Friday, June 24, 2011

Fucking Up the Flyers...Even More!

Paul Holmgren, what in the fucking shit?

Just a year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers were in the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks; mostly due to the fact that they were just plain outgunned in nearly every aspect, but it was their goaltending that received the most criticism. Now here we are today, and the Flyers managed to finally lock up goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a ridiculous contract that will pay him until he hits 40 years old. But besides the 9 year, 51 million dollar contract, obtaining Bryzgalov cost the franchise more than anyone would have thought: Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

Carter and Richards are the two names that fans most associate with the Flyers today. These two were looked upon as the future of the franchise for at least the next decade. Richards is in year three of a 12-year deal, while Carter inked an 11 year deal just this past November. Now, they are both gone, Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. Carter was the high flying, goal-scoring center, Richards was supposedly the next Bobby Clarke. Now they’re both gone, and all the Flyers have to show for it is a First Round Draft Pick, a Third Rounder, promising youngsters Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Vorachek, and what is now the highest paid goaltender in the league today with Bryzgalov.

First off, let me get one thing out of the way: change was needed. The Flyers needed to clear cap space with or without Bryzgalov, and Carter had been involved in trade rumors for a while now, so that in itself isn’t much of a surprise. But trading your captain? The guy who is supposed to be the face of the franchise for the next decade plus? The guy who led the team to the Finals a year ago and helped them overcome a now legendary and unheard of 3-0 deficit against the Bruins? Really? It was obvious that there was a rift between Richards, head coach Peter Laviolette, and a good chunk of the Flyers locker room, most notably Chris Pronger. But now, Richards and Carter are both gone, two guys in the primes of their careers, a dynamic one-two punch that weren’t the main problem the Flyers have had. Off the ice drama aside (i.e., Carter supposedly banging Scott Hartnell’s wife) and disasters dealing with the media (Richards wasn’t the best at dealing with the press), these were the guys I envisioned leading the team to at least some kind of glory…then again, people said the same thing about Eric Lindros and John LeClair too.

Who knows how this will all pan out in the end? With Bryzgalov signed, both newcomers Simmonds and Vorachek are restricted free-agents, meaning they need new contracts (and raises), which will put the Flyers up against the salary cap yet again, so it’s more than likely that there will be more moves ahead. For now, this is Chris Pronger’s team, which we all know is the way that he wanted it. Yeah, the 35-ish year old future Hall of Fame defenseman who we’ve taken over the two mid-20s faces of the franchise. It’s going to be a long, LONG hockey season here in Philly, and that isn’t even the saddest part either. The LA Kings (when healthy) are legitimate Cup contenders, with a foundation and nucleus built through the draft (which, if the past few years since the lockout has indicated, you have to build through the draft and do it well and timely to really put together a winner), and now they’ve added Mike Richards. Who wants to take the over/under on whether it’s Philly or LA that wins a Cup first?

I can’t even really blame Paul Holmgren too much here either, for Flyers founder/chairman Ed Snider made it known to the GM that he wanted a big-name, legitimate goalie right the fuck right now, consequences be damned. Well, the consequences are pretty heavy right now, and if Bryzgalov fumbles (a 31 year-old goalie that plays great in the regular season but is absolutely horrible come playoff time) the fans will no doubt be in a goddamn revolt. Personally, I see him as the reincarnation of Roman Cechmanek (how’s that for a name drop?)…and we all know how THAT ended up turning out in the end don’t we?

Fucking Flyers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Bruins Win the Cup, and the Hockey Gods Piss on Vancouver...a Lot

I said it before and I’ll say it again, the official tagline for the NHL should be, “this is hockey, shit happens”. Such a description would have been a perfect fit in the aftermath of the final showdown between the Canucks and Bruins, as the shit really hit the fan in various parts of Vancouver. That above picture? It’s made the rounds and in the span of a few days, has become quite famous…more than likely because we’re about two degrees away from seeing this chick’s snatch pop out, but I digress. What happened in Vancouver was a travesty and a shock...both in terms of the destruction and the hockey game itself.

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup…and the hockey gods once again took out their collective wangs and took a big ‘ol piss on the Vancouver Canucks. If only the hockey gods would have kept their streams going long enough to put out the fires in Vancouver afterwards when the city went apeshit in the wake of seeing their hometown NHL team get blown out in a Game 7 loss to the Bruins that decided the Cup, only adding to the fact that in the 40 years of their existence, the Canucks have never won shit. The last time the Canucks were in the Finals was the first time: 1994 against the Mark Messier-led New York Rangers, who also took the Canucks to seven games before winning it all. That same pain and anguish that was all over the faces of than Canucks like Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, and Kirk McLean was seen again on current Canucks Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, and of course the Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

To make a long story short, the Bruins earned the Cup just based on the fact that they outworked the Canucks in nearly every way. They played physical, knocked the Sedin’s around, made Kesler ineffectual, and made Luongo look like the worst goalie on the planet. Were it not for having the ageless Tim Thomas in net and the hulking Zdeno Chara patrolling the defense, who knows how the matchup would have turned out instead? And speaking of Thomas, the Bruins goalie continues to defy odds. He’s pushing 40 years old, and spent a majority of his career in the minors before ever playing an NHL game, and now he’s a Cup winner, a playoff MVP, and will more than likely capture his second Vezina Trophy for league’s top goaltender. The other ageless one on the Bruins roster, former Flyer Mark Recchi, has called it a career after winning his third Cup with a third franchise. Next stop for Recchi: Hall of Fame.

All things considered when matched up against one another, the Canucks should have had this one in the bag. I myself picked them to win the Cup in 5 or 6 games, along with a lot of other hockey analysts as well. This isn’t necessarily because I loathe the shit out of the Bruins, but because the Canucks just outmatch them in terms of skill play…but shit like that doesn’t mean a goddamn thing apparently if you keep getting your ass handed to you on the ice night after night, game after game. As much as I hate admitting it, the Bruins earned this Cup, their first in 39 years. Plus, it was bittersweet in a way finally getting to see Bruin legend Cam Neely lift the Cup over his head. A monster power-forward in his day, Neely (who began his career as a Canuck first ironically enough) retired early due to a degenerative health condition, and sits in the B’s front office today, so seeing him lift the Cup was a happy moment of sorts. And, to be even more totally honest, I enjoyed watching tears drip down the face of Robbie Luongo. All we have to do now is throw some black and white makeup on him and he’ll look like “The Crow” (yeah I said it).

The Boston Bruins are your 2011 Stanley Cup Champions. I’m now taking the over/under how long it takes for Marc Savard to get another concussion due to Milan Lucic accidentally (?) dropping the Cup on his head. Place ‘em now bitches.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever is here...for better or worse

Hell has officially froze over…”Duke Nukem Forever” is here…for better or worse.

If you read the reviews surrounding the title (which has spent a decade plus in development), you’d think that it’s the worst video game to come out since “E.T.” on the Atari. As someone who has waited so damn long for this game to come out, I can’t say that I’m not a little disappointed at the end result, but what I can say is that the bad press surrounding it is hardly all that warranted either.

Back in the late 90s (97 I think) when DNF was officially announced, the first person shooter genre was a lot different than it is today. We didn’t have the “Halo” franchise or the numerous “Call of Duty” games, or “Killzone”, or “Resistance”, or “Half-Life”, etc, etc. We had simple yet fun FPS games like “Doom”, “Quake”, and of course, “Duke Nukem 3-D”. From that time until today, where we have the more sophisticated shooters that I already mentioned, things have surely changed, and expectations for DNF, as well as shooters in general, have reached incredibly high heights. I’m not saying it’s unfair to have high hopes for a game that was well-known for being little more than vaporware for the past decade, I’m just saying that there’s no way any hype built around it could really live up to the exceedingly high expectations. Hence the facts that I think the reviewers and press have been a little too harsh on Duke thus far.

On to the game itself, I will admit that it is underwhelming to a degree, and can be quite frustrating. I love the juvenile, dirty humor of the game, because that’s what I was hoping for in a game starring Duke fucking Nukem. Gameplay wise, it often feels like a mish-mash of various shooters that have come and gone since DNF was originally announced. There are puzzle elements that feel like they were ripped right out of “Half-Life 2”. Duke can now only carry two weapons max. He has a regenerating health bar. There’s more features besides that have been adopted by the game that are so featured in every FPS around today that at times it doesn’t feel like a true Duke Nukem game should: i.e., old school shooting fun. The graphics are a mix of bland and boring, but the shooting elements themselves make up for it in my humble fucktard of an opinion. And honestly, I enjoy the game for the most part; minus the tedious driving assignments that is.

What it all comes down to is this: if you’ve become so used to how big-budget games like “Halo” and the “Call of Duty” series are, you won’t like “Duke Nukem Forever”, so it’d be best for you to steer clear. If you want an enjoyable dirge however and wind up not paying too much for it and want to kill some brain cells, I say check the fucker out.

Like I said before, I’d still take this over Call of Duty 25: Modern Warfare 12 in Space with Zombies or whatever installment they’re at now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LeBron Goes Down...and It's Awesome

Before I get started, I just want to point out in the above picture that even though it looks like LeBron has six toes, he really doesn’t…I think…

When LeBron James came into the league, the hype around him was nearly nothing like anything that had been seen before when it came to a pro basketball prospect, especially one that was just right out of high school. The nicknames and titles bestowed upon him were many:

King James

The Future

The Franchise

The Chosen One

and more besides…

The one nickname however that James has earned is nowhere near as endearing however:

The Fourth Quarter Choke Artist

Yes, LeBron has undergone a lot of criticism and disdain since he announced he was “taking his talents to South Beach” last summer after spurning his hometown Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, and all of it has been deserved. With “The Decision” and all the media hoopla that led up to it and subsequently followed it well into the NBA season and playoffs, watching LeBron and the Heat melt down in the finals to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks was simply wonderful to watch happen. That’s 2 NBA Finals appearances that LeBron has made with zero rings to show for it. And oh yeah, this is also the guy who criticized his critics who have “little lives” compared to him and showed no sportsmanship whatsoever on the court. This is the guy who, along with Dwayne Wade, made fun of Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki’s case of being sick. This is the guy who has been compared to Michael Jordan…and the truth of the matter is that this is a guy who will NEVER be Michael Jordan.

A few weeks ago, Scottie Pippen declared that LeBron was in some ways better than Jordan and could be an all around better player than Jordan as well. Yes, this was said by Scottie Pippen, the guy who was Jordan’s wingman for years, and will probably go down as being one of the best wingmen in the history of the league. Thankfully, fellow NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar told Scottie to shut his fucking mouth in so many words, which is what EVERYBODY else who heard Pippen’s remarks were already thinking. Say whatever you will about Jordan’s off the court antics and controversy, but on the court he at least had a degree of class about him. He hated to lose yes, but at least he stuck around to congratulate the opposition when he did lose, and he only lost rarely when it mattered too. Unlike LeBron, there was no quit in Jordan; he played all four quarters, and had a better all-around game than anyone else in the league during his heyday. And when it mattered, when the chips were down and the clock was ticking away, Jordan never looked tired or sluggish; he came out swinging. That in itself is something we’ve NEVER seen from LeBron, and probably never will.

Watching LeBron break down and come down with a case of being an ultra-sore loser is almost sad to watch in a way. Was it really all that long ago when he was the darling of the NBA, had the adoration of every fan whether they lived in Cleveland or not, and garnered the cheers for the Cavaliers to succeed no matter what? It wasn’t that long ago, but it honestly feels like it was. Since then, he’s become the league villain everywhere but Miami, and that sound you heard Sunday night was the sound of every Cavaliers fan in the country laughing at LeBron’s continuing playoff futility; the fact that he just can’t be there when it really matters.

Loads of talent? Totally.

Walking pile of shit? Definitely.

Fuck you LeBron, and it was fun seeing you lose. True, you get to go back to your mansion and millions while the rest of us have to go back to our “little lives”, but that will just make us enjoy watching you fail all the more so.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Flyers Free-Agent Futility

The more things change, the more they stay the same. So it is with the Philadelphia Flyers, and they begin to go through another off-season chasing a big-money free-agent that will likely pay little dividends in the end. That free-agent in question is former Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov; the exclusive negotiating rights of whom the Flyers acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for a minor-leaguer and what little they had left in terms of draft picks. Whether they end up signing Bryzgalov or not before he officially hits free-agent status July 1st is kind of irrelevant when you think about it, especially considering the Flyers’ track record of free-agent futility.

Last season, when the Flyers made a storybook run to the Stanley Cup Finals, goaltending in general was practically irrelevant. On the shoulders of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher, the Flyers managed to do the impossible and reach the Finals before getting knocked out by the Blackhawks. It was during their run however that many fans and analysts started to realize that you didn’t really need a big-money goaltender to win the Cup, as the Hawks didn’t have one either. While the Flyers’ lack of defense was exposed, they addressed it in the summer that followed by acquiring Andrej Meszaros and Sean O’Donnell, and for a good chunk of this past season, it appeared that those were the right moves to make.

Back to the issue of goaltending however, this is what really proved to be the team’s absolute biggest flaw. They rode rookie Sergei Bobrovsky harder they should have (he started nearly 60 games) and were the only team in the NHL not to record a shutout all season long. Playoff hero Leighton was demoted to the AHL, and veteran Boucher got many of the starts come playoff time, to little avail. So now, a year after declaring that the team didn’t need a big-money goaltender to win it all, GM Paul Holmgren is chasing Bryzgalov, who is going to be commanding a huge salary.

If the Flyers had the salary cap space, signing Bryzgalov wouldn’t be so much of a deal, but they don’t. Even with the salary cap expected to rise up league-wide, they still won’t have enough cash to lock him in. Forwards Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Kris Versteeg; combined with defensemen Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, Brayden Coburn, and Meszaros all amount to almost 90% of the team’s salary cap spending. They won’t be able to re-sign key free-agent forward Ville Leino, nor solid stay-at-home defenseman O’Donnell. Who are the Flyers going to be dumping salary to? The Florida Panthers need plenty of salary to reach the salary floor alone, so that looks like a good trading partner right there. Not to mention the fact that the Flyers have zilch in terms of prospects in the system or draft picks either. Former GM Bobby Clarke used to mortgage the future for veteran players all time until it finally caught up with him, and now it appears that Holmgren is going down the exact same path after the past few years of making some shrewd and great moves and signings.

Then, we look at Bryzgalov himself, the key figure to this whole damn thing. He’s had some really great years in Phoenix, last year in particular when he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, but the truth of the matter is that he’s a veteran goaltender who isn’t getting any younger. He won the Cup as a member of the Anaheim Ducks (with Pronger and O’Donnell no less) and knows what it takes to win, but who knows just how many good seasons he has left in him. The team playing in front of him is no doubt talented, but on the losing nights when Philly fans really let their feelings out about how much the team sucks, will he be able to handle it? Personally, I say fuck no.

If it’s one thing that the post-lockout NHL has proven, to win it all, you have to build through the draft. The Flyers definitely have a somewhat decent amount of homegrown talent (Richards, Carter, JVR, Giroux, Bobrovsky) but not nearly enough compared to Cup winners past of the Blackhawks, Penguins, and Red Wings. Depending on what happens this off-season, and the upcoming one as well, it may be time for another complete overhaul in Flyer-land. Personally I hope not, but if it’s one thing Flyers management has always been good at doing, it’s blowing everything the fuck up with little to no logic attached to it, and something tells me that that time isn’t all that far away.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The 10 Comic Book Movies I Fucking Hate

Anyone who knows me remotely in the least, or at least has been reading this sorry excuse of a blog of mine, knows that I love comic books, always have and always will. As much as I love them and all the history that surrounds the medium though, there is one thing that is involved with the graphic medium that I absolutely hate: shitty comic book adapted movies.

Yes sir, more often than not, there are all kinds of shitty comic book adaptations that command big budgets, big stars, and wind up being big piles of horseshit instead. In those regards, I now humbly present to you, the 10 worst comic book movies I have ever seen and/or just plain despise because they kill the source material so damned much. They aren’t in any particular order mind you, and some hold some of these adaptations in high regard (for whatever reason, probably because they don’t know how to fucking read but that’s just me), but regardless, do yourself a favor and just NEVER, EVER watch these pieces of cinematic trash. Do something more constructive with your time instead, like try sticking your head up your ass while whistling the theme song from “The Simpsons” or something.

Anyway, here we go:

Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Uma Thurman

The granddaddy of all shitty superhero movies, Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin” is so bad I can’t even put it into the right words. No, seriously, if you’ve never seen it, you really don’t know just how fucking bad this movie is. Everything you’ve heard; from the bat-nipples, to the bat-ice skates, to the bat-credit card and more besides, is all so sadly, depressingly true. Atrociously campy acting, a neon colored Gotham City, and some of the worst dialogue in the history of mankind…ALL THAT is what you’ll find here!!! This movie was so bad that there wasn’t even a real attempt to make another Batman movie until 2005’s “Batman Begins” reboot. This movie was so bad that it made no studio ever want to touch another comic book property to make a movie. This movie was so bad that it pretty much effectively killed the careers of Chris O’Donnel and Alicia Silverstone. This movie was so bad that it made little kids who saw it in theaters lead lives of perversion and degradation, committing crimes, wiping their asses with the American flag, and fuck their best friend’s mothers! This movie is nothing more than pure Bat-shit!!! Pure fucking Bat-shit!!! And it makes you be thankful that Christopher Nolan came along and brought respectability back to Batman in film. It makes you thankful that Joel Schumacher is now looked upon by comic book geeks as the Hitler of film directors. It makes you thankful that “Batman Forever” wasn’t even this bad (and that’s saying something). I’d rather go dive face first into a huge pile of bat-shit than sit through this disgrace to comics and film again.

Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LeBeouf

The John Constantine I know and love from the “Hellblazer” comics is a blonde, British, chain-smoking master of bad luck black magic. He conned the devil into curing his lung cancer and when done, looked him in the eye, lit up a cigarette, and gave him the finger. He’s often a reluctant hero, but he’s also a bastard who uses his friends and loved ones as pawns whether he realizes it or not, all in an effort to always wind up on top of whatever bloody situation he finds himself in. The John Constantine found in “Constantine” is in the form of Keanu Reeves, and is a boring old demon hunter who wants to go to Heaven when he dies because he’s afraid of what awaits him in Hell, and he’s kind of a douche bag as well. Granted the Constantine I know and love is a selfish prick, but he isn’t without his charm. So why do I hate “Constantine” so damned much? Because it takes just about everything great about the character and dumbs it down to be digested by a wider audience. John Constantine has had run-ins with Lucifer and demons from time to time, but he sure as fuck isn’t a demon hunter like he’s presented here as being. And oh yeah, the film’s storyline as a whole is so fucking overblown and ridiculous that it causes character creator Alan Moore to shit fire anytime it airs on television. Yes, he hates it probably more than I do.

Director: James McTeigue
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea

Another creation of Alan Moore’s that was dumbed down for mass audiences to digest, “V For Vendetta” either misses or completely disregards the points made by Moore’s original work and instead opts for an action-oriented shit-fest that audiences fell in love with. The moral quandaries of whether or not the Guy Fawkes-masked antihero V is a hero or a terrorist is thrown out the window. The subplots regarding the inner-workings of the totalitarian state that the story takes place in are ignored. Evie’s backstory is altered to the point that you already know everything there is to know about her within her first five minutes of screen time. And the moral ambiguity of V’s actions, as well as that of his identity and ultimate intent of taking Evie under his wing are skewed and flat-out shit all over and instead opts for V doing Neo-esque kung-fu moves in dark alleys (which isn’t surprising, considering the Wachowski brothers wrote the screenplay and produced the film). Do yourself a favor, if you want a truly challenging, complex, deep, and emotional read, pick up Moore’s graphic novel instead; you won’t regret it.

Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan

Bryan Singer managed to work some kind of strange magic with the first two “X-Men” films, “X2: X-Men United” in particular. With the awesome, downbeat ending that was featured in “X2”, X-Men fans across the globe (myself included) couldn’t wait to see what could have been the classic “Phoenix Saga” brought to the big screen. We didn’t get it. Instead, Singer and his team jumped ship to make “Superman Returns”, while the third “X-Men” film ended up falling into the hands of Brett fucking Ratner; the same assclown who helmed the “Rush Hour” movies. The end result was a straight up slap in the face to fans of the X-Men comics and movies alike. We get tons of corny moments, incoherent action scenes, whiny mutants, Colossus looking like he’s wrapped in tin-foil, Cyclops getting unceremoniously killed off-screen (in reality, actor James Marsden, who had a prominent role in “Superman Returns”, was written out early in the film as punishment from Fox), flat out insulting the intelligence of the audience, and nothing remotely resembling the “Phoenix Saga” in the least. True, it may not be the absolute worst superhero movie you’ll ever see, but it’s just so lame and pays little to no respect to the source material that you can’t help but wonder why Fox and Marvel didn’t at least take their time in the film’s overall production, which was notoriously short and hurried. As for Bryan Singer though, he wasn’t quite without sin either in 2006…

Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey

When “Superman Returns” came out the same summer as “X-Men: The Last Stand”, it had been the first true “Superman” film in nearly 20 years, and it had a lot going for it. Bryan Singer had made the first two X-Men films, and he did quite well with them too. Warner Bros. had given Singer nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollar budget to work with. Kevin Spacey was playing Lex Luthor, and the overall cast looked great as well. What we got instead with “Superman Returns” was an overblown, underwhelming, wankfest that supposedly “pays homage” to Richard Donner’s original “Superman” film, but really just basically plagiarizes it. Instead of Superman, we have a “super-stalker”, who can’t stand the fact that Lois Lane has moved on in his absence and now has a fiancĂ© and a young son (and oh yeah, the son is really Superman’s and he has superpowers too. Nooch.). One last thing, it’s a 2 and a half hour long movie and it barely has ANY action sequences. When I think of Superman, I think of world-shattering action and excitement. Here, we get none of that except for when Superman saves a space shuttle and lifts up a chunk of rock to launch into orbit. And Lex Luthor is still doing the whole “land scheme” from the 70s films. Yeah, Superman in film has really, really come far. Fuck this shit.

HULK (2003)
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connolly, Nick Nolte

On paper, a big budget adaptation of the Hulk should have worked, even if it was handled by the guy who achieved worldwide fame for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and would go on to win an Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain”. Why you ask? Because the whole Bruce Banner/Hulk inner struggle and all the emotions associated therein could have been real gold…but instead what we got was a giant green turd. Shitty CGI effects are one thing, but the fact that the 2003 “Hulk” is so mind numbingly slow and boring is absolutely unforgivable. Add to that a scene-chewing Nick Nolte, ridiculous “Hulk-dogs”, and the fact that there is very little action going on in what’s supposed to be a movie about an angry, mutated monster destroying everything in sight; and you have one totally shitty comic book flick. Thankfully, the 2008 reboot was much better, but it sadly couldn’t erase all the memories of green shit that are still in my brain after wasting the cash to go see this piece of fuck.

Director: Stephen Norrington
Starring: Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend

Alan Moore’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” comics were equal parts shocking and exciting, as he gleefully took various literary characters and put them in some fucked science fiction/horror situations. You’d think that a film adaptation directed by “Blade”’s Stephen Norrington and starring Sean fucking Connery would be awesome…and you’d figure wrong! Universally panned by critics and comic book fans alike, this film adaptation was so goddamn bad that Connery and Norrington actually got in an on-set fist-fight, and Connery hasn’t acted in another film since. This is the film that led creator Moore to request that any adaptation of his work not credit him in any way whatsoever. This is the piece of shit that took a serious, horrific take on these classical characters and turned them into nothing more than jokes. This is the shit-riffic fuck-fest that took any original ideas of Moore’s, shit all over them, and attempted to re-package them for dimwitted audiences…but even some people aren’t that stupid. Piss on this fucking turd.

Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan

What can I say about “Daredevil” that hasn’t been said already? Granted I kind of dug how they managed to present how Daredevil “sees” like bat-radar, but other than that we have a somewhat campy and overly flashy take on Marvel’s blind superhero. Those things are bad enough on their own, but the casting of Daredevil, Elektra, Bullseye, and The Kingpin are so goddamn bad that it boggles my mind what the casting company was smoking. Add to that the ridiculous costumes (Daredevil’s looks like an S&M lovers wet dream, while Elektra’s and Bullseye’s just look like garbage) and the poppy-emo soundtrack, and the end result is Fox and Marvel trying to take the noir-ish superhero and turn him into a Spider-Man-esque douche bag for everyone to enjoy. And yeah, you guessed it, nobody enjoyed it.

Director: Pitof
Starring: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone

I’ll be totally honest with you; I’ve never made it all the way through “Catwoman”. It’s just so unbelievably awful that I try to pretend that it doesn’t even exist. Even having Halle Berry prance around in that ridiculous (yet kind of hot) costume doesn’t help matters any, it’s just so bad, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” bad. I remember when the film was coming out, the trailer for it had said something to the effect of “when a person dies, a cat can bring them back to make the wrong things right”. Wait a fucking minute why does that sound so familiar? Because it’s from “The Crow”, only the word “cat” replaces “crow” in this piece of shit! I’m all for having a legit movie based on Catwoman, because she’s such an interesting character that walks the line between hero and villain and has always been one of Batman’s greatest allies/adversaries. The fact that the character isn’t even the original Selena Kyle from the comics is fucking unforgivable as well, not to mention the fact that the whole affair has the flash and dash of a big budget car commercial. Thankfully it bombed, and Berry has never even been able to live this piece of shit down.

Director: Frank Miller
Starring: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

Oh Jesus, I don’t even know where to start with “The Spirit”. I actually kind of had high hopes for this believe it or not, mainly because I knew how beloved Will Eisner’s character was by Frank Miller, himself a legendary comic book visionary who wanted to try his hand at the director’s chair after the success he had with Robert Rodriguez filming “Sin City” in 2005. Instead with “The Spirit”, we get a “Sin City”-ish take on Eisner’s characters and world, and it feels like a watered-down noir that is so overblown, overacted, and overstuffed with all things horseshit and boredom that it instead just flat out slaps Eisner and his work in the face. Miller may have had good intentions (and even that is debatable) but he ended up making his idol and mentor roll over in his grave. What a disgrace.

Director: Danny Cannon
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider

Before the abortion of a movie known as “Judge Dredd” came out, people had no idea who the fuck he was, on this side of the pond anyway. In the UK, Judge Dredd was the flagship character of the “2000 A.D.” comic magazine, so much so that many great comic writers and artists had worked on the character at some point or another. In the comic, Dredd never takes his helmet off, because he’s just that goddamn intense and serious about what he does. Here, Stallone takes his helmet off the first five minutes. Now, I don’t have that much of a problem with that, but the fact that the character and his world are treated like second-rate science fiction knock-offs, it’s no wonder that no one here cared about Judge Dredd then or now. There is a new adaptation in the works right now, so hopefully the second time around will do Dredd the justice (no pun intended) he so deserves…but I doubt it.

Dishonorable mentions:

Howard the Duck (but it’s so bad it’s kind of funny, so it’s worth a look just for that alone)
Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (starring David fucking Hasselhoff)
Captain America (the early 90s direct to video piece of shit)
Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Ghost Rider
The Punisher (2004)
Batman Forever
Barb Wire
Spider-Man 3
The Phantom
Fantastic Four
Jonah Hex

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Shitstorm of Futility That Was the Atlanta Thrashers, and How It's Everyone's Fault

After 15 years of only getting to see minor league and junior league hockey, Winnipeg is finally getting an NHL hockey team back. The Atlanta Thrashers have finally been sold after a year’s long ownership squabble/abandonment, and will relocate to Winnipeg, Manitoba; where 15 years ago the citizens of said city watched their beloved Winnipeg Jets pack their bags and move to Phoenix, becoming the Coyotes (for more irony, the Coyotes were originally due to find a new city to call home after their season came to an end this year, and were THIS close to actually moving back to Winnipeg!) While this is indeed a joyous time for the people of Winnipeg, Manitoba in general, and even Canada as a whole, this is a very depressing time for Atlanta Thrashers fans.

You know all fifteen of them.

Since the team joined the league in the late 90s/early 2000s, they have been a prime example of utter mediocrity. In the decade plus they’ve had of existence, they qualified for the playoffs once (in 2007) and never even won a playoff game. The team’s futility is in large part to overly sloppy management from former General Manager and current Team President (wait, never mind...) Don Waddell, who had been there managing the team into the shitter of the NHL since it first joined the league. Combine that with ownership changes aplenty on top of inner-circle squabbles, and the fact that this is fucking Atlanta we’re talking about here (not exactly a hockey hotbed) and you have a tasty recipe for disaster. Back in the 1970s, there was an NHL team in Atlanta, the Atlanta Flames. Hockey didn’t work there back then either and they headed over the border as well and became the Calgary Flames. So what made NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the brain trust in the NHL front office decide putting another team in Atlanta would be a great idea in the first place? It’s kind of hard to figure out, so I won’t even try to for fear of giving myself an aneurism and/or defecating in my pants.

The fact that the team had such a difficult time garnering any sort of fan base isn’t surprising in the least considering that they could never keep their top players for very long. Dany Heatley, currently with the San Jose Sharks, was the team’s first bona-fide superstar along with Ilya Kovalchuk. Both came into the league at the same time and lit it up for a while together for the Thrashers, and the future actually appeared kind of bright. Then, in 2003, Heatley was in a car accident, which tragically took the life of his friend and teammate Dan Snyder. After healing, both physically and mentally, Heatley requested a trade and was soon shipped to Ottawa in exchange for Marian Hossa. Like Heatley, Hossa lit it up a bit alongside Kovalchuk and star center Marc Savard; but it wasn’t long to last. Savard left Atlanta a Free Agent, and Hossa bolted afterwards as well. Kovalchuk stayed on, but it was obvious his heart wasn’t with the team. After getting traded to the New Jersey Devils at last year’s trade deadline, the writing was already on the wall then: this team is fucking doomed.

Now, here we are in 2011, and the Atlanta Thrashers are no more. All the extenuating circumstances that surround the franchise will be wiped away once they settle in Winnipeg: an actual hockey market. However, one thing to keep in mind is this: the Winnipeg Jets were sold and shipped off to Phoenix back in 1996 because we were told that Winnipeg couldn’t sustain an NHL franchise. What makes anyone think this time around will be any different? Who knows? Maybe in another 10 years or so, the franchise will be on the move again, and if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who makes a habit of creating teams in non-traditional hockey markets that rarely if ever develop fan bases, has his way, the team will wind up in some incredibly unforeseen (and perhaps unfortunate) city that hockey has no right being played in the first goddamn place.

I hear Vegas and Kansas City are viable options the NHL has considered and still considers to this day for possible team relocations. No, I’m not fucking kidding.

On a final note, it has yet to be decided just what the new name for the franchise will be. I personally would love to see a return of the Jets, with the classic logo and powder blue jerseys, but that kind of seems like a long shot at best.

Either that, or I vote with calling them the Manitoba Mooseknuckle; just because those would be the best-selling jersey’s in the NHL next season.