Posted on: May 26, 2008 10:29 am
Edited on: May 26, 2008 3:32 pm

Top 20 War Movies

After you stuff down an apple fritter and coffee while getting ready to barbecue up a storm on Memorial Day, here's my top 20 war movies to consider during Memorial Day (my rules are that they have to be about a modern day war, World War I to the present):
  1. The Great Escape -- Without question, greatest war movie ever made (and a true story). Great cast, excellent story.
  2. Saving Private Ryan -- Best battle scene ever in first 20 minutes.
  3. The Dirty Dozen -- We need more ensemble cast-epic movies like this one.
  4. M*A*S*H
  5. The Longest Day
  6. Kelly's Heroes -- Clint Eastwood, Don Rickles, Donald Sutherland -- you can't go wrong.
  7. Stalag 17 -- Precursor to "Hogan's Heroes."
  8. Schindler's List -- Just when you think you hate Nazis all you can, you watch this movie and hate them more.
  9. Full Metal Jacket -- Much like other war movies, it gets uninteresting once they leave boot camp.
  10. The Deer Hunter -- "You're just too good to be true ... Can't take my eyes off of you ... "
  11. The Big Red One -- Luke Skywalker and Lee Marvin? You can't miss.
  12. Von Ryan's Express -- Frank Sinatra's best movie everrrr.
  13. U-571 -- Watched it again a few weeks ago, it's still keeps you on the edge of your seat nonstop.
  14. Good Morning, Vietnam
  15. The Bridge on the River Kwai -- Best whistling movie everrrr.
  16. Platoon
  17. Apocalypse Now -- Not as big a fan of this as other people, to be honest.
  18. Heartbreak Ridge -- Clint Eastwood + Chet from Weird Science = Good times military movie.
  19. The Train -- Very underrated Burt Lancaster pic about the Nazis trying to steal French art on a train.
  20. Battle of the Bulge

Best nickname so far this season: Monster Max -- That's the tag given to Rangers' catching prospect Max Ramirez. He's tearing apart Double-A pitching with Frisco this season. He's batting .388 with 12 homers and 37 RBI in 46 games so far. He only went 1-for-7 with an RBI over the weekend, but he had a four-game home run streak active before Saturday's game at NW Arkansas. In his past 10 games, he's batting .424 with 11 RBI. He has a few players ahead of him in the organization (Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden), but his presence could help force a trade, whether it's himself or Teagarden. Something tells me the Rangers wish they got something else from Atlanta in exchange for Mark Teixeira. Salty could be good, but they look stocked behind the plate for a few seasons now.

In a sad note, Geremi Gonzalez was struck and killed by Lightning on Sunday in his native Venezuela. With Cory Lidle dying in a plane crash in October of 2006, and Joe Kennedy dying last November of natural causes, Gonzalez makes the third ex-Rays pitcher to die in the past 19 months. Gonzalez threw the pitch that broke Sammy Sosa's corked bat a few seasons ago.
Category: General
Posted on: May 20, 2008 8:49 am
Edited on: May 20, 2008 8:57 am

Purple Haze All in My Brain

While you're feasting on smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels for breakfast, we're still under a smoke advisory from over 80 active fires in the state of Florida. Dear Florid-Dummies, Quit throwing out your lit cigarettes -- it hasn't rained since 1975. Here's what you need to know about Monday's events:
  1. Jon Lester survives cancer and wins World Series clincher last year, no-hits the Royals Monday, plans to invent diet donuts that taste good next year: Clay Buchholz did it last season and Lester follows suit. Nearly as impressive, Jason Varitek has been behind the plate for a record four no-hitters. And these aren't even yesteryear's Royals -- they rank in the middle in team batting average this year. Who are the last two teammates to throw no-hitters in back-to-back seasons? (I'll have to research it to answer, maybe someone out there already knows.) Lester's no-hitter was worth 39 points in the BIGS league H2H scoring, and 41 pts in the FLEX league.
  2. The Spurs move on to face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals: Lakers, Spurs, Pistons and Celtics -- your Final Four. Multiple championships necessary for entry. This is a battle of teams I hate (other than the Spurs, but sheesh, they've won enough.) I guess I'll root for Boston, since a couple buddies of mine stand to win a chunk, which means free beer in my future.
  3. Ryan Ludwick homers for the fourth time in three days: He also has seven RBI, five walks, five runs scored and his ownership has climbed 11 percent in one scoring period. Emack and I were recently asked about a Roto trade of Ludwick/Edinson Volquez for Brandon Webb in an NL-only league. As much as I love Volquez, both of those players are playing well above their heads and will be regressing soon. Emack and I agreed, the Webb team is the winner (just like the D-Backs!)
  4. Chicago gets hot in the summer: The Cubs are 8-2 in their past 10 games, which makes them the hottest team in the NL, and the White Sox's five-game winning streak is the longest in the majors. When told about the White Sox winning streak, Cubs fans reportedly said, "Who?" Good to know for Fantasy purposes: Sean Gallagher could be set for two-starts at Wrigley Field in Week 9 (vs. LAD, vs. COL). He's only owned in four percent of leagues right now.
  5. Jacoby Ellsbury steals his 17th and 18th bases of the season: Only Ichiro Suzuki (20) and Michael Bourn (19) have more stolen bases than Ellsbury right now, and the center fielder has nearly half of his team's total (40). They are tied for fifth in the majors right now, compared to 16th last season, 30th in 2006 and 28th in 2005.
  6. The Red Wings beat Dallas Monday to move on to face Sidney Crosby's Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals: If you've ever been to Detroit -- and lived to talk about it -- you'll know that it truly is "HockeyTown, USA." Fans in that area react to hockey the same way football fans react in football cities. I've never been to Green Bay, but I imagine their obsession is like the Wings' fans fervor. I was there in 1998 and just walking around the town, you'd see no fewer than five old ladies wearing Steve Yzerman jerseys. You have to respect that -- but you HAVE to root for Sid the Kid and company.
  7. After getting the weekend off, Big Hurt returns in a Big Way: Frank Thomas blasts a pair of homers (his first for the A's) Monday after sitting out the interleague weekend for the A's. Since rejoining the A's (22 games now), Thomas is batting .297 with 13 RBI and nine runs scored. He's my Fantasy PoD.
  8. Geovany Soto forced into fast home run trot: The rookie catcher blasted a shot to left-center field that hit next to the yellow fence line, and the umpires forced him to run it out. He still got the homer, but it was of the inside-the-park variety. He has nine homers on the season now, second only to Mike Napoli's inexplicable 10 homers in 89 at-bats. Both are on pace for over 30 homers, which hasn't been done by a catcher since Mike Piazza hit 33 in 2002. (Is that right?)
  9. Evan Longoria and Randy Winn join the Fantasy Five club Monday: Both players added to each of the five Rotisserie categories on Monday. Winn went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base against the Rockies. And Longoria went 3-for-6 with three RBI, one run scored, one steal and a 13th-inning homer to put Tampa Bay ahead to stay in Oakland.
  10. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opens this week: And co-worker Fazal Imam, who has been stuck in the 80s for nearly three decades, is wearing a fedora and brandishing a whip this week in honor of it. Well, he wanted to do that, but he was too lazy to get it together in time. I'm sure we can be expecting him to be saying, "I HATE snakes!" all week though.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 25, 2008 9:45 am
Edited on: March 3, 2008 12:05 pm

Mock Draft Monday!

Now you can check out the results of our first Mock Draft Mondays! As I explained in the column, we're dolts and the drafts started once they filled up -- so my first four picks were on auto-pilot. Ahhhh well, it's the first one, so we had to iron out stuff!

The Chicago Sun-Times notes that the White Sox had more winnable games (close and late) last season (115) than they did in either '06 (105) or '05 (113) (their World Series season). That is more evidence that the White Sox bullpen, outside of Bobby Jenks, was brutal and possibly one of their worst pens in the past 50 years.

By the way, if you are interested in joining a mock draft with me at 2pm ET, join this 10-team AL-only H2H draft in this lobby. (It might be full by the time you see this, but people jump in and out frequently, so keep checking.) Emack's NL-only draft in the same format is in this draft lobby.

Our Mock Draft product has been a nice success this spring. One thing I found very interesting is that the most popular style of mock draft so far has been the 10-team Mixed Head-to-Head format. About one-third of ALL the mock drafts are in that style! Take THAT old school Roto guys! ( ... I still like Roto better.)

The Detroit Free Press talks about Curtis Granderson's water-bug metabolism. Apparently, he loses too much weight during the latter part of the season, so the Tigers want him to gain some weight. They're making him eat 3,500 calories a day, which is what Dave Richard calls a light snack. Fatigue? Granderson hit .348 with five homers and nine steals in September last season! That was his best month of the season too!

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that Boof Bonser's 30-lb weight loss this offseason has his confidence sky-high. Opponents hit .301 against him in the second half last season (including .377 in September). Bad conditioning might be part of the reason for his decline and a plus-9.00 ERA in September backs that up. With a new, buff Boof, he could be a nice AL-only sleeper this spring.

Name a better team for Bartolo Colon to sign with than the Red Sox? Their staff is already a great one, so he's not going to have to be a savior, yet they are a little desperate after losing their veteran ace in Curt Schilling for half a season at least. He has a chance at a World Series ring, an offense to support him when he struggles, and a closer to seal his wins when he pitches well. Fantasy-wise, he's still an AL-only pick, although spring training could make him a reserved mixed leaguer depending on the news. He could end up being the starter in April if Clay Buchholz needs some seasoning at Pawtucket. And by May, a Beckett blister could rear it's ugly head again.

The Tampa Tribune is denying reports that they are interested in signing Barry Bonds. Obviously, the HR King would come at a discounted price tag, but this move would make absolutely no sense. Carl Crawford has been commenting about how great this spring has been without the controversies surrounding Elijah Dukes (domestic assault) and Delmon Young (umpire assault). Why bring in one of the biggest controversial players this decade, who probably would cost them as much in one season as any of their current players? They have Rocco Baldelli (granted, not a sure thing), Cliff Floyd and Jonny Gomes expected to share time at the DH spot, as well as in right field.

This rumor does make me think back to the 2000 days of "The Hit Show" campaign, when the (then Devil) Rays signed Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn and Vinny Castilla (later nicknamed "Cash-Stealah" for his pathetic production at third base). This was a knee-jerk reaction by the organization that originally had started on the "build from within" path with minor leaguers and young talent. He didn't like the fact that Arizona was selling out their stadium and playing great ball with veterans. Then-owner Vince Naimoli charged then-GM Chuck LaMar to abandon his previous plans of youth to go sign this group of has-beens. They finished 2000 with 733 runs scored (third-worst in the majors). While that number ranks them 22nd last season, remember that this was at the height of steroid use and big ball.

The St. Pete Times notes that both B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford wouldn't mind seeing Bonds on the roster. "If they are really serious about it, I'm pretty sure we can adjust to it,'' Crawford said before Monday's workout. "It's Barry Bonds -- who wouldn't want to have him on their team? He still hit, what, 28 home runs last year? He's walking a lot, still been very productive. You can understand why we could be interested in him. I'm surprised to see him not signed yet." Those are great quotes for possible future teammates. Did we expect any of them to say, "BONDS!?!?!?!? Ugh, I can't stand that dude."

Starting this week, Eric Mack and I, along with some other Fantasy staff members, plan to take part in a mock draft every Monday and we invite you to join us!

Our new Mock Draft product is truly a great Fantasy Baseball tool for you to utilize this spring. You can do multiple drafts and it will keep track of each set of draft results. I will take part in a 10-team H2H AL-only mock draft and Emack will do a 10-team H2H NL-only mock draft at 2pm EST today. Join us!

This weekend was filled with entertainment winners (No Country For Old Men, Daniel Day Lewis) and sports losers (Brad Lidge, De'Cody Fagg, Phoenix). I'll try to hit on a lot of that the baseball stuff afternoon.

We adjusted the projections on some players this weekend and apparently we were a little off on Jayson Nix's numbers. One site caught it and called us out on it. We fixed the numbers, don't worry, now he should have 88 homers.
Posted on: February 23, 2008 5:47 pm

Fantasy Oscars 2008!

For the past nine years, my friends and family have done our best to guess the Oscar winners each spring. We try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films in each category. We award three points for the major categories, two points for the important, but not-as-hyped categories and finally, one point for the secondary categories. Sunday night, Jon Stewart hosts (SWEET!) the Academy Awards, so it's time to write in my guesses. I'd love to hear yours as well, so you're welcome to play along! Go to Oscars.com and then post your winners below!

I haven't seen all of the movies -- despite what many believe, I DO have a life ... OK, so I don't ... But it's hard to see this many movies in a year. Here are the movies I have seen: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Charlie Wilson's War, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ratatouille, 3:10 to Yuma, Norbit (Seriously), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Transformers.

This season was a down year for BIG pictures in my opinion, especially compared to The Departed last season. This was also the year of -- the BAD ending! The Sopranos set the pace with a horrible ending to a great series, and There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men followed suit. The art-house endings aren't my style, call me simple, but I want to know what happens, I don't want to guess. And I'd prefer the ending is in the same style as most of the rest of the movie. Atonement had the best ending of all of them, but even it was a curveball that left some unsatisfied. But at least it WAS an ending.

George Clooney was great, but he'll be one of the best runner-ups in Oscars history for Best Actor because this category is Daniel Day Lewis' to win.

Juno is a surprise guest in some of the major categories, but it was an absolutely fantastic movie (funny too! Honest to blog!) But I don't think it has the cajones to take any hardware home.

During the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, I was able to see "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" -- a French film about a fashion magazine editor that suffers a stroke, then writes a book by blink-dictation with just his left eye. It was an interesting movie, no doubt, and the style of the directing was bold -- basically, most of the movie was seen through his viewpoint, through one eye, and being unable to speak. I can totally understand WHY it would make the Best Director category, but how does it NOT get nominated for Best Foreign Film?

By far, Best Supporting Actor is the deepest category of the big ones. If you have three hours to kill, go rent The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Casey Affleck was creeeeeeepy good and he could steal the award. P.S. Hoffman has the pedigree and Tom Wilkinson was excellent, but watching Javier Bardem in "No Country For Old Men" made me pee. It's Bardem's award I think.

BEST PICTURE -- Worth 3 pts -- There Will Be Blood

ACTOR -- LEADING -- Worth 3 pts -- Daniel Day Lewis

ACTRESS -- LEADING -- Worth 3 pts -- Cate Blanchett

SUPPORTING ACTOR -- Worth 3 pts -- Javier Bardem

SUPPORTING ACTRESS -- Worth 3 pts -- Tilda Swinton

BEST DIRECTOR -- Worth 3 pts. -- There Will Be Blood

ANIMATED FEATURE -- Worth 2 pts. -- Ratatouille

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM -- Worth 2 pts. -- The Counterfeiters (Austria)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE -- Worth 2 pts. -- Taxi to the Dark Side

ORIGINAL SONG -- Worth 2 pts. -- "Falling Slowly" - ONCE

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY -- Worth 2 pts. -- No Country For Old Men

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY -- Worth 2 pts. -- Juno

CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Worth 1 pt. -- There Will Be Blood

COSTUME DESIGN -- Worth 1 pt. -- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

ORIGINAL SCORE -- Worth 1 pt. -- Atonement

DOCUMENTARY SHORT -- Worth 1 pt. -- Freeheld

ART DIRECTION -- Worth 1 pt. -- Atonement

MAKEUP -- Worth 1 pt. -- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

FILM EDITING -- Worth 1 pt. -- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

VISUAL EFFECTS -- Worth 1 pt. -- Transformers

SOUND EDITING -- Worth 1 pt. -- No Country For Old Men

SOUND MIXING -- Worth 1 pt. -- Transformers

SHORT FILM -- LIVE ACTION -- Worth 1 pt. -- Tanghi Argentini

SHORT FILM -- ANIMATED -- Worth 1 pt. -- Meme Les Pigeons Vont Au Paradis

Category: SPiN
Tags: Movies
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