Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2006

All-Time Top 50 "Sports Entertainers"






Professional wrestling has been around a long time. Starting as a carnival act, it has evolved into an international multi-million dollar phenomenon. Competitors are no longer known as "wrestlers" and are instead now only referred to as "superstars". The term "Sports Entertainment" has replaced "Pro Wrestling" reflecting the much broader reaches of the industry.

With the New Year almost upon us, it is a time for reflection. With apologies to all time greats like Gorgeous George (the first true "entertainer"), Bruno Sammartino, Buddy Rodgers (the first WWF champion), and Barry Horowitz... well maybe not... I give you my top 50 wrestl... I mean, sports entertainers since I have been watching (1983). Afterall, I can only comment on what I've witnessed, and it wouldn't be fair to try an evaluate someone's true impact just from hearsay.

Because the industry is as much, if not more about the entertainment as the quality of "wrestling", my list is mostly weighed on the impact the particular superstar made to the sport. It is not a list of how "good" each individual is as a mat-technician. Here we go:

1. HULK HOGAN
Hulk Hogan is to wrestling as Star Wars is to science fiction. I know some of the purest out there are cringing at the thought, but there is no denying that The Hulkster made wrestling what it is today. From the moment he broke the evil Iron Sheik's Camel Clutch (a feat never done prior), wrestling has never been the same. Terry Bolea had people saying their prayers and eating their vitamins all over the world.

2. VINCENT KENNEDY MCMAHON
While Hogan drew fans like never before, Vince McMahon REVOLUTIONIZED the basic structure of the industry. Until Vinny Mac came along, wrestling was made up of small territories. Wrestlers were only known locally. That all changed as McMahon purchased these territories, forming a monopoly, or empire if you will, providing wrestling with a national stage... a presence in the mainstream culture that continues to grow.

3. ERIC BISCHOFF
Yes, Eric Bischoff is at #3. Even though WCW was only at the pinnacle of sports entertainment for a mere 4 years, Bischoff's influences in the sport are unparalled. The "attitude" of today, kayfabing (breaking character), controvesy, etc. can all be attributed to this pioneer. Most importantly, Bischoff's WCW made the WWE better which ultimately saved it from bankrupcy.

4. ANDRE THE GIANT
Prior to Hulk Hogan, local and national news programs began to feature stories about a 7'3", 500 lb. man who was agile (Andre could actually perform drop kicks early in his career), strong (he'd lift four women at once on his shoulders) and charasmatic. People started to pay attention and Andre the Giant became a household name. FYI, Andre Rousimoff (his real name) could also drink 12 bottles of wine prior to a match with no (immediate) effect on his performances.

5. RIC FLAIR
Who doesn't know The Nature Boy? Even non-wrestling fans have heard of him. Being a 17 time world champion helps too. Whether heel or babyface, fans have been yelling "WHOOO" for over 20 years. Incredibly, Naytch almost didn't even get his career off the ground when early in his career, he broke his back in a plane crash that claimed the lives of 3 other men.

6. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
Steve William's Stone Cold character may have saved the WWE back in the Monday Night Wars era, when WCW was beating WWE in the ratings war every week. He blurred the line between babyface and heel, a characteristic still prominent in many of the WWE supertars. Bad@ss face had never been uttered until Stone Cold came to town. His fued with McMahon carried the WWE as your average everyday people related to his desire to "kick the bosses @ss". Afterall, don't we all wish we could flip off our bosses and "stun" them to hell?

7. THE ROCK
One of the best all-time on the mic, Dwayne Johnson is now a preusing Hollywood and has become a fairly mainstream actor known world-wide. The People's Eyebrow somehow became a universal symbol known world wide, meaning "I'm the sh!t and I'm about to kick your @ss!"

8. RODDY PIPER
We can't have heroes if we don't have villians... and Piper was the greatest villian (heel) of all. From cracking Jimmy Snuka over the head with a coconut, to fighting Mr. T, to beating up Morton Downey Jr., Piper is arguably the most controversial heel in the history of the sport. His Piper's Pit segment was the predecessor to all the great "talkshow" segments seen in recent history.

9. VERNE GAGNE
Who is this you ask? Verne Gagne was a former wrestler and promoter of an organization out of Mineapolis called the AWA (American Wrestling Alliance). The AWA was third in the Big 3 of the 1980's (WWF, NWA, AWA) and employed supertars before they were supertar, launching careers of legends such as Hulk Hogan, Curt Henning, The Road Warriors, Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenen, and more.

10. PAUL HEYMAN
He's loud, he's obnoxious, he's brash... but he's helluva innovator within the industry. ECW defined a new generation of superstar and paved the way for a new extreme style that is at the forefront of almost every match today.

11. THE ROAD WARRIORS
The most popular tag team of all time, The Road Warriors are the only team to hold all three major tag team titles (WWF, NWA, & AWA). They redefined the tag team division with their power moves and painted faces, a look never seen before, incidentally taken from the Mel Gibson movie Mad Max.

12. JERRY "THE KING" LAWLER
A legend in the Memphis area, this former AWA World Champion is best known as the guy who slapped (and later wrestled) comedian Andy Kaufman. Jerry Lawler has made history as being the wrestler with the most championship reigns of all time. He has won 111 titles in his career.

13. BRET HART
Nobody, including myself, would have thought The Hitman would be this high on ANY list back in the mid-80s when he and partner Jim Neidhart were a mid-card tag team known as The Hart Foundation. But multiple world titles later, and whalla. Bret Hart is national hero in Canada, has a column in a Canadian newspaper, has a hockey team named after him (The Calgary Hitmen), and is currently playing the genie in the "Aladdin" play. The Montreal Screwjob is the most talked about inner-industry swerve ever, and unfortunately The Excellence of Execution never recovered.

14. STING
If this list was purely about MY all time favorites, Sting may have been #1. Mixing power and high flying agility, Sting had a charisma like no other. While The Road Warriors were darker, more brutal characters defined by their face paint and ring attire, Sting wore bright tights, a colorful array of face paints, and had beach blonde hair. Half the enjoyment was wondering what he'd look like each night. But most importantly, Sting is considered the NWA/WCW franchise player, being the only superstar to never "jump ship" to the WWE. He truly carried the organization in its darkest times. Then he became Crow Sting, out of shape, older, and disinterested... an officially jumped the shark as far as I'm concerned.

15. THE UNDERTAKER
I've never been much of an Undertaker fan. But "The Phenom" is hugely popular, and although he originally came from NWA/WCW, stuck with the WWE company through the bad times making him the WWE's own "Franchise". He is currently undefeated at Wrestlemania, a streak of well over ten years. From the undead zombie who got his powers from a mysterious urn, to the supernatural comic book character, to the American Bad@ss biker, Mark Callous has been able to forever etch The Undertaker persona into wrestling lore.

16. MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE
Too many heel/face turns to count, Savage gained poularity in the mid to late 80s that eventually propelled him to the WWF World Championship and several runs as the Intercontinental Champion. Many inside the industry feel Hogan felt so threatened by Savage's popularity, he sabotaged his WWF career. Ironically, Hogan urged Eric Bischoff to bring in Savage in WCW's infancy. Macho Man's match at Wrestlemania III with Ricky Steamboat is considered one of the all-time greatest matches ever.

17. TRIPLE H
The only thing Paul Levesque has done (besides marry Vince McMahon's daughter, which may make him the smartest wrestler of all time) is win the WWE world championship TEN times. Also took over DX with Shawn Michaels first retirement, reaching the height of its epic popularity.

18. SGT. SLAUGHTER
A G.I. Joe character was developed based on this guy who battled for the good ol' U.S.A. A short run as a heel supporter of Iraq during Desert Storm saw him reach the top as WWF world champion. Some say this forever hurt his status in wrestling history, but he had a frikin' G.I. Joe action figure and cartoon. Enough said.

19. SHAWN MICHAELS
The Shawn Michaels era of WWF was a dark one. Upstart WCW was gaining momentum and the WWE was reeling. But Michael Hickenbrand is a multiple time world champion and is hugely popular as H.B.K. His formation of DX may have saved the WWF when eveything was about WCW's nWo.

20. BOBBY HEENEN
Arguably the most famous manager of all time, "The Brain" managed greats such as Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Ken Patera, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, and more. Usually the thorn in the side of Hulk Hogan, Heenen spoke for guys who had absolutely no mic skills, making them main eventers when there was nothing to work with.

21. THE VON ERICHS
Sons of the legendary Fritz Von Erich, tragedy pretty much across the board... Mike, David, Chris, and Kerry all gone before their time. The Von Erichs literally owned texas wrestling, known as WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling). Kevin is the only remaining brother. Kerry, perhaps the most famous Von Erich, defeated Ric Flair to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The Von Erich claw is one of those finishing maneuvers that will forever transcend time.

22. HARLEY RACE
Just know that his "King" gimmick in the WWF was actually at the vey END of his remarkable career. A multiple time NWA and AWA world champion. WWF gimmick started the annual "King of the Ring Tournament".

23. MICK FOLEY/CACTUS JACK/MANKIND
"Have a Nice Day!" Maybe the most extreme/hardcore performer of all time, there wasn't a bump Foley wouldn't take to thrill the crowd. Half an ear was ripped off, teeth threw his lip, a fall from an 18 ft. high steel cage, broken ribs... just a few of the many injuries suffered in the ring over his career. Reached the pinnacle as a multiple WWE world champion. Some say his winning the world title is the single most important point in the Monday Night Wars, when WCW commentator Tony Schiavonne gave away WWE Raw's ending, making fun of Cactus Jack winning the title on the pre-recoreded show. The plan backfired as millions switched over to Raw, giving the WWE momentum it never would've had.

24. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
The former tag team partner of Sting, The Ultimate Warrior basically had no in ring skill. He invented the "squash" match... and it was hugely poplular when the WWE focused on kids wanting their wrestlers to be superheros. The Warrior was "chosen" to carry the torch after Hulk Hogan's first retirement. Some might say he prevented a total fall off post-Hogan. Unfortunately Jim Hellwig began a downward spiral shortly after, defined by the recently released DVD "The Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior".

25. DUSTY RHODES
"The American Dream", not counting his stint as the polka-dot wearing plumber in 80's WWF. Former NWA World Champion.

26. THE OUTSIDERS (SCOTT HALL & KEVIN NASH)
Their "invasion" to WCW marked the beginning of perhaps the single greatest angle in wrestling history, taking kayfabing to an all new level. No longer were other wrestling companies "never spoken of" on tv. The Monday Night Wars had officially begun.

27. TERRY FUNK
Hardcore legend, NWA World Champion, ECW World Champion, and WWF main eventer.

28. RICKY "THE DRAGON" STEAMBOAT
NWA World Champion. Career defining fueds with Ric Flair and Randy Savage.

29. JIMMY "SUPERFLY" SNUKA
First ever ECW champion, Snuka found fame in the WWF with his "I Love You" hand sign followed by his finishing move (predecessor of The Frog Splash). Career defining moment: a superfly jump from on top of an 18 ft. high steel cage.

30. THE IRON SHEIK
"U.S.A - chaa, poo!" Some say he took the WWF world title off of Bob Backlund only to set up Hulk Hogan as an American Hero. That alone makes him a critical part of wrestling history.

31. BOOKER T
5 time WCW world champion, 10 time WCW tag team champion, WWE world champion, WWE world tag team champion. An impressive resume to say the least.

32. BIG SHOW/THE GIANT
Once billed as the son of Andre the Giant, the Big Show is the only person to ever hold the WCW, WWE, and ECW world titles.

33. BRITISH BULLDOGS
Perhaps the most popular tag team in the WWF during it's growth period of the 80's. Their new style mixed power (Davey Boy Smith) and agility (Dynamite Kid). WWF tag team champions.

34. ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER
The Madman from Sudan defied all logic in the ring. Perhaps the all-time greatest blader and the father of the "foreign objects".

35. TED DIBIASE
"The Million Dollar Man" worked as one of, if not THE top heel in WWF during the mid to late 80s. Heavily involved in ending Hulk Hogan's first title reign when on Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC, he payed off the referee to tie his twin up in the back, to do a quick count, and declare Andre the Giant heavyweight champion.

36. THE KOLOFFS/CRUSHER KRUSHEV
NWA's russian heel faction main evented cards in the mid 80s feuding with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. Ivan a one time World Champion. Nikita a U.S. Champion.

37. THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS
Gained popularity in AWA and WCCW, the men from Badstreet U.S.A. also had a run in NWA winning the tag titles. Invented the "Freebird Rule" where any of the 3 members of the group could defend the belts (also used by the Koloffs, Demolition, The Dudleys, and more).

38. JIM ROSS
How can an announcer be on this list? Jim Ross is more than an announcer... he handles a lot of behind-the-scenes duties and is the benchmark to which other announcers are measured.

39. DEMOLITION
WWF's answer to The Road Warriors. Unexpectedly went from Road Warrior rip-offs to hugely popular WWF tag team champions.

40. GREG "THE HAMMER" VALENTINE
WWF Intercontinental and tag team champion. Argument whether he or Ric Flair invented the infamous "face flop".

41. TITO SANTANA
One of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champions of all time. Legendary feud with Greg Valentine. We'd like to forget about the "Matador" gimmick thank you.

42. FABULOUS MOOLAH
Held the WWF women's title for 20 years.

43. ROCK-N-ROLL EXPRESS
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson - arguably the most popular tag team of the 80s. Multiple time tag team champions. Had girls yelling and crying like they were at a rock concert.

44. BARRY WINDHAM
Has won several various title in NWA and WWF. Member of The Four Horseman. Became famous as a member of the U.S. Express (with Mike Rotundo), "saving" the WWE from the evil clutches of the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff.

45. HONKEY TONK MAN
I can't believe he made this list, but he does own the all-time longest Intercontinental Title reign in WWE history. Unfortunately, also owns the quickest title loss in a "squash" match to The Ultimate Warrior.

46. BIG VAN VADER
WCW and WWE world champion

47. ARN ANDERSON
The enforcer of "The Four Horsemen", multiple time world tag team and NWA TV champion. WWE booker. Wrestling legend.

48. KEVIN SULLIVAN
The evil "Taskmaster" was a top heel everywhere he went.

49. MEAN GENE OKERLAND
A fixture on WWF tv for years and later in WCW, Mean Gene was THE interviewer, at a level that has not been duplicated.

50. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Greatest Cruiserweight of all time? With a run as WWE World Champion, I would say so.

Drew's Blog

Bill Simmons points out this hilarious blog written by "Drew Bledsoe"...

http://www.tonyhomo.com/

"...and we let 'em off the hook..."

I just watched Mike Brown address the media after the Cavs' debacle tonight against the Pistons, and let me tell you, he seemed to be one cheap podium away from pulling a Dennis Green...

Hopefully he shows some fire in the locker room because this is getting ridiculous.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not a sports take..


...but I just watched Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", and not only does it reaffirm to me that our country made a grave error in 2000 by "electing" George W. Bush, but also that Al Gore should run again in 2008 and be the president of this great country.

Visit climatecrisis.net to find out more.

Plus I kinda like the Melissa Etheredge song at the end...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vox in the Box (11)

Where have I been? Somewhere in my fucking head. And I might tell you a story about why we've been Voxless for almost four months. How untimely deaths and a couple of mind-altering nights made me want to ditch my own skin and become BizarroSam, so that I could live a useless life of pleasure and irresponsibility. But somewhere on I-71, my thoughts went from freedom to guilt, then guilt turned into pure depression. And when I walked into my house after three days on the run, I looked in the mirror and saw someone I hated. If this was Superman III, I could choke the life out of Bad SamVox until he disappeared back into me....and then go save Smallville and the soul of Richard Pryor. But this is RealLife, and SamVox is who we thought he was, and you are standing in the heart of Vox 11. And I don't have the time or resources to reveal my parallel universe on a website. So, no stories...instead you get my posh takes:

Props to Pucky: I wish I would've been able to read It Is Time before the OSU-Michigan game. It pumped me up even after I knew the result. That game was so emotional for so many reasons and, for the first time, I didn't mind that they didn't cover and I lost a lot of jack. And I didn't give a shit, at that moment, about the BCS title game. And I don't even care that Troy Smith was on his way to winning Heisman in a landslide. We won the national championship in my mind that day. Afterwards, I got to breathe that Columbus air, wonder where ten years went and go back to the hotel and fall into the deepest sleep I've ever had, dreaming about a world of soft pretzels and orange juliuses, and all those movies they won't make of me when I'm dead. Starring Ethan Hawke.

Sam's Town: The Killers follow-up to one of the finest rock albums ever, in honor of the nostalgic ghosts who float through that historic casino for locals. Stirs thoughts of Springsteen in his prime, when a fast car and the open road was enough. And Brandon waxes on like Bono on downers, while the band plays fast and loud like their native Vegas: flashy on the surface, corrosive in the details. Man, this was going to be a great record. First, it's the Killers. Second, they named it Sam's Town-- which is a tribute to me and the city I love. Third, they decided to blow off the Cars/Cure/Bowie comparisons from Hot Fuss and steal from U2 and the Boss. This was already my favorite record before I heard it. Then, I heard it, and it ain't my favorite record. Not even close (said Sprinsgteen to the prostitute at the end of Reno).

But it's still four stars...thanks to the title track, the bass line and hook from When You Were Young and the better-with-multiple-listenings-Read My Mind, which definitely sounds like Buddy Holly singing With or Without You. And please check out my favorite track-- Reasons Unknown which has to be Flowers reply to Bruce's Dancing in the Dark. I consider Dancing in the Dark a holy song, but Reasons is better. It tells Bruce what he'll get when he starts a fire without a spark.

I wish I had some raves for Snow Patrol's new disc, but I don't endorse safe and saccharine records that lack originality. Eyes Open is more polished than Final Straw but lacks the grit of it's predecessor. Every review I read for Eyes Open is a love letter to Lightbody and his emotive song writing, but I don't think it was a good idea to leave the guitar amps at home. I thought Snow Patrol was a rock band, not Coldplay-lite.

Obligatory This Guy Can't Coach Take: Pete Carroll is not a good coach. He let an over the hill, pot-bellied Andre Rison own the Pats in the '97 SuperBowl. Last year, he's a repeat champion if he converts a fourth and inches by giving the ball to his Heisman trophy winner. But he hands off to Lindell White. That wasn't funny; just sad. This year he loses to an average UCLA team with a less than average quarterback. He did win a national championship, but it was hard not to win at least one title when you had Matt Leinart cutting up secondaries like me controlling Steve Young on Madden '98.

Sports Guy is God: Another great column by Simmons about the horrible state of television broadcast teams in the NFL. (I'm amazed he was able to be frank about the failings of ESPN's MNF crew.) But I don't feel so fortunate to hear Gus Johnsoooooon every other week. There's a reason they send him to Cleveland. I find his hyper delivery to be grating. Ditto for his act of holding onto to the syllable when he believes a big play is happening. I like the enthusiasm, sure, but I almost prefer the way Al Michaels deadpans his broadcasts nowadays. Despite his right wing beliefs, Michaels is a true pro and I'd probably choose him (or Marv Albert) to call a game over any other sports announcer, including Summerall in his prime. If Michaels sounds bitter, it's because he's paired with the worst analyst in pro sports history. Actually my Monday Night Football dream team would be Reghi or Tom Hamilton on play by play (Did yall hear Ham do Buckeye basketball last week? So smooth, you'd never know that's not his everyday sport), Tom Jackson or Michael Irvin as the analyst and Bill Simmons as the three man...in the Dennis Miller/Tony Kornheiser smart cynic role.

SVAC Corner: 25% of the season down, and the Cavs are who I thought they were. A mid-level team struggling to find an identity and continuity in the face of ridiculous expectations. Unfortunately, I've seen nothing to make me rethink my preseason prediction of 49 Cavalier victories. The East is tougher, but SVAC is no better than last year. David Wesley is a bag of balls, Drew Gooden is the prototype for your average pro player, Hughes, of course, is broken, Amon is Jones again but that was always a bullshit signing, and Z plays like a drunk sailor on his last legs-- headed for a long and lazy retirement under the sun. I like Gibson, but other up-n-coming teams in the Association have plenty of Gibsons- hungry, young players making winning contributions. I'm not sure Ferry has been an astute GM and Coach Brown can't get his combinations right. This is a complacent team taking bad shots in important situations followed by key defensive lapses against speedy guards. Sometimes, Bron is willing to bail us out in the games he thinks we have to have. And sometimes he's willing to let us fail. Everyone knows he's tired. And he should be after 13 hard-fought post-season games, the world championships, edging Letterman in that free-throw contest, gawking at Mariah at the ESPYs, etc. And McShill on play-by-play will lose us three to four games on his own. Will there be a Flip Murray to ignite a run this season?

Still, LeBron, in full, can carry us a long way come May. You may need two superstars to win it all, but one Jesus can come close. (See Jordan willing the Bulls to the ECF in '89 and Iverson leading Philly to the 2001 Finals.) I can live with the Cavs under-achieving in the regular season, because that will make the money line payoffs that much sweeter in the playoffs. I predicted a 1st round post-season collapse, but so did Roger Brown...so I'd like to change my mind. Like Ronnie Duncan, I'm allowed to change my mind. On the other hand, so many local and national media members feel LeBron guarantees us a championship...and that's just irresponsible journalism. I wrote in this space last summer-- don't be surprised if May 2006 was the farthest Bron gets in a Cleveland uniform.

I'm running out of relevant Vox material. I would like to write a bi-weekly column in 2007, but I need some help. Feel free, readers, to start a Simmons-like mailbag and I will make sure Vox answers all questions, no matter how ridiculous. And here we go with another ridiculous Random Top 10. Much like a Mad magazine fold-in, it purports to be something. Then I do my thing with it and it has magically transformed into something else. I did actresses a few Voxes ago, so I guess I'll ring up actors. But my heart's not it tonight-- just feels like The Random Top 10 is wasted potential. So is this column. Then again, so is Toe Nash, Eli Manning, Dan Dickau, brother Ronnie, Lindsay Lohan, Taking Back Sunday, Fergie, the NFL network and Jet Magazine.
Editor's Note: SamVox doesn't know a thing about Jet Magazine, except that sisters prefer Essence and Ebony. But it sure was a nice way to end that sentence.

SamVox's Top 10 Actors:

1. Eric Stoltz
Answer Lance, answer. Stoltz was originally cast to play Marty McFly, but they dumped him for Michael J Fox. Probably a good move; Stoltz would've played it darker, but he still would've nailed it with his with his trademark organic honesty. Even when he's sleazy. Stoltz wins audiences with piercing idealism. His characters, minus Lance, are always saddled with big romantic dreams. I've found those types of roles weigh most actors down, but, in my book, Stoltz is untouchable.
Top 5 Stoltz Films:
Mask
Pulp Fiction
Sleep With Me
Some Kind of Wonderful
Bodies Rest and Motion

2. Leonardo DiCaprio (Did you know he's in the original Poison Ivy?)
It really didn't matter to me what he did after his prodigious turn as Jim Carroll in 1995's Basketball Diaries. He could've starred in a Growing Pains reunion or sold suede jackets with Susan Lucci on the Shopping Channel. After BD, I was in love. Two years later, he'd become the most famous celebrity in the world thanks to that trainwreck called Titanic. Then Leo and I would grow apart after I sat through 9 hours of his duds: Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York and The Aviator. I wondered if DiCaps would ever make a good movie again. Thankfully, he did. The Departed is the proof, and it rivals any performance I've ever seen on screen.
Top 5:
Diaries
The Beach
The Departed
Total Eclipse
What's Eating Gilbert Grape

3. Tom Cruise
I don't give a fuck about Scientology or Oprah's couch. Yes, I kind of feel a dirty discomfort when I see him cuddling with Joey Potter, but there's too many people in America that can't separate the art and the artist. The Cruise cannon speaks for its self; loaded with some of the finest transformations in Hollywood history.
Top 5:
Rainman
Born on the 4th of July
Eyes Wide Shut
Interview with the Vampire
Vanilla Sky

4. Ed Norton
What is it with Ed Norton and prison?
Top 5:
Rounders: (Damon picks Worm up from prison at the film's beginning)
25th hour: (Chronicles the day before he starts a 7-year prison term)
American History X: (Racist Derrick Vinyard is bad. Racist Derrick Vinyard goes to prison and miraculously changes because he folds underpants with a black guy. Good Derrick Vinyard is released from prison, turns on Stacy Keach, but can't save Edward Furlong. All the classic elements for a prison movie.)
Primal Fear: (We were dancin' Marty)
The People vs Larry Flynt: (OK, this doesn't fit the prison theme. But as Flynt's lawyer, he works on keeping Flynt out of jail.)

5. Matt Damon
And you'll still be a goddamn Jew. That line trumps even: Well I got her numbah. How do you like them apples? Civilization boats some phenomenal mysteries: Big Foot, Lochness, The Bermuda Triangle. And how is Damon such a great actor when Affleck is so incredibly bad?
Top 5:
Rounders
School Ties
Oceans 11
All the Pretty Horses
Good Will Hunting

6. Ethan Hawke.
Amy didn't like him coz he has fucked up teeth. Funny, the things we remember.
Top 5:
Dead Poets Society
Training Day
Reality Bites
Great Expectations
Gattaca

7. Eddie Murphy
Despite being a product of the 80s, Coming to America ages like wine. I watch it a few times a year and it's the funniest movie ever made. At the time, Prince Akeem was an unusual role for Murphy, who had made his name telling dirty jokes and playing smart-ass cops. C2A shows us Murphy doesn't have to swear to be funny. That shy naivete would later serve him well with the success of the Nutty Professor franchise.
Top 5:
Coming to America
Harlem Nights
Beverly Hills Cop
Boomerang
Trading Places


8. Billy Bob Thornton
Check out Indecent Proposal, an intriguing film that most critics dumped in 93, but it's held up. Anyway, Billy Bob plays a Day Tripper and has like two lines while Woody and Demi watch Redford gamble. He was old then, and still more than a decade away from breaking through. A master of his craft.
Top 5:
Sling Blade
Monsters Ball
Friday Night Lights
Bad News Bears
Bad Santa


9. Mark Wahlberg
Yes, I remember 90s nubes rocking the rink to Good Vibrations at the United Skates of America. And that painful rap by Marky Mark that starts, "Annie was a high-school cheerleader" which sampled Lou Reed's Wild Side. It only makes me more appreciate his cinematic triumphs. Your wife is all over my stick.
Top 5:
Fear
Boogie Nights
Rock Star

Basketball Diaries
Invincible

10. The ten-spot could've gone to Christian Slater, Gene Hackman, Emilio Estevez, Denzel, Matt Dillon or Robert "Now d'ya care?" DeNiro, before he became a clown. But I'm a thirty two year old sentimental fool, still living in the pop-culture heaven that was 1985. My man is Michael J. Fox.
Top 5:
Back to the Future
Teen Wolf
Casualties of War
Secret of My Success
Poison Ivy


You know, the first Vox of '07 will feature my Top 10 Films of 2006. It's always a much-anticipated list, despite another down year for the creatively-challenged movie industry. So what are the odds Rocky VI cracks the list? 12 to 1? 20-1, maybe. Make your bets.

I'm gonna fly now. Take us home, Huey Lewis:

don't take money,
dont take fame,
don't need no credit card to ride this train--
it's strong and sudden
can be cruel sometimes
but it might just save your life

Precisely Marty,
I am Doc Brown in the box.

See you back in the future; parting is inevitable

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ouch...

Sports Guy's NFL Power Poll this week. Browns sink to #29...
_______________

29. Cleveland
I'd feel a lot better about these guys if Danny Ferry hadn't crippled them with so many horrible signings and draft picks. Wait, which Cleveland team is this again?

______________

Saturday, December 2, 2006

A benefit of being a Browns fan...

According to Bill Simmons, we are lucky enough to have a top NFL announcing team on a regular basis...