against the new jersey nets on february 4th, the knicks trailing 21-16, jeremy lin enters the game for iman shumpert. the rest is history as they say.

that nets game has been the only one lin has played with both melo and amare. and in that game lin took and made more shots than either of them. amare would go on to miss the next 4 games due to the unexpected death of his older brother. melo would get injured in the first quarter of the following game against the jazz and has not returned since.

many of you will point out the fact that i am obviously asian and assume that that is the biggest reason i am in love with this story but you would be wrong, or at least mostly wrong. also, a lot of people are loving this story because of the cinderella aspect of it. and though that's certainly amazing, that's not the biggest reason i love this story.

the main reason i love this story so much and the reason i've watched every minute of the last 4 knicks games (i can't say how long it's been since i've done that), is because the knicks were the team of my youth, by far my favorite sports team from ages 12-21. my favorite sports moments growing up were watching the ewing knicks in my basement all alone, screaming at the top of my lungs. jordan's double nickel game. starks' 2 for 18 game against the rockets. ewing's layup that rolled out. houston's game winning shot against the heat. the rivalries. nothing compared to those moments.

then the last ten years happened. isiah thomas happened. stephon marbury happened. eddie curry happened.

and last year, lebron didn't happen, but amare happened and then finally, melo happened. and this year, tyson chander happened. and it seemed like things were gonna turn around.

but then lockout happened and no chemistry happened. melo hapened. coach d'antoni happened. 8-15 happened. i mean, we were hoping that baron davis would come and rescue our season. we were THAT desperate.

so then when jeremy lin finally happened, hope finally happened. and hope is the best thing about sports. because as long as you have that, anything is possible again. and with 3 superstars on this team making about 15 million each, one unknown, unlikely asian-american, ivy-league graduate, making less than a million, might be the most important piece to the puzzle.

honestly, of course i'm proud that he looks sort of like me. just like white people love larry bird, i don't deny the existence of that sort of pride. i also think it's cool that he graduated from harvard when schools like uconn (defending national champions) are getting ncaa violations for poor academic achievements. and obviously, as an american, we love the underdog story. think rocky. cinderella man. rudy. jeremy lin is already fielding offers for the rights to his life story. can't deny that.

but at the end of the day, he's a fucking knick and that makes him mine. more than anything else, that's what i identify with. more than anything else, that's what gets me giddy. he plays point guard for the new york knicks and he plays it well. he's humble and team oriented off the court and in interviews. but on the court, he's aggressive and undaunted by the pressure.

so when the #linsanity subsides (as it certainly will) and when his numbers fall back down to earth (as they certainly will), what we're gonna be left with is a basketball player. a damn good basketball player at that. and he's still gonna be the starting point guard for the knicks. and i'll be completely fine with that storybook ending.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Next Victor Cruz? Jeremy Lin Dominates Flag Football

by richmin3000

people are comparing him to tim tebow, though to be fair, i think that's more about the excitement and craziness surrounding him these days.

i think he is (or could be) more like victor cruz, who went from being undrafted two years ago to being the star wide receiver for the world champion new york giants this year. lin, who also went undrafted two years ago has made quite the impact on the court in 3 games.

also, just like victor cruz, lin dominates as a receiver on the football field. see below...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Get into Harvard by Jeremy Lin

by richmin3000

3 games ago, the new york knicks were sitting at 8-15 and were the most disappointing team in the nba. a lot of the blame has been focused on their lack of a true point guard. they've tried toney douglas, iman shumpert and mike bibby at the 1, but with limited success.

enter jeremy lin. over the last three games, all wins for the knicks, he's averaged 39 minutes, 25 ppg, 4 rpg, 8 apg and 2 steals per game. and over the last two games, he's done this without the assistance of the knicks top two players, carmelo anthony and amare stoudemire. this is why he's now hearing mvp chants at the garden.

the first chinese-american player ever to play in the nba, lin played college ball at harvard and then went undrafted in 2010. i'm glad the knicks were able to scoop him up this year and i think this is going to be the start of a long and successful career with the team.

below, you can watch a couple of videos of him. one (sort of) funny one where he gives pointers on how to get into harvard (the funniest part being that he didn't into stanford and so he went to harvard). the second video is a highlight from his last game where he crosses over john wall and flashes a little bit of his explosiveness.

Podcast: No Hyperbole Allowed (Episode 11)

As usual, we need you to take a minute and help us promote ourselves. Self promotion is the American Way!

1) Rate (and review) us on iTunes. Pretty please with sugar on top.
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Thanks a whole bunch.

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 -

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

Review: Superbowl XLVI

by richmin3000

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

Preview: Superbowl XLVI

by richmin3000

tomorrow, superbowl XLVI will feature a rematch of superbowl XLII between the new york football giants and the new england patriots. in february 2008, the patriots were one game away from an unprecedented 19-0 season before the giants concluded an amazing postseason run (that included beating the top 2 nfc seeds, dallas and green bay, on the road) by beating the patriots in one of the great upsets in sports history.

superbowl XLVI will only feature 20 players from that memorable 2008 game but these two superbowls will forever be tied to each other no matter the result. rather than analyze the game from a football perspective, let's try and look at the game from a fan's perspective.

patriots fans:
it's hard to be objective when you are sports fan. it's even harder still when all the analysts, pundits and commentators only strive for interesting narratives and extreme opinions.

for patriots fans, the 2007 season will forever be a failure. it's one thing to be 17-1 heading into the superbowl and lose... sure it's tough, but the lone loss in the regular season is a constant reminder that your team is capable of losing. but going 16-0 in the regular season and then 2-0 in the playoffs, as the 2007 patriots did, creates an expectation that only a championship can live up to.

so when the giants defeated the patriots in superbowl XLII, patriots fans felt like they had been robbed of something that they undeniably and inalienably had a right to. superbowl XLII was to be the culmination of a dynasty (the 2000's patriots), the coronation of a king (either brady or belichick), the fulfillment of their destiny (perfection). the arguments were already laid out on the table for why the patriots were the greatest team and dynasty of all time; why brady was the greatest quarterback and belichick the greatest coach. and who, in their right mind, could have denied them that?... only if they had won of course.

the worst part (no, not really) might be the three year aftermath of superbowl XLII. between the david tyree catch (seen below) replays, missing the playoffs in 2008 (after going 11-5) and losing both playoff games (at home) in 2009 and 2010, the patriots have failed to live up to the most modest of expectations. but in 2011 (2012), finally a shot at redemption.

a win over the giants tomorrow will convince some (though incorrectly) that all has been made right in the world, that order has been restored. a modicum of relief may finally set in. at the end of the day, brady and belichick will still get their 4th rings, tying joe montana, terry bradshaw and chuck noll, respectively, for the most all-time.

sure, everything will seem alright for a time and patriots fans will be able to suppress the nightmares of 2008 for awhile. it's the self-delusion of a sports fan.

giants fans:

we didn't even belong here in the first place. it's the perfect emotional state to be in when you are unsure of the impending results. when you expect results because of previous high levels of performance, you better hope you win or else (see above). lucky for us, we're pretty much in a win-win situation. i love how fan psychology works.

with a loss, eli and coughlin will be 1-1 in superbowls. it's a solid achievement. i mean, brett favre went 1-1 and he's one of the greatest quarterbacks in nfl history. as did bill cowher. moreover, losing to the 2011 patriots is less worse than beating the 2007 patriots was great. so overall, we're still ahead.

with a win, however, now you're entering extreme sports fan snobbery territory. remarks, such as, "eli is 2-0 against brady in superbowls" enter the conversation. even after the argument touting mvps, 5 superbowls, 3 rings, a hall-of-fame career and even giselle, all a giants fan needs to do is lay back, smirk and say "0-2 vs. the giants when it counted" - fans are a twisted lot.

don't get me wrong. it's not like there's nothing riding on this game. a superbowl win is a superbowl win no matter how you slice it. and for a few minutes, hours and maybe even days after the game, it'll sting if the giants lose. maybe when you're home alone or with other giants fans, you'll allow yourself to admit that it was pretty shitty to lose the superbowl. but we can always find some comfort in the fact that if a patriots fan wants to talk some shit to you, you need only point to 2008 and show him a clip of this video....


Friday, February 3, 2012

MTV's The Challenge: Power Rankings (Episode 2)

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.

2. Johnny Bananas and Camila: A veteran Challenge champion teams up with a young upstart to instantly dominate the first two challenges, picking up 1 of the first 2 coveted “power couple” awards. Tough to not put them at the top, but well, this is still out there and can't be ignored.
1. CT and Diem: This team has CT on it.

*Editor's note: this is Part 2 of a weekly column recapping each episode of MTV's The Challenge. Click here to find Part 1. The Challenge airs Wednesday Nights at 10pm ET.