Bro- Picks: NFL Week 5 Predictions

1 quarter down, 3 to go.

We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and to say there have been surprises would be an understatement. Such shocking developments include:

The New England Patriots are 2-2, and their defense is on pace to be one of the worst defenses in NFL history. QB Tom Brady may be somewhat of an ageless wonder at 40 years old (stats), but even he cant overcome a historically bad defense. There’s not enough crow to go around for all the dopey experts who predicted this team would go 19-0.

The Oakland soon to be Las Vegas Raiders looked like a force to be reckoned with the first two weeks of the season, and even held a dance party because of it. Since then they’ve looked like the Jamarcus Russell era Raiders, getting punk’d on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins, and looking impotent against the Broncos. To make matters worse, QB Derek Carr is out 2-6 weeks with a transverse fracture in his back. Should Carr come back quickly there’s a good chance the Raiders could recover. If Carr is out for an extended period of time, the Raiders’ season is sunk.

The Jets are 2-2. So much for tanking.

The Dallas Cowboys are 2-2, and everyone seems to be panicking. Prior to last seasons 13-3 outing, the Cowboys went 40-40 from 2011-2015. If anything, the Cowboys have been their typical selves so far this season. Factor in a defense that can’t stop a nose bleed, and it’ll be tough for QB Dak Prescott and company to match last year’s success.

Last Week: 10-6

Overall: 36-27

Upset of the Week: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Thursday Night Football)

The New England Patriots are lucky to be in the AFC East, because nobody is buying the Buffalo Bills as the best team in that division. The Patriots defense has allowed every opponent’s QB to throw for over 300 yards this year, and Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston will fest upon New England’s poor pass defense.

Upset of the Week Winner: Buccaneers

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts

Colts QB Andrew Luck is finally practicing, but there is no timetable for his return. This is the last winnable game for the 49ers until December 3rd against the Chicago Bears, but it will be Colts QB Jacoby Brissett who will show flashes of being a franchise QB, perhaps even one the 49ers should look into next off season.

Winner: Colts

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns

I like Browns coach Hue Jackson a lot. He deserves better than the dumpster fire known as the Cleveland Browns. And aren’t the Jets supposed to be tanking?

Winner: Jets

Lock of the Week: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers

The soap opera known as the Pittsburgh Steelers never seems to end. First WR Antonio Brown throws a temper tantrum on Sunday after not receiving the ball when he was wide open. QB Ben Roethlisberger then chides Antonio Brown publicly after saying he wished Brown had voiced his frustrations privately. All of this would spell disaster for most teams, but none of it matters, as the Steelers play the perpetually schizophrenic Jaguars on this week’s episode.

Winner: Steelers

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants

A battle of 0-4 teams. One team feels as if they are playing road games every week since opposing teams’ fans take over their tarp covered, 27,00 seat soccer stadium. The other team is the worst New York football team right now, and that was supposed to be the Jets. It’s getting tiresome picking the Giants every week, but they’re playing a Chargers team that has got to be the biggest joke other than the Browns right now. This has got to be the Giants’ week, right?

Winner: Giants

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals

The Bills, whom many thought were tanking, are 3-1 and in first place in the AFC East. That may not last much longer, but for one more week, the good times will roll in Buffalo.

Winner: Bills

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions

Cam Newton seems to have gotten his swagger back after scoring 4 touchdowns against the Patriots last week. That swagger carried over in the wrong way during a press conference Wednesday, where he said “It’s funny” when a female reporter asked him a question regarding the routes his wide receivers ran in week 4. There’s nothing funny about the Lions, who lead the NFL with 11 takeaways this season. While Newton’s remarks were reprehensible at best, Cam has his groove back, and that’s all the Panthers need.

Winner: Panthers

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins

The Titans may be without QB Marcus Mariota this weekend, and instead of signing a QB who could actually run their offense (*cough* Colin Kaepernick *cough*), they signed Brandon Weeden. They’re lucky they get to face smokin’ Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins this week, whose offense looks like it’s being ran by a man enjoying his retirement.

Winner: Titans

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles

The Cardinals two wins have come against the the Colts and the 49ers. The Eagles have proven to be the beasts of the NFC East through 4 games, and it’s games like these against vulnerable teams at home you must win in order to be considered true contenders.

Winner: Eagles

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders

As stated earlier, the Raiders will be without QB Derek Carr for sometime. Their backup is former 16th overall pick and only the QB taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft EJ Manuel (*seriously, nobody wants to call Colin Kaepernick?*). The Ravens defense may be stout with 11 takeaways this season, but the Raiders will find a way to eek out a victory against a Ravens team whose QB Joe Flacco can no longer be considered elite.

Winner: Raiders

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are the surprise team at the top of the NFC West with a 3-1 record, including a stunning win over the Cowboys at Jerry World last week. This will be the biggest indicator of whether they are a true contender or not, as it has been QB Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom Seattle Seahawks who have owned this Division since 2013. The Rams aren’t ready for the spotlight.

Winner: Seahawks

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

A rematch of last year’s Divisional Playoff game (*quite possibly one of the best ever*), the Packers have injuries upon injuries stacking up. The Cowboys look vulnerable after looking invincible last season. The Cowboys need this game more to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with, and anticipating they will play with that urgency is enough to prevail over Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

Winner: Cowboys

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (Sunday Night Football)

The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in the NFL at 4-0. Chiefs coach Andy Reid wins 61% of his regular season games, so we should’ve seen this success coming. However, they’ll be facing a dynamic young QB in Deshaun Watson this week. After his 5 touchdown performance against the Titans last week, maybe Watson’s former college coach Dabo Swinney wasn’t far off when he said any team that passes up on him in the NFL draft is passing up on the next Michael Jordan.

Winner: Texans

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (Monday Night Football)

The Bears have mercilessly ended the Mike Glennon era (*or error*) and will start rookie QB Mitch Trubisky this week. Seriously? The Bears want to trot out their prized possession against a defense that is only allowing offenses to score 19 points a game? Hardly a confidence booster for a QB making his NFL debut in prime time.

USP NFL: CHICAGO BEARS-MITCHELL TRUBISKY PRESS CON S FBN USA IL

Winner: Vikings

 

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Bro-Reviews: American Made

Cruise-Control.

Despite his short stature, Tom Cruise is a controversial figure. His devotion to the religion of Scientology, horse toothed smile, and constant running in motion pictures to the point that it must be an obligation specified in his contract for every movie he does, garners him polarizing opinions. There are some who despise Tom Cruise. There are those who love Tom Cruise. But one thing that cannot be taken away from him is his longevity, as Cruise has had arguably the longest spanning career as an A-list actor who has ever graced the silver screen. Despite some recent hiccups, including this past summer’s so bad it turns around to being good The Mummy, Cruise’s status as a leading man doesn’t appear to in jeopardy, especially if his latest film, American Made, has anything to say about that.

American Made sees Tom Cruise as Barry Seal, a talented pilot for commercial airline TWA who appears bored with life in the late 1970s in America. One day, he is contacted by CIA agent Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson), who convinces Seal to work for the agency at first by flying covert reconnaissance missions in order to spy on Communist bases in South America. This then escalates to Seal becoming involved in the drug smuggling industry with the Medellin Cartel, running guns to the Nicaraguan Contras, and even transporting the Contras to Mena, Arkansas for training. While Seal reaps the benefits of these missions by obtaining a lofty sum of cash, these situations continue to spiral out of control, and with the DEA hot on his trail, Seal must navigate through all the chaos.

American Made does a splendid job of transporting audiences into the late 1970s all the way through the 1980s during its 117 minute run time. From the classic Cadillac vehicles all the way to the the character’s outfits, there’s little confusion as to what setting the film takes place in. Also included is archive footage of speeches from former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to highlight how our world leaders appear to be against everything Barry Seal is doing, but are in fact the ones who are allowing Seal to profit from all they publicly denounce.

The supporting cast in the film also functions well within the well-done script by Gary Spinelli. Sarah Wright is smoldering as Seal’s wife Lucy, but also acts as the audience reacts to all of the seemingly unrealistic events that are unfolding. Alejandro Edda and Mauicio Mejia do a great job as Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar respectively, doing these larger than life business men turned paranoid drug lords justice. Caleb Landry Jones is a riot and a nuisance as Lucy’s slow, red-neck brother JB, and continues his ascension to the top of the character actor ranks. It’s Domhnall Gleeson who fares best among the supporting cast as CIA agent Schafer, and being the catalyst for Seal to embark on these dangerous but bankable undertakings makes him one of the more charismatic characters in the film.

Tom Cruise in “American Made.”

But let’s not make any bones about it, this is Tom Cruise’s movie. Cruise expertly portrays Seal as a hustling, aw-shucks attitude having Southerner who can’t believe his luck due to excess earnings he’s making and his ability to avoid the law while doing it. Cruise puts us in Seal’s shoes, and you too can’t believe the events unfolding on this roller coaster ride in a slice of life of a real life figure. Cruise owns the screen as Barry Seal, and many would consider this role the first time he has actually acted since 2008’s Valkyrie. This is somewhat puzzling, as there is a reason as to why Cruise has been a leading man for over 30 years in Hollywood. This is the type of role that Cruise can do in his sleep, but even Tom Cruise at his laziest is a compelling watch.

If there’s anything to criticize, it’s the fact there isn’t much commentary on the previously mentioned politics involved in the film. Sure, the archive footage serves as a great reminder as to what was going on during this time period, but the film barely provides a surface level commentary on just how twisted and corrupt the agencies sworn to protect the United States of America. Sure, American Made is supposed to be a classic Tom Cruise vehicle rather than a thoughtful account regarding the United States’ involvement in drug and gun smuggling, but providing that analysis could have made American Made an even better film than it already is.

Despite the missed opportunity director Doug Liman had to provide more insight on the corruption of the United States government in the late 1970s through the 1980s, Liman nails the setting and gets the most out of the supporting cast. He has also seems to be a director who can get a lot out of the ageless wonder that is Tom Cruise, who bolsters the film with his tremendous lead performance. Even though there are signs of Cruise being on Cruise control, American Made is a triumph and a cautionary tale that all good things must come to an end, but to enjoy the ride while it lasts and become the epitome of the American Dream.

Rating: 3/4 Stars. Pay Matinée price.

American Made stars Tom Cruise, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Alejandro Edda, Mauicio Mejia, Jamaya Mays, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, and Benito Martinez. It is in theaters September 29th.

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 4 Predictions

Playmakers. Protests. Picks.

Week 3 in the NFL was high-jacked by players protesting President Donald Trump’s remarks regarding players kneeling during the National Anthem, calling them “sons of b******” and saying they should be fired. NFL players reacted to these immature, incendiary remarks by either staying in the locker room, locking arms, kneeling, or some combination of the three during the playing of the National Anthem. These protests and signals of unity led to what might have been the most upset riddled week of the NFL thus far, leading to many having awful weeks predicting the week 3 match-ups.

Just for a recap: The Jaguars embarrassed the Ravens, the Bears conquered the Steelers, the Saints blew out the Panthers, the Titans vanquished the Seahawks, the Redskins beat down the Raiders, the Vikings pulverized the Buccaneers (*with Case Keenum as their QB*), the Bills subdued the Broncos, the Packers needed overtime to beat the Bengals, and the Jets trounced the Dolphins. Let all of that sink in.

Last Week: 5-11

Overall: 26-21

Lock of the Week: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)

The Bears are better than we expected. While Bears fans should be happy that it won’t be Jay Cutler suiting up against the Packers, Mike Glennon is not much of an upgrade.

Lock of the Week Winner: Green Bay

New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins

The Saints may have started 0-2 for the fourth straight season, but they always start slow because Drew Brees is old. Like any other old person, they take a while to get warmed up, then hit their stride, and then collapse. We’re somewhere in between the first two steps of that process with Brees and the Saints, and the Dolphins lost to the Jets. Let me repeat that. THE DOLPHINS LOST TO THE JETS.

Winner: Saints

Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta could very easily be 1-2 right now, as they’ve been outplayed two out of the first three weeks, including weaseling their way to a win last week against Detroit. Nevertheless, the Falcons are 3-0, and while they’ll struggle against a tough Bills defense, it may be time to re-think the whole notion of the “Super Bowl hangover”.

Winner: Falcons

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

Both teams suffered uncharacteristic losses against lesser competition last week. If you thought this rivalry couldn’t get any more heated than it already is, first place is on the line this week.

Winner: Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

The Battle of Ohio? More like the battle of Oh why no.

Winner: Bengals

Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

Don’t drink the Rams Kool aide just because they’re first in the league in points per game. Their two wins have come against the Andrew Luck-less Colts and the 49ers. Hardly the Super Bowl contending, knee-bending, anthem standing Dallas Cowboys.

Winner: Cowboys

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

The Titans look like the real deal after dominating Seattle, but the Texans looked explosive with DeShaun Watson at the helm against the Patriots. This is a true AFC South Smackdown.

Winner: Texans

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Let’s recap Detroit’s game last week. WR Golden Tate appeared to have caught a pass and crossed the goal line to put the Lions ahead of the Falcons with 8 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The referees decided to review the play, and reversed the call by saying he was down before scoring. Then, by NFL rule, a 10 second run off had to occur because it was a scoring play review under 2 minutes, costing them the game. You think Detroit is mad about that?

Winner: Lions

Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots

The Patriots defense is really bad, but QB Tom Brady is quite possibly the G.O.A.T., which is more than enough to make up for their lack of defense. The Panthers will want to rebound from being beat-down against the Saints, but Panthers QB Cam Newton threw for a measly 167 yards and 3 interceptions against a woeful Saints defense.

Winner: Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets

This is a game where you could flip a coin and decide the winner. Even then you can’t be sure which version of these teams, good or bad, will show up come Sunday.

Winner: Jets

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer can’t move anymore, and WR Larry Fitzgerald, who has plenty left in the tank, is handicapped by his immobile QB. But the 49ers allowed Jared Goff to hang 41 points on them, so there’s a beacon of hope this week for the birds of the desert.

Winner: Cardinals

Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers

The Eagles had a huge week 1 win against an NFC East rival. They followed that up with a loss on the road against an AFC West opponent. The Eagles won in dramatic fashion last week thanks to a 61-yard field goal against an NFC East rival. This week, they go on the road to face an AFC West opponent. Notice a pattern?

Winner: Chargers

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Giants offense showed signs of life last week against the Eagles, but walked off the field without a win. The Buccaneers came out flat against the Vikings last week, and Buccaneers WR Mike Evans threw a temper tantrum because of that. The Giants are more desperate than the Buccaneers, but if they don’t win this week, it might be time for a change in New York.

Winner: Giants

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos

The Raiders got punched in the mouth against the Redskins on Sunday Night Football in front of a national audience. The Broncos, who are coming off a poor showing in Buffalo against the Bills, must’ve been salivating at what they saw. If he plays, Raiders WR Michael Crabtree may want to hide his gold chain from Broncos CB Aqib Talib.

Winner: Broncos

Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday Night Football)

Is it too early to start flexing games for Sunday Night Football?

Winner: Seahawks

Upset of the Week: Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs (Monday Night Football)

The Chiefs look like the team to beat in the NFL right now, but the Redskins looked dominant against a good Raiders team. It’s another nationally televised game for the Redskins, and they’re going to want to show they can hang with the best the NFL has to offer for the second week in a row.

Upset of the Week Winner: Redskins

Bro-Reviews: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

A well-tailored, golden sequel.

One of the bigger surprises of the 2015 movie release slate was the stylish, hyper-kinetic spy-parody  Kingsman: The Secret Service. It elegantly balanced action with comedy, while retaining a sense of class, making it one of the best spy-action films the genre has to offer. Audiences agreed, and rewarded the film handsomely with their wallets, as Kingsman: The Secret Service went on to gross $414 million worldwide. When a film such as this over achieves at the box office, studio executives are quick to pull the trigger on green-lighting a sequel, and over 2 years later, that sequel has arrived in the form of Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle sees Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) and the rest of the Kingsman organization going about their typical daily duties until they come into contact with members of an underground organization called “The Golden Circle.” Led by criminal mastermind Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) , who plans to poison all of those who use narcotics while holding government agencies for ransom for an antidote, “The Golden Circle” destroys all known Kingsman associates with the exception of Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong). Seemingly on their own, they travel to America to enlist the help of “The Statesman”, an organization similar to theirs but with Southern charm, to take down Poppy while also reconnecting with the presumed to be dead Harry Hart/ Galahad (Colin Firth).

The issue plaguing most sequels in the 21st century is the dreaded symptom known as sequelitis. Symptoms of sequelitis include forgoing of a good story, bigger special effects, more lavish set-pieces, and an overlong runtime. Kingsman: The Golden Circle shows signs of these symptoms, but in the competent hands of writer/ director Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Golden Circle displays these symptoms to not only parody spy film sequels, but also deliver a rowdy good time with the Kingsman.

Taron Egerton continues to showcase he’s a rising star in Hollywood as Eggsy, and his cockney British accent along with the finely tailored suits makes him a likeable hero. His interactions with the always splendid Mark Strong were some of the high points in the original film, and those high points continue here in the sequel. While it’s a shame the studio chose to spoil the return of Colin Firth in the trailers, Firth’s arch gives the film some much needed depth and insight we did not get from his character in the first film, and Firth is once again a calm, cool, and collected mentor in the film.

Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Pedro Pascal in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

The selling point the studio is undoubtedly exploiting most is the inclusion of Statesman agents, most notably Channing Tatum as Agent Tequila, Jeff Bridges as Agent Champagne/ Champ, and Halle Berry as Agent Ginger Ale. Tatum delivers his movie star qualities as a southerner once again, but only briefly. Bridges is essentially playing himself and a similar role to Michael Caine’s in the first Kingsman, but Bridges’ Southern twain more than makes up for his lack of screen time. Berry is in the film the most out of the three, but is the American version of Mark Strong’s Merlin, not necessarily the most exciting role, but she does a fine job.

The real star of the film are the action scenes, which invoke memories of the first film while adding enough of a twist and being larger in scale to please those looking forward to the film. The film starts off with a bang in a car chase scene while Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” blasts in the background, providing for a fun and exciting start to the film. There’s a repeat of the first film’s bar fight scene, but it’s got enough new material to justify it’s inclusion in the film. Action set pieces including a snowy mountain lair in Italy and Poppy’s 1950s dreamland “Poppy Land” (*which blasts Elton John’s “Saturday Night”, who also plays a fictionalized version of himself*) are non-stop fun, and further highlight the absurdity of spy movie villains hideouts and home bases.

If there are any complaints to have regarding the film, it would be its length and having the unfortunate task of trying to top a tremendous villain in the first film. At 141 minutes, the film is a bit overlong, mainly due to Pedro Pascal’s obvious arch as Agent Whiskey. Julianne Moore is clearly having fun as criminal mastermind Poppy, and there’s no doubting an actress of her caliber brings her A-game. However, she’s nowhere near as memorable as Samuel L. Jackson’s over-the-top villain role in the first film, rendering her villain somewhat lackluster.

While common symptoms of sequelitis are present, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the rare sequel that doesn’t get bogged down by its desire to be bigger and zanier than the original. This should please fans of the original, action movie junkies, and spy film aficionados, but its overlong runtime may leave some exhausted by the end. Overall, Kingsman: The Golden Circle aims to please, and does so in the form of a well-tailored, golden sequel.

Rating: 3/4 Stars. Pay High Matinée Price.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Pedro Pascal, Hanna Alström, Edward Holcroft, Emily Watson, Bruce Greenwood, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges. It is in theaters September 22nd.

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 3 Predictions

Week 3 holds the key.

Week 2 of the NFL season didn’t provide very many surprises, but there were some keen observations to be made.

  • For everyone who thought the sky was falling after the New England Patriot’s Week 1 loss at home, don’t you feel silly now? QB Tom Brady dominated a porous New Orleans Saints defense, throwing for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tom Brady is fine, and the Patriots will be fine.

  • The NFL might regret letting the owners run rampant the last two off-seasons and allowing the Rams and Chargers to move to Los Angeles. There was at least some buzz surrounding the Ram’s move, but the Chargers have been largely unwanted. Neither team has drawn a consistently big crowd since their arrival, and their combined attendance of 81,993 (56,612 for the Rams,  25,381 for the Chargers) still didn’t match the attendance of 84,714 for the Texas vs. USC college football game at the LA Coliseum. Ouch.

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  • This is something you just won’t get in Las Vegas once the Raiders move there…

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Last Week: 12-4

Overall: 21-10

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (Thursday Night Football)

The Rams look like an actual team now that Sean McVay is coaching the offense up. QB Jared Goff may not be setting the world ablaze with his passing ability, but he’s done more than 49ers QB Brian Hoyer, who threw for an embarrassing 99 yards against Seattle. Another Thursday Night Football clunker.

Winner: Rams

 

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)

Another god forsaken aspect of the NFL are the games played in London. Most of the time they suck, and anytime London’s “best” football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars are involved, you know it’s about time the NFL rethink playing these overseas games. No wonder it’s being streamed for free on Yahoo, who would would actually want to turn on their television to watch this atrocity?

Winner: Ravens

 

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

The Broncos made the Cowboys quit last week, and QB Trevor Siemian has looked like John Elway 2.0 through the first two weeks. They face a tough Buffalo Bills defense in week 3, and they’ll bruise and batter the Broncos but won’t have enough offensive firepower to overcome the Broncos vaunted defense.

Winner: Broncos

 

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Coming off of off-season shoulder surgery, Panthers QB Cam Newton has looked rusty thus far. Losing his favorite target, TE Greg Olsen, won’t help, but the New Orleans Saints couldn’t stop a nosebleed.

Winner: Panthers

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears

The Bears are already in hibernation, and the outcry of Bears fans to throw in rookie QB Mitch Trubisky makes no sense. Do you want your potential franchise QB to get killed and lose confidence?

Winner: Steelers

 

Upset of the Week: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

This is a “prove it” game for the Lions. Their offense has looked impressive so far behind QB Matt Stafford, and if DE Ziggy Ansah can get to the QB like he did against the Giants (*3 sacks*), the Lions may be for real. The Falcons have yet to display signs of a “Super Bowl Hangover”, but those signs will show come Sunday afternoon.

Upset of the Week Winner: Lions

 

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

*Please rise for a moment of silence for all of those stuck watching this game on their local television stations and don’t have NFL Sunday Ticket.*

Winner: Browns

 

Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Texans rookie QB DeShaun Watson looked about as good as once can expect for a rookie starting his first NFL game on a short week. His rushing touchdown against the Bengals was Michael Vick-esque, but starting off his career with back to back road starts won’t boost his confidence, especially behind an offensive line that could really use holdout LT Duane Brown about now.

Winner : Patriots

 

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

It’s beyond tempting to take the New York Jets here. The Dolphins are riding high after a win against the Chargers, and Dolphins QB “Smokin” Jay Cutler is due for an awful performance. But remember, J. E. T. S. spells lose.

Winner: Dolphins

 

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants are a mess offensively, and QB Eli Manning and head coach Ben McAdoo don’t seem to be getting along. The Eagles put up a valiant effort against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium last week and as of now look like the team to beat in the NFC East, but the Giants defense will do just enough to stop the presses in New York for a day.

Winner: Giants

 

Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans

The Titans resembled the team many picked to rise up and become a playoff contender in their 37-16 drubbing of the Jaguars last week, but they’re still not ready for prime time. Yes, the Seahawks have more holes in their offensive lines than Swiss cheese at the moment, but their defense will step-in and lay down the boom in Nashville.

Winner: Seahawks

 

Lock of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers

I like Marvin Lewis. But the number of times this man has failed to deliver a true contender in his tenure as head coach has finally taken its toll. Bengals fans are crying for the team to start QB AJ McCarron over QB Andy Dalton, but will that really help matters? The Packers have no QB problems, they have Aaron Rodgers. ‘Nuff said.

Lock of the Week Winner: Packers

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers can’t even sell out their 27,000 seat soccer stadium. The Chargers can’t win close games. Does any of this bode well for them as they prepare to play a team who looks like a Super Bowl contender?

Winner: Chiefs

 

Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins (Sunday Night Football)

After throwing a block party with 60,000 of his closest friends, Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch has the Raiders buzzing again. They ride into the nation’s capital against a Redskins team with a talented offense led by QB Kirk (*or Kurt?*) Cousins, and will be the first test for the Raiders’ questionable defense.

Winner: Raiders

 

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals (Monday Night Football)

What used to be a classic NFC East beat down from 1970 until 2002, the Cowboys and Cardinals meet in a compelling Monday Night Football showdown in the desert. While the Cowboys are young and talented, they’re coming off of their most embarrassing loss of the QB Dak Prescott and Rb Ezekiel Elliott era. The Cardinals may be coming off a win, but they struggled mightily against the Andrew Luck-less Colts. This game could either save or sink either teams’ seasons.

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Winner: Cowboys

Bro-Reviews: Mother!

Pretentious filmmaking at its finest.

One of the last true artists remaining in Hollywood today is director/writer Darren Aronofsky, whose career has been built upon making artistic and ambitious films. With the exception of The Wrestler, most of Aronofsky’s work is filled with metaphors, allegories, and pure insanity. After making the story of Noah’s Arc a post-apocalyptic fever dream with no clear setting in 2014’s Noah, Aronofsky is out to outdo himself once again with the release of his new psychological horror film, Mother!.

Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence as Mother, a young housewife married to Him (Javier Bardem), a poet who’s experiencing writer’s block. One night, a mysterious man (Ed Harris) appears at their house, and against the wishes of Mother, is invited to stay by Him. Soon after, a mysterious woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) appears at the house, claiming to be the mysterious man’s wife and is also invited to stay by Him despite a reluctant Mother. A series of strange arrivals and disturbing events then occur, and mother is left to solve the mystery behind these occurrences.

In regards to the acting, everyone in the film does a fine job. Jennifer Lawrence somehow actually manages to act for the first time since her award winning turn in Silver Linings Playbook while still maintaining her blank stare that has somehow made her one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses. Javier Bardem clearly chooses his projects based on their absurdity, and delivers a fine performance considering the ludicrous material he’s given. Ed Harris is a veteran actor who knows what he’s doing at this point in his storied yet underrated career, and it’s good to see Michelle Pfeiffer getting the chance to show off her undervalued acting prowess.

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Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence in “Mother!.”

There’s little doubt that Darren Aronofsky is a true auteur. But sometimes auteurism can lead to pompous filmmaking, and that is what precisely plagues Mother!. The film is clearly an allegory to religion, most notably Christianity. To explain any further would spoil the entire movie.

Aronofsky clearly has some sort of hangup with Christianity and religion in general, and uses his platform as a director and writer to explore the themes of spiritualism and cultism that exists within religion. However, his findings are nothing more than surface level observations about the ridiculousness of certain beliefs in religion and the dangerous effect it can have on the people who follow it excessively. While some may call his vision and work ambitious and thought provoking, the peculiar and unsettling events and images at the beginning of the film turn into obvious and cheap shock value by the film’s hellish climax.

Highlighting the absurdity of certain beliefs in religion and then realizing them is no doubt disturbing to watch. However, if one already acknowledges the belief is somewhat preposterous when you really sit down and think about it, showing the audience what that belief would look like if realized in full form on film is shoddy imagery. And for over two hours, Aronofsky fills Mother! with these depictions, and has no insightful commentary whatsoever. So unless you’re easily mesmerized by horrific symbolism, they are largely ineffective due to Aronofsky’s inability to provide useful insight into what is a controversial and thought provoking subject matter.

Mother! may have fine performances within it, but they are muted by Aronofsky’s desire to place his performers under unusual circumstances as an excuse for him to be weird. Some may marvel at Aronofsky’s lofty ambitions, but Mother! comes across as a useless, pretentious film that states the obvious and has absolutely nothing of value to say or add to its contentious subject matter.

Rating: 1/4 Stars. Stay Away.

Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeseon, Brian Gleeson, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McHattie, and Kristen Wiig. It is in theaters September 15th.

Bro-Picks: NFL Week 2 Predictions

Are you ready for some (*week 2*) football?

Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season provided a couple of surprises, namely the New England Patriots looking vulnerable and the Jacksonville Jaguars looking like the 1985 Chicago Bears. It’s only the first game mind you, but that doesn’t mean week 2 of the NFL season won’t have its fair share of tricks up its sleeve.

Last Week: 9-6

Overall: 9-6

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (Thursday Night Football)

Thursday Night Football, otherwise known as the plague of the earth, makes its unwanted return this week. This week’s snoozer features two teams known as “the kings of almost”, the Bengals and the Texans. Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw 4 interceptions last week, and Texans head coach Bill O’Brien pulled QB Tom Savage in favor of rookie QB DeShaun Watson since Savage is as mobile as a tree stump. Watson will lead the Texans to victory, and questions regarding if Dalton is the answer at QB for the Bengals will be asked more frequently.

Winner: Texans

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Had it not been for a blocked punt on their first possession, the Browns might have actually taken down the Steelers last Week. Browns QB DeShone Kizer looked poised considering it was his first career start, while Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw for a measly 171 yards. The Ravens defense is for real, but the Browns will show signs they are a much improved team in defeat.

Winner: Ravens

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers

Bills head coach Sean McDermott faces off against his old team this week, and he’ll really want this win. Despite tossing 2 touchdowns last week, Panthers QB Cam Netwon looked rusty. Facing a tough Bills defense won’t help knock off the rust any faster, but the Bills played the equivalent of a college football team last week against the Jets. Sean McDermott is in for a real test this week.

Winner: Panthers

Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts

Cardinals RB David Johnson is out 2-3 months due to a wrist injury, not only crushing the hopes and dreams of his fantasy football owners, but also the Cardinal’s chances at contention. QB Carson Palmer looked like 38 year-old QB last week in a loss at the Lions, but they face a Colts team whose QB options are Jacoby Brissett and Scott ‘pick 6’ Tolzien. Maybe the Colts should give Colin Kaepernick a call…

Winner: Cardinals

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars stunned many by crushing the Texans last week. Their defense looked Super Bowl worthy, collecting 10 sacks, and rookie RB Leonard Fournette looks like the real deal. The Titans came out flat against the Raiders last week, but the Jaguars will come crashing down to earth because Blake Bortles is their starting QB. Hey, did Colin Kaepernick take the Colts’ call?

Winner: Titans

Upset of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs dominated the 4th quarter last week against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots, and Alex Smith finally discovered the power of throwing the ball down the field after 13 years. Eagles QB Carson Wentz knows of this power, and threw for 307 yards and 2 TDs last week against the Redskins. Without All-Pro S Eric Berry, the Chiefs could be exploited by Wentz.

Upset of the Week Winner: Eagles

New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints

There isn’t enough crow to go around for all the dopes who picked the Patriots to go 19-0 this season. Father time looked like it finally caught up to QB Tom Brady, and the Patriot’s defense looked awful. Luckily, they play the Saints, who also have a near 40 year-old QB in Drew Brees, an even worse defense, and a has been RB in Adrian Peterson who has already started bickering with overrated Saints coach Sean Payton. Not a recipe for success.

Winner: Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers were a blocked punt away from losing to the lowly Browns, and were rescued by Facebook Live’s favorite user, WR Antonio Brown, who had 11 receptions for 182 yards last week. The Vikings looked tremendous last week, as QB Sam Bradford finally played like the number one overall pick. This is going to be a slugfest.

Winner: Steelers

Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bears looked better than advertised last week against the NFC champion Falcons. Bears rookie QB Mitch(*ell?*) Trubisky may have to wait a little longer behind current starter Mike Glennon. The Buccaneers on the other hand no thanks to the bumbling NFL begin their stretch of playing 16 straight games due to Hurricane Irma cancelling their week 1 match-up. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston, who replaced Glennon, will get the better of his former teammate.

Winner: Buccaneers

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers

The Dolphins also begin their stretch of playing 16 straight games because of the amazing incompetency of the NFL and Hurricane Irma. Thankfully, they’re playing the Chargers, who will have their home opener in a soccer stadium and find more creative ways to lose, while referees won’t remember which city they play in. By the way, how does being the RB coach of the Bills and a Rex Ryan protégé earn you a head coaching job again?

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Winner: Dolphins

Lock of the Week: New York Jets at Oakland Raiders

The Jets are tanking. The Raiders are Super Bowl contenders.

Lock of the Week Winner: Raiders

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos

The Broncos were in control for much of their game against the Chargers, but needed a freeze the kicker timeout and a blocked field goal to win. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but QB Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys both lucky that RB Ezekiel Elliott isn’t suspended (*yet*) and are really good.

Winner: Cowboys

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams

Rams head coach Sean McVay had an impressive debut against the woeful Colts, and *gasp*, QB Jared Goff actually looked halfway competent. McVay will get a chance to stick it to his old team this week, and Redskins QB Kirk (*or is it Kurt?*) Cousins won’t like that.

Winner: Redskins

BONUS Lock of the Week: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Including the playoffs, the 49ers have lost to the Seahawks 7 straight times. The last time they won in Seattle at Century Link Field, Tarvaris Jackson started at QB for the Seahawks. The 49ers looked awful last week, and the Seahawks will want to beat up on the 49ers after looking impotent against the Packers in week 1.

BONUS Lock of the Week Winner: Seahawks

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday Night Football)

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game, the Falcon’s Super Bowl Hangover will officially take over. The Packers haven’t been known for their defense the last couple of seasons, but if they play half as well as they did against the Seahawks in week 1, QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons may be in for a long night.

Winner: Packers

Detroit Lions at New York Giants (Monday Night Football)

While the Lion’s offense looked explosive last week, the Giants offense was muted without WR Odell Beckham Jr. There is such a thing as a must win game in week 2, and this is a must win game for the Giants if they want to avoid their season going off the rails before it even starts. And by the way, the new “Are You Ready For Some Football?” theme doesn’t need Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo. Let ol’ redneck Hank Williams Jr. have the stage all to himself before he makes another ill-advised political comment.

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Winner: Giants