Movie Review: The Grey

What else can I say other than Liam Neeson, you have done it again. As was also the case with Taken, you have taken a movie that I was excited to see but had relatively average expectations for, and just blew me away with it. The Grey was an intense film experience, one that takes you on an emotional journey as the group of Alaskan oil men struggle to survive in a brutal tundra like wilderness. The characters were great, the camera work was amazing and you felt like you were out there with these men fighting for your life. I know that sounds corny and over the top, but that is how I felt while watching this.

The story follows Ottway and a team of oil riggers who were in a devastating plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness. They were transporting the entire team from the oil site and as they were flying, the plane badly malfunctions and crashes. The audio and visual effects during the crash were great. It didn’t use over the top CGI effects, rather it used a lot of closeups and dramatic movements to make you feel like you were on the plane. It was one of my favorite crash scenes that I’ve ever seen (off the top of my head, only the train crash scene from Super 8 beats it). The back and forth cutting between the present disaster and the flash back to Ottway lying in bed with his wife were amazing. You went from intense plane crash sound effects and explosions, to silence.

The aftermath of the crash was brutal. Debris everywhere, fire, blood, dead bodies and dying bodies. It was total and utter destruction and Ottway rallied the troops, doing his best to recover any sense of order that was salvageable. Right when things started to settle down (as best as they can in below zero temperatures and scalding winds), things went from bad to worse…way worse. It was discovered that they were in wolf territory and their fight was now against the elements and a pack of blood thirsty wolves.

The story ended up being one of immense struggle and battling for survival, taking us on a journey with a group of men being brought to the absolute brink. This may come across sounding weird, but I just loved it because it was men being men. It was the ultimate manly movie, one of the better ones that has come out in recent years. It forced the characters to really become animals themselves, while battling with their past human lives and memories. It was a great struggle and it was portrayed wonderfully.

There was so much to love about this film, and I can’t go without mentioning the visual appeal that it had. The camera work did a great job to make you feel and understand the vastness and helplessness of their situation. The long shots and wide angle views of the environment was so intense and made you really feel for these characters. The blistering wind and overwhelming snow flurries were brutal and made me feel cold just watching it.

The final thing I will mention that I really appreciated about this movie was the fact that it was rated R and they didn’t try to hide it. This could have easily been a generic PG-13 movie if they wanted it to be, but the director and writers clearly did not have that in mind. The characters are oilmen fighting for their lives. If this was real life, the guys would swear, and they would swear a lot. There are countless f-bombs, a dirty story and a lot more profanity in the dialogue that makes it just feel real. They say fuck…a lot. And that was awesome. If they didn’t use that type of dialogue, it just wouldn’t have felt authentic. I know it sounds like a strange thing to like and mention in a review, but that is how I felt and I guarantee you will notice it too. Combine that with the gore that comes to (and from) the wolves, and The Grey really took full advantage of it’s R rating and it made the film that much better.

I already know this is going to be one of my favorite movies from 2012, and I’ll leave you with one last tidbit. If you see this movie, stay until after the credits.

The Grey: 9/10

The Tim Thomas Sit Out

It’s been seven months since the Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup in Vancouver. As is the case with any championship team, the perks that come with being the top dogs of the sport are plentiful. One of those perks is being able to visit the President at the White House the following season; an event that was attended yesterday by everyone on the Boston Bruins team, except for goaltender Tim Thomas.

The 37 year old goalie from Flint, Michigan and apparent hardcore Libertarian opted out of the meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama. Thomas’s absence was an act of protest against the Federal Government, of which he claims: “…has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.” Thomas’s only public statement regarding the event was posted on his Facebook page.

I have little patience for celebrities taking advantage of certain situations in order to express their political and moral beliefs. If drives me nuts when douchebag actors decide the Academy Awards is a perfect venue to spew some nonsense about whatever social injustice is deemed to be “sexy” that year. So I guess it should go without saying that I found the Tim Thomas “sit out” to be as equally revolting, unnecessary and douchey as an Oscar speech from Sean Penn.

The weird thing is, I don’t have any issue with Thomas’s politics. From what I can gather, I agree with most of what he’s saying. However, there is a time and a place for everything. The standard “shoot the shit” moment with the POTUS shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to protest against the federal government. It’s just in bad taste.

The biggest problem I have with the sit out is how ineffective it is. Does Thomas actually think a black guy from Chicago really knows who he is? Obama couldn’t care less about the Bruins or Hockey in general. Come on Tim! That’s Protesting 101: Know How Important You Are.

Thomas should have done some self-evaluation before he decided to sit out. He should have asked himself: At the end of the day who is going to care about this protest? Am I as important as Tom Brady? Is the NHL as powerful as the NFL? If a goal is scored in Phoenix and nobody is there to see it, does it really count? If Thomas would’ve taken a few minutes to realize his irrelevance, he would’ve come to grips with the fact that any sit out would be seen as a silly rebellion about as effective as the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

I shouldn’t say his protest went completely unnoticed. Anytime a person of any stature speaks out against the President the opposing party is going to pick up on it and undoubtedly support it. Thomas claims that his absence was not about politics or party, stating: “…both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country.” He may not adhere to a party but after the news of this incident broke yesterday, Thomas has gotten overwhelming support from conservative bloggers like Andrew Breitbart as well as members of the tea party.

Whether it was Tim Thomas’s intention or not his protest will probably score him a dinner with Glenn Beck. According to Thomas’s Wikipedia page, Glenn Beck is the one person he would most like to have dinner with. Six bucks and my left nut says that Beck hears about this and offers to buy Thomas dinner. Although if I was Beck I would make sure we ate at a restaurant that Tim Thomas liked or else he might not show up.

-Mark

Thoughts and Deliberations from Monday Night Raw 1-23-12

If last night confirmed anything for us, it showed us that the Big Red Machine is back and back with a vengeance. This looked like the Kane of old and when Zack Ryder stepped into the ring for a falls count anywhere match, you knew he was in for trouble. The “match”, if you even want to call it that, went on for quite a while, with Ryder maybe getting one solid hit in on Kane. The rest of it was him getting absolutely brutalized, culminated with him getting choke-slammed right through the metal stage. Ryder lay motionless as Eve looked on in tears, but then, things went from bad to worse. The idiot himself, John Cena, came out AGAIN to say he would take care of this and have Ryder’s back. This needs to stop because as SITB co-editor Phil so aptly put it, Ryder needs to part with his new bro Cena or else he is going to lose his entire fan base. We’ll see what happens when Cena takes on Kane this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, but here’s to hoping that Cena and Ryder is a thing of the past.

Phoenix also witnessed something that no other WWE city has witnessed in 2012, and that is hearing Chris Jericho speak into a microphone. Although he only spoke very briefly, what he uttered is actually pretty promising. Granted the majority of the time he was out there he was shushing the crowd, he uttered these crowd pleasing words as he finished his segment: “This Sunday at the Royal Rumble, it’s going to be the end of the world as you know it.” So now we know that not only is Jericho going to be participating in the Royal Rumble, but apparently has something pretty big up his sleeve. Honestly though, if they keep up this ridiculous heel gimmick they have going with him into Sunday, it would be genius. What they have done with Y2J since his return has been nothing short of amazing. They have him polarize the crowd night in and night out, and he continues to do nothing. He goes from the most loved guy in the arena, right back to the heel in only a few minutes. Imagine if they pulled a stunt like that at the Royal Rumble? I probably wouldn’t be mad.

Last night also saw the return of Jericho’s infamous segment, the Highlight Reel. It was a pretty cool segment and you can watch the clip below.

In other noteworthy news, Brodus “Funkasaurus” Clay won another match, this time taking Heath Slater out in what seemed like 2 minutes. Clay and his new character have been growing on me in recent weeks, but again, he gets a nonsense match against a joke of an opponent. I really think the Funkasaurus is growing on the WWE Universe and that he will be getting a bit of a push soon. Maybe they will use the Royal Rumble to catapult Clay into the mix of contenders or maybe we’ll be forced to watch countless two minute matches and wonder what could be with this massive superstar.

I am going to make a bold Royal Rumble prediction based off of one of last nights matches. The Miz lost to R-Truth (who is getting really annoying) in a match that saw the loser get stuck in the first slot at the Royal Rumble. This means once the 30 Man Rumble starts Sunday, The Miz is going to be the first man in the ring. If he is to win the match, he would need to beat out 29 other competitors to take the cake. I do not think Miz is going to come out the winner, but I am predicting a serious run. Miz is too talented to be stuck in the rut he is in, feuding with R-Truth, and I think a serious run in the Royal Rumble will help his case. Again, you heard it here, Miz is going to last a long time in the Rumble, I’m predicting somewhere in the low to mid twenties.

The big news of the evening centered around CM Punk and John Laurinaitis. Raw started off with Punk coming to the ring and calling out Laurinaitis, verbally humiliating him in front of the WWE Universe, and seeking justice for all the misdoings that Laurinaitis has been responsible for against Punk. Instead that dolt Cena strolls out to he can plea for a match with Kane and that Ryder gets a re-match for his United States Championship. Again ENOUGH with the Cena-Ryder schtick. It sucks. Then Laurinaitis created a tag team match of CM Punk and Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. This paired up WWE Champion CM Punk against the number one contender Dolph Ziggler for the fourth time in recent weeks, and Ziggler ended up pinning Punk…again. Of course Laurinaitis had something to do with the outcome…again, which drove Punk to his boiling point. He called out the Executive Vice President for Talent Relations and the Interim Raw General Manager and challenged him to a bout later in the evening. Much to our disbelief, Laurinaitis accepted!

Guess what? That match never happened. Shocker I know, but at least something awesome happened. Laurinaitis came out with his boy toy David Otunga and read a letter to the crowd and to Punk. The letter was from Triple-H and the rest of the Board of Directors and it said that Laurinaitis was under evaluation and that his decision making ability has been called into question. It now seems evident that Laurinaitis will have to call a fair match between CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler on Sunday when the WWE Championship is on the line. This is huge news because all along it was clear that Laurinaitis was going to do what he could as the guest referee to screw Punk out of his title.

I really have no idea and really no opinion on who wins the WWE Championship on Sunday. Punk has been at or near the top for a long time and the WWE Universe could use a shake up, and a guy like Ziggler has been climbing the mountain for a while so I would not be shocked to see him take the belt. However, Punk has been and still is the best the WWE has to offer. He is the total package and having him with the title is great for the company because it keeps its older fans happy. Ziggler wouldn’t neccesarily upset the masses, and having a true heel at the top would be fun, but whatever happens, the WWE Title match on Sunday promises to be a great one.

Royal Rumble Predictions:

WWE Championship: Dolph Ziggler defeats CM Punk

Triple Threat Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry: Daniel Bryan wins and keeps his belt, feeding off of the anger from the Big Show’s brutal attack on his girlfriend a mere two weeks ago.

John Cena vs. Kane: Kane defeats Cena with a choke-slam to hell

30 Man Royal Rumble: Randy Orton returns with a bang and wins the Rumble, but not without fights from The Miz and Chris Jericho.

I had to include this segment from last night. EWWWWWW.

HBO’s Angry Boys: Part Comedy, Part Drama

 

HBO’s latest comedy, Angry Boys, is their second go around with Australian comedian Chris Lilley. The first of Lilley’s series’ to appear on HBO was 2007’s Summer Heights High, which became wildly popular in Australia and the United States, but for whatever reason still is wildly underrated. Where Summer Heights High was entirely focused on one Australian high school and some of its funny/strange/interesting characters, Angry Boys really has no boundaries. It’s two main characters and Daniel and Nathan, two twin brothers struggling with adolescence in the middle of nowhere Australia. Nathan is deaf and his mother and soon-to-be stepfather decide he needs to go to a boarding school for hearing impaired children. Hearing this, Daniel plans to throw a wild going away party for Nathan. This is where we get the substance of the show, with Daniel trying to get their favorite celebrities (from their infamous “Wall of Legends”) to make appearances at the party to send Nathan off in style.

I know this sounds like a pretty silly premise, but it is what it is, and Lilley’s shows are never really about the story, they are about the characters. The aforementioned Daniel and Nathan are the focus of the show and played by creator Chris Lilley, but what is so impressive is that the rest of the main (and diverse) characters are also played by Lilley. For those who haven’t seen the show the rest of the main characters are as follows:

S.mouse

S.mouse is an awful rapper, who many are speculating is molded after real life “rapper” Soulja Boy. S.mouse has had one huge single, which is titled Slap My Elbow, and since then has not been able to produce anything of substance. His popularity is waning and he begins to become disconnected with his record label and family

Blake Oakfield

Blake Oakfield is a former legendary surfer who got in a nasty accident which resulted in the removal of both of his testicles. He is a member of Daniel and Nathan’s “Wall of Legends” and began running a surf camp for fat kids. His biggest issue is that he cannot let go of his past and move on with a more relaxed family life with his wife and child.

Jen Okazaki

Jen Okazaki is an overbearing mother for her young Japanese-American skateboarder son Tim Okazaki. To make him more popular and unique she promotes him as being gay (which he is not) and creates an entire brand around this idea called “GayStyle Enterprises”. Tim resents this and is a very conflicted kid due to his mothers constant pressure and manipulative ways.

Ruth “Gran” Sims

Gran is Daniel and Nathan’s loving grandmother. She is a guard at an all boys juvenile detention center, and her brute, hard-nosed ways actually resonate well with these troubled youths. Her main role in Daniel and Nathan’s lives is to try and round up the members of the “Wall of Legends” to attempt to sway them into coming to Nathan’s party. She has a strange affection for guinea pigs, but uses them to help the boys maintain some normalcy in their lives.

Looking at all of these diverse characters, it is pretty evident that Lilley is a unique talent. There have been complaints and criticisms all over the internet that Lilley is too much of a one trick pony with these mockumentary style shows with him starring in multiple roles. Those people need to relax. The guy found something that he is good at and has been successful so why wouldn’t he produce another series win that style. Summer Heights High and it’s characters were incredibly funny and honestly it would have been stupid for Lilley to hang it up after that show. He is a smart guy and a good enough writer where he had to try and recreated that success with another show, and although Angry Boys is nowhere near as funny as Summer Heights High, it is a good series for other reasons.

This may sound stupid and weird, but I think Angry Boys is a good show because of the dramatic side to it. Each character is conflicted in such a way that it brings a more serious message to the viewer than was seen in Summer Heights High. I probably seem like an idiot for saying that a silly show like this is impressing me due to the dramatic side and the characters issues, but that is really how I feel as I watch this show. There are stretches where I go 5-10 minutes without a laugh and that is not because I’m bored, it’s because these characters have real issues that countless children encounter and the show is presenting it in an effective manner. Yes, there are a bunch of hilarious and awkward moments, but the real success of the show should be its ability to capture the struggles of different adolescents.

Daniel, who is fed up with his deaf brother getting a lot of attention and struggling with his fathers death, acts out to try to get attention of his own. Tim Okazaki dealing with the pressures of his crazy mother and millions of rabid Japanese fans. S.mouse the young rapper who attained success at too young an age, pissing it all away, while pissing away every meaningful relationship he has ever made in the process. Blake Oakfield, struggling with the realization he has to grow up and is no longer a teenage surfer. All of these characters have struggles, struggles that tons of kids, and even adults, encounter all over the world and Lilley does a great job capturing them with these characters.

Don’t get me wrong, this show is a comedy at heart, but it uses its comedic elements to bring out the real issues that the show presents. On the whole, I enjoyed Summer Heights High more than I have been enjoying Angry Boys, but both shows have been impressive work by Chris Lilley. I’m interested to see how the show wraps up and to see if each of these characters will eventually end up at peace with their problems, or if they will just continue living their lives with their respective weight on their back.

On a comedic note to wrap up the post, every single time that Daniel is trying to get Nathan’s attention I laugh:

Movie Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

After seeing trailers of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I really did not know what to expect with this film. Was it going to be a wild goose chase? Was it going to be an emotional roller coaster? Was it going to be a coming of age story? Was it going to place too big a focus on the September 11 tragedy? In truth, it was a nice combination of all of these, creating an interesting and sad journey through a traumatized boys life.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the story of Oskar Schell and his journey to stay connected to his father Thomas, who died in the World Trade Center during the September 11 terrorist attacks. Oskar is a unique and curious boy, and he possibly is afflicted with Aspergers syndrome. Young actor Thomas Horn tackles a very difficult and emotional role with his first ever appearance on the big screen. Seeing the film, you would never guess that Horn had never acted in a major film before…like ever. The kid put on an inspiring and passionate performance and showed us a side to the 9/11 story that we had never really seen in film before, a child’s perspective.

The movie took you on quite the ride, never really staying in one place for very long. One of the scenes that was shot in the same location for the longest time was following Oskar’s discovery that his father (played by Tom Hanks) had in fact died in the attacks. It was a difficult scene to watch as he laid under his bed curled up in a ball as both his grandmother and mother (played by Sandra Bullock) came in to try to talk to him. Other than this and a few others, most of the movie was you following Oskar on one of his adventures, one of his journies to hang on to his fathers spirit. He compared his fathers love and spirit to the sun, saying the sun could explode and we wouldn’t know about it on earth for eight minutes, because that’s the time it takes for the sunlight to arrive. Oskar wanted his dad’s eight minutes to last and he did this by going on one final adventure given to him by his father.

Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock played Oskar’s parents, and although that seems like some serious star power, their inclusion in this film really wasn’t a huge selling point. The story and Oskar’s journey to regain some sanity in his life were what made it. Oskar wanted to hold on to his dad, and did so with his final adventure, centered around a mysterious key. He spent weeks trying to track down a lock that his key opened and did so by traveling the five boroughs of New York City with every free moment he had.

Couple his journey with a struggling relationship with his mourning mother, a strange old man who is his grandmother’s tenant and his mental issues and young Oskar had quite a wild ride. The acting was great, and with a cast including Hanks, Bullock and legend Max von Sydow, I didn’t expect anything less. Thomas Horn’s acting was a treat and he really made the movie as enjoyable as it was.

The September 11 tragedy was a very difficult time for every American, especially New Yorkers. And I know this is just a movie, but you really felt the pain of the Schell family, and mainly Oskar. We have seen the images from that terrible day countless times, but every time I see a picture or video of the Towers smoldering, I still get goosebumps. It is a very eery feeling and this film gave me that throughout. There were chilling scenes and flashbacks that were very hard to watch, and if you or anyone you know was directly effected by the tragedy I would imagine it would be a difficult film to sit through. It brought a totally new perspective on the tragedy, a near total focus on a child and his reaction. The story, acting and dramatic/tragic memories being stirred make this a true roller coaster of a movie, one that I would recommend to anyone.

As the movie ended and the credits began to roll, the entire (crowded) theatre remained seated and absolutely silent. It was an odd, yet appropriate reaction to a powerful, emotional and inspiring movie.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: 7/10

10 Most Anticipated Movies of the 2012 Summer

Movies are something that us SITB writers really enjoy. Many hours and dollars of ours are spent on movies and when summer rolls around, we are in our happy place. As I’m sure you know, Hollywood uses the summer to release some of it’s biggest and best movies of the year. The summer of 2012 looks to be a huge one for moviegoers and I am beyond excited for it. Some of the biggest releases ever promise to come from this summer and you can bet your ass we are pumped! It seems like it is going to be a slow summer on the comedy front (unless you think The Dictator looks funny…which I don’t), but action, adventure and suspense promise to be present. Now although it is only January we decided to put together a list of our 10 most anticipated movies for this coming summer. Check out our list and see what you think. Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you are most excited for in the comments!

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10. Total Recall

Release Date: August 3

I know, I know Colin Farrell hasn’t been relevant since…well since ever, but that doesn’t make me any less excited. Honestly that’s probably because it’s called Total Recall. Every time I hear those words, I get chills up my spine because it just jogs my memory to the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. I am just hoping Colin Farrell and director Len Wiseman don’t just turn the timeless sci-fi classic into shit. (There is no trailer available yet, so there is a brief preview video below)

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9. G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation

 

Release Date: June 29

I saw the trailer for this movie and got so excited that I forced myself to sit through the shitty original. It looks like it is going to bring some much needed life to the series, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis joining the cast. Yeah, that dope Channing Tatum is still in it, but hopefully the awesomeness of The Rock and Bruce Willis will overshadow him.

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8. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Release Date: June 22

This movie is based off of a novel by author Seth Grahame-Smith, and the movies description according to IMDB.com is: “President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.” That right there is enough to get me interested. (No trailer available, behind the scenes video below)

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7. Men In Black III

Release Date: May 25

The Men In Black are back! Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agent J and Agent K, but this time their adventure is quite different. Agent J has to travel back in time to the agencies inception to save Agent K from an alien assassination! Sounds awesome right?! It will be available in 3D, which actually may be pretty cool in this movie (unlike the useless 3D that was present in Thor).

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6. The Bourne Legacy

Release Date: August 3

There is very little actual plot information available about the latest in the Bourne series. We do know that this will feature Jeremy Renner as the star, and no Matt Damon (sorry ladies). Renner will play Aaron Ross, a CIA operative perhaps taking on some of Bourne’s former duties…i.e. being his legacy. This will be an interesting release, seeing that both The Bourne Legacy and Total Recall come out on the same day. If I was a betting man, I’d say that this comes out on top of the opening weekend box office tally…by a lot. For whatever reason, I feel like the Bourne name still resonates with the American moviegoing public. (No trailer, an interview with Renner is posted instead)

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5. The Expendables 2

Release Date: August 17

The gang of Stallone, Li,Van Damme, Crews, Couture and Lungdren are reunited for the sequel to the 2010 action hit. This time, Chuck Norris is joining the cast, along with expanded roles for legends Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Again, it’s your cookie cutter “easy job gone wrong” story, but that doesn’t matter and it didn’t matter in the original film. What matters is insane, over the top action, coupled with a cast of legends. This time around though there are rumors that Chuck Norris’ inclusion may force the film into a PG-13 rating, which would suck…a lot.

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4. Prometheus

Release Date: June 8

This movie has all the right things going for it. Ridley Scott is directing. His resume includes Alien, Blade Runner and American Gangster to name a few. On top of that, it has a stacked cast. Noomi Rapace (of original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Michael Fassbender (X-Men First Class), Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Idris Elba (The Wire) are all in this film. Couple these two factors with the fact that there hasn’t been a great sci-fi movie in quite some time and you can see why there is some excitement about Prometheus. There are also rumors that this film may act as a prequel to Alien. Yes, please.

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3. The Amazing Spiderman

Release Date: July 3

The Spider-Man receives a much needed reboot after how bad Spider-Man 3 was. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the first two Spider-Man movies, but the third one left such a sour taste in my mouth. This time around Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) will play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and I’m pretty happy with their choice (although Donald Glover would’ve been awesome!). I’m excited because it focuses a lot more on Peter Parker as a youth and struggling with his new identity as the web slinger. It should be an interesting new chapter in the Spider-Man story and I, along with millions of others Spidey fans hope it doesn’t bear any resemblance to Spider-Man 3.

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2. The Avengers

Release Date: May 4

The 2012 Summer movie season kicks off with a bang! The movie nerds have been waiting for for years is finally coming and I could not be more excited. To this point, I have loved every movie in the Avengers series (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain American, The Incredible Hulk, Thor) and I find it hard to believe that this movie will not be amazing. Granted superhero ensemble movies haven’t blown us away (I’m looking at you Fantastic 4), this one just feels like it will be different. The actors and superhero characters are all too awesome to fail…right? I sure hope so.

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1. The Dark Knight Rises

Release Date: July 20

The movie we have all been waiting for is FINALLY coming. Ever since The Dark Knight blew us away in 2008, we couldn’t wait until Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman flick would hit theaters. 2012 seemed like light years away, but alas my friends the light at the end of the tunnel is visible! Will Batman die? Will Bane break his back? Will it live up to the ungodly high expectations I, and the whole world, have for it? Only time will tell, but honestly every day that passes is one less day we have to wait until July 20. I feel confident that this movie will be incredible. The actors, director and story line are too good to disappoint us with the finale of what may go down as one of the best “trilogies” of all time. After the official trailer dropped, I probably watched it at least 10 times within the first 24 hours. I couldn’t stop. In fact, I’m going to wrap this up now so I can go watch the trailer a few more times.

Lindsay Lohan, Hot or Not?

This is an argument as old as the day is long. Is Lindsay Lohan hot? There are many factors that can enter into consideration when attempting to answer this question. For one, the girl is quite the drug addict. I know, I know, that shouldn’t factor into how hot she is, but when the drug literally affects your appearance due to its abuse, then it has to factor in.

As is evidenced, the girl can be quite the mess. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong, especially in Hollywood, with a babe who likes to party. There are literally too many of them to count, but one may argue that Lohan takes this to another level.

Like what the hell is that?! Meth mouth if I’ve ever seen it and I’m not trying to mess around with any meth mouth. One the other hand, Lindsay can straight up bring the heat sometimes.And then there was the whole Playboy issue that came out this year, ended up being (I think) the highest selling issue of Playboy ever…and for good reason.

She looked incredible and although Playboy is infamous for the airbrushing, it doesn’t matter, airbrushed or not she was looking fine. At the end of the day, Lindsay has her moments with drugs and with the law, but I am going to ignore that because some of her other pics just blow me away. Lindsay you get the SITB vote of HOT! Get your act together and stay hot, get rid of the meth mouth girl, because you could easily join the NOT hot club if you keep going down this dark road. Vote in the poll below and leave some insight in the comments section.

The Rise and Fall of Zack Ryder

For all you non-wrestling fans, this post is not for you.  There will be a lot of wrestling terms and insight.  Sorry, we like wrestling here at SITB.   You can tell me its fake all you want, but IT’S STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT!

Zack Ryder, the Long Island Iced Z, still has yet to really settle into the WWE as a superstar entertainer.  His time in the WWE has been short, and his time as a relevant personality has been even shorter.  However, in the same short amount of time he has been able to make an impact on RAW and in other ways no other wresteler has ever done before.  His career is far from over, but lately the direction of Zack Ryder’s career has been anything but positive.  It’s not his fault either, which is the strangest thing about it.  The blame can be laid on the WWE’s most popular superstar, John Cena.

First a look at Ryder’s roots and where he has emerged from.  Zack made his WWE debut on the smaller brand and now defunct show, “ECW.”  Known as Brett Major at the time he teamed with, “brother” Brian Major, (Curt Hawkins), to win a tag team match in early 2007 in their initial TV showing.  It would stand to be their only victory while on ECW.

A month later, both the Majors were drafted to a more popular brand and weekly taping show, “SmackDown.”  For a few weeks, the tag team would work as jobbers, losing multiple tag team matches.  Not uncommon for developmental talent, so young and new to the business.  Both Brian and Brett would lose in consecutive weeks in singles matches to Drew Macintyre as he was making a push early in his career.  Macintyre is all but invisible now in the WWE.   A month later, Major made his heel debut as both Brian and Brett dressed as Edge impersonators to help Edge win the World Heavyweight Championship at the pay per view, Armageddon.  That would be the end of the Major brothers.

Brian and Brett were rebranded and renamed as Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.  Nothing really happened after that.  A lot of boring worthless tag matches, but still no singles push or momentum built for Ryder.  During this time, the popular TV show on MTV, Jersey Shore was starting to take off in the late summer of 2009.  Ryder has claimed multiple times he was the original inspiration for the show and Mike, “The Situation”, has ripped him off instead of the other way around.  Zack is  native of Long Island, and has developed a persona as a Long Island d-bag, who fake tans, listens to pop music and of course uses a ridiculous amount of hair product to style his hair.  The Long Island Iced Z was born.

Here is where Zack really starts to come into his own.  With essentially no matches on “Raw”, or “SmackDown”, Ryder had a lot of time on his hands.  He decided to do something about it.    He created his own youtube show in early 2011.  Z! True Long Island story was a homemade, home produced show, giving and inside look into Zack Ryder’s life and his thoughts on his career in the WWE.  He would make a weekly taping of this show for the next 10 months and is now to 40+ episodes.  They are pretty good clips too.  Especially early on, the shows had a lot of substance.  Ryder would talk about how overlooked he was and how he never gets a push.  Check out his initial video here. Ryder would promote his Twitter account, his Facebook page and continue to use all the social media outlets to promote himself while the creatives at the WWE refused to do anything with him.  Eventually Ryder became the self proclaimed, “Internet Champion.”  He even went as far as to buy a custom made $2,000 belt.

The Twitter followers came, the likes piled up on Facebook and the youtube views were going through the roof.  This guy was making himself popular without ever stepping a foot inside the ring week after week.  No wrestler had ever been able to gather such a following without showcasing his talent.  Now this next part may come as a shock, especially if you don’t like wrestling and have gotten this far in the post.  Fans actually want to see wrestling.  We actually want to see what these guys can do in the ring.  Crazy right.  Ryder chants, signs, merchandise and declarations for him to be on the show started to creep up at every taping of, “RAW”, this past summer.  Even CM Punk was getting behind him, trying to get him on the card so everyone could see what he had.  Finally he started to make his mark and appear on the show weekly.  He has skills too in the ring.  The, “rough ryder”, his finishing move is petty awesome.  He has the size and the athleticism to make an impact and be a competitor every week.  This was it, Ryder was the man.  An ultimate face, who everyone was behind.  He was the anti-WWE guy who made it without the help of anyone.  After months of being shut out and put down by the WWE, he had become one of the fastest rising and most popular guys currently on the roster.  Woo Woo Woo, You Know It!

This is where it takes a turn for the worse.  John Cena, of course is the most talked about and most over-rated superstar in the WWE.  We’ll talk about this another time.  Cena took it upon himself to adopt Ryder and, “help” him.  Cena even went as far as to give up a WWE title match so that Ryder could have a chance to wrestle Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship.  Wait, what?  Ryder was the coolest guy in the WWE, a guy who went from nothing to something in a year’s time.  A guy who had a vision of marketing himself and clearly could draw viewers, sell merchandise and carry some merit in the locker room.  Why would the WWE pair him with Cena and make it look like he needs Cena to succeed?  Ryder went on to win the US title. (Ziggler, now getting a push as WWE Champion contender)  It has continued to get worse with the Cena-Ryder bromance.  They are together every episode of, “RAW”. Cena has most recently saved Ryder from Kane in a monday night episode where Kane tried to drag Ryder through a hole in the ring into, “hell”.  Ridiculous sounding, I know.

It just doesn’t make sense.  Ryder was a fan’s wrestler, a great face.  He didn’t need the help from Cena.  He has completely abandoned his persona and what got him there in the first place.  Fans notice this stuff.  Boo’s are starting to surface in the crowd and this week he lost the US title on a “RAW” taping, not even a pay-per-view.  I hope he, or the powers at be relize this, and get away from the Cena angle.  Time will tell, but in the meantime follow @zackryder on Twitter, like him on Facebook, watch all his youtube videos and of course….take care, spike your hair. WWWYKI!

-Phil

What is Wrong With the Buffalo Sabres?

I grew up and spent the first 17 years of my life in Buffalo, New York. I have grown to love everything about the city, its people, its food, its architecture, its weather and its sports teams. The past six years I have been living in the New York metro area and have still stayed as passionate as I have ever been about Buffalo, mainly through its two sports teams, The Bills and the Sabres. Times have not been to great for the Bills, but the Sabres have been fun for the better part of this past decade. As any hockey fan would know, the Sabres were bought last Spring by billionaire Terry Pegula. Pegula, a lifetime Sabres fan with ties to the WNY region, promised change, he promised success, that Buffalo would become a preferred destination for players, and mainly that the only thing that mattered to him was winning a Stanley Cup…no matter the cost.

That message is one that any fan of any organization would drool over, but in Buffalo it meant more. It meant that finally in our sad sports history, we had a guy who would lead us to that seemingly unreachable championship. Then came the off-season. Pegula did what he promised and opened up his fat wallet and spent money in the free agent market. There was the trade for physical defenseman Robyn Regehr, the signing of skilled defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and the signing of up and coming winger Ville Leino. Granted he probably paid them a bit above market value, but that was besides the point. We already had what we thought was a solid core and foundation built, these new players would merely come in and fill holes that we had, cost wasn’t an issue.

The season started and things were going fairly well, nothing spectacular, but they were right where many expected them to be with a slew of new players getting used to playing together. The Sabres won ten of their first fifteen games, finding themselves in the middle pack of the playoff picture. Fans were happy, but not elated, and expected things only to get better. Then came November 12, 2011. This day may be one that goes down in Sabres infamy, one that saw them heading to Boston for a Saturday night match up with the Bruins. The game was going fine until Milan Lucic came barreling full speed into Ryan Miller as he came out of his crease to play the puck. This wasn’t deemed a major penalty by the refs, and Lucic never received a suspension. In looking back on the Sabres.com recap of the game, all they had to say about the hit was this: “Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Miller had a bit of a sore neck after being leveled by Milan Lucic when Miller came out of his crease to play the puck and take away Lucic’s breakaway opportunity in the first period.” Little did they know this was going to end up being a lot more than a “sore neck”.

I’m not going to say anything else about the hit, but you probably can guess I wasn’t to happy with it and the leagues lack of response to it. Look at the picture above and if that looks like an unintentional bump, then you and I are not on the same page. Anyways, the normal hockey fan would assume that the team would respond to this hit. They should all skate full speed at Lucic and take care of him. Fights, punches, tackles, anything to repay this dirty hit on your goalie, the guy who has done so much for the team over the years. Nothing happened. I was in awe as I’m sure fans, coaches, teammates on the bench, hell I bet even Lucic was expecting to get roughed up after this. All that happened was a few Sabres skated to him and pushed him up against the boards gently. A group formed, but no fights, no punches thrown, nothing. Sure, Gaustad fought him the next time the teams matched up eleven days later, but at that point it just seemed forced.

Since that game the Sabres have not looked or played like the team they were before that game. Miller had a concussion and missed several games, and since he has returned he has not looked like his former self. This is a goalie who won the Vezina trophy two seasons ago and won the MVP award at the Vancouver Olympics. This type of drop off doesn’t just happen overnight. Whether it is something physical that is still hindering him post-concussion or something mental going on, Miller is not the same. This has been a huge problem, but there is more at hand here.

Everyone reading this who knows about the Sabres is probably saying to themselves that the main problem the Sabres have had is injuries. Yes, that is an undeniable fact. Injuries have been rampant within this team, but that is no excuse. The fact that we have had games this year in which we had 9 (yes, 9) rookies in the starting line up is a testament to just how bad the injuries have been, but I am not buying that as an excuse. These are some of our best prospects, they have chemistry together, and they were not the guys who were noticeably playing poorly in games. Guys like McNabb, Adam, Kassian and Brennan have played pretty well considering they are rookies. Of course they have made mistakes, but again, I do not feel like that is why the Sabres are losing games. I know that key players have been missing games and that does hurt. Guys like Myers, Ehrhoff, Roy, and Ennis have missed significant time and that is part of the problem, but every team deals with injuries. Hell, Sidney Crosby has been out practically the entire season and the Penguins are still in the playoff picture, and honestly is their roster top to bottom that much better than ours on paper (without Crosby)? Maybe, but I am not one to blame injuries.

In my opinion, the core of the Sabres problems has come from a total lack of a killer instinct, accountability and heart. That sounds corny and cliche but that is truly what I believe. There are too many guys on this team, getting paid too much money and they are not playing to the ability that they can and should be playing. Guys like Drew Stafford (7 goals, 15 assists), Derek Roy (9 goals, 16 assists), Paul Gaustad (4 goals, 6 assists), Ville Leino (3 goals, 7 assists) and Robyn Regehr (0 goals, 2 assists) simply are not playing with any sort of heart or passion. There have been countless times this season in which a guy like Stafford or Roy has been right on the doorstep with an incredible opportunity, and just wasn’t able to score. Top tier players, and guys who get paid like Stafford and Roy find ways to score those goals. I know it’s a stupid argument with no real proof, but if you watch enough Sabres games you know what I’m talking about.

I am not like all the ignorant people who are calling for Ruff and Regier’s head. Ruff has been a staple of this team for over a decade now and his consistency is something of value. I don’t wanna hear all the nonsense that he can’t motivate players anymore because that’s not the case. The players need to step up, there is only so much a coach can say or do to get points across, and I guarantee that Lindy is doing his best at that. Also, Regier did his job. He brought in guys that were talented, and expected to perform. The fact that they aren’t playing that way is not neccesarily his fault.

A trade might shake things up, but would we really get anything of value for these guys right now? Honestly what could we get in a trade for Stafford? He is an overpaid, underachiever. I think they need to ride this out with the team and coaches they have and players need to perform. They need an edge. They need tenacity. They need a drive and desire to succeed. That may come, that may not, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m getting close to chalking this season up as a failure, but I’m not quite there yet. Yes, they have lost 9 straight road games in regulation and things aren’t looking up with five more road games in a row against the Blackhawks, Jets, Blues, Devils and Canadiens. If they can somehow manage to win two (or three) of these, it will be a success, something they can run with for the stretch of games after the all star break. It is going to take something we haven’t seen out of the Sabres in quite some time (dare I say 2006?). It’s going to take heart.

Internet Blackout Does Not Stop SITB

(CNN) — Wikipedia was among several websites to shut down at midnight in protest of anti-piracy bills now in Congress that critics say could amount to censorship.

Instead of the usual encyclopedia articles, visitors to Wikipedia’s English-language site Wednesday were greeted by a message about the decision to black out its Web page for an entire day.

“Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge,” said the stark message in white letters on a black and gray background.

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So as I’m sure many of you know, there is a brief internet blackout of certain websites today due to the sites protesting the potential passing of anti-piracy bills. Pretty wacky stuff if you ask me. Like I totally get the fact that Congress is trying to stop internet piracy, because I am one of the few people who actually buys DVD’s, CD’s and LP’s and am not a huge fan of ripping off people who make music/movies. I know, I know, I’m an idiot for believing that but whatever. The thing that is kinda bullshit about all of this is how these anti-piracy acts would actually affect normal, everyday internet usage on pivotal sites like Google and Wikipedia. Also, any WordPress user saw a dramatically different homepage when logging in today as well. The internet as a whole is up in arms!

It seems pretty crazy to me that the web is potentially going to start seeing censorship and search engines are now going to be forced to block certain content from their results. It’s something that has been going on in China for years (because it’s Communist), but unlike anything we have seen here in the U.S. Honestly if it does get passed, it probably won’t have any serious effect on what you or I do on a daily basis, but it will probably hinder your ability to illegally download music or movies etc. This SOPA business is wild, but I seriously doubt the government will go for this, especially with tech giants like Google blatantly speaking out against it. I don’t know why but I feel like Google’s pull is a little more important for the government to consider as opposed to record labels or movie studios.

All I know is that if some sort of serious business does happen, we here at SITB will do our best to provide the best content that we can provide, which honestly probably sucks anyways. What do you guys think of the Stop Online Piracy Act? Think it will go through? If so, will if effect you?