Quick Inside Slant: Week Two

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week Two:

I lose respect for sportscasters on a daily basis. I can’t tell if I used to be stupider or if it’s gotten worse, but I don’t remember this much spoon feeding when I was growing up. I used to pay attention and believe the crap they sold us. But really they’re just spoon-feeding us whatever will sell more jerseys.

Except Boomer Esiason. Thank you. Last week, Tony Romo went down with broken ribs and a punctured lung. He returned from the locker room to lead the Cowboys to a victory. Gutsy? Absolutely. As was pointed out by all the talking heads with the ESPN and FOX execs in their ear. But what the hell is he doing back on the field? Let’s say he got hit again in that game and suffered a major injury or even just made the ribs worse. Then that decision becomes stupid, as Trent Dilfer and the less talented Hasselbeck will be the first to point out. This is what we in the business call a “double standard.” And by “business” I mean “complaining on the internet.”

Similarly, Michael Vick has what the doctors are calling a “minor” concussion. Having experienced what I would consider a “major fucking” concussion where I lay motionless for almost two minutes, I can appreciate that there are different levels of severity of these things. But I thought there was supposed to be a thing about guys having to take a week off after a concussion, which is a brain injury. BUT. If you call it a minor concussion, then you can do whatever you want. If this works, you’re going to hear about minor broken necks, minor ruptures Achilles tendons and minor chlamydia.

Pansy Move of the Week: In the other corner, we have guys that aren’t hurt pretending to be hurt. I’m sure other teams do it, but the fact that it was the Giants is just awesome. Two guys faked an injury on the same play. New rule: If you fake an injury and get caught, you have to get punched in whatever body part you pretended to hurt. By Brock Lesner.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: I believe it may be time to retire my strategy of taking Antonio Gates in the 4th round in my fantasy leagues. I saw that he had no points and thought I fucked up and didn’t know he was hurt. Nope. He played and still didn’t catch a ball. Second week in a row the Chargers win this category. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it’s not good.

Double Feature Duel: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes vs. Traitor

Double Feature Duel:
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes vs. Traitor

Bout #16: Foolishly or not, my completionist need to finish what I started sucked me back into watching the next installment of the original Planet of the Apes series. And yes, I used the word “sucked” with intent.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes: Fast forward to 1991. The future. Where the government has 19-inch color televisions in almost every room. All the cats and dogs had died off and apes were being raised as water-pouring slaves as foreshadowed in the last movie. Until the chimp from the future stood up and said “No!” He taught the other apes to think and banded them together to attack the humans using their gorilla war tactics. And that ridiculous fight scene lasted the entire second half of the movie. 3.5 bugs.

Traitor: This movie, conversely, had the most disproportionately long first act. At 1:20 into the movie, finally something happened. It was a lot of boring shit to sit through wondering what the heck the point was. But then it got good and twisty as a movie called Traitor should. But I don’t blame you if you didn’t make it to that part. 5 bugs.

Title: Well, my two pet peeves have finally crashed head on. Ridiculously long movie title vs. a movie title that just says what the movie is. But I guess Traitor is a little more obscure than most of those titles, as you don’t know what he’s really traiting from. Or if it’s even him. And I’m tired of the POTA titles now. (Point, Traitor 0-1)

Funnier: Dumb from Dumb and Dumber is in Traitor and it still wasn’t really funny at all. Conquest wasn’t really funny either but I laughed at Ricardo Montalban. (Point, Conquest of 1-1)

Better Turn: The turn of Traitor was very good. I about leaped out of my seat and went “Holy shit!” But that was mostly because nothing happened in the first 1:20 of the movie and I was surprised. The first act was WAY too comparatively long. Like the praying mantis of movies. (Point, Conquest 2-1)

Better Ending: And then the Planet of the Apes ending was not only ridiculous, but confusingly long. I really just kept waiting for the next scene which never came. The entire last 45 minutes of the movie was just a bunch of scenes of apes beating up humans in stupid, unbelievable ways. Like throwing a net over humans that completely incapacitated them. This works on fish and only fish. (Point, Traitor 2-2)

Better Message: Well, Conquest takes a different angle at slavery and torture and I guess cruelty to animals, but it’s packaged in such a far-fetched premise. (Point, Traitor 2-3)

Better Acting: I don’t like the use of Jeff Daniels in this role. Much like Woody Harrelson’s character in 8 Pounds, it’s better off if we don’t know this is a character that will come back. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t acted well. I am started to notice Guy Pearce is more than just a hot bod with tattoos all over his chest and knees. (Point, Traitor 2-4)

More Creative: Unfortunately for Conquest, the heavy lifting was already done in the previous movie. This film was one big long horribly scripted apes vs. humans combat. (Point, Traitor 2-5)

Poster: Well, there isn’t really anything spectacular about the Traitor poster, but at least it doesn’t claim to be “The most awesome spectacle in the annals of science fiction!” And that’s not even a quote from anybody. Also on the poster: “The newest and biggest yet!” complete with exclamation point. It’s like their trying to sell me laundry detergent. (Point, Traitor 2-6)

Watch again: Well, if I watch either of these again, I’ll have to either fast forward through the first half or the second half, depending which I watch. Or maybe do a few Sudoku puzzles or something. But there’s a much better chance I’ll try to pick up anything I left behind in Traitor. There was nothing left behind in Conquest. (Point, Traitor 2-7)

Overall: I liked the 1st and the 3rd films in this 5-film series, but boy do the even numbers suck ass. Winner: Traitor (7-2)

Double Feature Duel: Source Code vs. Moon

Double Feature Duel:
Source Code vs. Moon

Bout # 15: Netflix told me I’d probably like Source Code. The extra $2/month is already paying dividends. I liked Duncan Jones’ second movie so much in fact, that I immediately watched his first movie, Moon. And I’ve realized that the comedy with which I write these things is inversely proportional to how much I liked the movies. So… sorry.

Source Code: Rarely, likely never, has a movie come along that has hit virtually all of my obsessions as this has with such exactitude. It combines Quantum Leap with actual quantum physics. It’s Groundhog Day meets Déjà vu meets Back to the Future, or at least the Multiple Worlds theory from the second one. And it had a 10-minute tutorial on the science behind some of the theories presented in the movie for wannabe geeks like me. If you want a movie that makes you think, put this on your Netflix queue and hit “Move to position #1.” If you don’t, watch Basketball Wives. 10 bugs.

Moon: Damn, now this came out of left field too. I suspected it would be good based on Source Code, but it was like REAL good. The movie took place entirely on a space station on the moon – possibly called a moon station I suppose – with a few scenes outside on the actual moon. The movie starred Sam Rockwell, which is a risky move in and of itself, let alone the fact that he was the only person in the movie AND they decided to clone him several times over and have them in the same scene. But it worked. Phenomenally well. 9.5 bugs.

Title: I don’t have anything against movie titles that only name the movie so people will remember what it’s about, except for the fact that that’s a lie, e.g. Transformers, Bad Teacher, Bridesmaids. (Point, Source Code 1-0)

Funnier: Not much of a contest, honestly, despite the Russell Peters cameo. Sam Rockwell is a pretty funny guy to start with and the situation he winds up in here makes for some legit humor. Like the kind you can’t find in Big Mamma’s House. Or so I’m guessing. (Point, Moon 1-1)

Better Turn: Tough one. Both very strong turns. Like Talladega. Or so I’m guessing. In Sorce Code, Jake Gyllenhall finds out he’s just a subconscious and nothing he can do can change the past he’s living through. In Moon, Sam Rockwell finds out he’s just a clone and his life expectancy is only three years. And he finds a room in the basement of the moon station with a limitless number of Sam Rockwell clones. Yeah, that was pretty powerful. (Point, Moon 1-2)

Better Ending: Again, very strong endings for both of these movies. Like Vegas Strip Clubs. Or so I suppose. In Source Code, Jake does a couple things along the way, but the long and short of it is that he creates an alternate world from the one that exists in real time to the scientists, bunking up the space/time continuum, according to Doctor Emmitt Brown. In Moon, Sam – well, one of him – decides he’s actually going home, something they have promised him, but have been disintegrating his clones instead. Point goes to the excellent application of the Multiple Worlds, quantum physics theory. (Point, Source Code 2-2)

Better Message: Well, both movies likely existed as entertainment more than movies with deep messages, but I’ll give the nod to the movie where the main character tries desperately to save these same people over and over, even though these people already died. In one reality. Just watch the movie. (Point, Source Code 3-2)

Better Acting: Not that Vera Farminga and Jake Gyllenhall didn’t hit it hard on the sweet spot, especially with such a wacky premise, but Sam Rockwell made you believe there were at least two of him. Like Charlie Sheen does on a typical bender. But likable. And believable. (Point, Moon 3-3)

More Creative: It’s going to be hard for me to pick anything against Source Code here, what with the short-term memory tie in with the quantum physics and multiple worlds theories. Certainly, no movie wins the geeky creative award over this one. (Point, Source Code 4-3)

Poster: I really wanted to give this to Source Code. Moon is just Sam Rockwell in front of a Moon-looking thing that’s more like a stare-o-gram. Source Code is so much more active, with the tiles Jake is running on falling away into the air. But he’s carrying a gun. Which is misleading and easy. And the phrase “Make every second count” is the tagline. About 10 minutes in a marketing meeting and I’m sure somebody could have figured out something better. Proof: You only have seven minutes. But how many times do you have it? No, it’s not perfect. But it’s better. Too many points off of Source Code. (Point, Moon 4-4)

Watch again: I hate when it comes down to this, because it’s the most subjective category. They’re all obviously my opinion, but this doesn’t need to have any work shown. Case in point. (Point, Source Code 5-4)

Overall: It was a lot easier to judge between two movies that I like than two movies that I hate, I’ll grant you that. And I’m glad I’m not at a point in this little game where I intentionally watch crappy movies after good ones just so they don’t get knocked out in an early round. I’m sure Moon would have done quite well against a few other winners. Like Escape From the Planet of the Apes for example. Winner: Source Code (5-4)

Quick Inside Slant: Week One

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week One:

This season began on the tenth anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11, which was the year that we can all remember as the year the terrorists screwed up fantasy football. Or maybe that’s just me. It was my first run at fantasy football, something I had no idea would eventually be in my job description. I joined a salary cap league with Tony and a few others I don’t even remember. I drafted Doug Flutie for cheap. He was gonna be my stud that I got for cheap. It’s important to note that this year was the year before the Texans, when there were an odd number of teams in the league. So every week, at least one team had to have a bye. The Cardinals had a bye the first week, and actually led the NFC East briefly with a 0-0 record. But the Chargers had a bye in week two, and I hastily dropped Doug Flutie late Monday night, knowing his value would go down with everyone dropping him for the bye week. I was right. But on Tuesday, the terrorists attacked and cancelled the bye week and moved it to the end of the year, thus sending Flutie’s value back up before I could pick him up again and now I couldn’t afford him. Crap. I was stuck with Jake Plummer. I know how trivial this sounds when superimposed upon the backdrop of the 9/11 tragedies, but when the players all held the huge American flag at Washington stadium, a tiny piece of me thought about that Doug Flutie salary cap tragedy, and the triumph of the American spirit.

I didn’t get to park myself in front of the TV all day Sunday morning, afternoon and night like I normally do because I had to drive 1600 miles to South Texas on Sunday (and Monday. And part of Tuesday), but from what I did see, here are my impressions of Week One:

The Mulligan Award: The Falcons are a sexy pick to make it to the playoffs again. The Bears, who I keep forgetting made it to the NFC Championship game somehow, are a sexy pick to go 8-8. Somebody needs to remind the Falcons that this isn’t Geography 105 and you aren’t allowed to drop your lowest test score. I didn’t see much of the game, but I noticed in leagues that allow you to pick up individual defensive players that Brian Urlacher outscored 29 starting quarterbacks. But it’s the first week after a shortened off-season. Just take a ball from the bag and tee it up again. And take your chapstick out of your pocket too. It can’t hurt.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: What the hell happened in San Diego? Nate Kaeding was the #1 fantasy kicker in ESPN leagues and goes out for the season on the opening kickoff in the first game? Did he not practice kickoffs in the off-season? How are you that woefully unprepared? This after I picked Garrett Hartley first last year. I am apparently the death touch for kickers.

Epiphany of the Week: Maybe it wasn’t Wade Phillips. Maybe it was the players. And this Tom Brady guy may have a future in the NFL after all.

Bullshit Call of the Week: I’ve had some wacky ideas before to help improve the game that I joke around about. Making holding only a 7.5-yard penalty and putting a top on the goalposts are among the many. But one rule I cannot stand is this fumble after the whistle bullshit. On Monday night, Knowshawn Moreno was carrying the ball and lost it before he hit the ground. HOWEVER, the ref blew the whistle and the play was dead. HOWEVER, one of the Raiders recovered the ball “clearly” after the whistle was blown. And so after review, the Raiders were given the ball.

This is a ridiculous part of football. I don’t even like re-buys in poker, but you should not be able to do anything posthumously in a football play. There was a game two years ago in the magical Saints undefeated run where this same bullshit happened against the Redskins. The Skins’ guy fumbled it and the Saints recovered it after the whistle. Though already ruled down by contact, upon further review, the Saints were given the ball and went on to win in overtime. Earlier in THAT VERY GAME, a Redskins player was given a 15-yard penalty for diving on a player who had just recovered a fumble AFTER THE WHISTLE had blown. You can’t have it both ways, refs. When you’re dead, you stay dead. Ask Waring Hudsucker.

Downward Spiral Fantasy Football League – Meet the Players

Downward Spiral Fantasy Football League – Meet the Players

You probably already got an automated e-mail from Yahoo! reminding you of your draft time tomorrow night (Thu 9/1 @ 8:30pm). Well, now you’re getting an unautomated e-mail from me. Just so it feels more real. And just so you know who you’re up against:

“DustinMadeMe” a.k.a. “Evil Joe”

Experience Level: Rookie

Motivation: I made him.

Football History: Wavers back and forth between being a Redskins and Ravens fan. Will likely have Kelly run his fantasy team for him.

Dustin History: Hosted our wedding at his house. Good guy. “Evil” nickname slightly misleading.

“Dustin Made Me Too” a.k.a. “The Wife”

Experience Level: Rookie

Motivation: Promised she would join if Evil Joe did.

Football History: Is from Texas. Has heard of it. Makes me shut it off whenever possible.

Dustin History: Still agreed to spend the rest of her life with me back in May.

“ExcessiveCelebration” a.k.a “Tone-Def”

Experience Level: Beginner (played once 10 years ago)

Motivation: Got married last year. No excuses anymore.

Football History: Played center for the “Good Guys” men’s football team in our heyday. Was a part of the 1998 historic ZBT collapse that still apparently haunts me.

Dustin History: Let me live with him for 3 years. Unsuccessfully tried to teach me how to be an adult.

“HobNoGood” a.k.a “Tom’s Better Two Thirds”

Experience Level: Advanced

Motivation: Needs reason to spend time away from Tom.

Football History: Has been with Downward Spiral since beginning. Last in 2006. First in 2007. Streaky.

Dustin History: Very little. Knows my last name. Have conversed on the facebook.

“Justincredibles” a.k.a “Six Four”

Experience Level: Advanced

Motivation: Habit, Apathy

Football History: Has also been with Downward Spiral since beginning. Second in 2006 and 2008. Can’t win the big one. May have cheated to get my bro-in-law out of the playoffs in 2006. Strangely is a Vikings fan.

Dustin History: Once almost put a hole in my floor by getting bodyslammed by two guys both weighing over 400 pounds each.

“Mike Vick in a Box” a.k.a “The Best Man”

Experience Level: Rookie

Motivation: Curiosity, Isolation

Football History: Lives in Indy. Waited on Reggie Wayne and Marty Schottenheimer. Different days.

Dustin History: I got drunk for the first time on his 21st birthday in a tent in Santé Fe. Was the best day of his life.

“P-City Allstars” a.k.a “Perpendicular Keith”

Experience Level: Advanced

Motivation: Doing me a favor to make an even # of teams

Football History: Played safety on Touchdown My Pants for 6 seasons. Had kid. Retired.

Dustin History: Let me live with him for a year. Invented 11 ping-pong paddle grips together. Bailed me out of jail.

“Pump Fists Not Gas” a.k.a “Jersey Girl”

Experience Level: Intermediate

Motivation: Personal rivalry, Vengeance, Seeking painless connection to Ohio

Football History: Lost the last two championship games to a superior team.

Dustin History: Also from east coast. Spent two tragic years in Ohio together. Besides John Trainor, the only other person I convinced to do a stand-up routine.

“Vicktorious” a.k.a “D Rec”

Experience Level: I do this for my job

Motivation: Introducing game to friends, Reason to make Jenn watch football, Arrogance

Football History: Called Jenn in the third quarter of the Eagles/Giants game last year to go look at a house. Saw DeSean’s TD return at Outback hours later.

Dustin History: Most.

“Wads of Cows” a.k.a “Boatwad”

Experience Level: Intermediate, Participates regularly in live drafts, Often tries to draft players already on other rosters

Motivation: Joining old friends in new league, Insatiable need for attention

Football History: Hosts Superbowl parties with TV on mute. Wears Patriots jersey. Will draft Tom Brady too high.

Dustin History: Owns a boat.

Try to get to the room 10 minutes early if you can in case your watch stopped 10 minutes ago. You may actually have to physically click on something that says “draft central.” It’s not hard. Or don’t worry about it at all if you plan to autodraft. But plan to delete annoying messages from me much like this one once a week or maybe never again depending on how much time I have. Good luck.