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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Fate of the Furious (Fast 8)

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there is absolutely nothing subjective about Fast 8 being the most beautiful piece of art ever created. It was so good, I would bet my entire life savings that it breaks the record for most Oscar wins by a single film. It was so good, Gene Siskel gave it 4 thumbs up from beyond the grave. It was so good, I would pay full price just to watch the trailer in theaters. It was so good, I would turn down a booty call from Jessica Alba if sleeping with her meant I could never watch it again. With that being said, it's time for anybody who hasn't seen it to leave because I am going to break down every heart stopping/wrenching moment from this classic.


The film opens with Dom and Letty living the married life in Cuba where conflict immediately arises as Dom has to save his Cuz's car by competing in a "Cuban Mile" race. What follows is the least incredible sequence in the film even though Dom beats the fastest car on the island by driving his cuz's rust bucket backwards, while on fire because why not. A great opening scene that had me hyped enough to think that I could win the Daytona 500 with my Mazda 3. The plot then takes a dark turn as Cipher (Charlize Theron) appears and shows Dom a suspicious video that convinces him to turn on his family. A move that almost broke my heart 25 minutes in.


The treasonous actions of Dom leads to Cipher getting hold of an EMP and Hobbs being locked up in a super max prison with none other than Ian Shaw from Fast 7. After a minute or so of incredible one liners, Hobbs is let out of his cell by Mr. Nobody, which creates a diversion for Shaw to free himself and every other prisoner in the joint. Hobbs and Shaw unleash a barrage of top notch ass kicking as they fight their way to freedom and end up at Mr. Nobody's lair.


What follows is the most diabolical, M. Night Shyamalanesque reveal in the history of cinema as we find out why Dom has betrayed his family. BECAUSE HE HAS ANOTHER FAMILY. It comes to light that Cipher has kidnapped Elena (Dom's Fast 5 fling) and THEIR INFANT BABY!!! My head almost exploded at this point but the kicker was Elena telling Dom that the baby doesn't have a first name because his father should be the one to give it to him.


Prior to the reveal, Cipher and Dom broke into Mr. Nobody's layer and stole God's Eye which can only mean the bad guys are hoping to steal nuclear codes from the Russian Minister of Defense who just happens to be in New York. Yup. Cipher utilizes God's Eye to activate thousands of unmanned cars and they ALL smash into the Minister's motorcade like a hoard of zombies from World War Z allowing Dom to snatch up the briefcase of codes. This encounter also produced another dramatic/traumatic moment for me when Dom treats Shaw to a lead sandwich, killing him. Oh yea, a wildling from Game of Thrones also fed Elena a lead sandwich of her very own right in front of baby Dom! This is how Dexter was created folks!


With the nuclear codes, the only thing left in Cipher's plan for world dominance is to steal a nuclear submarine and that final encounter takes place at a remote Russian military base. Dom uses the aforementioned EMP to disable the bases defenses allowing Cipher to hack the submarine. All seems lost at this point but the submarine still has to make it out of the bay and that is where the family comes into play. Hobbs, Letty, and crew race the submarine to the lock at the end of the bay to prevent it from disappearing forever. If shit couldn't get any wilder, all the while this is taking place, Shaw comes back from the dead with his brother to save little baby Dom and attempts to apprehend Cipher. However, she does manage to escape which just lays the foundation for Fast 9 and beyond. Dom learns of the rescue, makes a triumphant return to the family, and tricks a heat seeking missile into destroying the submarine. I recall fist pumping Tiger Woods style once or twice after this occured.


The final scene has the family grilling on a rooftop when Dom reiterates the fact that you never turn your back on family and introduces them to his son, BRIAN! I KNEW he was going to name his son Brian but when he said it, tears came streaming down my face. Brian O' Conner/Paul Walker was my cuz and for Dom to honor him like that, really meant a lot and made the film great. I can only hope that my words did this cinematic masterpiece justice.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Eric's Favorite Things of 2016

I'm a little behind on the 3rd annual list of my favorite things as I was busy picking Super Bowl champions but here it is at last. Once again, these will be things that occurred in 2016 or things that I came across for the first time in 2016. Oprah still can't hold a candle to my list.


Movies

Arrival-A new take on Aliens coming to Earth and it does not disappoint. A good soundtrack too.



Fences-It's Denzel. Should have won that Oscar!

Alonzo Harris is coming for Casey Affleck

Moonlight
-Speaking of Oscars. What the hell happened the other night?


Hell or High Water-A bank heist movie with top notch acting.


Edge of Seventeen-I once made a sarcastic joke about wanting to see this in theaters and maybe I should have. A very good movie in the "I'm an awkward high schooler trying to figure life out" genre. Woody Harrelson is great too.



Hidden Figures-I didn't know Cookie Lyon used to work for NASA but you learn something new everyday (you probably don't get that reference).


Lion-A cool, true story about a kid who gets lost in India and uses Google Earth to find his way home after he's adopted and grows up in Tasmania.


Roge One:A Star Wars Story-Well, at least the second half of the movie. Don't watch the clip if you don't want to see its best scene.


TV-I kept this list to shows that debuted in 2016 (or so)

Atlanta-EASILY my favorite show of 2016. When you combine rap, comedy, and Migos into one show, you can do no wrong.


Stranger Things-You are a lost cause if you haven't heard of or watched this show yet.


Westworld-I would be lying if I told you I knew what was going on in this show. If you need a reason to watch it though, just check out it's parental guidance rating. TV-MA LSVGPRZX. You know, HBO style.


Planet Earf II-This one is a no brainer. HD viewing is a must.


The Hunt-Another nature show from BBC that should also be viewed in HD.


Luke Cage-Netflix followed up Jessica Jones with another, very good, super hero show.


The Night of-The pilot episode for this mini series is right up there as one of the best.


Billions-A billionaire hedge fund guy vs. a U.S. attorney. Not plausible in the real world but an entertaining show nonetheless.


Desus & Mero-The BEST late night "talk show" on TV right now. Well, it's on the Viceland channel which I know you don't have but the most recent week's episodes are on viceland.com. These two are dropping content like The Lounge Chair Legends used to (cough...ugh Joe) AND they have a stuffed bear wearing Tims as part of their set. The brand is strong! #Bodegahive.


O.J.: Made in America-Just when you think there couldn't be anymore OJ publicity, ESPN drops a 5 part series about the man, the trial, and the aftermath. A great documentary.

I've got nothing here. Just go check it out on Watch ESPN.

Books

The Nightingale-A WWII story about 2 women who did their best to survive and defy the German occupation of France.


All the Light We Cannot See-This novel follows 2 kids whose paths cross for one day, years later during WWII.


Open-Andre Agassi does his best and succeeds at painting his disdain for the sport that defined him.


Shadow Divers-A true story about a group of divers that discovers a sunken, unidentified, German U-boat off the coast of New Jersey.


Red Rising/Golden Sun/Morning Star-Sci-fi trilogy that is described as The Hunger Games on Mars. I would agree but add that these are a lot better as the 2ND BOOK ISN"T THE SAME AS THE FIRST ONE!

Mr. Mercedes/Finders Keepers/End of Watch-Stephen King's crime trilogy that goes all sorts of supernatural in the finale.


Ballad of the Whiskey Robber-A true story of a bank robbing, "professional" hockey player in Hungary during the 90's.


Music

Migos-The only thing worthy enough to make the list.


Video Games

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End-The final chapter (I hope not) in the Uncharted series was an absolutely beautiful game. Definitely worthy of the $60 price tag.

Battlefield 1-This super fun game set during WWI allows one to relive all of the uplifting things that took place during the war to end all wars. I'm getting pretty good too!


Miscellaneous

Wrestlemania-Much like the light bulb and the car, the great idea to attend Wrestlemania 32 was hatched at Aquafest in Rice Lake, WI. Tickets were purchased, the car was gassed up, and 18 hours were driven to get there. Being in that stadium and hearing 100,000 people collectively lose their shit when that glass broke and Stone Cold entered made everything worth it. Getting to see my Uncle Randy for the first time in a decade was just icing on the cake!


Road Trips-Wrestlemania was just road trip #1 for 2016. The second took place in late September as my mom and I drove 2,700 hundred miles around the northeast. A story that was well chronicled on this very blog. Read up.


The Election-I don't know if this was one of my favorite things but boy was/is it entertaining. From the attack ads, to the debates, to the actual election, to the fallout, to SNL it has been a fun ride. LOCK HER UP! KILLARY!


Trail Mix-I started making my own trail mix and I'm going to give you my secret recipe. It's 1 lb, 4 oz of Planters lightly salted peanuts, 1 lb raisins, and 3.5 cups M&M's. You can of course add whatever else you want but I have perfected the base for you. You're welcome.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 Super Bowl Predictions

I've had this pick made since they stomped out the Falcons two weeks ago. GO PACK OH!


Relax, we all know the Packers lost to the Falcons and it was everybody's fault but Rodgers that they couldn't run the table. That 25th ranked Falcons defense was just too impenetrable for anybody to score on. Anyways, onto the big game (for real this time).

MVP! MVP! MVP!
Super Bowl-New England Patriots vs. Hotlanta Falcons

Line: Patriots -3

If you have been keeping track on your calculator, my record heading into the Super Bowl is 2-8 with both of those correct picks being the Patriots. It seems obvious that I should pick New England and end the playoff season with a 3-8 record but there is a deeper story behind those two picks. If Tom Brady wins his 5th Super Bowl today, he will join Kobe Bryant and myself as 5 time champions in our respective sports as Kobe has 5 NBA titles and I have 5 Rucker Park titles.


We have long been friends and I can tell you that the constant heckling of Tom about only having 4 rings is what's driving him to get to the promised land one last time. Kobe and I spoke with Tom on the phone a couple of nights ago and he sounded more focused than any of the previous 6 trips to the Super Bowl. Sticking it to Commissioner Goodell would just be icing on the cake for him and there is not a chance that I am going to bet against him. Neither should you. Patriots 31-24.


Bonus content: If the Patriots don't get robbed on some Tyree/Manningham/Kearse type play and if Brady doesn't win the MVP, I'm going with Dion Lewis. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 NFL Conference Championship Predictions

The best thing about being 1-7 through 8 games is that I am now an ESPN "expert" and the best thing about about the Conference Championships is that I only have to try and be half as funny. Let's get to the games.

NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers @ Hotlanta Falcons

Line: Falcons -6


This game has the stars, the offense, and the hype much like the Cavs-Warriors rematch last week and just like that game, one of these teams is going to lay an absolute dud. One thing I can guarantee is that it will not be by the Green Bay Packers with A-A-Ron Rodgers playing catch like no other right now. I mean, did you even see "the throw" last week bro? He broke 7 tackles, sprinted to his left and played catch so well with Jared Cook that the 8 defenders covering him didn't stand a chance. Mason Crosby even told reporters after the game that Rodgers taught him a new kicking technique in warm ups that allowed him to make that game winning field goal. I'm starting to think that the God Russell Wilson sold his soul to is actually just A-A-Ron Rodgers.

A-A-Ron explained for you old folks.


Off the field, it has also come out recently that Rodgers is a world class brother and son. What a stand up guy. The greatness apparently just rubs off him too as his girlfriend, Olivia Munn, is a budding actress with hit films such as The Slammin' Salmon, Mortdecai, and Zoolander 2. To top it off, Rodgers uses his spare time for medical research and the American Cancer Society estimates he will provide a cure for all types of cancer by the end of the decade. I just can't pick against this one of a kind human being anymore. Packers 51-21.    

AFC Championship-Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots

Line: Patriots -6


Will Brady play for ring #5 or will Big Ben play for #3? Will either QB take a blindside hit and break his hip?? Will Bill Belichick wear sleeves??? These are my burning questions heading into the AFC Championship. Problem is, I wasted all of my energy slobbing on Rodgers above and I really want to play Battlefield so I will keep this short. This game is going to end on a horrific Big Ben pick six or a sack and fumble after Big Ben holds the ball for about 30 seconds too long. The whole Antonio Brown locker room video leak is all playing into this story line. Pittsburgh will blow it and the dumb ass media are going to have a field day on how that video inspired the Pats to make that final, crucial play. To answer my questions from above, Brady plays for #5, Malcom Brown breaks Big Ben in half, and no, of course not. Patriots 30-20. Fuck, that was a mess. Deal with it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 NFL Divisional Round Predictions

Well, I went 0-4 last week and when you hit rock bottom like a dope fiend, the only way to go is up. I suppose I could have made the boring ass assumption that all four home teams would win but this right here, this shit right here, right here, this shit, is purely for entertainment purposes only. Onto the divisional round (in Belichick's voice).

NFC Divisional Game #1-Seattle Jesus Christs @ Atlanta Falcons

Line: Falcons -4.5


The best thing Atlanta has going for it right now is the TV show Atlanta. I cannot stress enough how good this show is and you should definitely quit recording one of your 4 CSI programs and replace it with this. On to the game. The Falcons have recently earned the nickname 'Hotlanta' as Matt Ryan is a legitimate MVP contender and they have scored at least 28 points in their last 6 games but Seattle has Russell Wilson. The man who sold his soul to God so he could win football games and bang Ciara. I learned my lesson last week by picking against him and in my mind, Atlanta is still a pretender when it comes to football. Seahawks 30-24.

AFC Divisional Game #1-Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

Line: Patriots -16


Houston winning this game would topple the 'Miracle on Ice' miracle. The spread on this one is the 4th largest in NFL playoff history and that's only because Gronk is out and Brock Osweiler didn't shit himself last week against Oakland. I think Timmy Brady and Sleeves realize the window is closing on a run at Super Bowl #5 and Houston is not going to be the team to stop them. Patriots 38-10.

NFC Divisional Game #2-Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

Line: Cowboys -5.0


Here we go again with this Hail Mary bullshit. People are losing their minds as if Rodgers is some mastermind when it comes to throwing the ball 50 yards, having a team play terrible defense and Randall Cobb shoving a defender in the back like he's some drunk gym bro at a bar on a Friday night. I mean, get a grip. Thankfully though, Green Bay is headed to Jerry World where Ezekiel Elliot is looking to make a couple of jumps into that Salvation Army bin. The Cowboys put a shellacking on the Packers during the regular season and this one is shaping up actually be a game but I still see Dallas pulling it off. Boys 33-27.

AFC Divisional Game #2-Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Line: Even


Once again, Alex Smith is on the cusp of joining the exclusive Smiff Club which only has 3 memebers: Will Smiff (founder), Steve Smiff (CEO), and Emmitt Smiff (President). Alex looks to make it #4 and I think he gets in with a signature win against the Steelers. I envision another shootout as in back to back to back 75 yard TD's between Tyreek, Le'Veon, Brown, or whoever else wants get involved. This is my sleeper for best game. Chiefs 31-30.

Disclaimer: I made these picks last night but posted this after the start of the first game. Just being transparent.