Bro-Commentary: The 5 Moves the Oakland Raiders Must Make In Free-Agency

The Oakland Raiders are just a few moves away from solidifying themselves as Super Bowl contenders for years to come.

The Oakland Raiders enjoyed a return to prominence last season, making it to the postseason for the first time since 2002 when they reached the Super Bowl. For the last decade and a half, free agents in the NFL avoided the Raiders at all costs, seeing it as a destination where careers go to die. This off-season, however, the Raiders appear to be a premiere destination for free agents, seeing the Raiders as a team on the rise. On top of that, the Raiders don’t have as many glaring needs as they’ve had in past off-seasons. That being said, if the Raiders want to legitimize themselves as Super Bowl contenders for years to come, these are the 5 moves the Raiders must make this free agency period.

5. Sign a ILB

One position the Raiders have played musical chairs with the past few seasons has been the Inside Line Backer position. They drafted Ben Heeney in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he has had injury issues and has been a liability in coverage situations. Curtis Lofton was a bust free agent signing for them in 2015, and was promptly released. Perry Riley Jr. played well for the Raiders this past season, but it seems the Raiders are comfortable letting him walk. Same goes for Super Bowl 48 MVP Malcolm Smith, who had a career year in 2015 for the Raiders, but regressed mightily in 2016 and has become a major coverage liability for the Raiders.

The Raiders should take a look at Patriots ILB Dont’a Hghtower, but not overpay him. Hightower is a tremendous talent, but has an extensive injury history. Pittsburgh Steelers ILB Lawrence Timmons, while 31-years-old, could also be an option. The Raiders need to add a play-maker as it pertains to the ILB position, as it will bolster their defense that needs to improve.

4. Sign DT Calais Campbell or NT Dontari Poe

While the Raiders have already tendered DT Denico Autry, they still need help along their front seven. Adding a veteran presence like Arizona Cardinals DT Calais Campbell (8.0 Sacks in 2016) would not only improve their pass rush which ranked last in the NFL with 25 Sacks, but also add a locker room leader as well. If he’s not available or too expensive, the Raiders should poach NT Dontari Poe from the Kansas City Chiefs. He had a down year last season due to a back injury, but he’s younger and would still improve the Raiders’ defensive line. Plus, he’d be one less player to fret over when playing the Chiefs.

3. Add to the Secondary

The Raiders thought they struck gold by signing CB Sean Smith last season. While Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 18th best CB in the NFL last season, he recorded only 2 interceptions and got beat BADLY at times in 2016 (*see Week 1 98-yard TD allowed against Saints WR Brandin Cooks, Week 2 against Atlanta Falcons WR  Julio Jones, Week 15 47-yard TD allowed against Los Angeles Chargers WR Travis Benjamin*). CB David Amerson is a solid 2nd string CB, but at times he was asked to play like a 1st string CB, a position he is at best average. CB D.J. “Toast” Hayden is not getting re-signed due to injury issues and being burnt like toast one too many times since being drafted 12th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Raiders need to add another CB to assist their secondary. There are options out there for the Raiders, namely Houston Texans CB A.J. Bouye, New England Patriots CB Logan Ryan, and Jacksonville Jaguars CB Prince Amukamara.

2. Sign RB Adrian Peterson, For the Right Price

Rumor has it the Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has narrowed his interest down to two teams: the Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are a viable option for Peterson, but have an offensive line that needs a lot of work, not exactly a dream scenario for a veteran RB. The Raiders on the other hand, have one of the best offensive lines in football, and ranked 6th in the league in rushing offense with 120.1 yards per game in 2016. Yes, Peterson was limited to only 3 games and rushed 37 times for 72 yards last season due to a knee injury. Yes, Peterson is 31-years-old. This is why I caution the Raiders not to overpay Peterson should he choose to sign with them. He’s looking for $4-$6 million per year, a significant reduction in salary considering he was due to make $18 million this season had he remained with the Vikings. If he can stay healthy, the Raiders would add another weapon to their already explosive offense should he choose to join the Silver and Black.

1. Extend DL Khalil Mack and QB Derek Carr

Some moves don’t need that much explaining.The 2 pillars of the franchise, DL Kahlil Mack and QB Derek Carr, need to be locked down for the long term.

Defensive Player of the Year winner Khalil Mack ( 73 tackles, 11 sacks, 5 FFs , 1 INT, 1 TD) has a 5th year option, which the Raiders should have picked up… yesterday. After doing so, they need to sign him to an extension. It’ll more than likely make him one of the highest paid defensive players in the NFL, and he’s worth every penny.

QB Derek Carr (3,937 YDS, 28 TDS, 6 INTS,  63.8 CMP%) was an MVP candidate before breaking his Fibula in Week 16 against the Indianapolis Colts. He’s the franchise QB the Raiders have searched desperately for since their Super Bowl season in 2002, when QB Rich Gannon was under center and won NFL MVP honors. There may now be questions as to whether or not he can stay healthy, but he makes the offense go. He should be rewarded a contract extension this off-season as well.

 

 

 

 

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Bro-Reviews: Logan

The Wolverine we wanted. The Wolverine we deserved.

To some, comic book movies are the plague of the earth right now. With the exception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, which even at this point have somewhat of a cut-and-paste feel to them, there appears to be an over-saturation of comic book films. One outstanding example was last summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, an overlong special effects-fest that featured actors who flat-out didn’t care even though the film centers around their actions (*cough* Jennifer Lawrence *cough*). Even I find myself at times wondering if there will ever be an end to comic book movies, and have prayed for something different to come along to revitalize the genre.

It seems my prayer has been answered, and its arrived in the form of a new Wolverine movie, Logan, based loosely on the popular comic “Old Man Logan”. In the not too distant future where mutants are all but extinct, Logan finds a past his prime, sickly Logan AKA Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) slumming through life as a limousine driver. When he’s not driving his limo, Logan hustles for prescription drugs in an attempt to care for the now senile Charles Xavier AKA Professor X (Patrick Stewart) with the help of fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). He then encounters a nurse named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who enlists his help escort a mysterious 11- year-old girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a supposed safe haven for mutants in North Dakota called Eden. As a result, Logan becomes entangled in a deadly circumstance, as Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) along with the assistance of the leader of the Reavers Donald Pierce (Boyd Holdbrook) are looking to capture Laura for unknown purposes. A reluctant Logan finds himself having to protect Laura and Professor X while on the run from the deadly duo.

Lets face it, with the exception of X2: Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past, the X-Men franchise doesn’t have an illustrious history. 2000’s X-Men, 2006’s X-men: The Last Stand, 2011’s X-Men: First Class and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse all fall in-between mediocre and awful on the comic book movie greatness barometer. The franchise has been especially weighed down by the fact that it’s most recognizable anti-hero, Wolverine, has never gotten a great stand-alone film. 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was not only one of the most underwhelming comic book films ever made, it’s one of the biggest middle fingers to comic book fans after the filmmakers bungled the mythology of Deadpool. 2013’s The Wolverine was solid, up until the last 30 minutes which featured its titular character battling a giant samurai transformer in its climax. Logan, however, finally rights the wrong of not only previous Wolverine films, but also past X-men films as well.

Logan isn’t your typical comic book film. It’s a character study. Logan is Hugh Jackman’s finest hour as Wolverine. Jackman aptly embodies a harden man who wants to be left alone to die, but still has enough of a conscious left to care for those in need. We feel Wolverine’s pain throughout this film and sympathize with him greatly, probably the most since his origin was explored further in X2: X-Men United. Sure, the character is essentially a mirror image of  Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name and/ or Dirty Harry, but Jackman’s performances as Wolverine have always been the strongest of his career.

Not to be outdone, however, is Patrick Stewart as Professor X, whose dementia has rendered him a walking nuclear weapon if he is not medicated properly. Stewart is a classical actor, so we expect this of him regardless. More surprising is Stephen Merchants’ performance as Caliban, a tortured albino mutant who aides Logan. Known more for his comedic roles such as in Hello Ladies, Merchant puts his acting abilities on full display, which should result in him obtaining more serious work in the future. Boyd Holbrook continues to show he’s a rising star with his performance as the villainous Donald Pierce, and injects the humor into the film (*because God forbid there not be any humor in a comic book movie*). But the real showstopper here is Dafne Keen as Laura, who barely speaks throughout the film, but gives the performance of a lifetime. You want this girl to make it to Eden, and she doesn’t come off as an annoying kid like most kids do in comic book movies (*cough* Iron Man 3 *cough*). It also helps that she kicks butt too. We haven’t seen such rooted characters in a Marvel Comics movie in quite some, and when something does happen to these people who you’ve grown attached to, it’s as if Wolverine himself claws you in your gut.

Now while Logan is a character piece, it doesn’t forget the main aspect of why people come to see comic book movies: the action. No longer are the days when Wolverine would stab someone and hardly any blood was shown. Logan takes full advantage of its R-rating by showcasing numerous ways to stab people in the head, stomach, and neck. Logan’s action sequences finally quenches my and the audiences’ blood thirst we have begged to see from Wolverine for years, and once the action starts, the blood doesn’t stop dripping. The film also has the feel of a classic western as well, most notably in the film’s scenery. The barren wasteland of Wolverine’s hideout in Mexico, the sequences that take place in Oklahoma City, and the final battle in the woods of North Dakota add an element we haven’t witnessed in a comic book movie. Think True Grit but with claws.

While I have to this point praised the film immensely, Logan shares a flaw like its other Wolverine stand-alone film predecessors: the big bad final boss. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had a mutated Deadpool that had sword Wolverine claws and numerous other mutant abilities. The Wolverine had a giant samurai transformer. While I won’t reveal the seemingly unstoppable force that Wolverine cannot overcome by himself, its one of those moments where you just look at the screen and say, really? That’s it? That’s the best you could come up with? For one reason or another, the standalone Wolverine films find a way to fumble the ball as it pertains to the final boss, and Logan is the franchises’ latest victim.

However, that’s not enough to hold myself back from proclaiming Logan as not only the best Wolverine and maybe even X-Men movie ever made, it could one day be regarded as the pinnacle of comic book films. It delivers on everything we’ve ever wanted in a Wolverine/ X-Men film and more. We get the character depth. We get the action. We get the blood and gore. We get the Wolverine movie we’ve always desired despite its one major blemish. One can only hope that after its successful theatrical run, Logan will be the new gold standard in how to make comic book films for years to come.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. Pay Full Price.

Bro Commentary: Kevin Durant’s Injury, the Bro-Valuation

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors is out for 4 weeks with a knee injury. But this isn’t the end of the Warriors’ championship aspirations, unless they decide it is.

Last night against the Washington Wizards, Warriors’ leading scorer, rebounder, and blocker F Kevin Durant (25.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.6 BLK) exited the game after being hit in the knee by the ever clumsy Warriors C Zaza Pachulia. The Warriors went on to lose 112-108 to the Wizards, and this morning we’ve learned the Warriors may have lost more than a meaningless regular season game. It is now being reported by The Vertical’s Andrian Worjnarowski that Kevin Durant suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise in his knee, and he will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks.

SOMEONE SOUND THE ALARM! PUT A FORK IN ‘EM! THE WARRIORS ARE DONE. THEIR BIG FREE AGENT ACQUISITION IS A BUST AND WON’T WIN THEM A CHAMPIONSHIP!

Not so fast, people. Yes, any time a team loses their leading scorer and rebounder, there is cause for concern. While this will be a nagging injury that will affect him for the remainder of the season, Durant will be back in time for the playoffs judging by the timetable of his injury. But make no mistake, the Warriors never needed Kevin Durant to win a championship in the first place.

This was a team that was a blocked shot and a dagger of a go ahead three-point shot away from being the greatest team in NBA history last year. Don’t you recall? 73-9? Greatest team ever? They did all of that without Kevin Durant. Not to mention the fact the Warriors hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2015, and Durant wasn’t on that team too. Even sans Durant, the Warriors still have their big 3 in tact. You know, the core group of players that got them to the pinnacle of the NBA the previous 2 seasons? Yes, he’s only shot 2-20 from behind the arc the last 2 contests, but PG Stephen Curry (24.8 PPG, 6.8 APG) is still the reigning 2-time MVP. SG Klay Thompson (21.9 PPG, .415 3P%) is still the best pure catch and shoot player in the NBA. F Draymond Green (10.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.3 APG), when he’s not flailing and kicking his opponents, is still the motor of this team. Do you have any recollection of those 3 guys? So long as the Warriors don’t lose any of these 3 All-Star gentlemen for an extended period of time, the Warriors will be fine.

That is, unless the Warriors are defeated by their worst enemy other than LeBron James: themselves. As I was watching ESPN’s Sports Center last night, I was troubled to hear Warrior’s reporter Ethan Strauss compare the atmosphere in the Warriors’ locker room last night to the locker room atmosphere in the playoffs last year when Stephen Curry was injured in game 1 of the first round against the Houston Rockets. Strauss stated that while the loss may have played a role in it, the atmosphere in the locker room was much more somber last night than it was last year when Curry got hurt in the playoffs. You mean to tell me a team that never needed Kevin Durant in the first place was more upset about losing him for the remaining 4 insignificant weeks of the NBA season than they were when they lost the first ever unanimous MVP in NBA history in the postseason last year?

Listen, Kevin Durant has been a great asset for the Warriors, as he’s contributed to the Warriors’ 12.8 average scoring margin this season. That’s better than last year’s 10.8 average scoring margin, and that team won 73 games. But around this time last year, the Warriors were 55-5 and looking like an unstoppable force. This year, the Warriors are 50-10 and have at times looked vulnerable even with the addition of Durant. However, this season isn’t about setting a new record for regular season victories. It’s about winning a championship.

This year it’s not as easy for the Warriors. Somewhere, Cleveland Cavaliers F LeBron James is licking his chops. The Cleveland Cavaliers have added the play-making role players James requested in PG Deron Williams and C Andrew Bogut. While Williams and Bogut are not the same players they once were, the Cavaliers are making it to the NBA finals, you can take that to the bank. While the Warriors remain atop the West for now, Greg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs and MVP candidate James Harden’s Houston Rockets are lurking in the background of the Western Conference. If the Warriors have convinced themselves they need Kevin Durant so badly to the point that even Stephen Curry was praying Durant’s injury wasn’t significant, not only will they fall to the newly revived Cleveland Cavaliers, they might not even make it out of the Western Conference.

 

 

The Oscars: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

The Oscars are here, but not everyone gets to go home victorious.

The Oscars are one of those meaningless topics that is always hotly debated. It starts with the nominations: who got nominated, who should’ve gotten nominated, and who shouldn’t have gotten nominated. Now, with the Oscars only hours away, I’ll tell you who will and who should go home with the golden statue in the major categories come Sunday Night.

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Who Will Win: Viola Davis

Who Should Win: Naomie Harris

Viola Davis has been nominated in the past for her work in Doubt and The Help. She’s a tremendous actress, and she will win her first Oscar Sunday night. However, it should be Ms. Harris who goes home with the award. Harris expertly plays an abusive, drug addicted mother in Moonlight. She’s not in the movie much, but it’s the kind of performance that aptly describes the best supporting actress category. Some of you may cry foul, but I’ll make up for it later.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Who Will/ Should Win: Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali is a lock. He is the darling of the awards season, and deservedly so. Even though he is only present for the 1st 3rd of the film, Ali delivers a captivating performance as a drug dealer with a heart of gold in Moonlight. I really enjoyed Jeff Bridges’ and Lucas Hedges’ performances, but they have no shot against Mr. Ali this year.

Best Director

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Denis Villenueve, Arrival

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle

Who Should Win: Barry Jenkins

Damien Chazelle masterfully crafted the best movie musical since Dreamgirls. He will be rewarded for his work and commitment to bringing the musical back into the mainstream. However, I believe the award should go to Barry Jenkins. It’s clear Jenkins works well with actors, as he gets the most out of his talented cast in Moonlight. Jenkins also delivers some beautiful shots in Moonlight, the kind that bring straight-up tears to your eyes. Jenkins should be the man of the hour come Sunday night, but Mr. Chazelle is going home as the winner.

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Who Will Win: Emma Stone

Who Should Win: Viola Davis

Emma Stone, the girl you’ve had a crush on since her star turn in Superbad, will walk away the big winner Sunday night. She does a fine job of acting, singing, and dancing her way through La La Land. But not only should Viola Davis be nominated in this category, she should win it. She is the only significant female actor in Fences, and she delivers a powerhouse performance that will stand the tests of time.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences

Who Will Win: Denzel Washington

Who Should Win: Casey Affleck

The last 13 years, the winner of the Screen Actors Guild award for best actor has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category. Denzel won the SAG, and he will add another Oscar to his legendary career for his gripping performance in Fences. While I will be happy for Denzel, I think the Academy will unjustly snub Casey Affleck. Affleck handles the material he is given very well, making you empathize with a character you’re not entirely supposed to like. Denzel may be my idol, but its Affleck who is most deserving of the award.

Best Picture

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Who Will Win: Hidden Figures

Who Should Win: Moonlight or Hell or High Water

Somebody put La La Land on upset alert. Hidden Figures is going to win Best Picture. Typically, the Academy loves to reward films that celebrate the industry, and La La Land seems primed to win. But with all of the controversy surrounding the Oscars the last 2 years for their lack of diversity, I think the feel good movie of 2016 Hidden Figures will shock the world due to its racial themes. Personally, my vote would go to either Moonlight or Hell or High WaterHell or High Water is an engrossing modern western, meaning that it has no chance in hell of winning. But it has great performances and high re-watching value because it’s so entertaining. Moonlighis a tour de force in film, featuring tremendous performances from the ensemble cast, and a story that pulls you in from the start. Hidden Figures is a good movie, and it would be a worthy winner any other year. While Hidden Figures will pull the upset of the evening (*maybe even of the century as it pertains to this awards show*), Moonlight or Hell or High Water should be regarded as the finest films 2016 had to offer .

 

 

 

 

The Bro-cademy Awards: The Bro Alternative to the Oscars

Forget the Oscars and the Razzies. Welcome to the Bro-cademy Awards, the annual (?) awards post celebrating the finest and worst in film.

We’re only days away from the Oscars and the Razzies, the annual award shows that honor the best and worst film had to offer every year. This is the Bro-cademy Awards, however. And here at the Bro-cademy Awards, we’ll commemorate the good and bad 2016 had to offer in film all in one post.

Now here’s the criterion: NO ONE IS SAFE.

Enough talk, let’s get down to business.

The Bro, It’s a Good Movie, But I’m Totally Straight Award: Moonlight

Seriously guys, are we not comfortable enough in our sexuality to the point that we need to defend ourselves when we like movies that feature characters that are attracted to the same-sex? Well, sorry if I spoiled the movie for everybody, but Moonlight is a great coming of age story about a young man’s journey through life. I highly recommend it.

The Bro, If He Can Make a Movie, So Can I Award: Marlon Wayans, Fifty Shades of Black

Marlon Wayans has gone so far down this path that he can’t even get his brother Shawn Wayans to make spoof movies with him anymore. Fifty Shades of Black is one of those movies that makes you wonder why you aren’t famous and making movies. Because if Marlon Wayans can make a feature-length film based on a piece of feces he once took, so can you.

The Bro, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? Award: Gods of Egypt and Pride And Prejudice Zombies (Tie)

Gods of Egypt is a movie that features a predominantly white cast battling each other for power in Egypt. It of course stars Gerard Butler, because why wouldn’t it? If those two sentences alone don’t tell you that Gods of Egypt was a bad idea, maybe the fact that it had a production budget of $140 million will.  And while Pride and Predjudice Zombies is based on a popular book, I’m struggling to find who exactly was begging for it to be adapted into a movie.

The Bro, I Know You’ve Never Heard of It Award: Midnight Special

I saw this movie without knowing anything about it. I didn’t watch the trailer, any interviews, nothing. Just went in not knowing what to expect. Do yourself a favor and do the same with this film, and you’ll witness one of the best movies of 2016 that got no love.

The Bro, This is Donald Trump’s America Award: London Has Fallen

If you wanted to see a premonition of what was to come in November of 2016, look no further than last March’s London Has Fallen. It’s a sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen, and of course, stars Gerard Butler, because why wouldn’t it? The film is so insensitive to the Middle East it’s not even funny. All this film is missing is “America, **ck Yea!” playing in the background and you would’ve had a full-fledged documentary about what the future of America would look like under the leadership of Donald Trump. On a separate note, I liked the movie.

The Bro, Nobody Does It Better Award: Marvel Comics/ Studios

Marvel has an impeccable track record as it pertains to making entertaining films. Marvel did it again this year, as Deadpool enchanted audiences everywhere, Captain America: Civil War was what we wanted the 2nd Avengers movie to be, and we learned what the hell was a Doctor Strange. Bravo Marvel, just don’t make another Fantastic Four movie. And after Logan, stop making X-Men movies.

The Bro, Get Your Act Together Award: DC Comics

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Suicide Squad. You better get it together in time for Wonder Woman and Justice League DC.

The Bro, Why Didn’t You See This Movie? Award: The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys is set in 1970s Los Angeles. It stars fat Russell Crowe and the guy you want to be Ryan Gosling as private detectives. The plot centers around the assassination of an adult film star. WHY DIDN’T YOU SEE THIS MOVIE, BRO!?  Based on the synopsis above, you should’ve.

The Bro, She Made Me Go See It Award: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train is the movie your girlfriend makes you go see because she sat through your stupid movie about a guy running around in an American flag outfit. I feel sorry for all the poor souls who were dragged to go see this movie. Watching this film makes you re-evaluate your relationship.

The Bro, I don’t Know Who You Are Anymore Award: Robert De Niro, Dirty Grandpa

Yes, I’m talkin’ to you De Niro. Robert De Niro has been the star of not only some of the best bro movies of all time, but legendary ones as well. Taxi Driver. Goodefellas. Heat. Then, he decided to say screw it and do movies for the money. The Fockers trilogy (*did I seriously just call that a trilogy?). Showtime. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. But De Niro stooped to a new low with Dirty Grandpa. So low that I don’t even recognize him as one of the finest actors in Hollywood anymore. At this point, he’s done more critically panned films than critically praised ones, and Dirty Grandpa stands out above the rest as his worst work.

The Bro, I’m a Social Justice Warrior Now Award: The Birth of a Nation

You said you were going to go see The Birth of A Nation after hearing the rave reviews it received at the Sundance Film Festival. You then proceeded to protest watching it upon learning its star/ director/ writer Nate Parker was acquitted of sexually assaulting a female student while he was attending Penn State. It’s a shame, because The Birth of a Nation is one of the best movies of the year. But when you don’t follow Oprah’s advice, no one will go see your movie. And everyone will give themselves a pat on the back because they didn’t, feeling like they are now a social justice warrior. They’ll also pat themselves on the back for seeing it thinking that by doing so, racism is over, thus making them a social justice warrior. This is why we can’t have nice things.

The Bro, NO I’M SERIOUS, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!? Award: Max Steel and Ben-Hur (Tie)

WHO WANTED A MOVIE TO BE MADE BASED OFF OF A LAME 90s CARTOON? Well, at least the excuse can be made that since it was re-booted in 2013, maybe there was something to gain by attempting to turn Max Steel  into a franchise. That being said, it was still an awful idea. Ben-Hur, on the other hand, is just plain inexcusable. I would’ve loved to been at Paramount for the production meeting of this film. HEY GUYS LETS REMAKE A CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER WITH NO MAJOR STARS. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!

The Bro, It’s The Worst Movie of the Year Award: Ghostbusters

The filmmakers thought if they put a bunch of “funny” women in a movie and slapped the name “Ghostbusters” on it, everyone would go see it and laugh. The movie has the nerve to boast a “WE DID IT!” attitude because they made a Ghostbusters movie with an all female cast. The movie sucks. The special effects suck. The cast sucks and has no chemistry. They drag the old cast of the 1984 classic into it. And before you call me a sexist, they could’ve made this with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill and called it 23 Ghostbusters Street and it still would’ve been unwatchable. Ghostbusters had its time. Let it die.

The Bro, I Love This Movie Award: Hell or High Water

Since you won’t proclaim Moonlight the best movie of the year for fear that your masculinity will be questioned, I have the perfect alternative. Hell or High Water. It’s about 2 brothers robbing banks in Texas while being chased by THE DUDE himself, Jeff Bridges. It’s a modern western that is quite honestly not only one of my favorite films of the year, but also one of the best films of the year.

The Bro, What Did I Just Watch? Award: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

When I was asked how this movie was upon seeing it, I only had one response: IT WAS INCOHERENT. Why Doomsday? Why did Batman have a “knightmare” about Superman and giant mosquitos turning the world into Mad Max: Fury Road? Why did Lex Luthor pee in a jar? For crying out loud, my mom was even asking why  Batman and Superman are even fighting? None of these questions get answered. All you get is a loud, overlong, incoherent film that my brother liked.

And there you have it! THE 2017 BRO-CADEMY AWARD “WINNERS”! Let’s give everyone a round of applause! We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at the year in film that was 2016. We’ll (*maybe*) see you here next year at the Bro-cademy awards!

 

 

 

 

Bro Reviews: Fist Fight

Public School is hell, as is this movie.

February is a month that only recently has become a destination for blockbusters. In years past, the month of February, much like the month of January, has been a dumping ground for film studios. Studios typically release films during this time with the hope that you’ll be so bored that you have no choice but to see one of their films they have absolutely no faith in. Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema may have outdone themselves this time with their latest film, Fist Fight.

A loose remake of the 1987 cult classic Three O’Clock High, Fist Fight stars It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Charlie Day as Andy Campbell. Mr Campbell is a spineless English teacher who is just trying to make it through the last day of the school year at Roosevelt High. The school is overrun with spoiled public school children who terrorize the teachers, and with this being the last day of school, they decide to take their high-jinks a little too far. This angers noted hot-head teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) so much that he decides to be just as careless as the children in this film and destroys a desk with an axe. With layoffs looming and fearing for his job, Mr. Campbell rats on Mr. Strickland in a meeting with Principal Richard Tyler (Dean Norris), costing Mr. Strickland his job. Mr. Strickland, irate over losing his job, challenges Mr. Campbell to a fist fight after school, while Mr. Campbell spends the rest of the film trying to find a way out before ultimately engaging in the fight.

Fist Fight is a prime example of a wasted opportunity. The film is so lazily put together it doesn’t even feel like a movie. It’s more like a collection of improv sketches that took place at a high school stitched together into what is barely a feature-length film.

I love Charlie Day. He’s great on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and in Horrible Bosses. But all he does in this film is screech and ab-lib. You never find yourself really rooting for his character since he’s such a pushover, so his transformation into a guy who will stand up for himself seems forced and doesn’t add up. His adversary, Ice Cube, is only in the film to be angry. Ice Cube does this exceptionally well in the Jump Street movies, but he’s given no clever material here to make it work. That is, unless you count recycling his classic lines from his N.W.A. days or in the Friday film series as clever, which I don’t.

The supporting cast doesn’t really help the film either. Tracy Morgan does what Tracy Morgan does, and it’s not very good. Jillian Bell also ad-libs her way through this film, and constantly speaks about how she is attracted to the male students at the school. The first time around it gave me a laugh, but they beat the joke into the ground to the point that you  can’t help but think of inappropriate student-teacher  relationships such as Mary Kay Letourneau and the recent Kelsey Leigh Gutierrez. It’s disturbing.  Dean Norris as the principal of the school just screams his way through the film, adding relatively nothing funny to the mix. And I want to make a plea here: STOP PUTTING CHRISTINA HENDRICKS IN MOVIES. All she does in every film is say and do crazy things while attempting to look sexy. It’s the exact same thing she did in last year’s box office turkey Bad Santa 2 and once again does the same thing in this film. Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani is wasted as the school’s security guard, and poor Dennis Haysbert must have really needed a paycheck, as he shows up for 2 scenes as the superintendent of the school district.

The only 2 things I can think of when complementing this film are the last 20 minutes or so. In those 20 minutes, we see a grade school-aged girl sing a wildly inappropriate Big Sean song (*there are only 2 that should come to mind*) at a talent show, which is of-course ripping off a classic scene from Little Miss Sunshine, but its pretty funny. And the fist fight itself must have been where all the film’s budget went, as its well choreographed and delivers.However, you have to sit through an hour and ten minutes of unfunny ab-libbing beforehand, and those 20 minutes are not enough to make up for that hour and ten minutes.

Not to mention, the film feels a bit irresponsible. Fist Fight has the combination of over-privileged spoiled brats terrorizing the school and the sub-plot of teachers’ jobs being on the line due to budget cuts, and these are real problems that are facing our public school systems today. But the film doesn’t bother to elaborate or provide useful commentary on how public schools have gotten to this point that they will literally sanction two teachers fighting each other since the system has failed them. Now I’m not asking Fist Fight to elevate its lowbrow premise necessarily, but it seems like there could have been a funny, insightful film here had everyone involved just tried a little bit. But no, Fist Fight would rather have a running gag of how many ways students can draw dude genitalia throughout the school.

Fist Fight is a classic example of film that had no script to begin with and relied too heavily on the talent of its cast to make something happen. Well, other than the fist fight itself, nothing comes together. And as if to add insult to injury, they run every joke into the ground. It’s a shame too, because somewhere within the development of this film, there was a good movie to be made. The finished product, however, is an utter waste of time and money.

Rating: 1/4 Stars. Stay away.

Bro Commentary: The NBA Season is Over

NBA All Star Weekend, in other words, the end of the season, is finally here.

President’s Day weekend has typically been reserved for the NBA’s star-studded event where the top players of the league come together to showcase their lack of competitiveness against each other on a much broader scale. That star studded event? The NBA All Star Game/ All Star Weekend. It is also the time to make an official declaration on the NBA season: THE SEASON IS FINISHED.

Yes, there are more regular season games left to play. Playoff seeding is not set. And while you might hear the complaints of Celtics fans crying foul over PG Marcus Smart’s phantom foul on Chicago Bulls F Jimmy Butler as a deciding factor on who may get home court advantage in the playoffs, it literally doesn’t matter. The Celtics should be happy they’re even getting mentioned here. That’s not an indication of how bad I think the Celtics are, it’s an indication of just how predictable the NBA has become in recent years. There are really only 4 teams that I believe have a chance of winning the title, 75% of which hail from the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Oh, and that other team that could win that’s from the Eastern Conference? It sure as hell ain’t the Boston Celtics.

The four teams that can win the NBA title this year are as follows:

Cleveland Cavaliers: 39-16, 1st Place in the East

Why They’ll Win It All: LeBron James. ‘Nuff said. Alright, I’ll talk about the defending champions a little more here.  They’re in first place despite not having SG J.R. Smith over an extended period of time, PF Kevin Love set to miss 6 weeks due to a knee injury, and not having another play-maker as their coach, GM and franchise savior LeBron James said. All LeBron meant there was that he needs a backup point guard. Even if his wish isn’t granted, the Cavs are in prime position to not only represent the Eastern Conference again, but win the title as well. They’re the 3rd best offense in the league scoring 111 points per game, they shoot 39% from the 3 point line behind only the San Antonio Spurs (and ahead of the Golden State Warriors by the way), and they’re 10th in the league with an average of 44 rebounds per game (as legendary coach Pat Riley once eloquently stated, “No rebounds, no rings.”). Did I mention they have the greatest basketball player of our generation in LeBron James? Did I mention that?

Why They Won’t Win It All: The obvious factor to point out here is that the Cavaliers have faced numerous injury issues. Starting SG J.R. Smith hasn’t played since December 20th after breaking his wrist, and according to his twitter account, he still has “a ways to go” before he makes his return to the court. Starting PF Kevin Love is also set to miss 6 weeks due to knee surgery, a big loss since he is having his best season since joining the Cavaliers, averaging 20 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

Now while everything I just mentioned is true, this would be glossing over the fact that the Cavs haven’t played defense since their Christmas day victory over the Warriors. They rank 15th in the league in opponents points per game, allowing them to score 106 points night in and night out. Teams are also shooting an average of 45.5% per game against them, ranking 16th in the NBA. Even more troubling is the fact that teams are also shooting from behind the arc well against them, with an average of 36.2% per game, ranking 19th in the NBA. I know we’ve just made it through what are the dog days of the NBA season, but c’mon man. You gotta stop somebody if you want to win.

Bottom Line: The Cavs will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Once they get all of their players back healthy and actually start to play defense, there’s no one that can stop them. Oh yeah, they have LeBron. He’s the difference between you being in the NBA finals or picking in the NBA Draft lottery. Can you name another player that has ever had that kind of impact on a team? Didn’t think so.

Golden State Warriors: 47-9, 1st Place in the West

Why They’ll Win It All: The Warriors are out for vengeance after blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals last year to the aforementioned Cavs, forever going down in meme history (it never gets old) and bringing no ring to the greatest regular season ever. They went out and got Benedict Arnold… I mean F Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder, who has fit nicely with the squad averaging 25.8 points per game. They also have a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who continue to electrify the league with their three-point shooting. And of course, they have the best offense in the league once again, averaging 118.2 points per game, shooting 50.1% from the field every game, and 38.8% from behind the arc. (*Ok, that last one I mentioned is only 3rd best in the league, but you get the point.*)

Why They Won’t Win it All: Noted punk and loud mouth F Draymond Green has continued to show he hasn’t learned a damn thing since getting suspended for game 5 of the NBA Finals last year, as he has accumulated 10 technical fouls this season. If he continues his antics, he could cost the Warriors another championship.

Some will also be quick to note that the Warriors are a top defensive team in the NBA. If you look at the numbers, this is true. Opponents shoot only 43.6% per game from the field, and that number goes down to just 32.5% per game from behind the 3-point line, the best in the league. However, I believe these numbers are misleading. Teams get in trouble with the Warriors when the try to play the Warriors’ style of Basketball, leading to them hoisting shots in order to keep up with them. When you try to play Warriors basketball, you lose. If you slow the game down, play halfcourt offense and tough hard-nosed defense (*like the Cavs did last year in the Finals*), you win. It also important to note that as of now, the Warriors are only 3-5 against the Cavs, Grizzlies, Rockets, and Spurs (*1-5 against the Cavs in their last 6 if we’re getting technical*). These are all teams they could potentially face in the postseason, and they’re proven they can hang with the Warriors.

Bottom Line: The Warriors should be the favorite to make it out of the Western Conference. However, it won’t be nearly as easy for them as it has been the past 2 seasons. And if they get to the Finals, while they should be favored, LeBron James is lurking.

San Antonio Spurs: 43-13 2nd Place in the West

Why They’ll Win It All: As they do every year, the Spurs are having a great season. They are led by MVP candidate and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner Kawhi Leonard, who is averaging a career best 25.9 points per game. And let’s not forget the best coach in the game, Greg Popovich, who is perhaps doing his best coaching job ever without his partner in crime, former Spurs PF Tim Duncan. He’s has successfully taken the younger players such as PF LaMarcus Aldrich (17.5 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game) and PG Patty Mills (9.7 points per game) and blended them seamlessly with old veterans PG Tony Parker (10.6 ppg), SG Manu Ginobili (7.7 ppg), and PF Pau Gasol (11.7 ppg and 7.9 rpg). They also are 1st in the NBA in 3 point field goal percentage at 40%, and 2nd in the NBA in opponents points per game at 98.4. While the offensive fire power is a new wrinkle in Popovich’s game plan, he still has the suffocating defense that can stop anyone.

Why They Won’t Win It All: They’re old. Tony Parker is 34 years old, and doesn’t have the quickness he once had. Manu Ginobili is 39 Years old. Pau Gasol is 36 years old. While Greg Popovich has done a great job in blending the old with the young on his team, the old players may not have anything left come post-season time. This may not be a measurable stat, but if you want an example of an old team that ran out of gas, look no further than last years’ Spurs. They got to the Conference Semi-Finals against a younger Oklahoma City Thunder team and had no answer for their youthfulness. While experience should be valued, it should also be seen as a hindrance as well.

Bottom Line: The Spurs are the New England Patriots of the NBA. They’re always great. They’re always around. They probably have the best shot at knocking off the Warriors atop the Western Conference, but it’s no guarantee they’ll make it that far.

Houston Rockets: 40-18, 3rd Place in the West

Why They’ll Win It All: Houston has the leading MVP candidate this season, SG James Harden. With him running the offense, he’s averaging a career best 29.2 points per game and a career best 8.3 rebounds per game. He also has the 2nd most triple-doubles in the league with 15. Head coach Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire for the Rockets at the start of the season, has this offense firing on all cylinders, as they rank 2nd in the league in points per game at 114.4. Add in a reborn SG Eric Gordon, who is 4th in the NBA with 184 3-point field-goals made, and you’ve got an offense that can run with the Warriors.

Why They Won’t Win It All: You know when you hire Mike D’Antoni as your head coach, you’re going to get a potent offense. You should also be prepared to have an impotent defense. Houston ranks 24th in opponents points per game, allowing opponents to score 108 points every night. Teams also shoot an astounding 46.1% per game against Houston as well. There’s an old adage that says defense wins championships. Houston needs to step it up in this department, or they fall in danger of not being included in this article.

Yes, there are 26 other teams in the NBA, but none of them have a chance of winning the title this year. These are the 4 that could win. The NBA has become so calculable it has rendered its regular season meaningless. It may only be the middle of February, and the NBA season officially ends in June, but make no mistake about it. With the arrival of All Star Weekend, the NBA season is over.