Archive for July, 2013

July’s False Hope (2013)

Posted: July 27, 2013 in Movies, Sports, T.V.

July 2013 CalendarGrowing up, the worst thing one of my parents could have said to me was “maybe”; as in “Can we please get some ice cream?” “Maybe later.” It was always a no and I wish that they would’ve just owned up to their “no” but followed it up with a logical explanation. A lot has happened this past month that, on first glance, would have you believe there was great promise. Now, I’m going to show you that not everything is July was/is as great as Bluesfest, The Bridge, or Orange is the New Black.

Toronto Blue Jays

Oh, wow. Um. Where to start. July has not been kind to the Jays to say the least. This month, they’re 5-14 and have been swept by the Tampa Bay Rays and the L.A. Dodgers (NOTE: This is being written before the series with the Houston Astros who are 34-66 overall; which means if they Jays lose to them, they should be relegated to the Stoney Creek Little League for next season). The only thing to make this worse is that the Jays have been 9-19 in one run games on the season and in late inning games (8th or 9th inning) have pulled within one run to still lose eight times. If the legal system isn’t careful, the Jays will soon popularize the “Faint Hope Clause” for all the wrong reasons.

Ray Donovan

In the world of “All-Star Television Lineups”, this show was like the 2013 Blue Jays on paper. Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight, Paula Malcolmson, Elliott Gould, and the return of Steven Bauer sounded amazing. And it’s on Showtime; HBO’s drunken cousin! AND it was about a cleaner from Boston living in L.A. trying to make good for his family! But you throw in some horrible accents, and unrealistic things said to kids (if you don’t think so, watch the episode “A Mouth is a Mouth”.) Every week the popularity ratings of this show slip a little and with good reason.

Comic-Con – Superman and Batman

When news originally broke about a Superman/Batman movie set for 2015, it sounded like a horrible idea to me from the get-go. The only plot that seemed logical would be Superman got kidnapped and is slowly being tortured by kryptonite and only Batman can now save him.” (STAT NOTE: 4/5 women reading this just clicked away at “plot”.) Instead, there are rumours out now that they’re going to use Frank Miller’s idea of Batman taking on Superman. For some people, this sounds cool…except for the part where both Batman and Superman are in the Justice League which is supposed to come out in 2017. Oh, another thing: Superman will (supposedly) be played by Henry Cavill again and Batman will not be played by Christian Bale. (*fingers crossed for an older Batman played by a rejuvenated Val Kilmer*)

Comic-Con – Walking Dead Trailer

This might be seen as unfair, but after the 4-minute trailer for Season 4 came out, it felt like Facebook exploded with likes and comments about people who are super-pumped for this. Please let me clarify why people should/shouldn’t be excited for this show.

Pro – Zombies die. Con – Everything else.

The storylines aren’t that good, the plots (generally) aren’t the greatest and they’re in a zombie apocalypse and will die. Last season, I actually based whether or not the episode was good on the “talking-to-zombies dying” ratio (i.e. if more minutes were spent on people talking than the overall number of zombies dying, it was a bad episode).

Toronto Maple Leafs

Yes, they are my “team” but two moves happened just before the end of the month that must be noted: 1) The signing of GM Dave Nonis to a five year extension for riding someone else’s coattails (and made me sing this song for some reason…well, the hook at least NSFW); 2) This video. Yup. It happened. *reaches for scotch*

Okay, so July may have had more bad things happen than good but on the plus side, August is right around the corner! I’m not going to dwell on all the bad so let’s take a look at what might be a couple of good things on the horizon.

Breaking Bad

Final season (so boo to that) and this is the promo. (NOTE: When the show creator and writer admitted that he cried while coming up with the finale, you might want to have a box of tissues next to you.)

Mythbusters

Yes, I’m aware it’s no longer 2006 BUT if there’s one episode of Mythbusters to catch this year, it’s the day after the premier of Breaking Bad. Here’s why.

Movies

July was a bit of a stinker when it came to movies, but August is going to have 2 Guns, Elysium, Disney’s Planes (hey, Pixar does great work, okay!), Kick-Ass 2, and The World’s End just to name a few.

See? It doesn’t seem all bad. Maybe August will be much better than July. Maybe.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @ChrisFudali

Team Canada Take-out

Posted: July 23, 2013 in Sports

Team Canada

 

Following Team Canada’s first workout, Head Coach Mike Babcock told the goalies they were free to leave should they so choose because the remainder of the time would be spent on “um…skating drills, yeah”. In an effort to build team comradery (even knowing that two goalies would not make the team), the guys head out for dinner at a fine Calgary Steakhouse: The Keg. Here’s the conversation between Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford, Mike Smith, Carey Price and Braden Holtby.

Luongo: “Well, that was a good workout today, eh boys?”

Holtby: “NO!”

Smith: “Not a fan of Coach Babcock’s strategy?”

Holtby: “No, not that. They don’t have any chicken fingers!”

Price: “Seriously? Chicken fingers…”

Luongo: “Hey, leave the kid alone. They are delicious.”

Smith: “Look, there’s some in the kid’s menu. They’re called ‘chicken strips’.”

Holtby: “It’s not the same!”

Smith: “I’m sure they are an-”

Holtby: “NO THEY’RE NOT! I want chicken! FINGERS! Not chicken! STRIPS!”

Luongo: “Hey! Knock it off. You’re a professional so act like one. And besides, if you want to make this team and go to Russia you’re not going to get chicken fingers. They don’t have them in Russia.”

Holtby: “Fine! Then I don’t wanna go!”

*Braden folds his arms in front of him and then starts pouting*

Smith: “Cool. Looks like all coach has to do now is pick between the four of us and I think we all know who he’s taking.”

Luongo: “Yup. Me, Price and Corey.”

Smith and Price: “What?”

Price: “You actually think you’re going? Oh, that’s good. Even I couldn’t have said that with a straight face.”

Luongo: “What? I have tenure and I won gold in Vancouver…”

Smith: “Yeah, let’s rephrase that. Canada won gold in Vancouver with you. Okay. You damn near blew the game against Slovakia and against the States. And what else have you won since then?”

Luongo: “More playoff games than you, Smitty.”

Price: “He does have a point. Then again, the only one to win a cup out of all of us has been Corey. Hey, where is he?”

*They look over at the bar and see Corey Crawford wearing his pants on his head with the waistband as a headband*

Crawford: “GUYS! THESE F***ING KEG-SIZED DRINKS ARE AH-MAZING!!!”

Smith: “Corey! Get over here!”

Luongo: “Yeah man, and your pants…”

Crawford: “I’m a bunny rabbit!”

Holtby: “I like bunnies! They’re fluffy! I WANT A BUNNY!”

Price: “Oh, god.”

*Crawford begins to hop around the restaurant repeating the phrase “Hip. Hop. Hippity hop. Here comes Peter Cotton tail” until the manager approaches him and asks him to please go back to his table*

Crawford: “God, the manager is a dick. A buzz kill…of a….f***ing…um…f***. What were you guys talking about?”

Smith: “Who we think will make the team.”

Crawford: “Oh, that’s easy. Me, Carey and….ummm…”

Luongo: “I would argue against Carey but he’s played in the hardest city to play in Canada and…”

*Luongo’s phone starts vibrating*

Luongo: “Oh, s***. It’s Marc-Andre. Should I answer?”

Price: “NO!”

Holtby: “What does he want?”

Luongo: “To know why he wasn’t invited.”

Crawford: “Cuz he sucked this past year. BOO-YA! Up top! Anyone?”

*Crawford raises his hand looking for a high five but gets blank stares*

Crawford: “F*** y’all. Barkeep! More Keg Size deliciousness, please!”

Luongo: “He’s actually devastated that he didn’t get an invite and Dion did.”

Price: “I would be too. Probably lock myself in my condo and just listen to nothing but The Cure and The Smiths for a week.”

Smith: “Don’t you always do that?”

Price: “Well, yeah, actually. Hey, what’s it like living out of boxes year round? Your team finally going to move?”

Smith: “First off, low blow. Second, it’s not as bad as you think because you always feel like you’re ready for vacation. Third, it’s why I should make this club because I’m ready to go at the drop of a hat!”

Luongo: “The fact that you can leave at the drop of a hat doesn’t make you a great goalie and…hey, where’s Corey?”

*manager is seen escorting Crawford towards the exit and Crawford’s yelling “Look! The f***ing urinals were taken so I used the sink! BIG F***ING DEAL!!”*

Luongo: “Well, that looks like it’s our cue to leave….”

Holtby: “Does this mean I can watch Doug and ReBoot??!!”

Smith: “When we get back to the hotel and after you brush your teeth, yes you can.”

Holtby: “YAY!!”

Price: “Hey, do any of you find it weird that Coach let us go but kept everyone else back for ‘skating drills’? It’s just how he said it…”

Luongo: “Nah. Coach knows what he’s doing.”

*Back at the arena, all the players are around Coach Babcock*

Babcock: “Alright, listen up! Hitch, Ruff will be down at that end. Claude and I will be down at this end. You’ll notice we’ve set up some Ming Vases along the ice. They’re on loan from the Calgary Art Gallery and are priceless. Due to our, um, ‘goaltending situation’, I wanna see guys REALLY sacrificing these upcoming games. So, block our shot and life is good. If the shot breaks the vase, you’re paying for it. Alright! Half of you over here, half over there and let’s go!”

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @ChrisFudali

TML Parade Route

I love Al Pacino movies. If a trailer comes out and for the first 30 seconds I don’t see Al, I’m waffling over it. But once Al makes an appearance, I’m in. One of the great things about Al Pacino is watching him be Pacino in almost every role. He may have started this around Scent of a Woman but it definitely kicked into overdrive during 1995’s Heat. You get the impression that whenever a script is written and Pacino is considered, it’s actually re-written just to make it more Pacino-y because he may be in on “the joke”. (Where he says stuff like “F**k it. I’m too old for tryin’ and s**t. If they didn’t want Shylock to have a New York accent, they shouldn’t have called.”)

When it comes to sports, one of the greatest running “jokes-to-be-in-on” is the Leafs Parade Route. Every year around training camp (or if you’re a fan of the Leafs, July) people start asking you if the Leafs have mapped out the parade route for the Stanley Cup yet. I usually play into this and actually change my Facebook picture to a highlighted parade route (see above photo). But this year, New MLSE President and CEO Tim Leiweke actually made a route.

Generally speaking, it’s always good to hear that the higher-ups in a company have a plan for anything, HOWEVER, aside from the 18.3% of Leafs Nation who ACTUALLY will take this seriously, it is nuts to have made this public. (NOTE: The 18.3% are the same s ones who occupy parts of the 905/289/365, still drive an IROC-Z or Pontiac Firebrid, believe they can take you off the line down Simcoe Street after leaving The Corral on Saturday night and…I’ve said too much.) But this makes for a great debate going forward as to which Owner/Representation for Ownership is better for headlines: Leiweke or Eugene Melynk?

Talkin’ Timmy:

What’s he done so far?

    • Aforementioned Parade Route
    • Jonathan Bernier (without any evidence, I believe he made this deal happen)
    • Brought the hammer down on Bryan Colangelo to the point that he left the organization and allowed some smarta** Tweeting

Biggest Disadvantage:

  • He’s relatively new; spent most of last season “observing” and will make more changes this coming year

What to Watch For:

  • How he handles the media in Toronto;
  • If he’s as vocal and as much a figure as Richard Peddie (and we all know how that turned out)
  • See if he can wear down GM Dave Nonis to the point that he either sweats uncontrollably or curls up into the fetal position and cries with opening questions during the press conference following a loss.

Overall:

Leiweke is still new in the position but has done a fine job at flexing his power. He’s still testing the waters in Toronto so he hasn’t stepped on too many toes but his openness and candor will make for some GREAT sound bites/quotes.

The Mind of Melnyk

What’s he done so far?

    • Oh, geez…a lot. Umm…let’s just go back the past year.
    • Hired a forensic investigative team to prove that the injury to All Star Defenseman Erik Karlsson was deliberate
    • Making threats and tried to publically embarrass the City Council of Ottawa over gambling licences (apparently) because….
    • He joined Twitter! And so far, there has been some amazing stuff like:

 And this….

 

 EUGENE! FIRING SHOTS!!

Biggest Disadvantage:

  • He doesn’t speak his mind more. Maybe he should do what I recommended a few months back.

What to Watch For:

  • The return of Daniel Alfredsson (even though nothing’s been planned yet)
  • More Tweeting about anything/everything
  • The possibility that he takes the Battle of Ontario and kicks it up a notch (not to take anything against Leiweke, but it really feels like this is Melnyk’s ground).

Overall:

Eugene has established himself in this market and then some. He’s going to have some competition from Leiweke to keep grabbing headlines and Tim can draw from the fact that there’s more than one sport he can talk about. BUT, working in Eugene’s favour is his unpredictability and willingness to spend. Remember, he ownsthe Senators and can do whatever the hell he wants with the club and never likes to be one-upped/lose out on anything. Ever.

Conclusion – Yes, Eugene has tenure in this market and with the NHL for grabbing headlines. However, Leiweke is definitely off on the right foot and has more sports to grab from which will really make the workers at MLSE earn their keep.  (Imagine upsetting fans/owners/Commissioners in more than one sport!) As of now, Melnyk is in the lead but Leiweke will be grabbing headlines by October which will be nothing short of amazing. (Just got to get him on Twitter!)

Thanks for reading and stay in contact with me on Twitter: @ChrisFudali

Please Pass the Pearl Jam

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Music

Pearl Jam

Everyone has “one of those” bands. It’s the band where whenever they announce a tour, you try to be first in line to grab tour tickets. You will argue with anyone why that band is THE BEST (even though musical taste is totally subjective), and if your favourite band releases something new, you HAVE TO be first in line to get it/overplay it until your head explodes like in Scanners. For me, Pearl Jam is that band. I’ve seen them live twice in Toronto and twice in Ottawa (there would’ve been a third time in Toronto but I had to make a judgement call: Pearl Jam ticket or birthday gift for the girlfriend at the time. Clearly, I chose incorrectly). So when they announced this past Tuesday a list of North American Tour dates, I was excited but also knew I couldn’t catch any of those shows. But then Thursday rolled around and my week changed with the release of their new single Mind Your Manners off the upcoming album Lightning Bolt. Take a listen:


*grabs paper towel to clean up drool from chin/shirt/floor*

Okay, let’s not over react. Take a breath and we’ll break down this song to see where the awesomeness lies.

0:00 – The plate and cutlery was actually posted a couple days ago on their Twitter page and then this morning the guy, rosary and blood were added. *Thumbs up for Boondock Saints-esque meal!*

0:02 – Great opening guitar riff with the drums. Has the potential to just explode.

0:13 – OKAY! ENOUGH WITH THE BUILD UP! KICK THIS SUCKA INTO OVERDRIVE ALREADY! (sorry, I’m impatient to hear how Eddie sounds.)

0:14 – Yup, if I have waited an extra second that last line wouldn’t have existed. Ah, well. Good fast pace; very punk-y.

0:22 – No idea what Ed is singing (even though he’s clearer than Yellow Ledbetter ever will be) but found myself bobbing to the beat.

0:33 – I think Ed channeled his inner Lukin just now.

0:38 – I like how it went quiet for Ed to enforce the fact that we have to “Mind Your Manners.”

1:00 – Okay, a minute in and all I’m really getting is “Mind Your Manners” from Ed lyrically. Yet, I’m totally okay with it.
(NOTE: If I’m bobbing too much to the beat, I wonder if *double checks to see who owns 106.9 The Bear* Bell will pay for my worker’s compensation. Hmm…)

1:15 – Oh, wow. I can kinda-sorta understand Eddie Vedder! Love it!

1:30 – MIKE McCREADY KICK-A** GUITAR SOLO!!! If there’s one thing you should know, if McCready nails a pre-recorded solo like this, he will OWN IT when they perform live. (In other words: this pleases me greatly.)

(UPDATE: I emailed the legal department at Bell “the-company-that-shall-not-be-named” about head banging and worker’s compensation. They replied by writing “Hahahaha” in the subject line and nothing in the body of the email.)

1:54 – That stop down to have Ed say “Mind Your Manners” will be amazing live. To have the band go dead silent and the crowd just belt it out will be nothing short of amazing.

1:59 – WHAT HAPPENED?!?!

2:00 – Oh, I see what they did there. Another quiet spot which will be great live because the…well, you get the idea. (Okay, I really, REALLY want to see this song performed live. COME TO OTTAWA, PEARL JAM!)

2:30 – I don’t know if they’re saying “Live in Hell” or “Livin’ Hell” or what. Until the lyrics get officially released, this will be my “…part of every day.”

2:37 – Strong scream to end it!

Conclusion:

This is a very strong single from the band (not like they’ve never disappointed with singles in the past) and I would put it (SLIGHTLY) ahead of their more recent singles Got Some, The Fixer and Life Wasted. It has a beat that you definitely be bobbing your head to and a great guitar solo that has the potential to get shredded when performed live. If you like this, then dabble in other Pearl Jam songs like Spin the Black Circle, Lukin, and Brain of J.

Overall Grade: A-

Thanks for reading and stay in touch with me on Twitter @ChrisFudali

Alfie

I decide to take a week off and, apparently, it’s the week where everything gets BLOWED UP in the sporting world; from buyouts to drafts to trades there’s been a lot going on. But in the city of Ottawa, the biggest news is that Captain Daniel Alfredsson has left for the Detroit Red Wings. Upon hearing the news, I texted by buddy Damian (a die-hard Sens fan) and I asked how he’s taking it. He replied: “Not good. I wonder if (my boss) will let me call in today.” As a Leafs fan, I can feel your pain; it wasn’t that long ago that that Mats Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause at the deadline, not resign with the Leafs and then go to Vancouver to make it rain (LIKE THEY NEEDED MORE RAIN IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, MATS!!! WE COULD’VE HAD…*double checks Hossa-to-Pittsburgh trade *…Colby Armstrong (Leafs had him and then bought him out), Angelo Esposito (bust), Erik Christensen (out of the league), and the pick turned out to be Daultan Laveille. No wonder this team moved to Winnipeg.)

Anyways, I’ve been there (still trying to get over it, obviously) but there are some silver linings to take away from Alfie’s departure.

Bobby Ryan – I truly believe that this trade does not happen if Alfredsson stays. This is Bryan Murray pulling the “My significant other has left me for a sexier team and all I got was a ‘Dear John’ letter?? Well, hey, TWO can play at that game. 22 year old Starbucks Barista who’s a B.A. student, wanna go out to dinner and ‘accidently’ bump into my ex?” move. According to some reports, Murray was right there with the money and Murray proved that by getting a guy who’s a cap hit of $5.1-million the next two seasons for a winger who can play at both ends and doesn’t mind getting physical. Oh, and he’s pretty damn fast. Putting him with Spezza or Turris will make you forget about Alfie by the end of training camp.

Clarke MacArthur – Nah, I’m just messin’ with ya. This would’ve happened regardless. But enjoy your new third liner/skate shop clerk!

Divisional Rivals – Oh, it’s on now! He’s gone to Detroit which wouldn’t have hurt as much this time last year because they’re in the West, but now that they’re in the East, Alfie gets to play Ottawa so often he may not even sell his place! This brings me to my next point:

The Boo Birds/Bronx Cheer – It’s always been a favourite of mine to attend a Leafs/Sens game and see this. And now, Sens fans can join in! Embrace the boos!

Return of “Pissed-Off Hitler” – He’s been away for too long!  Hitler’s upset over the loss of Alfredsson and Marc Methot (apparently) needs to step it up! This should be at 10,000 by Tuesday. (NSFW – Language)

 HBO 24/7 – This is totally selfish but as a Leafs fan and the Winter Classic happening this year in Detroit, I cannot wait for the HBO 24/7 to do some work with Alfie. Honestly! Look at the gold he gave us a few years back!  Can you imagine how great this would have sounded if it was voiced over by Live Schreiber and allowed expletives?


(From an unintentional comedy standpoint: Reality Television > Scripted Television)

Yes, it sucks that he left and did so abruptly, but I do ask you Senators fans: as bad as it was, would you rather it this way or would you rather go through what Lakers fans are going through with Dwight Howard?

Thanks for reading and stay in tuoch with me on Twitter @ChrisFudali