Monday, October 22, 2012

VIDEO GOLD: 25 YEARS OF PIXAR ANIMATION

Love the song choice to capture the epicness and scope of deep and primordial ideas bubbling in all these movies.






I remember being in the car with my cousins on the way to see "Toy Story" for the first time. Contemplating the idea of a computer generated film and imagining that the film was made by some sort of giant super computer program, wondering if the fact that it was all computers would be entertaining enough for the length of the movie. I was so deliciously naive. And I was blown away.

One time I tagged along on a date with my brother Gabby and his future-wife to see "A Bugs Life." I was so scared of those effing grasshoppers. I still kinda fear them. "Toy Story 2" has one of my favorite film intros to watch over and over ad nauseam and which I have YouTubed many times. It is the pure glory and imagination of playing with toys perfected.  When I saw "Monsters, Inc." with my cousin Dex we were in a theatre full of children and we were enthralled in the film and at the tease death of Boo near the end of film. Our theatre was a symphony of loud, blubbering children (myself included). Finding Nemo induced tears after the first scene and I can remember feeling chills on my arm hearing Gill (Willem Dafoe) dreaming of escape. "The Incredibles" was like nerd porn for me; super-heroes and Pixar coming together for perfection. I remember sitting in the theatre wishing Sam Jackson would dress as Fro-Zone for a live-action movie. "Cars" didn't get me into the theatres but I eventually enjoyed it with the biggest "Cars" fan I know: my nephew Gabrielito. Watching him enjoy it--and continue to enjoy it--makes me happy. "Ratatouille" I rented on-demand with my mother, which was the perfect atmosphere; and afterwards we had a long conversation about her time living in France. "Wall-E" I borrowed from a friend on DVD and ended up not watching it for months and having to dodge questions about whether I enjoyed it. Eventually I saw it and I immediately had to watch it again. I couldn't believe how little dialogue and plot there was yet how much was magically told in simple movements and visuals. "UP" was a movie I saw on a date with a girl and Pixar yet again stole my tears and probably sealed in that girls mind the fact I was, indeed, a cryer. Which I am. "Toy Story 3" was another one I saw with Dex and it invented my favorite "Toy Story" character: Lots-o Huggin' Bear! "Brave" was a joy to watch with my girlfriend and then we watched it again in theatres with her mother and Derrick. Essentially what I'm getting at is I love Pixar movies. Enjoy.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 8)



















HEADLINES

Landry Jones slicing and dicing the Longhorns

-Well the biggest headline this week is pretty obvious: a pair of shocking blowouts in the Big XII.  Not only did Oklahoma throttle Texas (who I picked to win) 63-21 but West Virginia got their asses handed to them in Lubbock 49-14 (finally their inability to play anything resembling defense caught up to them against a team that, you know, plays defense).  Not only that but now the Mountaineers play host to Collin Klein and Kansas State tonight in a game that's likely to be even tougher even if it is in friendly confines.  

-Perhaps the other big headline was LSU bouncing back in Baton Rouge to edge out the #3 Gamecocks.  The Gamecocks are in some hot water right now with Jadeveon Clowney (foot) and Marcus Lattimore (hip) both banged up to the point that both missed some practice time this week.  Not good news when you're heading into The Swamp.

-Oh yeah, by the way, here are this week's crazy scores.  The insanity continues.  I need to come up with a name for this already.  How about "Defenseless Games of the Week"?  Here they are:
Ohio State 52, Indiana 49
Louisville 45, Pittsburgh 35
Mississippi State 41, Tennessee 31
Texas A&M 59, Louisiana Tech 57

CLICK "READ MORE" FOR HOBBITPICKS, HEISMAN PICKS, AND BCS PREDICTIONS

VIDEO GOLD: Agent Phil's animated debut

I'm not a huge fan of the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon, only watch it occasionally if my nephews are in the Spider-mood. However, I can't pass up how cool it is to see Agent Phil Coulson make his animated debut. His death was only the beginning to solidifying his awesomeness.


I hope Phil has a big role in the new "Avengers Assemble" cartoon. Although he may be too busy for it as they've announced that everyone's favorite Agent Phil will be one of the stars of the new SHIELD TV show. Whedon is taking care of Clark Gregg. Also, Coulson is set to appear in the comics making his immortality fully complete. I don't think fans have taken to a character like this since Harley Quinn. I'm sad to see Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes go.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

VIDEO GOLD: Unchained

I love movies. I love westerns. The western is the earliest, most primal form of cinema. Technology is stripped away.  Danger is ratcheted up. Violence can erupt at any moment. The western was one of the most popular and enduring genres of early american popular fiction. Its popularity eventually waned before being reinvigorated by Clint Eastwood and the spaghetti western auteurs. I love me a good spaghetti western. Nothing is more cinematic to me than the spaghetti western music and visual style and Sergio Leone and his collaborators were geniuses. In fact, practically all of my favorite Pirates of the Caribbean moments are homages to the spaghetti western. Eventually its popularity slid once again but perhaps Django  Unchained can once again revive the genre.


This is my most anticipated movie of the year, followed closely by the Hobbit.  This new trailer only makes me more excited getting pieces of DiCaprio's villain. This movie looks delicious and like an instant favorite and classic for me.







Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 7)












HEADLINES

-Another week, another round of outrageous scores:
West Virginia 48, Texas 45
Ohio State 63, Nebraska 38
Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31
Stanford 54, Arizona 48 (OT)
I know a lot of people tend to (consciously or not) equate high scores with quality football games but as a defense enthusiast I consistently object to this fallacy.  I remember everyone bitching and moaning about last year's epic regular season defensive battle between Alabama and LSU that LSU won 9-6 because it was, ostensibly, so "boring."  It's sad how short the attention spans of sports fans are.  Me, I love a good defensive battle.  But every now and then you see a game with great defense AND great offense.  They're a rare species but that's what makes them so special.  If you want to see what I mean, dig up a video of the 1971 "Game of the Century" between Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Johnny Rodgers's (white jersey, center-left) famous "Man, Woman, and Child" punt return TD in the 1971 "Game of the Century"

-As the internet's foremost expert on the Miami Hurricanes and their in-state rivals (FSU, UF), I feel it is my duty to educate my loyal readers on the Seminoles' rich history of having their season blown up by lowly North Carolina State.  Yes, Jimbo Fisher has carried on a time-honored Seminole tradition with his first inexcusable loss to the Wolfpack as head coach.  In fact, since 1998, a ranked FSU team has been upset by an unranked NC State team SIX times--THREE of those times, the 'Noles were ranked in the top 10.  Perhaps worst of all, four of the games were broadcast on ABC (2006 and 2010 were on ESPN).  Let's have a look at this long and sordid history...
1998: #2 Florida State travels to Raleigh in Week 2 and gets spanked 24-7 on national TV in their only regular season loss--a loss that didn't even keep them out of the BCS National Championship Game (which they lost to Tennessee), mostly because they beat 5 ranked teams that year (3 of them by 20+ points)
2001: NC State strolls into Doak Campbell Stadium and beats #10 Florida State 34-28...they went on to finish 7-5 with a loss in the Tangerine Bowl (NC State, not FSU)
2002: After a 9-0 start, NC State climbs to #10 in the nation before losing three straight and falling out of the top 25.  The following week, #14 Florida State rolls into town and is sent away with a 17-7 loss.
2005: A 3-4 NC State team rolls into Doak Campbell Stadium and hands #8 Florida State a devastating 20-15 loss on their way to winning 4 of their last 5.
2006: This is probably my favorite (at the very least it's tied with 1998).  NC State starts out 2-2 with wins over Appalachian State and #21 Boston College and losses to Akron and Southern Miss.  #16 Florida State comes to town and leaves with a 24-20 loss.  NC State proceeds to lose EVERY SINGLE GAME AFTER THAT, finishing 3-9.
2010: NC State 28, #16 Florida State 24
...and now we can add to that legacy...
2012: NC State 17, #3 Florida State 16

As much as I loathe the Gators, this is pretty great

-Don't we all feel better now that we've dispensed with the ridiculous notion that somehow because Stanford beat USC and Washington beat Stanford, the Huskies deserve to be ranked?  I said Oregon would dispense with this notion by the end of the first half.  It didn't even take that long.  It was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

-Of course, it's only fair that since I get to gloat about calling Oregon's thrashing of Washington, I also point out how totally off base my pick in the Georgia/South Carolina game was.  I thought Georgia would win this one handily but they didn't even get on the scoreboard until there were about two minutes left.  Fail.

This is what college football is all about

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trek Talk: To boldly go, In your mouth

I'm not particularly a pez collector. I've bought a few interesting pez dispensers in my childhood but nothing I've ever thought to keep or cherish. A few years back I got a Hal Jordan Green Lantern pez dispenser that was to cool looking to pass up.



Pez may yet wrangle some money out of my pocket with Star Trek TNG pez dispensers. I was literally looking around my office for three minutes trying to find some one to share the news of their existence with who would care about this epic partnership between PEZ and Star Trek TNG. 



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 6)














HEADLINES

-That's right, I'm back!  Last week was another pretty hectic week and since there really weren't any particularly interesting games on, I decided I would let it go and take a week off.  Obviously can't do that this week.  Though I am out of town so this will be somewhat abbreviated.  Anyway, let's dive right in...

-So, in case you were wondering if there happened to be a Heisman frontrunner yet, West Virginia QB Geno Smith just thought he would clear things up for you.  45-51 for 656 yards and 8 (yes, eight) TDs.  For those counting at home, that's more touchdowns than incompletions.  In fact, after four games, Geno Smith has thrown 169 passes and only 28 of them have been incompletions (13 of which came against Maryland).  20 have been touchdowns.  Not a single one has been an interception.  To top it all off, he's on pace to throw for well over 5,000 yards.  That could all change this week, though.  More on that later...

-By the way, speaking of West Virginia--what the hell happened to defense in college football?!  You all know how much I love to make lists so let's get right to it (by the way, these are only the games I found where BOTH teams scored 30+ points...leaving out things like Oklahoma State's 84-0 win over Savannah State and FSU's 69-3 shellacking of Murray State):
Week One:
Oregon 57, Arkansas State 34
West Virginia 69, Marshall 34
Northwestern 42, Syracuse 41
Miami 41, Boston College 32
Week Two:
USC 42, Syracuse 29 (close enough)
LA Monroe 34, Arkansas 31 (OT)
Clemson 52, Ball State 27 (also close enough...mostly because it's fucking Ball State...)
UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
Arizona 59, Oklahoma State 38
Week Three:
Texas 66, Ole Miss 31
Louisville 39, North Carolina 34
Week Four:
Florida State 49, Clemson 37
Baylor 47, LA Monroe 42
Wake Forest 49, Army 37
Miami 42, Georgia Tech 36 (OT)
Week Five:
Georgia 51, Tennessee 44
Texas 41, Oklahoma State 36
Clemson 45, Boston College 31
Oregon State 38, Arizona 35
Middle Tennessee 49, Georgia Tech 28 (close enough and worth mentioning that a Sun Belt team put nearly half a hundred on a BCS school)
Miami 44, North Carolina State 37
AND THE GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL (no not the Rose Bowl)...
West Virginia 70, Baylor 63
...and, oh, by the way, in those first five weeks, we've seen a team equal or surpass 40 points a total of 78 times, we've seen a team score 50+ points 35 times, we've seen a team score 60+ points 14 times, three teams have broken 70, and, of course, Oklahoma State holds the "high score" with 84.  I can only imagine what the rest of the season will bring.

-One of the most fascinating aspects of this season right now, at least in my opinion, is how completely wide open the Big Ten Leaders Division is.  You may remember at the beginning of the year I said the Leaders Division was Wisconsin's to lose with Ohio State and Penn State banned from the postseason.  Well, Wisconsin is now unranked at 3-2 and 0-1 in conference, having endured highly competitive games from the likes of Northern Iowa, Utah State, and UTEP.  In fact, Purdue is currently in the driver's seat to emerge from the Leaders Division with their unblemished 0-0 in-conference record.  We'll know a lot more about this division in a week and a half with Illinois coming to Madison this week and then the Badgers travel to West Lafayette next week to face the Boilermakers.  Should be interesting.

-I'm so glad we're all over this idea of Stanford being a top 10 team.  I dunno where that came from (OK, yeah, it came from them beating USC but am I the only one that realized that that said a lot more about USC than Stanford?) but we're better off now that it's been put to rest.

-Two weeks ago against Georgia Tech my Canes hit a new...well...I dunno if you'd call it a new low or a new high.  I know young teams are always inconsistent but this is just ridiculous: the Canes scored the first 19 points, then gave up the next 36 points, THEN scored the LAST 23 POINTS.  I don't know what else to say.  It really doesn't feel like this team is 4-1 and 3-0 in conference.  It seems pretty obvious that Notre Dame and Florida State are both going to wipe the floor with this team but besides that, there are nothing but completely winnable games left on the schedule.  If the Canes can beat Virginia Tech, they should win the ACC Coastal with Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke being the only other ACC games on the schedule (besides FSU) while Virginia Tech still has to battle all those teams (FSU included) as well as take trips to Death Valley for a date with Clemson and Chestnut Hill to battle Boston College.  Say what you want about the competitiveness of the ACC out-of-conference but the race for the ACC title is never not fascinating.

-Speaking of Notre Dame I just have to say how excruciating it is that the Irish (along with the Gators) appear to finally be "back."  In fact there's even talk of a national title shot.  Luckily for the non-pious, they still have to get by Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC but those are all very winnable games for this team right now--in fact, they're ranked higher than all those teams.  Until this team at least loses one game, Lou Holtz will be...well, I was going to say unbearable but that's nothing new.  Exponentially more unbearable, I suppose.

-You know, I've already discussed how wide open the ACC Coastal and Big Ten Leaders Division are right now.  And it got me thinking.  So I started looking at the conference standings and I came to a realization: We know almost NOTHING about ANY of these conferences right now.  I mean, think about it, what do we REALLY know right now?  We know Alabama and Oregon are pretty clearly the two best teams in the country and are likely to win the SEC and Pac-12 (although you never know in the SEC).  We know that Florida State is probably going to win the ACC (although the ACC is always unpredictable and the Noles still have to travel to Miami and Blacksburg [Virginia Tech]).  Other than that?  Nothing.  Specifically the three "Big"s (Big XII, Big Ten, Big East) are essentially anyone's to win.  Even Oregon still has to face Washington, Oregon State, Stanford, and USC.  Smoke 'em if you got 'em, folks.  It's gonna be a long, exciting season filled with drama.  I'm literally giddy.

#5 Georgia @ #6 South Carolina --ESPN -- 7pm

On paper this one sounds really exciting but I have a feeling Georgia's defense will just be way too much for Connor Shaw to handle. Don't be surprised if the Dawgs run away with this one.

Hobbitcore sez: Georgia

#8 West Virginia @ #11 Texas -- Fox -- 7pm

This is a tough one. Geno Smith seems unstoppable right now but he hasn't faced a defense like this yet. There are definitely weaknesses in the Longhorn secondary for him to exploit but if the UT Defensive Ends get pressure on him, he could very well make some uncharacteristic mistakes. If not, he'll have another Heisman-worthy day. Don't think the Mountaineers don't know that. Look for lots of screens and quick routes early on to put those DEs on their heels.

Hobbitcore sez: West Virginia

#21 Nebraska @ #12 Ohio State -- ABC -- 8pm

Both these teams have seen their share of struggles but both have potentially game-changing QBs that make this one hard to predict. I'm going with Ohio State's defense.

Hobbitcore sez: Ohio State

#23 Washington @ #2 Oregon -- ESPN -- 10:30pm

A lot of people seem to think this one will be interesting. I think they've been tricked into buying into the Huskies as a top 25 team after beating overrated Stanford. Oregon will put these delusions to rest by halftime.

Hobbitcore sez: Oregon

GAME OF THE WEEK

#4 LSU @ #10 Florida -- CBS -- 3:30pm

Florida has been fairly impressive but they haven't really beaten anyone. To be fair, neither has LSU. This is going to be another defensive battle with two untested QBs going into the teeth of two ferocious defenses. I really don't want to pick the Gators here but I'm just not buying into the Tigers right now. Honestly, this one is a toss-up for me. My hunch is that LSU's defense is a little bit better and even in the Swamp I think they squeak it out.

Hobbitpick: LSU 16, Florida 15 


Heisman Ballot

1. QB Geno Smith (West Virginia)
2. QB Collin Klein (Kansas State)
3. QB E.J. Manuel (Florida State) 

BCS Predictions
ACC: Florida State over Virginia Tech
Big XII: West Virginia
Big East: Louisville
Big Ten: Michigan State over Purdue
Pac 12: Oregon over USC
SEC: Alabama over Georgia

BCS Championship: Alabama over Oregon
Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia over Notre Dame
Sugar Bowl: LSU over Clemson
Orange Bowl: Florida State over Nebraska
Rose Bowl: Texas over Michigan State