Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lionel Messi Named FIFA Player of the Year

After finishing runner-up the past two years, forward Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team was named the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year. The top individual honor in the world's most popular sport--and more than a week after being announced, it has still received little attention in the U.S. media.

Well, I care.

The 22-year-old Messi led Barça to an incredible six titles this year -- the UEFA Champions League, Spain's La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup -- scoring 38 goals along the way.

He defeated last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo by a vote of 1,073-352, with voting coming from captains and head coaches of the men's and women's national teams.

At the beginning of the month, Messi beat Ronaldo for the European Footballer of the Year award by a massive margin -- 473 points to 233 -- and has now succeeded Ronaldo to win the FIFA award.

So while not many in the U.S. pay attention to one of the best athletes in the world, there are definitely some of us who recognize a phenomenal talent in the prime of his career.

Here's to you, Messi.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Avatar: Best Picture of 2009

Holy F*cking Sh*t!

Those were the first three words that came to mind as I exited the theater. "Avatar" is essentially everything I want in a movie. The pro-environment, anti-war message only adds to the incredible technology that was invented to create the world of Pandora. It is incredibly entertaining, and even with a running time of 160 minutes it doesn't drag at any point. The only people who may be disappointed are the ones that don't care for Science Fiction, or the people that will buy the 7th "American Pie" movie just to see the boobs.

I thought "The Dark Knight" was the best film I saw in 2008, though there were others that were close behind. "Avatar" is far and away the best I've seen this year. Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" is a distant second, followed by the rest.

Sam Worthington reminds me a lot of Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg. He does a good job portraying the film's protagonist, Jake Sully, who is a paraplegic that cuts a deal with Col. Miles Quaritch. Sully must reveal information about the Na'vi people in exchange for an expensive surgery to repair his legs. The conflict revolves around Quaritch who is hell-bent on destroying the land of Pandora in order to dig up its resources.

Seeing this film in IMAX 3-D was definitely the way to go. Probably the best part was that it didn't have the feel of a regular 3-D movie. Writer/Director James Cameron didn't abuse the capabilities. Usually, there are at least a couple times an object is seen flying toward the screen just to show the audience that their glasses actually work. Cameron doesn't do this. He used the 3-D technology just for the audience to get closer to the action and experience the breathtaking colors and complexity of Pandora.

This film is unlike any I've ever seen. It works as a dramatic film and action/adventure. It is no doubt the best 3-D film ever. The innovation of this technology raises the bar for anyone trying to make a film of this caliber. And James Cameron is once again "King of the World."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Top 50 Songs of the Decade

Last week I came across a special section on Rolling Stone magazine's website that had several artists list their top 25 albums and songs of the decade. I disagreed and came up with two lists on my own: Yesterday, I released my top 25 albums--today, here are my top 50 songs. And this is my opinion, so if you disagree let me know why.

Top 50 Songs of the Decade

1. “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day
2. “Time to Pretend” by MGMT
3. “Stronger” by Kanye West
4. “Renegade” by Jay-Z featuring Eminem
5. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance
6. “Papercut” by Linkin Park
7. “Stan” by Eminem featuring Dido
8. “Clocks” by Coldplay
9. “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem
10. “What Goes Around…/…Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland
11. “Flake” by Jack Johnson
12. “Nude” by Radiohead
13. “Beautiful Day” by U2
14. "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
15. “Only” by Nine Inch Nails
16. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem
17. “Four Winds” by Bright Eyes
18. “Better Day” by STS9
19. “Yeah!” by Usher featuring Lil’ John and Ludacris
20. “Underneath It All” by No Doubt featuring Lady Saw
21. “21 Guns” by Green Day
22. “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
23. “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5
24. “Int’l Player’s Anthem” by UGK featuring Outkast
25. “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
26. "99 Problems" by Jay-Z
27. “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
28. “The Space Between” by Dave Matthews Band
29. “Float On” by Modest Mouse
30. "Maps" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
31. “Hip Hop Is Dead” by Nas featuring will.i.am
32. “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” by Jay-Z
33. “Kids” by MGMT
34. “Daydreamin’” by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott
35. “Yellow” by Coldplay
36. “Fall to Pieces” by Velvet Revolver
37. “I Miss You” by Blink-182
38. “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service
39. “B.Y.O.B.” by System of a Down
40. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
41. “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
42. “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” by Eminem
43. “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
44. “Ordinary People” by John Legend
45. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
46. “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” by Kanye West featuring Jay-Z
47. “South Side” by Moby featuring Gwen Stefani
48. “City of Blinding Lights” by U2
49. “One More Time” by Daft Punk
50. “Umbrella” by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top 25 Albums of the Decade

Last week I came across a special section on Rolling Stone magazine's website that had several artists list their top 25 albums and songs of the decade. I disagreed and came up with two lists on my own: The first one for my top 25 albums of the last 10 years and the second for the top 50 songs.

Top 25 Albums from 2000-2009

1. American Idiot by Green Day
2. Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park
3. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem
4. Graduation by Kanye West
5. The Blueprint by Jay-Z
6. In Rainbows by Radiohead
7. A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay
8. Future Sex/Love Sounds by Justin Timberlake
9. Neon Bible by Arcade Fire
10. 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day
11. Morning View by Incubus
12. Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor by Lupe Fiasco
13. Kid A by Radiohead
14. 2001 by Dr. Dre
15. Stadium Arcadium by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
16. Z by My Morning Jacket
17. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
18. Everyday by Dave Matthews Band
19. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast
20. Oracular Spectacular by MGMT
21. With Teeth by Nine Inch Nails
22. Elephant by The White Stripes
23. Hot Fuss by The Killers
24. Continuum by John Mayer
25. Born to Do It by Craig David

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Globe Nominations: Just Slightly Better than the Grammys

What They Got Right:

Best Performance by an Actor in A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Christoph Waltz should win this category for his performance as Col. Hans Landa in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said this about Waltz: "He creates a character unlike any Nazi — indeed, anyone at all — I’ve seen in a movie: evil, sardonic, ironic, mannered, absurd." It was the perfect antagonist in the best movie I've seen this year.

Best Performance by an Actor in A Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

Both Jeremy Piven of "Entourage" and Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother" were nominated, and Jon Cryer of "Two And A Half Men" was not. Sounds like a successful category to me.

What They Got Wrong:

Brad Pitt:

One of the top five actors in the world dishes out one of the best performances in his career as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds and gets snubbed. Tarantino wrote this role specifically for Pitt, and he nailed it. Yet he still got looked over.

Sandra Bullock:

She got nominated in two categories: Best Actress in both the comedy/musical and drama categories. This shows exactly how shallow the talent pool is for female actors in Hollywood. She reaps the benefits of appearing in a movie with a heart-warming story (The Blind Side) as well as starring alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal. While she should be punished for agreeing to star in All About Steve this year, instead she's rewarded with two Best Actress nominations. This is why the Golden Globes have become even more irrelevant.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What Really Grinds My Gears: The Movie Edition

Do you know what pisses me off more than anything? Paying $10 to see a movie. Not because I think it's overpriced. But because I have to sit in a theater filled with morons.

Things that piss me off:

1) People that talk throughout the movie while sitting next to my friend Dan "The Man" Wingo. You're not funny for doing so, and you're making those around you want to stab you in the f-ing face.

2) People that text during the movie, causing the light to shine directly in my eyes. You're not that important. Put the phone away and talk to your lame friends later. They're probably even less valuable than you.

3) People that laugh at inappropriate times. For example, I went to see "Brothers" last weekend. As you can tell from the previews, there are several intense dramatic scenes. Instead of sitting in silence or shock, many people busted out laughing at the serious dialogue. There should be a minimum IQ and maturity level to see this type of film. So for the people that laughed: STFU and GTFO!

4) Another shot at stupid people. I hate when one man or woman thinks they have figured something out before the rest. In "Brothers" there's a scene depicting a hangover for Jake Gyllenhaal's character. This woman sitting near me laughed hard enough to be heard by all the 14-year-old girls seeing "New Moon" for the third time. She didn't say anything, but I knew exactly what she was thinking. "Ooooooohhhhhh!!! He's got a hangover! I know more about this than anyone here, and no one else has even figured out what's going on!" This woman is what I like to call stupid. And she should never be allowed to see a non-Cameron Diaz/Sandra Bullock movie.

That's all I've got for now. What really grinds your gears?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Luckiest Man Alive

I watched a lot of football this weekend, and in almost every post-game interview the athletes mentioned how lucky they were. Maybe it was just that their teams were better.

I also watched the Grammy nomination ceremony last week. Again, the "artists" nominated frequently mentioned how lucky they were. They were at least semi-correct since most of them didn't actually deserve nominations.

I hate when people say that he/she is the luckiest person in the world. They are full of S. There is only one man that can claim that title: 50 Cent

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is clearly the luckiest man to ever walk the earth. Here's why.

He got shot 9 times and didn't die.

He was able to work with Dr. Dre and Eminem to help launch a hugely successful rap career.

His motto was Get Rich or Die Tryin': He got rich.

He worked with a company called Glaceau to create a Vitamin Water drink called Formula 50: It is estimated he made $100 million when Coca-Cola later purchased the company.

He has starred in movies, published books, released a fragrance and a body spray, has his own condom line, had his own reality show, and has provided his voice for two video games inspired by his life.

So next time you think you're the luckiest person on earth. Think again. Think 50

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009-10 Final Four Picks

For anyone that knows me well, it should be no surprise that my first blog is about what I think will happen during March Madness. I have never been correct with my predictions and don't expect to start now. And that is one of the many reasons I think college basketball is one of the two best sports in the United States (NFL).

Who Will Make It:

Kansas: This is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for good reason. The 2007-08 champions have reloaded and are my pick to win it all again. They return two All-Americans In Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. They add freshman star Xavier Henry to the mix, and have more depth at every position than anyone else in the country.

Kentucky: The Wildcats return last season's SEC Player of the Year Patrick Patterson and add five freshmen that will have a huge impact, with point guard John Wall being the most important. Coach John Calipari thinks he could be better than Derrick Rose from his Memphis squad that fell to Kansas in the national title game two seasons ago. This team is young, but they have the talent to overcome it.

Purdue: Despite the Top-10 ranking, not many people know about this team. Purdue has a loaded junior class of E'twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, and Robbie Hummel. They can keep up with a high-scoring team and can grind one out with their defense. This is a team built for a strong postseason.

Tennessee: The Vols have had Final Four talent each of the past four seasons but haven't cashed in. Their shooting last year was atrocious but that has improved considerably early on. And Tyler Smith is a go-to guy that any team would take. This is the most athletic team in the nation and I expect them to be in Indianapolis (Final Four location) during the first week of April.


Gonzaga: The Zags have easily been one of the top 15 programs in college basketball over the last decade, yet were unranked at the beginning of this season. It doesn't make sense. They have the talent to play with anyone and have already proved it by winning the Maui Invitational and nearly upsetting Michigan State on the road. Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, and Robert Sacre will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament.

Florida: The Gators are much better than I expected after losing guard Nick Calathes to the NBA. Guards Erving Walker and newcomer Kenny Boynton have filled his shoes nicely so far, and Florida is 7-0 with wins against Michigan State and in-state rival Florida State.


Michigan State: This is essentially the same team that reached the national championship game last season, hence the No. 2 preseason ranking. However, I don't believe they will repeat that success. I predicted them to lose in the first weekend of last season's tournament and watched them destroy my bracket. So I definitely won't bet against coach Tom Izzo and stars Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, and Raymar Morgan. But with losses against Florida and a completely different UNC team and a near-loss at home to Gonzaga, I am going out on a limb and saying the Spartans will not make the Final Four.

Butler: The Butler Bulldogs are a very good mid-major team, but they definitely did not deserve a preseason top-10 ranking. This team did not win its conference tournament and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year. They are a trendy pick by "experts" to reach the Final Four since the event is in their hometown and are one of the two best mid-major teams along with Gonzaga. Butler has already lost two games this season, against Minnesota and Clemson, and that makes me think they are unlikely to make it past the Sweet Sixteen.

Too Early To Tell:

Duke: I have no idea what to think about the Blue Devils. I could see them getting hot at the end and making a deep run or nearly losing to a team like Belmont in the first round. Forward Kyle Singler is one of the most complete offensive players in the country, and Duke improved much after shifting Jon Scheyer to the point last season. I just don't know what to expect from this team. They had a nice win over UConn last week but lost to an average Wisconsin team.

North Carolina: The ACC takes over this category. The Tar Heels lost their top 4 players from the national title team but are still loaded. Their frontcourt can match up with anybody plus they return Marcus Ginyard who was injured most of last season. UNC played great in a home win against Michigan State but I'm not sure how that will translate in March.

So there they are. My ten predictions for the 2009-10 college basketball season. And if you're not down with that, I got two words for ya.

Let me know what you think.