Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Season Preview and Draft Review: New England Patriots

The other day on Facebook, I suggested to Todd that we change our website’s name from “Almost Sideways” to “Always Seahwaks.”  Two articles on the Sea Chickens in the last month?  Gimme a break.  Godard once said that the best way to criticize a movie is to make another one, and therefore, as the lone writer on Almost Sideways whose team isn’t the Seahawks, I give you my early 2013 prediction for the greatest franchise in all of sports: The New England Patriots.

First, this weekend’s draft.  It was like something out of a movie: Imagine a sketchy coach who wears a cut-off hoodie who may have been involved in some alleged scandals in the past.  Now imagine that coach hiring his own son to go to Rutgers University under the guise of being a “lacrosse player,” but really there to get exclusive scouting access to the mighty Scarlet Knight football team, a program that has finished the season in the Top 25 only once in the last 35 years.  Now imagine that that coach’s son strategically gets hired by his dad to help coach the geographically proximal pro football team, and that son lets dad know who the best players from Rutgers are.  Sounds genius, right?  Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC – infiltrating those schools would be too obvious.  But who would ever think about Rutgers, a team whose most notable alumni in the NFL (besides Ray Rice) include Ray Lucas, L.J. Smith, and someone named Heinie Benkert?  It’s that Belichick genius at work once again, like that time he ran a play in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl because there were 12 men on defense. 

OK, I’ll stop being sarcastic for a second.  The Pats have to know what they’re doing, drafting three players from Rutgers to join Devin McCourty in the defensive backfield.  After all the Scarlett Knights did finish 9-4 last year and almost won the Russell Athletic Bowl!  That vaunted defense did hold South Florida to 13 points and Syracuse to 15 points (although Kent State scored 35 on them).  Can anyone say: defensive talent goldmine???

Instead of the cut-off hoodie, we get unshaven frat boy.

Guy(s) I’m excited about: Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce.  It’s hard to find flaws in an offense that has scored 500+ points each of the last three seasons, but if you look carefully, you see that Tom really has lacked a consistent big-play threat downfield all three of those seasons.  Amendola and Edelman are not exactly the best options for being big, open targets downfield.  Now Dobson doesn’t need to put much else on his resume besides this but the truth is he has the size (6’3”, 210lbs) and strength to move past defenders easily.  Boyce was a constant end zone threat at TCU, and was always good for at least 30-40 yard completion per game.  Barring injury (knock on wood), the days of Chad Jackson are over, and these guys are absolutely legit.

Guy I’m upset about (Rai-Dowling/Ron Brace/Terrence Wheatley Award): Duron Harmon.  Who is this guy?  He plays an outside corner, which is what the Patriots certainly need, but there’s so little publicity and, frankly, game film of him that there’s little reliable information about his skill set.  The rumor is he is a “character guy,” which is great and I’m sure he’ll be happy to host Scarlet Knight viewing parties at his pad with McCourtey and the others, but this is not what they need.  By all accounts, Harmon is a “project” who will not see significant time in the next couple of seasons.  Hello?  Patriots scouts?  Tom Brady turns 36 in August.  Better to trade that pick down or hit the free agency market than try to impress with an out-of-the-box fourth round selection.  Even the name Duron Harmon sounds like a perfect draft bust name.

So posted below is my projected game-by-game results for the 2013 Patriots.  Since 2010, we’ve won one fewer game each year, and although some things will always remain the same (beating up on the AFC East, blowing some close early games, a dominant December), other questions still remain.  Will Gronkowski return at 100%, and will he make it through the entire season?  How will Amendola fill the shoes of Welker?  Can Aqib Talib return to stellar form?  Will Alfonso Dennard become the new Ray Smith from The Replacements (prison time for assaulting a police officer – can’t make these comparisons up.)

The truth is that it is stupid to predict the results of a season which doesn’t begin for another four and a half months, especially given that the Pats are likely to sign key offseason acquisitions in the interim.  But on the other hand, there is only upside in participating in such an exercise: If I get these predictions totally wrong, I blame it on the unpredictability of the offseason.  If I somehow get it right, I say I owe all my NFL prescience to the inimitable Kyle Heck.

9/8/13 – at Buffalo – We haven’t lost our opening game since 2003 (forget the fact that it was at Buffalo in the first game featuring Drew Bledsoe and Lawyer Milloy in Bills’ uniforms, and the only time in the Brady-Belichick era where the Pats were shutout).  It is maybe noteworthy, however, that the Bills have given us problems in Week 1; in 2006, we beat them by 2 (in one of the few Brady-era games I have absolutely no recollection of) and in 2009 (Brady’s first game back after missing 2008) we beat them by 1.  So maybe it will be closer than it should be. WIN 34-17

9/12/13 – NY Jets – Don’t like the whole “two division games in five days” thing, and the Jets did beat us Week 2 in both 2009 and 2010.  But let’s not forget this team is a mess, and now that Wes Welker isn’t there to make fun of Rex Ryan’s wife feet, there doesn’t seem to be too much to worry about. WIN 28-10

9/22/13 – Tampa Bay – I’m happy we get to play the NFC South this year.  In the Brady-Belichick era, the Pats are 10-2 against teams from that division.  Interestingly, this is the Bucs’ first trip to Foxboro in 13 years, and while they are fortunate to draw a September matchup rather than a December one, I don’t anticipate the result to be much different.  However, Revis’ first trip to Foxboro as a Buc could make this matchup slightly more intriguing. WIN 31-24

9/29/13 (SNF) – at Atlanta – Here in Week Four we get our first serious test of the season.  In its last 35 home games (including the playoffs), the Falcons have only six losses.  In fact, Atlanta hasn’t lost a home game to an AFC team since Week 11of 2008, when Jay Cutler and Peyton Hillis took down Matty Ice in his rookie season.  The Pats haven’t been great in domes lately, and haven’t been 4-0 since The Undefeated (Asterisk) Season.  The Falcons take this one with the nation’s eyes on the Georgia Dome. LOSS 26-21

10/6/13 – at Cincinnati – I really think Cincinnati is becoming a talented team with a great defensive line.  The Bengals also are 0-4 vs. New England in the Brady-Belichick era, with the average score being 36-19.  But this has all the makings of a trap game, and the Patriots, once a team which never lost two games in a row, has had two-game losing streaks in both 2011 and 2012.  I worry about this one. LOSS 21-17

10/13/13 – New Orleans – We begin a three-games-out-of-four homestand with the Saints Week Six.  Even with the return of Sean Payton, I don’t expect New Orleans to have solved all of its problems and they will be coming to Foxboro after a tough matchup in Chicago.  We got blownout by them in 2009 but that Saints defense gave up 7,042 yards last season.  In the infamous words of Bart Scott, can’t wait. WIN 42-17

10/20/13 – at NY Jets – Last year, we beat the Jets by 30 in the Meadowlands, but the real joy of that game was a single immortal play that will live in our memories forever.  The best news of this game?  This seems to coincide precisely when Mark Sanchez will be benched and Rex Ryan will put in Geno Smith as a starter for the first time.  Or Rex can leave Sanchez in.  Doesn’t matter.  Ha ha ha. WIN 38-7

10/27/13 – Miami – Brady is 10-1 vs. Miami in Foxboro, with the one loss being a meaningless Week 17 game in 2006 where the star of the game was Doug Flutie’s foot.  Sorry Dolphins fans, enjoy your bullshit 2013 Heat championship because this game is not happening.  WIN 30-14

11/3/13 – Pittsburgh – Here it is.  The game of the season.  Good vs. evil.  Luke vs. Vader, Butler vs. Duke, Neo vs. Agent Smith, Jennifer Aniston vs. Angelina Jolie.  A major part of the reason I started loving New England was their remarkable ability to make Pittsburgh look terrible (two AFC Championship victories over the Stealers on their home turf).  Two seasons ago, however, my worst nightmares came true and for the first time ever, Pittsburgh came to Foxboro and beat us 25-17 (sadly, the score was closer than the game actually was).  Will they do it again?  I think Pittsburgh will be improved in 2013 (two straight seasons missing the playoffs seems like too much to ask) but this will be the fourth road game in five games for the Evil Empire.  Meanwhile, my team will come through like they always usually do.  WIN 37-24

11/18/13 (MNF) – at Carolina – Remember Super Bowl 38 when we played this team?  Cam Newton was 14 years old.  Yikes.  Anyway, the Pats never lose after bye weeks and this seems like it will be the game to put the Panthers at 2-7 before they win 5 of their last 7 to barely keep Ron Rivera’s job.  WIN 24-14

11/24/13 (SNF) – Denver – In Brady vs. Manning Vol. 14, we have Peyton coming to Foxboro, where he hasn’t won since 2006.  The last time Brady and Manning played on Sunday Night Football, this happened.  I worry about this game because, I don’t know, it feels like the Pats have had Peyton’s number too much lately.  This series has gone decidedly back and forth, from Brady dominating from 2001-2004, to Manning from 2005-2009, and Brady 2010-2012.  Manning gets at least one more victory against us. LOSS 31-28 (OT)

12/1/13 – at Houston – You don’t think this Texans team wants a piece of us?  After scoring an average of 41.5 points in the two games against Houston last year, we will face a motivated Texans squad eager to finally put the clamp down on us.  And as Peyton Manning has taught us, someday the Patriots will get beat.  Also, how is this (along with the Pittsburgh game) not nationally televised?  LOSS 24-17

12/8/13 – Cleveland – A home matchup against the Browns is just what the doctor ordered after a (potential) two game slide.  Since 2003, the Patriots are 22-1 at home in December (their one loss came last year vs. the 49ers on a memorable Sunday night game). On the flip side, the Browns are 1-8 in their last nine road December games.  WIN 34-7

12/15/13 – at Miami – The Dolphins are 3-1 against us in December games in Miami.  Their one loss came last year, when we could only muster to beat them by a touchdown.  While it’s a tough matchup down in South Florida, can I really pick against my team with the playoffs on the line?  Not happening. WIN 24-20

12/22/13 (SNF) – at Baltimore – I’m not gonna lie, this matchup sucks.  We’re now at the point with the Ravens where the Colts were around 2006ish, when they felt confident they could beat us any time we squared off (and they usually did).  Those Ravens fans are going to be rabid, and it will probably be a must-win game for Baltimore, who may be a game within Pittsburgh or Cincinnati for the AFC North lead.  I see Joe being Joe (picking apart our D effortlessly with long bombs) and Tom being Tom (interceptions) and the Ravens probably getting the best of us at the end of the day. LOSS 28-20

12/29/13 – Buffalo – Bring on the snow!  This will be one of those games where most of Buffalo’s starters will be on injured reserve and the Pats will play carefully to avoid injury heading into the postseason.  We’ve lost our regular season finales only twice in the Brady-Belichick era, and the third time ain’t happening against the Bills (our past three season finales were victories by the combined score of 115-28).  WIN 45-13

That puts us at 11-5 and probably the 3 or 4 seed in the AFC (and for those of you stat nerds out there, PF: 470, PA: 297).  And this is where I predict things get whacky: Right before the Wild Card matchup against the Bengals, Tom Brady takes a page from the Jerome Bettis-Michael Strahan-Ray Lewis playbook announces his retirement at the end of the postseason, no matter the outcome.  Suddenly, the Pats beat the Bengals, and stun the Broncos and Stealers on the road.  And then, in the Super Bowl against the NFC Champion Seahawks, the Patriots shock the world again, Brady gets his fourth ring and proves he is universally the greatest quarterback who ever lived (for the few rational NFL fans who don’t already know this). 

"No replacement refs in Super Bowl 48, bub."

Now, the real question: Could the friendship of Terry, Todd, and I survive a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl matchup?  I think so, especially when the Brothers Plucknett consider that, even in defeat, Russell the Muscle will only be 25 and probably make the Super Bowl again at some point in his life (though they did say the same thing about Matt Hasselbeck).  The only way to get over the inevitable pain and hurt of someone’s team losing the Super Bowl will be to swallow our misery over some tasty Birr Beer.  I’ll gladly volunteer to finish the last bottle.

Thoughts? Comments? Somehow shocked that I didn't pick Pittsburgh to beat New England? Was Heinie Benkert your great-grandfather? Write me below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NFL Mock Draft 2013

Coming up tomorrow is one of my favorite times of the year in sports, the NFL Draft. I decided to do my first ever mock draft this year. I will go down the first round, predict a pick for each team, and then go into a more Seahawks-centered draft preview. This is not going to be super in-depth, since I do not study the draft like I do other things. What I do know about are college football players, so this is mainly fitting in team needs with the best available options. Note: I am not going to predict any trades. It is a pointless exercise, unless there is something as obvious as the Redskins trading up to #2 last year. Check it out!

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M (I just can’t see an offensive tackle from Central Michigan being the first pick in the draft, even if he may be a better player)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
5. Detroit Lions – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lance Johnson, T, Oklahoma
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (They will probably trade down before taking him, but then again, the Vikings got stuck with Christian Ponder at 12 due to lack of trade interest)
9. New York Jets – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
11. San Diego Chargers – DJ Fluker, T, Alabama
12. Miami Dolphins – DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
13. New York Jets – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (Rex Ryan is trying to save his job by drafting the top QB and WR in the first round, ignoring some glaring needs on defense as well)
14. Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU (It just makes too much sense that this team would get a mini-steal in the middle of the first round…ugh)
18. Dallas Cowboys – Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
19. New York Giants – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
20. Chicago Bears – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
22. St. Louis Rams – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
23. Minnesota Vikings – Robert Woods, WR, USC
24. Indianapolis Colts – Menelik Watson, T, Florida State
25. Minnesota Vikings – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (Vikings find themselves having to replace yet another couple players they lost to Seattle)
26. Green Bay Packers – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
27. Houston Texans – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
28. Denver Broncos – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
29. New England Patriots – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
30. Atlanta Falcons – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
31. San Francisco 49ers – Matt Elam, S, Florida
32. Baltimore Ravens – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia (They could wind up with Manti Te’o if Ogletree is taken before, but not many teams really have this huge of a need at ILB)

Seattle Seahawks: Draft Suggestions/Wish List
Round 2, Pick 56: Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut or Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State or Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Round 3, Pick 87: Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State or Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
Round 4, Pick 123: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State or Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Round 5, Pick 138: Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford or Zac Dysert, QB, Miami-Ohio
Round 5, Pick 158: Ricky Wagner, T, Wisconsin or JC Tretter, G, Cornell
Round 6, Pick 194: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
Round 7, Pick 220: MarQueis Gray, QB/WR/KR, Minnesota
Round 7, Pick 231: Eric Martin, DE, Nebraska
Round 7, Pick 241: Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech
Round 7, Pick 242: Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA
Undrafted Free Agents
QB: Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State
RB: Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada
WR: Keenan Davis, Iowa
TE: Ben Cotton, Nebraska
DE: Meshak Williams, Kansas State
LB: Nick Moody, Florida State
S: Marcus Cooper, Rutgers

I am prepared to have this destroyed over the next three days. Thoughts? Your mock draft? Who do you want your favorite team to take? Comment below!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) Review

Directed by
Derek Cianfrance
If you are discouraged by the lack of good movies in theaters in the first few months of the year, then seek out this miraculous little movie by Derek Cianfrance, the director of Blue Valentine. Most movies like this get such a small run at the major theaters that they simply do not get the audience that it deserves. Against the odds, this one actually has gotten a semi-wide release and top 10 weekend box office ranking, so everyone will have the opportunity to see this astonishing little film in its rightful format: on the big screen with a crowded audience.

The movie’s plot is one that is almost not worth mentioning, due to the inevitable accidental spoilers that might occur, so I will try to be as vague as possible. There are three storylines going on. One is about Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt driver who begins to use his skills for crime to provide for his former girl (Eva Mendes) and their infant son. His story collides with Avery (Bradley Cooper), a rookie cop and son of a legendary one, who gets tangled in crimes way above his pay grade. Both of these characters have strong affiliations within the story of AJ (Emory Cohen) and Jason (Dane Dehaan), two high school junkies struggling through life due to a lack of strong father figure in their lives. That is essentially what the movie is about: fathers and sons. It is about how mistakes of fathers lead to the shaping of the life and character of their sons.
Now, hearing that plot description, it would be easy to assume that this is some interconnecting story drama about fate, much like Babel, 21 Grams, Crash, or any other indie film in the last 15 years looking to find an easy audience. This is not one of those movies. The screenplay by Cianfrance, collaborating with Ben Coccio and Darius Marder, is a marvel. It would have been so easy to mess this up, make it ordinary, or turn it into a genre picture. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. I cannot even put into words what this movie is able to accomplish. It has some breathtaking sequences, some disturbing scenes, and never a wasted moment. From the moment the movie started, with an extended tracking shot that Martin Scorsese would be proud of, until the lyrical, beautiful last shot of the movie, my eyes were glued to the screen. I cannot say that about any movie I have seen in a long time.

I really do mean that there is not a wasted moment in the movie. Once the story focus shifts to the next main character, the transition is seamless. It does not feel episodic or manipulative. It is edited flawlessly, even though the audience is well aware of its running time approaching 140 minutes. I have never seen a movie like this where each segment is almost in a different genre. This only adds to the appeal and authenticity of the film. I could have sat there and watched these characters go about their lives for another three hours. I was completely locked in. Cianfrance has a way with letting his actors make the scene however they want. It has imperfections, just like life has. It is not exactly Blue Valentine when there was one take done and the actors were basically being chronicled in a documentary-style experimental film. This movie has a much thicker plot, and it is as engrossing and fascinating as any picture I have seen in a year.

The reason why many will see this movie is Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, who do not disappoint. Gosling gives another form of his Drive character and gets lost in his role. Cooper gives his best performance ever. Eva Mendes is her at her most believable, and the underused Rose Byrne does a great job. Ray Liotta is typecast, but he does his thing. Ben Mendelsohn is fantastic again. He is becoming one of my favorite under-the-radar supporting guys. The movie’s biggest surprise is the work of the two younger actors. Dane DeHaan is having an incredible couple of years, and he may well be an Oscar nominee in the near future. He has this constant intensity in his face that I can only describe as being Michael Shannon-like. Emory Cohen comes on screen and immediately leaves an impression. Keep an eye on those two.
If I were to put a label on this movie, I would say it is a bit like Drive, with dashes of The Wrestler, The Son of No One, and certainly some Cop Land. It is a crime thriller and a devastating drama. It is a character study and a powerful statement about fathers and sons. It has epic ambition with a feeling of being very low-key. It has something for everyone. I hate using this term because it is thrown around so loosely, but this really is a masterpiece. It is a virtual lock for my year-end top 10 list. It is about as good as any first quarter of the year release that I have seen. Clear your schedule and go see this.

Rating: 4 stars

Friday, April 19, 2013

Season Preview and Schedule Breakdown: 2013 Seattle Seahawks

So, the schedule comes out for the upcoming NFL season, and the next day you get my season preview article. I simply cannot get enough. Football season is only about 4 months away. As far as my beloved Seahawks go, it is a vastly different scenario than in last year’s article, where I astonishingly predicted an 11-5 year, “probably either taking the NFC West or scoring the 5th seed in the playoffs”, and potentially one or two playoff wins. I would say that is about as close as you can come in April pre-draft and assuming your starting quarterback is going to be Matt Flynn and not a third round rookie.

This season is shaping up quite well for the Hawks. We have a doable schedule, but by no means an easy one. Since we are the hottest team in Vegas, many people’s #1 Power Ranking, and a Super Bowl co-favorite, we got rewarded with four prime-time games. We are getting more recognition, which breeds more pressure for our still incredibly young roster of budding superstars. How will they handle it? Well, if our composed rookie QB Russell Wilson (you heard of him?) is any indication, then focus should not be a problem. Sophomore slumps happen, though. Either way, coming into a season looking at making the playoffs and coming in with a virtual “Super Bowl or bust” mentality is an incredibly different feeling.
Last year, we had a giant coming out party for the majority of our team. Essentially every key player is coming back, including our handful of Pro Bowlers and couple All Pros. Last year, we were never going o win it all. We needed that experience and heartbreak to really refocus and come into this year out for blood. We ended with a top 10 scoring offense, probably slightly skewed by our 50-17, 58-0, and 42-13 victories down the stretch. Averaging 33 points per game in the last 8 games was surprising, considering our ugly offense the first half of the year with the training wheels on Wilson. Add in the NFL’s top scoring defense, and our team is as complete as any team in recent memory. The time to win is now, no matter how young we still may be.

This off-season has been a crazy ride. I have never seen a Seattle team make the moves to add to an already close-to-finished product. Trading for Percy Harvin is amazing and exactly what the offense needed. We needed that big play guy, and now whatever formations we end up in, it will be a nightmare for the opposition. We ended up with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to boost our struggling pass rush (the reason we lost in the playoffs and our handful of one-possession losses in the regular season). We got Antoine Winfield to be our nickel corner to cover the slot. We traded Matt Flynn and picked up Brady Quinn, a consummate backup. You see what we are doing? We are fine-tuning our team. The time to win is now, and we know it. We made the moves to fill holes, which is why not having a first round pick is not a big deal. We are no longer building the house, we are painting and furnishing it. We have that luxury, since our stars are all on their rookie contracts, most of which are 3rd or 5th rounders making next to nothing. The next two years we have the freedom to sign these guys without killing our cap.

Coming into the draft, it is a much different feel as well. No first round pick is no problem, but we do have 10 picks overall. There is room to move up and get a few good value picks for depth, or we can just take all of them and see which ones become the next fifth round gems that John Schneider can find out of nowhere. Here is my draft breakdown:
Team needs (in order)
OLB (potential starter, though not a necessity)
RB (3rd string)
OT (depth)
OG (depth)
DT (depth)
TE (backup)
QB (developmental)

2nd Round Watchlist
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-PB
Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
Sio Moore, OLB, UConn
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Dream Scenario: Trade a slew of picks this and next year to get into the top 5 to take Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. It will never happen, but if we did: Game Over. Super Bowl champs. Done deal.

Realistic Scenario: Draft Sio Moore, OLB, UConn. He is a tackling machine. Add that to Bobby Wagner, and we would have two. He is athletic, a work horse, a future Pro Bowler. I want him. I hope he falls to us.

Predicted Scenario: Trade up a few spots and take Kyle Long, OG, Oregon. It would be an unexciting pick, but that is what we do. It is either unexciting or called a complete reach. We will never draft flash with this regime.

Now, we get into the schedule, released yesterday, April 18th. The bye week is nicely placed, as is the mini-bye from the Thursday game. Check out how it will all work out…

9/8/13 – at Carolina – This is one of those classic times when expectations are high, as is the disappointment of losing the game. We should have lost in Carolina last year. Cam Newton comes out hot. 10:00AM kick. LOSS 28-24
9/15/13 (SNF) – San Francisco – Prime-time game at home? Coming off a stunning loss on the road? Home opener? The Niners are walking into a buzz saw. WIN 31-21
9/22/13 – Jacksonville – Lowly Jags coming to town with our old DC Gus Bradley as their head coach. He gets a nice reception, but that is the end of their good news. WIN 38-14
9/29/13 – at Houston – I always thought this would end up a prime-time game, but I guess not. 10AM kickoff is a bit scary, but I do not think their offense can keep up. Okung, if healthy, should be able to handle Watt. WIN 27-20
10/6/13 – at Indianapolis – This is going to be a huge matchup between Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. They are so tough at home. Second consecutive 10AM kickoff hurts the offensive rhythm. Loss 24-17
10/13/13 – Tennessee – Jake Locker’s return home should be a cool sight. Clem, Bruce, and company should have fun abusing that offensive line. WIN 31-7
10/17/13 (Thu) – at Arizona – The short week could be a problem, but they are not sneaking up on us this year. This is the start of our midseason push, and Palmer will start getting erratic. Defenses dominate this game. WIN 17-7
10/28/13 (Mon) – at St. Louis – The mini-bye week is in a nice spot, before another primetime matchup. We always seem to struggle in St. Louis getting it going. Last year we lost to a fake FG TD and a couple moon-shot FGs by “Greg the Leg”. Similar things may ensue. LOSS 23-21
11/3/13 – Tampa Bay – Even though Schiano has his boys playing well by this point, I just cannot see any home losses this year, although this would be the type of game we drop somehow. WIN 34-24
11/10/13 – at Atlanta – This is a rematch of one of the most up-and-down emotional games I have ever watched. It is destined to be another classic matchup of perennial playoff teams. I say we take our revenge and have someone stick the ageless TE this time. WIN 24-21
11/17/13 – Minnesota – Well, half of our roster gets to play their old team. Cool. WIN 40-20
---BYE WEEK---
12/2/13 (Mon) – New Orleans – Another Monday Night Football game at home, the first meeting since the “Beast-quake”. We don’t lose these games. This one is no different. High scoring affair, but the athletic little QB gets the better of one of his own inspirations. WIN 38-34
12/8/13 – at San Francisco – At this point, both teams with be jostling for playoff seeding. This will be upgraded to Sunday Night (like I correctly predicted last year), and we will see another ugly game in the rain. Turnovers, trash talk, beautiful football. LOSS 16-10
12/15/13 – at New York Giants – The Giants will likely be making their playoff push by this time, but the Hawks will need to get that bad taste out of their mouth after losing to their archrival. I will put this game on the Beast to win it for us. WIN 20-13
12/22/13 – Arizona – Coming back home to face the Cardinals? Love it. WIN 31-3
12/29/13 – St. Louis – Finishing the year off against the Rams again. Our games with them are always so close. Hopefully our line is healthy so we can actually attempt to block Chris Long this time. I say we squeak out a season-ending victory. WIN 21-20

So, that means we are going 12-4, including a second consecutive unbeaten home record. This will certainly put us in the playoffs, probably just beating out the Niners for the division and two-seed. This will give us a home playoff game, which should be a victory over whoever comes in. If the NFC Championship is in Atlanta or New Orleans or Green Bay, then that will be an epic battle. I say we get beat in any of those places and we win the Super Bowl next year. If we play in any other building, then we are headed to the Super Bowl. I am not going to say we take it, but I would love our chances on a neutral field. We probably lose a heartbreaker if we get there, giving us that much more motivation to be the first team in some 40 years to win a Super Bowl the year after losing it. Either way, next year is the year. This year is all about gaining the experience of being in Championship games and developing that frontrunner mentality. I wish we could have taken care of that last year, but we have to wait our turn. Final playoff prediction: Loss on the road in the NFC Championship to eventual Super Bowl champion Atlanta Falcons.
It will be an interesting year in the NFC West. The Rams are going to be right there battling for a playoff spot. The Cardinal shouldn’t be a complete pushover with Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians. The Niners have copied every move we make with a slightly less prestigious transaction, but they lost their Pro Bowl safety, UW alum Dashon Goldson. That could hurt the continuity of that stellar defensive unit. In the rest of the NFC, the Falcons are going to be in position to make another Super Bowl run. The Packers are always going to be around. I think the Saints and Niners take the wild cards. The Chip Kelly-led Eagles take the East with a 9-7 record. The NFC is so loaded. It is our turn to win the Super Bowl again.

All of this is of course contingent on Russell Wilson’s health. If they gun for him and he misses a few games, I am scared what kind of ugly makeshift offense we will draw up for Brady Quinn or whoever ends up being the backup. If he is smart and takes care of himself, then we are potentially looking at the NFL MVP this season, if he leads us to 12-4. He was the best QB in the league the last 8 weeks last year and had arguably the most impressive rookie QB season in the last 30 years. It is all on his shoulders. He seems to have the mentality to be immune to a sophomore slump. He spends as much time studying film as he does with his hot wife. He is a freak. That’s my quarterback. The separation is in the preparation. Win forever. I’m in. Go Hawks.
Thoughts? Comments? Your win/loss prediction? How is your favorite team’s schedule? Let me know!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Vanishing of the R-rated Blockbuster, Metal Gear, and more

There was a time when R-rated movies thrived. There were great movies that came out during the summer months that were not just fluff movies or ones trying to pack as many explosions into the action scenes to make up for the lack of blood they can show. The PG-13 rating ruined it. Its “one f-bomb” rule is ridiculous and has become somewhat of a joke when watching a movie that has no business holding itself back. For example, it should come as no surprise that the highest grossing Die Hard flick is Live Free or Die Hard, the only PG-13 movie, using its single f-bomb in the only way it could without pissing off the fans. There is no excuse or reason why John McClane should be PG-13. He is not PG-13. Nothing about him or his first three movies are PG-13. That is the charm of the whole series. But they had to censor themselves for maybe their best story, seeing how the fifth installment that was released a couple months ago is going to settle in making about half of its predecessor at the box office. Another one of my favorite cases of this rule coming into effect is in Snake Eyes, where the actors obviously are mouthing f-bombs throughout the movie, but the voiceover changed it to something tamer to maintain that PG-13 rating. Oh, but there was a death scene with a bit of blood, so it got the R anyway for “some violence”, after that soundtrack had been changed and submitted. Basically, they got screwed. But they shouldn’t be screwed. It should have made no difference. If they wanted to make a restricted movie, then make one. We are talking about Brian freaking De Palma here, the director of Dressed to Kill and Scarface. If he is worried about the rating, then we have run into an issue. Our best blockbuster writers and directors are not making good solid R-Rated entertainment anymore out of fear of losing its audience. That needs to change.

Trouble with the R
Looking at the all time box office list, there are 70 PG-13 movies that have eclipsed $200 million at the box office, a rating that has not been around as long as R. How does that compare to the movie that has that extra f-bomb? There are 11 such movies. Of those, we have a movie about Jesus, three sequels, four movies that spawned sequels, a couple comedies, a war movie, and a movie released in 2012. Can anyone guess that movie? Anyone? That’s right…Ted. Top 10 all time R-rated movies. Seriously. That is how pathetic it is right now. The R-rated comedy is alive and well, though. In the last 29 years, the only original ideas that have made $200 million are Wedding Crashers, Ted, and The Hangover. Those would not have been nearly as big if they had held back. Then what is it about the action, sci-fi, and horror/thrillers? Really, I am asking. The highest ranked original script for an action picture (not historical/war movies) is Air Force One, ranked 15th on the R-rated list. This decade? Safe House, coming in a cool 64th place. Yeah, the Denzel movie that basically no one saw. That is the state of R-rated blockbusters right now.
What happened to The Terminator? The Matrix? Speed? Die Hard? Rambo?  When The King’s Speech cracks the 20 highest grossing R-rated films of the 2000s, you know there is something wrong (other than Harvey Weinstein). Unless a movie is riding on the coattails of a previous film (The Matrix Reloaded is the second ranked R-rated flick all time), people do not seek out the movies because they have no reason to believe that it will be all that great. The original Matrix can’t even crack the top 15 because of this, but a movie as bad as The Hangover Part II even comes in at #4. Who can pull us out of this? I have a few ideas…

Steven Spielberg
How can he help? Well, his only R-rated movies are Saving Private Ryan, Munich, and Schindler’s List, three movies not exactly trying to light up the box office. All he needs to do is make one of his big blockbusters, and make use the kind of realism and care that he uses in his historical movies. Imagine how much cooler War of the Worlds could have been had it been a bit darker and more disturbing. Think about Minority Report with some legitimate action sequences. Even hearing the “knock-knock” joke in a few more variations in Catch Me If You Can. I guess we will have to hold out hope for Robopocalypse to carry the torch, but I won’t count on that. He is too safe.

James Cameron
I know, I know. He will have to swallow his pride and not make another highest grossing movie of all time, but man, his whole foundation is in great, big budget R-rated movies. Aside from The Abyss, all of his movies up until Titanic were restricted. If he really has as big of an ego as it appears he does, then make an unapologetically huge budget, hard R picture and see how many fans flock to the theater. It would be huge. Will he ever do it? Almost certainly not. He is too worried about re-releasing Avatar with 10 extra minutes of Na’vi footage, making Titanic in 3D, and traveling to the bottom of the ocean and releasing his footage in IMAX. Come on, man! I know you got a few more of those Terminator-type ideas in that crazy head of yours! Let’s hope Battle Angel is that movie (based on graphic novel, though). Or The Informationist, whatever that is.

Christopher Nolan
He just might be the savior of the R-rated blockbuster. His status right now is as high as any director in the world. Just coming off his epic Dark Knight trilogy and starting the Man of Steel saga, he is the most sought after director out there. But he is only a PG-13 guy, right? Wrong. His best film by far is Memento, a crazy indie that has gained a cult status and top 50 ranking on IMDb. Oh, and it is rated R. Insomnia was next, which was an odd movie and never really found an audience, but it is almost not a Nolan movie. I won’t even talk about Following, another R-rated picture. Then came Batman, genre movie, Batman, personal movie, Batman, and now Insterstellar, another personal movie. Will it be R? Well, given that McConaughey and Hathaway are the stars, I am guessing a bit fat NO. But that is ok. It will come. He has to get every person on the planet to buy in, and then deliver his next brutal masterpiece. It will come; it is just a matter of when. And what. But I don’t want to wait that long.

Now, I had wanted to write this article for a long time. I just do not understand why there aren’t any of these cool hard R movies anymore, other than the yearly sex comedy or a Tarantino-type movie, which will never fully win over the box office. Prometheus came out in 2012, and I thought for sure it was going to be PG-13 and ruin any semblance of the previous Alien films. Pleasantly surprising, it came out as R, and it could have been PG-13. It just squeaked by, in my opinion, and did not even break even (partially because it kinda sucked). Not even the director of the original film in a very profitable franchise can make it right. One of the abovementioned directors has to take the reins.

Metal Gear?!?!
Recently, the movie adaptation of the widely popular video game series Metal Gear finally got some news. David S. Goyer, the co-scripter of the Dark Knight trilogy as well as the Man of Steel movie, has signed on to write the hotly anticipated and eternally delayed film. We could not have asked for a better result. Plus, its IMDb page lists the storyline as the “Shadow Moses” plot, which is basically a dream come true. That story is made for the movies. I cannot even describe how much I want to see how this shakes out. So, out of anticipation and hours of collaborating with a few fellow Metal Gear fans, here is my dream cast for the film:

Solid Snake: Viggo Mortensen – He has the look, he can be rough, and he would just own it.
Infinite budget casting: Tom Cruise – I have wanted him to play the role forever. It still fits, plus it would guarantee the budget and audience that the film deserves.
Don’t count out: Kurt Russell (for obvious reasons), Hugh Jackman (more obvious reasons)
Outside the box casting: Michael C. Hall
Nightmare casting: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone and the rest of the Expendables cast

Roy Campbell: Philip Seymour Hoffman – He needs a part in every movie, and I just cannot get past how perfect he would be for this part.
Infinite budget casting: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Meryl: Jennifer Carpenter – She would bring an interesting presence to the important character. It would definitely be far from Deb, but it would be beyond intriguing to see.
Infinite budget casting: Charlize Theron – She has the physique and attitude to totally pull it off.

Revolver Ocelot: Ed Harris – He is so great at playing a villain, so if he channels his Gone Baby Gone or A History of Violence self, then this will be unforgettable.
Infinite budget casting: Gary Oldman – How amazing would this be?!

Gray Fox: Aaron Eckhart – He seems like a good soldier-type, and obviously he can play a villain and probably pull off most of the stunts.
Infinite budget casting: Christian Bale – Obviously, unless they expand the hell out of his part, then there is no way this happens, but he would be perfect.

Liquid Snake: Eric Roberts – He is such an underrated actor, and him playing a villain as vicious and crazy as Liquid would be something to see.
Infinite budget casting: Kevin Bacon – This is such a hard role to cast, but he is great as a villain. I can see him being a brilliant counterpart to Snake.

Naomi Hunter: Rosemarie DeWitt – She is still not as famous as she should be. I can totally seeing her bringing heart to a role that really needs it.
Infinite budget casting: Vera Farmiga – This would bring credibility to a role that will probably not be much in the final cut.

Hal Emmerich (Otacon): Patrick Fugit – He would be a really cool companion to Snake, and he is nerdy by default.
Infinite budget casting: Jesse Eisenberg – He is probably too young, but the nerdy part would inevitably look his way at some point.

Mei Ling: Chiaki Kuriyama – She sounds like her. She looks a bit like her. She would be perfect.
Infinite budget casting: Chiaki Kuriyama or Rinko Kikuchi

Sniper Wolf: Carrie-Anne Moss – You could always use a comeback, right? This is a bit outside the box, but it would work.
Infinite budget casting: Marion Cotillard – This would be a dream-like casting that would never happen, but would be too amazing to ignore.

Psycho Mantis: Christoph Waltz – The manipulative, torturous character could not be played by anyone else. Do whatever it takes to get this guy. Wait, him for Ocelot? Oh man, he could be any of them...
Infinite budget casting: Christoph Waltz

Vulcan Raven: Mickey Rourke – This could be The Rock, Vin Diesel, or any other muscular actor, but this is just too good to ignore.
Infinite budget casting: Mickey Rourke or Tom Hardy

DARPA Chief: Dennis Haysbert – It is totally his type of role, and he is always underused in movies.
Infinite budget casting: Idris Elba – He is such an amazing actor that he would make the prison cell scene simply astonishing.

Ok, so that turned out a lot more star-packed than I planned, but all of those characters have big, important parts in the film. It is almost like an anthology-type movie, if it is going to keep a similar format to the game.

Did you notice a pattern in those picks? Do a bunch of them have a mutual director that they have worked with? That’s right, it all relates back to the man of the hour, Christopher Nolan. I did not even really mean to do that. I just noticed it about halfway through. On the subject, here are my dream directors to helm the project, realistic choices that could end up behind the camera for this future megahit, and my nightmare directing choices:

Dream Directors
1. Christopher Nolan – If he takes it, he could revive the R-rated blockbuster, or simply change it for the foreseeable future.
2. Duncan Jones – After Moon and Source Code, I cannot think of any director right now more qualified to have this material in his hands, other than Nolan of course.
3. Martin Scorsese – He has played around with CGI before, so seeing him constructing Metal Gear Rex would be something to marvel at.
4. Sam Mendes – He has proven that he can do anything. This would be an awesome next step.
T-5. Ben Affleck – I think of Metal Gear as a quiet thriller with some action, and that is exactly what he has done so far. We have no reason to think he can’t take on a bit of sci-fi as well.
 T-5. Guillermo Del Toro – He is so good at creating images. I can’t even imagine how this movie would look, but I would love to see it.

Realistic Options
1. Neill Blomkamp – It would be astonishing, but he already has Halo on his plate, supposedly.
2. McG – The fourth Terminator movie was not a disaster. He could be given the keys to another franchise.
3. David S. Goyer – He has directed before, and given that he is writing, it makes all too much sense that he would take this on to prove that he actually can handle the camera.
4. Paul Greengrass – He can make a thriller as well as anyone. I have to believe that he wouldn’t overdo the action, either. The fight with Gray Fox would be amazing, as well.
5. Joon-ho Bong – Anyone who has seen The Host (2006) knows that he could probably handle this type of material. If they want to go with an Asian director, then he is our best option.

Worst Potential Directors for the Project
1. Tim Burton
2. Uwe Boll
3. Ridley Scott
4. Brett Ratner
5. John Woo
So there you have it. I meant what I said about Nolan. If he takes over this film with his writing collaborator, it could be a huge game-changer. He has the backing from everywhere, so it would have that high budget and he would be able to let loose and show a bit of blood and deliver on some of that incredible R-rated entertainment promise he showed in Memento. It would be an absolutely breathtaking thriller if that were to happen, as well as the wet dream of any fan of him or video games in general. The internet message boards might just explode.

Comments? Your dream cast and crew? Thoughts on David S. Goyer writing it? On the state of R-rated blockbusters today? Let me know below!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Top 10 Movies of All Time

Finally, we get to the big one, my new and improved Top 10 list. For the past few days, I have been reworking my top 100 to prepare for this article. It was a lot of fun, but also frustrating since the list is becoming more and more exclusive (I have currently seen 2869 movies, making my top 100 roughly the top 3.5%). AFI’s most recent list was topped by Citizen Kane (1941), The Godfather (1972), and Casablanca (1943). Will any of those make an appearance here? Check it out!

My Top 10, by the numbers:
1: Directors with multiple films on the list
2: Sports movies on the list (neither are the same one from my last top 10)
3: Movies starring Robert De Niro
4: New top 10 movies
5: Films in the exact same spot as before
6: Different decades represented (3 from the 1990s)
7: Movies not mentioned on my power rankings series

Others Receiving Votes:
15. Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)
14. American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)
13. The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)
12. Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis, 1995)
11. Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino, 2003-2004)

10. Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)
This is one of those movies that I am even surprised at how highly I have it ranked. If not for a 20th Century American History/American Film course one of my college instructors created, I may not have even come across this movie yet. It is certainly a highly entertaining and quietly hilarious movie, but it is also an imperative movie that takes us back to a time in American history as seamlessly as any movie I have ever seen. It is the quintessential movie about the Great Depression, but it is also a comedy. It is an ironic, beautiful, and important film from a truly original cinematic voice.
Previous Rank: 40

9. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
Brian De Palma (paraphrased, couldn't find the link), describing his initial thoughts on Raging Bull after only seeing the opening sequence with De Niro bouncing around the ring in slow-motion: “Damn you, Marty! Back to the drawing board. That shot alone makes this movie better than anything I have ever done.” For me, the entire movie has the same allure. It may be material that is not so easy to take in, but when immersed in this world, it is hard not to be left absolutely breathless. The more I revisit the movie, the higher it rises. There is no ceiling for this astonishing, gripping masterwork.
Previous Rank: 22

8. Hoop Dreams (Steve James, 1994)
In what is widely regarded as the greatest documentary ever put on the big screen, Hoop Dreams continues to cement that reputation nearly 20 years after its initial release. If this had been a work of fiction, it would have been written off as being too implausible or too Hollywood. Movies like this fascinate me because of how much faith the filmmakers must have had. This is not just a movie about two high school kids and their dream of playing in the NBA. It is more a flawless portrait of American inner city life, heartbreak, and yes, basketball. Director Steve James could not have asked for a better payoff for his 5 years of painstakingly following these two young men. I cannot imagine a documentary ever being this rewarding and unassuming.
Previous Rank: 17

7. Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997)
This is definitely my most personal choice on this list. I cannot think of a single movie that more directly spoke to me than Good Will Hunting. It features one of the most brilliant screenplays ever, one filled with so much passion and feeling that is absolutely earns its tears. It features a group of friends that are maybe the most believable group of friends I have seen in movies. I would be naïve to assume that it does not have its widespread fan-base, but I just cannot imagine someone loving every moment of this movie as much as I do.
Previous Rank: 10

6. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
This is one of those movies that absolutely has no equal. It took the well-worn sub-genre of gangster movies and flips it on its ear. It almost feels like a documentary when watching it, due to its fascinating attention to detail and realistic characters. It does not shy away from the unflattering scenes that make the mafia members less heroic. It absolutely stays true to its nonfiction source material and vision of its incomparable director. It is a frantic, absorbing, painfully hilarious, and absolutely thrilling film to watch.
Previous Rank: 6

5. A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1957)
Thank you AFI for that series of YouTube clips asking stars what their favorite movie is. Oddly enough, it was Paul Dano who mentioned A Man Escaped in such a nonchalant and fleeting way that forced me check it out. Never did I imagine that it would eventually turn into a top 5 film for me. It is absolutely mesmerizing to watch, but even more mesmerizing to hear. It is the greatest achievement in sound that I have ever come across. So much of the action happens off-screen, yet we feel like we saw it all. It is filmed in such a bare-bones fashion that to just watch it might be slightly underwhelming. But to take in the whole experience is as amazing and gratifying as any movie. As much as I love The Shawshank Redemption (#55 on my top 100), this is the greatest prison movie of all time. Sorry, IMDb Top 250 voters. Go watch this and adjust accordingly.
Previous Rank: Not Ranked

4. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
What is there even to say about The Godfather that hasn’t already been said? There has never been a movie more in touch with its tone, characters, and atmosphere than this, perhaps the consensus greatest movie among modern moviegoers. Every time I watch this movie, I am astounded at how each and every scene puts entire movies to shame. There is so much passion in every shot of the movie and in every word of every performance that I cannot help but just sit there staring at the screen completely spellbound. It is one of those movies that I just cannot help but wish I was born in another era so I could be there to watch this for the first time on the big screen back in 1972. I cannot even imagine what that must have been like.
Previous Rank: 4

3. Sideways (Alexander Payne, 2004)
You would think that at some point this movie would move up, considering my addiction to it. I just cannot justify moving it above this spot yet, partially because it took a few viewings to actually climb into consideration for a top list. As I have mentioned several times, I watch this movie frequently. I can never find an actual flaw in it. Basically, Sideways is life. It is among the most honest, realistic, refreshing, heartbreaking, and funniest movies I have ever seen. For me, it sets the standard as far as comedy-dramas go. I have gotten to the point that I do not even want to call a movie a dramedy at risk of comparing it to Sideways. PS: If anyone has a flaw that they have found in this movie, let me know. I would love to hear/ debate it.
Previous Rank: 3

2. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000)
Roger Ebert famously stated in his review of this movie that it is so lovely that he was almost hugging himself while watching it. That is exactly how I am. I watched this movie for the first time on TV in a commercially-interrupted basic cable format, and it still almost immediately became my favorite movie. I ended up buying it that day and watched it an additional 6 times in the following week. It has gotten to the point that I can simply think about any part of the movie and it will instantly put me in a good mood. No movie, other than perhaps Toy Story and Good Will Hunting, can even come close to accomplishing that. For anyone who has ever had a dream, this movie is essential viewing. For anyone who has a thing for music, you have got to see this. It is maybe the most widely-appealing, effortlessly hilarious, and irresistible movie I have come across. I can watch it at any time and never get tired of it. In fact, hold up. I am going to put it in right now…
Previous Rank: 2

1. The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino, 1978)
There is no experience like watching The Deer Hunter. Oddly enough, like Almost Famous, I watched this for the first time on a similar basic cable, commercially-interrupted and edited 4 hour version. About halfway through, I knew I was watching the greatest movie of all time. And it only got better. If I see even a minute-long segment of any part of the movie, I feel like I have to watch it all the way through. It is an emotional roller-coaster. It features the greatest acting of any movie, including Christopher Walken’s astonishing, breathtaking, Oscar-winning performance. It has one of the simplest, most haunting musical scores of all time. It is edited in a way that makes every moment vital to the overall impact and payoff. As far as Vietnam War movies go, this is the gold standard. Platoon may be the best battle picture. Full Metal Jacket may have the cult status. Apocalypse Now may be the classic, but this is the complete Vietnam experience. It is the complete movie experience as well. It has everything you could ever want in a drama and more. There is no movie like it anywhere, and even though I am open to seeing some movies on this list dethroned, I just cannot ever picture a movie with that #1 next to it for me. So, if I never see a better movie in my life, it will not be a disappointment. If I do see a better movie, I cannot even imagine what might happen to me.
Previous Rank: 1

So, there you have it. Thoughts? Comments? Your top 10? What other power rankings would you like to see? Let me know below!

Previous Power Rankings:
Cheers – Most inspiring movies
Peers – Best on-screen couples/pairs
Fears – Scariest movies
Tears – Most emotional movie experiences
Jeers – Worst movies
Thrills – Most thrilling movies to watch
Laughs – Funniest movies