Houston.. We Have A Problem

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So I read an article tonight promoting the “20th Anniversary, one night only, re-release of The Bodyguard” and it got me thinking… Would they be doing this event if Whitney Houston had not just passed away?  I have to think no… but was The Bodyguard worthy of a special re-release without the recent death of its star actress and soundtrack singer?  After doing some research I found out that the movie did over $400 million dollars when it was originally released 20 years ago, and the soundtrack was the top selling soundtrack of all time selling 12 million albums in the United States alone.  Pretty good numbers for that time… but, does that render it worthy of a “one night only re-release’?

I’ve seen The Bodyguard…. good story… predictable… but good story.  Didn’t find it to be an overly amazing film that I needed to watch once a month just to get my fix (see Top Gun, Old School, and Remember the Titans).  But is this just a money making ploy for the production company?  Obviously you can’t help but be skeptical after what has transpired over the past few weeks with Whitney Houston’s death…. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put those numbers together.  And, along with the one night release in theaters, the 20 year anniversary DVD is set to be released as well… Why?  Does something different happen 20 years later?  I’m pretty sure its the same story… boy is hired to protect pop diva… pop diva is a pop diva… pop diva starts to get soft and fall for boy… boy saves life… boy and diva fall in love… i’ve seen it a million times.. true love, just like it happens every day.  Unfortunately I can’t sing like the pop diva.. nor am I ready to jump in front of a bullet for anyone… so I guess my life story won’t be hitting the silver screen anytime soon.  And yes I know they add extras… the music video, the alternate ending, the directors interview (always scintillating cinema).  All of the aforementioned could have been part of the original DVD release… but then how would they make a profit 20 years later?

I know this is not the first superstar that has had the post death, nor will it be the last, but it sparked my interest in the topic.  Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and now Whitney Houston… lives lost too soon but ones that made a lot of people a lot of money posthumously.  Right or Wrong, it has become the norm unfortunately.  And, as long as society keeps putting money into the “machine”, that industry will keep right on running… all the way to the bank.

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The NFL Arms Race

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The greatest of all time versus the greatest of the future?  Is that what we are really looking at here.  In the wake of the Indianapolis colts releasing Peyton Manning after over a decade of service, the question for me is… What the LUCK is going on here?  Can you really tell that much about a player and how he will fair in the NFL by watching a couple of seasons of NCAA football, timing a spandex-laden sprint, and measuring how high one can jump in a sport where his position will probably never be required to jump?  Do these measurements outweigh what a tried and tested veteran has done for an organization for over 10 years?  Listen, i know the money and injury status were an issue, but if Peyton Manning was throwing as well as they have said he was, why wouldn’t you keep him to mentor Andrew Luck for a few seasons (see Green Bay and Favre/Rogers)?

It seems to me these days too much stock is put into how players perform at a combine, or a private “audition” day where they are put into position to look good.  It’s like a beauty pageant, everybody always looks their best.  You ever wonder why they don’t hold beauty pageants at 7 a.m. in the morning?  Exactly, nobody wants to judge a bunch of bag-eyed, birds nest haired, gravel voiced beauties who collectively could make it look like an episode of Zombieland.  So why does the NFL put so much stock in the combines, wonderlic test, and how well one interviews. I’m sorry, I’ve been to a handful of job interviews and never been asked to sprint down the hallway to see how quickly i could help vacate the building if a fire broke out.

Wouldn’t you think that on field performance should outweigh some classroom tests, whether or not a player can jump across a stream from a still position,or how much eye contact they make during a discussion?  With as much money that will be spent on a player of this stature, I would like to have some real grid iron, battle tested, playing performance time from which to measure.  Too many “sure things” have come and gone and fallen by the wayside due to putting too much stock in these off field measurements (hello Ryan Leaf).  And at the end of the day, who takes the fall?  The General Manager?  Director of Player Scouting?  No, its the coach who didn’t want the “sure thing” in the first place, who wanted the trusty veteran who knew how to run their program.

So when does Loyalty succumb to Royalties?  How do you take a player like Peyton Manning and tell him, thank you for all you have done… the Super Bowl win… the new multi hundred million dollar stadium… all the revenue you have brought this city… but, the next big thing is here and we no longer need your services.  Not even, a “hey, we are going to keep you, and you are going to mold this young kid to be your heir apparent”.  Just a “thanks, here’s your gold watch, thanks for all you have done”.  A true slap in the face to a player who has never been anything (in my eyes) but the consummate professional.  Obviously I don’t know what went on behind closed doors, but you would think after all that time that the overall body of work Manning has put in he would have been given the option to stay if he wanted.

Lastly, i don’t know what size shoe Andrew Luck wears, though I am surprised it wasn’t on the NFL combine scouting report… but don’t you think he has some huge shoes to fill here?  Having to replace what is possibly the most important player to ever be a part of a professional franchise minus Michael Jordan.  This is almost a lose/lose situation.  Andrew luck could win 14 games a season and never win a Super Bowl and he’ll be looked at as a failure to all the Manning lovers in Indy.  And I don’t think that would be the case if they kept Manning to bring Luck along slowly and show him the ropes.  When you cut ties like this with a player that has meant so much to a team, there is always going to be a little bit of a bitter taste in peoples mouths… whether fair or not.  So, what do you think?  Should we just accept the new norm of putting so much stock in the “what ifs” and not so much in the “they dids”?  Weigh in folks… just make sure you don’t tip the scales, or your NFL future will surely be affected.

Sing, Sing, Sing Along

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As a long time music fantatic I am not shy about admitting my love for reality singing shows.  There are so many that it is hard to name them all, so I’ll focus on the main ones and the ones that i watch(ed).  I think at the time American Idol and The Voice are by far the most popular, with The X Factor coming on strong as well.  I have never been a fan of America’s Got Talent, and don’t consider that a true singing contest as their are other “talents” that are displayed. So, here are my thoughts on the main 3.

American Idol

American Idol is the “High School Upperclassman” of the group here.  Idol has been around longer, and has established itself over the past decade.  Though at times it seems watered down and saturated, the production has only gotten better since its inception.  Remember the first season where it looked like they were singing in a high school auditorium?  Man, have they come a long way.  And good ol’ Seacrest, I hate to admit it, but Seacrest does one heck of a job on that show and by far blows away the “hosts” of the other two shows (i still don’t  know the host of The X Factor’s name.. but more on that later).  And speaking of hosts, is there any one person alive who has gotten more of a raw deal in life that Brian Dunkleman?  Ryan Seacrest is on every TV show, radio station, and bar urinal cake and the only place I’ve seen Brian Dunkleman in the last decade is on an E! TV “Where Are They Now?” special.  But, enough about that, lets move on to the contestants.  There is something to be said for the Cinderella or the Underdog, and i think that is where AI thrives here.  Their production and the way they bring into light the personal lives of contestants is second to none.  The talent to me has dropped off over the past few years, yet they still make compelling television that is hard to turn off.

The X Factor

I was pleasantly surprised with the debut season of the X Factor this past season.  Contestants like Chris Rene, Astro, and … well, those are the only two I can remember… but they made for good drama.  I liked the “team” format of the show, however I think that also was one of the downfalls of the show.  Every week each coach took turns bashing the other teams’ contestants to the point where it almost made you believe that they were inferior participants.  A little constructive criticism is healthy, but when you are repeatedly subjected to negative feedback and sophomoric bickering between the “role models” of the show, it has a less than positive effect.  I feel this show allowed for some contestants to get by more on their audition than the actual competition songs themselves (see Chris Rene), but i do like the fact that they are allowed to play instruments and show their true talents.  And as I stated before, the “host” of the show… this guy is awful and I still after watching the first season in full, couldn’t tell you the guys name for a million dollars.  Though his purpose on the show isn’t of utter importance, it still gives you an appreciation for Seacrest and the job he has done on American Idol. That being said, every show has its growing pains, and i am excited to see the changes made for season 2.

The Voice

My personal opinion at this time is that The Voice is the most talented singing show on television.  And i think the reason for that is the contestants and how seasoned they are.  Last year’s winner Javier Colon and this year’s front runner Tony Lucca are extremely talented musicians, who have had years of touring and experience to help their case.  These contestants already had a national following before being given access to millions of homes on a weekly basis.  That being said, I think that may also serve as a setback for certain contestants on the show.  Artists who already have a large fan base are off to a nice little head start before the show even begins.  And the fact that The Voice promotes musicianship and not just singing really gives the show an edge.  Artists playing an instrument gives them a certain appeal that solidifies them as a true musician, not just a karaoke all-star.  The battle rounds are not my favorite, but I think they are a nice twist from the normal solo sing offs.  The 4 judges/coaches also work well together and the banter between the 4 gives the show some spice.  Carson Daly has done a adequate job as host, they use him just enough to make him stand out, but not be a drawback to the show.  As with The X Factor I am extremely excited to see where the second season takes this show.  And, being one of those pre-show fanbase fanatics of current contestant Tony Lucca, i have a completely biased, and vested interest.

There you have it folks, my two pennies and some exhausted rambling.  Please, by all means, chime in and tell me what you think.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

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Well, it’s that time again…  my favorite time of year has arrived.  The sound of shoes squeaking, crowds screaming, and hearts breaking will resonate for the next month.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you March Madness!  Which begs the questions, is the NCAA Basketball tournament the most exciting of all championships Pro or College?  I say yes…

Where else can you have Cinderella stories like VCU and Butler University?  College powerhouse teams such as Kansas and Louisville going home early to teams you’ve never heard of and couldn’t tell me what state they play in if I gave you 47 guesses.  Players who have flown under the radar only to break out, have a big showing in “The Dance”, earn a multi million dollar NBA contract… and never produce anything at the pro level.  Nobody does it like college basketball.

For the next month I will be watching teams play that i could care less about, but at the end of the day I will have a vested interest.  Because as we all know there is no greater feeling that filling out the perfect NCAA Championship Bracket.  Have i ever actually filled out perfect bracket?  Well, no technically not… but.. I feel this may be there year. Here are a few ground rules I have when filling out my bracket:

1.  UNC always makes it to at least the Final Four.  Even in 2010 when they were playing in the NIT, I wrote them in to the Final Four.

2.  Duke never makes it past the sweet 16.  Even if they are 32-0, won every game by 30 points, they aren’t going to the elite 8.

3. Kentucky always gets to the elite 8… but never further. (This usually holds true)

4. At least one 12 seed makes it to the elite 8, usually some small podunk school that looks like they should be in the Final Four of the Math Olympics.

5.  And Finally, the final score of the final game is always 77-72.

 

What are your bracket tendencies?  Lets hear them.  Goodluck to you in your bracket, if you want to see the perfect bracket.. please check back soon when I post mine!  Haha, happy madness!