Bro-Reviews: Suburbicon

A thought provoking, uneven satire.

The end of October is always a strange point on the release calendar in Hollywood. October isn’t typically a month reserved for Academy Award worthy films, but there always seem to be such caliber of films strategically released during the month, making it somewhat of a fringe beginning of the awards season. Suburbicon, the latest George Clooney directed film starring frequent collaborator Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, seems to be implementing this strategy, but does it pay off?

Suburbicon sees Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) living a seemingly peaceful life in the utopian suburban neighborhood called “Suburbicon” with his wife Rose, his sister-in-law Nancy (Julianne Moore in a dual role), and his son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Gardner’s world is seemingly turned upside-down after some mobsters kill Rose, and he must find a way to do what’s right for his family, all while the neighborhood shows its true colors upon the arrival of an African American family, the Mayers.

Whenever an all-star cast is involved in a film, expectations can reach levels so high they’re nearly impossible to match. Throw in Academy Award winning talent behind the camera with the Coen brothers, and those expectations grow infinitely more. Suburbicon isn’t an Oscar caliber film, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its strengths, and it delivers a message many may be insulted by, or flat out can’t comprehend.

Clooney and the Coen brothers nail the 1950s suburb setting, making the fictional town “Suburbicon” the embodiment of what the suburbs were originally designed for, namely getting away from any sort of racial interactions that occurred in cities. Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac all come in and deliver strong performances in their respective roles, embodying what typical men and women in the 1950s would be like. Noah Jupe may spend a lot of the film crying and even being downright terrorized, but there’s something to all of it that makes his loss of innocence and being taken out of his bubble that encapsulates most children in the 1950s and makes him the strongest performer in the film.

In regards to the Mayers, the African American family that moves to “Suburbicon”, they are seemingly pushed to the background. Most people would take great offense to this, but Clooney and the Coen brothers expertly make them the focus of the film without putting them in the spotlight. Sure, this family isn’t given much character or fleshed out, but that’s the point. The residents of “Suburbicon” don’t care to know them, they only focus the color of their skin and blame them for the recent traumas the neighborhood is experiencing, when it’s really the white residents themselves who are to blame for the ugly underbelly of the neighborhood they are hiding.

It seems this message has gotten lost in translation, with many saying this aspect of the film could have been cut out completely and find it insulting that in today’ divisive environment, the Mayers are being used as a cheap plot device. Personally, this aspect of the film could have been cut out and the meat of the story wouldn’t have suffered from it, but then you’d have a different film. Suburicon wants to be a thought-provoking film regarding an ideal and the era it was birthed in, and it wears many hats in order to accomplish this goal.

That’s not to say Surburicon is a perfect film. It does try to wear too many hats, as it wants to be a satire, commentary, mystery, and dark-comedy, and doesn’t always succeed. The film is never as funny as it thinks it is, and the mystery component does bog the middle part of the film down, causing it to have pacing issues. Rather than cutting out the Mayers, Clooney and the Coen brothers could have tightened up the mystery of the film, and make it move at a more brisk pace instead of being a slow burn.

In regards to the message of Suburbicon, I do not wish to come across as a know-it-all and a person who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. But I do feel given the talent involved, many have unfairly criticized the film for it not being the film they wanted it to be. If anything, Suburbicon highlights our own issues and shortcomings, and no one ever likes to be outed for them. Its message packs a punch that is uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s telling us to look in the mirror to see the real culprit of our problems instead of baselessly blaming them on others because they are different. Suburbicon may be at times uneven and doesn’t succeed at all it wants to be, but it’s a well-acted, thought provoking satire that may not be awards worthy, but is still solid nonetheless.

Rating: 2.5/4 Stars. Pay Matinée Price.

Suburbicon stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, Glenn Fleshler, Morgan Ferguson, Jack Conley, Gary Basaraba, Karimah Westbrook, and Tony Espinosa. It is in theaters October 27th.

 

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Bro-Picks: NFL Week 8 Predictions

We’ve reached halftime of the NFL season.

After week 8 of the NFL season, we will have officially reached halftime of the 2017 season. By now, you would think teams would have started to separate themselves as true contenders, but if this season has proven anything, parity is alive and well in the NFL. There are no unbeaten teams remaining, and even the better teams in the league have fatal flaws that could cost them a trip to Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52. A win in week 8, however, goes a long way towards obtaining that goal… except if you’re the Browns and the 49ers. They can start making their vacation plans now.

Last Week: 11-4

Overall: 58-48

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (Thursday Night Football)

The Ravens offense has fallen and can’t get up. Meanwhile, Dolphins QB Jay Cutler was having his best game of the season last week prior to being knocked out of the game due to breaking his ribs. Backup QB Matt Moore came in and the Dolphins offense finally resembled the one that was one of the best offenses in 2016. It’s the best break they’ve caught all season.

Winner: Dolphins

 

Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns (in London)

Browns QB DeShone Kizer apologized this week for being out late Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning at a bar. It should be the Browns apologizing to him for making him suffer through a rookie season where he’s thrown 11 interceptions. Next up is the Vikings defense, as if losing future hall of fame LT Joe Thomas for the rest of the season and playing in London wasn’t bad enough.

Winner: Vikings

 

Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills

After a month of looking like a pretender despite lofty expectations, the Raiders offense finally had a breakthrough and won a big divisional game against the Chiefs. The Buffalo Bills are off to a 4-2 start, and this could be a statement game that shows they’re a contender should they come away victorious.

Winner: Raiders

 

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton had to apologize for correctly pointing out his team’s offensive line sucks. Someone on the Bengals should apologize for QB Andy Dalton’s performance against the Steelers. This one could go either way.

Winner: Bengals

 

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots

Don’t look now, but the Chargers are on a three game winning streak. Their reward for somewhat righting the ship? A date with the suddenly competent New England Patriots. No pressure.

Winner: Patriots

 

Upset of the Week: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

The Bears have gone back to the George Halas era by winning games in which their rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky throws 7 passes a game. Somehow, this has worked. The Saints defense has finally come out of hibernation, which they’ve been in since their Super Bowl 44 victory in 2009. However, Saints QB Drew Brees has recently caught the turnover bug, something Bears DB Eddie Jackson, who had 2 defensive touchdowns last week, may want to take note of.

Upset of the Week Winner: Bears

 

Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets

The Atlanta Falcons may be disintegrating before our eyes. The number one ranked offense last season ranks only 14th this season, and QB Matt Ryan has looked like anything but his MVP self. They’re lucky to be facing the Jets this week, who might be pulling off the most competitive tank job in professional sports history.

Winner: Falcons

 

Lock of the Week: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles

Tell me where in the remaining schedule for the 49ers the game they’ll win? It definitely won’t be this week, as Eagles QB Carson Wentz appears the be the best QB in the NFC left standing halfway through the season.

Winner: Eagles

 

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Cam Newton has walked out on press conferences 2 weeks in a row now, and his turnovers last week cost the Panthers the game against the lowly Bears. Carolina needs this win to keep pace with the Saints, but so do the Buccaneers, who may want to consider a coaching change after their disappointing start to what was supposed to be a breakthrough season.

Winner: Panthers

 

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks

Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson is on a tear with 15 touchdown passes this season. This is his first big test against a great defense, and the legion of boom playing at home with the 12th man behind them is too tall of a task for a rookie to overcome.

Winner: Seahawks

 

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

The Cowboys looked dominant against the 49ers last week, but that’s not very hard to do. The Redskins are now 0-2 in their divisional games after losing to the Eagles. In a key NFC East match-up, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, who has his appeal hearing for his suspension the next day, will be the difference maker. Talk about great timing.

Winner: Cowboys

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions (Sunday Night Football)

The Steelers seem to have found the winning formula: run RB Le’Veon Bell, set up QB Ben Roethlisberger for play action to throw to WRs Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and let the defense loose. This is the type of game the Lions need to prove they’re for real, but it’s the type of game they always seem to drop the ball on.

Winner: Steelers

 

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (Monday Night Football)

The Broncos offense didn’t get past midfield until the 2nd half last week. The only reason QB Trevor Siemian isn’t getting benched is because Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch are the backups. The Chiefs are also on a cold streak of their own after losing two straight, and will look to reclaim their spot as one of the best teams in the REGULAR season.

Winner: Chiefs

Bro-Reviews: Geostorm

Armageddon The Day After Tomorrow.

Disaster movies have been a mainstay in Hollywood since its inception. Films like The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure still hold a special place in Hollywood’s history. Disaster films even experienced a resurgence in the 1990s and the 2000s with the release of Independence Day, Titanic, Armageddon, and The Day After Tomorrow, all of which made a killing at the box office. One of the producers of some of the aforementioned films, Dean Devlin, decided it was time for him to get in on the action and make his directorial debut in the newest disaster movie Hollywood has to offer, Geostorm.

Geostorm starts off by explaining that in 2019, global warming has reached extreme new levels and has all but wiped out planet earth. However, thanks to 18 nations coming together to build a system of satellites known as the “Dutch Boy”, led by one Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), the weather can now be controlled and earth is saved. Years later, the system of satellites appear to be malfunctioning, leaving the earth vulnerable to numerous storms coming together to the point of catastrophic levels that could destroy humanity, known as a “geostorm.” It is then up to the original architect of “The Dutch Boy”, Jake, to solve who is causing the satellites to malfunction before it’s too late.

It’s important to note that Geostorm has been in development since 2014, and required $15 million in re-shoots, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Danny Cannon being brought on after poor test screenings in 2015. This  resulted in the film changing its release date multiple times. Typically, one of those occurrences is bad sing for a film. When all of these elements are involved, you’ve got a film Warner Brothers knew was bomb from the start. Timing also couldn’t have been worse in regards to the release of the film considering the recent weather disasters in Houston, Texas, Puerto Rico, and California.

Instead of going into the plot of the film more in depth, here is a list of events that actually happen in Geostorm:

  • A scientist aboard “Dutch Boy” is locked into a room that malfunctions and freezes to death before being carried away into space. The event is merely mentioned in passing by Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess) the next scene.
  • Eugenio Derbez, who plays a Mexican robotics expert aboard “Dutch Boy”, cracks a joke regarding the age of Gerard Butler’s character. Derbez is 56. Butler is 47.
  • A Smart Car outruns a volcanic earthquake in Hong Kong.
  • A satellite inside “Dutch Boy” being held on a crane “malfunctions” and attacks Gerrard Butler and his crew.
  • A character is killed by being pushed into a busy street in Washington D.C. This death is not investigated in any way, shape, or form to see who the culprit is.
  • A computer genius compares getting involved in the situation unfolding to getting on a roller coaster after eating Chipotle.
  • A giant blizzard freezes an ocean wave, people, birds, and an airplane in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A model outruns it. Barefoot.
  • The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia experiences extreme heat in the form of a death-ray coming from the malfunctioning satellites.
  • Multiple tornadoes occur in India. A little boy, who has not been introduced until this point in the film, chases after his dog in the middle of it. We are supposed to feel sorry for him and the dog because cheap emotions.
  • A series of lightening strikes destroys a stadium. The only way to avoid the lightening strikes is by driving under a highway overpass.
  • A massive title wave attacks Dubai, and the first person to die is a man riding a camel in the desert. His reaction shot alone is almost worth the price of admission.
  • Gerard Butler drinks a Coors-Light at 11 in the morning. Because he’s Gerard freaking Butler.

If anything I have listed just now is considered a spoiler, I apologize. One must know what exactly they are getting themselves into when watching this film. In regards to the awful special effects that provide the spectacle, Geostorm delivers B-movie thrills that could be considered fun.

The problem with Geostorm, however, is the fact that the entire second act of the film is surprisingly dull. Instead of getting an over the top Gerard Butler vehicle, we get Jim Sturgess trying desperately to revive his career (*IN FREAKING GEOSTORM*) by speechifying and over-acting for seemingly an eternity. We’re used to seeing Gerard Butler movies get insanely stupid. Butler has made a career off such films like in 300, Gamer, Law Abiding Citizen, Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, and Gods of Egypt . For some reason, even though he is the leading man of the film, it feels like he’s hardly in it. Butler may be a poor man’s Jason Statham and an even poorer man’s Russell Crowe or a combination of the two, but he’s got enough charisma to carry a movie. It makes no sense that a movie like Geostorm, the perfect Gerard Butler vehicle, doesn’t have enough Gerard Butler in it.

Sure, Geostorm has its moments of fun, but they’re drowned out by a second act that goes on for too long and reveals that the film is actually taking itself seriously, a crippling mistake. Had Geostorm been a 90 minute senseless Gerard Butler vehicle where the absurdity of its premise had been taken full advantage of, Geostorm could have at least reached guilty pleasure status. Instead, it’s an uninspired rip-off of Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow. Geostorm is a classic example of a Hollywood studio film gone horribly wrong. A project that should have never been green-lit, regardless of who was attached to star in it. The only positive outcome that could come out of Geostorm is it’s just stupid enough to leave President Donald Trump inspired by it to the point he starts taking global warming seriously.

Rating: 1/4 Stars. Stay Away.

Geostorm stars Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, Andy Garica, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, and Zazie Beetz. It is in theaters October 20th.

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 7 Predictions

Time for the 2-minute drill at the end of the first half of the NFL season.

We’ve reached the 2-minute warning of the first half of the NFL season. So far, one would be hard-pressed to say their is a clear favorite to win the Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles may sit atop of the NFL, but have yet to establish themselves as powerhouses. Teams like the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills have been pleasant surprises, but their early season success might not last heading into the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders were believed to be primed to take the next step towards title contention, but have stumbled through the first half of the season. Then there are the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers, who are in a race for the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft and might not win a game this year.

There’s enough time left in the first half of the NFL season for these teams to score and get themselves on the track towards Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52, but they’ll need to execute the two minute drill to perfection in order to do so.

Last Week: 5-9

Overall: 47-44

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (Thursday Night Football)

The Raiders have fallen well short of their Super Bowl expectations, and the once dynamic offense has struggled under the guidance of first year offensive coordinator Todd Downing. This is a must win game for the silver and black, but with the Chiefs coming to town off an embarrassing home loss, it may be time for the Raiders to make off-season plans starting in early January.

Winner: Chiefs

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills

Tampa Bay QB James Winston is ailing, and the Buccaneers haven’t taken the next step as many thought they would. It might be time to start taking the Bills seriously.

Winner: Bills

 

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

Bears RB Jordan Howard gave us a blast from the past with his 36 carries for 167 yards performance against the Ravens. But the Bears seem to only be beating AFC North teams this year, with their only other win coming against the Steelers. Last time I checked, the Panther play in the NFC South.

Winner: Panthers

 

Lock of the Week: Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns

Well Cleveland, you still have LeBron.

Lock of the Week Winner: Titans

 

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

The Packers season is all but finished with QB Aaron Rodgers out for most of if not the rest of the season due to a broken collarbone. The once putrid Saints defense seems to be finding their grove, and that’s without QB Drew Bree’s playing exceptionally well.

Winner: Saints

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

The AFC South is a battle of ineptitude at this point, and it doesn’t look like Colts AB Andrew Luck is coming back this season due to a shoulder injury. Jacoby Brissett has done a fine job fillinf in for Luck, and the Jaguars should strongly consider making a play for Brissett if they want to be considered true contenders.

Winner: Jaguars

 

Upset of the Week: Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

Saints head coach Sean Payton owes RB Adrian Peterson an apology. He still has plenty in the tank, running for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries last week in a win over the Bucs. The more of the load Peterson can take off of QB Carson Palmer’s shoulders, the better off the Cardinals will be.

Upset of the Week Winner: Cardinals

 

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Somehow, both of these teams are still in the race for the AFC East division title heading into Week 7. In a division that’s currently wide open, both of these teams need to win in order to keep pace for the division crown.

Winner: Dolphins

 

Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings

A golden opportunity has arisen for the Vikings now that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is out. And the Ravens lost to Mitchell Trubisky at home last week. Yikes.

Winner: Vikings

 

Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

The C. J. Beathard era is officially underway in San Francisco (* Santa Clara, because Jed York*). It doesn’t matter who plays at QB for the 49ers, they stink. The Cowboys may be going through more twists and turns than The Young and the Restless with the Ezekiel Elliott soap opera, but they will to thrive off of dysfunction this week against a team that could be staring at an 0-11 record before their first winnable game.

Winner: Cowboys

 

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

You can’t quite get a grip on the Steelers. One week they look like Super Bowl contenders, the next week they look like pretenders. Bet on the former this week in a heated divisional match-up at home.

Winner: Steelers

 

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are on a winning streak, and the Broncos laid an egg last week on Sunday Night Football. Which of these teams show up is as unpredictable as to what President Donald Trump will tweet next.

Winner: Broncos

 

Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants

The Giants finally got their first win of the season sans WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall against a good Broncos defense. They won’t have the same luck this week against the legion of boom.

Winner: Seahawks

 

Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (Sunday Night Football)

Just in case a Patriots fan or Mark Wahlberg  hasn’t reminded you, the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51 against the Patriots. Last week, just ahead of their Super Bowl 51 re-match, the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead against the Dolphins. If that isn’t an ominous sign of what’s to come, then what is?

Winner: Patriots

 

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

The NFC East is always a brutal division, and this week features a key match-up that will put the winner in good playoff standing. The Redskins need this game more to avoid being 0-2 in the division, QB Carson Wentz has the Eagles flying high, and they’re going to be tough to ground.

Winner: Eagles

NBA Season Preview

It’s the Warriors’ world, everyone else is just living in it.

With the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season upon us, every fan has the hope and dream that their team can ascend to the top of the league and be crowned as NBA champions. If the last three seasons are any sort of indication, that’s wishful thinking at best. There’s no doubt the Golden State Warriors are the team to beat, but it would be unwise to say the Western Conference didn’t get a little more interesting after an off season that resembled the wild wild west.

In the Eastern Conference, it’s still LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers sitting at the top of the mountain. However, even the king and his soldiers look beneath them and see a potential rising power in the otherwise lowly Eastern Conference.

Here’s how the conferences will finish when it’s all said and done.

Western Conference

1. Warriors 67-15

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A team that steamrolled through the playoffs last season en route to an NBA championship managed to retain all of their key players and add more depth to their bench. It’s not fair.

2. San Antonio Spurs 60-22

Gregg Poppovich is still coaching, and they’ve got an MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard returning from injury. The off season acquisition of Rudy Gay will also help this squad as well.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder 55-27

The combination of last season’s MVP PG Russell Westbrook and all-stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George gives them enough offensive fire-power to hang with the best the NBA has to offer. It’ll be on coach Billy Donovan to manage these 3 big personalities.

4. Houston Rockets 53-29

Head coach Mike D’Antoni will have his hands full trying to manage ball dominant guards James Harden and Chris Paul. There isn’t much reason to believe this relationship will work or last, but their talent alone keeps them at the top of the conference.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves 51-31

The popular pick to make headway in the Western Conference this season, there’s no doubt a starting lineup that contains superstars Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins should help catapult this team to new heights. Maybe not as high as their 2003-2004 season when they appeared in the Western Conference Finals, but higher than they’ve been in over a decade.

6. Los Angeles Clippers 44-38

Yes, losing PG Chris Paul hurts, but they’ve got PGs Patrick Beverly and Lou Williams to fill in for him. They also still have PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan, and a good head coach in Doc Rivers who finally gave up his head of basketball operations hat to the logo, Jerry West. They’re no longer title contenders, but they’re good enough to be in the playoff discussion.

7. Portland Trailblazers 41-41

PG Damian Lillard and SG C.J. McCollum have enough firepower to keep this team around the .500 mark, but they’re going to need a mid-season acquisition if they want to rise from the bottom of the playoff picture.

8. New Orleans Pelicans 40-42

The twin towers combo of PF Anthony Davis and C DeMarcus Cousins didn’t excel last year. However, having a full off season under their belts and the additions of defensive stopper SG Tony Allen and a once healthy PG Rajon Rondo should be enough to sneak into the postseason.

9. Sacramento Kings 38-44

The off season additions of  SG Vince Carter, PF Zach Randolph, and PG George Hill along with Rookie of the Year candidate PG De’Aaron Fox will make the Kings a compelling watch. However, can a dysfunctional front office led by GM Vlade Divac and owner Vivek Ranadivé finally stay out of the way? More than likely not.

10. Denver Nuggets 37-45

They’ve got offensive firepower, averaging 111 points per game last season. But if they’re expecting an aging PF in Paul Milsap to be the difference between them making the playoffs and them missing the playoffs, they might be in for a rude awakening.

11. Los Angeles Lakers 35-47

There’s a buzz to this team with the arrival of Rookie of the year candidate PG Lonzo Ball, but will his father, LaVar Ball, be too much of a distraction for the big baller? Also, if you think the off season additions like C Brook Lopez and SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will help you get into the playoffs, you’re living in LA LA Land.

12. Memphis Grizzlies 34-48

There’s always been a grittiness and toughness about the Memphis Grizzlies the last decade or so, but that’s nearly gone with the departures of PF Zach Randolph and SG Tony Allen. Sure, they’ve still got a solid PG in Mike Conley Jr. and a superstar in C Marc Gasol, but losing the heart and soul of your team is nothing short of crippling. Take that for data.

13. Utah Jazz 33-49

Losing SF Gordon Hayward hurt this team immensely. They still have a rising star in C Rudy Gobert and a good coach in Quin Synder, but this will be a down year for the team in the wake of recent success.

14. Dallas Mavericks 32-50

They have a Rookie of the Year candidate in PG Dennis Smith Jr., but as the Dirk Nowitzki era winds down, their best offensive play is SF Harrison Barnes. Let that sink in. Mark Cuban will be spending more time on Shark Tank this year.

15. Phoenix Suns 26-56

Potential Rookie of the Year candidate SF Josh Jackson may showcase his talent enough to suggest the future is bright in Phoenix, but he’s also the guy who called Stephen Curry “Small and unathletic.” After an idiotic statement like that, maybe the future isn’t as bright as the Suns hope.

Eastern Conference

1. Cleveland Cavaliers 54-28

Despite all the drama surrounding the Cavaliers this off season and the rumors that coach, GM, and best player in the world LeBron James is bolting his hometown for the Lakers next year, the Cavaliers’ additions of SG Dwayne Wade, SF Jae Crowder, and PG Isaiah Thomas (*once he’s healthy*) keeps them at the top of the East. Plus, LeBron is not going to let Kyrie Irving beat him, especially with another shot at the Warriors on the line.

2. Boston Celtics 52-30

Sure, the off season acquisitions of SF Gordon Hayward and PG Kyrie Irving make the Celtics more appealing on paper, but for a team that was the number one seed in the East last year to have only 4 returning players from the previous year is troubling. They’re definitely the future best team in the Eastern Conference, but they’re not getting past the King.

3. Washington Wizards 50-32

The dynamic guard duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal is enough to keep this team at the top of the East, but paying SF Otto Potter Jr $106.5 million is ridiculous. It makes you wish you were an average NBA player, you’d be financially set for life.

4. Toronto Raptors 48-34

Why PG Kyle Lowry decided to stay in Toronto is puzzling, as the Raptors aren’t nearly as good as they were 2 years ago when they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. When SF C.J. Miles is your best pickup of the off season, that should be an indication of how appealing of a destination Toronto is to free agents.

5. Milwaukee Bucks 46-36

SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, otherwise known as “The Greek Freak”, is a superstar that can carry the Bucks back into the spotlight. The development of PG Malcolm Brogdon and a healthy PF Jabari Parker can only further this team’s chances of obtaining relevancy.

6. Miami Heat 44-38

Even after a disastrous 11-30 first half of the season last year, head coach Erik Spoelstra was able to turn SG Dion Waiters into the go-to offensive threat en route to a .500 record. Add in PF Kelly Olynyk, and the Heat should find themselves back in the playoffs.

7. Charlotte Hornets 41-41

Yes, C Dwight Howard is not the player he once was, but he’s a big acquisition for a team that allowed 106 points per game last year. If he doesn’t get his act together, owner Michael Jordan may have to suit up for one practice to relive his glory days of punching teammates during scrimmages.

8. Detroit Pistons 40-42

While the Palace of Auburn hills is no longer the Piston’s home, new life will be breathed into this franchise with the opening of their new arena, Little Caesars Arena. Off season moves such as acquiring SG Avery Bradley adds toughness and grit to the team, something that’s been missing from Detroit to help them back into the playoffs.

9. Philadelphia 76ers 38-44

Yes, they have a lot of young talent in red shirted rookie PG Ben Simmons, rookie PG Markelle Fultz, and the recently turned 148 million dollar man C Joel Embiid. But it’s not yet the time for the “trust the process” montra to make its way into the playoffs.

10. Orlando Magic 36-46

If you really think about it, the Magic aren’t that much better than they were last season, particularly when you account for the fact their biggest signing of the summer was SF Jonathan Simmons. But since other teams have gone into full re-build mode, they’re able to ascend the ranks and avoid the dregs of the East.

11. Indiana Pacers 33-49

No Paul George spells rebuild for the Pacers. PF Myles Turner’s development will be key for the Pacers’ future success, but even former GM Larry Bird didn’t want to stick around to see just how boring a development that might be.

12. New York Knicks 30-52

The Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony eras (*or errors depending how you look at them*) mercilessly came to an end this off season. But removing 2 problems doesn’t mean you’ve found a solution. PF Kristaps Porzingis may be a unicorn and a superstar, but he can’t do everything all by himself.

13. Atlanta Hawks 25- 57

It’s puzzling as to why the Hawks have decided to tank. Sure, they weren’t ever true contenders, but this was a team only 3 years ago that won 60 games and was the number one seed in the East. PG Dennis Schroder is an exciting young player, but the Hawks went from mediocre to awful seemingly overnight.

14. Brooklyn Nets 22-60

Remember when Jay-Z owned the team all so that he could steal money from Brooklyn to build a new stadium for a team people in New Jersey didn’t even pay to see? Good times. Hopefully new PG D’Angelo Russell can finally live up to his potential after bombing with the Lakers, but he may be too busy breaking the bro-code filming his teammates.

15. Chicago Bulls 19-63

Bulls management fired coach Tom Thibodeau for being too difficult of a coach to deal with. Their current head coach, Fred Hoiberg, still finds it difficult to coach grown men after 2 years. Whoops.

Award Winners:

MVP: (*It’s actually LeBron James every year*) Kevin Durant, Warriors

Rookie of the Year: De’Aaron Fox, Kings

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, Timberwolves

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Sixth Man of the Year: Rudy Gay, Spurs

Most Improved Player of the Year: Myles Turner, Pacers

Playoff Predictions:

Western Conference Finals: Warriors over Spurs

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers over Celtics

NBA Finals: Warriors over Cavaliers

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Bro-Reviews: Marshall

Based on a (*not as well known*) true story.

It’s been said before here, but bio-pics can be a tough sell every now and then. We’ve already seen the disastrous results bio-pics have yielded thus far in 2017, namely the egregiously mishandled Tupac Shakur bio-pic All Eyez on Me. Therefore it wasn’t out of the question to believe a bio-pic on Civil Rights activist Thurgood Marshall, entitled  Marshall, might have also been bungled as well. Would it be able to avoid all of the same issues that plagued All Eyez on Me? Or would it rise above the ashes of that atrocity and present audiences with a gripping film chronicling one of the most influential Civil Rights figures?

Marshall sees a young Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) as the go-to lawyer for the NAACP, who attempt to ensure all African Americans accused of crimes are given a fair trial. Marshall is sent to Greenwich, Connecticut to serve as council for Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), a man accused of raping and attempting to murder Elanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), a white socialite in the town. In order to overcome an unfair judge (James Cromwell) and a well connected, biased prosecution lawyer (Dan Stevens), Marshall must team up with the reluctant Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a small time lawyer who appears to be unprepared for the case.

If you don’t know, Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice along with an advocate for the Civil Rights movement. It would have been a tall task for director Reginald Hudlin to cover Thurgood Marshall’s story in its entirety, and it works to the film’s benefit to cover this lesser known case to highlight Marshall’s beginnings. By only focusing on this case, Hudlin is able to grasp the audience’s attention for the entirety of the film by presenting us with a good-old fashioned courtroom drama in the same elk as 1996’s A Time to Kill. You as an audience member are also treated as a member of the jury through the proceedings, and are left squirming in your seat at every moment in the courtroom as you try to decipher the case being presented on-screen.

The highlight of the film is the captivating, swaggering performance of one Chadwick Boseman. Marshall is his latest triumph and another tremendous addition to his resume, as his portrayal as Thurgood Marshall is not only relatable, but also endearing. We feel for Marshall at every obstacle that is put in front of him, and we root for him to succeed in this against all odds case. We’ve seen Boseman do this before as historical black figures in 2013’s 42 as Jackie Robinson and as James Brown in 2014’s Get On Up, and eventually we’ll more than likely see him play every single historical black figure there is.

The supporting cast also shines in the film. While Josh Gad is essentially a more dramatic incarnation of Jack Black and Dan Fogler, Gad delivers a stellar performance as a resistant at first lawyer, and his transformation into a capable defense attorney is one of the better character arcs this year. Kate Hudson also delivers a fine performance as Mrs. Strubing, and it’s a good to see her branch out into more dramatic territory after making a career of off sub-par romantic comedies. James Cromwell and Dan Stevens also give solid performances as an unjust judge and prejudiced prosecution lawyer respectively, adding tension to an already heightened situation.

In regards to the usually superb Sterling K. Brown, he doesn’t quite find his footing until the end of the film as the accused Joseph Spell. Most of the film, Brown appears to be a bumbling, unintelligent black man most racists believe black men to be, and something about his confused demeanor didn’t sit entirely well with me. As stated earlier, James Cromwell and Dan Stevens are well-cast in their villainous roles, but they might as well be waking around with signs that read “BAD GUY.” And as with many courtroom dramas, there are no shortages of cliches and telegraphed moments. One in particular that stands out is an aforementioned character’s sudden change from the behavior he had displayed throughout 99% of the film, and the camera’s lingering on this moment is a dead giveaway as to what is about to occur.

Sure, Marshall contains many elements we’ve seen numerous times before in other courtroom drama films. However, Marshall‘s tense moments, stellar supporting cast, and knockout performance from its lead makes it one of the best the genre has to offer. It may not get the awards attention it probably deserves because of its familiar themes, but Marshall has enough to it to not only stand on its own, but also stand out from the rest, much like Thurgood Marshall himself.

Rating: 3.5/4 Stars. Pay Full Price.

Marshall stars Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, James Cromwell, Dan Stevens, Keesha Sharp, and Sophia Bush. It is in theaters October 13th.

 

 

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 6 Predictions

The picks keep coming.

Week 5 of the NFL season saw some entertaining match-ups, but also gave us a glimpse into who’s a contender and who’s a pretender. Let’s not make those determinations until midway through the season, because no one is willing to say the New York Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East with a 3-2 record. It’s much too early.

Last Week: 6-8

Overall: 42-35

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (Thursday Night Football)

A match-up between two of the best teams not only in the NFC but maybe even the NFL itself, this has the potential to be the best Thursday Night Football game ever. With two young stud QBs in Cam Newton and Carson Wentz starring in this match-up, Thursday Night Football won’t be the bane of everyone’s existence this week.

Winner: Panthers

Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens

After not being able to find the end zone for two straight weeks, the Ravens found the perfect remedy to cure their scoring woes: the Oakland Raiders defense. Next on the agenda, Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky.

Winner: Ravens

 

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Aaron Rodgers is a one man team. The Vikings can’t decide between an oft hurt Sam Bradford or career backup Case Keenum to hold down the quarterback position.

Winner: Packers

 

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins

The 49ers should take a good hard look at Redskins QB Kirk (*or Kurt?*) Cousins. He could be their QB of the future.

Winner: Redskins

 

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

The Adrian Peterson era/ error mercilessly came to an end after the Saints traded him to the Cardinals. That doesn’t solve all their problems, but with Lions QB Matt Stafford not at full strength, the Saints seem prime to climb back to mediocrity.

Winner: Saints

 

Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons

The Dolphins are embroiled in controversy due to their now former offensive line coach Chris Foerster being filmed snorting a white powdery substance. Hardly a rallying cry for a struggling Dolphins offense.

Winner: Falcons

 

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

Texans QB DeShaun Watson will make the Browns pay for passing on him in the 2017 NFL Draft. But look on the bright side Cleveland, you’ve still got the Indians… who blew a 2-0 series lead against the Yankees. Well, you’ve got LeBron James… for one more year.

Winner: Texans

 

New England Patriots at New York Jets

The Jets are riding high because of a three game winning streak. Hope they enjoyed it while it lasted.

Winner: Patriots

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Peterson all on the same team?! This team could go to the Super Bowl… if it were 2009.

Winner: Buccaneers

 

Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars

These two teams are surprisingly 3-2 through 5 games, but let’s pump the breaks on declaring these teams the favorite to win their respective divisions. This pick will also be a first in Bros Can’t Hang history…

Winner: Jaguars

 

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Something is amiss in Raiderville after a 2-3 start, and the Chargers are coming off of an emotional first win. In a key AFC West showdown, the Raiders need this game if they hope to remain in title contention.

Winner: Raiders

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

Ben Roethlisberger threw 5, count ’em, 5 interceptions last week against the Jaguars. He has openly considered retirement since the off season. The Kansas City Chiefs defense, who are fourth in the NFL in takeaways thus far, may accelerate that consideration.

Winner: Chiefs

 

New York Giants at Denver Broncos (Sunday Night Football)

The Giants are 0-5, and there are talks of QB Eli Manning being traded to the Jaguars to reunite with his old coach, Tom Coughlin. WR Odell Beckham Jr. is out for the season with a broken ankle. WR Brandon Marshall is out for the year as well.  Can things get any worse for the Giants? Yes, because the Denver Broncos’ number 1 ranked defense are a pulverizing bunch.

Winner: Broncos

 

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Monday Night Football)

Titans QB Marcus Mariota and Colts QB Andrew Luck are injured. Remember when these teams were rising superpowers in the lowly AFC South? That seems like a distant memory.

Winner: Titans