Archive for February, 2011

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Macrankings: College Basketball Top 25 – February 28th, 2010

February 28, 2011

TOP 25:

1. Kansas (27-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Cal, UNT, @Michigan, @Iowa St, @Baylor, @Colorado, KSU, Mizzou, Colorado, OkSU
Key Losses: Texas, @KSU
Last Week: #1
Comments: I’m one of the few people making rankings that don’t have to adjust their #1 slot this week. I thought Kansas had the nation’s best resume last week and nothing happened this week to change that. 16 wins over the top 100 RPI remains tops in the nation. Ohio State was ranked above Kansas in the AP Poll, so it’s likely they’ll be #1 tomorrow after winning out this past week, but that’s the wrong call.

2. BYU (27-2)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, @Vermont, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, @Colorado St, SDSU, UNLV, Colorado St, @SDSU
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico
Last Week: #2
Comments: Perhaps I was bold by putting BYU at #2 last week, but the rest of the nation is going to be catching up to me now. At worst, BYU will be #4 tomorrow, but there’s really no excuse for ranking Duke ahead of them. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, BYU is #1 in the RPI now, had several quality wins in their non-conference schedule, and has now beat San Diego State, a top 5-7 team most of the year, twice. Also, BYU has played a tougher schedule than Duke, plays in (arguably) the tougher conference this year, and has more top 50 wins than anyone in the country. Stop the East Coast madness!

3. Ohio State (27-2)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, South Carolina, Oakland, Minnesota, @Michigan, Penn St, @Illinois, Purdue, N’western, @Minnesota, MSU, Illinois
Key Losses: @Wisconsin, @Purdue
Last Week: #5
Comments: Probably your #1 team tomorrow and they’re definitely good, but I don’t think their resume stacks up to Kansas or BYU right now. As far as losses go, Ohio State has taken the most forgivable ones, on the road vs. Purdue and Wisconsin, both top 15 teams. However, the Big 10 has turned out to be a lot softer than we all thought it was going to be. With the exception of OSU, Purdue and Wisconsin, everyone else has been rather unremarkable, so they’ve only posted six top 50 wins, while BYU has 9.

4. Duke (26-3)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, Miami, UAB, Maryland, @NC St, BCU, @Maryland, NC St, UNC, @Miami, Temple
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU, @VTU
Last Week: #3
Comments: Overrated last week for obvious reasons and losing to Virginia Tech yesterday puts them where they belong. I’ll probably take Duke further in my bracket than BYU, especially if Kyrie Irving comes back, but at this point the Blue Devils are clawing for that last #1 seed.

5. Pittsburgh (25-4)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU, @SJU, @Louisville
Last Week: #7
Comments: Oddly enough, Pitt moves up in my rankings after taking a loss today. Of course that loss was on the road vs a top 25 team in overtime, so that’s not a terrible thing. Pitt may have four losses, but they also have four wins over top 15 teams while San Diego State has none. I could even buy an argument for Pitt at #4 over Duke, but I’ll keep it like this for now.

6. San Diego State (27-2)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, Colorado St, @UNLV, New Mexico
Key Losses: @BYU, BYU
Last Week: #4
Comments: I took a fair amount of heat last week for my San Diego State ranking. “How can you have BYU ranked ahead of them?” Hopefully that debate has been put to rest now.

7. Purdue (24-5)
Key Wins: Oakland, @V-Tech, @Michigan, N’western, @Penn St, Penn St, MSU, Minnesota, @Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU, @MSU
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin
Last Week: #8
Comments: Purdue looks like they’re going to end up where I had them projected in my preseason rankings (post-Hummel injury). They’ve proven most of their doubters wrong, showing they can win consistently without one of their star players. And why wouldn’t they? How many teams can say they have two seniors as talented and experienced as JuJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore? Hummel probably makes this team a #1 seed, but those guys are plenty good on their own merit. Purdue has momentum on their side right now, rolling on a six game win streak that includes victories over OSU, Wisconsin and a 20-point blowout at Michigan State.

8. Notre Dame (23-5)
Key Wins: Cal, Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU, @WVU
Last Week: #11
Comments: Solid if unremarkable, Notre Dame stands alone at second place in the brutal Big East.

9. Texas (24-5)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, Arkansas, A&M, @Kansas, @Ok St, Mizzou, @A&M, Baylor, OkSU
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN, @Nebraska, @Colorado
Last Week: #6
Comments: My #1 team two weeks ago and NCAA favorite at the time, Texas has losses in back-to-back weeks to middle-of-the-pack Big 12 teams and has seen their stock drop tremendously.

10. Florida (22-6)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, RIU, Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, @SCU, Tennessee, Georgia
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St, @Kentucky
Last Week: #10
Comments: Beating Georgia and losing at Kentucky keeps Florida on even ground this week.

11. Syracuse (24-6)
Key Wins: MSU, NC State, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN, WVU, @Nova, @G’town
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville
Last Week: #17
Comments: Another momentum shift: Syracuse appears back on track after losing 6 of 8, reeling off four straight victories, including three against ranked teams…

12. Georgetown (21-8)
Key Wins: NC State, @ODU, @Missouri, Utah State, @Memphis, SJU, @Villanova, L’ville, @Syracuse, Marquette
Key Losses: @Temple, @Notre Dame, @St. John’s, WVU, Pitt, @UCONN, Cincy, Syracuse
Last Week: #9
Comments: …meanwhile, the Hoyas have dropped 3 of 4, including back-to-back home games. They hold strong in the top 15 with a #1 strength of schedule ranking and 8 top 50 wins.

13. Wisconsin (22-6)
Key Wins: @BCU, NC State, @Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, @Northwestern, Purdue, MSU, OSU, Penn St, @Michigan, N’western
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St, @Purdue
Last Week: #13
Comments: Still threatening to make the Big 10 tournament a 3-team race.

14. Connecticut (21-7)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette, G’town, @Cincy
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU, @L’ville, Marquette
Last Week: #12
Comments: How good is the Big East? UCONN ranks #14 in the nation, but a mere tie for 7th in their own conference… and they’re tied with four other teams.

15. North Carolina (22-6)
Key Wins: Kentucky, @Virginia, V-Tech, Clemson, @Miami, NC St, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson, BCU, @NC St, Maryland
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke
Last Week: #15
Comments: Don’t rule UNC out as your ACC champion. UNC struggled during their non-conference schedule, but seem to have matured and grown as a team in conference play. I wouldn’t rule out a run to the Sweet 16 or beyond.

16. Louisville (22-7)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syracuse, UCONN, Pitt
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU, @Cincy
Last Week: #20
Comments: I don’t think I’ve been as wrong about a team this year as I have been about Louisville. From the jump, I’ve been saying Louisville is not a top 25 team… just wait for Big East play to start, right? Well, they’ve gone 11-5 in the Big East and have remained a constant in the top 25 all year, actually improving their stock as the season has progressed. Rick Pitino deserves some love in the Coach Of The Year race.

17. St. John’s (19-9)
Key Wins: Northwestern, @WVU, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy, @Marquette, Pitt, @Villanova
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA
Last Week: #19
Comments: Dubbed the Giant Killers and rightfully so… but anyone that can go 11-5 in the Big East has to be considered more than that. Often referred to as inconsistent, SJU is currently riding a 6-game win streak against tough competition and should finish Big East play with two more wins. Yes, the two losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham are the absolute worst that any top 25 team has taken, but it’s March now and St. John’s has been beating very good teams for two months straight. Steve Lavin might as well start clearing some space for all the Coach Of The Year awards that are about to come pouring in.

18. Vanderbilt (21-7)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, Ole Miss, St. Mary’s, @Miss St, SCU, Alabama, Kentucky, @Georgia
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida, Tennessee
Last Week: #18

19. Arizona (23-6)
Key Wins: @NC State, @Oregon, ASU, @WSU, UCLA, USC, @Cal, WSU, UW
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW, @USC, @UCLA
Last Week: #15
Comments: I expressed my doubts about Arizona two weeks ago and they went 0-2 this week. Derrick Williams is an absolute beast, but I still don’t think this is the best the PAC-10 has to offer. UCLA and Washington both have more talent on their rosters. I’m calling it now, Arizona doesn’t win the PAC-10 tournament. Arizona is now 2-4 against top 50 teams, the only squad in my top 20 that has a losing record there.

20. Kentucky (20-8)
Key Wins: @Portland, Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, @SCU, Georgia, Tennessee, Miss St, S.Carolina, Florida
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt, @Arkansas
Last Week: #21
Comments: For a few days, I dropped Kentucky out of my top 25, but then they come back and beat top ten Florida. Call St. John’s inconsistent if you want, but I doubt Steve Lavin is pulling out his hair as much as John Calipari is.

21. Villanova (19-8)
Key Wins: UCLA, Temple, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, @Syracuse, Marquette, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, @UCONN, @Providence, Georgetown, @Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, SJU
Last Week: #14
Comments: Is any good team falling faster than Villanova? On January 15th, the Wildcats were 16-1. They’ve gone 3-7 since and close out their regular season with two extremely tough games on the road at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. Yikes.

22. Xavier (22-6)
Key Wins: Butler, @RIU, Dayton, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Duquesne, @Dayton
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte
Last Week: #22
Comments: Temple remains ahead of Xavier in the national polls, which is perplexing so I’m just going to reiterate the reasons for all my new readers: Xavier beat Temple, rank 1st in the A-10, higher in the RPI, and have played a significantly tougher schedule and posted a even record against top 50 teams while Temple is 2-4. Ridiculous I say!

23. Utah State (26-3)
Key Wins: @Nevada, @SMC
Key Losses: @BYU, @Georgetown, @Idaho
Last Week: #25
Comments: Yawn. Who knows how good this team really is? We really only have three games to measure their actual ability level, so let’s take a look at those. They recently won on the road against a St. Mary’s team that was recently ranked by the national polls (not me). That’s great. All the way back in November they played a close game against #23 BYU on the road, a team that now stands as my #2 team in the nation. A loss, but that’s still really impressive. And finally, they got beat easily on the road by Georgetown. That’s bad, but understandable. While it pains me to put a team with such little evidence of being amongst the best in the nation in my top 25, my guess is this is a team that can win a game in the NCAA tournament and possibly make a surprise run to the Sweet 16.

24. Texas A&M (22-6)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Arkansas, OK St, Missouri, KSU, @Colorado, @OkSU
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor, @Baylor
Last Week: #23
Comments: Did anyone really believe in Texas A&M as a top ten team? I know I expressed my doubts at the time and they now look like a good, but not great team… they got swept by a Baylor team that has struggled this year. I dunno, something about the Aggies doesn’t do it for me, but they haven’t fallen off enough yet to drop them out of the rankings.

25. Kansas State (20-9)
Key Wins: Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, @WSU, Baylor, @Iowa St, Kansas, @Nebraska, Mizzou
Key Losses: @Duke, @Florida, UNLV, @OK St, Colorado, @Mizzou, @A&M, @Kansas, @Colorado
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Okay, so I’m sort of betting on the come here. Kansas State probably doesn’t deserve this ranking right now, but I feel the momentum building. They’ve looked laughable at times this year, but KSU has won 6 of 7, including victories over Kansas and Missouri. They face off against Texas on the road tomorrow/today, a game that should help define if this team is back for real or not. Put me on record for the upset.

DROPPED OUT:

24. Missouri (22-7)
Key Wins: @Oregon, Vanderbilt, Illinois, ODU, KSU, Iowa St, Colorado, Baylor
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Colorado, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @OkSU, @Kansas, @KSU
Last Week: #24

NEXT FIVE:

George Mason (25-5)
Key Wins: @Charlotte, Drexel, @JMU, Hofstra, ODU, JMU, @VCU, @UNI
Key Losses: @NC St, @Wofford, @Dayton, @Hofstra, @ODU

Old Dominion (24-6)
Key Wins: Xavier, Clemson, Richmond, Dayton, George Mason, @VCU, Cleveland St, @JMU
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Delaware, @Missouri, @Drexel, VCU, @George Mason

Missouri (22-7)
Key Wins: @Oregon, Vanderbilt, Illinois, ODU, KSU, Iowa St, Colorado, Baylor
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Colorado, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @OkSU, @Kansas, @KSU

Temple (22-6)
Key Wins: Georgetown, @Georgia, @Maryland, @RIU, @Dayton, Richmond
Key Losses: @Cal, @Texas A&M, @Villanova, @Duquesne, @Xavier, @Duke

UNLV (22-7)
Key Wins: @Murray St., Wisconsin, @Virginia Tech, @KSU, New Mexico, @Colorado St, @New Mexico
Key Losses: @Louisville, UCSB, BYU, @SDSU, Colorado St, @BYU, SDSU

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The King’s Speech (2010)

February 23, 2011


Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Robert Schwentke (“John Adams” mini-series)
Quick Thoughts: The King’s Speech opens with Colin Firth’s character, the future King George VI, preparing to address an audience of thousands over a megaphone. There’s sweat on his brow, his eyes are watering, and he’s visibly shaken. You know this isn’t going to end well. It’s actually painful watching him stammer helplessly, unable to even complete a sentence, embarrassing himself in front of his legions. Part of you wants to laugh, but most of you is horrified. Can you imagine being a man of enormous power, required to be the voice of your people, when speaking publicly is your absolute worst nightmare? I’ve actually heard criticism of The King’s Speech claiming that the story isn’t particularly strong or interesting, but I personally find the King’s predicament absolutely fascinating. If this story was about a regular Joe with a speech impediment the dilemma wouldn’t be nearly as dire nor the impact as strong, but this is royalty we’re talking about here and his problem is severe. Though The King’s Speech is clearly a dramatic film, it had numerous hilarious moments. I was laughing out loud through numerous scenes, including this exchange:

Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Logue: They’re idiots.
King George: They’ve all been knighted.
Logue: Makes it official then.

And the script is filled with funny moments like that. Obviously, Colin Firth’s performance is phenomenal here. Successfully pulling off the stammering dialogue is impressive enough, but he does it while exuding the body language of someone that is completely void of self-confidence. Amazing. Anything short of a Best Actor statue is CRIMINAL. Nothing comes close. The entire acting ensemble is solid, from Helena Bonham Carter in an oddly subdued role (sedatives?) as George’s hopeful and supportive wife, to the excellent Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, all the way down to Timothy Spall in a small, but great role playing a smug Winston Churchill. The King’s Speech has more Oscar nominations than any 2010 film and deserves all of them. The Social Network is favored to win Best Picture and even though I love that movie, I know I wouldn’t bet my money against The King’s Speech. An excellent movie with a triumphant story and great acting, and easily one of the best films of the year.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Character dramas don’t tend to have a ton of replay value, but the script is funny enough and Firth’s performance is so good that repeat viewings are a must. I know I’ll be buying it.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Oscar Potential: 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and acting noms for Firth, Carter and Rush.
Nudity: None
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
Recommendation: Obviously, this is must see cinema.

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Red (2010)

February 22, 2011


Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren
Director: Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife)
Quick Thoughts: It’s fitting that I watched Red immediately after seeing Salt because it illustrates my point about understanding what the filmmakers are trying to accomplish and how well they achieved their goal. The films are somewhat similar in that they are both clearly over-the-top action movies, but are completely different in tone. Red takes a rather comedic approach giving its characters playful banter and the impression that everyone involved is simply having fun, while Salt is equally ridiculous but takes itself way too seriously. One movie succeeds where the other fails and it all comes down to tone… and it’s the tone of Red that makes it work, despite an overly ambitious script. The plot here isn’t as important as watching the characters interact with each other, old comrades reuniting in humorous fashion after retiring from their respective trades. No one’s winning any Oscars here but it’s kind of fun to see a serious actress like Helen Mirren ham it up a little bit. Speaking of hamming it up, the always great John Malkovich is at his quirky best here, providing many comedic moments throughout the film. Red‘s script may be convoluted at times and the film certainly has it’s eye-rolling worthy moments, it’s ultimately a relatively funny action flick that was quite enjoyable.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: It’s probably worth seeing a second time because the plot can lose you in some spots. There were some moments where I was like “ok, who is this? and why are we talking to them now?”
Sequel Potential: Red turned a modest profit at the box office and it’s the kind of movie I can see inexplicably getting a sequel.
Oscar Potential: No nominations.
Nudity: None
Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)
Recommendation: Expect a cheesy, but funny action movie and you won’t be disappointed.

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The Green Hornet (2011)

February 21, 2011


Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Be Kind Please Rewind, Human Nature)
Quick Thoughts: When Seth Rogen was starring in “Undeclared” a decade ago, I didn’t really envision him becoming an A-list movie star and I certainly didn’t expect him to star in a superhero film. Boy how times have changed. It’s still hard to accept Rogen as a superhero, but The Green Hornet isn’t really one of the most beloved comic book icons. Surprisingly enough, Rogen makes it work, both as a writer and an actor. Rogen penned the script with good pal Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and turn The Green Hornet’s story into something worth watching. Rogen plays Britt Reid, the spoiled, unambitious son of a billionaire newspaper mogul. He spends his days sleeping in until the afternoon, waking up with girls he doesn’t recognize and slouching around after another night of hard partying. His world is shaken up when his father dies suddenly and he finds himself at the head of the family business. Reid ends up befriending one of his father’s employees, Kato, a young man with an amazing skill set that includes martial arts mastery and ridiculous engineering abilities. Inspired by Kato’s prowess, Reid takes up the identity of The Green Hornet and together they set out to take on the city’s underworld.

The Green Hornet is a perfect mesh of comedy and action. Kudos to the production team for turning a film about a C-List superhero and it something that’s consistently funny, fast-paced, and entertaining. In a lot of ways, The Green Hornet asks the question: What if Kick-Ass had Bruce Wayne’s resources and a Tony Stark/Bruce Lee hybrid for a sidekick? Rogen is perfectly cast as Britt Reid, playing our inexperienced hero with naivety and a sense of wonder about what he’s doing. Wanting so desperately for a rush in his life that he’s willing to ignore just how easily he could be killed. Jay Chou makes for a good sidekick and does solid work throughout the film, putting his martial arts skills on display. He does Bruce Lee’s former roll justice. Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for his role in Inglorious Basterds last year, doesn’t have quite as much to work with this time around, but manages to give a cold-blooded killer a believable sense of humor. James Franco has an awesome cameo at the beginning of the movie that is straight up hilarious. The special effects in this movie are a little cheesy at times, but don’t take away too much from the film. I enjoyed The Green Hornet. It’s not The Dark Knight, but it’s much better than I ever thought it would be and is at least better than any of the superhero movies that came out last year.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Might actually improve with multiple viewings. Comedies tend to do that.
Sequel Potential: I’m down.
Oscar Potential: January movies don’t tend to get much Oscar buzz.
Nudity: None
Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)
Recommendation: A surprisingly solid and funny action flick about a superhero no one really cares about.

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Salt (2010)

February 21, 2011


Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber
Director: Phillip Noyce (The Bone Collector, Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger)
Quick Thoughts: Straight up ridiculous. I had low expectations for Salt and was suprised during the first 45 minutes or so when it looked like it was going to be a decent spy-thriller action flick… and then the script starts to go crazy, with each twist and turn more insulting to the audience than the last. I’m still having problems digesting the implications of the last line of the movie. I feel like someone stole the rug out from underneath me and then hit me over the head with it. It makes me want to throw the DVD into the lake behind my house instead of returning it to Red Box to save the next person from being subjected to its nonsene. It’s a given that Angelina Jolie is a great actress when it comes to action flicks and she does a good job here, kicking all sorts of ass, but honestly, I can’t get past the script. It’s so stupid. The movie can’t seem to decide if Evelyn Salt is its hero or antagonist. I’m guessing we’re supposed to feel strongly a certain way (hero), but I can think of several scenes in the movie that make me think otherwise. I don’t want to spoil any of the “surprises,” so I won’t bitch too specifically about what pissed me off and I’ll just close by saying: this movie sucks.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I feel like an idiot for even watching it once.
Sequel Potential: It would be some sort of screenwriting feat for someone to come up with another Salt story that could get the green light.
Oscar Potential: Believe it or not, this movie has an Oscar nomination: Sound Mixing
Nudity: The moronic twists in this movie reminded me of Wild Things. You know why Wild Things is a cult classic? Because of Denise Richards’ breasts and bi-curious female characters. Angelina Jolie in her underwear can’t save this movie.
Grade: 2/10 (Horrible)
Recommendation: Salt isn’t quite as bad as I’m making it out to be, but when I’m rating movies, I often think of what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish and whether or not they succeeded. I feel like the writer of Salt probably thinks he wrote a clever and smart thriller, but in reality, there’s nothing witty about the script. It just twists and turns out of the blue with no rhyme or reason and makes no sense whatsoever. Just when you think it can’t get any dumber, it somehow manages to do just that. Not the worst movie I’ve seen this year, but certainly the most insulting to my intelligence. Don’t watch this piece of shit.

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College Basketball MacRankings – February 21st, 2010

February 21, 2011

I was sick this whole weekend, so while I followed all the scores across college basketball, I didn’t put much thought into my rankings until tonight. On top of being sick, this has been the toughest week to update with all the top teams losing and all the parity in college basketball in general. Not much commentary this week but I felt like I owed some explanation to the top spots.

TOP 25:

1. Kansas (25-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Cal, UNT, @Michigan, @Iowa St, @Baylor, @Colorado, KSU, Mizzou, Colorado
Key Losses: Texas, @KSU
Last Week: #2
Comments: Wait… Kansas lost and moved up to #1? Seems weird, but who else do you put here? Ohio State, Texas, and Pitt all lost. Duke’s a candidate and will probably get votes, but I personally can’t put them #1 with a SoS of 39th and playing against a weak ACC. BYU or San Diego State? It’s getting close, but the world isn’t ready for a Mountain West team at the top of the rankings yet. Kansas is #1 in RPI, top ten in strength of schedule, and have 15 wins over top 100 teams–more than anyone in the country. Enough said.

2. BYU (25-2)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, @Vermont, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, @Colorado St, SDSU, UNLV
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico
Last Week: #6
Comments: Call me crazy, but BYU deserves to be here. They may play in the Mountain West, but they rank higher in strength of schedule than Pitt, Duke, and Ohio State. And they have more than twice as many wins against top 50 teams than San Diego State. And they have the best player in the country.

3. Duke (25-2)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, Miami, UAB, Maryland, @NC St, BCU, @Maryland, NC St, UNC, @Miami
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU
Last Week: #5
Comments: I wouldn’t be surprised if Duke was #1 tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s justified. The ACC doesn’t compare to the Big 10 or the Big East or the Big 12 this year… or even the Mountain West. If Kyrie Irving had been healthy all year, Duke would probably be #1. But he’s been out and they’ve lost a couple games and their resume doesn’t quite stack up to BYU’s or Kansas’. Look at those quality wins… pretty good, but only one win over a currently ranked team.

4. San Diego State (27-1)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, Colorado St, @UNLV, New Mexico
Key Losses: @BYU
Last Week: #7
Comments: The only team in the country with one loss… so how could they possibly be #4? Well, for one, they lost to BYU, and two, their strength of schedule doesn’t
compare to the other teams. I think the biggest difference between BYU and SDSU has been how well their out of conference opponents have performed. BYU beat St. Mary’s, Utah State, Arizona, UTEP, and Vermont. St. Mary’s, Utah State, and Arizona have all been top 25 teams for the past couple weeks, Vermont has 22 wins, and UTEP is first in Conference USA. SDSU had some great wins out of conference, but Gonzaga isn’t the team we expected and Wichita State is good, but struggling to win its own conference, and California is a middling PAC-10 team. Doesn’t quite match up. I’ll take BYU for now, but we’ll see what happens when the two teams square off again on the Aztecs’ turf.

5. Ohio State (25-2)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, South Carolina, Oakland, Minnesota, @Michigan, Penn St, @Illinois, Purdue, N’western, @Minnesota, MSU
Key Losses: @Wisconsin, @Purdue
Last Week: #3

6. Texas (23-4)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, Arkansas, A&M, @Kansas, @Ok St, Mizzou, @A&M, Baylor, OkSU
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN, @Nebraska
Last Week: #1
Comment: I gave Texas a pass on the USC loss and put them @ #1 last week even though they had three losses. Well, losing to Nebraska in February isn’t the same as losing to USC in November. It was a startling loss, but the Cornhuskers aren’t nearly as bad as they were supposed to be. Regardless, with four losses, including a recent one to a relatively weak team, Texas has to drop. I’d still take them in my top 2 picks if I was drafting for the NCAA tournament though. Don’t sleep.

7. Pittsburgh (24-3)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU, @SJU
Last Week: #4

8. Purdue (22-5)
Key Wins: Oakland, @V-Tech, @Michigan, N’western, @Penn St, Penn St, MSU, Minnesota, @Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin
Comments: Purdue had a monster week. First they beat an extremely hot Wisconsin team and then followed that by toppling Ohio State. Granted, both wins were at home after losing to both those teams on the road, but impressive nonetheless.
Last Week: #13

9. Georgetown (21-6)
Key Wins: NC State, @ODU, @Missouri, Utah State, @Memphis, SJU, @Villanova, L’ville, @Syracuse, Marquette
Key Losses: @Temple, @Notre Dame, @St. John’s, WVU, Pitt, @UCONN
Last Week: #9

10. Florida (21-5)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, RIU, Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, @SCU, Tennessee
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St
Last Week: #12

11. Notre Dame (21-5)
Key Wins: Cal, Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU, @WVU
Last Week: #8

12. Connecticut (20-6)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette, G’town
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU, @L’ville
Last Week: #11

13. Wisconsin (20-6)
Key Wins: @BCU, NC State, @Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, @Northwestern, Purdue, MSU, OSU, Penn St
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St, @Purdue
Last Week: #10

14. Villanova (19-6)
Key Wins: UCLA, Temple, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, @Syracuse, Marquette, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, @UCONN, @Providence, Georgetown, @Rutgers, Pitt
Last Week: #14

15. Arizona (23-4)
Key Wins: @NC State, @Oregon, ASU, @WSU, UCLA, USC, @Cal, WSU, UW
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW
Last Week: #15

16. North Carolina (20-6)
Key Wins: Kentucky, @Virginia, V-Tech, Clemson, @Miami, NC St, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson, BCU
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke
Last Week: #16

17. Syracuse (22-6)
Key Wins: MSU, NC State, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN, WVU
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville
Last Week: #17

18. Vanderbilt (20-6)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, Ole Miss, St. Mary’s, @Miss St, SCU, Alabama, Kentucky, @Georgia
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida
Last Week: #18

19. St. John’s (17-9)
Key Wins: ASU, Northwestern, @WVU, @Providence, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy, @Marquette, Pitt
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA
Last Week: #21
Comments: Giant killers. Maddeningly inconsistent, but they can beat anyone on any given day, especially at home.

21. Louisville (20-7)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syracuse, UCONN
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU, @Cincy
Last Week: #20
Comments: I never thought Louisville would last in the top 25, but with roughly four games left in the regular season, I think it’s time to admit they belong here. Peyton Siva has definitely blossomed as a sophomore (Seattle stand up!) and has become a true leader and go-to player for this team.

22. Kentucky (19-7)
Key Wins: @Portland, Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, @SCU, Georgia, Tennessee, Miss St, S.Carolina
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt
Last Week: #19

22. Xavier (20-6)
Key Wins: Butler, @RIU, Dayton, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Duquesne
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte
Last Week: #22

23. Texas A&M (21-5)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Arkansas, OK St, Missouri, KSU, @Colorado, @OkSU
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor
Last Week: #23

24. Missouri (21-6)
Key Wins: @Oregon, Vanderbilt, Illinois, ODU, KSU, Iowa St, Colorado
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Colorado, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @OkSU, @Kansas
Last Week: #24

25. Utah State (25-3)
Key Wins: @Nevada, @SMC
Key Losses: @BYU, @Georgetown, @Idaho
Last Week: Unranked
Comment: It kills me to do it, but Utah State has been manhandling everyone they’ve played and they embarrassed St. Mary’s on the Gaels’ home turf… and St. Mary’s has been in the national top 25 for a couple weeks now. So while the Aggies are still mostly untested, that win proves they at least have some reason to be sniffing the top 25 and hints they might be able to win a game or two in the tournament.

h1

Winter’s Bone (2010)

February 17, 2011


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes
Director: Debra Granik (Down To The Bone)
Quick Thoughts: Meet Jennifer Lawrence. The 20 year old actress gives one of the best performances of the year in Winter’s Bone. How often does a young and relatively unknown actor or actress completely carry movie on their backs? Not often, but that’s the case here. Lawrence plays Ree Doddy, a 17 year old country girl that finds herself struggling to get by while caring for her two younger siblings because their mother is incompetent and mute and their father has disappeared. The law comes looking for Ree’s dad and gives notice that if he doesn’t appear for a court date, they are going to have to give up their property, which sends Ree on a hunt for her father and into the dark and twisted roots of their family tree. It’s a haunting film. We’re talking about a world where its commonplace to offer your 17 year old niece a joint as a sympathetic gesture because you’re husband just got done physically threatening her and there’s nothing wrong with teaching your 12 year old brother and six year old sister how to shoot a hunting rifle because they just might have to provide for themselves in the near future. It’s a grim tale and Ree really has no one to turn to because her family, immediate and extended, are all involved in cooking up crank. And don’t fuck with grandpa cause he will have your ass beat if you start asking questions. Or maybe kill you. Oddly enough, she finds an ally in her Uncle Teardrop, played by John Hawkes in an Oscar-nominated performance. At first, Teapot is painted as your typical drug-addled, abusive hick, but Hawkes turns the character into something deeper and sinister. Speaking of Oscar nominations, Lawrence got a well deserved nomination and even though Natalie Portman is heavily favored to win the statuette, Jennifer Lawrence is a serious darkhorse candidate. At any rate, her performance is better than Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright or Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. Winter’s Bone is at times heartbreaking, intense, and gripping. A true sleeper in 2010 and one you shouldn’t miss.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: More of a one time film than something you keep on repeat.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Four nominations: Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for John Hawkes, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
Recommendation: Winter’s Bone has been overlooked by the masses, but it’s one of the better 2010 films I’ve seen. A solid thriller with some standout performances.