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Friday, September 25, 2015

Week 3 Picks: Limited Mass Appeal...


OK, so I saw Black Mass. And it was good, but by no means great. Here's what holds it back:

*Johnny Depp is a great actor. Fact. But he's just too big a star for this role. You're very aware that you're watching Johnny Depp playing Whitey Bulger, and that just shouldn't be. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Jonathan Banks in that role. But I have a cinematic man crush on that talented bald bastard, so naturally my opinion is skewed. Probably didn't help that Banks' Breaking Bad cohort, Jesse Plemons, is the first person you see when the movie boots up, either. Depp does a fine job. But, yeah. Jonathan Banks (or just a lesser known actor) would have been better. There, I said it. Twice...

*The female characters were fairly useless. Harsh, I know. But there it is. The performances themselves were fine. But the women in Black Mass just weren't very important characters, and seemed to be have their stories forced into the script merely as an attempt to prevent the audience from thinking that South Boston was/is a complete sausage fest. Which, to that end. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


*The music didn't deliver, either. Maybe I'm spoiled by Scorsese, but I expect my gangster films to be accompanied by no fewer than 3 songs composed and performed by The Rolling Stones. One of which HAS to be Gimmie Shelter. House of the Rising Sun should probably be played, too. And something from Clapton. But none of that happened. Which was disappointing...

and finally...

*There just wasn't enough meat on the proverbial movie bone. Namely, none of the characters had nearly enough depth for my liking (that's usually my #1 beef with any film I don't love). Maybe it's because I was already so familiar with Whitey's life; having read several books, seen several documentaries and having lived my whole life in Massachusetts. I don't know. I mean, it's not as if I was expecting new information. But I guess I would have liked to have seen more of what made the man, and what made him tick. Rather than just a replay of his notorious acts, which have been discussed and dissected ad nauseam for the better part of the last quarter century. Depp plays the Whitey we already know to a tee. And that's good, for what it is. I was just hoping for a little more depth. Maybe an unrealistic expectation on my end. But there it is...


As for the better performances, I have to give the nod to Joel Edgerton as John Connolly and a criminally brief appearance by Peter Sarsgaard as Brian Halloran. Rory Cochrane does some solid work as Steve Flemmi, too. And Earl Brown is good as notorious Winter Hill hit man, John Martorano. None of their performances scream "award" to me. It's just more that those guys are great actors, and were suitably cast. So props there. Ya know, minus not giving the reigns to Whitey Ehrmantraut...

...oh and Adam Scott was a questionable call, too. I'm usually a fan of his brand of comedy. But it seemed like a reach to cast him against type like that in such a serious film. I saw what they were goin, for, I just don't think that they, or he, were able to pull it off...

So, yeah. I'd give it somewhere in the 6-6.5/10 range. A solid film that was cast well and pleasing to the eye cinematically. But nothing revolutionary. And definitely not a film I'd expect to ever crack my Hot Mun-Hundred. So there ya go...

Now, it's onto the picks...

Week 3 Picks

Jacksonville Jaguars (+14) @ New England Patriots

"They're bettah than the '07 squad, guy!"

That's the most popular topic on the table right now here in New England. Whether or not the 2015 Patriots are better than the 2007 Patriots. A team that went 16-0 in the regular season. You know, because that's a reasonable conversation to have after 2 games...

They have looked great on offense, I'll give them that. And Brady to Gronk continues to look like the most dominant pass catching combination in NFL history But their defense has been far too suspect for my liking. At least when it relates to greatness and/or the team from '07. Which is why I'll be taking any team playing against the Patriots that's being spotted this many points. That's just too large of a "backdoor" to ignore. A Minaj-line, if you will. And I'm pretty sure we both know that you will...


Dallas Cowboys (+2) vs Atlanta Falcons

Speaking of defense. The Dallas defense is the reason the Cowboys are 2-0. Which is good, because basically everyone they actually pay to play offense is hurt. That makes this a great contrarian spot, though. Because everyone will be on Atlanta due to Romo and Bryant's injuries. I'll take the home team with the defense and the points, thanks. And pray that a certain pair of gingers decide it best to keep the ball on the ground...


Tennessee Titans (+3.5) vs Indianapolis Colts

Is it really possible that the Colts really are as bad as they've looked? I say yes, it's entirely possible. Especially if they continue to run so many deep drops for Luck, when they're offensive line can't seem to stop anyone. I know normally they OWN the AFC South. But this team hasn't shown any signs of owning anything other than a poor sense of judgement when it comes to how much air should be in a football...


New York Jets (-1.5) vs Philadelphia Eagles

I didn't understand why Chip Kelly wanted Sam Bradford. But I chalked it up to Chip's having forgotten more about coaching football than I'll ever know. I have since stopped chalking that up. And if I knew what the opposite of chalking it up was, I'd be now doing that. Erasing? Is that it? Seems kinda weak. It is a blackboard metaphor, right? Or maybe it refers to some of that gymnast chalk? What is that, resin? Rosin? And what's the difference there, anyway? I bet it's a racket, whatever it is. Freakin' phrases...


Seattle Seahawks (-14.5) vs Chicago Bears

Yeah, that's a lot of points. But the Bears are terrible, and the Seahawks are due...and at home...and celebrating the return of Kam Chancellor...and possibly playing against Jimmy Clausen...and the Bears are terrible...


Denver Broncos (-3) @ Detroit Lions

I've got Denver in the same boat as Dallas. In that they've got a great defense, and that I think that should probably be enough. I'm not completely buying into Peyton Manning being done, either. Yes, he looks a lot older this season. But he still makes great decisions. And I'll take the team with the smart QB and the great D. Ya know, because we're not playing Madden...


It's Le'veon Belllllllll-elllllllll-elllllllll. It's Le'veon Bell. I said Le'veon Belllllllll-elllllllll-elllllllll. Not Johnny Manziel!

That's the song I sing whenever I hear Le'veon Bell's name. He's back this week, and his Steelers highlight the best of the rest...

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) @ St. Louis Rams

Minnesota Vikings (-1) vs San Diego Chargers

Carolina Panthers (-3) vs New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders (+3.5) @ Cleveland Browns

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5) @ Houston Texans

Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) vs San Francisco 49ers

Miami Dolphins (-2.5) vs Buffalo Bills


Monday Night

Green Bay Packers (-6.5) vs Kansas City Chiefs

As someone who identifies as "agnostic", I was a big fan of Aaron Rodgers taking some not so subtle swipes at Russell Wilson and his penchant for public prayer. I'm also a big fan of his Olivia Munn. And sometimes he has a great beard. I guess you could just say that I'm an Aaron. Rodgers. Fan. He's a good dude...

And hey, Russell. Keep in church. OR don't. But you sound like a huge Ted. And nobody likes a huge Ted. Especially God. Though Lord knows he creaTed enough of 'em. Oh!...


Last Week: 6-10-0

Overall: 14-17-1 (.453)


Syracuse is hosting LSU this week. Which just doesn't sound right. It's like hearing that a boxer is set to fight a horse. Granted, that could easily be Mike Tyson's next career move. But I think you get my point. Syracuse football has just been so blah for so long. Oh, and did I mention that they'll be starting a 5th string walk-on QB? Because that's also apparently happening. What a crazy world. Someone oughta sell tickets...

Oh, and those girls up there are from the Arizona St. annual "Undie Run". Which thankfully is a thing. And someone probably is selling tickets to that. Someone very creepy...

NCAA Top 25 Picks
Texas Tech (+6.5) vs (3) TCU

(8) LSU (-24.5) @ Syracuse

(16) Arizona (+3.5) vs (9) UCLA

(14) Texas A&M (-6.5) @ Arkansas

(18) Utah (+11) @ (13) Oregon

Arizona St. (+6) vs (19) USC

Duke (+8.5) vs (20) Georgia Tech

Oregon St. (+15.5) vs (21) Stanford

(22) BYU (+5.5) @ Michigan

(24) Oklahoma St. (-2.5) @ Texas


Last Week: 4-5-0

Overall: 7-9-0 (.438)


And there ya have it, friends. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll catch you Teds next time...

Be good...


#BAGSMUNMAN

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