Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Top Ten Movies to look forward to in 2008

Salutations to all. After a couple weeks of straying from the usual content in my blogs, I am back with another top ten list about movies. I think it is fairly easy to realize that I am an avid movie lover and never miss the chance to talk about them. I would also like to point out that I can only think of two people who look forward to upcoming movies more than I do. I am not trying to brag; in fact, if anything, I think I am pointing out a character flaw in myself that tends to be a nerdy obsession with movies that haven't come out yet. Too often I hype up a movie in such a way that I am inevitably let down once I finally see it... So it is.

Having said all that, whether it is a compliment to my personality, or a personal vice, I can't help but get excited for some upcoming movies. And this year, there is quite a lot to get excited about in my humblest of opinions. The movie to beat, so far, is Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was absolutely hilarious and everyone needs to go see it. But there is still a lot to talk about in regards to the future. So, here goes nothing.

Top Ten Films I am Looking Forward to in 2008:

10. The Incredible Hulk. As I understand it, this is pretty much a do-over from the last Hulk movie, directed by Ang Lee. That movie was seriously one of the worst movies I have ever seen. But this one isn't a sequal; it's a remake, and it stars Edward Norton, which immediately establishes some credibility. I'm cautiously optimistic, but watch out... This movie could sneak up on us and be bad ass.

9. Body of Lies. If I knew more about this movie, I probably would have it higher on this list. But what I do know is that it is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Not bad.

8. Iron Man. Again, I'm cautiously optimistic. I didn't think much of Iron Man in my youth, and I didn't think much of the movie idea when I heard of it. But then I found out that Robert Downey Jr. is starring in it (and I believe i have already expressed my admiration for his work in one of my posts) and saw the trailer. The trailer is sick so I repeat, I am cautiously optimistic.

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A lot of potential in this movie. The book was slow so this could be a rare case where the movie exceeds expectations. These movies have fair acting at best, but everything else, in my opinion is usually exceptional.

6. Pineapple Express. If I reveal too much about this movie, then I feel I will reveal too much about my own habits. So you can find out for yourself.

5. Burn After Reading. I know virtually nothing about this movie except that it is a comedy, it is directed by the Coen Brothers, and it stars Brad Pitt and George Clooney. That's good enough for me.

4. Quantum of Solace. It's the new Bond movie. Need I say more? Of course not, but I will anyway. I just took my girlfriend to go see a movie and I saw the illest poster for this movie. I didn't even know they were making one! Well I knew they were making one, but I didn't know it would be out this year! I was almost disappointed with myself for the lack of knowledge, but then I remembered they were releasing a new Bond movie this year.

3. Wall E. There was a huge internal debate for me about the three and four positions on this list. And though the last bond movie was totally awesome, they aren't all awesome. But all the Pixar movies are. I have ZERO doubts that I will love this movie.

2. The Dark Knight. The problem with pre-judging movies based on the trailers and such, is that I have already dubbed this movie as a possibility to be my favorite movie ever. It looks so awesome. And people won't even remember the Jack Nicholson Joker after they see Heath Ledger's. If you haven't seen him in the trailer, you need to. I'm calling it now, he's going to get nominated for an Oscar. His tragic death may have a hand in it, but that doesn't mean it isn't deserving. Granted I haven't seen the movie yet, but in the trailer, he is completely transformed.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don't think I'm going to like this movie as much as The Dark Knight, to be perfectly honest. But how can I not hook it up for Indiana Jones. Besides, sometimes, the older a man gets, the more kick ass it is when he starts kicking ass. Plus, they had to wait this long 'till the script was right... I'm not worried.

Just Missed It:

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The last one was pretty awesome... surprisingly.

Get Smart. Looks pretty funny, but not sure if it will be.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hello all. So, this week is a special blog post. As most of you know (because most of you are in the same class as I am... BECA 560, the best class ever) this blog coincides with a class I am taking at San Francisco State University. Go Gators! Anyway, this blog post is supposed to be centered around the idea of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality, for the one person that reads this blog who is not in this class, is basically the idea that the Internet is the last frontier that is completely unfiltered and equal to everyone.

Unlike television, phone networks, radio, etc. the internet has no restrictions about who can use it, where you can go, and how fast you can get there, provided you have the internet, of course. This is, in fact, awesome. But the shitty phone companies in the world are trying to filter the internet for those on top so that they can put a couple of extra pennies on top. Basically, they are trying to designate certain levels of internet connection based on the plan you have, kind of like the phone plans. so if you can't afford the coolest phone plan, then you will probably have an internet that is ridiculously slow. As you can tell, I am completely objective about this.

Obviously there are two sides to every story, but this is pretty much trying to take money away from the little guy. The pros and cons are not even in my book. The good news is at least some people in congress seem to agree with me. It just sucks because they say that the whole world is run by like five companies and the web was the only thing left that we had to be completely equal. It was unfiltered, and awesome. Now they are trying to take that one thing left that we have and rip it apart. I just went off on a little tangent, which I am completely fine with, by the way, but now I should get back to business.

Okay, without further delay, my top ten list for this week is as follows:

Top Ten reasons Net Neutrality restrictions suck ass.

10. The world is full of greedy bastards. This is sort of a general statement about the state of affairs in which we live. But specifically, those companies that due run the universe, Disney, Time Warner, Viacom, Mr. Murdoch and his greedy little fingers, and Sony (I think is the last one), have enough of everything else in the world. They don't need to hog the internet too. Just my two cents. 

9. There are three websites I check in the morning. If I can't check said websites (mlbtraderumors.com, espn.com, and movies.com) then it is almost the equivalent of my mother not getting her coffe fix in the morning. And nobody wants that. Not even the CEOs of those previously mentioned companies.

8. How will they filter pornographic sites? I mean, we are talking about the internet; it is eventually going to come up and be an uncomfortable subject for someone. Does that mean someone has to make restrictions on every porn site that there is in the world wide web? I guess there are worse jobs.

7. These sort of restrictions just remind us about how our society is set up in a hierarchy. Equality and freedom are the two principle that this country is based on, so I think it is bull shit to try and take something like the Internet and twist it into a money making machine. I guess everyone is trying to do that, but they are still not limiting the rest of us to what we can and cannot look at on the web.  

6. How are we going to get cool ideas like youtube and myspace if they take away our freedom. Google would have never made billions of dollars on things like that. Nobody wins there.

5. Think about it... We probably wouldn't be able to do this blog right now if someone restricts net neutrality. And who wouldn't want to hear my opinions? That was more or less a rhetorical question. 

4. I wonder how this would affect the way we all get email. I mean, I get enough shitty mail as it is without some corporate giant getting in my grill with some other mail I don't need. Although it will be a nice change of pace from the Viagra adds. I think it is really funny that everyone seems to be getting those emails too. And if you don't, please don't point it out and make me feel awkward by bringing up Viagra.

3. There are other things for Congress to be worrying about. First off, our economy sucks ass right now. We need to find some sort of boost or none of us will ever be able to find a job. Second, and this probably should have been first, there are thousands of troops that should be allowed to come home soon. I'm not going to get into a huge "War On Terror" debate here, but there is something to be noted when we are messing with a perfectly good Internet instead of getting our soldiers back.

2. The online BECA community will never be seen! Our work will be for nothing!

1. In all seriousness, there is even a greater tragedy at stake, the way I see it. Freedom of speech is one of the most basic freedoms we can possibly have. Other than free will, which is the basis of human existence, freedom of speech is like the freedom. I should be able to say what ever I want, whenever I want, where ever I want. As it turns out, we can't because of censorship of music, movies, and TV. But if nowhere else, I should be able to view and say anything I want on the internet. 

This is a serious issue that the public has yet to realize. To restrict our Internet availability would change our lives drastically and we really need to be ready for it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What up? This is Josh and you are reading my blog. Usually, I write a lot of lists about movies and music and such, but I feel that this week I need to pay homage to the great city in which we live. I grew up in Oakland, just across the bay, but have lived in the great city of San Francisco for about four years now, and would rather not live anywhere else. It's great; and yet I feel I don't fully take advantage of living in one of the greatest places on earth. Regardless, I would still like to give you some insight on what I think the best things to do in the city are. Some of these activities are general things that can be done regularly, and some of these things are personal events that have happened once or twice that were so much fun. Nonetheless, my list is as follows:

Top Ten things to do in San Francisco.

10. Zeitgeist. Zeitgeist is a bar in the Mission district. Is it my favorite bar in the city? Probably not. Is it my favorite bar in the Mission? Probably. But the reason I'm putting it down is because we once went there during the day to see my friend off, who was moving to Oregon. He showed up a couple hours late, but my other friend and I started drinking heavily anyway. This was at 1pm. It didn't help that they had my favorite beer, Great White, on tap. The moral of the story is, I was so hammered by 6pm that my girlfriend had to come and pick me up. It was awesome. I probably had 12, maybe 15 beers... And a couple jager shots. 

9. Exploritorium. I haven't been there in a while, but it was good times when I was younger.

8. Go to the Haight. Good restaurants, great shops, fun bars... It's just a great time. And there is usually some valuable things that you can find. It is lame when you get yelled at by the gutter kids who think they own San Francisco, but it doesn't ruin my day.

7. Scavenger Hunt. One time my girlfriend made a fatty scavenger hunt for me and our friends, who knew very little about the city. It was an all day event and we had to go everywhere. It was totally cool and one of the best days I've had in the city.

6. Ocean Beach. On a nice day, there are few things better than going to Ocean Beach. Nothing more need be said.

5. Dinner Downtown. Whether it be at Union Square, North Beach, or wherever, dinner downtown, especially during the winter, is really fun. It makes me feel classy.

4. Thursdays. This is just a little tradition that our friends have. It takes place at my buddy's house and it consists of heavy drinking and lots of beer games. Moosehead and civil war are the best ones.

3. Fisherman's Wharf/ Ghirardelli Square/ Pier 39. It's fun doing the whole touristy thing down at the wharf. You have to get some clam chowder in a bread bowl. It's delicious. And on Pier 39 you have got to get the mini donuts. They are so good.

2. Picnic/ BBQ in the Park. I love Golden Gate Park, and on a nice day it is totally awesome to just hang out all day in it. Ultimate Frisby is a must. And any excuse for day drinking is also high on my list. I usually like to get deli sandwiches or subs for lunch. I recommend the Submarine Centere in West Portal, or Marina Sub.

1. A's Games. I don't care what anyone says, this is my blog and I can do whatever I want. And if I say that A's games are part of San Francisco, then in this blog they are. Go A's!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but as many of you know, this blog coincides with a class I am taking, and we have taken a break from blog posts. But I'm back. First I'd like to address some of the comments that were written on various posts because there really isn't another way I can respond. First, a couple of people have asked for me to back up my opinions with other points of view or statistics. That's an interesting idea, but I like my opinions and that is what this blog is about. Most of what I write here is strictly opinion, unless stated otherwise, and I don't care one way or the other if people agree with me. As far as giving myself credibility, I would rather someone here what I have to say, because it is not always going to be the same thing that more credible sources have to say. 

Other posts have respectfully disagreed with what I have said, and that is totally cool with me. These lists that I am creating should, if nothing else, create discussion for you guys who are reading it. And if you want to take these lists and bring the arguments to your friends, then I will consider any reaction a success. 

Lastly I want to thank everyone for posting comments on what I have to say and want to encourage you to keep doing so. It probably won't change my opinions, but it creates discussion and that's kick ass.

OKAY! Back to this week's post. I decided to do something special during spring break. Something epic. Something monumental. It took a lot of time to do this, and I had to make an amendment to the original format, but it is my blog and I can do whatever I want. In other words, because of the magnitude of this list, I had to change the format from 10 to 25. So without further delay, here is my list for my top 25 FAVORITE (as opposed to what I think are the greatest; there is a difference) movies of all time.

25. The Adventures of Robin Hood: This is of course the version from the '30s. It kicks serious ass. Lots of action, good story, epic scale.

24. V for Vendetta: One of the greatest stories of revenge ever told.

23. Wag the dog: This is a hilarious political commentary that actually became quite timely when it came out.

22. Terminator 2. This is my favorite pure action movie. Good story, good acting and an incredible villain that never quits. It's awesome.

21. Ratatouille: I know I said No Country for Old Men was better in a previous post, but time changes things and this movie is easier to watch multiple times, which counts for something.


19. Saving Private Ryan: So many war movies try and miss the mark. Others try and make it look extremely real. Saving Private Ryan makes you feel like you are actually in a war, and that isn't even the best part of the movie.

18. Forrest Gump: Something about this movie just sticks with everyone who watches it. It could be the countless quotes, or the unforgettable characters, or Tom Hanks, but I will never forget the scene where he is running across the states. It's beautiful.

17. Dumb and Dumber: Non-stop roll over laughing comedy.

16. It's a Wonderful Life: I cry during this movie every Christmas.

15. Wedding Crashers: "Let's go shoot some bird, I'm psyched."

14. The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring: How could something so nerdy be so bad ass at the same time.
13. Back to the Future: "When this baby hits 88mph, you're gonna see some serious shit."

12. Raiders of the Lost Arc: One of the most ultimate bad asses of all time. This is a classic among classics.

11. Casablanca: "Of all the gin joints in all the world," "Here's looking at you kid," "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

10. Finding Nemo. My favorite animated movie ever. It is just incredible.

9. Batman Begins: Hands down the best superhero movie. It's better than the original Batman, though they were different styles. This summer's Dark Knight might have something to say about it.

8. Unforgiven: Scary good. I'm completely intrigued by the old west, and this movie hits it closest to the mark in my opinion. It seems the most real.

7. Jaws: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

6. The Big Lebowski: "That carpet really tied the room together, Dude."

5. Cinderella Man: Possibly the most underrated movie of all time.

4. Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back: You know, Darth Vador never says "Luke, I am your father." He just says "No, I am your father." The most famous movie quote of all time has been misquoted all this time.

3. E.T. : The greatest last fifteen minutes of any movie.

2. The Shawshank Redemption. One of two movies that I consider to be flawless.

1. The Godfather: This is the other. "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." "I believe in America." " Leave the gun, take the cannoli.

Just missed it:

Schindler's List: Too intense to be one of my favorites. That doesn't mean it isn't great, though.

Lonesome Dove: It isn't technically a movie, but a four part mini series about the old west. It's based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which is also my favorite book ever.

To Kill A Mockingbird: "Jean Louise. Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Welcome back everyone. I took a little break last week because I was a little busy with school and work. It happens. Regardless, we are moving on to the new top ten list. I have focused most of my efforts into a movie list one way or the other, which is a trend that will continue, but this week I decided to give you a little taste of what kind of music I listen to. Most of my favorite music is pretty rocking. I'm not saying that I only listen to metal or that I need distortion on the guitars in order to like what I hear. I just like rock n' roll in all forms. Old or new, mainstream or underground, it just has to be good. Obviously I can't give you a full overview in just one list, but I shall do my best. So without further delay, this week's list is:

Top Ten Albums of the '90s.

10. Sublime by Sublime. I like Sublime. Who doesn't? Well my roommate doesn't, come to think of it, but that is besides the point. The point is, whether or not you love the music of Sublime or not, or whether or not you think they had a huge impact on the music scene of the nineties, there is no denying that whenever a crowd of people here's a Sublime song come on the radio, everyone sings. Everyone knows the words and has fun singing along to "What I Got," or "Santaria" or whatever the tune might be. They know how to play their instruments well, the late greate Brad has a beautiful voice for the ladies, and they can rock. Even my roommate knows the words and he hates Sublime.

9. Smash by the Offspring. I remember the day I bought this CD. I was in the eighth grade on my field trip to Sacramento, which was okay, but the highlight of the trip was this album. It's rocking from cover to cover and has a shit load of songs that get stuck in your head. That can be viewed as both good and bad, but in this sense, I view it as a positive.

8. Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind. I know what you're thinking; you're thinking that Third Eye Blind is a pretty pussy band for me to put on a top ten list, and I would agree with you. But despite there later lameness, Third Eye Blind the album, not the band, is very good. The songs are catchy and they flow extremely well with each other up and down the album. It's a good album to relax to.

7. The Colour and Shape by the Foo Fighters. "Hero." "Everlong." "Monkey Wrench." Awesome. This is just a kick ass record all around. Dave Grohl is a man among boys being on this list in two different bands, among other reasons. Fun Fact: The Foo Fighters got their name from a WWII era word for UFOs.

6. And Out Come The Wolves by Rancid. Let me start off by saying that I am not really a rancid fan. I have another album of theirs, but don't like it and rarely listen to it. I have seen them live, and though they play a good show, I did not know many of the songs or like the ones that I heard for the first time. Having said that, let me also note that it is very rare for an album, especially albums with the amount of songs (19) that you can listen to without skipping a track. It is even more rare when you don't like the band. "And Out Come the Wolves" is one of these albums. If you like rock n' roll or punk rock, go buy this album.

5. Dookie by Green Day. During the time when grunge artists were singing of depression and heroin addictions, Green Day came along, lightened the mood, and reminded us that there are more important things to sing about... like masturbation. Green Day made rock music fun again with their most acclaimed album of the nineties.

4. Nevermind by Nirvana. Arguably the most influential album of the decade, "Nevermind" made music important again. Before Nirvana changed things, rock n' roll was all about growing the longest hair and getting the most girls, even though all the artists looked more feminine than the girls they were hooking up with. But along comes Nirvana and changes all of that. Nirvana is one of the few grunge bands that I actually like. Most of them were no better than the hair metal bands except they didn't wash their hair, which is why the arrival of Green Day was so refreshing. But Nirvana did it right and "Nevermind" is a great album.

3. Weezer (The Blue Album) by Weezer. This is one of the catchiest albums of all time in my opinion. It just makes me happy. The first seven songs on the CD are totally awesome and just flow right through each other. Plus it doesn't take itself too seriously and just kicks ass.

2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins. Not to many double discs exist in the CD era, and what ones do exist usually aren't very good. This one is one of my favorite albums of all time. I can listen to the whole thing all the way through. I just saw them live almost a year ago when they got back together and played at the Fillmore. It was a great show. They played for three hours without a break. The band took a short break but Billy did an acoustic set during that time so we still got music. It was totally awesome. I took my brother for his sixteenth birthday.

1. Nimrod by Green Day. This is my favorite album of all time. It kicks serious ass but at the same time is diverse enough to not sound monotone. I can't believe it doesn't get more respect when Dookie and American Idiot do. The first of those, as I have mentioned, is great, the second is pretty good too, but Nimrod is far and away Green Day's best album. If you haven't heard it before, I feel sorry for you and if you have and don't like it then you probably shouldn't be reading this blog. It's the best of the best in my opinion and should be to everyone else.

Just missed it:

Odelay by Beck. Great album. Innovative, creative, never disappointing, Beck can do it all.

Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Better than "Blood Sugar Sex Magik."

Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine. Rage!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Greetings all. I hope you all have had a nice week analyzing my posts, just kidding. I had a little trouble thinking about a topic for this week, and even more trouble deciding how to make the list once I did finally decide. But after much internal debate, I was eventually able to finalize my top ten list for this week. I decided to go back to movies since that is the topic I find most interesting to talk about with people about whom you know little. I know little about all of you so I guess it is as good a topic as any. So let's get to it.

Top Ten Film Scenes:

10. The Silence of the Lambs. The scene I am referring to is of course the first meeting between Clarice Starling and the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I think the scariest part of the movies is the first time you see Dr. Lecter. When she comes around the corner of his cell and he is standing right in the middle of it with a crazed yet satisfied look on his face. It is so creepy. And then the conversation begins and the audience is just so terrified of what sort of mind games Lecter can play because of the warnings Clarice received. And finally, what would any mention of The Silence of the Lambs be without the further mention of "liver with some farvar beans and a nice chianti."

9. Cinderella Man. I think Cinderella Man is one of the most underrated movies ever because it is one of the best I have ever seen. It is filled with unforgettable characters and scenes but the best one is the scene where Jimmy Braddock has to ask the boxing promoters for money. Braddock, the main character, is a very proud man and does things with honor throughout the whole picture, so for him to humble himself to those who previously fired him is an incredible thing to watch. Russell Crowe does not need any more recognition for his incredible acting skills, but in my opinion, this is his best performance. It truly is remarkable.

8. Casablanca. It's a classic. How could you not like Casablanca? This is another movies with an endless list of unforgettable quotes, but more noticeably, unforgettable lines. It seems like more lines come from Casablanca than in any other movie combined. obviously that is an exaggeration buy you get the picture. From "Gin joints" to "As time goes by" the movie is just unforgettable. But the scene that I like most is the scene in Rick's Cafe when the Nazis are singing a song in German amongst themselves. Well Casablanca is occupied with French citizens, so in the same bar the French start singing their national anthem in response. The struggle eventually ends on the side of the French and you can see the sense of unity in the French. It is an epic scene.

7. Jaws. I am a firm believer in Jaws. I think it is one of the best films ever made and Robert Shaw's portrayal of the rough captain of the Orka, Quint, is some of the best acting I have ever seen. The best scene in Jaws is where Shaw is just going to town with his acting skills while the three are talking about different scars they have accumulated over the years (macho talk). Then Quint goes into a monologue about how he survived the largest recorded shark attack ever recorded when a Naval ship went down. It is an actual event, but hearing it from the point of view of someone that was there is a powerful thing. Plus Quint is a badass.

6. Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. To be completely honest, I'm not sure there is one defining scene in the Star Wars saga for me to talk about. But the fact of the matter is that Star Wars is one of my favorite movies ever, and I am referring to Star Wars as a whole and not as one single movie. But if I had to pick one I would pick the one that is most widely known, which is the battle between Luke and Darth Vador. Apart from being totally awesome, we also get the movie line to end all movie line's, "No, I am your father." The Funny thing is, when anyone quote's that movie, they always say, "Luke I am your father," but he never actually addresses Luke by name. Not many people realize that. Awesome scene though.

5. The Godfather. The Godfather, in my opinion, is the only movie I have ever seen that I wold consider to be flawless. It is just perfect. But the scene that gets me the most is the meeting between all the five families. This is the first time the Don has revealed himself to the other families since his assassination attempt. The part that makes the scene is when he starts talking. He forgoes the vengeance on his son Sonny, but communicates the importance of a safe return home for his son Michael, who had to flea the country. And he says "But I am a supersticious man an if some accident should happen like if he were to be shot by a police man, or if he were to hang himself in his jail cell, or if he is struck by a bolt of lightening, then I am going to blame some of the people in this room. And that I do not forgive." Not sure if that is entirely right, but it is close enough. Epic.

4. Unforgiven. If you haven't seen Unforgiven, and an alarming number of people I talk to haven't, then go rent it. It is one of my favorite movies and the best Western I have ever seen. It isn't like most Westerns though, meaning to say that the whole thing isn't about gun slinging. It has it's fair share of action, but it is all at the end so if you are one who needs their daily dose of action in a movie you will get it, but be patient. If you are one that likes a good drama, this is more of your type of movie. But the scene I am talking about is the climax. It comes at the end of the movie so I don't want to give too much away, but the main character, William Munny played by Clint Eastwood (who also directed it) is a retired outlaw, who tries to convince everyone that he has changed his ways. Then at the end of the movie shit goes down and he jacks some fools up. It is awesome. But I don't want to give away the ending. Go see it. It's great. If you dare to watch it having not scene it or just want to watch it again check it out. Click on the second one. It's edited so it's not the entire scene but you get the idea.

3. Godfather II. I am a fan of the original Godfather more than part II, though I do not fault anyone who differs from that opinion. In the second however, there are two story lines going on, one about the present Michael Corleone and one about Vito's past and it is that story line that I love to watch in part II. It is like watching a moving painting. Anyway, the scene I love in that story line is the one where Vito takes his first step towards becoming the Don by killing a cruel mob boss that controls the his town during the town's parade. It is such an incredible scene that I really can't describe it. He's climbing over rooftops, the music is incredible, just go watch that movie. I want to right now.

2. E. T. My favorite movie from my childhood is also perhaps my favorite movie ever. E. T. should go down as one of the greatest achievements in film history, but many people see it as a children's film and overlook it, especially people my age I have noticed. But they shouldn't because it is GREAT. The final chase scene is possibly my favorite of all time, the only reason I didn't put it at number one is because there really isn't any dialogue. I guess that shouldn't really matter but I've already made this list and I like going with my first instincts. The musical score by John Williams is amazing though. It just elevates that scene so much. I'm talking about the scene where everyone is chasing the kids on their bikes. It's so cool.

1. The Shawshank Redemption. Possibly the most underrated movie when it came out, and I read somewhere that this is considered the best movie never to win an academy award for best picture. I would agree with that, though I doubt that is a general consensus. It is however a great movie and has really picked up popularity since it's release on video and DVD. My favorite scene in the movie however, which also happens to be my favorite scene of all time, is the scene where Andy, Red, and the rest of their inmate group of friends are hanging out on the rooftop they are tarring. They are drinking beers as if they are buddies, beers that Andy was somehow able to haggle for. And Red, played by Morgan Freeman is providing the voice over with some of the best writing you will ever find. "We could have been tarring the roofs of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation." 

Just missed it:

To Kill a Mockingbird: the Atticus Monologue.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: Where they play basketball.

Raiders of the Lost Arc: the opening temple scene.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Greetings all. Last week I discussed movies, and though it is one of my favorite topics to discuss, I am going to try not to repeat the general topics from week to week. So this week I will be discussing sports and since the greatest sport in the history of creation is baseball, that will be the sport from which this week's top ten list is derived. So without further delay:

Top Ten Greatest Baseball Position Players of All Time (Pitchers Not Included):

10. Mickey Mantle. On top of his natural skill, Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest athletes in major league history as well. He was a switch hitter that completely mashed from both sides of the plate and also hit for average. He hit over 500 homers, won three MVPs and holds like a million  world series records. The sucky part about the whole thing, if you are a "glass is half empty type of person," is that he played his entire career on bad knees. He had structural damage in his cartilage or something, but he was always hurt. People often speculate what his career numbers would have looked like if he had been healthy.

9. Alex Rodriguez. When his career is done, we may say he is the greatest. It's pretty rediculous what he has done (and how much he is getting paid to do it for that matter) at such a young age. If you don't know about him then you probably  have not had a tv or something for like the last ten years. But that's cool. No judgement. 

8. Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio was the center fielder for the yankees right before Mantle got there and was a savage on both offense and defense. He also holds one of the most ridiculous records in all of sports. He hit safely in fifty six straight games. Most guys don't even play in fifty six straight games. Plus he married Marilyn Monroe.

7. Ty Cobb. From what I've heard, this guy was kind of an asshole. He was racist and a dirty player. But he could swing the stick with the best of them, and that is what we are talking about on this list. He set about ten million records until the "modern era" of baseball came to be. But he still holds the record for career batting average, .366, and is one of only two players to ever hit four thousand hits.

6. Honus Wagner. He and Cobb are considered the best players to play before the "modern era," and Wagner is widely considered the best shortstop of all time. They called him the Flying Dutchman because he was from Germany and his speed was insane.

5. Barry Bonds. Say what you will but this guy can seriously hit. I'm not even a Giants fan and I still respect his abilities regardless of whatever extra help he allegedly used. I'm not going to take a particular stance on the steroid issue in this post today but I will say that Barry Bonds may have very well been the greatest baseball player any of us will ever see. The man could just flat out hit.

4. Henry Aaron. Hammerin Hank, as they called him, is a model of consistency. He held the home run record for 33 years but did not do so like Barry Bonds by hitting 70 bombs out of nowhere. He consistently hit his forty home runs or so every year his entire career. I was watching a special on him one time and someone said that they never considered him to be a great power hitter, just a great hitter and then all of the sudden he was chasing the record. He was a quiet superstar that came out and did his job. He also still holds the records for most RBIs. And he did all of that over extreme pressure because nobody wanted him to break Ruth's record.

3. Ted Williams. Boston fans will tell you that Ted Williams, also known as the Splendid Splinter, was the greatest hitter that ever lived. And if they are wrong, they are not wrong by much. For starters, Williams was the last person to hit for a .400 average at .406 and that was before they didn't count sacrifice flies. So he really should have had a better average. He is of course a member of the illustrious 500 home run club and he achieved that despite missing two of his prime years for service in WWII. He also hit the triple crown three times. Unbelievable. And he hit a homer in his very last at bat.

2. Willie Mays. The Say Hey Kid was incredible. If there was one player that I wish I could travel back in time to watch him play, it would be Willie Mays. Mays was the essential five tool talent. He could hit, hit for power, defend, run, and had a cannon of an arm. Until Barry Bonds came along, he was one of three people to ever hit 600 home runs with 660. And the thing that I think is probably the most ridiculous of all his achievements is the fact that he appeared in a record 24 all star games. Only one other player did that. Most don't even come close to playing that long. He is amazing.

1. Babe Ruth. Ruth's fame was bigger than his baseball stature and has now become legendary. Ruth started his major league career as a pitcher and was quite successful. Many experts suspect that if he had finished his career as a pitcher he would have made it to the hall of fame from the mound. But he hit so many damn home runs that they had move him to right field so he could hit every day. Before Ruth came about and became the godly baseball player he is, the record for hitting home runs was 138. Ruth hit 714. There are so many stories about him that he has become a baseball legend. Even now his numbers are hard to contemplate. Once in a game, he pointed to the center field wall while he was at the plate indicating where he was going to hit the ball. The next pitch sailed into the stands where he was pointing.

Just Missed the List:

Roberto Clemente. Arguably the best defensive right fielder ever, he had a complete cannon. He was also a pretty good hitter, making it to the elite 3000 hit club with exactly 3000 hits. He was tragically killed shortly after in a plain crash ending his incredible career prematurely. 

Ken Griffey Jr. Oh how it would have been if not for the injuries. He was on pace to break all the records before the injuries plagued the latter days of his career, and still do for that matter. And he won ten gold gloves in center field, so he wasn't just an offensive juggernaut. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Top Ten Movies I Saw This Year

Hi everyone. My name is Josh and I'm starting this blog in order to send out my various opinions to the world without any initial contradiction. Not that I don't love a good argument, because I do, but I tend to think of my opinions as facts. If you disagree with me, that's fine, leave me a post and tell me why and I will probably decide that you are wrong and will continue believing everything that I believe. And what is it that I will be discussing exactly? Pretty simple really. Each post I will decide on a topic and then list my ten favorite items, movies, people, things, etc. that i think qualify for that topic, hence the name Josh's top ten list. Most of the topics will be about movies, music, or sports since those are my three main interests. So without further rambling, I will now commence discussion on the first topic:

Top Ten Movies That I Saw This Year.

I might note that I am not a film critic and have not seen all the movies this year but here it goes anyway.

10. "Charlie Wilson's War." This movie got a lot of hype early in the year because of the likes of Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Phillip Seyemore Hoffman, to name a fiew but dropped off the map when it suffered a few less than impressive reviews. But I liked it. I thought it was a very timely subject matter, dealing with a covert war and government deception, yet dealt with it very well. Plus, I love Tom Hanks. He is a great actor, though sometimes I think his performances are a tad overrated, but he is just awesome in this movie. He and Hoffman have great chemistry and are hilarious together. Julia Roberts was terrible but I always think she is terrible so no surprise there.

9. "Zodiac." If this movie came out later in the year I think it would have received some oscar consideration. It was GOOD but not GREAT. Robert Downey Jr. however, was great as he usually is. When Robert Downey Jr. is on screen, you cannot help but watch his every move, whether 
he is talking or not. He is just so talented and so unpredictable. Too bad he was drugged out for a few years there. Anyway the rest of the movies was just pretty good and they really made eerie accusations that really got me thinking which made it last longer. When in doubt, I say if you are thinking about the movie later on (and not thinking of how much it sucked) then it was probably pretty good. Bit long though. Could have cut some of it down a little.

8. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I don't care what anybody says, this movies was bad ass. The action was awesome and Ralph Fiennes once again represents evil perfectly in the form of Voldermort (The other of course being his role in Schindler's List). It was awesome. I don't have much more to say about that.

7. "There Will Be Blood." I saw this movie with my brother and when I came out I said "I didn't really like it." But try as I might, I could not get the damn thing out of my head. Whether or not I had
 decided to like it or not yet, there is no denying that the film making, from a technical stand point, is incredible and the performance by Daniel Day Lewis is nothing short of brilliant (fun fact: Lewis has only been in 9 films since 1989 and has four oscar nominations for those films and will probably receive his second oscar this year... and should). But I wasn't sure if I liked the story. Without giving away too much, I think the title should have been different. 
Having said all that, I think everyone should go see this movie. If nothing else, it will get you to think... a lot.
6. "Into the Wild." This movie was inspirational. It made me realize that a lot of the things people covet really don't matter. This was another movie that I had to think a lot about. The film seemed to me to be a little over-directed. It seemed like a lot of directing cliches were use
d. I don't remember any specifics because I saw it like 4 months ago, but I remember thinking it. I also remember the acting being tremendous. Emil Hirsch did a great job if only by keeping my interest while taking up like 90 percent of the screen time. It is tough to watch just one person more or less the entire movie, but I was never bored and the various other characters throughout the film were all very well acted.

5. "Live Free or Die Hard." Very surprised. Justin Long and Bruce Willis worked very well together and were very entertaining. Beyond that, all you need to know is that it was BAD ASS.

4. "Superbad." Oh... my... God... This movie was absolutely hilarious. It is, in my humblest of opinions, an instant classic. It was so raunchy and yet it struck so many chords close to home. The dialogue was fantastic, the situations outlandish yet believable, and the characters relatable. It was so funny and yet at the end of the movie they tie it in with an emotional ending that made it a good MOVIE instead of just a good COMEDY. And it wasn't good, it was great.

3. "Transformers." When I saw the trailer for this film, about a year before it's release, I thought that it would be a joke but that I would go and see it because I loved watching the Transformers cartoon. It was incredible. The reason people started going to movies was to escape from reality, if only for a short while. Now people are to worried about the production v
alue and the acting performances or whether what you see can actually happen. I am also guilty of this. But Transformers wipes that away and if viewed from the right point of view, it is pure entertainment. Plus it kicks serious ass.

2. "Ratatouille." I have never disliked a Pixar movie. In fact I thought Cars was the worst one and I own it. But Ratatouille was excellent. I LOVED it. Everything from the animation to the musical score. It was nearly perfect. If you have not seen this movie, go buy it.

1. "No Country For Old Men." When I walked out of this movie, I immediately wanted to see it again. I have already talked about how other movies made me think a lot, but none compared to this movie. A lot of people I talked to said that they didn't get it, or that they didn't like the ending, or they didn't think anything was resolved. To those people I say, exactly. I know that might not bring you much closure, but go and rent it and watch it again. This time, watch the movie through the perception of Tommy Lee Jones' character. He is the old man and the one that realizes things are changing for the worst and could not be stopped. The acting was superb on all counts and the Cohen Brothers do it again with this movie. some of their movies have missed in my opinion, but I think they nailed it with this one. A perfect commentary of the state of violence of today. It is almost as though this movie is set in the old west. It is so good.

Just missed the cut:"The Bourne Ultimatum:" Very good, but I've seen it twice from the first two Bourne movies. And it wasn't as fun as its action competition.

"Juno:" It was good. Not great. Probably the second most overrated film of the year. I think most people liked it because it has been deemed the "cool movie to like."

Not even close:"Attonement:" THE most overrated film of the year. No actor chemistry, bad direction, bad acting, annoying Keira Knightley. It was just bad.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Top Ten Gets Started

And we are off and running.