Archive for March, 2013

Earlier today, the NHL officially announced the realignment of their divisions (see picture for breakdown) and explained the new playoff structure that includes a wild card because the Eastern Conference will have more teams. This is all fine, however, there is one glaring issue that must be addressed: the names of these divisions.

Look, NHL. If you want to keep “Eastern” and “Western” Conferences, we’ve become accustomed to those names (not saying it’s right because Campbell and Wales are WAY better, just saying we’ve adapted). But you HAVE TO go back to naming your divisions after people! This is why the NHL awards work every year: we’ve grown to love the names that come with the trophy (you wanted to win the Hart Trophy as a kid playing road hockey). This is your chance to make it right! 4 Divisions, 4 names synonymous with the game that you MUST pay homage to.

Division A (West Coast) – “The Gretzky Division” – This is a no-brianer. The Great One has nothing affixed to the league (other than “how not to run a franchise) so why not give him a division that includes the Edmonton Oilers, the L.A. Kings (two teams he played for, sorry St. Louis and New York Rangers), and the team he formerly owned? This makes the most sense.

Division B (Central/West) – “The Hull Division” – This division is home to (arguably) the best father/son combination the league has ever known: the Hull family. Bobby with the Chicago Blackhawks/Winnipeg Jets (well, until the Walers ever come back) and Brett with the St. Louis Blues (yes, I remember the Red Wings years and the cup of coffee with Phoenix, but he will forever be a Blue to me and my G.T. Snow racer!).

Division C (Central-East) – “The Howe Division” – Even as a Leafs fan, I combed over the names but I couldn’t come up with one better than Gordie Howe. He IS Mr. Hockey and needs to be enshrined with this title. You also have 4 of the Original 6 teams there, a great rivalry with the Battle of Ontario (even if Toronto took the last 5 years off), and the snowbirds will get nothing but great matchup so they can try and keep their teams in the Sunshine State.

Division D (East) – “The Lemieux Division” – I know that this will piss off a LOT of Flyers fans, but there’s no denying that when Mario stepped on the ice magic happened. His career was cut short due to injuries and cancer, but when he was healthy he put up some great numbers and (even when rooting against him) made moments like this, this and this happen where you just said “wow”.

There you have it, NHL. Make this happen. You’ve lost a lot of fans with the lockouts and taking away some of the heritage of the game (which is what truly makes this game special), so now it’s time to pay it back.

Summer Movie Breakdown – Part 1

Posted: March 9, 2013 in Movies

It’s probably a good thing that the world didn’t end in 2012 because 2013 looks to be a GREAT year for summer action movies. For those of you unfamiliar to this breakdown, I try to blend my two favourite summertime activities (baseball and action movies) into one write up. You should know that I rank them not in order of what you should see first to last, but like a starting lineup. Having said that, I do try to take release date into account because the sooner you can see a great movie the better. Just know that what will have power (and by power, I mean lots of action with predictably horrible acting and very little plot) will be in higher demand than those with more story line. It’s the summer; I don’t want to have to think, just want to see things go ‘boom’!

Before I get started, there are four movies that I had to exclude because they were released too early: The Last Stand, Bullet to the Head, A Good Day to Die Hard, Parker, and Snitch. So we’re clear: this would be like telling Steroid-Era Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens “Sorry guys, we can’t put you in our lineup but thanks for coming out to spring training.” Here we go (release date is in parenthesis):

Starting Lineup:

Iron Man 3 (May 3) – Tony Stark returns and nerds could not be happier. This will be a great movie to kick of the summer because the Iron Man movies are always fun, lots of action, and remind me that I can actually tolerate Gwyneth Paltrow (up until this franchise, the only movie I enjoyed her in was Se7en).

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17) – I’ve come around on Star Trek (not enough that I will watch any of the television series but still) and put this up there as a must-see for this summer. J.J. Abrams gets the best out of relatively unknowns which proves he knows how to direct action (…and is what Michael Bay should be).

G.I. Joe Retaliation (March 29) – I know this will cause a stir so hear me out: as I said, I want to see things go ‘boom’ and turn off my brain. This movie (which has been pushed back more times than a defending Chris Bosh in the paint) will have Channing Tatum and The Rock IN ADDITION TO Bruce Willis. If there is no actual dialogue because they all grunt at each other and stuff blows up, it’s a win!

Fast and Furious 6 (May 24) – Okay, we’re at the heart of the order: all power and no finesse (aka The Manny Ramirez of Film). Here’s how pumped I am for this movie: I’m already looking ahead to Fast7 where there are rumours that Jason Statham will be the next villain! This will be a home run and make my summer (…and possibly get me a speeding ticket). As long as Vin Diesel wants to make other action sci-fi movies that nobody will go and see, this franchise will never die (speaking of  which, we’ll get to that later).

The Tomb (Sep 27) – This is the equivalent to having David Ortiz on your team: you’ll find yourself saying “Please, god, let him either crush one or get a stand-up single. If he tries to leg out a double or triple, it could get ugly.” I had no idea this movie existed but after reading the plot, I’m super excited to see Stallone (a “structural-security authority”) gets wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to a prison that he so happened to have designed and now has to break out. Check out the cast, you’ll get excited too.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Oct 4) – I’ve been waiting almost a decade for this sequel and I’m super pumped for it. It should be higher because it will actually have a great story line and Robert Rodriguez directing it (Note: I’m of the belief that if Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino need to make movies every 2-3 years. 5-plus years feels a little long, even if their movies are like a fine wine). The only reason why it’s not higher is because it’s listed as “Filming”. To me, that’s an issue because it could get pushed back and not released until December or even early next year (which would be a shame). If it’s released when it’s supposed to be, it’ll be the perfect “fall is here” film.

300: Rise of an Empire (Aug 2) – Back to Back Frank Miller-inspired movies! 300 was a great movie and added a new element of film to make things grittier and appear more realistic (not to mention whenever Greek mythology is involved, people seem to flock towards it). This will be the beginning of the end of summer and has all kinds of promise for a solid movie.

Machete Kills (Sep 13) – Look at that poster!! LOOK AT IT!!! I’ll admit that for the previous two picks I went with story line over “needless violence and things going ‘BOOM’” but THIS brings it back to the basics. And we’re getting TWO Rodriguez films (not movies, FILMS) within a MONTH of one another!  If it wasn’t for the fact that this movie’s out in September, I would have it in the 2 spot (I’m treating it like a rookie with all the talent in the world but just doesn’t understand ‘the game’ yet; stick it in the 8 spot and watch it flourish into a future HOF-er). Scroll through the cast and tell me that you’re not excited to see Mel Gibson play a guy named “Luthor Voz” or Charlie Sheen as “U.S. President”. You can’t! If only this would get released in June, it would be higher up in the lineup for sure.

The Wolverine (July 26) – This is a biased pick; like putting your kid on the field after looking down the bench and knowing Johnny has the possibility to be WAY better in the clutch but, heaven forbid, you hurt the feelings of your kid for the good of the team. Well, Wolverine is MY comic book hero. This cannot be worse than X-Men Origins (and no way it can be worse than a musical) but if it gets on base with a solid single and maybe scores a run, I’ll walk away happy.

Okay, clearly I went on for WAY too long. Click here for part two of the breakdown, also known as “The Benchwarmers”. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter @c_fudali.

Summer Movie Breakdown – Part 2

Posted: March 9, 2013 in Movies

If you happened to have missed Part 1 of the Summer Movie Breakdown called “The Starting Lineup”, click here.

The Benchwarmers (ranked from “Must See but Didn’t Make the Cut” to “Must See if watching the grass grow isn’t an option”) :

2 Guns (Aug 2) – This should’ve cracked the starting lineup but, damnit Wolverine, you and I go way back so you better not disappoint! I see this being “Training Day” meets “The Departed” and couldn’t be happier for the possibility of hearing Denzel yelling at Wahlberg and him yelling back in a New England accent. Everything about the description makes it likable and at the very least the possibility for an SNL parody.

Red 2 (Aug 2) – If you’re in the “The First Red movie wasn’t that good, why make a sequel?” group, please leave. This looks like it’s going to be fun and quirky like the first, lots of explosions, but probably will play it relatively safe and not quite go as far in the ‘action’ aspect as it should. Doesn’t mean I won’t be seeing this in theatres…or on my laptop after I forget about it and then it’s up on Netflix.

Pain & Gain (April 26) – The Rock and Mark Wahlberg teaming up with Michael Bay for an action movie? Should be a slam dunk to have made it into the starting lineup. Should have been. In fact, I’m trying to figure out why it didn’t make it. Comedy, things blowing up, questions surrounding The Rock and Wahlberg possibly using performance enhancing drugs to get ready for their roles and it DIDN’T make the starting lineup?? Wolverine, you better not disappoint. Seriously.

The Iceman (May 3) – This. Looks. Sick. This looks like a combination of “Goodfellas” and “Leon: The Professional”. Every mob movie that involves Ray Liotta, I’m in. You can try to convince me that it’s not going to be good but I’ll talk myself into it. Okay, Wolverine. You HAVE TO be great. Even “great because it’s so bad” great to have taken a starting spot from one of these 4 benchwarmers. Don’t make me regret it like Team Canada sitting Gretzky in Nagano.

Lone Ranger (July 3) – How to make a bad movie decent: Take Johnny Depp, give him LOTS of makeup and hair extensions, get him to learn an accent or regional dialect, cash in.

Man of Steel (June 14) – I want to like Superman movies. I really do. Everyone does. The problem is that they never seem to work out and this one might only because of the fact that they seem to make him “dark”. Superman was never a “dark” character and trying to turn him into The Dark Knight shouldn’t be the way to sell the franchise. The only thing I’m buying is Kevin Costner as a father figure (and I really hope he throws the ball around with Clark).

Kick-Ass 2 (Aug 16) – I will admit that I never saw the original “Kick Ass” and the fact that this one has Jim Carrey as “Colonel Stars and Stripes” has me interested. By the way, Jim, where have you BEEN as of late? You got to get more relevant, man. Stay in the mainstream.

World War Z (June 21) – When the trailer first came out, it looked like it was going to be PERFECT. The Walking Dead would’ve ended, a couple of months passed and no zombie killing, and then BAM! Zombies! Here’s why it didn’t make the competition: too many other great projects got announced. It’s like hitting .450 in grade 7 and then going to high school and hitting .123 because you developed too quickly and didn’t know how to adapt to the changes. Sorry, even with Mr. Angelina Jolie this will be a rental.

Riddick (Sep 6) – Ah, yes. The reason why Fast and the Furious franchise will never go away! As long as Vin Diesel has a burning desire to make this franchise, we will keep getting these. Never. Stop. Riddick.

Follow me on Twitter @c_fudali.