Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MLB 2014: Season in Review & Postseason Picks

This turned out to be a sensational year for baseball.  Every year proves to bring about more and more parody in the game that used to be ruled by the pocketbook.  The second Wild Card slot in each league proved to be a great addition to the postseason race once again as over half of the teams in the league had a legitimate shot at the playoffs with as little as two weeks to go in the season.  This season said goodbye to one of the greatest players of our generation in Derek Jeter, while two young players very firmly took hold of the position as the new faces of MLB in Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw.  Let's look at each division and see how things turned out.

AL East
My Preseason Predictions
1.  New York Yankees*
2.  Boston Red Sox*
3.  Baltimore Orioles
4.  Tampa Bay Rays
5.  Toronto Blue Jays

Final Standings
1.  Baltimore Orioles*
2.  New York Yankees
3.  Toronto Blue Jays
4.  Tampa Bay Rays
5.  Boston Red Sox

The one division I had the time to write a preseason article about is the one I messed up the most.  So I have the most words to eat here.  I wasn't necessarily that wrong.  I thought the Orioles might take a step back, which players like Chris Davis did, but I didn't predict breakout years from Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce.  The Yankees finished in second, but when you look at the injuries they suffered throughout the year, it's hard not to ask "what if" for Jeter's Farewell Tour.  I said they needed to be healthy, and it is hard to argue that they wouldn't have been right there if they had a full season from Sabathia, Tanaka, Pineda, Teixeira, and others.  The team I missed on most was the Blue Jays, who I said would be guaranteed the cellar.  The offense was better than anyone thought and almost got them in the playoffs.  The Rays were a disappointment to the point that they were sellers at the Trading Deadline and gave up their prized possession, David Price.  The Red Sox I can't figure out.  They went from cellar, to world champs, back to the cellar again.  I can't tell if Boston Strong made them over-achieve last year, if injuries derailed a season that was headed back to the promised land, or the Red Sox core just got really old really quick.  Any could be possible.  All I know is 7 years after I made a bet that no AL East team other than the Yankees and Red Sox would make the playoffs over the next decade, we have a year where neither make the playoffs for the first time in the Wild Card Era.  If I hadn't lost it before, I think I have officially lost that bet to Zach.

AL Central
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Kansas City Royals*
2.  Detroit Tigers*
3.  Cleveland Indians
4.  Chicago White Sox
5.  Minnesota Twins

Final Standings
1.  Detroit Tigers*
2.  Kansas City Royals*
3.  Cleveland Indians
4.  Chicago White Sox
5.  Minnesota Twins

According to Zach, if it wasn't for a terribly blown call a couple weeks ago, I would have predicted this category perfectly.  The Tigers haven't been playing great baseball, but their talent level is just too high to not make the playoffs.  The Royals have finally pushed through that wall that has kept them out of the playoffs since the 80's.  They are a hungry team with nothing to lose, which makes them a team no one wants to play in the playoffs.  The Cleveland Indians showed that last season wasn't a fluke by finishing over 500 again this year.  The White Sox were more talented than their record showed, but they just couldn't emerge in this tough division.  The Twins fired their mainstay manager after a season where their record perfectly reflected their talent level.

AL West
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Texas Rangers*
2.  Los Angeles Angels
3.  Seattle Mariners
4.  Oakland A's
5.  Houston Astros

Final Standings
1.  Los Angeles Angels*
2.  Oakland A's*
3.  Seattle Mariners
4.  Houston Astros
5.  Texas Rangers

Finally, all the spending the Angels have done over the past few seasons has finally paid off.  They had the best record in baseball this year and finished as one of the hottest teams over the last few months.  On the other hand, I knew one of these years Oakland was going to stop over-achieving.  I didn't realize it would require Mr. Moneyball to get too greedy and completely destroy his team's chemistry through questionable trades.  They went from the best team in baseball at the All Star Break to needing a win on the last day of the season to clinch the final Wild Card spot.  If they somehow beat the Royals in the Wild Card game, they probably won't go any further, making this season a disappointment by the Bay.  One of the biggest surprises of the season was Seattle.  They weren't supposed to compete for another season or two, but the leadership of Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez had them in contention until the last day.  Houston continues to take baby steps toward their World Series championship in 2017.  I know I picked the Rangers first and they ended up in the cellar, but this was more a result of a record-setting string of injuries than underachieving.  Their lineup and rotation was completely unrecognizable from the preseason projections after about mid-April.  Add to that the resignation of Ron Washington, who was their heart and soul, and you have a floundering organization going into 2015.

NL East
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Washington Nationals*
2.  Atlanta Braves
3.  New York Mets
4.  Miami Marlins
5.  Philadelphia Phillies

Final Standings
1.  Washington Nationals*
2.  Atlanta Braves
3.  New York Mets
4.  Miami Marlins
5.  Philadelphia Phillies

I am quite impressed with myself as I pretty much nailed the entire National League.  After a down year in 2013, the Nationals were back to playing up to expectations, with arguably the best lineup and rotation in the game.  The Braves gave a valiant effort, but injuries to their pitching staff finally took their toll down the stretch.  While the Braves disappointed with their record, the Mets quietly put together a strong season and took a step forward with the same record as Atlanta.  Up until the last couple weeks, the Marlins somehow stayed in the race even without their phenom ace Jose Fernandez.  This was thanks mainly to Giancarlo Stanton, one of the most exciting players in the league.  As for the Phillies, they sure got old.  They stayed loyal to their aging stars and are now paying the price by not being able to afford new young stars to stay relevant.  It will be five years before they get out of the cellar.

NL Central
My Preseason Predictions
1.  St. Louis Cardinals*
2.  Pittsburgh Pirates*
3.  Milwaukee Brewers
4.  Cincinnati Reds
5.  Chicago Cubs

Final Standings
1.  St. Louis Cardinals*
2.  Pittsburgh Pirates*
3.  Milwaukee Brewers
4.  Cincinnati Reds
5.  Chicago Cubs

Who else could win this division?!?  You could put any roster in Cardinals jersey, and they would win this division.  It's like magic.  However, this year they had some competition for the crown, coming down to the last week to fend off the Pirates.  Pittsburgh proved that last year was no fluke as they followed 2013's magical run with a return trip to the playoffs.  The Brewers were the surprise class of this division for most of the season, but fell back fairly dramatically over the last month or two.  It's a good sign for their future though.  The Reds took a giant step back with no real changes to their team besides the manager.  All we learned this year is Bryan Price is no Dusty Baker.  Hopefully, they realize this before their core group of players starts playing like Phillies.  The Cubs have become the National League version of the Astros, with some great young talent that looks like it might all come together sometime near the end of the decade.

NL West
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Los Angeles Dodgers*
2.  San Francisco Giants*
3.  San Diego Padres
4.  Arizona Diamondbacks
5.  Colorado Rockies

Final Standings
1.  Los Angeles Dodgers*
2.  San Francisco Giants*
3.  San Diego Padres
4.  Colorado Rockies
5.  Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers once again showed by the end of the season that they were the class of the division and worth every penny they spent on that roster.  The Giants are fulfilling their requirement of making the playoffs every other year.  Can they win it all again like their last couple runs?  The Padres showed once again that they are a solid team that in no way can compete with the talent level of the other teams in their division.  Finishing around 500 is the best they can hope for.  The only mistake I made in the whole division was the NL West cellar.  The Rockies started off strong, but the lack of pitching once again proved costly.  Last came the massively underachieving Diamondbacks, who seemed to have lost all chances when Patrick Corbin went down in Spring Training.

My Postseason Awards

Manager of the Year
AL - Lloyd McClendon - SEA
NL - Mike Redmond - MIA
If you were to tell me the Mariners were to play a meaningful 162nd game of the season this year, I wouldn't have believed you (and I'm a die-hard Mariner fan).  Lloyd McClendon changed the culture in Seattle and made them believe they could win in his first year there.  Mike Redmond took whatever was left after the debacle of a couple years ago and put another young, upstart Marlins team flirting with 500 and the playoffs.  I don't know how, but they always do this, and this latest achievement was all thanks to Redmond.

Rookie of the Year
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Masahiro Tanaka - NYY
2.  Xander Bogaerts - BOS
3.  Taijuan Walker - SEA
4.  Yordano Ventura - KC
5.  George Springer - HOU
1.  Michael Wacha - STL
2.  Gregory Polanco - PIT
3.  Travis d'Arnaud - NYM
4.  Billy Hamilton - CIN
5.  Oscar Taveres - STL

My ROY Standings
1.  Jose Abreu - CWS
2.  Matt Shoemaker - LAA
3.  Yordano Ventura - KC
4.  George Springer - HOU
5.  Brock Holt - BOS
1.  Billy Hamilton - CIN
2.  Jacob deGrom - NYM
3.  Travis d'Arnaud - NYM
4.  Kolten Wong - STL
5.  Yangervis Solarte - SD
My preseason predictions were derailed by injuries to Tanaka, Walker, and Springer.  Bogaerts underwhelmed after a huge postseason last year.  The choice for AL ROY would have been a harder decision if Tanaka had been healthy all year, but he wasn't ... so it wasn't.  Jose Abreu proved to be one of the best pure power hitters in the league in his first year in the league.  Look for him to compete for MVP's in years to come.  The surprise of the year was Shoemaker, who was thrust into the rotation as an undrafted free agent due to injuries and ended up winning 16 games.  Springer still makes the list after a huge breakout start before his injury.

An injury  to the most hyped rookie coming into the season took my NL winner away.  Add that to lackluster debuts from Polanco and Taveres, and my predictions were pretty off.  The National League didn't have quite an obvious choice as Abreu in the AL, but Billy Hamilton's electric speed took the league by storm.  Him on base was the biggest game-changer the league has seen since Ricky Henderson.  The rest of the list had solid rookie years, highlighted by d'Arnuad's solid season as the Mets' everyday catcher.  Hamilton was the only breakout star though.

Cy Young Award
My Preseason Predictions
1.  Masahiro Tanaka - NYY
2.  Felix Hernandez - SEA
3.  David Price - TB
4.  Yu Darvish - TEX
5.  James Shields - KC
1.  Jose Fernandez - MIA
2.  Clayton Kershaw - LAD
3.  Stephen Strasburg - WAS
4.  Francisco Liriano - PIT
5.  Madison Bumgarner - SF

My Cy Young Standings
1.  Felix Hernandez - SEA
2.  Corey Kluber - CLE
3.  Chris Sale - CWS
4.  Max Scherzer - DET
5.  Jared Weaver - LAA
1.  Clayton Kershaw - LAD
2.  Adam Wainwright - STL
3.  Johnny Cueto - CIN
4.  Doug Fister - WAS
5.  Madison Bumgarner - SF
Injuries to Tanaka and Darvish eliminated two early frontrunners.  Price and Shields had strong seasons once again, but didn't quite reach the top of the list this year.  This year was all about King Felix, taking the ERA title again and having a streak never seen before in league history.  Hernandez had 16 straight starts with 7+ innings and 2 or fewer runs scored, more than anyone since the dead ball era.  The surprise of the year here was Corey Kluber, leading the way on the no name Indians with 18 wins.  Also, if it weren't for a guy named Kershaw, we would be talking a lot more about Chris Sale being the best lefty in the game.

Speaking of Kershaw, he is well on his way of being one of the greatest pitchers of all time if he can stay healthy.  He even missed a month at the start of the year and still reached the lofty totals he accumulated this season.  It's a shame we couldn't see the showdown between Kershaw and Fernandez that was obviously coming if Fernandez had stayed healthy.  The only surprise on the top 5 is Doug Fister.  On a staff with Stephen Strasburgh, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmerman, Fister and Tanner Roark became the best on the staff and probably the biggest reasons they had the best record in the NL.

My Preseason Predictions
1.  Mike Trout - LAA
2.  Miguel Cabrera - DET
3.  Adrian Beltre - TEX
4.  Robinson Cano - SEA
5.  Chris Davis - BAL
1.  Hanley Ramirez - LAD
2.  Bryce Harper - WAS
3.  Andrew McCutchen - PIT
4.  Justin Upton - ATL
5.  Ryan Braun - MIL

My MVP Standings
1.  Mike Trout - LAA
2.  Miguel Cabrera - DET
3.  Jose Altuve - HOU
4.  Nelson Cruz - BAL
5.  Michael Brantley - CLE
1.  Giancarlo Stanton - MIA
2.  Andrew McCutchen - PIT
3.  Yasiel Puig - LAD
4.  Josh Harrison - PIT
5.  Carlos Gomez - MIL
I had a feeling this would be the year Trout would finally break through and pass Miguel Cabrera at the top of the AL.  Nelson Cruz replaced Chris Davis as the leader of the Oriole offense.  The two breakout stars that nobody is talking about this year were Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley.  By the end of the season, Altuve was the best 2B in baseball (yes, that means better than Cano).  Brantley almost single-handedly led the Indian offense to the playoffs.

In the NL, a lot of the big names in the game had down years.  Many people are saying Kershaw should be the MVP, but the MVP really should go to an everyday player.  The most dominant everyday player in the NL this year was Giancarlo Stanton.  He is the biggest freak of nature this league has seen in quite awhile.  The surprises on this list are Carlos Gomez and utilityman Josh Harrison.  Gomez has been a budding superstar for a few years now, but Josh Harrison might be the most valuable player in the league, just not in the most traditional sense.  He has played as many games as McCutchen, but at 6 or 7 different positions.  They don't make the playoffs without Harrison.

Postseason Predictions

Wild Card Round
Royals def. A's
Giants def. Pirates
Kansas City RoyalsSan Francisco Giants
The Royals are this year's Pirates.  That town is so starved for a postseason run, they will push their team to a win in this first round.  Not to mention they are catching the A's in the middle of their freefall.  I can see them try and step up their game as they have been playing like they had the postseason wrapped up for the last 3 months, but no one is beating the Royals and Big Game James in this one.

As for the actual Pirates, it is hard to root against them, but I can't see them capturing that same magic again, especially going up against the Giants.  Th Pirates lose here, but win the division next year.

Divisional Round
Tigers def. Orioles
Angels def. Royals
Nationals def. Giants
Dodgers def. Cardinals
Detroit TigersLos Angeles AngelsWashington NationalsLos Angeles Dodgers
The Orioles have definitely been playing better than the Tigers, but the playoffs are usually won with experience and pitching.  The Tigers have one of the best rotations in the game, not to mention some of the best hitters.  They should be able to handle the Orioles, but don't be surprised if the O's are able sneak up on them in the short series.

The Royals are a great story, but the great stories usually come to an end before things get too serious.  The Angels are too hot with too much firepower in that lineup to let the Royals keep their dream season going.

The Nationals are finally playing the way they should, and even though the Giants seemed to be destined to go all the way this year, I can't see the Nats losing this early.  However, that's what I thought a few years ago when the Cardinals had another of their miracle comebacks.

This will be a great matchup.  Flash vs. Fundamentals.  Starving for a title vs. Perennial contender.  The Cardinals are definitely weaker than they have been in past years, which doesn't necessarily mean they are out of it, but the Dodgers are too good for them to lose here.

Championship Series
Tigers def. Angels
Nationals def. Dodgers
Detroit TigersWashington Nationals
The Angels have the better lineup, but sometimes clinching early can come back to bite you.  They also have a fairly young, inexperienced pitching staff.  They are good enough to win the Divisional Round on pure talent, but flat play combined with the pitching of Scherzer, Verlander, Sanchez, and Porcello will leave them watching the World Series at home.

The Nats and Dodgers are very similar teams.  Both have incredible pitching staffs, powerful lineups, and motivation to finally bring a championship back home.  The Nats pitching is just better than the Dodgers hitting.  If only Kershaw could pitch every game ... but he can't.

World Series
Nationals def. Tigers
Washington Nationals
As a Mariners fan, this World Series would leave me sad.  With the Nats getting there, it would mean the M's would be the last MLB franchise to never make a World Series.  Regardless of my personal feelings, this would be a fun World Series.  Strasburg vs. Cabrera, Fister vs. his old team, two rookie managers.  The storylines would all be there, yet it isn't your typical big market Goliath's like every other year.  The Nats are built like an American League team, with the Tigers at a disadvantage when Victor Martinez or Miguel Cabrera having to sit in the NL ballpark, unless Miggy goes back to 3rd.  I say Nats take it in 6, with World Series MVP being Asdrubal Cabrera.
Happy October!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Drop (2014) Review

Directed by 
Michael R. Roskam


           When the money changes hands among the Chechen mob in New York, the bosses choose to designate a particular bar the site of “the drop,” where the money can be exchanged without surveillance or the threat of violence or retaliation.  Michael R. Roskam’s The Drop is about one of these bars, called Cousin Marv’s.  Drenched in the gritty atmosphere of Brooklyn, Cousin Marv’s is the favored hangout for the blue-collar workers from the shipyard.  To be sure, the bar isn’t entirely untarnished, but like many hangouts and shady characters from Dennis Lehane screenplays, the more that is left unsaid, the better.
            Ironically, The Drop isn’t really about the drop.  Over the course of the film, only two drops take place at Cousin Marv’s and perhaps not surprisingly, both end up going bad.  The first drop takes place in the film’s opening scene, when Cousin Marv (James Gadolfini, in his final performance) and his bartender, Bob Sacamano Saginowski (Tom Hardy) are closing up the bar late one night and encounter two masked bandits who hold up the bar for $5,000.  Problem is, of course, that the money Marv and Bob hand over from the till doesn’t belong to the bar – it is the money that has exchanged hands during the drop that technically belongs to the Chechen mob.  So the next day, the mobsters pay a visit to Cousin Marv and politely inform him that if he cannot come up with the money, he may end up paying more than he ever bargained for.

            Although Gandolfini’s character is at the center of the events in The Drop, the film’s main character is actually Bob, who appears to be a bizarre mixture of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront and 1990s Adam Sandler.  You see, Bob is a cousin of Marv’s and serves as his right-hand man of sorts because he’s, well, kind of stupid and naïve (two qualities good for right-hand men but not traditionally associated with Tom Hardy characters – hold that thought).  Maybe that’s a little harsh, but consider an early scene where Bob finds an abandoned pit bull puppy beat up and left in a dumpster.  He is immediately attached to the dog, but is completely unaware of how to care for a pet – something most five-year-olds could do.  So he enlists the help of Nadia, the woman whose house the dog was left at (Noomi Rapace).  It apparently never occurred to Bob that this mysterious girl could have had anything to do with the dog’s bad shape since, you know, it was abandoned at her house and all, but no matter.
            So you see, Bob is sort of naïve and stupid.  And like most Dennis Lehane protagonists, his background and morality are shady (what a surprise).  He goes to Mass every day where he runs into the local police investigator (John Ortiz) who coincidentally has been assigned to keep a close eye on the robbery at Cousin Marv’s (this is apparently a really small neighborhood).  Of course, we soon see that the robbery wasn’t a random act of theft, but a calculated series of events designed to thwart the Chechen mobster’s hold over Cousin Marv and his bar (MILD SPOILERS AHEAD).  It turns out to no one’s great surprise that Cousin Marv isn’t that friendly of a guy and resents the fact that the mob controls his bar due to past debts he has been unable to pay.  By orchestrating the robbery after the drop, Cousin Marv is only taking the money that is (in his mind) rightfully his.  
            But wait a second.  You’re telling me that Cousin Marv risks his life, Bob’s life and the lives of his two masked lackeys for (wait for it)… only $5,000???  Who decided on that amount of money to steal – Dr. Evil?  Are they in the market for a used Oldsmobile?  I realize this is nitpicking, but it underscores a larger problem with the screenplay’s dramatic conflict between Cousin Marv and the mob: Why would the mob continue to coordinate drops with Cousin Marv if they know he is resentful and shady?  As the opening scene informs us, there are numerous bars the mob could contract with.  There doesn’t seem to be easy discernable reason why the mob has continued to hold on to Marv – a loose cannon at best – unless the Chechens are even more naïve and more stupid than Bob Saginowski.

            Meanwhile, Bob tries his best to be a good adoptive pet owner with the help of Nadia, but one day out of nowhere, the dog’s original owner, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) comes back into the picture and demands Bob give him $10,000 or he’ll go to the police to reclaim the dog (forget for a second that any reasonable police force would likely find Eric Deeds neglectful and abusive and keep the dog in Bob’s care).  Eric Deeds’ backstory is murky too; he apparently once killed a guy and dated Nadia (the exact order is a little unclear).  So Bob, straddled with the pressures of the mob, Nadia, poor intelligence, and his upcoming bartending shift on Super Bowl Sunday, has the additional pressure of coming up with the money or else. 
            Perhaps one of the worst things about The Drop is the way in which Lehane’s screenplay abides by the banal logic of Screenwriting 101 and uses the Eric Deeds subplot as nothing more than a diversion away from the main events of the story until . . . bam!  The two stories collide in a Completely Unexpected Moment No One Saw Coming.  Another annoying thing about the screenplay is the ways in which it tries to build intrigue and mystery around Bob’s character and motives: is he a good guy or is he hiding something?  Unfortunately, these questions are answered in exposition by Bob late in the movie – exposition which clarifies events in the film greatly, but at the expense of deflating the audience’s sincere interest in the story.  Put another way: We eventually see that Bob is only an ambiguous and mysterious character because the screenplay deliberately withheld crucial information about him and his past.  It was the screenplay’s manipulative structure that obscured him – not so much that his character was ambiguous and interesting to begin with.  I felt moderately cheated.

            I don’t like to harp on performances too much, but it also must be said that Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace feel miscast here.  It’s not just that neither can carry an authentic-sounding Brooklyn accent.  I said earlier that Hardy feels like an unlikely mix of Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (which The Drop unmistakably recalls) and 1990s Adam Sandler – but Bob really shouldn’t be a torn bystander with Catholic guilt or a psychopathic moron with a puppy.  He should be a weak-minded individual with the desire to escape the domineering nature of his cousin, and Hardy instead comes off as too assured and poised for that.  As for Rapace, she feels distant and inconsequential (although her role is admittedly never really fleshed out beyond Obligatory Love Interest.) 

            Throughout this review, I’ve alluded to the fact that Dennis Lehane’s screenplays tend to contain surprising gaps in basic logic and rarely move beyond the most foundational structures of crime narratives (fortunately this film lacks the annoyingly colorful urban side characters of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone).  The Drop is at least partially redeemed for director Roskam’s austere visual strategy and the fact that the movie wisely steers clear of explosive violence in favor of more gradual character development (I also like that this is one of the only mainstream pro-Pit Bull movies I've ever encountered). But there are too many loose ends and underdeveloped components, left intentionally vague by the screenplay in order to artificially and unfairly inflate viewer interest.  And as for Gandolfini, who gives the best performance in the film and is underutilized, let it be known that probably no one in film history could more perfectly play the role of a shady bar owner named Cousin Marv. 

Rating: 2.5 stars

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Movie Heroes and Villains!!

                Movie Heroes and Villains!!!

  Some of the greatest characters in movies are the heroes and the villains they face.  But how do we classify heroes and villains?

 For heroes it's simple, you have to be able to be heroic and overcome the obstacles that your enemies throw at you.  Be able to get your hands dirty and make the tough choices, that others can't make.  You might be a good guy, I'm looking at you Alfred Pennyworth from Batman, but that doesn't mean your a hero!

For villains it comes down to this, be memorable.  You must be devoted to your craft and present a challenge to the hero.  Being scary, maniacal, and completely insane is always a plus! 
Shall we begin..


Honorable Mentions:
The Ghostbusters, Billy Costigan, Katniss Everdeen, Martin Riggs, Lt. Aldo Raine, Captain Kirk, 

                                  10. William Wallace
Movie: Braveheart
Reason: He's a Scottish Warrior who leds the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against the King of England.
Best Quote: Freedom!!

                                         9. Micheal

Movie: The Deer Hunter
Reason: He fought in the arguably the toughest war of all time.  He became a P.O.W.  He saved and rescued himself and his best friend as well as a fellow comrade. 
Best Quote: "You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it's all about.  A deer's gotta be taken with one shot."

                                      8. Jason Bourne

Movie Franchise: Bourne Trilogy
Best Film: The Bourne Ultimatum
Reason: He's a trained killing machine.  He was part of a project called Treadstone, where agents were turned into the ultimate assassin.
Best Quote: "I swear to God if I even feel somebody behind me, there is no measure to how fast and how hard I will bring this fight to your doorstep.  I'm on my own side now."

                                      7. Ellen Ripley

Movie Franchise: Alien Series
Best Movie: Aliens
Reason:  Has survived countless alien attacks.  Is an expert in military weapons and knows how to operate mechs.  Even the grave can't keep her down.
Best Quote: "Get away from her, you Bitch!!" 

                                       6. John Rambo

Movie Franchise: Rambo Series
Best Movie: First Blood
Reason: Fought in the Vietnam War.  He was trained by the U.S. Army Special Forces.  Has a superior tracking skills.  Medal of Honor winner.  
Best Quote: "You know what you are...what you're made of.  War is in your blood. Don't fight it.  You didn't kill for your country.  You killed for yourself.  God's never gonna make that go away.  When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing." 

                                        5. T-800

Movie Franchise: Terminator Series
Best Movie: Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Reason:  Protector of John Conner, leader of the Resistance. 
Best Quote: Hasta la vista, baby!

                                                4. John McClane 

Movie Franchise: Die Hard Series
Best Movie: Die Hard
Reason: He is a foul-mouthed, wisecracking, no-nonsense New York Cop with an itchy trigger finger and a never-say-die maverick spirit.
Best Quote: "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf****r!"

                             3. Han Solo

Movie Franchise: Star Wars
Best Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Reason: He is part of the Rebel Alliance which opposes the Galactic Empire.  He is a chief figure in the Alliance and is a smuggler.  He loves his blaster.
Best Quote:  "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

                                                         2. James Bond
Movie Franchise: 007:James Bond
Best Movie: (tie) Skyfall and The Man with the Golden Gun
Reason:  Part of the British Secret Service.  He is the most charming and ruthless 00.  Master of weapons, wits, and the ladies. 
Best Quote: "Just a drink, Martini, shaken not stirred." 

                                      1. Indiana Jones
Movie Franchise: Indiana Jones Series
Best Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Reason: An archaeologist, who has out witted the Nazi's and Soviet Union.  Also has found some of the world's lost artifacts.  
Best Quote:  "We don't follow maps to buried treasure, and X never, ever marks the spot."

Okay well that was fun, but now it's time for the good part!!

The Villains!! 

Honorable Mentions:
Buffalo Bill, Bill the Butcher, Wicked Witch of the West, Jigsaw, Norman Stanfield, Loki,  Alex DeLarge, and the countless slasher killers (Mike Meyers, Jason, Freddy Kreguer)

                                      10. Hans Gruber

Movie: Die Hard
Threat: He is an internationally feared German terrorist.  He is the mastermind behind the Nakatomi Plaza Heist.  He is an extremist.   
Best Quote: "What was it you said to me before? Yippie-ki-yay, motherf****r.".

                                     9. Frank Costello
Movie: The Departed
Threat: An Irish mobster, who plants a "rat" in the F.B.I.  He deals in drugs and fear!
Best Quote:  "When you decide to be something, you can be it.  That's what they don't tell you in the church.  When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals.  Today, what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"

                                   8: Keyser Söze

Movie: The Usual Suspects
Threat:  He is a crime lord, who's ruthlessness and influence have acquired a legendary, even mythical, status among cops and criminals alike.  
Best Quote: ???

                                 7: Lord Voldemort
Movie Franchise: Harry Potter Series
Best Movie: The Deathly Hollows: Part 2
Threat:  He is obsessed to rule the magical world and the human world.  He is the leader of the Death Eaters 
Best Quote: "Harry Potter, the boy who lived...come to die."

                               6:  The Terminator

Movie Franchise: The Terminator series
Best Movie: The Terminator
Threat: A cyborg assassin, sent back into time to kill the leader of the future Resistance. 
Best Quote: "I'll be back."

                                5. Anton Chigurh

Movie: No Country for Old Men
Threat: Great deal of endurance, master gunman, expert hitman, high degree of intellect and improvisation, and a professional tracker.
Best Quote: "How much have you ever lost in a coin toss."

                               4. Col. Hans Lander

Movie: Inglorious Basterds
Threat:  Nicknamed the "Jew Hunter" in reference to his keen ability to locate people hiding in occupied France.  Egotistical and ambitious.   
Best Quote:  "I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing."

                                  3: The Joker

Movie: The Dark Knight

Threat:  A psychopath, mass-murdering, 

schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.

Best Quote: "Let's put a smile on that face."

                                   2: Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Movie Franchise: Hannibal series

Best Movie: The Silence of the Lambs

Threat: A forensic psychiatrist and a cannibalistic serial killer.

Best Quote:  "Good Evening, Clarice."

                                  1. Darth Vader

Movie Franchise: Star Wars

Best Movie: The Empire Strikes Back

Threat:  He is the leader of the Galactic Empire.  A Sith Lord 

who was trained by the Jedi Order.  

Best Quote:  "No, I am your father."


So that's my list!!!  I finally stopped pulling my hair out, trying

 to figure out the perfect order for each character.  I know 

there a few characters that could be in there but this is mine 

not yours!!!  But, please, tell me who you would have and 

what I did wrong?

Thank you, Adam