I grew up with privilege

07/09/2016

I grew up with privilege.

My parents raised six children, all born in the span of ten years. My dad was an alcoholic for most of my youth and my mom struggled with her newfound role as a housewife. Yet they loved us. It is something that looking back on, we never lacked. Adequate housing, at times. Food, occasionally. But love? From our parents? We had that in spades.

I grew up with privilege.

Every teacher that I ever had cared for me. They encouraged me, supported me, guided me. When it came time for my sisters to have these same teachers, the expectation was already set for them. They would be wonderful and ideal and model students, simply by virtue of being my sisters. Of course, they were not alone in having a reputation precede them. “Felipe is your uncle? Lola is your aunt? They were such wonderful students; I loved having them.” Before even setting one foot in the classroom, we were already expected to succeed. As Carranzas, there simply wasn’t another option. We would be the best, just like those before us.

I grew up with privilege.

We had our fair share of run ins with the police. Mostly due to my dad’s checkered motorist past. DUI’s, speeding tickets, suspended licenses. Yet my dad always came home from those, one way or another. When we did talk to the police officers, they were friendly. Respectful. As I became older and it came time for me to have my interactions with officers, the interactions were much the same. I never felt immediately threatened. Sure, I would remark (to myself) on the implications of being profiled, but always after the fact, and always after I got to go home unscathed.

I grew up with privilege.

For my family, the system worked. We grew to trust the system. It gave us an education. Where we erred, it allowed us to continue our path with lessons gleaned from whatever incident we managed to get ourselves into.

Our parents loved us. Our teachers valued us. Our officers respected us.

The system worked for us. But it is by no means perfect. Not yet.

Some of us grew up without love and support. Maybe it was there, but it was highly undetectable, buried beneath layers of regret, scorn and irresponsibility. Some of us went to school with teachers that saw us not as capable of anything, but as walking failures to be, our fates decided thanks to the one time we got out of our seat without permission, or arrived late, or used a racial slur that we picked up on the street in passing. Some of us grew to mistrust authority, because all it ever did was exert its power and lord it over us, reminding us of how weak and incapable we were of simply being. For those of us, the system failed us. Maybe by random chance, maybe by design. But that privilege we did not receive.

Now, as adults, we bring our biases and prejudices with us. They shape us, inform our worldview. They are as much a part of us as our beating hearts. When we see people struggle, resist and not comply, it is not because they are miscreants, ready to cause trouble. It is not because they are unlawful thugs, just itching to pop off on the first cop that glances at them. No, they struggle and resist and fail to comply because all they have ever known is that the system will not be fair to them, will not do them justice, that no matter how innocent they are, they will be guilty, simply for being. And yet, in these moments, in which the system is working against them, to label them, to ordain their destiny, they are tasked with trusting that the system WILL take care of them, WILL guide them. Years of evidence and yes, bias are to be discarded in these moments because the system is wise and good and perfect and how can you not trust it when WE made it? But the system was not made by us. It was made by you. It is foreign to who we are, where we come from and how we choose to be. On occasion it does work, but it also fails spectacularly. These failures need to be addressed and driven out. Ideally, this has already occurred. We live in a country were the law states that we are all equal. But the law is only an idea. It is not the reality.

The reality is carried out by humans. Men. Women. Humans are many things: perfect is not one of them. But that is why our ideas must win out. Not our beliefs. Not our views. But our IDEAS. That ALL men and women are created equal. That what is true and right is true and right for all, white, black, brown and every other color, gender and orientation under the sun (to paraphrase from a great movie).

You are allowed to have prejudices. You are allowed to be biased. You are allowed to let your upbringing help create your worldview. But, you are not allowed to let those views, those beliefs, intrude on the rights of others. You are not allowed to use your prejudice to justify actions that are harmful at best and terrorizing and destructive at worst. You are not allowed to use your power to oppress, and then turn around and blame the oppressed for failing to comply with a system that has given nothing and taken everything. The system was created. It can be destroyed. The system was built. It can be strengthened. We (and I do mean WE) have a choice, a clear and present one that we must make every day: we can destroy this system, or we can take the good and make it better and eradicate the bad.

Will we succeed?

No.

Not completely. Not with one hundred percent effectiveness.  We will not succeed because we are human. And yet, this should not stop us. If anything, it should encourage us. For we are human. And we are not perfect. But we are caring, loving, empathetic, hopeful, strong, courageous and brave. And it is those values that we should focus on in order to get through these difficult times. We are not perfect. But we can try.

We can all try.

Advertisements

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

05/02/2014

In my long absence, something (can’t use amazing, that would be overdoing it… ummm) incredible has happened in the superhero genre: the rise of the cinematic universe. Currently there are the Big Four Studios, each with a different comic book property, each with the goal of expanding their library of heroes into a megafranchise from which it can rake in the dough for years and years to come. DC is doing a Batman Vs. Superman/ Justice League tagteam within the next 3 years; Fox is rebooting the Fantastic Four with hopes of having them join their just merged X-Men universes (see: Days of Future Past); Marvel is in the midst of a 7 year run in which every movie it has released has been critically acclaimed (some more than others) and have made Marvel’s B-gallery of heroes into A-list cinematic fare; Sony…

Well let’s talk about Sony.

Unlike the other studios, Sony has one hero. Spider-Man. That’s it. And while that may be a disadvantage, the flip side to that is… they have Spider-Man, one of the most popular characters of all-time, comic book or otherwise, a certifiable cash cow that will continue to print green for the studio as long as it decides to keep making movies revolving around the web slinger (or his villains, apparently).

Spider-Man was rebooted in 2012 after Raimi left the studio over differences, and now it is in the hands of Marc Webb, he of (500) Days of Summer fame. Sony is attempting to do what everyone else is, but with just one hero, and if you aren’t careful, that can get old, fast. To that end, Sony is not just focusing on Spider-Man himself, but also plans to give some time in the spotlight to his various villains, even making a Venom spinoff (excuse me while I go put on my Venom shirt) and a Sinister Six movie. Personally, I’m excited to see how this will play out, but in the mean time we have to deal with another two Spider-Man movies, the first of which was released today in the US. And that movie, well…

 

 

TASM 2 starts off by giving us a little glimpse of Richard and Mary Parker as they decided to go on the lam, followed by Spider-Man saving the day yet again and running late for Gwen Stacy’s big speech. The theme of time (and not having enough of it) is prevalent throughout the film, as the characters face choices they must make and deal with the finality of them (Gwen moving to England, not enough time for her and Parker, Aunt Mae having to work and go to school, Peter having to split his life between saving the city and loving Gwen, Harry Osborn living on borrowed time thanks to a genetic disease that just offed his father). Now that’s all well and good, but just like that previous parenthetical, the movie becomes overstuffed with plot points, not really knowing where to focus and straying from one point to the next. It’s ironic that a movie that really drives home the theme of not having enough time doesn’t have enough time to properly play out each of its plot points, despite running at 2.5 hours. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned Electro.

None of which is to say that the movie is boring. The action is fast paced and extremely enthralling. It takes on the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon, especially once Electro figures out how to use his powers (which happens kinda quickly, but if you are gonna fit all this into one movie, there’s no time for an Electro training montage set to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck). Jamie Foxx does a great job of portraying the villain, and his turn from bumbling nerd that nobody likes to superpowered freak out to destroy the hero he used to worship known as Spider-Man is fun to watch, if a little out of place with the rest of the film.

Individually, each element of the movie is awesome. You get the great chemistry between Gwen and Peter, the strained friendship between Harry and Peter, and the family dynamics at play as Peter tries to figure out what happened to his parents. The problem is that none of them are properly serviced and the movie suffers from it. It’s kinda like taking all these individual soda flavors that are all great on their own, but once you mix every single one of them together the final product falls short of our expectations (5 awesomes don’t make a super awesome, or in this case, an amazing).

Once again, Gwen and Peter steal the show. The interplay and dialogue between the two is amazing (heheh) and the choice to not make theirs a whirlwind romance but instead a relationship that impacts both of their lives in very real ways pays off big time. The only real issue is that some of their problems are shoehorned and rushed in order to fit everything else into the movie, and as a result their relationship suffers from a Ted/Robin will-they-or-won’t-they complex. Fortunately, their respective actors are so good (it doesn’t hurt that they are a couple in real life) that it elevates this part of the movie.

(I read this elsewhere and am all for it: I would pay to see any movie that Webb writes and directs starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone [non Spider-Man]. I mean, how could that not be good?)

Although he contributes greatly to the action (and maybe that was what the masterminds at Sony wanted, since he would provide more splashy effects), I think the movie (narrative, plot, whathaveyou) would have benefitted greatly from cutting out Electro altogether and focusing on Harry’s return/descent into Goblinsanity and Peter and Gwen’s relationship. It would have really given Harry and Peter a chance to rebuild their childhood friendship (especially given the underutilized theme of family abandonment suffered by both of them) and consequently made it more damaging when Harry turned bad guy. Alas, this isn’t the movie that we got.

All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely worth watching, but it could have been oh so much better. Unfortunately, it serves as a stepping stone for Sony’s plans for a larger cinematic universe and this prevents it from being a fantastic standalone film. Maybe after this universe is more fleshed out we can go back and look at this film through a different lens, but for now it would’ve benefitted from a greater focus (but at least this movie didn’t completely botch Venom).

Grade: B-


The Facademy Quell

11/22/2013

In light of the fact that Hunger Games: Catching Fire is due for release this weekend (stay tuned for my review), and assuming that the majority of you have read the book (spoiler alert! Katniss goes back to the arena and has to fight against previous victors!! GASP), I introduce the first ever FACADEMY QUELL.**

Yes, that is right.

We are pitting the previous SIX winners* (in other words, all of them to date) of every FACADEMY category against each other, in a no-holds barred, blood-soaked fight to the death, complete with a preview of each category and (when the winners are decided next week), a written account of how exactly each Quell winner came out of the category as THE Ultimate Victor (yes, I am going to give you an imagining of their battle in a movie arena, complete with imagined deaths).

This is a veritable Who’s Who list of some of the biggest hits (and misses) of the past six years, with some very noticeable omissions and extremely questionable choices (hey, don’t act like you didn’t do stupid shit when you were 19). But, there is no room for those that didn’t win; what’s done is done, there are no honorable mentions here.

The list of Victors is quite distinguished, with multiple Oscar winners in the fold, along with some of the more accomplished names since 2007. It will definitely NOT be a picnic.

So hold on to your seats, because you are about to be taken for a wild ride, complete with some of the best performances, scenes and movies of the past 6 years.

*Editor’s note: We only took the winners, even if, in retrospect, other movies/actors/whathaveyou were more deserving. They didn’t win then, so they aren’t in. They can take solace in the fact that time has made them look better (apologies to a whole bunch of movies that didn’t get screened the year of their release, tough luck, better luck next time, you probably won actual awards anyway, etc., etc.).

**Seriously, if you haven’t read the books, there’s something wrong with you. It takes like two weeks, tops. A 5th grader could do it. Are you telling me you are being out-read by a 5th grader?

We Present To You…


THE FACADEMY QUELL
(cue ominous/victorious music)

Best Comedy: The Hangover, Easy A, Bridesmaids, 21 Jump Street, Superbad, Tropic Thunder

All of these movies are hilarious, there isn’t a single one that doesn’t belong. All of them with the exception of one have an R rating, which certainly helped.

Best Children’s FilmUp, Toy Story 3, The Muppets, Wreck-It Ralph, Surf’s Up, Kung Fu Panda

My cousin’s anti-Pixar tirade of 2008 prevented this from being a lock for Pixar; as it is, they might still walk away with the prize. Disney doesn’t make it easy for them though, with two fantastic entries, and Dreamworks submits one of its finest works. Unfortunately for Surf’s Up, it might just be the unlucky 12 year old from District 10 that gets killed first while going for a weapon too big for him to use.

Worst Movie: Final Destination 3D, Dear John, Valentine’s Day, Sucker Punch, Wrath of the Titans, Spider-Man 3, Hottie and the Nottie

If I ever have to watch any of these movies again, I’ll find a way to get out of it. I’ll break my own arm on purpose, I swear!

Best Actor: Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, Moon, Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine, Jean Dujardin, The Artist, Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook, Will Smith, I am Legend, Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

How Will Smith made it in, I have no idea in hell. Perhaps he truly was the last man left that year. The experience of surviving a zombie (vampire? Gargoyle? Does anyone know what the hell those things were anyway?) apocalypse might help him in a real Arena, but against such heavyweights, he might not last very long.

Best Actress: Gabourney Sidibe as Claireece “Precious” Jones,  Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Chloe Grace-Moretz, Let Me In, Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn, Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook, Ellen Page, Juno, Miley Cyrus, Best of Both Worlds 3D Concert

While many of you will criticize the inclusion of Miley Cyrus and use it as justification for ignoring any and all things that ever come out of my mouth ever again, I promise I’ll make her experience in the movie Arena one that is worth your time.

Best Villain:
 Col. Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds, Frank D’Amico, Kick-Ass, Sebastian Shaw, X-Men: First Class, Calvin Candie, Django Unchained, Anton Chigurh, No Country for  Old Men, The Joker, The Dark Knight

If you really wanted to torture someone, just have them go through 6 rooms, each of them holding one of these distinguished movie villains. For bonus points, make them a black, non-mutant Nazi.


Best Action
: Star Trek, Kick-Ass, Fast Five, Avengers, 300, The Dark Knight

Um. Yikes. Two of the, if not THE, best superhero movies ever, an all-time  franchise, Vin Diesel, Spartans and arguably the greatest child hero in cinematic history? Hell, I’ll just watch the movies again. Pass the popcorn.

Best Special Effects: Avatar, Inception, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Avengers, Transformers, Wanted

So. Much. CGI. I’m going to have a difficult time distinguishing what’s real and what’s not real, and that is even before considering Inception is on this list.

Breakthrough Performance: Gabourney Sidibe as Claireece “Precious” Jones, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Chloe Grace-Moretz, Let Me In, Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games, Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men, Russell Brand, Forgetting Sarah Marshall

This category will come down to how exactly we evaluate it: do we judge only their performance in the context of one film, or their career after this singular performance? This decision will go a long way towards deciding if Gabourney Sidibe will be Thresh from District 11 or Cato fodder.

Best Epic/Drama: Inglourious Basterds, Blue Valentine, Super 8, Django Unchained, No Country for Old Men, The Wrestler

This will either be epic, or dramatic. Or both. I’ll have to find the appropriate theme song for this segment.

Best Horror/Suspense: Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, Drive, Cabin in the Woods, 28 Weeks Later, Teeth

To be fair, none of these movies are especially terrifying. Due to the dull nature of the horror genre over the past few years, it became necessary to add the suspense portion to the category. Although, for all of the male audience, Teeth is about as terrifying an experience as you will get.

Best Visual/Special Effects Character: Jake Sully’s Avatar, Avatar, Dolby, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, Guard Dragon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hulk, Avengers, Bumblebee, Transformers, Wall-E, Wall-E

Is it too easy if I just say Hulk is going to SMASH the competition? Yes? Okay.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Waltz as Col. Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds, Christian Bale, The Fighter, Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class, Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained, Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men, Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Four… FOUR Oscar winners here. We’ve had some questionable decisions over the years, but this category is not lacking for the critical acclaim. Those little statues should make for formidable weapons in the arena, leaving DiCaprio and Fassbender to improvise.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique as Mary, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Chloe Grace-Moretz, Kick-Ass, Berenice Bejo, The Artist, Sarah Silverman, Wreck-It Ralph, Jenna Fischer, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Evan Rachel Wood, The Wrestler

The Actress leg has less AA hardware, but it still shapes up to be a killer, rollicking time. All I know is no one better underestimate the 11 year old with the silenced Glock.

Best Quote: “Roses are red, violets are blue, Fuck you, whore.” – Vance, (500) Days of Summer

“I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like, one girl, ’cause we’re resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t marry this girl she’s so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option… ‘Oh he’s got a good job.’ I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who’s got a good job and is gonna stick around.” – Dean, Blue Valentine

“If I drive for you, you get your money. You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we’re going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive.” – The Driver, Drive

“I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”- Wreck-It Ralph

“What don’t I understand, Cara? Please, help me out. What is it? Is it frustrating that you can’t be with this person? That there’s something keeping you apart? That there’s something about this person that you can connect with? And whenever you’re near this person, you don’t know what to say, and you say everything that’s in your mind and in your heart, and you know that if you could just be together, that this person would help you become the best possible version of yourself?”- Dan Burns, Dan in Real Life

“Is that a thong you’re wearing?” – Strange Wilderness

Epic soliloquies, or biting one-liners? Who knows, but my life has been better thanks to these brilliant bits of dialogue.

Best Action Scene: Fight for Pandora, Avatar, Infiltrating D’Amico HQ- Kick-Ass, Escape Across the Bridge- Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Battle of New York- Avengers, Helicopter Car Crash Scene, Live Free Or Die Hard, 18 wheeler chase through Gotham, The Dark Knight

Early estimates project damage and property losses to be in the kajillions of dollars. Unfortunately, the House is holding relief monies hostage until they get to take a picture with Thor for their Facebook Profile.

Best Film: Let Me In, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Drive, Avengers, No Country for Old Men
I’m so exhausted at this point of just imagining how epic all of these confrontations would be, that I’m willing to let this go to a vote/most creative imagining by any of you. Or at the very least, I’ll consider your ideas. Can you just imagine Precious’ mom chasing Captain America out of her house and throwing a frying pan at him?

I can. And it’s hilarious.


FACADEMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2013 nominations

02/22/2013

(Facademy: as in, fuck the academy awards*)

For those of you who have read previous incarnations of the Facademy Awards, you are well aware of the basic premise. For those of you who haven’t, here is a brief summary:

This is solely based on movies that A. My cousin and I saw or B. Movies we will see in the very near future [sorry Amour, no nomination for you].

Agree, disagree, comments, concerns, donations at the bottom.

Some of these nominees are a stretch, but hey, sometimes you can barely find enough films to fill a category (especially when you aren’t being paid to watch them or watching them for free).

*side note- me and the homeboy mota actually respect the Oscars now, but we’re keeping the name because it has been the name of the awards from the start (also: Mickey Rourke!!!!!!!!!1).

But I won’t keep you from what you are here to read any longer. Direct all concerns to @ mrstealurjosie or @ raythar.

So here they are:

The 2012 Facademy Nominees

Best Comedy
Pitch Perfect
21 Jump Street
Silver Linings Playbook
Moonrise Kingdom
Ted

Best Children’s Film
Wreck-It Ralph
Rise of the Guardians
Brave
ParaNorman
Frankenweenie

Worst Movie
Wrath of the Titans
That’s My Boy
Battleship

Best Actor
Denzel Washington, Flight
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper
Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Noomi Rapace, Prometheus
Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games

Best Villain
Loki, Avengers
Bane, Dark Knight Rises
Silva, Skyfall
Calvin Candie, Django Unchained
King Candy, Wreck-It Ralph

Best Action
Looper
Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
Raid: Redemption
Skyfall

Best Epic/Drama
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
Argo
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Django Unchained

Best Horror/Suspense
Prometheus
Cabin in the Woods
Paranormal Activity 4

Best Special Effects
Avengers
Cabin in the Woods
Amazing Spider-Man
Prometheus
Skyfall

Breakthrough Performance
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games
Dane DeHaan as Andew Detmer, Chronicle
Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpupy, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy, Pitch Perfect
Ezra Miller as Patrick, Perks of Being a Wallflower

Best Visual/Special Effects Character
Hulk, Avengers
Lizard, The Amazing Spider-Man
Vanellope Von Schweetz, Wreck-It Ralph
Sparky, FrankenWeenie
Leviathan, Avengers

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Ezra Miller, Perks of Being a Wallflower

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sally Field, Lincoln
Emma Watson, Perks of Being a Wallflower
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect
Sarah Silverman, Wreck-It Ralph

Best Quote

1. “Well… sometimes I have the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, mmm… better not.”- Fat Amy

2. “I know this might sound crazy from a guy that’s in prison, but for the first time in my life, I am free.”- Whip Whitaker

3. “Then I saw it. I saw a mom who would die for her son; a man who would kill for his wife; a boy, angry and alone, laid out in front of him the bad path. I saw it and the path was a circle, round and round. So I changed it.”- Joe

4. “Now as to you poor devils? So as I see it, when it comes to the subject of what to do next, you gentlemen have two choices. One: once I’m gone, you could lift that beast off the remaining Speck, then carry him to the nearest town. Which would be at least 37 miles back the way you came. Or Two: You could unshackle yourselves, take that rifle, put a bullet in his head, bury the two of them deep, and then make your way to a more enlightened area of this country. The choice is yours. Oh, and on the off chance there are any astronomy aficionados amongst you, the North Star is that one. Tata.” -Dr. King Schultz

5. “Hello James, welcome. Do you like the island? My grandmother had an island when I was a boy. Nothing to boast of. You could walk along it in an hour. But for us it was paradise. One summer, we came for a visit and discovered the whole place had become infested with rats. They came on a fishing boat and gorged on the coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? My grandmother showed me. You put an oil drum in a pit and hinge open the lid. Then you coat the lid in the coconut. The rats come for the coconut and plink, plink, plink, plink, plink, plink, plink; they fall into the trap. Then what do you do? Throw it in the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it. And then one by one… they start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. Then what do you do? Kill them? No. You release them into the trees. But they will not eat coconut anymore. Now they will only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors, this is what she made us.”- Raoul Silva

6. “Let me tell you, I know you don’t want to listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine, and I am telling you you gotta pay attention this time. When life reaches out with a woman like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you its a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now at this very moment, right here. That girl loves you she really really loves you. I don’t know if Nicky ever did, but she sure as shit doesn’t right now. So don’t fuck this up.”- Pat Sr

7. “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be then me.”- Wreck-It Ralph

8. “Hey! Stop fucking with Korean Jesus! He ain’t got time for your problems! He’s busy… with Korean shit!”- Captain Dickson

9. “We’re reviving a canceled undercover project from the ’80s and revamping it for modern times. The people behind this lack creativity and they’ve run out of ideas, so what they do now is just recycle shit from the past and hope that nobody will notice.”- Deputy Chief Hardy

10. “I’ve heard tell about you. I heard you been telling everybody them mandingos ain’t no damn good, ain’t nothing nobody is selling is worth buying – I’m curious. What makes you such a mandingo expert?”- Calvin Candie

Best Action Scene
1. Battle of New York- Avengers
2. Purge- Cabin in the Woods
3. Showdown at Candyland- Django Unchained
4. Skyfall- Skyfall
5. Helicarrier- Avengers

Best Picture
Lincoln
Avengers
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
Argo
Skyfall

Most Nominations:

Avengers and Django Unchained, 8 nominations


“Go Cubs! Right, Johnny?”

06/29/2012

My little brother is at a point where he can grasp the basics of being a fan. He has favorite teams. He has favorite players. Winning (and losing) are things that he comprehends. For the most part, he understands the different methods by which teams can score in certain sports.

Last week I took him to his first baseball game. More to the point, I took him to go watch the Chicago Cubs in person for the first time. I bought him a Cubs shirt, a Cubs hat and versed him in what should be his favorite saying for the next few years or so (“Go Cubs!”). To his credit, he latched on pretty quick, and, according to my sister, seemed very excited about going to the ballpark with big bro.

[We underwent something similar back in November, when the Cowboys played on Thanksgiving and he became a Dallas fan (the Giants winning the division and then the Super Bowl caused him great distress, at which point I knew I had succeeded in making him a Cowboys fan).]

This would be a bit more difficult, since my mom’s live-in boyfriend is a Diamondbacks fan (the home team) and had already shown great influence in turning him into a fan of certain teams (mostly soccer, which I am okay with). It doesn’t help that the Cubs absolutely suck right now, and showed off their penchant for giving up lots of runs in one inning during this particular game. However, instead of switching sides my little bro got upset right there with me, echoing my shouts of removing the pitcher (even though I am pretty sure he had no idea what that meant) and wishing to change seats as mom’s boyfriend taunted him.*

*“I want to change seats” he says to me, looking up and with a hint of sadness in his voice. One of the cutest and saddest things I have seen.

While the game did not go the way we had envisioned (he had boldly proclaimed that the Cubs would win that day), he nonetheless had fun and expressed a desire to watch another game.

Being at the ballpark in of itself was quite the experience for him. Among other things, he wanted to catch a foul ball, but our reserve section seats put us at a disadvantage to do so. I remarked to him that next time the Cubs came to town, we would get seats behind the first base dugout, where most of the foul balls where landing. Memo to self: buy him a glove before then.

In a way, I do feel bad that I am putting him through the misery that is this Cubs season. He watched the next day’s game with my mom on TV, and had to witness them lose again. This led to the following exchange:

Me: “Even though they lost, go Cubs!”
Lil bro: (shakes head)
Me: (gasp) “You changed teams now?!”
Lil bro: “Haha I played a trick on you! Go Cubs!”
[little punk haha]

Time will tell if my little brother remains a Cubs fan. To me, the most important thing is that he enjoyed the great game that is baseball, even as our favorite team was getting smashed. Baseball, more so than the other major sports, requires a great deal of mental attention to both play and enjoy. There is not a lot of action. The majority of the time you will not be involved in the play. Yet, one must always be prepared. It is at any moment that the foul ball will come your way, that the ball will be driven sharply into your corner of the outfield, that the catcher will let the ball go by and give you the chance to advance. My little bro did not get bored once and seemed to genuinely enjoy being there, which is all I could really ask for (that, and him cheering for the Cubbies). The Cubs, thankfully, come back again to Arizona in September, and I plan on subjecting him to the horrors of Cubs baseball once more. Come March, a trek to Mesa for a game at HoHoKam is something that he will become very familiar with. This season may already be lost, but for him and I it has already been memorable. We took in our first Cubs game of what will hopefully be many, including (in the future if Theo can build this team into a yearly contender) a World Series game.


This week in Cubs history: The Cubs go streaking

06/25/2012

https://i2.wp.com/profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/188148_112915925452010_377393_n.jpg

The Cubs had two series this past week against long time tormenters: the Chicago White Sucks (er… Sox) and the Arizona Diamondbacks. While the week started off promising enough (the Cubs scored 12 runs in the first game and took two out of three against the hated south siders), that promise was dashed quickly and forcefully, as the Cubs bats fell asleep and contributed to a four game losing streak (they scored 9 runs in the next five games). During those four games, the Cubbies managed to score 7 runs… 5 of which came in a single game. Over 25 % of Cubs’ runs during the losing streak came via a 2-run home run by pitcher Paul Maholm, who then turned around and gave up 6 runs in the next inning. Bad week to take my lil bro to his first Cubs game, but on the bright side, every week this season would have been a bad week to take him to see a game.

Ryan Dempster has gone on the DL in anticipation of his trade, so him and his sterling starting pitching will be gone from the Cubs lineup, which only means we will be subject to even more starts by Randy Wells and the like. But, all of that does not matter because…

Call me, maybe?

https://i1.wp.com/ivyenvy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Anthony-Rizzo.jpg

(yes, you)

RizZOMG is upon us!!!! Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs’ number one prospect, was pulled from a game today to prep him for his much anticipated and ballyhooed call up. He will play his first of many games in the cubbie blue tomorrow against the Mets. His own % on ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues has shot up by 15 points (all the way to 17 percent!), while news of his callup shot prices up for Cubs tickets, sometimes by as much as 600% in some sections (I am not making this up). Get your tickets now before they get even more expensive! You don’t want to miss Rizzo’s first 6 home run, 24 RBI game of the season now do you? (Sadly, even if he managed to hit that in one game, I am pretty sure the Cubs would still find a way to lose).

This season has been too long already and is only bound to get worse, as the Cubs are on pace to lose 108 games. Ugh. Let’s just not think about that and enjoy what little happiness Rizzo’s call up will give us.


Top 10: 1-5

06/18/2012

Long awaited (by me, mostly), here they are. My favorite moments as a sports fan.

5. Simon Says
1997 National Championship, Arizona Wildcats vs. Kentucky Wildcats

I was 9 years old when this happened. Up to that point my greatest academic accomplishment had been acing the spelling quiz and earning a chocolate bar for it. But right then and there, watching these Wildcats rampage through the high seeds in the tournament and fulfilling their One Shining Moment, I decided that I would go to the University of Arizona. Hell, I’m not even sure why at this point, seeing as how I was no basketball prodigy (my biggest athletic accomplishment up to that point was drawing a walk and stealing a base in the same inning). Arizona was by no means the favorite, and even though they had a strong team (featuring future NBA players Mike Bibby and Jason Terry) they still had to claw back from double digit deficits in the early rounds to advance. Undeterred, the Cats went on to become the only team to defeat 3 number 1 seeds en route to the team’s only championship. And just like that, without even trying, Arizona had recruited a 3rd grader to their school.

4. Cyclops Strikes
Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs 2010 Western Conference Semifinals

Revenge is not only a dish best served cold, but it is also never too late to be served. Such was the case in another clash of two Western Conference powers in the 2010 NBA playoffs. While the Spurs had held the upper hand up to that point in their meetings, the Suns had gone from fringe playoff team to a testament to the importance of chemistry, clinching the 3 seed in the conference and grinding out a tough series win versus the Blazers in the first round. The Spurs did just enough to sneak into the playoffs, but played at a level that more resembled their title runs of years past in eliminating the 2 seed Mavericks. That is why what followed was surprising but nonetheless satisfying to watch. The Suns struck first and never stopped attacking en route to a 4 game sweep of their longtime tormentors. They took the first two games at home and let Goran Dragic single-handedly ruin any specter of a Spurs comeback with his scintillating performance in the 4th quarter of Game 3 (23 points!). Game 4 seemed like a formality up until Steve Nash took an elbow to the eye from Timmy Duncan, sending him out of the game to watch San Antonio make another run at it. But unlike the bloody nose incident, Nash was not about to be kept out of this one. He would return and personally delivered the last few nails into the coffin for the team that had denied him an opportunity to earn an NBA ring time and time again. Eye swelling shut, Nash led the Suns to victory in the 4th quarter, scoring 10 of his 20 points. Gratifying? You bet.

3. The Duke Buster
Duke vs. Arizona 2011 Sweet 16

Remember that last paragraph in which I mentioned that revenge is never too late to be served? Yeah, same thing. As mentioned in my Bottom 10 posts, Duke’s championship win over Arizona remains one of my least favorite moments ever. 10 years had passed, I was now a Wildcat, and once again Arizona and Duke were going at it in the NCAA’s. Yet so much else was different. The only thing that was the same was Coach K roaming the sidelines for the Blue Devils. Sean Miller was now the coach at PG U; Zona wasn’t exactly a favorite in this game; this was for a chance to play in the Regional final, not for the national title. And yet, I was stoked. I had waited ten long years for this rematch, and despite falling behind early, Arizona did not disappoint. Derrick Williams single-handedly kept the Wildcats in the game during the first half, and then let his teammates do the rest. The second half featured an inspired run to take a double digit lead, led by Momo Jones that effectively put the game away and spelled the end for the Dukies. For Wildcats everywhere, it was time to cheer this most unexpected run to the Elite 8. 13 year old me had waited too long for that moment, but the wait made it all that sweeter.

2. Wrigley
Oct. 2-4 Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
[http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=6982423]

I still remember the day like it was yesterday. The first time I saw Wrigley with my own eyes, I was walking off of the L train at the Addison stop. I took a picture so that I would never forget. Seeing the ivy in person, singing Take Me out to the ballgame during the stretch and getting to watch that W flag fly high over the outfield seats are things that I will never forget. It was a surreal experience and one that I plan on repeating in the near future. Watching the Cubs game at Wrigley is something that every baseball fan should do at least once.  Maybe I am assigning too much importance to this set of games, but there is nothing quite like it. Except for, of course, watching a playoff game at Wrigley, which I will definitely do once Theo completely fixes this team.

1. Gonzo
Game 7 2001 World Series Arizona Diamondback vs. New York Yankees

Okay, okay, I know what you are thinking: Aren’t you a Cubs fan? True, but for this small while I was also a D-Backs fan. You can never argue with a product that Jerry Colangelo puts out, and this was no different. The family had gathered around the TV for all 7 games, celebrating the Big Unit’s amazing starts and agonizing over the Yankees’ late-inning heroics in games 3 and 4. Game 7 was the perfect ending for an incredible World Series, easily the best one I have seen in all my time as a baseball fan. This game speaks so much to why baseball is the greatest game, from the pitcher’s duel between two Hall of Famers, the home run that gave the Yankees the lead, Randy Johnson’s relief appearance and the hope against all hope comeback against the great Mariano Rivera. I may not root for the team anymore, but my family will always have that November night to look fondly upon.