Top 25 Films of 2015 – The Final List

It took until 2016 to get this list done, but that’s the price of being thorough…and loving movies.

I released a list at the end of the summer and another before the holidays. Of course, studios waited till Christmas and after to release some of the most anticipated films of the year. Just in time for the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees, here are my Top 25 – The films I liked, really liked, and loved.

25. Carol

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It’s elegant and shot beautifully. Cate Blanchett has the title character but Rooney Mara is the one you’re invested in. I would have loved to see this film shot decades ago with Audrey Hepburn in Mara’s role. Kyle Chandler’s classic look would have fit in nicely. Also enjoyed the appearance from Cory Michael Smith who is currently The Riddler on FOX’s Gotham. It’s fitting.

24. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

MI Rogue Nation 2015

It was a strong year for blockbuster franchises. There are two more represented further down this list. The Mission Impossible series seems to get better as time goes on and fortunately for them, Rogue Nation hit theaters before Spectre did with a similar plot and much better execution. 

23. Beasts of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation 2015

Idris Elba seems to show us in everything he does that he is one of the best actors of our time, and this Netflix Original film gets him closer to the acclaim he properly deserves. Beasts of No Nation is also a milestone for Netflix that shows they should be taken seriously as a film studio and not just for television…Just try to avoid the string of unfortunate Adam Sandler flicks they will be putting out for a while.

22. Creed

Creed 2015

Creed is a very good sports movie. It reminded me a lot of the first Rocky film. I love how they filmed the fights and Sylvester Stallone deserves every “best supporting actor” nomination he gets. We’re reminded how great an actor he is, and how awesome a character Rocky Balboa is in this film. Michael B. Jordan is certainly in store for big things and this film is a clear sign of that. I just wished they held back on the cheese factor of a certain training scene and that his “big opponent” was a much more memorable character. 

21. Trumbo

TR_08395.dng

The acting in Trumbo is outstanding. The hype was real regarding Bryan Cranston’s performance. Both Helen Mirren and John Goodman play their parts very well. The correlation between how members of the American communist party were treated and some of our society’s current issues today strikes a chord. I just wish I hadn’t seen so many of the big scenes in the trailer already and that the directing was better.

20. The Big Short

The Big Short 2015

The more I think about The Big Short, the more I think I liked it. Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling are all awesome in the film and it’s incredibly smart. Hamish Linklater is also an excellent complement, similar to his role in The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams. The constant explaining of every economic term (which might have been necessary) gets distracting and the comedic approach takes away some of the necessary emotional investment. Had I not seen 99 Homes, I probably would have appreciated this film a lot more while watching it. 

19. 99 Homes

99 Homes 2015

Like The Big Short, 99 Homes takes place during the financial and housing crisis but it’s way much more of a punch to the gut. You get the perspective of people who lost their homes from the crisis, and it’s even more of a thriller because you have no idea how these people will react to those who have to break the news to them. Michael Shannon is also as good as anyone in supporting actor categories from this film.

18. Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton 2015

The music, the acting, the “Bye Felicia” scene…

Straight Outta Compton was an awesome biopic and it told a story that I think a lot of younger hip hop fans needed to hear, considering how influential members of NWA really are to the genre. The only reason I don’t have it ranked higher is because it did feel long by the end. 

17. Love & Mercy

Love and Mercy 2015

Love and Mercy was another biopic (also with Paul Giamatti as a jerk manager) that I enjoyed, but this one stuck with me a lot longer after. Paul Dano is great as young Brian Wilson and for once John Cusack is a lot less “John Cusack”-ish than he is in most of his roles. Elizabeth Banks also gives one of the more underrated performances in film from this year. If you’re like me, you probably listened to “Pet Sounds” for a week after seeing it.

16. The Walk

The Walk 2015

I’m a little disappointed The Walk isn’t getting more chatter during awards season. Obviously I think there are better films, but Robert Zemeckis did a brilliant job utilizing 3D, especially for the climax of the film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ben Kinglsey were both remarkably charming as well. 

15. The Hateful EightHateful Eight 2015

It’s not Quentin Tarantino’s best, but “Not Tarantino’s Best” is still better than most. The second half of the film was up there with some of his most entertaining…and bloodiest. For me, this was Walton Goggins’s coming out party on the big screen. Loved him in Justified and The Shield. I think it’s obvious Tarantino did too.

14. Mississippi Grind 

Mississippi Grind

It was too appropriate that I watched this film while waiting to hear my lottery numbers called. Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn has the All-American Asshole role down between this and Bloodline, yet knows just how to make you feel for him. Sure, Ryan Reynolds plays another good-looking fast talker, but his whole “who, what, and why” deal keeps you as intrigued as the constant gambling…which is enough drama by itself. 

13. Ex Machina

Ex Machina 2015

This was a big year for all 3 stars of Ex Machina. Oscar Isaac continued his path to Pacino-status with his roles in Show Me A Hero and Star Wars, which Domhnall Gleeson also stars in (as well as Brooklyn and The Revenant). Alicia Vikander has a good chance of getting both Best Actress and Supporting Oscar nominations for her roles in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. Her character, Ava, still haunts my dreams as well. It’s an unreal suspense film. 

12. The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour 2015

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I can’t recall a time where I’ve seen two actors be so natural interacting with each other for a film. That’s all this film is…a long weekend conversation from Bloomington-Normal to Minnesota and back, with honest thoughts and feelings. I’m happy to see Jason Segel is getting some acclaim as well for his portrayal of David Foster Wallace.

11. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs 2015

Yes, I’m a HUGE Sorkin fan, but I found the approach to this biopic to be incredibly original. It wasn’t your typical “start-to-end” story, but just 3 different periods in time and how each person has evolved in that time. It also helps that everyone involved nails it with their parts, especially Michael Fassbender.

10. Brooklyn

Brooklyn 2015

If anyone is challenging Brie Larson for Best Actress, it’s Saoirse Ronan. She and Brooklyn do an amazing job of making you feel all the emotions you can muster. It also helps that two of my TV crushes, Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak, Arrow) and Jessica Paré (Megan Draper, Mad Men), have solid roles in the film. The contrast in two worlds during the 1950s and how Eilis (Ronan) evolves is what makes the film.

 

09. Inside Out

Inside Out 2015

A movie about feelings makes you feel feelings…and even more than the typical Pixar feelings (which is saying a lot, considering the first 3 minutes to Up). It also helps that they casted all the right people for all the right feelings.

08. The Martian

The Martian 2015

I came across a Facebook friend listing his “Top 10” and he said he hadn’t seen The Martian because “It looked like Castaway in space.” He is very wrong…unless he values Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Jessica Chastain, and Kate Mara to all be a volleyball named Wilson. There’s also a Lord of the Rings reference that probably won the film “Best Comedy” at the Golden Globes by itself. 

07. The Revenant

The Revenant 2015

I have a very difficult time seeing anyone other than Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor at the Oscars. Maybe Bryan Cranston, but Leo will be SO pissed if he doesn’t because of everything he went through for this film…It’s pretty evident.

06. Room

Room 2015

The Best Actress category at any awards show is Brie Larson’s to lose because of Room. Jacob Tremblay is amazing as well…just be prepared to have your heart strings pulled hard.

05. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2 hour long roller coaster of action, explosions, and rock’n’roll. I don’t recall taking a breath between the start and end. The twisted and beautiful mind of George Miller is on full awesome display. 

04. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015

I think we all have our personal movies that connect with us in more ways than most and matches our personalities. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl was that movie for me, my favorite from the summer. There’s also something about Nick Offerman as a sociology professor, robe-wearing, cat-obsessed dad that still tickles me funny.

03. Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies 2015

Bridge of Spies is about as good a film as you could ask for from a combination of Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers…I was pleasantly surprised to see that the latter wrote the movie once the closing credits rolled. It was all meant for someone like Tom Hanks to lead in. There is one scene toward the end that I found to be as powerful as any in 2015. 

02. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars- The Force Awakens

The best way I’ve heard The Force Awakens described is that it hit all the right spots in all the right ways…It really did. Nostalgia and newness brilliantly combined. Fantastic well-timed humor that the past films lacked. If you waited for something to disappoint you, you’d only be disappointed by the fact that you’re still waiting. It’s also the only other film, besides #1, that I went back to see in the theater again and appreciated more for it.

01. Spotlight

Spotlight 2015

I really don’t think there was a better performance by an ensemble this year. It was a refreshing take on journalism, not over-glorifying the industry but simply presenting how a paper goes about getting a story. All the comparisons to All The President’s Men are warranted. I will also stump hard for Mark Ruffalo getting Best Supporting Actor recognition, even when the category is heavy enough as is. 

 

What does your list look like? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

Who Is the Best Fit on the ‘Han Solo Spinoff’ Shortlist?

Although shooting doesn’t even start for another year from now, Disney and Lucasfilm are close to naming their new Han Solo for the spinoff Star Wars film series. Similar to how Disney and Marvel plan to introduce their new Spider-Man, Tom Holland, with a small role in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War before his own feature film, a young Han Solo may appear in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story due out December 16th, 2016. The spinoff films take place between Episodes III and IV, so the target Solo actor is between the ages of 20 and 29.

Variety is reporting that “after seeing thousands of actors”, the list is down to Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Raynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Emory Cohen, and Blake Jenner. There may be more in consideration, but Variety knows the names have made the cut and that an announcement should be made within the next couple weeks.

The two names I don’t want to hear announced for the role are…

Solo Chicken

…Miles Teller and Dave Franco. The bad press around last summer’s Fantastic Four failure were as much Teller’s fault as anyone. He’s also just not that damn likable. Sure, it worked for Whiplash, but even then I found myself hoping every bad thing possible would happen to his character. And unless Franco has non-“Frat Guy Party”film on the horizon, I don’t need his smug grin flying the Millennium Falcon.

So who does fit, if the two more recognizable names don’t? Who pulls off the perfect combination of charm, cockiness, rough-around-the edges, and warmth that will make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?

Rather than brainstorm actors that could be potentially better, let’s work with the 3 best names on the list.

1. Emory Cohen

Emory Cohen

When I first read the list, Emory Cohen stuck out the most to me. Maybe it’s because I just saw him in Brooklyn, but the heart and humor in his performance were convincing enough. He has the smirk, the charm, the mannerisms, and he’s coming off a very successful film with Oscars buzz.

(Also in The Gambler, Beneath the Harvest Sky, and The Place Beyond The Pines)

2. Scott Eastwood

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 2.00.11 PM

The son of Clint Eastwood is the oldest of the actors in the running at 29 years old. Scott Eastwood has the pedigree and yes, the looks. Eastwood is also setting himself up to breakout in action/adventure films with a mysterious role in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. Rumors have him pegged as either Deathstroke or Dick Grayson but nothing is confirmed. Eastwood will be starring alongside Walton Goggins (Hateful Eight, Justified) in the upcoming western, Diablo. Han Solo is the closest thing Star Wars has to a space cowboy, so…

(Also in Gran Torino, Fury, and The Longest Ride)

 

3. Blake Jenner

Blake Jenner

Blake Jenner is young and a Glee alum, and feels like a dark horse pick. Most of his short resume is TV related, but he has some projects on the way that could lead to bigger things. Growing with Star Wars in spinoff franchise could be cool to see. He’ll be appearing in upcoming Supergirl episodes and could breakout in Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some. It looks like what happens when Dazed and Confused goes to college.

 

4. Logan Lerman

Film Review The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Certainly not my favorite in the bunch, considering I like 3 more ahead of him, but Logan Lerman’s filmography section on his IMDB page is a bit more impressive than most on the shortlist. His starring role in Fury a year ago showed he’s matured from the Percy Jackson franchise. The babyface might hold him back from being the right fit, or maybe that’s exactly what Lucasfilm is looking for…I’ve also been rooting for him ever since Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

(Also in The Three Musketeers, 3:10 To Yuma, and The Patriot. 

Who would you like to see cast as young Han Solo? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

‘The Revenant’ Gets ‘Park and Recreation” Theme Treatment

Tonight’s the night. (Dexter Morgan voice)

The first showings for Leonardo DiCaprio and  Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s highly anticipated revenge flick, The Revenant. 

Thankfully, the internet has concocted something amazing for you before you go check it out! Mashup artist and comedian Demi Adejuyigbe put together this bad boy, since Pawnee apparently gets a lot of love in the movie.

If I were to recast Parks and Recreation characters with Revenant actors, I’d have Tom Hardy as April Ludgate.

April Hates People

For more, follow along on Facebook or Twitter…or The Bear gets you! 

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Coming Soon To MichaelPiff Dot Com in 2016

For everyone who has followed along or checked in over the last year and a half, thank you so much for doing so. If people didn’t read, I wouldn’t write…Your encouragement for me to to keep doing so is more appreciated than you know.

The plan in 2016 is to continue covering everything in movies, music, sports, TV and food, but to generate more and more fun and entertaining content for all the topics this blog has become known for. Below is a list of things I look forward to featuring on the site and hope to get your input on. I am also always open to ideas and collaboration, so please feel free to reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or email me at piff.michael@gmail.com. I would like to include guest posts as well, so PLEASE let me know if you’re interested.

The Burger Challenge

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Just like the Pizza Challenge a year ago, I’m looking for the Chicago area’s best burger! So far I have visited 10 burger joints and plan to have 40 ranked before summer. Above are some of the awesome items that I’ve tried and I’m always looking for recommendations.  Follow along on Twitter and Instagram as the list grows, and let me know if you’d like to team up for an upcoming burger adventure.

Note: A Wings Challenge has been suggested as the next project. Stay tuned for that.

 

Movie/TV Madness Tournament

An annual tradition for those who have followed my work for the past few years, I’ve conducted a multi-week bracket tournament for both TV shows and movies. In the spirit of the NCAA Tournament, we list 68 competitors and break them up by region with appropriate seedings. Readers vote round-by-round on the winners of each matchup. The madness happens in March, but stay tuned to see if you’ll be voting on movies or TV shows this year.

Ballpark Foodie

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Something I look for when visiting stadiums across the country is a unique and awesome food item I can’t get anywhere else. Starting this Spring, I’ll be reaching out to Major League Baseball organizations to see what baseball fans can look forward to at the concession stands for the 2016 season. I’ll be checking out as many ballparks as possible but if you happen to find something yourself, please send a photo my way on Twitter with the hashtag #BallparkFoodie and I’ll feature it here!

 

TV Show and Movie Power Rankings

BB-8 Thumbs Up

I wrote up a few lists regarding my favorite TV Shows and movies from the past year (The 2015 Movie List will be complete after The Revenant finally hits theaters). Rather than wait months at a time for new lists, I’ll have an updated Power Rankings for new movies and favorite TV shows as I watch them every couple weeks. Look forward to how Batman v Superman stacks up against Captain America: Civil War, and House of Cards with Game of Thrones…There will also be a pre-season 6 ranking of all surviving (or speculated to be surviving) Thrones characters.

 

The 2016 Fantasy Football Draft Board

Cam Dance

ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper will be updating their NFL Draft boards up until the first pick is called…I’ll be doing the same this year with all Fantasy Football positions. If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about your first round pick for next year’s Fantasy draft. From the end of this season until draft time next year, I’ll have a regularly updated version of my Fantasy “Cheat Sheet” for you to prepare.

 

More Mixtapes!

Ron Swanson rectangle

The college radio DJ in me LOVES sharing music and giving people a look into what I’m listening nowadays. It also encourages me to check out new artists and tracks and see if they’re worth including in upcoming playlists. Here are the mixtapes from 2015, and lookout for what’s to come in 2016. Maybe we’ll finally get new Radiohead and Tool that we keep hearing about.

The #Twitter101

Twitter 101

In 2015, I started a new tradition of keeping a list of my favorite follows on Twitter. I plan to update the list every year with new accounts and some of old reliables that make Twitter fun to be on. If you recommend anyone to follow or would like to nominate yourself for consideration, just say so here!

 

The New Piffcast 2.0 (Finally)

Pirate Piffcast

When I started writing this blog, I fully intended to relaunch my podcast and feature it here. This year I’m fully committed to bringing it back, discussing all the topics I write about here, getting YOUR thoughts and opinions on-air, interviews with people and experts who know way more than I do, etc. If you’re interested in contributing to the podcast or would like to even sponsor it, contact me via Facebook, Twitter or email me at piff.michael@gmail.com

 

These are just a few of the plans I have for this year, along with the columns and articles that help make this blog what it is. Looking forward to getting things rolling and to make big things happen in 2016! Follow along for all the fun on Facebook and Twitter

Top 20 Movies of 2015 So Far (Part II)

“So Far” because The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Joy and Carol have yet to hit theaters. Once I get those in, I’ll have an updated final list.

“Part II” because I published a list at the end of the summer. Just 4 movies from my original Top 10 are still there and 2 don’t even crack the Top 20. 

With just a little more than a week left in the year, here are “The Best…so far.”

20. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

MI Rogue Nation 2015

It was a strong year for blockbuster franchises. There are two more represented further down this list. The Mission Impossible series seems to get better as time goes on and fortunately for them, Rogue Nation hit theaters before Spectre did with a similar plot and much better execution. 

19. Beasts of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation 2015

Idris Elba seems to show us in everything he does that he is one of the best actors of our time, and this Netflix Original film gets him closer to the acclaim he properly deserves. Beasts of No Nation is also a milestone for Netflix that shows they should be taken seriously as a film studio and not just for television…Just try to avoid the string of unfortunate Adam Sandler flicks they will be putting out for a while.

18. Creed

Creed 2015

Creed is a very good sports movie. It reminded me a lot of the first Rocky film. I love how they filmed the fights and Sylvester Stallone deserves every “best supporting actor” nomination he gets. We’re reminded how great an actor he is, and how awesome a character Rocky Balboa is in this film. Michael B. Jordan is certainly in store for big things and this film is a clear sign of that. I just wished they held back on the cheese factor of a certain training scene and that his “big opponent” was a much more memorable character. 

17. The Big Short

The Big Short 2015

The more I think about The Big Short, the more I think I liked it. Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling are all awesome in the film and it’s incredibly smart. Hamish Linklater is also to be an excellent complement, similar to his role in The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams. The constant explaining of every economic term (which might have been necessary) gets distracting and the comedic approach takes away some of the necessary emotional investment. Had I not seen 99 Homes (see further down), I probably would have appreciated this film a lot more while watching it. 

16. Trumbo

TR_08395.dng

The acting in Trumbo is outstanding. The hype was real regarding Bryan Cranston’s performance. Both Helen Mirren and John Goodman play their parts very well. The correlation between how members of the American communist party were treated and some of our society’s current issues today strikes a chord. I just wish I hadn’t seen so many of the big scenes in the trailer already and that the directing was better.

15. 99 Homes

99 Homes 2015

Like The Big Short, 99 Homes takes place during the financial and housing crisis but it’s way much more of a punch to the gut. You get the perspective of people who lost their homes from the crisis, and it’s even more of a thriller because you have no idea how these people will react to those who have to break the news to them. Michael Shannon is also as good as anyone in supporting actor categories from this film.

14. Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton 2015

The music, the acting, the “Bye Felicia” scene…

Straight Outta Compton was an awesome biopic and it told a story that I think a lot of younger hip hop fans needed to hear, considering how influential members of NWA really are to the genre. The only reason I don’t have it ranked higher is because it did feel long by the end. 

13. Love & Mercy

Love and Mercy 2015

Love and Mercy was another biopic (also with Paul Giamatti as a jerk manager) that I enjoyed, but this one stuck with me a lot longer after. Paul Dano is great as young Brian Wilson and for once John Cusack is a lot less “John Cusack”-ish than he is in most of his roles. Elizabeth Banks also gives one of the more underrated performances in film from this year. If you’re like me, you probably listened to “Pet Sounds” for a week after seeing it.

12. Ex Machina

Ex Machina 2015

This was a big year for all 3 stars of Ex Machina. Oscar Isaac continued his path to Pacino-status with his roles in Show Me A Hero and Star Wars, which Domhnall Gleeson also stars in. Alicia Vikander has a good chance of getting both Best Actress and Supporting Oscar nominations for her roles in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. Her character, Ava, still haunts my dreams as well. It’s an unreal suspense film. 

11. The Walk

The Walk 2015

I’m a little disappointed The Walk isn’t getting more chatter during awards season. Obviously I think there are better films, but Robert Zemeckis did a brilliant job utilizing 3D, especially for the climax of the film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ben Kinglsey were both remarkably charming as well. 

10. The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour 2015

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I can’t recall a time where I’ve seen two actors be so natural interacting with each other for a film. That’s all this film is…a long weekend conversation from Bloomington-Normal to Minnesota and back, with honest thoughts and feelings. I’m happy to see Jason Segel is getting some acclaim as well for his portrayal of David Foster Wallace.

09. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs 2015

Yes, I’m a HUGE Sorkin fan, but I found the approach to this biopic to be incredibly original. It wasn’t your typical “start-to-end” story, but just 3 different periods in time and how each person has evolved in that time. It also helps that everyone involved nails it with their parts, especially Michael Fassbender.

08. Inside Out

Inside Out 2015

A movie about feelings makes you feel feelings…and even more than the typical Pixar feelings (which is saying a lot, considering the first 3 minutes to Up). It also helps that they casted all the right people for all the right feelings.

 

07. The Martian

The Martian 2015

I came across a Facebook friend listing his “Top 10” and he said he hadn’t seen The Martian because “It looked like Castaway in space.” He is very wrong…unless he values Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Jessica Chastain, and Kate Mara to all be a volleyball named Wilson. 

06. Room

Room 2015

The Best Actress category at any awards show is Brie Larson’s to lose because of Room. Jacob Tremblay is amazing as well…just be prepared to have your heart strings pulled hard.

05. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max Fury Road 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2 hour long roller coaster of action, explosions, and rock’n’roll. I don’t recall taking a breath between the start and end. The twisted and beautiful mind of George Miller is on full awesome display. 

04. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015

I think we all have our personal movies that connect with us in more ways than most and matches our personalities. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl was that movie for me, my favorite from the summer. There’s also something about Nick Offerman as a sociology professor, robe-wearing, cat-obsessed dad that still tickles me funny.

 

03. Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies 2015

Bridge of Spies is about as good a film as you could ask for from a combination of Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers…I was pleasantly surprised to see that the latter wrote the movie once the closing credits rolled. It was all meant for someone like Tom Hanks to lead in. There is one scene toward the end that I found to be as powerful as any in 2015. 

02. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars- The Force Awakens

The best way I’ve heard The Force Awakens described is that it hit all the right spots in all the right ways…It really did. Nostalgia and newness brilliantly combined. Fantastic well-timed humor that the past films lacked. If you waited for something to disappoint you, you’d only be disappointed by the fact that you’re still waiting.

01. Spotlight

Spotlight 2015

I really don’t think there was a better performance by an ensemble this year. It was refreshing take on a journalism, not over-glorifying the industry but simply presenting how a paper goes about getting a story. All the comparisons to All The President’s Men are warranted. I will also stump hard for Mark Ruffalo getting Best Supporting Actor recognition, even when the category is heavy enough as is. 

 

Stay tuned for the final list after Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Joy and Carol are released. Till then, let me know what your favorite films from 2015 are on Facebook or Twitter.

The 2016 SAG Award Nominations and My Thoughts

The 2016 SAG Award nominations were announced Wednesday morning, and two things struck me:

  1. The Screen Actors Guild LOVED Trumbo, maybe a bit more than me.
  2. I don’t think they’ve seen Fargo yet on FX. Seriously…

This is just one of several award shows (which airs Jan. 30th on TNT and TBS), but it’s one of the few that gauges my interest more than others because it acknowledges both the film and TV world. Here are the nominees and some quick thoughts on each category.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Johnny Depp – Black Mass
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

I really have no problem with this category. I have yet to see Revenant or The Danish Girl, but I don’t doubt the performances of DiCaprio or Redmayne carry their films like the other nominees. If there was someone that I would like to see get more credit, it’s Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in End of the Tour. It didn’t take much transforming, aside from the obvious hair and glasses, but Segel’s performance is as engaging and natural as any from the summer…especially in his interactions with Jesse Eisenberg.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Helen Mirren – Woman In Gold
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back

I can’t get upset about this category because I think it’s Brie Larson’s award to lose, and hers alone. However, I’m surprised Jennifer Lawrence was left out after another highly anticipated David O’Russell  role. Of course the film hasn’t hit theaters yet, so I can’t really talk..Alicia Vikander deserves more love for Ex Machina because she still haunts my dreams for her performance.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room

This category is HEAVY. Even without Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Sylvester Stallone (Creed) or Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), it looks stacked…but I’d like to see them all in it.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren – Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Helen Mirren has 3 nominations here and I’m not sure she’s winning any of them. It will be fun to see what her batting average is though by the night’s end. I would be interested to see what kind of buzz Jennifer Jason Leigh gets after Hateful Eight is released.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Beasts of No Nation
  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Trumbo

Spotlight is my favorite film from this year and it deserves all the good things that come its way. I am surprised both The Martian or Steve Jobs were left out of this category, considering how star studded their casts were. Their performances didn’t disappoint either.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Idris Elba – Luther
  • Ben Kingsley – Tut
  • Ray Liotta – Texas Rising
  • Bill Murray – A Very Murray Christmas
  • Mark Rylance – Wolf Hall

I don’t have many thoughts on this other than (1) Luther rules, (2) I turned off A Very Murray Christmas after 10 minutes and (3) Where is Oscar Isaac for Show Me A Hero. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

  • Nicole Kidman – Grace of Monaco
  • Queen Latifah – Bessie
  • Christina Ricci – The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
  • Susan Sarandon – The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
  • Kristen Wiig – The Spoils Before Dying

I literally have zero thoughts about this one, because I haven’t seen any of the nominated performances yet.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men
  • Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey – House of Cards

I’m happy to see Rami Malek get props for playing the best introvert on TV, but this is Don Draper’s victory lap and I don’t see anyone getting in his way. I’m also always shocked to not see Mads Mikkelsen ever nominated for Hannibal. I guess that’s for fringe loving types like me.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
  • Robin Wright –House of Cards

Viola Davis has the momentum from the Emmys but I will always maintain that the past two seasons of House of Cards have been great nearly because of Robin Wright as much as Spacey.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell – Modern Family
  • Louis C.K. – Louie
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Modern Family to me is “What Will Phil Dunphy Do Next?” because that’s all I watch for now, but Jeffrey Tambor holding a torch for the transgender community has become way more important.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
  • Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
  • Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation

Poehler Thug

That is all.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men

If you’ve been watching the second season of Fargo, you’re probably wondering if perhaps the actors didn’t know how to spell it filling out their nominations, considering every Monday night feels like the show’s best episode…If you’ve been watching Homeland this seasonyou might be wondering why it’s on here. The season finale is in a week and I still have no idea if it was good or not this year.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Key & Peele
  • Modern Family
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Transparent
  • Veep

I would love to see Key & Peele ride off into the sunset with some hardware.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

  • Everest
  • Furious 7
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Fury Road is one of the best films of this year and a modern classic. Pick against it and you lose.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

  • The Blacklist
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • Marvel’s Daredevil
  • The Walking Dead

I just watched end Episode 2 of the first season again. This is why I love Daredevil.

How are you pulling for this Awards season? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Back To The Future Day Poll: Which Film Is the Best?

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

Back to the Future Poll

Is there a better Doc Brown quote to describe the literally timeless trilogy written and directed by Robert Zemeckis? The moment Marty McFly was rocking “Power of Love” in a battle of the bands audition with Huey Lewis judging, you knew you were in for a ride.

Today marks the exact date Marty and Doc didn’t “need roads” and arrived in the future. Unfortunately I didn’t fly on a hover board to Starbucks, I can’t bake insta-Pizza Hut in my oven within seconds, and the Chicago Cubs are on the verge of being swept by the New York Mets…but it’s a day worth celebrating regardless.

Back II

The Back to the Future trilogy was consistently fun throughout. Michael J. Fox remains one of the coolest dudes on the planet at the age of 54. The hair on your arm still stands when you see a DeLorean. You’re also probably glad Jaws 19 never hit theaters…But what if it did?

While we reminisce and overanalyze all the things the second film did and didn’t predict, I wanted to know which of the 3 films was the consensus favorite. Personally, I would rank them 1, 3, 2…

…but which movie is YOUR favorite?

For more, follow along on Facebook and Twitter

#TBT Year in Review: 1996

In the year New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde was born…

  • The Daily Show aired for the first time on Comedy Central
  • Nintendo 64 was released in Japan
  • The Ramones performed their last show 
  • The OJ Simpson civil trial began
  • Steve Jobs’ company NeXT was bought by Apple, which he also founded

Tupac Shakur was shot and killed at the age of 25. 

To this day, people are trying to prove he’s still alive. 

AND in the worlds of movies, music and sports…

Movies

Comedy

Happy Gilmore, Swingers, Kingpin, Matilda, 101 Dalmatians, Don’t Be A Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Tin Cup, The Nutty Professor, Bio-Dome, The Cable Guy, Beautiful Girls, The First Wives Club, That Thing You Do, Striptease, Jack, Multiplicity, Kazaam, The Birdcage, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Down Periscope, The Stupids, Black Sheep, Bulletproof, One Fine Day, Spy Hard, Sgt. Bilko AND…

Space Jam

Action/Thriller

Scream, Independence Day, The Rock, Escape from LA, A Time to Kill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Twister, The Craft, Fear, Eraser, Broken Arrow, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Ghost and the Darkness, The Frighteners, Chain Reaction, Ransom, Executive Decision, The Fan, Last Man Standing, Maximum Risk, AND…

Mission Impossible

Drama

Trainspotting, Jerry Maguire, The English Patient, Romeo + Juliet, Sling Blade, Sleepers, Secrets and Lies, Shine, Michael Collins, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Evita, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Kolya, Bullet, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Jude, Mother Night, Phenomenon, Gotti, Emma, Before and After, The Juror, Fly Away Home, Marvin’s Room, AND…

Fargo

The 69th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire
  • Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
  • Woody Harrelson, The People vs. Larry Flynt
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Sling Blade
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shine – Winner

(The first of 4 nominations for Geoffery Rush. His latest was in 2011 for The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actor

  • William H. Macy, Fargo
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine
  • Edward Norton, Primal Fear
  • James Woods, Ghosts of Mississippi
  • Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire – Winner

(Cuba Gooding Jr. won the only time he was nominated)

Best Actress

  • Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies
  • Diane Keatin, Marvin’s Room
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient
  • Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves
  • Frances McDormand, Fargo – Winner

(Frances McDormand has been nominated 3 other times, most recently for North Country in 2006)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Joan Allen, The Crucible
  • Lauren Bacall, The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • Barbara Hershey, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets & Lies
  • Juliette Binoche, The English Patient – Winner

(Juliette Binoche was nominated once more in 2001 for Chocolat)

Best Picture

  • Fargo
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Secrets & Lies
  • Shine
  • The English Patient – Winner

(The English Patient won 9 of the 12 Oscars it was nominated for, including best Director)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25 Songs

  1. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” – Los del Rio
  2. One Sweet Day” – Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
  3. “Because You Loved Me” – Celine Dion
  4. “Nobody Knows” – The Tony Rich Project
  5. “Always Be My Baby” – Mariah Carey
  6. “Give Me One Reason” – Tracy Chapman
  7. “The Crossroads” – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
  8. “I Love You Always Forever” – Donna Lewis
  9. “You’re Makin’ Me High / “Let It Flow” – Tony Braxton
  10. “Twisted” – Keith Sweat
  11. “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” – Quad City DJ’s
  12. “Missing” – Everything but the Girl
  13. “Ironic” – Alanis Morissette
  14. “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” – Whitney Houston
  15. “Follow You Down” / “Til I Hear It From You” – Gin Blossoms
  16. “Sittin’ Up in My Room” – Brandy
  17. “How Do U Want It”/”California Love” – 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo / Dr Dre
  18. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” – Celine Dion
  19. “Change the World” – Eric Clapton
  20. “Hey Lover” – LL Cool J
  21. “Loungin” – LL Cool J
  22. “Insensitive” – Jann Arden
  23. “Be My Lover” – La Bouche
  24. “Name” – Goo Goo Dolls
  25. “Will You Save Your Sould” – Jewel

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders

Offensive

Average: Alex Rodriguez (SEA) – .358

Hits: Lance Johnson (NYM) – 227

Home Runs: Mark McGwire (OAK) – 52

RBI: Andres Galarraga (COL) – 150

OPS: Mark McGwire (STL) – 1.198

Stolen Bases: Kenny Lofton (CLE) – 75

Pitching

Wins: John Smoltz (ATL) – 24

ERA: Kevin Brown (FLA) – 1.89

Strikeouts: John Smoltz (ATL) – 276

Complete Games: Pat Hentgen (TOR) – 10

Shutouts: Pat Hentgen (TOR) – 3

Saves: Jeff Brantley (CIN) & Todd Worrell (LAD) – 44

MVP

AL – Juan Gonzalez (TEX)

NL – Ken Caminiti (SD)

CY Young

AL – Pat Hentgen (TOR)

NL – John Smoltz (ATL)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Derek Jeter (NYY)

NL – Todd Hollandsworth (LAD)

World Series

New York Yankees over the Atlanta Braves (4-2)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four:

(1) Kentucky (1) UMass (4) Syracuse (5) Mississippi State

National Championship

(1) Kentucky over (4) Syracuse 76-67

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 30.4

Rebounds Per Game: Dennis Rodman (CHI) – 14.9

Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 11.2

All-NBA Team

Afernee Hardaway (ORL)

Michael Jordan (CHI)

Karl Malone (UTAH)

Scottie Pippen (CHI)

David Robinson (SA)

MVP – Michael Jordan (CHI)

Rookie – Damon Stoudamire (TOR)

NBA Finals

Chicago Bulls over Seattle Supersonics (4-2)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy – Danny Wuerffel, Florida

National Championship

Ike Hilliard

(3) Florida over (1) Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Mark Brunell (JAX) – 4,367

Passing Touchdowns: Brett Favre (GB) – 39

Passer Rating: Steve Young (SF) – 97.2

Rushing Yards: Barry Sanders (DET) – 1,553

Rushing Touchdowns: Terry Allen (WAS) – 21

Receiving Yards: Isaac Bruce (STL) – 1,338

Receiving Touchdowns: Michael Jackson (BAL) & Tony Martin (SD) – 14

Receptions: Jerry Rice (SF) – 108

AP MVP – Brett Favre (GB)

Super Bowl XXXI

Green Bay Packers over New England Patriots 35-21

Hockey

League Leaders

Goals: Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 69

Assists: Ron Francis (PIT) & Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 92

Points: Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 161

Hart Memorial Trophy – Mario Lemieux (PIT)

Stanley Cup

Colorado Avalanche over Florida Panthers (4-0)

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03 or on Facebook.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2012

2011

2010

2007

2006

2005

2002

1999

1998

1992

1990

1989

1988

1987

#TBT Year in Review: 2012

In the year the world DIDN’T end (looking at you John Cusack)…

  • After 244 years of publication, Encyclopedia Britannica discontinued its print edition. 
  • Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier without machine assistance by diving out of a helium balloon from outer-space. 
  • Key & Peele made their Comedy Central debut.
  • Whitney Houston passed away at the age of 49.

And here’s what happened in Movies, Music and Sports…

Movies

Comedy

Ted, 21 Jump Street, The Dictator, Pitch Perfect, Wanderlust, American Reunion, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, This Is 40, Project X, Think Like A Man, Dark Shadows, Rock of Ages, The Lorax, Wreck-It Ralph, The Campaign, Casa de Mi Padre, Safety Not Guaranteed, For a Good Time Call…, The Guilt Trip, The Three Stooges, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, Magic Mike, The Five-Year Engagement, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Hit and Run AND…

Moonrise Kingdom

Action/Thriller

Skyfall, The Avengers, Savages, Safe House, The Hunger Games, Taken 2, The Bourne Legacy, Man on a Ledge, Looper, Safe, Stolen, Jack Reacher, Resident Evil: Retribution, Premium Rush, End of Watch, Sinister, Contraband, Erased, Battleship, Seven Psychopaths, Dredd, Total Recall, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, Chronicle AND…

The Dark Knight Rises

Drama

Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, The Master, Cloud Atlas, The Vow, Flight, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Mud, Disconnect, Red Tails, Promised Land, Amour, Trouble with the Curve, Hitchcock, The Place Beyond the Pines

Argo

The 85th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight
  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln – Winner

(This was his 3rd win out of 5 nominations dating back to My Left Foot in 1990)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained – Winner

(Waltz has won both times he was nominated. Both for Tarantino roles)

Best Actress

  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook – Winner

(JLaw was nominated 3 times in 4 years, beginning in 2011 for Winter’s Bone)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables – Winner

(Hathaway was nominated once more in 2009 for her lead role Rachel Getting Married)

Best Picture

  • Amour
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Les Miserables
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Argo – Winner

(Argo won 2 more Oscars out of 7 nominations, for Best Writing and Editing)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25 Songs

  1. “Somebody That I used to Know” – Gotye featuring Kimbra
  2. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepson
  3. “We Are Young” – fun. featuring Janelle Monae
  4. “Payphone” – Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa
  5. “Lights” – Ellie Goulding
  6. “Glad You Came” – The Wanted
  7. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson
  8. “We Found Love” – Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris
  9. “Starships” – Nicki Minaj
  10. “What Makes You Beautiful” – One Direction
  11. “Wild Ones” – Flo Rida featuring Sia
  12. “Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele
  13. “Sexy and I Know It” – LMFAO
  14. “Some Nights” – fun. 
  15. “Wide Awake” – Katy Perry
  16. “Good Feeling” – Flo Rida
  17. “Whistle” – Flo Rida
  18. “One More Night” – Maroon 5
  19. “Drive By” – Train
  20. “The Motto” – Drake featuring Lil Wayne
  21. “Where Have You Been” – Rihanna
  22. “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees
  23. “Take Care” – Drake featuring Rihanna
  24. “Titanium” – David Guetta
  25. “I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders

Offensive

Average: Buster Posey (SF) – .336

Hits: Derek Jeter (NYY) – 216

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 44

RBI: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 139

OPS: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – .999

Stolen Bases: Mike Trout (LAA) – 49

Pitching

Wins: Gio Gonzalez (WSH) – 21

ERA: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – 2.53

Strikeouts: Justin Verlander (DET) – 239

Complete Games: Justin Verlander (DET) – 6

Shutouts: Felix Hernandez (SEA) – 5

Saves: Jim Johnson (BAL) – 51

MVP

AL – Miguel Cabrera (DET)

NL – Buster Posey (SF)

CY Young

AL – David Price (TB)

NL – R.A. Dickey (NYM)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Mike Trout (LAA)

NL – Bryce Harper (WSH)

World Series

San Francisco Giants sweep the Detroit Tigers 4-0

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four

(1) Kentucky (2) Ohio State (2) Kansas and (4) Louisville

National Championship

(1) Kentucky over (2) Kansas 67-59

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Kevin Durant (OKC) – 28.0

Rebounds Per Game: Dwight Howard (ORL) – 14.5

Assists Per Game: Rajon Rondo (BOS) -11.7

All-NBA Team

Kobe Bryant (LAL)

Kevin Durant (OKC)

Dwight Howard (ORL)

LeBron James (MIA)

Chris Paul (LAC)

MVP – LeBron James (MIA)

Rookie of the Year – Kyrie Irving (CLE)

NBA Finals

Miami Heat over the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy – Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)

BCS National Championship

(2) Alabama over (1) Notre Dame 42-14

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Drew Brees (NO) – 5,177 

Passing Touchdowns: Drew Brees (NO) – 43

Passer Rating: Aaron Rodgers (GB) – 108.0

Rushing Yards: Adrian Peterson (MIN) – 2,097 

Rushing Touchdowns: Arian Foster (HOU) – 15

Receiving Yards: Calvin Johnson (DET) – 1,964

Receiving Touchdowns: James Jones (GB) – 14

Receptions: Calvin Johnson (DET) – 122

AP MVP – Adrian Peterson (MIN)

Super Bowl XLVII

Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers (The Harbowl) 34-31

Hockey

League Leaders

Goals: Steven Stamkos (TB) – 60

Assists: Henrik Sedin (VAN) – 67

Points: Evgeni Malkin (PIT) – 109

Hart Memorial Trophy: Evgeni Malkin (PIT)

Stanley Cup

Los Angeles Kings over the New Jersey Devils (4-2)

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03 or on Facebook.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2011

2010

2007

2006

2005

2002

1999

1998

1992

1990

1989

1988

1987

The #Twitter101: My Favorite Follows in 2015

I love Twitter.

I always need to be informed and Twitter is like information crack…always updating, always different, and always interesting.

The beauty of this social media entity, is that YOU can shape your experience by following the outlets and people YOU want to hear from. If you don’t like what they have to say, simply hit the unfollow button. It’s that easy.

I wouldn’t say I have given up on newspapers and magazines. I still love the feel of print in my hands and supporting my favorite media companies. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t getting most of my information scrolling through my Twitter timeline. 

Similar to how I manage my blog, I follow reporters, commentators, journalists, comedians, entertainers and publications that talk about sports, movies, music, TV, food…and more sports. 

Of the 1,200 accounts I follow, here are 101 I recommend you checkout. 

Note: THESE ARE NOT RANKINGS. JUST RECOMMENDATIONS

Sports

1. Richard Deitsch

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Nobody does a better job reporting and commenting on Sports Media. 

2. Matt Miller

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Excellent scouting of college football players for the NFL draft, and keeps an eye on their development in the NFL. 

3. Chris Kamka

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Incredible with Chicago and National sports statistics and history. 

4. Jimmy Traina

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Combo of Sports, Pop Culture, and Seinfeld…It’s fun. Like sports are supposed to be. 

5. Lana Berry

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“I like sports more than people” is really all you need. Excellent podcast too. 

6. Sports Illustrated Vault

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Managed by SI Hot Clicks and Swimsuit rockstar Andy Gray, it’s an excellent resource for sports photos. And SI has been tops in sports photography forever.

7. Ian Rapoport

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Many rely on ESPN’s Adam Schefter for breaking NFL news. I go to Ian Rapoport. Great info especially when you get your lineup set for Fantasy Football each Sunday morning.

8. Adrian Wojnarowski

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The BEST for NBA breaking news aka #WojBombs.

9. Zach Harper

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Come for the basketball talk…stay for everything else…and an awesome Rasheed Wallace background.

10. Andy Isaac

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Yes. Just. Yes. 

11. Amanda Kaschube

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Great photos with even better humor…and a killer Josh McCown Twitter impression. 

12. Eric Edholm

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All things football with reporting, commentary, and strong Fantasy advice as well. 

13. Scott Phillips

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He’s a pro covering prep and college buckets. A must follow for recruiting news too. 

14. Will Carroll

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Will’s handle says it all, which is CLUTCH for Fantasy season. 

15. Jessica Kleinschmidt

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Excellent coverage across multiple sports and even better sense of humor. Appreciation for Space Jam is also a huge plus. 

16. Josh Norris

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College football and NFL draft things you probably want to read. 

17. Dan Wetzel

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Dan Wetzel is one of the best sports columnists in the country, period. His work during the Penn State scandal was extraordinary.  

18. Laurence Holmes

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One of the hardest working people in sports media. Like his radio show, he implements much more than sports in his social media interaction and it makes for a fun experience. 

19. Timothy Burke

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Providing ALL of the screen grabs, videos and GIFs you need in your life. 

20. Mike Freeman

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Honest and smart NFL commentary. And way more Trekkie than you. 

21. Julie DiCaro

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Great blend of all Chicago and national sports with a dash of the other football. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to her random Val Kilmer film ranking discussions. 

22. Ryan Sudol

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Speaking of the other football…Ryan hasn’t converted me yet but he fights the good fight for a sport many like him love, and does other cool stuff. 

23. Joel Qunneville’s Mustache

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Tweets as strong as Joel Quenneville’s crotch grab

24. Spencer Hall

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“Ever Day Should Be Saturday”, but seriously…might be the most unique account you ever follow. 

25. Chris Mannix

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The NBA and Boxing should never mix, but Chris seems to pull off covering both sports pretty well. 

26. Matt Bowen

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The best in the business when it comes to discussing X’s and O’s. You come away significantly smarter after hearing him talk football. 

27. Len Kasper

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Len is my favorite broadcaster in Chicago (and I’m a White Sox fan). Fun mix of baseball, hockey and music. 

28. Bob McKenzie

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Bob McKenzie to hockey is what Woj is to basketball…now we have to brainstorm a sweet hashtag whenever he breaks news.

29. Chris Long

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I don’t really follow many pro athletes because they tend to be…not interesting…Chris Long is a serious exception to that. 

30. Kyle Long

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Also an exception to the rule…and an avid Game of Thrones fan. 

31. Jason Concepcion

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He’s a weird cat…but very entertaining when discussing NBA, Video Games and whatever else he does for Grantland. 

32. Herb Lawrence

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The Realness…and #BruceWeber.

33. The Cauldron

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They should put on a clinic for producing great sports GIFs and Vines. I’m not even being sarcastic. 

34. Field Yates

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One of ESPN’s best NFL reporters with Fantasy Football advice that you can trust more than Matthew Berry’s. 

35. Joe Ostrowski

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Has you covered for point spreads, Fantasy Football, and really anything relevant in sports. 

36. Cee Angi

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The right amount of snark to go with quality baseball talk. 

37. Greg Wyshynski

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Despite what his Twitter bio leads to believe, he’s not that drunk…I don’t think. 

38. John Buccigross

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He’s rocking the suburbs…just like Quiet Riot did. 

39. JJ Watt

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I’m convinced he and The Rock are having a secret battle for most interesting guy on social media. 

40. Susannah Collins

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Fellow hater of Jim Belushi…which is a HUGE plus. 

41. Robert Flores

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RoFlo is very fun on SportsCenter…and WAY more fun on Twitter. Very appreciative of his WWE stuff too. 

42. Ben Rosen

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A victim of that jerk that steals people’s work to post on Instagram and shan’t be named…and deserves way more credit.

43. Paul Charchian

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If there was a Hunger Games for Fantasy Gurus, I think Paul would pick the best lineup of allies to help him survive till the end. 

44. AJ Francis

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AJ has been a favorite follow of mine since his college days at Maryland, and the dude does NOT slow down. It’s fantastic. 

45. Jeff Mangurten

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When the Chicago Bulls are on the floor, this is the best person to follow. Especially if you love stats. 

46. Michelle Beadle

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I’m sure she’s joking but I’d like for her to be right^…But she usually is about most stuff. 

47. Brandon McCarthy

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It’s tough to top this gem, but he’s still pretty good. 

48. Chris Kluwe

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Former NFL Punter, Gamer, Rocker, and unafraid to apparently refer to the NFL as a dumpster fire.

49. Ken Rosenthal

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Like Woj for the NBA and McKenzie for the NHL, this man in a bow tie is the one who knocks…for MLB.

50. Awful Announcing

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We begin the list of 50 sports accounts with a sports media journalist, and close it with another…a very necessary one for many of us, based on the name.

Music

51. Greg Kot

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Concert and album reviews, breaking news, and festival act recommendations that have all proven to be more than right.

52. Josh Terry

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I want to buy this guy a beer sometime and maybe talk about music with him.

53. Tom Mantzouranis

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The bio says it all and it’s never too anything for me. 

54. Riot Fest

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My favorite is the daily sassing the manager executes on unsuspecting followers, who may need better parenting…and the John Stamos obsession mixed with punk appreciation. 

55. Jason Thomas

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He is the modern rock DJ on the modernist rocking station in Chicago…And he’s got great taste.

56. Consequence of Sound

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My kind of music coverage. 

58. Josh Radnor

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This should come as no shock, but Ted Mosby promotes good music and recommends some excellent listening almost daily. 

59. Ernest Wilkins

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His pinned tweet is all you need.^

60. O.A.R.

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You didn’t think I’d leave my favorite band off my favorite follows list, did you? 

Movies

61. Erik Childress

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Amazing critic with a keen sense for calling others out on their bullshit. 

62. Brian Chimino

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The truth is that I try to keep pace watching new releases with this guy. Oscars season is coming. 

63. Empire Magazine

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Excellent resource out of the UK with a specialty in sci-fi and action. 

64. Hollywood Reporter

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While THR handles just about everything in entertainment, I go to them the most when it comes to film and casting news. 

65. Matt Pais

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He was dead on about my favorite movie of the year so far, “Me and Earl and The Dying Girl”…so I trust him. 

66. Michael Phillips

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One of the best in the biz…and one of the harsher, which I enjoy greatly. 

67. Aaron Couch

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He covers the important things in this world, like the Tweet above. 

68. Zimbio

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Awesome resource for Pop Culture news, and that includes movies too. 

69. AV Club

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Their cover photo is from “Theodore Rex”, so there’s that…

70. Death Star PR

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A necessary evil for Star Wars fans…Especially with the new episodes coming. 

TV

71. Jill Slattery

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One of my favorite people to talk TV with…and I have her to blame for my Stephen Amell “Guy Love“.

72. Patton Oswalt

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Besides taking down joke thieves, great social commentary, and comedy…he also shows up in all your favorite TV shows. I also know what’s going on in Downton Abbey without ever seeing after his live-tweet sessions. 

73. John Stamos

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Because “Whatever happened to predictability…?”

74. Stephen Colbert

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Week 1 of his rendition of “The Late Show” has been a hit. The extra stuff he shares from the share are also worth checking out. 

75. Ken Levine

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He’s got a neat blog too. 

76. This Guy, Manu…

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Unbelievably good “Game of Thrones” commentary, and open to a lot of fun TV/anything discussions.

77. The Simpsons

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This really goes for ANY account Simpsons related because it’s always the best. 

78. Fargo (FX)

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Good TV shows understand the power of Twitter and connecting with it’s audience. The Fargo account is particularly good at it, while also making you read their tweets like you’re from Minnesota or whatever. 

79. The Muppets

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If you don’t like The Muppets, then burn your television…and whatever device it is you’re reading this on. 

80. Kumail Nanjiani

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Much like Patton Oswalt before, you’re seeing Kumail on A LOT of your favorite TV shows these days…and he’s hilarious. 

Food

81. Epic Meal Time

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These folks take your wildest dreams, crank them to 11, and make them into reality. 

82. Chicagoist

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You really don’t have an excuse “not knowing” where to go to eat in Chicago when you can refer to this site for ideas. 

83. Food Truck Finder

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Great resource for an awesome dining experience.

84. Daily Meal

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Love their lists and recommendations. 

85. Dan Salmassian

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*Homer Simpson drooling noises*

86. DudeLetsEat

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87. Chicago Pizza Tours

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As a fellow pizza enthusiast, I endorse their work. 

88. Chicago’s Best

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If there was a food porn channel, this show would be in prime time.

89. Piece

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Mine and Dave Grohl’s favorite hangout in Chicago. 

90. RedEye Eat & Drink

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Again…you have no excuse for not having plans tonight. 

Best of the Rest

91. Elliott Serano

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King of Geeks…and also one of the coolest. 

92. Rex Hupke

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Rex Huppke wins way more than Donald Trump does. 

93. The Onion

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You know exactly why you should follow this account…Otherwise you’ll likely end up being pointed out as being one of those people take Onion headlines/articles seriously. 

94. Billy Eichner

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I read all of his tweets as if he’s yelling at me…and I like it. 

95. Michael Beschloss

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Incredible historical photos everyday.  

96. Pete Souza

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More outstanding photography. 

97. Saved You A Click

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My social media spirit animal. 

98. Cute Emergency

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Killing you with cuteness. 

99. Mayhem

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AllState isn’t paying me for this (they should), but Mayhem is the best TV spokesman today. 

100. Snoopy

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There’s a piece of all of us that just can’t get enough of Snoopy. 

101. Tig Notaro

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Tig Notaro doesn’t actually do any tweeting, but all her sorta famous friends do for her…and sometimes it’s magic. 

Have some of your own favorite Twitter accounts that I left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

Mad that I left you out? Don’t take it personally…There’s always next year.