Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim Caldwell is an idiot

The Indianapolis Colts used to be my most respected football team. Although I am a "casual" Steelers fan, I would almost enjoy watching the Colts more because of the way they played the game of football. Watching Peyton Manning dissect defenses is a sight to behold. But even more than that, Dungy, Manning, and Co. played with dignity and respect for their teammates, opposing teams, and the game of football. This past Sunday evening, new head coach Jim Caldwell, and supposedly the GM Polian, made the decision to rest the starters for the playoffs instead of going for what no team in the history of the NFL has done before: Go 19-0. This is one of the most boneheaded and disrespectful decisions that I've ever heard of in football. Possibly one of the worst calls of all-time, if only because of what was at stake. I can't stand Bill Belichick because of his miserable attitude (he literally looks like he drinks a glass of misery before every game), but we all know he does what it takes (and than some) to win. Caldwell doesn't know what trying to win even means. He's been riding the coattails of one of the greatest play-calling QB's of all time. This is probably the first time he's even had a significant impact on a game. I don't even know where to begin outlining why the decision was moronic, so let me just go down a list.

- Caldwell pulled Manning in the middle of the 3rd quarter to avoid unnecessary injury before the playoffs, and began pulling other starters before that. Huh? He clearly didn't give a crap about winning the game, so why risk Manning out there in the 1st or 2nd quarter to begin with? If it was to give the starters some playing time, why put them in after the half? Why was Manning playing in the 3rd and 4th quarters of games where the Colts were blowing out other teams earlier in the season? I guess if he was injured in one of those games it would've been ok in the twisted coaching world of Jim Caldwell. Which leads to our next point...

- Manning doesn't get injured! Sure, it could happen and to think otherwise is naive, but to sacrifice a chance at history under the pretense that you are protecting a guy who has played for 12 years and started 191 consecutive games without being injured is absurd. If it was a meaningless game it might make sense, but...

- THE GAME MEANT SOMETHING. It meant something to the players who up to that point had achieved what less than a handful of teams had ever achieved, and had a shot at doing something historic. It meant something to the thousands of Colts fans at the game who payed money to watch if not something historic, at least their team play to win. It meant something to the millions of Colts fans watching on TV or listening on the radio. It meant something to sports fans like me who was watching with the hope of witnessing another historic step (wasted two hours of my life. Thanks Caldwell). It meant something to the '72 Dolphins who are probably still recovering from the hangover from their annual celebration of their record remaining intact. Caldwell took the momentum his team had and gave it a flogging that would've made the Romans wince. I don't ever remember fans of a team as good as the Colts being so angry as they are now. The dejection of the starters on the sideline was painful to observe.

- who won the '94 Superbowl? '84? '73? ok, how about 2001? 1972? Oh, you only know the last one. Weird. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that this was the last team to have a perfect season... Even if the Colts end up winning the SB this season, no one will care three years from now. Teams win Super Bowls every year. Perfection would be something to remember.

- The Colts made a mockery of football. Forget the angry fans, forget the angry players, forget the screwed up logic. Caldwell threw that game. He played to lose, making an embarrassment of the National Football League. Losing teams have been know to do that in order to secure higher draft picks and it is universally frowned upon. Why? To steal from Herm Edwards in one of those awesome Coors Light commercials, "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME." Caldwell put back-up QB Curtis Painter in the worst situation imaginable. He could've been put in any of the Colts blowout wins, but Caldwell decides that humiliating him in front of the home crowd while destroying their shot at history was a better course of action. Oh, and this game had playoff implications for other AFC playoff contenders beside the Jets. Ask the Broncos how they feel about it.

I could go on, but I'm tired of typing. Caldwell spit on history, on the fans, and on his own players who worked to get there. If they end up winning the Super Bowl, whoop-di-doo. No one will care in few years, and I'm sure it will be bitter-sweet for most Colts fans anyway. I'm hoping they don't though. As much as I like Manning, Caldwell and the management don't deserve it. As football people go, they are among the most pitiful.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top 21 Films of the 00's

It's that time of the decade again. Everyone's top (fill in the blank) lists about (fill in the blank) are flooding everyone's blogs, inboxes, and that twitter thing. I guess a decade ago newspapers and magazines were the main sources of these lists. The internets changed everything. Now we are assaulted with a never-ending barrage of top everything lists we couldn't care less about, but still read to find what we do or don't agree with.

Now that we know how insignificant these lists are, here are my top 21 films of this decade. ("21?", you say. Yep, for a few reasons: Being different is trendy now, and I didn't want to cut out Memento.) It's a mix of what I enjoyed most and what I think are artistically the best. So even though I love a movie like The Village, I know that it really isn't that good of a movie, so I left it off the list. There is no exact science to my method though. Take it for what it is. Each has a reason for it's ranking that is no longer than a sentence.

1. Lord of the Rings Trilogy - epic and powerful; visually and emotionally stunning.
2. No Country for Old Men - intense, insightful, and perfect film about evil's relentless attack on humanity.
3. The Dark Knight - a thrilling, complex, relevant film noir that, like No.2, focuses on the sometimes seemingly hopeless struggle against evil.
4. El laberinto del fauno - fairy tale for adults that speaks to the power of childlike faith.
5. Cidade de Deus - action packed and brutal; a brilliant study of "hoodlums" and crime in the City of God.
6. Children of Men - a crying baby and shouts of "Cease fire!" will send a chill down your spine after one of the longest "uncut" shots in cinema history.
7. There Will Be Blood - relentlessly dark and brilliantly acted.
8. Slumdog Millionaire - a feel-good film that also brings the horrid conditions of India's slums to light.
9. Das Leben der Anderen - brilliant look at the value of human relationship.
10. The Hurt Locker - extremely intense film about soldiers in Iraq; one of the greatest war films ever.
11. Crash - a though-provoking parable on the effects of seen and unseen racism.
12. Munich - shows the impact of committing violence, both on the individual and on the nation.
13. A History of Violence - devastating study on the nature of violence
14. Lost in Translation - an exquisite and sad romantic comedy without your typical romance.
15. The Passion of the Christ - a brutally shocking and eye-opening depiction of the physical sacrifice of our Savior.
16. Michael Clayton - a corporate legal thriller not really about corporations at all.
17. Boy A - who decides who gets a second chance?
18. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - beautiful cinematography and score.
19. Gone Baby Gone - Casey Affleck's second great performance in a row.
20. The Bourne Ultimatum - mixes action and intelligence in a style that has been ripped off multiple times since, but never duplicated.
21. Memento - Chris Nolan crashes onto the scene.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


What a great feeling! I watched every playoff game, got to go to the clinching game 6 of the ALCS, and put up with Sox fans even after they got manhandled in the playoffs. And it was worth it. Standing for the final inning, cheering every pitch, and finally letting loose in Red Sox territory was unbelievable. I'm soaking up the moment. (My championship T-shirt isn't in stock now, though. I paid for it and now have to wait until they get more. Lame.) What a great game, especially for Mo, Jeter, Posada, and Pettite. Unbelievable. Don't know what else to say. It doesn't get any better than this...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Indie shot and more movies I want to see but can't...

Once - a critically acclaimed and absolutely boring movie. The small-time artist fights the odds, finds success (faster than U2 or The Rolling Stones in all likelihood), and there is a little love story thrown in. Yay. I appreciate a well-made indie film (Boy A for example), but this just isn't compelling enough to overcome it's obvious story and visual shortcomings. It has a cliched, unrealistic plot, and it doesn't help that they play whole songs that just aren't very good throughout the film. I seldom so strongly disagree with critics, but here I just can't get over the film's serious flaws to see what they (the critics) see in it.
Dan-o-Meter: 5 out of 10

In addition to the ones a few posts down:
Big Fan
Up in the Air

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Fields of Bliss"

So I just found a bunch of poems I had to write for creative writing class a few years back. I hated writing them, but some of them are kind of decent, so I figured I would post some for fun. And the funny thing is, they are all either about God, film, or the Yankees. Go figure. Here's the longest and my favorite. I'll post some shorter ones some other time.

“Field of Bliss”

The field is green with perfect blades;
The paths are carved into the earth;
The painted lines are white and straight;
For the sprint from home to first.

The sun shines down warm and clear
Upon the picture-perfect view;
And unfurls in the breeze
The brilliant hues red, white, and blue.

The stands fill up and cheers do swell:
Out come the heroes on the field
Like gladiators of this age,
But wooden are the swords they wield.

“Play ball!” The cry rings out so clear,
Throughout the place it does resound.
The batter steps towards the plate
As the pitcher climbs the mound.

The first duel begins in such a way:
The pitcher stares in for the sign.
The batter swings his club around;
Living for this very time.

All watch and wait for one to throw
The white sphere at reckless speed.
From the front to third deck up
All eyes follow that small, white bead.

In heaven are fifty thousand fans
In the time that follows this.
Watching the battle on the field
Is for them three hours of bliss.

On this field are legends made,
And on this field is sorrow felt.
Tears of loss do stain the dirt;
And shouts of triumph do ring out.

Times of joy and times of pain
Are what many must endure.
But in these trials is there found
A bliss of sport, oh so pure.

The field is torn and is now brown;
The blades of grass have gone amiss.
For this is the price it pays
To become a field of bliss.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I made a wallpaper...

So I was bored and looking for a new wallpaper for my computer. All the ones on the google were either lame or weren't widescreen, so I cracked open Photoshop and made this one. I just desaturated it and made the font, but it came out pretty good. At least I think so anyway. Latika is no longer my wallpaper, but she will always be the background of my heart...

That made no sense at all. Whatever. If you haven't seen The Hurt Locker (or Slumdog for that matter), go see it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Hurt Locker and other stuff

Finally saw The Hurt Locker last week. It was intense and awesome, but also a bit different. First of all, there was pretty much no conventional plot. Just three soldiers defusing bombs in Iraq. Although it may have gotten bogged down a few times in between action scenes, that can mostly be blamed on waiting for next adrenaline rush, which is totally worth it, as director Kathryn Bigelow will have you gripping the armrests for most of the film.
Also, it wasn't really about the Iraq war. After the crapfest of Iraq war movies the past few years, it was nice to see a modern war film that didn't make a political statement. In that way, it is similar to Saving Private Ryan. Although that is a superior film to The Hurt Locker, both use the wars they are set in as a backdrop for in-depth looks into what causes a soldier to go to war and what keeps them going as they live through what could be the closest thing to hell on earth.
The film also confirmed what a film nerd I am. I thought the music sounded a lot like the score from 3:10 to Yuma, so I wasn't surprised to see in the credits that it was the same composer. And when the main character, Sergeant James, was shopping for cereal in the grocery store, was I the only one who noticed the camera pan from Life cereal to Lucky Charms? The scene says more in one minute than all of Michael Bay's movies combined.
Bigelow made what many are calling a masterpiece and there are numerous scenes like the one I mentioned above that speak to the level of quality filmmaking this movie reaches. I wouldn't be surprised to see it listed in the future with movies like Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan as one of the great war films of all time.
Dan-o-Meter: 9 out of 10

Other stuff...
I think Joba read my last post. He is on a tear since the all-star break. Hopefully we can beat Boston this weekend and hold on to 1st place. No comments on Big Needle-y, I mean Papi, except to say that I am not at all surprised, and to be honest, don't really care. It's always fun to make fun of Red Sox fan's though, so I won't say a part of me didn't enjoy the news...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Joba to the 'pen? and movies I want to see but can't...

Joba Rules?
Should Joba be still be starting? His struggles continue to mount; his ability to win ball games, or even give the Yankees a chance to win, has decreased steadily as the season has progressed. As the Yankees head into the second half of the season with holes in both the bullpen and the starting rotation, some serious consideration must be given to what exactly should be done with Joba. His ERA+ is barely above average at 104. His walks per 9 are way up and his K's per 9 are way down, as is his velocity. Known the past few seasons to have a fastball that reached up to 102 mph on the radar gun, he now struggles to reach 94-95. Granted, he obviously conserves some energy in the starting role, but even last year his velocity didn't suffer that much. His WHIP this season is a paltry 1.56 and his innings pitched has dropped to 5.2 per start. Is it the growing pains of becoming a starter? Or is he simply not as dominant when stretched out? And what should be done with him as the second half gets under way? Or in general, considering the future of the Yankees?

A probable cause for the struggles of Joba this season are that he is simply adjusting to starting at the major league level. A pretty good pitcher named Johan Santana had numbers worse than Joba's his first two seasons in the big leagues. It takes time to develop into an ace and it is unrealistic to expect Joba to pitch dazzle right out of the gate. He has shown flashes the past few seasons of what he is capable of; now he just has to harness that in the starting role. Still, the one thing I do find troubling is his lack of velocity. If he can't recover that, I don't think he can reach his full potential.
A good starting pitcher is generally more valuable than a good reliever. A healthy starter can pitch over twice as many innings as a reliever. If given the choice, you would obviously want a good pitcher to be a starter. But Joba has merely been passable in the starting role. Not going deep into games taxes the already thin bullpen and affects future games as well. With Mariano ready to give up his position in a few season, the need for someone the slam the door in the 9th will quickly become apparent. Joba has shown that he can be as dominating as anyone in the late innings. Could he be a possible replacement? As much as I like to think about it, I don't see it happening. The front office has high hopes for young Mark Melancon. Joba was a starter in the minors and they want him to be one in the majors. Still it is something that I hope will be considered, especially if Melancon doesn't pan out.
The question still remains about what to do with him this season. With the Yanks in the playoff hunt, is it worth it to continue developing him and suffer those setbacks every five games, or should he be relegated to the bullpen until a more opportune time? As of now, I am leaning toward keeping him in the rotation. With Wang ineffective and injured and Pettite struggling as of late, the Yanks really need to fill the holes. Hughes is thriving in the bullpen and moving him back and forth from 'pen to rotation only hurts his development, in my opinion. Although Mitre, and even Igawa, could be called up to make some starts for Wang, that doesn't fill all five spots and I would rather continue to develop Joba in that fifth spot than waste the arm strength he has built up. Still, it is a tough decision. The Yanks need to make the playoffs and keeping Joba in the rotation is a possible hindrance to that goal. But the future seasons could also depend on his continued development, so, as hard as it is, it is important not to be to near-sighted.

Definitely not Transformers...
Just a few films that I really want to see, but can't due to limited theatrical releases. Hopefully I can catch them eventually. If only I was in LA...

- Captain Abu Raed. I even know someone who worked on the score for it, which I was surprised to see on IMDB. Looks fantastic.
- The Hurt Locker. I saw the trailer before all the positive reviews came pouring in and thought it looked like a good film. The critics clearly support that notion.
- The Way We Get By. Just watched the trailer. Wow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Public Enemies...

I got lucky enough to test screen Michael Mann's latest film, Public Enemies, a few months ago. It's going to be released in a couple weeks, and I am curious about how much, if at all, the film has changed. Obviously the special effects, score, color correction, etc. have been polished, but there are some key story and editing elements I am hoping have been touched up as well. I'll just write down (kind of popcorn style) what I liked and didn't like about the film as the points come to me and we'll see how it matches up to the film in a few weeks.

- Johnny Depp. He's a fantastic and versatile actor. He is brilliant in this film as expected. 'nuff said. Verdict: Good

- Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). He was good, I guess. Didn't really see much of him in this. I don't understand why he took such a minor role. Or I guess I don't understand why his role is so minor. His character is introduced with a bang, but is one of the flattest characters imaginable. He makes inconsistent, unexplained choices and seems to just be in the movie as the necessary antagonist, but the character is too weak to even fulfill that role. Not really Bale's fault, but a shame all the same, since it doesn't appear fixable at this point (April, I think) in the production process. Verdict: Bad

- No 35mm? Shooting in digital (the CineAlta F23 to be precise) rather than the conventional 35mm was an odd choice by Mann, especially since it was very easy to tell. To be fair, the movie wasn't finished yet, and it may be touched up in post to give it a more filmic look. But still, my roommate Josh made a great point that a period piece like this should be shot in 35mm to being with. When nearly all the drawbacks of digital cameras are something a film like this should be trying to avoid, why even bother trying fix it in post? Shoot it right the first time and make it look like an actual film. Verdict: Bad (disclaimer: possibly fixed in post)

- The Cabin Scene. A prolonged shootout in a secluded cabin is overlong and confusing. I don't want to drop any spoilers, so I'll just say that hopefully it was cut down by 10 minutes and also cut differently so one can actually make sense of how the scene ends. Verdict: Bad (disclaimer: possibly fixed in post)

- The Climax. Gripping. Can't spoil it, but it is one of the strongest parts of the film, in my opinion. Verdict: Good

- Story. Another very disappointing aspect of the film. It could have been so much more than the glorification of a malicious criminal who scoffs in the face of justice and the law, but it's not. To make it even worse, Mann bashes that message down your throat with a few title cards at the end of the film that make it clear that Dillinger (Depp's character) is supposed to be the hero, while Purvis (Bale) and the rest of the cast who pursued justice are the real villains. And what does Public Enemies mean anyway? That public servants and enforcers of the law are the real enemies, not the crooks who rob and kill for selfish gain and pleasure? Verdict: Bad

I probably made the film appear worse than it may be, but I was really disappointed in what could have been an insightful and thought-provoking film. Instead it is pure Hollywood. A lot of exciting action sequences and gunfights (Mann is clearly adept at these), but lacking in the character and plot department. Hopefully some of these problems have been addressed since I last saw it, but even my superficial understanding of how films are made tells me that isn't likely.
Premature Dan-o-Meter: 5 out of 10

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Short thoughts and 2 foreign film shots

It's been a while since I've written anything. I'm not a big "blogger" I guess and I already know most people don't really care what I think. Still, it's a way for me to express myself so I'll update once in a while when I have the chance.

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."

A verse from Phillippians that I think can is a good guide for how I as a Christian should approach both viewing and creating films. Sometimes it's easy to see a well-made film and say it's great without stopping to think if it contradicts any of the values listed above. Just something I try to keep reminding myself. Now onto some films...

Das Leben Der Anderen - A brilliant and beautiful look at how involving yourself in the lives of other allows you to be changed in ways that are otherwise not possible. This film tells the story of a lonely German Stasi police officer who's job of spying on a suspicious playwright is really an attempt at finding intimacy. The nature of the story allows from some truly exciting and intense moments, as well as some touching and heart-rendering ones. Although it is paced a little slowly at points, especially the third act, it is a wonderful story about the value of human relationships.
Dan-o-Meter: 9 out of 10

El laberinto del fauno - Otherwise known as Pan's Labyrinth, it tells the story of a young girl, Ofelia, and how she copes with the horrors of the Spanish Civil War by entering into an alternate "fairy-tale" world throughout the story. Masterfully directed by Guillmero del Toro with gorgeous cinematography and an awe-inspiring score, this film highlights the importance of imagination and child-like faith. Del Toro makes his point in brutal and powerful fashion, showing that despite the film being a fairy-tale, it's message is definitely not confined to children.
Dan-o-Meter: 10 out of 10

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two awards-season reviews and the Oscar snubs

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Though its visual achievements are extraordinary and there are a few beautiful moments in the film, it ultimately misses its many opportunities to make any statement on the nature of time and love. Instead the film revolves around Benjamin's and Daisy's attempts to have sex with each other, and when they do, it is the supposed climax (no pun intended). The final scene between them is borderline offensive, challenging the audience to find love and beauty in an adulterous act with a teenager. The cold, impersonal feel it gets from being shot in digital only enhances the movies distance from its audience. Although there are certainly enjoyable aspects to the film, its story's shortcomings are as curious as the character himself.
Dan-o-Meter: 6 out of 10

The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke gives a fantastic performance as a man who makes mistakes and is beaten down, yet still fights to overcome life's trials. He plays a wrestler who's career is put in jeopardy by physical heart problems, and who's relationships are in shambles due to emotional heart problems. It is a truly touching story of how he tries to mend his relationships, yet due to his own mistakes, as well as the bad hand of cards life deals him, he is unable to find meaning in anything except the life that put him where he is. Unfortunately, there is a gratuitous amount of sexuality/nudity that can hardly be called necessary to moving the story forward. Yet that is one of the few flaws in an otherwise moving film.
Dan-o-Meter: 7 out of 10

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released their nominations for the Academy Awards. I am usually pretty excited by this, but the noticeable absence of two films/directors is simply mind-boggling and solidifies the Academy's reputation as a snobby, art-house loving film association that is easily seduced by films made simply to win a statuette. 
I will let the reviews speak for themselves, but suffice it to say that the Dark Knight is a cinematic piece of art that cemented itself as a classic by wowing 94% of critics and writing its name into box-office history. Yet Nolan, the film, and the script received a total of zero nods from voters. Other than a nomination for Ledger's already legendary performance, the Academy shoved the Dark Knight into the slots reserved for films that aren't artsy or depressing enough for the "real" awards.  The fact that the Dark Knight actually is a dark and culturally relevant film speaks volumes to the Academy's contempt for blockbuster films and their audiences.
Gran Torino and Clint Eastwood were also royally shafted. Was his performance inferior to that of Million Dollar Baby? And is the Reader, a film that barely registers a fresh on Rottentomatoes, really one of the top five motion pictures of the year? He also could have been nominated in the Original Song category, but again, the Academy missed the boat. Bruce Springsteen is also unavailable for comment.
The arrogance of Academy voters is astounding and will probably be reflected in the Oscar ratings in a few weeks. Although I think some phenomenal films and performances were nominated, I will always remember the '09 Oscars as the year when the Reader got nominated.

LA so far...

I arrived in LA a few weeks ago can't say there has been a moment I haven't enjoyed yet. The apartment is spacious and nice, the rest of the students are awesome, and the faculty/staff are amazing. The weather is fantastic. There have only been a few days where a cloud even appears in the sky and the temperature sits around 75 during the day. 

As far a sights around the city, I've been able to go to the Venice Beach (American History X), Santa Monica Beach (Iron Man), tour Kodak Theater (where the Oscars are held), go to Universal City Walk and see the studios of NBC, CBS, Warner Brothers, Disney, and Paramount. Our class also went to a taping of the sitcom "Till Death" which was a blast. Other places I've been are Sunset and Hollywood blvd., Redeo Drive ($8000 track jacket), InNOut Burger (delicious), and today the Hollywood sign, where a security helicopter chased us away. The Grove, an upscale, outdoor shopping mall is right across the street.

Since I'm here studying film, it's a given that I've watched a lot of movies since I've been here. The theaters are extremely nice, but also cost $14.50 a ticket, which sucks. But we've also watched a few in class, including Fight Club just recently and Swimming with Sharks - scary as heck - last week. I'm still waiting to hear about an internship, so I'm both excited and nervous about that, but its nice having the free time while I'm waiting.

I love the city so far, and if I can get a job in the Hollywood industry, at this point I would take it in an instant. Of course that could change as the semester progresses, but so far it's been awesome. Can't wait to really get started...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Best (and worst) of '08

Just like the title says. No long explanations or anything, just what I feel was best (and worst) this year about God, film, and the Yankees. Because God is obviously somewhat difficult to make a best of list for, I'll just write my top faith-related experiences of the year.

God (best of):
1. second chances - a car, a telephone pole, and downed power lines should've been shocking. Maybe there is an explanation, maybe not, but all four of us walked away.
2. the joy of the Lord - never fails.
3. Bromley 101 - encouraged me in ways they will probably never know.
4. worship - not only in music, but in everything: film, work, studies, friends... I have gained a whole new perspective on it this past year.
5. forgiveness and love - if someone takes your cloak, give him your tunic as well. Forgiveness is more than forgetting or moving past something; it is going the extra mile to repay evil with good. It's friggin hard too.

God (worst of):
1. Not knowing - it sucks.

Yankees (best of):
1. Jeter's farewell speech - taking the old memories and adding them to the new.
2. Yanks go to Virginia Tech - one of my proudest moments as a fan.
3. Mo and Jeter getting cheered at the All-Star game - yes
4. Paplebon getting booed at the All-Star game - He looked like he was going to cry too. Tool.
5. Yanks get Sabathia. And Burnett. And Teixiera. - the gifts didn't stop coming. When I made my earlier list, I expected one signing at the most, so all three big names was glorious.

Yankees (worst of):
1. Not winning it all - yes, the season is a failure when there aren't rings involved.
2. Not making the playoffs - minor roadblock to winning it all.
3. Third place - shoot. it was a bad year...
4. A-rod in the clutch - 0 for 634 with runners in scoring position.
5. Injuries - getting hit with the Plague didn't help the cause.

Film (best of):
1. The Dark Knight - "Why so serious?" A masterpiece.
2. Slumdog Millionaire - fills you with hope and joy, and makes you happy to be alive. To steal from Richard Corliss, it is a "buoyant hymn to life."
3. Boy A - powerful, challenging, and thought-provoking.
4. Iron Man - fun and engaging.
5. Cloverfield - eerily similar to 9/11 videos on youtube at some points. It is unique and well-made.

Film (worst of):
1. Quantum of Solace - it wasn't really the worst film of the year, just the most disappointing new release. It's also pretty much the only bad movie I saw all year...