Favorite 35 Films of 2017

As the Academy crown the best in film this evening, it felt as good a time as ever to look back at what really was a terrific year of movies. The following 35 listed below, that were released in 2017, were the ones that stood out the most after several trips to the movie theater (or streams on Netflix and Amazon).

35. The Meyerowitz Stories

Meyerowitz

Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Elizabeth Marvel and Dustin Hoffman

It’s very rare, in recent years, for me to even consider checking out an Adam Sandler. His team-up with director Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller on Netflix changed that trend and reminded me, “Oh yeah. Sandler DOES have some actual acting chops.”

34. The Hero

The Hero

Sam Elliott, Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon and Krysten Ritter

The film starts with Sam Elliott (as a veteran Cowboy/Western actor) doing voice-overs for products that feel all too familiar to things he has actually been a spokesperson for. His chemistry with his on-screen pot dealer, Nick Offerman, is also well worth the ticket.

33. The Greatest Showman

Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya

While the story is lacking and some lip-synching can be cringe worthy, the music and Hugh Jackman’s enthusiasm were too good to deny The Greatest Showman from this list.

32. Kong: Skull Island

Kong

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly

Yes, Kong was entertaining as hell. John C. Reilly steals the show, the music is excellent, and the references to the future World Champion Chicago Cubs were a fine example of some fun writing.

31. American Made

American Made

Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleason and Jesse Plemons

Sign me up for any iteration and telling of the Pablo Escobar story. Narcos on Netflix set the standard, Bryan Cranston’s The Infiltrator was extremely underrated and now this perspective of the American drug smuggling effort was too riveting to not enjoy.

30. Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Ewan McGregor

Disney hasn’t messed with their recent live-action remakes (i.e. The Jungle Book from last year). They didn’t miss a step with the new Beauty and the Beast and now all the songs from the original animated film are stuck in my head again.

29. The LEGO Batman Movie

Lego Batman Movie

Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson and Zach Galifianakis

Will Arnett in LEGO form > Ben Affleck as Batman.

28. The Lost City of Z

Lost City of Z

Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller

This story of exploration is only enhanced by the gritty “Jax Teller” voice storytelling by Charlie Hunnam, and the constant worry that anyone could be hit with a blow-dart or arrow from their canoes.

27. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians 2

Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista

It wasn’t the best Marvel movie this year (as you’ll see by scrolling down) but Guardians 2 didn’t disappoint with humor, music and over-the-top action.

26. John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick 2.jpg

Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne

The John Wick series pretty much blows the one-man-wrecking crew genre away (Taken, The Equalizer, or any other Liam Neeson film).

25. Good Time

Good Time

Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie and Jennifer Jason Leigh

The mood of Good Time is like a horror film, and Robert Pattinson keeps viewers on a non-stop ride of suspense.

24. Molly’s Game

Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner

Watch for Jessica Chastain’s performance, Aaron Sorkin’s writing and the unbelievably intriguing sports story…and try not to let Michael Cera bother you too much.

23. Free Fire

Free Fire

Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley

Free Fire had one of my absolute favorite casts, ridiculously entertaining banter and action, and the surprise ending I didn’t realize I hoped for.

22. Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis, Leslie Manville and Vicky Krieps

Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film isn’t necessarily his best, but his acting and the force that he and Leslie Manville his bring to the screen made Phantom Thread a very worthwhile watch.

21. Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg

The Best Picture nominee is a beautiful and heartbreaking love story, which leaves you wanting to instantly book one-way trip to Italy.

20. Split

Split

James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson

The 2nd installment of the Unbreakable series is a great comeback thriller for M. Night Shyamalan. If you check Split‘s IMDB page, James McAvoy has 9 characters listed and he probably plays more.

19. Wind River

Wind River

Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Jon Bernthal

A great murder mystery with intense moments that come out of nowhere. I’m not sure Jeremy Renner makes bad movies anymore.

18. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto

This long awaited sequel was one of the best movie theater experiences of the year. Sound, visuals and suspense made the wait worth it.

17. Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily James

Gary Oldman should and will win Best Actor at the Oscars, but the film’s marketing doesn’t give enough credit to the performances by the rest of the cast. Lily James pulls the heart strings and Ben Mendelsohn is powerful when he needed to be as King George.

16. Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky

Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig

I refers to itself as Oceans 7-11, but it was vastly more entertaining than 12 and 13 combined. I’ll take any and all NASCAR-heist sequels with this cast that Steven Soderbergh wants to make.

15. The Post

The Post

Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk and Michael Stuhlbarg

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were good, but Bob Odenkirk, Carrie Coon and the rest of the supporting cast were great. It’s just hard difficult to follow newspaper films like Spotlight and All The President’s Men. 

14. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spiderman Homecoming

Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr. and Zendaya

Hot Take Alert: Tom Holland is a better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Michael Keaton was an excellent Marvel villain. And this was an excellent YA genre movie.

13. Dunkirk

Dunkirk

Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branaugh and Cillian Murphy

It’s surprising that Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s first Oscar nominated film, but it’s worthy of it. It’s hard to breathe the entire film, for multiple reasons, but feels great when you finally come up for air at the end…Also, try watching this and Darkest Hour back-to-back. History Channel wishes they could pull that off.

12. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and David Thewlis

Wonder Woman is what happens when DC finally lets a great director (like Patty Jenkins) tell a great Superhero story. Gal Gadot’s innocence and genuine approach to the hero made it even better…I still try to picture how much better it could have been with Alan Rickman (skypoint) could have starred as the villain.

11. Coco

Coco.jpeg

Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt

Visually, one of the most stunning PIXAR films to date and an incredible original story, that gives a voice to an underrepresented culture in the genre. The music is great as well.

10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Mark Hamil

I don’t care if this film ruined Star Wars for you. That’s on you and your weird expectations. It was funny, emotional, uplifting and full of the fist-pump moments I ask for from these films.

9. Logan

Logan

Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen

You guys…a Wolverine movie got an Academy Award nomination…That’s how good this movie is, and it was a perfect exit for Hugh Jackman from the franchise.

8. The Florida Project

The Florida Project

Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite

Willem Dafoe deserves all the accolades he gets for The Florida Project, but the kids (led by Brooklynn Prince) made the curiosity, imagination and nostalgia feel so incredibly natural…set in the motels outside Disney World.

7. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok.jpg

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Tessa Thompson

Thor: Ragnorak was a great payoff for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans that have watched this long, ginormous series since the beginning in 2008. The clash (and eventual team-up) with The Hulk was perfect, Cate Blanchett was an excellent villain, Tom Hiddleston reminded us why we can’t quit Loki, and it was the funniest movie of the year.

6. Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein and Timothee Chalamet

If it weren’t for Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan would be cleaning up the Lead Actress awards, but Laurie Metcalf deserves to take home Best Supporting Actress. The mother-daughter dynamic is moving, Beanie Feldstein is a breakout star, and Sacramento has never seemed so interesting.

5. The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano

RomComs are really going to need to step their game up after The Big Sick. The story of Kumail Nanjiani and his actual wife (Emily V. Gordon) will make you feel every emotion, Holly Hunter reminds everyone of how their mom handles any illness they have, and Ray Romano…well, Ray’s got some great moments.

4. Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Fox and Jon Hamm

This was the most entertaining movie I had seen, from start to finish. I own the soundtrack on vinyl, it was that good. And Jon Hamm needs to play more villains. The third act was like another movie, and excellent because of him.

3. Get Out

Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams and Bradley Whitford

I applaud Jordan Peele after every accolade this film is recognized for. It took horror to a new stratosphere, practically creating the “social thriller” genre. And I’ll never forget how the theater I watched it in gave a standing ovation for that ending.

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards

Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell

A year ago, Manchester by the Sea was my favorite film for many of the reasons Three Billboards is this high up for me now. It makes you laugh, then rips your heart out, puts it back in, lets you laugh again, then repeat. In the end, you’re not sure how to feel about any of the characters, but they are all worth investing in.

1. The Shape of Water

Shape of Water.jpg

Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer

It was so difficult to choose a favorite, but at the end of the day The Shape of Water stood above the rest. It’s an amazing love story. It’s imaginative, strange, heartfelt, beautiful and weird. It pays its respects to films of old, and makes a case for similar treatment years ahead. Also, it’s another nominated film with Michael Stuhlbarg…who stars in 3 this year.

 

What was your favorite film this year? Let me know on Twitter at @Mike_PiFF03.

 

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Piffcast: The Comeback-cast

After a nice long break, the Piffcast is back! It’s been a month, so Mike and TJ had some catching up to do…

– Developing a Kris Bryant’s up-to-bat Alert App
– Comic-Con Trailer Roundup
– TJ’s movie homework (including some Mark Ruffalo recommendations)
– What we’re watching on TV (Stranger Things, The Night Of)
– The Pokemon around Mike’s house (don’t go looking)
– Coldplay at Soldier Field and K-Pop ‘farms’
– A special thank you to awesome people

…and much more!

Join the conversation on Facebook or TwitterYou can subscribe to The Piffcast on iTunes too.

Netflix Takes Mixtapes to a Whole New Level with ‘Flixtape’

While you’re taking trips down memory lane watching Netflix’s new original, Stranger Things, you make mixtapes again as well…of movies and TV shows.

Say hello to Flixtape, a feature that allows users to create quick and easily accessible playlists of their favorites on the streaming service that can also be shared with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email and text.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 3.47.02 PM

Netflix can either recommend selections for you or you can simply let it know what you’re in the mood for. Just type in a genre, title or keyword of any sort and you can add it to your list of up to 6 moves, shows, standup specials or documentaries.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 3.31.08 PM

Once you’ve created your Flixtape, you can share it with that friend who keeps asking for recommendations in your Facebook newsfeed. Or you can show your crush what you’re into, and see if they dig it too…If not, I’m sorry. I’m sure someone out there likes that thing that you like too.

What does your Flixtape list look like? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Time To Exhale: Batman v. Superman

After a record setting weekend for DC films at the box office ($166.1 million), it feels safe to finally vent about one of the most anticipated films for superhero fans in a long time. I understand a few of you have not seen the flick, so consider this a warning for spoilers. YOU ARE READING AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Going into my Thursday night opening showing of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in IMAX, I fought very hard to keep an open mind. Reviews were less than stellar after screenings earlier in the week from people I trust, and I was already skeptical based on a lot of eye-rolling marketing. The Batman fan in me was still excited though, and I was ready for the new story following Dark Knight Trilogy.

I left the theater liking some things but hating other aspects about the film. There were pieces I felt could be built on and would make for a very interesting extended universe that DC and Warner Bros. plan to rely on as they look to fill a void left by The Hobbit and Harry Potter franchises. You can’t blame them after the opening weekend monetary success and wanting to keep pace with Marvel. Please do so without Zack Snyder though…

When I was asked how I would rate the film, I couldn’t commit to any end of the “Terrible to Great” spectrum so I’d say “6 out of 10 tops”. I also felt the last 3rd of the movie was significantly better than the first 2/3, and I hate that I had to wait for it to happen. To express that better, lets look at each variable that went into the 2 hour and 30 minute film.

Batman

What I liked: Ben Affleck impressed me. I personally don’t have him on the Christian Bale/Michael Keaton top tier, but he’s hanging out above Val Kilmer on my Batman actor list. Affleck fit the older and grizzled Batman that they chose to roll with. He was even better as Bruce Wayne. He carried himself like a dignitary at Lex Luthor’s party. He was relatively suave in his banter with Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) and could do the “reckless playboy act” when it was needed. Affleck’s introduction from Bruce’s point of view during the Superman-Zod battle in Metropolis was smart and compelling. And in a film that was nearly void of comic relief, he and Alfred (played by Jeremy Irons) provided the little bit that was there.

Side note: Is it me, or was Irons way too handsome for Alfred? Not saying I minded it…

If there’s something I feel confident about going forward in this new DC universe is Affleck’s influence for the upcoming Batman solo film. I trust Affleck as a filmmaker more than Snyder, with The Town and Argo on his directorial resume.

What I didn’t like: While Bruce Wayne’s entrance into the film was very good, Batman’s was not. What made Christopher Nolan’s trilogy very good was its ability to get you excited when the Dark Knight would stop crime with stealth attacks and cool choreographed fights. Instead, Snyder chose to introduce Batman as a criminal who apparently tortures sex trade criminals off-camera, leaves a bat brand on them, and then scurries away when police show up. Not the best first impression for fans who have gotten to know at least 5 different versions of Batman.

The multiple dream sequences were silly as is, but the second one that leads to a confrontation with a genocidal Superman was the most disheartening. Why is Batman using a gun and shooting people? Has he completely abandoned his “No kill” policy that separates him morally from everyone else? Then came his actual fight scene toward the end of the film with Luthor’s henchmen. Rather than an impressive rehearsed fight, it was all CGI, cartoonish and hard to even follow. When TV shows like Arrow and Daredevil are killing it with stunt actors and fight scenes, you can at least try to hold yourself to their standard. Yes, the CW beat you in something, Snyder.

Lastly, seemed a little too quick to be referring to yourself as a “friend of your son’s” to Martha, didn’t it?

Superman

What I liked: Henry Cavill has the look, there’s no denying that. Superman is very difficult character to make relatable based on his ability to really do EVERYTHING, and Cavill pull off the dangerous and overpowering demeanor that people, like Batman and skeptics, fear. I have a hard time faulting Cavill when you know the people writing and directing his character are the ones responsible for most of the problems.

What I didn’t like: The “woe is me, I’m not from this planet” bit was so melodramatic and overplayed. We know, Superman. You had a whole standalone film (Man of Steel) to show us that and we, the audience, don’t care. Just go save some people in amazingly cool ways! Unfortunately, Snyder chose to downplay Superman’s cool and selfless acts toward the beginning in typical Snyder-like slow-mo with arrogant vibes and commentary over him. Rather than ramp up a rivalry with Batman, as the film’s title suggested, Superman seemed way more concerned with the public perception of him and the where he fits on Earth. It seemed more like a “this universe isn’t big enough for the both of us” rivalry for Superman, than an actual threat of global security…like it was for Batman. Then when he knows he has to team up with Bruce Wayne, Superman actually entertains the option to kill him when explaining it to Lois Lane. You’re better than that, Clark.

In their first meeting, Clark Kent has the opportunity to listen to the conversation between Bruce and Alfred (which he exhibits) and find out why they are investigating Luthor but doesn’t even take advantage of that. Just seems like a lot of drama could’ve been saved in that sequence that makes Superman appear more shortsighted than he should be.

 

Lex Luthor

What I liked: If Jesse Eisenberg’s goal was to make you hate his character, he did a very good job of that. He started off annoying and obviously spoiled, continued to be annoying but more dangerous, then finished as self-aggrandizing and psychotic (I know he had an okay comeback to that observation from Lois). The character comes off brilliant but only to an extent.

What I didn’t like: Eisenberg’s version of Luthor has influence and power, but zero poise or enough wit that could go toe-to-toe with either Superman or Batman. Joker is psychotic, but there’s method to his madness and you respect the danger he can inflict as well as his ability to exploit what’s wrong with the world to his advantage. Eisenbeg’s Luthor seemed to crack before we could respect him. And cool, he knows something we don’t about bigger baddies that are bound to come, but why should anyone want to team up with him?

How did Luthor expect to control Doomsday after unleashing him anyway? Was the end game just destroy Superman and Batman, and then the world? Doomsday never showed any sign of allegiance when he “busted out” of the ship.

Lois Lane

What I like: I like Amy Adams as Lois a lot. A very good actress who holds her own well in a blockbuster. Her status at the Daily Planet, as someone who gets what she wants when she wants was impressive. Unfortunately…

What I didn’t like: …her storyline had no real bearing on the outcome until MAYBE the very end. Her investigation with the intelligence bureaucrat was distracting and unnecessary. Bruce Wayne did all the digging anyone needed into Lex Luthor that broke open his so-called “masterplan”, which was pretty weak as is. Then she was reduced to Superman’s damsel in distress (twice) when she doesn’t have to be anymore. Audiences are ready for badass women, even those without powers. Let Lois be one.

 

Wonder Woman 

What I liked: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was a bright spot in a pretty dreary movie. I have to admit, I clapped when she showed up in the battle vs. Doomsday and her music a nice shot of necessary adrenaline. As Bruce is looking into her hack filed, compiled by Luthor, we see the photo of her alongside Chris Pine and that had us intrigued in her upcoming 2017 film.

What I didn’t like: That it took until the very end of the movie to see her in action. We know she lifted Bruce Wayne’s jump drive, but what was she doing with it? If she was going to just fly away on a plane, she obviously stopped pursuing it. I would’ve liked to know what her angle and purpose was in Metropolis before meeting Batman and Superman. As far as we know, she was just…there.

 

Other Thoughts

  • After watching Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix a week before, it was disappointing to see Zack Snyder’s result of a superhero rivalry/team-up film. Daredevil and Punisher were got straight to the point early on expressing their differences and philosophies, and they made it tougher to choose who you’d want to root for in a battle between the two. Siding with Batman just came way too easy in what was an overblown issue to begin with. It’s also going to seem like night-and-day when Captain America: Civil War hits theaters when Cap and Iron Man go head-to-head.
  • Action films with shaky cameras are annoying. You can shoot fights and chase scenes without making the viewer want to throw up. Maybe watch a few movies that execute this better…like some of your own, Zack.
  • WHY ARE WE KILLING JIMMY OLSEN OFF IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES? He deserved better than that, and better than needing the credits to remind you that it was indeed Jimmy (as a CIA agent all of a sudden?)
  • Having a hard time with anyone else as The Flash other than Grant Gustin. Seems like an oversight not to include him, given his popularity with a massive audience currently.
  • I’ll be honest, I like going to the movies to get away from the noise of pundits and politicians arguing annoying issues. So when Superman’s rescue scenes are drowned out by that exact thing (and F’ing Nancy Grace, of all people), you’re putting a bad taste in my mouth that can’t be fixed with popcorn or theater candy.
  • You can argue that the purpose of this film was supposed to be jumping off point for the rest of the planned DC Universe, but it really shouldn’t have been such a chore to endure. The film has made a lot of money, and might keep doing so this week as most high school kids in the U.S. have Spring Break, but box office numbers don’t reflect its quality. This isn’t one I’m going to go back to the theater to see, nor do I really want to spend time on it home after it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD/Demand.

Last but not least…

You are allowed to like the movie. It’s very okay. Your taste in films and expectations can be very different than mine. Just know that it could have been a lot better, and we as fans deserved it to be after waiting so long for something like this to come along.

How did you feel about Batman v. Superman? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll also discuss it on The Piffcast tonight, so be sure to subscribe to the show

Twitter’s 10th Anniversary: First Ever Tweets From Some Favorites

10 years ago today, some guy named Jack sent the first ever tweet.

“Jack” is Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter. He also set the standard for grammar on social media, apparently.

Do you remember your first tweet? I guess I had Brian Scalabrine and Carmelo on the mind when I wrote mine…

With the help of Twitter’s Discover feature, I was able to dig up some maiden voyage thoughts as people in Sports and Entertainment got setup on their “favorite” Social Media platform.

Movies

 

Robert Downey Jr.

 

Chris Evans

 

Chris Pratt

 

Amy Schumer

 

Emma Watson

 

Jon Favreau

 

Kevin Spacey

 

Tom Hanks

 

Ron Howard

 

Jamie Foxx

 

Kristen Bell

 

Angela Bassett

 

Ben Affleck

 

Chris Rock

 

Brie Larson

 

John C. Reilly

 

Kevin Hart

 

Television

 

Bryan Cranston

 

Aaron Paul

 

Krysten Ritter

 

Jason Segel

 

Mark-Paul Gosselaar

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

 

Jerry Seinfeld

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar

 

Aubrey Plaza

 

Gillian Jacobs

 

Lena Dunham

 

Norman Reedus

 

Michael J. Fox

 

Emilia Clarke

 

Eric Stonestreet

 

Sofia Vergara

 

Grant Gustin

 

Melissa Benoist

 

Chris Hardwick

 

Stephen Colbert

 

Ellen DeGeneres

 

Music

Justin Timberlake

 

Common

 

John Legend

 

Taylor Swift

 

Lady Gaga

 

Alicia Keys

 

Chance The Rapper

 

Rihanna

 

Bruce Springsteen

 

Andrew W.K.

 

Bruno Mars

 

Beyonce

 

Chris Martin

 

Axl Rose

 

Marc Roberge

 

Kanye West

 

 

Basketball

Kobe Bryant

 

Shaquille O’Neal

 

LeBron James

 

Chris Paul

 

Kevin Durant

 

Derrick Rose

 

Jimmy Butler

 

DeMarcus Cousins

 

Blake Griffin

 

Damian Lillard

 

Russell Westbrook

 

Steph Curry

 

Mark Cuban

 

Adrian Wojnarowski (#WojBombs)

Baseball

Jake Arrieta

 

Bryce Harper

 

Brandon McCarthy

 

Dan Haren

 

Andrew McCutchen 

 

Mike Trout

 

Felix Hernandez

 

Clayton Kershaw

 

David Ortiz

 

Kris Bryant

 

Frank Thomas

 

Joe Maddon

 

Ken Rosenthal

 

Football

 

Von Miller

 

Kyle Long

 

Chris Long

 

Aaron Rodgers

 

Russell Wilson

 

Cam Newton

 

Odell Beckham Jr.

 

Le’Veon Bell

 

Marshawn Lynch

 

Todd Gurley 

 

Ian Rapoport 

 

Adam Schefter

 

Jim Harbaugh

 

 

Did I miss any? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll get back to you with anybody’s FIRST TWEET.

First Full Trailer For New ‘Ghostbusters’ is a Good Time

After a nice nod to the original four scientists who “saved New York” 30 years ago, we finally meet the new Ghostbusters.

At last, we have footage of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones kicking ass in the jumpsuits…and ghosts doing nasty slimy things to them.

Your first thought may be, “who fits which roles from the original?” That seems easy with Abby Yates (McCarthy) filling in as Dan Aykroyd’s “Ray”, as he was considered the glue of the group. The rest seem to be their own characters though, with traits of the original Ghostbusters. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) is a physicist with Egon’s demeanor and some of Venkman’s humor. Jillian Holtzman (McKinnon) is the engineer, like Egon was, but also seems a bit quieter with a mix of Venkman’s and even Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy’s personality…meaning she’ll land some solid punchlines.

You can try to peg Patty Tolan (Jones) as Winston, but really it’s Leslie Jones being “Badass MF’n” Leslie Jones…slapping the silly out of everyone.

Also hey, Chris Hemsworth…

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 10.19.14 AM

…who plays their secretary, Kevin. Kevin may be possessed in his scene. Also listed in the cast are Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire), Andy Garcia (The Untouchables, Ocean’s 11), Matt Walsh (Veep, Upright Citizens Brigade), Elizabeth Perkins (Big), and possibly some surprise cameos from the original cast.

The new Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig (Spy, Bridesmaids) will be in theaters July 15th, 2016.

For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Super Bowl 50: Denver vs. Carolina – Everything But Football

By now, nearly storyline and angle for the Broncos and Panthers have been hashed out going into the Super Bowl. The Prop Bets are available to keep the non-football fan interested, which include wagers on things like how long Lady Gaga will sing the anthem, which song Coldplay will play first, and what color the Gatorade is that will be dumped on the winning coach. Even the commercials are getting leaked early (although I think that takes some of the fun out of it).

The Denver Post and The Charlotte Observer are also in on the game with their own friendly bets. If the Broncos win, the Post will receive “No. 1 IPA beer in the country” Hop, Drop and Roll (brewed in Charlotte) as well as some World Famous barbecue. If the Panthers win, the Observer will receive a broad selection of Colorado craft beer and bison steaks.

A tradition that we began here a year ago was to go beyond the teams playing the game, and compare the regions they’re from in EVERYTHING BUT FOOTBALL. Last year, New England had the edge over Seattle in our game here and eventually won the Big Game itself.

So for the fans (and newspapers) of each team, lets see how they stack up.

Music

From Denver

John Denver, Ginger Baker (drummer), Earth Wind & Fire, Flobots, The Fray, India.Arie, The Lumineers, Glenn Miller (Jazz), Neutral Milk Hotel, OneRepublic, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Judy Collins, The String Cheese Incident, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

From Carolina

James Taylor, Tori Amos, George Clinton, K-Ci & JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, Fred Durst, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.

The Edge – Carolina

This may be the toughest call, considering how subjective music is for everyone. However I’m taking quality over quantity here. Fred Durst and the EDM of Denver cancel each other out for things I’m good without. There are more pop acts in Denver, if The Fray and OneRepublic are your thing. Both regions bring the Funk with George Clinton and Earth Wind and Fire. But I’ll take the Carolina singer songwriters (Taylor, Adams and Folds) over John Denver *skypoint*.

Bonus Points too for my favorite school slow dance song ever, “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.

TV

 

Set in Colorado

South Park, Community, Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Nikita, Stargate SG-1, The Real World: Denver, The Man in the High Castle, Dynasty and Mork & Mindy. 

Set in Carolina

East Bound and Down, Dawson’s Creek, The Famous Jett Jackson, One Tree Hill, The Andy Griffith Show.  

The Edge: Denver

There isn’t too much programming set in either region. Community and East Bound and Down duke it out pretty well for comedies. I do love Andy Griffith and that whistling will be stuck in my head for the rest of the month, but 19 seasons of South Park is too many to pass on. Sorry, One Tree Hill fans. 

Movies

 

Set in Colorado

The A-Team, About Schmidt, Aliens vs. Predators: Requieum, Beerfest, The Big Short, Blades of Glory, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, Interstellar, Misery, Phantoms, The Prestige, The Shining, Stargate, WarGames, and Dumb and Dumber

 

Set in Carolina

Cape Fear, Carrie, Cold Mountain, The Descent, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Kiss The Girls, Maximum Overdrive, Pitch Perfect, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Tin Cup, A Walk To Remember, and Bull Durham.

The Edge: Denver

Carolina makes a case with solid Kevin Costner sports movies. But Denver has two amazing Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar and The Prestige) the better Stephen King horror flick between The Shining and Carrie…and Dumb and Dumber. 

Food

From Denver

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From Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

It was a tough call, but I drooled the most researching all that southern comfort awesomeness. 

Landmarks/Sights

In Denver

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In Carolina

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The Edge: Carolina

Both seem perfect if you love the outdoors. I think if you love skiing/snowboarding and weed, you’ll probably lean toward Denver. The idea of mountains, beaches, and some college sports staples have me wanting to visit Carolina first. Red Rocks is a hard venue to pass up though.

Craft Beer

In Denver (327 Craft Brewers)

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In Carolina (151 Craft Brewers)

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The Edge: Denver

This one is depends on your tastebuds, but I’ve always been partial to Colorado beer. Carolina seems to be on its way though.

Sports (other than football)

In Denver

  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Colorado Buffaloes 
  • Colorado State Rams

In Carolina

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack

The Edge: Carolina

The two Stanley Cups won by the Colorado Avalanche are admirable, but 12 Men’s Basketball National Championships won by Duke (5), North Carolina (5), and North Carolina State (2) are a bit more impressive…

…plus the fact that state produced the greatest player in NBA history. 

Michael Carolina

 

Final Score

 

Denver –   3

Carolina – 4

 

Who has the edge, in your opinion?

Let me know what you think on Facebook or Twitter

Big thank you to Dago Cordova, Mike Kvackay, Jennifer Witkowski and Donald Moenning for help with firsthand research.