Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sign says No Fighting Fans

I'd argue golf is a mental sport. You're in that zone and nothing is better than striking the ball and putting it in the cup. With tons of fans, you want to be like Happy Gilmore and want to strike other people, but like him, you can't. Hecklers can do whatever they want for the most part.

I'd see Patrick Reed's caddie getting suspended a little bit for this. And I'm talking more than just this match. Things got horrible when he beat up a fan and he is banned for tomorrow's President's Cup round. Kessler Karain has to show some restraint. Even he can't mess with fans. You could ask for removal of a fan. Davis Love did that in 2004 when one kept heckling "No Love" and the guy was gone.

Even more so than basketball and hockey, golfers are more vulnerable to visceral takedowns and all that. It's not ridiculous like in Happy where the heckler hits him with the car and blows up a TV tower, but it's up close and center. The toll it takes is enormous because one little thing can turn a day upside down. But you also have the ones that will cheer on when you go to the tee and when you have the round of your life, the support for you grows.

Terrible to hear what happened, but caddies have to be careful, too. Don't let the hecklers or fans bother them that much. Remove them quickly if they become a headache. Hopefully, it sets a reminder to some people not to do this.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Streets of Grouchy Birds

As the 90s rolled along, I never was into PBS. When I did watch it, it wasn't for Sesame Street. It was mainly stuff like Wishbone, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and whatever they had at the time like the Carmen Sandiego game show. But I do understand how important Sesame was. I would argue that Mister Rogers was a lot more influential, but they both have their place in history.

But as time went on, there was a constant. Knowing that the late Caroll Spinney would continue to be the man behind both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He was for the show from its inception in 1969 and stayed there until last year. Unfortunately, as the stories unfold, he suffered from dystonia, which took him not too long ago. I'm not the age of where late boomers and early Gen X people are, but I do think the show was part of their earliest memories. And I'm sure the same applies to Gen Y and the new generations of kids.

This guy was responsible for fleshing out Big Bird into someone kids could relate to. Heck, Spinney paid tribute as the 8-foot character at Jim Henson's memorial when Henson passed away in 1990. I never knew that until reading these articles. It tells how close knitted he was with the show and what it meant to be a cast member for some of these people that are no longer around. And as more of the original people around keep passing, it's easy to forget the legacies they forged just to make entertainment for kids and maybe learn a thing or two.

I do think Sesame Street still has its place in television. And the shift in programming for PBS has changed a bit over the last couple of years. It's even on HBO, which it has since 2015. With people ditching television and cutting the cord, regardless of this program, it does have am impact. While other kids networks may have their idea of fun, there still needs to be that balance in fun and education without it feeling like a school lesson. Without talent like Spinney, you don't something like Sesame air for that long. And hopefully, it still sticks around for a longer time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Irishman Review

Gotta hand it to Martin Scorsese to work on another mob film based on a memoir. Wiseguy was adapted into Goodfellas back in 1990. That film may be the best mob film ever. The Irishman, adapted from the memoir, I Heard You Paint Houses, follows the story of the guy who claims to have killed union man Jimmy Hoffa. It's good, but it doesn't top a few of the director's other works.

The movie reflects around Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro. A few cuts to his days at his old age, but we see a long chronicle beginning from his days as a driver delivering meat to places in the Northeast. On one of his drives, he meets Russell Bufalino and in one incident, is defended in court by Russell's lawyer cousin, William. Ultimately, Frank starts doing small things for the Bufalino crime family, no questions asked. As time goes on, he becomes involved with Hoffa by joining his union, helping the guy out. It becomes a crazy period as things spiral out of the control of the mobsters.

It feels very much like Goodfellas, but not as ridiculous. In fact, this film doesn't go killing a character every five minutes. They portray Frank as a very loyal person, doing tasks for Russell and trying to make Hoffa appear calm in meetings and in the public eye. The amount of violence is a bit restrained and saved for when it was necessary. De Niro does a great job acting in this film. I found Al Pacino to be a bit over the top with Hoffa. I don't know if it was his choice or not, but the yelling comes off similar to some of his later films. But Joe Pesci as Russell, this might be his best performance ever. Better than Tommy in Goodfellas. He has a strong demeanor. Serious about what he does, serious about being a leader of his crime family. Out of the three actors, I think he should win an Academy Award or Oscar.

The visual effects are very good for making De Niro and Pesci look younger. I was easily impressed with how much they made De Niro look like a 30 year old. As far as other characters go, the acting was strong. The cinematography was through the roof. Its score comprises of how the 50s through the 70s was like.  My only concern for some would be the lengthy runtime, which is almost three and a half hours. Some parts did feel a little dragged on, especially some parts in the middle of it. I don't know how much truth there is, since it's hard to figure out what exactly happened to Hoffa. I didn't find Pacino to be that great as him. Passable, though.

If its still playing in the theater, I would give The Irishman a watch unless you have a Netflix subscription. Scorsese was still able to continue his brilliance as a filmmaker. A little weaker, but still a strong enough film with good production and mostly well acted people.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Saturday, December 7, 2019

What it Takes to Review

I have helped with two system sites over the last few years and one site in a year and a half with reviewing games. But what does it take to get a game reviewed? What are the necessary steps to look good? Well, I'll tell you, and I think this will apply to anything in media.

1. Soak in your head. I would give it a little bit of time. Whether it's a few hours or a day, reflect. Think about what was good and what was bad. Was there stuff you appreciated? How high was the bar set? If it's a sequel or prequel, how does it stack up to its own franchise or its competition? Small or large criticisms? You got to account for all that.

2. Don't play fanboy. What I mean is be honest in your opinion. There is no reason to be gushing at every little thing. Talk what is good and go into reasons why you think it's that good or perfect. Go into detail. The same applies to the bad stuff. Don't go bashing for the sake bashing. Explain why something is horrendous. If you're going to compare, don't use it as a crutch for your review unless its necessary. It will bring out the fanboy in you.

3. Don't be different for the sake of being different. Going against the grain is not going to make you look cool. There's a reason a couple movie critics get shitted on for their opposite opinions. Much like the fanboy card, you should have reasons why you think differently. Even if people disagree in a venomous way, don't let it get into your head. If you can't, then you shouldn't be reviewing.

Those are just some of the reasons of what it takes to review. If you think there should be a part two, let me know.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

25 Years of Play

Tuesday the Third marked 25 years since the first PlayStation sold in Japan. It wouldn't be worldwide until the end of 1995 when it hit the States in September and later on in Europe. When you think about it, it is one of gaming's most consistent home consoles. The ability to have tons of support, sales, and companies behind it. You forget that Nintendo is one of the reasons why this exists.

The idea formed around the time the SNES was being made in Japan. Ken Kutaragi was instrumental in all this because he was interested in gaming. Ever think why the system had a good sound chip? Because of him. Plans were made to make an add-on capable of playing CD's and was unveiled in the early part of the 90s. But Nintendo began partnering with Philips to do stuff for their cd-I. It's a complicated story, but Nintendo still wanted Sony involved, but due to that partnership and Nintendo wanting full control of everything, Sony left and began working on PlayStation.

When you look at it, it strived for an audience that was more than kids. Sega had that idea with the Genesis at the start of the 90s, but Sony pushed that envelope further. But, it was able to get all audiences. Kids were able to play their Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, while adults could play Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil. The hardware was easy to make games. Companies figured out how to use CD's properly compared to earlier CD systems. Memory cards became the norm. System reliability has been a notorious issues. But Sony keeps chugging.

Without Sony, you don't see gaming as it is today. They are not the main reason for how it is, but it paved the way for how we look at stuff. I've been around for every home console with the exception of the PS3 (which I'm trying to make up for lost time). Getting them a few years after they released. The brand is still viable for gamers. And when PS5 shows up, it's going to continue one of the strongest names in all of gaming.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ron, I Have to Fire You

Kind of surprised. The Carolina Panthers have gotten rid of their head coach, Ron Rivera, after almost nine years of being with the team. I figured his job was on the line a little bit, but I didn't think he was in the hot seat that badly The outlook has been different and the disappointment over these last two seasons might have the been the ultimate reason for him being gone.

When he took over, he became the fourth coach in Panthers history since they started in 1995. That 2011 team was an improvement over an abysmal team a year ago, but still needed work. Improvements on defense and complimenting Cam Newton with competent players got them in the playoffs two years later. In came a five year stretch of making the playoffs four times, including a 2015 Super Bowl run that ended in a loss to the Denver Broncos. This year and last year have had high expectations, but have been disappointments.

You would think they would have gotten rid of Rivera last year. This year, they don't have Newton under center, and even he could be gone after this season. Lots of injuries on both sides of the ball. Playing with guys who aren't used to the workload. Tons of struggle on defense. Maybe the patience is wearing thin for the Panthers owner. You lose to lowly Washington, the hot seat gets hotter. What the new decade will bring for the 25 year team is uncertainty. They have players who can deliver. Can it come at the right time next year to give them a playoff push?

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Ford v Ferrari Review

I haven't done of these in over a month, but here we go. Flashy is always something used throughout the last century. Cars are one of those things. You can kind of see where Ford v Ferrari games. It's a test for Ford in the mid 60s as things are not as smooth sailing compared to their own soil and the world.

Ford is struggling and suggestions are made to buy out Ferrari, who are one of the leading companies in automobiles and the racing industry. The buyout fails, Fiat buys Ferrari, and Ford is left wondering what to do. They seek out Carroll Shelby to help with building a car that can withstand the 24 hour Le Mans race. Through thick and thin with tests, corporate red tape, and hot headed Ken Miles, the test is put to full effect within a few years span.

When you look at this, it is more than just a racing movie. It's about the efforts Ford was trying to do to stand out in the world and to rejuvenate a struggling company. With Shelby and Miles in the mix, they try to show what they are capable of to just about everyone. Miles putting the effort and even though at points being a guinea pig, having the knowledge to know what works and what doesn't. Shelby knowing how great his talent is despite Ford having issues with his driver. There is a lot of drama and a good focus on Miles because without him, you don't see how their race in 1966 goes. They are the underdogs throughout it.

The cinematography is amazing with the lighting and shot compositions. It hits the gas on being like the 60s with its score and getting a modern score in the last hour of it. Always amazing to hear movies in stereo and its used to full effect here in a lot of the driving scenes. Matt Damon and Christian Bale play Shelby and Miles very well, especially Bale. Only he can pull it off with that British accent. The rest of the cast add to the drama with great performances. There isn't a dull moment throughout it. The driving visual effects are not bad either. Very passable.

Ford v Ferrari is a little overrated, but it deserves its accolades. Definitely get a chance to see it in theaters. One of the more interesting stories.

Score: 8 out of 10

Sign says No Fighting Fans

I'd argue golf is a mental sport. You're in that zone and nothing is better than striking the ball and putting it in the cup. With t...