Monday, May 30, 2011

The 100 Coolest Things of 2010... #60 to 51

Hey... its The SOB!  (no, not me... I mean... Day One of The Summer of Blogging...)

Yes, yes, its the summer and I'm still talking about 2010.   But I'm hoping to get through this list in the next week or two!  So, let's recap...

Basketball movies, SMU scandals and Hurricane Rhett's movie crushes are part of the 100th through 91st coolest things of 2010...  in the 90th through 81st coolest things of the year, we talked about old people with guns, steak roll-ups, and an Oscar winning Sandy B... and then, from 80th through 71st, it was The A-Team, Tron's new Legacy and finding Somebody to Love... then we discussed Hawaii's new show, narcissim on Facebook and candles in the 70th through 61st coolest things of the year...

60... Disney Meets Autism
This is by no means the lesser of our Disney vacations in 2010, its just the first one I wanted to talk about... The Lovely Steph Leann and I decided to treat her cousin Karen and their family, consisting of hubby Eric and children Hannah and Wyatt... the thing to know about Hannah and Wyatt is that they are severly autistic.  I dont know alot about autism, so I won't try to put them on a level of severity, but just know its a pretty big deal (as autism is).

Myself and Hannah, having a blast on Test Track
Cousin Karen actually called ahead to Disney about her children, specifically to the restaurants we were going to dine in and talked to the chefs about her children's eating limitations and allergies.  I was highly impressed on how responsive they were!  In all of the restaurants we ate at, the chef would come out and discuss with Cousin Karen some food options, and at Donald's Tusker House Breakfast in Animal Kingdom, the chef even brought out gluten free Mickey waffles specifically made for the kids.

We had a "disability pass" allowing us to use handicap entrances and skip many lines--I am sure that Cousin Karen would take perfectly healthy children waiting in long lines over autistic kids getting straight onto rides--but it is what it is, and we made the best of it.  Only one meltdown, that being when Jasmine messed around with Hannah's Hannah Montana hat, and Hannah wasn't having it.  At.  All. 

It was a fun trip, though, a good time spent with Cousin Karen, Hubby Eric and the kids, and of course, anytime you can spend money and time in Walt Disney World, its a good, good thing. 

59... SI Wants the Playoffs
I love my Sports Illustrated, and it shares the honor of being bathroom reading material with the latest Entertainment Weekly--that's not a bad thing, or a mock compliment, thats a compliment--and sometimes, an article jumps out that is worthy of reading and re-reading... like one in November of 2011, entitled "What a Concept!  Playoffs!  How (and why) the BCS is Blocking What College Football Needs". 

Its an in-depth opinion on the myth that the BCS works just fine and its a money-haven for college football programs, and how the bowl games are so lucrative for teams that participate... it tells us that

"Halftime entertainment at the Jan. 1, 2009, Outback Bowl was provided by the [ Iowa ] Hawkeye Marching Band. And how did the Tampa Bay Bowl Association, which runs the game, thank the band for that gratis performance? By charging the university $65 a head for each of the 346 band members. According to university records submitted to the NCAA, the school was forced to purchase face-value tickets totaling $22,490 for the band, even though the game wasn't sold out."

In fact, the bowl system, and sub-sequent payout is so convuluted that sometimes a football program actually saves money when they don't go bowling...

"Most conferences pool all their bowl payouts, using the bigger-money BCS games to cover the losses incurred in the smaller games. Thus does the Rose Bowl help subsidize the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl-a bowl bailout system that indeed spreads the wealth. Bowl directors privately admit that fewer than half the bowls could survive without the financial support from the schools.

Meanwhile, the sad sack programs that fail to qualify for a bowl often end up in the best financial position. As former Michigan AD Bill Martin said after the 2009 season, ‘The fact we didn't go to a bowl game the last two years means we actually made money.' "

...wait, success is rewarded by costing you more money, and the underachievers are given more?  Glad our country doesn't work like that...  anyway, I'd love to tell you that you can read this article online, but I had to sign up for the digital version of my print subscription, but if you can find it, its a great article.

58... Sly Blows Stuff Up
Ah, "The Expendables"... a movie I was so looking forward to that I even wrote a preview post for it last summer... and I wasn't disappointed.

Who doesn't love this movie?  Seriously... who doesn't want to see Sly Stallone with Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li and Randy Couture and Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke go all bad-A and 80s VHS star Eric Roberts be the bad guy and Stone Cold Steve Austin get all wicked bad and see things blow up and explode and see Bruce Willis and Ahnold and Sly share the same room and every action movie cliche played up, especially the one where every one on the team is a "specialist", a la "the weapons specialist" and the "explosives specialist" and the "martial arts specialist" and what is the movie even about?

Some crap about a corrupt government and the overthrow of a brutal dictator and so on and so on and who gives a rip.  Did you read that cast that I listed above?  Seriously.  It's awesome.  If you like real substance and deep plotlines, then don't watch this movie.

If you like the nostalgia of 80s and 90s action stars and cheese ball action movies with ridiculous things that blow up and over-the-top shootings and F-bombs being dropped like they were hot tamales, then this is the movie for you. 

57... We Get to See Dixon
Who doesn't love seeing old friends after a decade, or 14 years, goes by?   The Lovely Steph Leann spends a couple of days in Pensacola per month, and every now and again, I am able to go with her.  Usually, its a "drive down Thursday morning, she goes to work, does her thing, have a nice dinner, spend the night, take our time coming back Friday" kind of thing, and September 2010's trip was just like that.

This time, though, I was able to contact my old pal Dixon who lived in the area, and not only were we excited to see each other, she was pumped to see The Lovely Steph Leann--a reader of this blog, she knows my wife only as The Lovely Steph Leann, so for her, it was exciting to put a voice and a personality with the name and face that she sees online.

In writing about it, I said:  Dixon and I have known each other since 1993, and were friends all through college, and during dinner, I'm sure we bored the stew out of The Lovely Steph Leann with our "Oh, I remember when you..." and "Do you know that..." and "When you did that, I..." tales. She was quick to include The Lovely Steph Leann though, frequently turning to her and saying, "Oh my gosh, did d$ ever tell you about the time he and..." to which my wife would say, "No, tell me!" and there goes the story.

The post is called "Mobile Meanderings and Dixon Dinners", and you can read the whole thing by clicking here, and you can even see the link for the first day of Pensacola.

56... The Saints Win the Super Bowl
Growing up, the New Orleans Saints were always a joke.  It took them several decades to even make the playoffs, much less win a playoff game, and though they had some random flashes of brilliance here and there, mostly... well, they just sucked.

But in the last five or six years, they have begun to become a real franchise.  With the 2006 addition of Drew Brees (who left San Diego after being replaced by Philip Rivers, who does not have a ring), plus key players and a solid coaching staff not including anyone named Ditka, it came together... they did have two straight disappointing seasons in 2007 and 2008, going 7-9 and 8-8 respectively, but made the NFC title game a season later.  And in the 2009 season, they began to roll... and roll they did, into the playoffs, into January 2010.

And after a thrilling overtime win over the Vikings (Favre threw a pick to end the game... surprising), they ended up embarrassing the heavily favored Indy Colts, winning 31-17.  Of course, this was the first Super Bowl in over 20 years that I did not see at least a little bit of--myself and The Lovely Steph Leann were in the backseat of a car, riding with Snow White and her friend, Sidekick Sarah, but we'll get to that later in the 2010 list. 

So, the Saints won the Super Bowl.  It was like the Falcons making the Super Bowl in the late 90s... just strange.

55... Marky Mark Throws Punches
Here's one I didn't think I'd like as much as I did.   Mark Wahlberg stars as Micky Ward, a local boxer from Lowell, Massachussetts, who is managed by his mom, Alice (Melissa Leo) and is sort of trained by his troubled, alcoholic, addict brother Dicky (Christian Bale).

Marky Mark talks to my Hollywood Girlfriend
Micky is considered a "stepping stone" boxer, one who is used to help elevate other boxers, and its proven when he's destroyed by a mismatch that he never should have faced.  He meets Charlene (Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with) and his life begins to turn around.   Things get worse before they get better, though, as Micky sees his beloved brother Dicky screw up over and over, until he finally has to wash his hands of Dicky, while his overbearing mom blames Charlene for their family troubles, as do his seven sisters--in one hilarious scene, Charlene takes them all on in a fight on the porch.

The movie is extremely well-acted, and when it was over, I was pretty sure that Christian Bale would not only be nominated for an Oscar for his Dicky Ward portrayal, I was fairly sure he'd win it--he was and he did.  Mark Wahlburg is probably the least talented of the group of actors he's surrounded by, and he still gives a great performance as Micky, and of course, my eyes were locked on Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) every time she was on the screen.  She ended up with an Oscar nom of his own (she lost to Melissa Leo, and although I wanted Amy Adams--whom I'm in love with--to win, I was satisfied with it) and did her part perfectly.

I loved this film, and as the years go by, I hope it gains stature and more acclaim.   Does have lots of Boston accent language, with lots of F-words being tossed around, boxing violence along with some real world violence, and a make out scene that features Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) in some tight shorts and her underthings. 

54... The Good Guys Take on the Bad Guys
When its all said and done, Survivor will go down as one of my top ten, maybe even top five favorite series ever, be it scripted or reality.  And its seasons like the on that aired in the spring of 2010, "Heroes vs. Villians", the 20th season of the show, that makes me love this show so much.

They had brought back previous contestants before, like "All Stars" in Season 8 and some seasons where one or two contestants had a second chance, but this time, they did a great job selecting "Heroes", those players who seemed to really play an outstanding game with integrity--Stephenie, JT, Cirie--and "Villians", those who lied and clawed their way through the game--Jerri, Coach, Randy--and most notably, featured the first match-up between Boston Rob and Russell Heinz, who should have won the year before in Samoa.  Rob was ousted halfway through the game, while Russell made it to the top three.

Now, as much as I loved this season, the reason it doesn't rank higher is that the eventually winner, Sandra, was a prime example of  "riding coattails" and "ticked off the least amount of people".  Some will argue that Russell was robbed the previous year (he was) and also should have won "Heroes vs. Villians" (he shouldn't have )... Parvati should have taken this season, but played the season so well she was disliked by everyone, mostly because everyone was voted off directly and indirectly at Parvati's command.  That's how you play Survivor.

53... Mickey Warms My Hands
We went to The Most Magical Place on Earth in December (you'll hear about that later) and was able to meet up with one of my very favorite people in the whole world, Melanie (you'll hear about her later).  She and her family (again, later), and myself and The Lovely Steph Leann enjoy good food, good rides and good shows, but braved the winter in Florida. 

The "winter" in Florida is more of a "kinda cool", especially when compared to the rest of the country, but nonetheless, it was cold.  And I finally had to break down and buy some gloves.  Gloves are a tricky thing, really, because though they work well when driving, using my hands for writing or texting or any other thing that includes opposible thumbs sometimes comes across difficult.  Which is why when I saw the Disney gloves I am referring to on the shelf, I wanted them. 

And they are the best gloves I've ever owned.  Love them.

52... A Cap Gets Popped
Thank you, Melanie.  You rule.
I'm a ballcap guy.  I don't wear caps much when my hair is short, or when I am wearing my glasses (I think I look uberdorky with glasses and a cap), but sometimes, I love just tossing one of my many beloved caps on my wet, fresh outta the shower head and going.

I have three caps that I wear on a rotating basis... one is a grey Florida Gators hat I bought some years ago, right after they won the championship.  Go Gators.  Another is a khaki hat with a Mickey silhouette in the corner.  Goes well with most things I wear.  And finally, there is the one that Melanie brought back to me after she went to Disney for a few days.

And its my favorite hat. 

51... Bad Movies Get Props
In one of the trips to Pensacola I went on, we stopped at a random Barnes & Noble for The Lovely Steph Leann to get her some reading materials... she usually heads for The Romance Section, and I make my way through the bargain aisle, glancing to and fro, left and right in case something catches my eye, then end up in the Film/TV/Entertainment section.  I will pick up a random book or two and read a page or two, sometimes about Molly Ringwald and the Breakfast Club, sometimes about 1001 Movies I Gotta See Before I Die, sometimes about American Idol, sometimes about Dreamworks SKG...

And every now and again, I'll pick up a book and flip through it and read a page.  And then another.  And then another.  And  then another, until I'm sitting on the floor reading the book from the beginning until time to go.  And this time, I did just that, picking up "Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies" by Michael Adams.  Subtitled "A film critic's year long quest to find the worst movie ever made", it is exactly what it says it is.

A few years ago, the author Adams spent an evening watching the horrific Hilary Duff movie "Material Girls", and after avoiding gouging his eyes out, surfed on IMDB for some information.  He was surprised to find it, at least at the time, to be #1 on IMDB's Bottom 100 Movies, the 100 movies that fans gave the lowest ranking possible on the movie website.  He figured as bad as it was, it couldn't have been the worst movie of all time... could it?  Only one way to find out.

He then devoted the next year of his life, starting the following January, to watch horrible movies all year long to determine the worst movie ever made.  He ends up spending thousands of dollars on Amazon to get such movies to watch, and chapter by chapter, catagorized by month, he watches and details the worst of the worst.  At the end of every monthly chapter, he lists the worst seen that month, then the actual worst of the month... starting in January, and going through December, those are as follows:  "Search for the Beast" (January)... "The Guy from Harlem" (February)... "Superbabies" (March)... "Manos: Hands of Fate" and "Police Academy: Mission to Moscow" (tie for April)... "Grad Night" and "Da Hip Hop Witch" (May)... "Narcosys" (June)... "Hollywood High Part II" (July)... "Green River Killer" (August, and notable because Adams declares this film's director, Ulli Lommel, the worst director ever)... "Black Devil Doll From Hell" (September, a film so obscure that there isn't even any cover art in IMDB)... "The Corpse Grinders II" and "Mark of the Astro-Zombies" (October)... "Big Sister 2000" and "Toad Warrior" (November)... and in December, "Dark Harvest 2: The Maize"

And yes, one of those movies was considered by Adams as "The Worst Movie Ever".  The beauty of this book is that he knows these movies are bad, he never tries to defend their worth, but yet, still revels in the awfulness of them.  He cracks wise and jokes all the way through it, many times with a "I cannot fathom how terrible this is" tone, and he goes after more recent and familiar fare too, like "It's Pat" and of course, "Showgirls".   

 I'm not a guy who watched a ton of cult classics and obscure films and such, so I hadn't seen most of those movies... though I did come across "Manos: Hands of Fate" online, and yes, its bad.   This book is an easy, entertaining read, giving you the reviews of these films so you don't have to watch them.  I loved this book.

Coming up... training a dragon... engagements abound... and what Christians like... and later, a gritty book becomes a gritty novel

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see the character in the Mark Walberg film being from Lowell, Mass. I was born there.


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