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|My Top 20 Most Underrated Movies - Kickin' it Old School
|02.29.08 (10:13 pm) 
In my last issue on Cameron Crowe, I listed that I considered Elizabethtown a very underrated movie. Well, I thought that would be a perfect reason for a Top 10 list. By underrated I imply that no matter what amount of popularity or critical acclaim that it did receive, it was not enough based on my opinion of what it truly deserves. In this case, I only intend to include movies that were released during the last 30 years since those have been my prime movie watching years. You will probably notice that many of these films have popped up on previous lists, but some have not. I felt strongly about so many films that I decided to give you a bonus 10 to really make a Top 20. So let's just get right to it, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 MOST UNDERRATED MOVIES (1978-2008 + Bonus 10):
Honorable Mention. Office Space (1999) - Though this film, written and directed by Mike Judge, did not enjoy box office success, it has since become sort of a cult classic. That is why I am putting only as an honorable mention because it would probably rank #1 on my list otherwise. Every time I watch it, I notice something new and it never fails to make me laugh. It amazes me that this film took so long to gain popularity because to me it is one of the funniest movies ever made.
20. The Station Agent (2003) - Most people have not seen this little film, written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, and that is a shame. It features amazing character interaction with great performances by the cast which includes Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale and Peter Dinklage. I took a chance on it and I am so happy that I did. If you want to see a great character driven movie, I highly recommend this one.
19. Brewster's Millions (1985) - This is one of my favorite movies from the 80's and also ranked on my Top 10 John Candy movies (January 21st issue). It stars Richard Pryor as a minor league baseball player who can inherit $300 million if he is able to spend $30 million in 30 days without having anything to show for it at the end. It actually is a great screenplay and should receive more credit than it does.
18. Elizabethtown (2005) - You only have to go back to my last article (February 27th issue) to see about this Cameron Crowe film. As I said there, Crowe created a very deep character, played perfectly by Orlando Bloom, who you become emotionally attached to and that is what is at the heart of this movie. This film has many fantastic qualities to it, so I definitely recommend it if you have yet to see this one.
17. Enemy of the State (1998) - This film stars Will Smith and Gene Hackman who both put in fantastic performances. This will definitely appear on my Top 10 list for both actors when I decide to publish those to you. This action drama follows Smith's character as he becomes the target of a government agency trying to protect their own interests. This film somehow did not get the same notoriety of most Will Smith movies even though it is actually one of the best he has ever been in.
16. Tin Cup (1996) - This film, which is written and directed by the very underrated in his own right Ron Shelton, will easily rank on my Top 10 Sports Movies list which is scheduled to be published in the next month. What makes it special is that it is much more than just a sports movie and it features a solid cast which includes Kevin Costner, the beautiful Rene Russo, Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. If you follow golf you will probably enjoy this film a little more, but the story is entertaining enough even if you are not a golf fan.
15. Confidence (2003) - I am a big fan of what I refer to as a "caper" film and this is one of the best I have ever seen. A "caper" film would be anything about con artists or schemers like Ocean's 11 for instance. This film does not do anything revolutionary for the category, but has a strong story that is brought to life by a truly outstanding cast. The cast is lead by Edward Burns (who I feel is one of the most underrated actors out there), but also includes Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Rachel Weisz among others. As with every single movie on this list, I highly recommend this one especially if you have never seen it.
14. Jersey Girl (2004) - This film is written and directed by Kevin Smith who is one of my absolute favorite filmmakers. It did not get widespread critical acclaim or box office success and some of that may have been impacted by its stars' off-screen relationship. Though the tabloids were covering the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez relationship like a blanket, the amazing and emotional performance Affleck puts in is totally overlooked. This film ranked on my Top 10 Affleck & Damon Movies (January 23rd issue) and I am still confused why more people do not enjoy this movie. The great cast also includes Liv Tyler, George Carlin, Jasson Biggs and introduces a little girl named Raquel Castro. Along with the message it delivers, they all help make this movie pretty special to me.
13. Finding Forrester (2000) - This movie, directed by Gus Van Zant, is best described through its tagline which reads "In an ordinary place, he found the one person to make his life extraordinary." This is one of those films that sneaks up on you and then when it is over you step back and feel impressed. The story is about an inner city high school boy who meets a Pulitzer Prize winning author (played by Sean Connery). It is a little bit predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable so you should definitely give it a try.
12. Diggstown (1992) - I admittedly did not see this one in theaters, but I do remember renting the video when it was released and being very impressed by it. The film obviously was overlooked and deserves much more credit for its originality and outstanding performances. James Woods and Louis Gossett Jr. both shine in their roles as a con man and boxer respectively. There is a good chance that you have never seen or maybe even heard of this movie and, if that is the case, I suggest you definitely check it out.
11. The Story of Us (1999) - This film ranked on my Top 10 Rob Reiner films list (January 12th issue) and is another film that was somehow overlooked when it was released. It stars Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer as a couple over 15 years going through the normal ups and downs of marriage and at the end showing that true love endures. It features a tremendous soundtrack mostly by Eric Clapton which adds that extra touch to make it even more special. I enjoy this movie very much and I would guess that you would too.
10. That Thing You Do! (1996) - Written and directed by the great Tom Hanks, this fun and light-hearted film probably had high expectations to live up to. I feel they met and exceeded those expectations and this film deserves a lot more credit than it normally receives. It features a great soundtrack of mostly original songs and a exceptional cast which includes Hanks himself. I feel that Tom Everett Scott plays "Guy Patterson" perfectly and am still surprised that this actor did not turn into a superstar. This is a movie that most people probably did see, but is maybe worth watching again to recognize some of the brilliance on display.
9. Minority Report (2002) - This movie was very successful at the box office, but still does not get the tremendous credit that I feel it deserves. It appears on both my Steven Spielberg Top 10 (February 12th issue) and my Tom Cruise Top 10 (January 7th issue). They create a future world with incredible advances in technology, but the film still revolves around tremendous characters. As I have said before, this film is complex and has a lot going on, so even I did not appreciate it nearly as much until I watched it a second time. So whether you have seen it before or not, please watch it again because you notice so much more the second or third time through.
8. Love Actually (2003) - I enjoy watching this film, written and directed by Richard Curtis, especially around Christmas time. Taking place in England, it follows several different characters lives as they sort of crossover during the holiday season. As I am sure you have noticed by now, character development and interaction is the key element that really makes a film special to me. This movie really delivers in this capacity as rich characters are brought to life by a tremendous cast including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth and Laura Linney. I know Christmas is still about 9 months away, but if you do not see it sooner, I highly recommend that you see at that time.
7. The Sandlot (1993) - Many people consider this a children's movie, but just because it is about children does not make it a movie just for children. This is a coming of age film that has surprisingly rich characters with fantastic dialogue and interaction. I admit that this movie probably definitely appeals more to guys since it revolves around baseball and all of the main characters are boys. I rank it highly on this list because I enjoy this film probably more as a 35 year old than I would have as a child. The added perspective I have gained with age allows me to appreciate this film that much more.
6. Big Fish (2003) - I would describe this as a modern day fairy tale for adults and that is something we all can use a little more of in our lives. It is directed by Tim Burton, but definitely does not have the darkness I usually attribute to Burton films. The movie is a little quirky, but I tend to like that more than not. I would go as far as to compare it to the amazing Wizard of Oz (which is one of my very favorite films of all time) in its ability to tell a story that blurs the line between fantasy and reality in its effort to simply celebrate the joy of life. Like many of my favorites, this movie seems to get better each time I watch it. If you have yet to see it even once, I highly recommend you give it a try.
5. Beautiful Girls (1996) - I love this movie which follows a guy back to his hometown to attend his high school reunion and take inventory of his life, too. I have loved it since they day I saw it in the theater and each and every time I have watched it since then. Again it develops some rich characters who are brought to life by an outstanding cast which includes Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Michael Rappaport, Uma Thurman, Natalie Portman and so many others. The dialogue is special and the character interaction memorable. Ranked this high you know that I obviously give it my highest recommendation.
4. Indian Summer (1993) - Another one of my all-time very favorites, this film written and directed by Mike Binder did not receive much attention then and still not all that much now. I continue to champion this movie as another well written story featuring very rich characters. It follows a group of seven friends as they re-unite at their childhood summer camp and this premise sets up the opportunities for these characters to interact. The cast is lead by the great Alan Arkin and includes several other well-known actors like Elizabeth Perkins, Bill Paxton, Diane Lane and Kevin Pollack. I never attended a summer camp like this, but for some reason I am just attracted to this movie because of the great story, characters and performances. There is a good chance you may have never seen (or even heard of) this film, but I can't recommend it any more highly.
3. Out of Sight (1998) - Based on an Elmore Leonard novel, this film united director Steven Soderbergh with actor George Clooney. It also includes very strong performances by Jennifer Lopez, Don Cheadle and Ving Rhames among an incredible cast. It has a little bit of everything in it and it gives me some of special elements that I feel my all time favorite film Pulp Fiction provides. I always hoped and thought there was a chance a sequel to this movie would be made, but up to this point I have not heard anything about that possibility. This film falls into my "caper" category of action dramas, but it also makes me laugh quite a bit. Again like nearly all of the films on this list, it features a great story, with great characters and dialogue brought to life by an amazing cast. What else could you want in a movie?
2. Dogma (1999) - Another film written and directed by the amazing Kevin Smith, this is also another of my all-time favorites. Many people were distracted by the religious subject matter of this film and overlooked the fact that it is a pretty phenomenal movie. Anybody who claims this film is blasphemous or anti-religion has obviously not seen the movie. Though it does poke a little fun here and there, it really is a film that promotes faith and religion. Kevin Smith is an expert with dialogue and character development and this film is no different. It ranks #1 on my Top 10 Damon & Affleck list (January 23rd issue) and will rank very highly if and when I actually release my Top 200 Favorite Movies of All Time.
1. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) - This dark comedy is definitely not going to appeal to everybody, but it is perfect to me. It ranked #3 on my Top 10 Independent Films (January 26th issue) and #2 on my Top 10 John Cusack list (January 15th issue). I am not necessarily a fan of violent films, but if the violence is a function of the story and the humor, then it does not bother me at all. This film is about a professional hitman who is going back to his high school reunion and then hilarity ensues. This movie has never received the acclaim that I feel it so justly deserves, but it still is one of my favorite films of all time.
What do you think of that list? It gives you more insight into my taste in movies and I hope it gives you some ideas on movies you would like to see. Let me know if you take my advice on any of these and what your reaction is. All of the movies ended up being between 1985 and 2005 with most being between 1993 and 2003 even though I was considering the past 30 years. There are so many outstanding films and many of them do not get the credit they deserve. It is interesting that certain films tend to be box office smashes and certain films receive awards and critical acclaim, but there are others that get neither yet are so much better that the films that do. These are some of the best movies I have ever seen.
That will wrap a long issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Please continue to spread the word and I appreciate any traffic you send my way. Be sure to click on the Archive buttons in the upper left hand column to make sure you have not missed any of the past issues. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is a link to very entertaining and talented magicians Penn & Teller showing their "Cups & Balls Trick."
Quote of the day: On this last day of Black History Month, I will leave you with these great words... "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -Martin Luther King Jr.
Download this: "Have a Little Faith in Me" by John Hiatt
|Where is Cameron Crowe???
|02.27.08 (11:17 pm) 
With all of this movie talk over the last week with the Oscars, I could not help but think of one of my favorite filmmakers and wonder where he has been. What happened to Cameron Crowe??? He has only made eight films in his career, but all but one of them are outstanding. In fact, three of them rank easily within my top 25 favorites of all time. His last film was released back in 2005 and I, for one, would really like to know what he is up to. His last two movies were not met with much critical acclaim, but I still felt they were worthy efforts.
Crowe is now 50 years old, but he made his first big film when he was just 24. He has won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated one other time as well. He is married to Nancy Wilson from the sister band Heart (after meeting her on the set of one of his own movies) and has twin sons who are about 7 years old now. I am sure he has a beautiful life and is enjoying raising his sons and does not have as much time to devote to making movies, but us fans are really hoping that he has something new coming soon.
For those of you not as familiar with his work, here is a quick summary:
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) - This film was based off of the book Crowe wrote after posing as a high school student in San Diego when he was 19. The movie was ranked #8 on Old School's Top 80's Teen Comedies (January 9th issue). It launched the careers of many stars including: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Forest Whitaker and Eric Stoltz. It even featured a young Nicolas Cage (under his real name of Nicolas Coppola). Sean Penn's "Jeff Spicoli" stoner surfer dude character was phenomenal. It also features the famous scene where Phoebe Cates gets out of the swimming pool. Crowe tried to create somewhat of a sequel in 1984 called The Wild Life, but this is the one dud on his resumé.
Say Anything (1989) - This is a fantastic film which he also directed and ranks as one of my all time favorites. It was #1 on my Top 10 films of John Cusack (January 15th issue) who also happens to be one of my very favorite actors of all time. Though the characters behave a little older than the high school students they are meant to be, I feel this film really creates some amazing characters and captures teen angst in a special way. One of those classic scenes in cinema was created when Cusack's character "Lloyd Dobler" holds up a boom box outside of his true love's window and it plays Peter Gabriel's song "In Your Eyes." I truly love this film and I hope Crowe and Cusack hook up again in the future.
Singles (1992) - I am not as big of a fan of this movie which he also directed and produced. Crowe would direct all of his films from Say Anything on and also produce all of his films from Singles forward. This story follows a group of friends living in Seattle at the forefront of the grunge rock phenomenon that was beginning. The film shows Crowe's incredible skill at developing characters. It is always fascinating to me in all of his films to watch Crowe's characters interact with each other. This movie also really starts to emphasize the importance of music to the filmmaker and his movies. The soundtrack to this film became a best-seller even before the movie was released. Looking back, you definitely see that music is carefully chosen and very significant in his previous films as well.
Jerry Maguire (1996) - Again, he is not only the writer, but also the director and producer of this film which garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. This is another one of my all time favorite movies. It has appeared on three previous Old School Top 10 lists: #1 on Tom Cruise performances (January 7th issue), #2 on Best Picture Nominees Not to Win (January 22nd issue) and #1 on with Cuba Gooding Jr. on the Best Supporting Actors (February 19th issue). You could not have cast this film any better than it was. Crowe again creates an attachment to these amazing characters with incredible depth who interact with each other in a way that is pure entertainment. Then you also have catch phrases like "Show me the money!" which add to the fun. This film touched me on several different levels and I feel it is a work of pure genius in many accounts.
Almost Famous (2000) - This film is semi-autobiographical and earned him his first and only Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Another of his movies that features music at its heart, but still relies on rich characters and their interaction with each other to tell a great story. This particular story originates from his experiences as young journalist that goes on the road with a 70's rock band. Those rich characters are abundant in this movie which I consider to be very under-rated despite its Oscar winning screenplay. At this point in 2000, I felt that Crowe could do no wrong.
Vanilla Sky (2001) - This is the only film that Crowe did not write the entire story himself. Here he only wrote the screenplay to remake a Spanish film and this reunited Crowe with, his Jerry Maguire star, Tom Cruise. Though I feel this movie has a very interesting plot, it also often strays over into some strange moments. To me it seemed like it teetered on the brink of either greatness or confusion. It ultimately proved to be too surreal, but I still feel it has some redeeming qualities. I feel it is definitely a movie that you need to see 2-3 times before you can pass judgment. This was the first Crowe film since 1984 to not achieve critical respect.
Elizabethtown (2005) - Crowe returned with this film which also did not seem to get critical acclaim, but I feel it is a bit under-rated. This story harkened back to more of a Say Anything feel and starred Orlando Bloom who I thought was perfect in his role as "Drew Baylor." Crowe creates a very deep character that you become emotionally attached to and that is what makes this movie special. His wife, Nancy Wilson, helped construct the soundtrack for this film which really becomes intertwined with the story as it moves along. When I publish my Top 10 Most Under-rated Films, this one might just make the list. Unfortunately, this is the last film that Crowe has brought to the screen.
If anybody has an update or has heard any rumors as it pertains to Cameron Crowe, please fill me in. I hope he has a new film in the works, but until then I will just continue to enjoy his tremendous works he has chosen to share with us.
That will wrap up another issue of Kickin' it. In my continuing effort to provide you with additional sources of pop culture news, I have been meaning to recommend that you check out Popdose.com. This site features some fantastic writing on some topics that are less mainstream than what you find most places. I find it to be very entertaining, so let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try. Thanks for reading and please continue spreading the word on Kickin' it Old School. I appreciate any new readers you can send my way. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I thought this automotive innovation was kind of interesting. Here is a link that takes you to the disappearing car door.
Quote of the day: "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get." -H. Jackson Brown
Download this: "Same In Any Language" by I Nine - This song is featured on the soundtrack to the film Elizabethtown.
|2008 Oscar Recap - Kickin' it Old School
|02.25.08 (9:02 pm) 
I want to kick this off with a quote from last night's show that I feel did an amazing job summing up my feelings towards movies and cinema:
"I love the movies. They entertain us. They offer us hope. They give us dreams. They can take us places we've never been and, just even for a few moments, they can take us away when you want to get away. Movies inspire us. They challenge us and, despite our differences, they are a common link that touches the humanity in all of us." -Jack Nicholson
As promised, here is Old School's 2008 Oscars recap. There were some nice moments in the 80th anniversary of the Academy Awards. Nielsen says that preliminary ratings for the telecast were 14% lower than the least-watched ceremony ever which was 2003 when still 33 million viewers tuned in. I was obviously one of them. There were not a lot of good movies this past year, but the ones that were good happened to be really good. Those films were honored, but like I predicted in yesterday's issue No Country For Old Men was the big winner. If you did not read the pre-Oscar issue, please go check that out before reading the rest.
My predictions were very accurate except for the actress categories. As I predicted, No Country For Old Men won four major awards including Best Picture, Best Directors, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. The amazing performance by Javier Bardem was justly rewarded and the Coen Brothers were able to come to the stage three times for the other awards. This is very impressive and very well deserved. Juno won for Best Original Screenplay which I also felt was extremely well deserved. I was actually happy to see that Michael Clayton won at least one of the seven awards it was nominated for when Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress (though I was hoping that George Clooney would have pulled off the upset in his category). The biggest surprise of the night had to be that Marion Cottliard won Best Actress in a Leading Role with her performance in a film La Vie En Rose which very few people have even seen. A pleasant surprise to me, The Bourne Ultimatum swept all three categories it was nominated for taking home Oscars for Best Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. It is great to see movies that you have seen and enjoyed win the awards. That pretty much quickly covers the actual awards though the ceremony unnecessarily dragged on for over 3 hours. I honestly feel those lower ratings could be solved if they shortened the program and focused on the major awards.
The show began with a cool intro with a delivery truck bringing the Oscar statues to the theater, but not as cool as when Billy Crystal hosts the show. Here is a link to view this year's intro. Jon Stewart was the host of this year's ceremony and I feel he did an admirable job. I enjoy his sense of humor and he kept the show moving for the most part. Being Oscar's 80th anniversary, George Clooney introduced a nice montage showing some of the highlights of the past 79 years. I enjoy these sorts of videos much more than many of the other portions of the program, so here is a link to watch the video yourself. Then about 2 hours into the show Jack Nicholson marched out and delivered that perfect quote that I began this issue with. He proceeded to introduce a video that recapped all 79 previous winners of the Best Picture award. Here is a link to the video that includes Jack's introduction as well. Jon Stewart had some decent jokes sprinkled in throughout the evening, but I though the funniest part was an exchange between Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill as presenters. The premise was that Halle Berry and Dame Judi Dench were supposed to present that particular award, but could not be there so they were the replacements. The funny part was how they seemingly argued over who is more like Halle Berry. You would have to see it to really appreciate it, but I could not find a video of this part yet. Take my word for it, they were very funny.
I thought most of the attendees were dressed very nicely for the event, but it would not be an Oscar recap if I did not at least comment on the best (and worst) dressed. It seemed to me that most people were rather safe. For the ladies, I felt that Jennifer Garner and Katherine Heigl were the most stunning. Taking into consideration that they were pregnant, I felt that both Nicole Kidman and Jessica Alba looked very nice. If I had to pick a worst dressed, I would give that to Tilda Swinton who wore a very unflattering black frock. For the guys, I feel that most look very nice when you put them in a tuxedo. Not that I pay all that much attention to these sort of things, but George Clooney always seems to exude coolness. Other guys that seemed to stand out include: Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson, Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Jason Bateman, Sean ‘P. Diddy' Combs and Denzel Washington. Again, if I had to pick a worst dressed, I would give that to Daniel Day-Lewis. I am not a fashion expert, but those are my opinions from last night's red carpet.
If you have read most of my Kickin' it Old School articles over the past two months, you will quickly notice my love of movies. (If you have not, then where have you been??? Be sure to click on the Archive buttons and get caught up!) I could not have captured the reasons for that love any better than that opening quote from above. I feel that magic when I experience a great movie and the Oscars always seems to bring a little bit of that magic for me as well. Hopefully some films in the coming year will approach the greatness of No Country For Old Men and the other films I enjoyed so much from this year. That will do it for the Kickin' it Oscar recap. Thanks for reading and please continue to give me lots of feedback. Have a great week. Peace and much love.
Check this out: WARNING again! This is a bit crude again, but oh so funny. In the "Check this out" section of my February 13th issue I included a link to watch an extremely funny video that Sarah Silverman created with Matt Damon for her boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel. Well, last night after the Oscars Kimmel premiered his hilarious rebuttal. Here is a link to watch it. It features some very funny cameos that make it even more comical. I am a big Damon and Affleck fan and this type of display just makes me appreciate them both that much more.
Quote of the day: see the beginning of this article
Download this: "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight" by Amos Lee - I am a big fan of Amos Lee and this is my favorite song of his
|2008 Oscars Predictions & Gone Baby Gone - Kickin' it Old School
|02.24.08 (2:30 pm) 
So, I finally saw Gone Baby Gone since it was released on DVD and I have to say that I was very impressed. The film was based off of a novel by author Dennis Lehane who also wrote Mystic River. Like Mystic River, this movie deals with some uncomfortable subject matters especially for me since I have a young daughter of my own. I do not want to give too much away about the movie, so don't worry about any spoilers coming from me here. I am biased because I am a Ben Affleck fan, but I feel he deserves incredible praise for his work on this film. (Speaking of Affleck, here is a link back to my January 23rd issue which had my Top 10 for Affleck & Damon.) He does not appear in the film, but he co-wrote the screenplay based on the novel and also makes his true directorial debut in fine fashion. I often take notice of the technical aspects of a movie in addition to the characters, story and acting. The technical aspects of Gone Baby Gone seemed very strong and I would attribute much of that to Affleck. I actually feel he probably even deserved an Oscar nomination for Directing. He also was blessed with a tremendous cast to bring this story to life. It starts with his younger brother, Casey Affleck, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for another film, but just as well could have received a nomination for this role. You might think he only received this part because his brother was the producer, writer and director and I am sure that helped, but Casey Affleck is really a tremendous actor in his own right. The film also stars Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. You really can't go wrong with these two amazing actors and they both do their normal exceptional job as would be expected. The lone actual Oscar nomination from this film went to Amy Ryan who makes you really dislike her character as you are meant to. I will discuss this a little more below when I make my Oscar predictions. The way the movie ends really creates a moral dilemma for the characters, but also for the audience as you consider what you feel to be the right thing to do. In order to not spoil the movie for anybody, I will not go into details, but I found this to be a very interesting quandary. Despite dealing with difficult subject matters, overall I feel the film really delivers even before the ending, but then this ending really leaves you thinking for quite a time long after watching the movie. That is a trait that many quality films possess and Gone Baby Gone is definitely a quality film from start to finish.
The 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony (Oscars) is to be held tonight beginning live at 7:00 pm central on ABC. Many people love the red carpet coverage and you can begin watching that live on E! or TV Guide channels beginning at 5:00 pm central. Both of those channels already have Oscar related programming on now until they go live to the red carpet at 5:00. For what it's worth, I figured I would give you my Oscar predictions for tonight's awards.
As you have read in past issues, I am a big fan of No Country For Old Men, Michael Clayton and Juno, though I feel it will be No Country For Old Men that is the big winner tonight.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: I think it is a foregone conclusion that this award will go to Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood. I have not seen this performance, so I cannot really comment on it. I did see George Clooney in Michael Clayton and that is who I will be cheering for.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: As I have discussed several times before, I believe that Javier Bardem will win this award hands down for his role in No Country For Old Men. Not only is this the best performance of this year, but is one of the best of all time in my opinion.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: It looks like Julie Christie will likely win this award for Away From Her. Again, I did not see this performance, but I did see Ellen Page in Juno and I feel she is very deserving of this award as well and hope she somehow pulls it out.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: This race seems to be pretty wide open. Ruby Dee won at the SAG awards and could win to honor her long career. I saw Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton and I think she is very deserving as well. As I mentioned above, Amy Ryan put in a great performance in Gone Baby Gone and I believe that she will be the winner tonight though it could go to any of the three.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: This award will go to Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille which is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: This is always one of my favorite awards because it honors the quality and originality of the writing. This year I have no doubt that Diablo Cody will win this award for her incredible film Juno.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: This is another award that I feel should go to the Coen Brothers for No Country For Old Men. Though the ending of the film could create an opening for Atonement or There Will Be Blood. I am pretty surprised that Gone Baby Gone did not at least get a nomination in this category.
BEST DIRECTING: This award will definitely go to Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country For Old Men. I feel Tony Gilroy did a particularly excellent job with Michael Clayton, but this award definitely will go to the Coens who already won the Directors Guild award.
BEST PICTURE: No surprise here, I expect this award to go to No Country For Old Men as well. Though I have had high praise for Juno and Michael Clayton, I feel this is by far the best film created this past year. It is a true masterpiece and I cannot wait for it to be released on DVD, so I can watch it a couple more times.
As I said before, I expect No Country For Old Men to be the big winner tonight and deservedly so. Those are my picks, so let me know if you feel strongly about any of them. I highly recommend Juno, Michael Clayton, Gone Baby Gone and No Country For Old Men which I have seen and felt were outstanding. They are either out on DVD already or will be very soon, so let me know what you think once you see them.
The ceremony is scheduled for 3 hours, but I really feel that is too long. I say this every year, yet it doesn't seem to change. All of the awards should be presented, but not all have to be done during the live show. I feel the awards I listed above plus maybe Original Song and Cinematography are the only awards that need to be part of the live show. I do not care to see the presentations for documentaries and some of the more technical awards. They could take a couple minutes to honor all of those winners, but they do not need to take about an hour of the show to present each one and allow acceptance speeches as well. You would still have presentation of special achievement awards and the video honoring all of the actors who passed away since the last ceremony. If the ceremony was tightened up a little bit, I feel it would make it more entertaining and increase ratings. I don't know if it will ever happen, but I would be a big proponent of doing it as soon as possible.
That will wrap up another issue of Kickin' it. I need to go get ready to start watching the red carpet coverage. I plan on posting a Oscars Recap issue tomorrow night, so be sure to look for that. Thanks for reading and be sure to click on the Archive buttons in the upper left column to make sure you have not missed any previous issues of Kickin' it Old School. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is another great optical illusion. Follow the directions first above the picture and then below.
If your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot the dots will remain only one color, pink.
However if you stare at the black "+" in the center, the moving dot turns to green.
Now, concentrate on the black "+" in the center of the picture. After a short period, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you may only see only a single green dot rotating.
It's amazing how our brain works. There really is no green dot, and the pink ones really don't disappear.
This should be proof enough, we don't always see what we think we see! Pretty cool, huh?
Quote of the day: "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." -George Washington Carver
Download this: "Bless The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts - I am in no way a country music fan, but I still feel this particular song is amazing with a very worthwhile sentiment as well.
|Back to the 80s: 1st Annual Old School Movie Awards - Kickin' it Old School
|02.22.08 (11:25 pm) 
After reading yesterday's issue, it is obvious that classic 80's films did NOT receive their due respect at the Oscars. With this in mind, I decided I would create my own special awards to honor these great films from my younger formative years. These will not be your traditional awards, but instead will feature unique categories that address the 80's genre. Without further ado, here are OLD SCHOOL'S MOVIE AWARDS 80s STYLE (Also to be known as the OldSchooly's):
• Special Achievement Award for Vocal Sound Effects - And the OldSchooly goes to... Michael Winslow as "Larvelle Jones" in Police Academy. Here is a link to see some of his best work in this regard. You may need to turn up your volume a little.
• Special Achievement Award for Supporting Actor Playing a Dead Guy Most of the Movie - And the OldSchooly goes to... Terry Kiser as "Bernie Lomax" in the 1989 film Weekend at Bernie's. Here is a link to the trailer for this film and you can see Bernie in action.
• Special Achievement Award for Gratuitous Male Beach Volleyball - And the OldSchooly obviously goes to... Top Gun with this link to watch the scene that is so popular with the ladies. Just to be fair to the women, I decided to include this award.
• Special Lack of Achievement Award for Worst Make Up - And the OldSchooly goes to... C. Thomas Howell as "Mark Watson" in the 1986 film Soul Man. I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but Howell gives it his best despite a horrible premise.
Now on to the regular nominations and awards.
• Most Effective Use of a Computer - The other nominees include: War Games for almost causing, but then narrowly avoiding World War III; Ferris Bueller's Day Off for allowing Ferris to hack into the school computer and change his number of days absent, but the OldSchooly goes to... Weird Science for using the computer to create a hot chick. Here is a link to watch the scene in which Gary and Wyatt create Lisa (played by Kelly LeBrock).
• Scariest Bad Guy Created With Special Effects - The other nominees include: "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" from Ghostbusters, The gremlins from Gremlins, "Audrey II" from Little Shop of Horrors, but the OldSchooly goes to... "Chuckie" from the 1988 film Child's Play.
• Best Dancing Scene - The other nominees include: Dirty Dancing, The Breakfast Club with link to watch, Footloose with link to watch, Flashdance, Performing the "African Anteater Ritual" in Can't Buy Me Love with link to watch it, but the OldSchooly goes to...(TIE) Breakin' with this link to watch the final showdown and Beat Street with this link to watch break dancing at its best.
• Best Original Screenplay by John Hughes - The other nominees include: Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), The Great Outdoors (1988), Uncle Buck (1989), I LOVE them all, but the OldSchooly goes to... National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989).
• Best Automobile - The other nominees include: The batmobile from Batman, Cameron's Dad's car from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cole Trickle's car from Days of Thunder, but the OldSchooly goes to... The Delorean from Back to the Future.
• Hottest Babe - The other nominees include: Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Amanda Peterson as "Cindy Mancini" in Can't Buy Me Love, Helen Slater from both Secret of My Success and Supergirl, Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science, Molly Ringwald from Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink & The Pick Up Artist, Apollonia Kotero from Purple Rain, but the OldSchooly goes to... (TIE) Elisabeth Shue from The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting & Cocktail and "Jessica Rabbit" from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
• Best Sequel of the Decade - The other nominees include: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Karate Kid Part II, Fletch Lives, Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, Back to the Future II, Ghostbusters II, but the OldSchooly goes to... (TIE) The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi because I have always remained a big Star Wars fan.
• Best Geek that ends up being kind of cool at the end - The other nominees include: Patrick Dempsey as "Ronald Miller" in Can't Buy Me Love, Pee Wee Herman in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Everybody (except for Val Kilmer) in the film Real Genius, Everybody in the film The Goonies, Weird Al Yankovic as "George Newman" in UHF, but the OldSchooly without a doubt goes to... Anthony Michael Hall for his fantastic characters in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science.
• Best Montage (most classic 80's films have them) - The other nominees include: Revenge of the Nerds fixing up the new fraternity house, Summer Rental getting the ship ready to race, Footloose preparing for the big dance, The Secret of My Success with Brantley doing multiple jobs, but the OldSchooly goes to... Rocky IV for the training montage with a link here to watch it. You may have to turn up your volume a little on this one, too.
• Best Performance of a Song by a Character - The other nominees include: Marty performing "Johnny B. Goode" in Back to the Future with link here to watch it, The Tri Lambs performing at the talent show in Revenge of the Nerds with link here to watch it, Madonna performing in Desperately Seeking Susan, Maverick & Goose singing "You Lost That Lovin' Feeling" or "Great Balls of Fire" in Top Gun, Ferris singing "Danke Schoen" & "Twist and Shout" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off with link here to watch it, Adventures in Babysitting opening scene with "And Then He Kissed Me" with link here to watch it, but the OldSchooly goes to... Prince performing in Purple Rain.
That is all for tonight's awards, please drive home safely. Hope you enjoyed reading them as much I enjoyed coming up with them. What nominations would you add??? Let me know what you think. The possibilities are endless.
That will also do it for another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Look for some of my serious Oscar predictions in my next posting. Thank you so much for reading and I ask you continue to spread the word. If you know someone else who might enjoy Kickin' it, please send them the link to get them here. I appreciate it all. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on "Become a Fan". Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is a link to a very funny video. It is a parody of an ending to a generic classic 80s movie bringing every stereotype into play. You have to watch a short 30 second preview before it lets you start watching the 5 minute video.
Quote of the day: "Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." -Robert Frost
Download this: "Every Time You Go Away" by Paul Young
|Back to the 80s: Oscars in the 80s - Kickin' it Old School
|02.21.08 (10:01 pm) 
In the spirit of Oscar week and with my obsession with the 80s, I have decided to go back and look at how the Academy Awards honored (or failed to honor) the classic films of the 80s generation. Now I am not talking about just movies that happen to have been released between 1980 and 1989, but those films that I truly identify as "80s movies." What I found was that there was very little Oscar representation by true 80s movies which is not all that surprising. I will go year by year and call any interesting awards and/or nominations out as we go. These are by the year of the Oscar ceremony, not the year the films were released.
1981 - The only film worth mentioning in this year is The Empire Strikes Back. Though considered much, much more than just an 80's film, my memories still take me back to that decade. This movie won the Oscar for Sound and received a Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Art Direction and Original Score. (BEST PICTURE went to Ordinary People)
1982 - Again not necessarily thought of as an 80's movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark is the only film that comes close for me. This movie won the Oscar for Sound, Visual Effects, Film Editing and Art Direction plus received a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography and Original Score. (BEST PICTURE went to Chariots of Fire)
1983 - Now we start to get a couple more classic 80's films show up. Rocky III received a nomination for Original Song with "Eye of the Tiger." Tron received nominations for Sound and Costume Design. ET: The Extra Terrestrial won Oscars for Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Effects Editing and Original Score while also being nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Film Editing. (BEST PICTURE went to Gandhi)
1984 - Return of the Jedi received a Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects while also being nominated for Art Direction, Original Score and Sound. Flashdance won the Oscar for Best Original Song with "Flashdance...What a Feeling" by Irene Cara. It also received another nomination for Best Original Song with "Maniac" as well as Cinematography and Film Editing. War Games did not win any awards, but was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound. (BEST PICTURE went to Terms of Endearment)
1985 - Prince's Purple Rain won an Oscar for Original Song Score yet was not even nominated for Best Original Song. Pat Morita was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as "Mr. Miyagi" in The Karate Kid. Footloose received a Best Original Song nomination for both "Footloose" and "Let's Hear it For the Boy." Ghostbusters received nominations for Best Original Song and Visual Effects. Romancing the Stone received a nomination for Film Editing. Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom won an Oscar for Visual Effects and was also nominated for Original Score. Impressively, both Beverly Hills Cop and Splash received nominations for Best Original Screenplay. (BEST PICTURE went to Amadeus)
1986 - This year did not produce very much. Don Ameche won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Cocoon which also won for Visual Effects. Back to the Future won the Oscar for Sound Effects Editing and also received nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Sound and Best Original Song for "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & the News. (BEST PICTURE went to Out of Africa)
1987 - Top Gun won the Oscar for Best Original Song with Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" while also receiving nominations for Film Editing, Sound and Sound Effects Editing. The Karate Kid Part II received a Best Original Song nomination for "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera. Crocodile Dundee surprisingly was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Stand By Me only was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, but somehow lost to A Room With a View. (BEST PICTURE went to Platoon)
1988 - The next two years would have several nominations. Dirty Dancing won the Oscar for Best Original Song with "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." Michael Douglas won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his "Gordon Gekko" in Wall Street. Moonstruck won the Oscar for Best Actress in Leading Role (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Olympia Dukakis) and Best Original Screenplay. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. RoboCop received a Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing while also being nominated for Film Editing and Sound. Beverly Hills Cop II's "Shakedown" was nominated for Best Original Song as was "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from Mannequin. Throw Momma From the Train received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Anne Ramsey. Fatal Attraction received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role as well as Best Supporting Actress, but failed to win any of them. (BEST PICTURE went to The Last Emperor)
1989 - Rain Man won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Dustin Hoffman won for Best Actor in a Leading Role. It was also nominated for Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing and Original Score. As mentioned in my last issue, Kevin Kline was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in A Fish Called Wanda which also received nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Who Framed Roger Rabbit won Oscars for Film Editing, Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing while also receiving nominations for Art Direction, Cinematography and Sound. Tom Hanks was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Big which was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Coming to America received nominations for Costume Design and Makeup. Die Hard received nominations for Film Editing, Sound, Visual Effects and Sound Effects Editing. Beetlejuice was nominated for Makeup. Bull Durham received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Working Girl received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Melanie Griffith), two for Best Supporting Actress (Joan Cusack and Sigourney Weaver) and Best Original Song, but like Fatal Attraction the year before did not win a single one. (As mentioned earlier, BEST PICTURE went to Rain Man)
So many amazing movie memories during this decade, yet so little critical recognition. I am not going to include 1990 (BEST PICTURE went to Driving Miss Daisy) even though most of those movies came out in 1989 because that really began a transition into the 90s. As you can see, there were not a lot of true classic 80s movies represented. Many of the films listed above are probably not even considered in that category, but these are the movies I felt were close enough. With all of the incredible music, I am really surprised that there were not more nominations and wins for Best Original Song during the 80s. Based on this lack of Oscar credit, I decided to create my own set of awards to present to the classic 80s flicks. Tune in tomorrow to see who gets my nominations and which categories I have come up with to honor. It should be fun especially for you 80's fans.
That will wrap up this issue of Kickin' it. Like I said, tomorrow will be the Old School 80s Movie Awards, so make sure you check back to see those. Thank you for reading and be sure to click on the Archives to make sure you have not missed a single issue of Kickin' it Old School. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is some more interesting trivia...
>More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
>Amazon: The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. Also, the volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.
>Brazil: Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.
>Canada: Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
>Ohio: There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio, every one is manmade.
>Antarctica: Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents 70% of all the fresh water in the world. However, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice, Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
>Damascus, Syria: Damascus was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
>Rome, Italy: The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, in 133 B.C. There is a city called Rome on every continent.
>Siberia: Siberia contains more than 25% of the world's forests.
>Sahara Desert: In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years. Technically though, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island. There has been no rainfall there for two million years.
Quote of the day: "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." -Anita Roddick
|Top Best Supporting Actor Oscar Winners - Kickin' it Old School
|02.19.08 (11:42 pm) 
This is Oscar Week with the 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony scheduled for this Sunday evening. In anticipation of this grand event, I will try to feature some movie and Oscar related articles this week. If you have been reading Kickin' it Old School on a regular basis, you will know that there are three Oscar-nominated films which I have seen and that I have high praise for each of them. Those three films include Juno, Michael Clayton and No Country For Old Men. They are all pretty outstanding in an otherwise weak year as far as quality movies go. If you read my January 30th issue on No Country For Old Men, you would have read my major endorsement for the incredible performance of Javier Bardem in that film. As I said then, his performance as the sociopath "Anton Chigurh." was truly special. To quote myself I said, "When I say special, I mean Bardem's performance is both riveting and haunting and it might be as good as any I have ever seen." I still stand by those comments and I have no doubts that Bardem will win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday night. When he wins, he will take the top spot for me in that category, which leads me into a Top 10 list. Before Bardem wins, which Best Supporting Actors would rank as my favorites up to this point? Here are OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FAVORITE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OSCAR WINNING PERFORMANCES:
Honorable Mention. Robert DeNiro as "Vito Corleone" in The Godfather Part II (1974) - Though both Part I and Part II won Best Picture, only Marlon Brando received any other acting awards for any of the three films. These films were brought to life by a tremendous cast and though they received some nominations, they deserved more awards. Though I do not consider myself a major fan of The Godfather films, I do give them credit for their place in cinematic history and thus want to recognize the great Robert DeNiro with at least an honorable mention.
10. Tim Robbins as "Dave Boyle" in Mystic River (2003) - This film, directed by Clint Eastwood, featured an outstanding cast dealing with some very difficult subject matters. Sean Penn was awarded the Oscar for his leading role and with Robbins helped deliver a riveting story to the big screen.
9. Joe Pesci as "Tommy DeVito" in Goodfellas (1990) - Though I am not a big fan of these types of mafia related movies, who could forget the scene with Pesci's character asking "How am I funny?" and then proceeding to brutally pound a guy with a baseball bat? Pesci steals every scene he is in and was well deserving of this honor.
8. Morgan Freeman as "Eddie ‘Scrap Iron' Dupree" in Million Dollar Baby (2004) - Like Mystic River, this film is also directed by Clint Eastwood who always seems to get incredible performances out of his cast. Freeman is a special actor and brings a lot to this role and to this film. He also serves as the narrator (like in Shawshank Redemption) which adds a certain comforting feeling surrounding his character. Great performance in a great film, though I personally felt that Thomas Haden Church should have won this award for Sideways and probably would have ranked higher on this list if he had.
7. Alan Arkin as "Edwin Hoover" in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) - I really enjoy Arkin in every role he plays, so I was very happy to see him win at last year's Oscars. He plays an essential character within the story and, though it is a supporting role, I feel the film succeeds in many ways due to his performance as well as the performance of Steve Carell (who was also in a supporting role). If you have never seen this movie, give it a try. It is a little quirky, but still outstanding.
6. Edmund Gwenn as "Kris Kringle" in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - This is by far the oldest film to appear on this list, but since I have watched this movie nearly every holiday season since I was a child I know the performance very well. He is just a joy to watch as he brings Santa Claus to life without any special effects other than superb acting. Without a doubt, a special performance in a special film.
5. Robin Williams as "Sean Maguire" in Good Will Hunting (1997) - Despite stiff competition in the category, Williams was honored for his fantastic performance as a psychologist who works with a genius with emotional instability. I really think this film, written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, is fantastic in so many ways. One of the reasons is Robin Williams.
4. Kevin Kline as "Otto West" in A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - A very quirky comedy that features many great performances, but none greater than Kline's. He had such great dialogue written for his character and that combined with Kline's amazing talent for physical comedy makes it truly special. If you have not seen this film in a while, I recommend you give it a try again.
3. Jack Palance as "Curly" in City Slickers (1991) - This film features a hilarious Billy Crystal as well as the funny Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby, but it is Palance's rough and tough cowboy that brings it all together. Who can forget his one-armed push ups he performed on stage as he accepted his Oscar? A great moment in Oscar history and a great performance in this very under-rated movie.
2. Kevin Spacey as "Verbal Kint" in The Usual Suspects (1995) - What an amazing character this is and Spacey takes the role and makes the most of it. This is one of my favorite movies and a lot has to do with the tremendous screenplay and surprising cast. I don't think this film gets enough credit and Spacey's performance is one of the truly best of all time.
1. Cuba Gooding Jr. as "Rod Tidwell" in Jerry Maguire (1996) - This is another one of my all time favorite films and much of it is due to the performances of Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding. Cameron Crowe created a great character and Gooding plays it to perfection. The same joy that the character shows towards the end of the film was also on display when Gooding accepted his award.
There is my top 10 with Javier Bardem soon to take over the #1 position. As I did some research for this list, I was reminded of several years where some spectacular performances were not awarded the Oscar. If some of these actors would have won, this list would have looked much different. Here are a few of the most obvious omissions:
1972 - Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan (from The Godfather) were all beat out by Joel Grey (Cabaret)
1979 - Robert Duvall as "Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore" (from Apocolypse Now) was somehow overlooked for Melvyn Douglass (Being There)
1992 - Jack Nicholson (from A Few Good Men) was bested by Gene Hackman (Unforgiven)
1994 - Samuel L. Jackson (from Pulp Fiction) was robbed by Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
1999 - Both Tom Cruise (from Magnolia) and Haley Joel Osment (from The Sixth Sense) were beat out by Michael Caine (from Cider House Rules)
2001 - Ian McKellen (from Lord of the Rings) was somehow beat by Jim Broadbent (from Iris)
I am not sure how some of those performances were not awarded in those particular years. It is definitely not a perfect process, but it still carries a lot of weight in the industry. Supporting roles in movies are essential to the ultimate success of the film and it is very meaningful that the Academy Awards takes the time to give them their due credit.
That will wrap up another issue of Kickin' it Old School. One of my next posts will take an 80's angle on the Oscars. Speaking of the 80's, did you all see who will be competing in the upcoming sixth season of Dancing with Stars? None other than Steve Guttenberg (the star of such 80's classics as Police Academy, Cocoon, Short Circuit and 3 Men and a Baby). I may have to tune in just to see the Goot! Thanks for reading and be sure to click on the Archives to make sure you have not missed a single issue of Kickin' it. Peace and much love.
Check this out: One of my favorite comedians is Jeff Dunham who is a ventriloquist. Here is a link to a compilation of some of his act.
Quote of the day: "A man looks in the abyss and there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment a man finds his character and that is what keeps him out of the abyss." -character Lou Mannheim (played by Hal Holbrook) in the film Wall Street
Download this: The Maroon 5 album Songs About Jane is, in my opinion, one of the single best albums from start to finish ever produced by any artist. I would recommend every song on the album, but will highlight just three of them right here... "She Will Be Loved," "Harder To Breathe" and "Sunday Morning"
|NBA All-Star Weekend Recap - Kickin' it Old School
|02.18.08 (7:11 pm) 
NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans is now over and this year it did not disappoint. In my February 15th issue, I discussed the event and went on to rank my Top 10 Dunk Contest winners of all time. Well, after this weekend you can add a new name to the list. Dwight Howard won the contest this year with incredible charisma and a creative arsenal of dunks. Gerald Green who ranked #10 on my list after winning last year's contest also moves up the list based on his impressive showing which included a dunk while blowing out a cupcake candle sitting on the rim. This showdown was extremely entertaining and produced some of the most innovative dunks ever seen. Here is a link to see the highlights of all of the dunkers, please watch and see for yourself. From Howard's first amazing dunk, he had the crowd in the palm of his hands and he did not let them down. I would say this performance combined with that sticker dunk from last year puts Howard all the way up somewhere between #3 and #5 on my list. The dunk contest regained its status as must-see entertainment.
The actual game on Sunday night is almost an afterthought, but at least this year the game stayed close down to the very end. The East ultimately pulled out the victory 134-128 and LeBron James was named the game's MVP. Ray Allen really allowed the East to win by scoring 14 of his 28 points in about the last 3 minutes of the game. As you can see by the final score, there was not much defense played in the game, but that is common to this type of exhibition. The players put on a show and it was exciting down to the final buzzer.
The game ended late last night, but the positive effects that NBA All-Star weekend left behind in New Orleans will remain for quite a long time. You see, there is a certain positive economic benefit when a major event like All-Star weekend is held in any city. This alone served to help a city that is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina two and a half years later. The NBA and its players went one step further with its "NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service." Many of the NBA's brightest stars including LeBron James, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd were joined by 2500 other league employees as volunteers helped the rebuilding process at schools, houses, playgrounds and building sites around the city. There was a front page headline on the local paper which declared it "the largest single volunteer effort since Katrina" happened. The players themselves were rolling up their sleeves and doing the work and at the same time bringing attention to the situation that still exists down in Louisiana. Many people do not realize that the devastation still remains in this region and maybe this attention may help expedite the efforts. Like I have said before, pro athletes get so much negative publicity that I have to take the time to call attention to some of the positive moments. The response of the NBA Family to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was immediate and sustained. Through the efforts of the NBA, its teams, current and former players, and the National Basketball Players Association, contributions to the Gulf Region have exceeded $15 million to date. NBA efforts have included the construction of 35 homes with Habitat for Humanity and the building of five playgrounds. The NBA's commitment to the revitalization of New Orleans was evident on March 8, 2006, when the Hornets hosted the L.A. Lakers in the city's first professional sporting event following the hurricane, it continued on May 22, 2006, when the city was awarded All-Star 2008, the first major event of any kind to commit to New Orleans and culminated in Friday's "NBA Cares All-Star Day of Caring." New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was quoted saying the Hornets and the league "have gone above and beyond in meaningful support of the people and city of New Orleans. They have contributed to rebuilding housing, education revitalization projects and have supported numerous charitable and non-profit agencies. A strong part of the recovery progress in the city of New Orleans can be linked to the community efforts of the New Orleans Hornets and the NBA." These efforts should definitely be considered one of the greatest highlights of a weekend already jam packed with the more obvious highlights. Congratulations to the NBA and its players on a truly first class event from start to finish.
That's all for this edition of Kickin' it Old School. The Oscars are this coming Sunday, so we will definitely hit some movie topics this week. Thanks for reading and continue spreading the word. I appreciate all of the links back to my blog and I ask you all to consider adding a link to Kickin' it Old School on your site. If you have missed any issues, be sure to click on the Archive buttons in the upper left column to see all of them. Hope you all have a fantastic week. Peace and much love.
Check this out: The cable channel Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is in the midst of its annual tribute to the Oscars. They have what they refer to as "31 Days of Oscar" when they show mostly Oscar winning movies. Here is a link to the schedule for this week and the remainder of the month. I am sure there are some movie worth setting your DVR or Tivo to record for you. Wednesday night you can see On The Waterfront and Some Like It Hot. Friday you can see Raging Bull and Ordinary People. Each day you can find films worth watching.
Quote of the day: "Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price." -Vince Lombardi
Download this: "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - This is one of my favorite hip hop songs of all time which was featured on the album E. 1999 Eternal. I am not sure why this song did not become more popular, but I feel it is a truly special song.
|Top TV Theme Songs of All Time - Kickin' it Old School
|02.17.08 (12:11 am) 
I already recently gave you my Top 10 Favorite TV Characters from the 80's. At that time, I mentioned how so many of those shows had such great theme songs and that I would do a list of my favorite TV theme songs. Well, that is what I am going to do in this issue. You will notice that nearly all of the songs on my list are from 80's shows and I feel this is because most shows today do not really put much emphasis on the opening credits and having a theme song. There are some here and there, but it is no longer an essential part to a television series. It was difficult to narrow this list down to just 10, so I am going to give you a bonus 5 songs plus a list of the other songs that just missed making the top 15. As an added bonus, I will provide a link so you can hear and see the opening credits for each show that made the list. Since I am doing this, I am not going to comment too much on each song. I tried to create this list based on my favorite theme songs and it is not based on the best shows or the most recognized songs.
Are you ready? Here are OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FAVORITE TV THEME SONGS (+ Bonus 5):
Honorable Mention. Laverne & Shirley - This show which ran from 1976-1983 was supposedly set in the great city of Milwaukee with the girls worked at a fictitious beer brewery. That alone warrants the honorable mention, but it has a catchy tune as well. The song is titled "Making Our Dreams Come True" performed by Cyndi Grecco. Here is a link to watch it.
15. Good Times - I have always loved the theme song from this show that ran from 1974-1979. I would even go as far as to say it is "Dy-no-mite!" It was performed by David Gruson, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. Here is a link to watch it.
14. Diff'rent Strokes - The "Arnold" character from this show, which ran 1978-1986, made my Top 10 TV Characters from the 80's list. The theme song was sung by Gloria Loring, Al Burton and Alan Thicke (yes, the same Alan Thicke that starred in Growing Pains). Here is a link to watch it.
13. Moonlighting - Again, the "David" & "Maddie" characters from this show, which ran 1985-1989, made my Top 10 TV Characters from the 80's list. The theme song became a minor hit showing up on the charts and was sung by popular jazz artist Al Jarreau. Here is a link to watch it.
12. Family Ties - This show ran from 1982-1989 with the "Alex P. Keaton" character making my Top 10 list as well. The theme song was titled "Without Us" and was performed by the great Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. Here is a link to watch it.
11. WKRP in Cincinnati - This show ran from 1978-1982 and featured a very talented and funny cast of characters. The only thing better than the cast was the theme song which was sung by Steve Carlisle. I could not find a video of the opening credits, but here is a link to listen to the song at least.
10. Party of Five - I actually rarely watched this show which ran from 1994-2000 and makes it the most recent show to make the entire list. It does have a fantastic theme song titled "Closer to Free" performed by the BoDeans. Here is a link to watch it.
9. Growing Pains - This show ran from 1985-1992 and featured a great theme song. There were different singers who performed the song titled "As Long As We Got Eachother" but the most common version is by B.J. Thomas and Jennifer Warnes. Here is a link to watch it.
8. Silver Spoons - This classic 80's show ran from 1982-1986 and starred Ricky Schroder. Looking back, the show was only average, but the theme song was outstanding. It is a song titled "Together" written by Rik Howard and Bob Wirth. Here is a link to watch it.
7. Perfect Strangers - This show amazingly lasted from 1986-1993. It was the story of Balki the sheepherder from the fictional island of Mepos comes to America to live with his cousin. Then the wackiness ensues. "Don't be ridiculous." The theme song titled "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" is performed David Pomeranz. Here is a link to watch it.
6. The Wonder Years - This was one of my very favorite shows and ran from 1988-1993. It was set 20 years earlier in the late 60s and early 70s. I thought it was fantastic and had the perfect theme song. It was Joe Cocker singing a cover of the Beatles tune "A Little Help From My Friends." Here is a link to watch it.
5. Sanford and Son - Running from 1972-1977, this is the oldest show that made my top 15. I have always thought the theme song was fantastic despite it only being instrumental. I even had it as the ringtone on my phone for several years. The song is titled "The Street Beater" and is by the great Quincy Jones. Here is a link to watch it.
4. Welcome Back, Kotter - This show ran 1975-1979 and might be best know for starting the career of John Travolta. The theme song titled "Welcome Back" was performed by John Sebastian (from Lovin' Spoonful) and actually became a Billboard Hot 100 #1 song in May of 1976. Here is a link to watch it.
3. Mad About You - This show ran from 1992-1999 and starred Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. It is one of the few newer shows to make the list. The theme song is titled "Final Frontier" and was originally performed by Andrew Gold. Here is a link to watch it.
2. Cheers - This show aired 1982-1993 having the longest run of any show to make the list. Set in a Boston bar, it gradually developed into an outstanding program, but theme song was great right from the start. It just seemed like such an appropriate sentiment for this show. Here is a link to watch it.
1. The Greatest American Hero - This show only aired from 1981-1983 making it the shortest running series to make the list. The show was not very good at all, but the theme song was fantastic. The song titled "Believe It or Not" was performed by Joey Scarbury spent 18 weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts and peaked at #2 in August of 1981. This video does not do it justice, but here is a link to watch it anyways.
There are my top 15 songs. Hope you enjoyed the video links. Here are some of the other shows that just missed making the list: Taxi, Three's Company, Scrubs, I Dream of Jeannie, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Drew Carey Show, Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, Friends, Who's the Boss, Mr. Belvedere and The Jeffersons. Like I said, there are a lot of good theme songs and most come from the 1980s or before. What are your favorites??? Let me know what you think.
That will do it for another issue of Kickin' it. As always, thanks so much for reading. This is my 40th issue since beginning this ride! If you missed any of them, be sure to click on the Archive buttons in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box in the upper right hand column to go back and get them all. Please spread the word and let people know about Kickin' it Old School. I appreciate any traffic you can send my way. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I found a "name that tune" type of game for TV theme songs on line. Here is a link to play the game and see how you do. Some of the songs are probably from my list above.
Quote of the day: "Greatness is not where you stand, but in what direction you are moving." -Oliver Wendell Holmes
Download this: "Believe It or Not (Them from The Greatest American Hero)" by Joey Scarbury - There is a full length version of this song available and I thought it was appropriate based on today's topic.
|NBA All-Star Weekend Top Slam Dunk Contest Champions
|02.15.08 (10:06 pm) 
It is NBA All-Star Weekend and, even though it does not hold the same luster it did 20 years ago, it is still one of the best exhibitions in all of professional sports. I have been watching All-Star Weekend ever since it began back in 1984. That is when the Slam Dunk Contest began; then they added the 3 point Shootout in 1986 and began broadcasting the live event starting in 1987. Some of the festivities begin tonight, but most are held tomorrow (Saturday) night and it is all televised on TNT. I encourage you to at least set your DVR or Tivo to record the contest because you never know what amazing feat you may witness. I know I will be watching.
The 3 point Shootout is a fantastic display of the best pure shooters the game has known. Past winners include Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Dale Ellis, Mark Price, Glen Rice, Ray Allen and Peja Stojakovic. I always have enjoyed seeing this competition, but it is the Slam Dunk Contest that everybody really comes to see. There was nothing better than the Slam Dunk Contest back in the late 80's when you had superstars like Michael Jordan facing off against Dominique Wilkins, but then it definitely dropped off in the mid to late 90's. Luckily, Vince Carter helped resurrect the contest in 2000 and it has been pretty decent again ever since. It is truly amazing what athletic ability and innovation these players bring nowadays. The NBA added a rule for the Slam Dunk contest only allowing first, second or third year players to participate. It really showcases some of the young talent in the league, but you will never see the superstars like we once did. Here is a link to a great video that highlights some of the best dunks over the 23 year history of the Dunk Contest and even features some Dr. J footage from the 1976 ABA Dunk Contest. It is about 9 minutes long, but really shows some phenomenally creative gravity-defying slam dunks. If you watch it now, please be sure to come back and finish reading here because I am going to give you a Top 10 list of the best Slam Dunk Contest Winning Dunkers of all time. So here are OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 SLAM DUNK CONTEST WINNERS:
Honorable Mention. Julius Erving - Dr. J was the first to really make dunking into an art form. Though he never won the modern day Slam Dunk Contest (finished 2nd in 1984 to Larry Nance), he did win the 1976 ABA Dunk Contest by performing the famous free throw line slam which was extremely rare and especially amazing for that time. He definitely deserves an honorable mention here.
10. Gerald Green (2007) - He won last year's contest with some pretty incredible dunks. This spot could have gone to several other guys like Kobe Bryant (1997) or Dee Brown (1991) or Nate Robinson (2006), but Green seemed special. He will be competing again this year and if he can win back to back titles, then I would consider moving him up the list for sure.
9. Spud Webb (1986) - At just 5 feet 7 inches tall, he is the shortest player ever to win the Slam Dunk Contest. Nate Robinson won in 2006, but he is 2 inches taller than Spud. Webb showed tremendous innovation despite not even being able to palm the basketball. I still feel that Wilkins was the better dunker that year, but you have to give credit to the underdog little man.
8. Harold Miner (1993, 1995) - His nickname was "Baby Jordan" from college and though he never came close to Jordan's level in the NBA, he did excel in the Dunk Contest winning it twice. Winning two contests put him on my list ahead of the one time winners.
7. Isaiah Rider (1994) - He won it in 1994 and then made it to the finals again in 1995. He had one incredible slam that was nicknamed the "East Bay Funk Dunk" which was amazing at the time. Looking back, players today seem to be able to do that sort of move with ease.
6. Josh Smith (2005) - Though he only won it one year, he showed some incredible flair for the dramatic. For one of his dunks, he put on a Dominique Wilkins jersey to honor him. This kid has tremendous athleticism and is a budding star in the league today.
5. Desmond Mason (2001) - He won it in 2001 and then made it to the finals in 2003. Known as "The Cowboy" because he played college ball at Oklahoma State, he looks more like a bird the way he can fly through and hang up in the air. He punishes the rim when he slams it through.
4. Jason Richardson (2002, 2003) - This two time winner also went to the finals in 2004. He is a dynamic dunker who performed some moves that had never been seen before. He had a dunk where he threw the ball off the backboard, caught it and put it between his legs before slamming it home. He had another where he did a between the legs reverse dunk arching his back seemingly too far from the rim to put it down. Incredibly dynamic.
3. Dominique Wilkins (1985, 1990) - It was hard for me to rank ‘Nique this low because he was one of my favorite players growing up. "The Human Highlight Film" as he was called not only won 2 titles, but was in the finals in both 1986 and 1988 and realistically could have been named the winner of both of those, too. His 1988 Dunk Contest finals face off against Michael Jordan is legendary. Here is a link to a quick recap of that particular match-up. Wilkins was one of the few dunkers who jumped off of both feet and his signature dunk was the "windmill." I loved watching Dominique play.
2. Vince Carter (2000) - As I mentioned earlier, Carter burst on to the scene and really resurrected this contest. They decided to not have the contest in 1998 and the NBA strike cancelled the All-Star game in 1999, but in 2000 Vince Carter showed why he was nicknamed "Half Man Half Amazing." Here is a link to a quick video that shows some of the incredible dunks that he displayed that year with several replays from different angles. The NBA owes Carter a debt of gratitude for saving this contest and breathing life back into All-Star Weekend when they needed it most.
1. Michael Jordan (1987, 1988) - What can you say? Jordan took the torch from Dr. J and not only ran with it, but flew to a new planet with it. Though I was a bigger fan of Dominique at the time, you can't deny the greatness of Michael Jordan. He always added a little extra flair to every dunk whether it was an extra pump or a leg kick. Jordan revolutionized not only the Dunk Contest, but the game of basketball itself.
There is my Top 10 and you saw all of them if you watched the video I linked to earlier. Over the last two years, I felt the best dunks performed were not done by the eventual winners. Two years ago, the tiny Nate Robinson won despite missing his final dunk 14 times before getting it down. He defeated Andre Iguodola who had one of my favorite dunks of all time which I have a link to right here. Then last year, Dwight Howard had an incredible display of leaping ability when he slapped a sticker high on the backboard before he dunked. I have a link to this unbelievable performance right here. Howard is participating tomorrow night and I can't wait to see what he does this year. My list above only includes dunkers who actually won the contest. There have been some amazing dunks along the way by those who did not end up winning and many of those were included in that long video I recommended at the start. If you go out and stand in front of a regulation basketball hoop that is 10 feet high and then imagine millions of people watching you, I think you begin to appreciate how special these athletes are and what an art form the slam dunk can actually become. I am still in awe when I watch those dunks from the 80's and these young kids today never fail to impress. Like I said, I am eager to see what they come up with next. I will be watching tomorrow night and I hope to see another dunk that makes me jump out of my seat.
If interested, here are a couple more links to some NBA.com highlights from past dunk contests:
Year by Year Recap of the Best Contest Dunks
Best Contest Dunks By Category
Both are very cool, so go check them out if you enjoy slam dunks.
That will do it for another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for stopping by and please help spread the word. I appreciate any links back to my blog that you put in your blog or on your website. Notice that I finally figured out how to put live links into my blog rather than listing all that code (thanks skumora!) I hope you all enjoy your weekend. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here are some interesting bits of trivia. I have not re-verified all of this, but they sound reasonable to me...
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years.
All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Cats have over 100 vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "MT."
If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."
The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."
The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is "uncopyrightable."
The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet.
The words "race car" and "kayak" and "level" are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
There's no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks;
otherwise it will digest itself.
Quote of the day: "By going that one more round when you think you can't, that's what makes all the difference in your life." -Rocky talking to his son in the movie Rocky IV
Download this: "Forever Young" (acoustic version) by Rod Stewart - I like the original version of this song, but he did a slower acoustic version featured on the album If We Fall in Love Tonight that is just fantastic. I highly recommend this particular version.
|Top Duet Songs of All Time - Kickin' it Old School
|02.14.08 (10:10 pm) 
Happy Valentine's Day to you all. This is supposed to be one of the most romantic days of the year and when I think of romance, I think of music. When I was checking out the Retro Crush website like I regularly do I noticed that they had a feature on the 25 greatest duets of all time. Since many duets are love songs and today is Valentine's Day, I thought I would put together my own list.
First, there is some confusion between what constitutes a duet or a collaboration, so I am just going to go with collaboration to simplify things. Second, I will not consider Christmas songs in this particular list because there are so many holiday duets and it is difficult to compare them to non-holiday songs. Third, I will only consider songs where the singers are not already a member of the same group, so songs by Simon & Garfunkel or Hall & Oates will not count towards my list. Last, I will only consider songs where the collaboration is between two vocalists and not only a musician, so songs featuring Santana or Jim Brickman will not count towards my list. Those are the rules that I used to compile my list and also remember these are what I consider to be my favorites and not necessarily the "best" of the category.
I usually give you just the top 10, but because there are so many great songs in this category I will give you a bonus 15 for a total of 25 songs. Actually, there will be even more than 25 songs because I will combine multiple songs featuring the same artist for the sake of this list. Also enjoy the links to the videos for most songs. Let's get right to it. Here are OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FAVORITE SONG COLLABORATIONS/DUETS (+ Bonus 15):
Honorable Mention. "Walk This Way" by Run DMC with Aerosmith. This was a groundbreaking crossover song for rap music at the time. It broke down so many barriers for rap and hip hop music at the time and that is why I have to at least give it honorable mention.
25. "You've Got a Friend in Me" by Randy Newman with Lyle Lovett - From the movie Toy Story [link to video of live performance]
24. "Crazy In Love" by Beyoncé with Jay-Z [link to video]
23. "My Boo" by Usher with Alicia Keys [link to video]
22. "Heard ‘em Say" by Kanye West with Adam Levine (from Maroon 5) [link to video]
21. "Over and Over" by Nelly with Tim McGraw [link to video]
20. "Somewhere Out There" by James Ingram with Linda Rondstadt AND "Baby Come To Me" by James Ingram with Patti Austin - Both songs feature the great James Ingram who is a fantastic duet partner [link to video for "Somewhere Out There"]
19. "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins with Philip Bailey (from Earth, Wind & Fire) [link to video]
18. "Silent Prayer" by Shanice with Johnny Gill [link to song playing]
17. "Almost Paradise" by Ann Wilson and Mike Reno - From the movie Footloose [link to video] - also ranks on my Top Songs from 80s Movies list
16. "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross - Also an outstanding remake by Luther Vandross with Mariah Carey [link to live performance]
15. "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney with Michael Jackson - The two also combined for the song "The Girl is Mine" [link to video]
14. "Crazy Love" by Aaron Neville with Robbie Robertson - Outstanding version of this song featured in the film Phenomenon [link to video of scene from movie featuring song]
13. "Love Is" by Brian McKnight with Vanessa Williams AND "My Kind of Girl" by Brian McKnight with Justin Timberlake - Both songs feature Brian McKnight who is one of my favorite voices in all of music [link to video for "Love Is"]
12. "U Got the Look" by Sheena Easton with Prince AND "We've Got Tonight" by Sheena Easton with Kenny Rogers - Both songs feature Sheena Easton [link to video for "We've Got Tonight"]
11. "You and I" by Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gayle - This was one of our wedding songs, so it will always hold a dear place for me [link to song playing]
10. "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush - I recently came across an amazing remake of this haunting song by Bono and Alicia Keys [link to video]
9. "Leather and Lace" by Stevie Nicks with Don Henley AND "Whenever I Call You Friend" by Kenny Loggins with Stevie Nicks AND "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty - All three songs feature Stevie Nicks who is a natural at duets after her time as part of Fleetwood Mac [link to song playing for "Leather and Lace"]
8. "What Have I Done To Deserve This" by The Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield - One of the most under-rated songs from the 80's [link to video]
7. "Feels Like Heaven" by Peter Cetera with Chaka Khan AND "After All" by Peter Cetera with Cher AND "The Next Time I Fall in Love" by Peter Cetera with Amy Grant - What can I say? I love Peter Cetera duets. [link to video of live performance of "Feels Like Heaven"]
6. "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" by George Michael with Aretha Franklin - One of my favorite 80's tunes [link to video]
5. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John with Kiki Dee - Fun from start to finish [link to video]
4. "Nuthin' But a G Thang" by Dr. Dre with Snoop Dogg AND "California Love" by Dr. Dre with 2pac AND "Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre with Eminem - All three songs feature the incredible Dr. Dre [link to video for "Nuthin' But a G Thang"]
3. "Under Pressure" by Queen with David Bowie [link to video]
2. "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men [link to video]
1. "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell AND "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" by Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell AND "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell - These two made a perfect combination and went on to make some of the best duets of all time [link to song playing for "You're All I Need to Get By"]
There's my list. This was difficult because I found that there are a lot of quality duets and collaborations out there. The order can be debated and I kind of cheated by combining some songs within the same rank if I felt it made sense. What songs do you feel are missing??? If you have never heard any of the songs on this list, I suggest you go give them a listen since I provided links for most of the songs. I would say that at least 17 of the 25 would be considered love songs, so it makes this list very appropriate on this romantic holiday. IF YOU LIKE THIS LIST, you should definitely check out my list of Best Duets from the 80s which includes video links to many of the songs.
That will do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks so much for reading. Please click on the archive buttons on the left to make sure you have not missed any previous issues. If you like what you read, please tell a friend or two. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Here is a link to some interesting information regarding the history of Valentine's Day... www.history.com/minisites/valentine/
Quote of the day: "Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; and Love by Love." -Thomas Szasz
+ Bonus Quote for Valentine's Day: "Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and difficult as that." -Michael Leunig
Download this: I would recommend any of the songs from the above list, but I am just going to pick just two for this feature... "Crazy Love" by Aaron Neville with Robbie Robertson and "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush
|Winners Never Cheat - Kickin' it Old School
|02.13.08 (6:47 pm) 
I can still picture it in my mind over 25 years later. There was a banner hanging up in the high school pool near my house where I took swimming lessons as a child. The banner simply read "Winners never cheat. Cheaters never win." That concept has always stuck with me ever since and I apply it to sports as well as life. I also owe it to my parents for instilling the values of integrity and loyalty in me for as long as I can remember. I guess that is why I just shake my head with disappointment when I see the focus taken off of the games and placed on rule breaking, cheating and even political grandstanding.
Is the world of sports so competitive that it makes so many participants want/need to take short cuts and/or cheat to succeed??? What happened to the idea of a level playing field? I believe that term came from sports. If you read today's headlines, they are dominated by such negative stories of espionage and wrong doing. It is enough to make you sick but, at the same time, difficult to ignore. Sadly, so many innocent bystanders are impacted by the actions of the few. Whether it is the players who are not taking short cuts but are lumped in with the rest or whether it is the employer of those involved or whether it is the fans who live and die with their favorite teams or players, the impact can be far reaching and some times devastating.
First, you have the Roger Clemens soap opera/circus. They finally had the Congressional hearing today and after it was done we still do not know much more than we did before it started. It's kind of funny because in most sports you have a winner or loser at the end of the game, but after today's hearing there is no clear cut winner. Both participants were dragged around for five hours and each made to look bad on several occasions, but at the end we are pretty much right where we started. Second, you have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell going to meet with a Senator from Pennsylvania regarding the "spygate" incident involving the New England Patriots video taping opponents in order to illegally gain an advantage. This Senator is just upset because the Patriots beat the Eagles (from his state) back in February 2005 at Super Bowl XXXIX. Do our government officials really have so much free time that they can stick their noses into the world of sports??? Seriously, aren't there much bigger issues that need attention in our country right now? That is a rhetorical question because I absolutely know that there are so many more imperative matters requiring attention. Yet our Congress is using valuable time, resources and tax payer dollars to gain notoriety. The leagues seem capable of governing themselves well enough to allow our Congress to address issues like the struggling economy, the environment and the way (just to name a few). Maybe it is just me, but it seems like some priorities are out of line here.
In addition, you have a story breaking today regarding the head basketball coach at Indiana University, Kelvin Sampson, and his staff violating recruiting restrictions and then reportedly gave false or misleading information to investigators on top of it. It is reported that there were five major violations and now IU may be facing serious sanctions by the NCAA. This coach had already been busted for similar violations when previously coaching at Oklahoma. He knew the rules, but was willing to break them in order to win. At what cost is winning no longer worth it? You also have the ongoing story surrounding the USC football program and former Trojan football standout Reggie Bush. Bush is being accused of (and sued over) accepting benefits and a large amount of cash ($300,000) from a sports marketing agency back in 2005 when he played for USC This was the same year he won the Heisman Trophy for being the most outstanding player in all of college football. These allegations could cause USC to forfeit games and possibly the National Championship that they won that season. If proven to be true, Bush may also have to forfeit his Heisman Trophy. Bush has denied any wrong doing and has a deposition scheduled for February 25th. For as long as I can remember, there have been rumors and accounts of excessive financial support given to college athletes as both a recruiting tool and as a pacifier even though the rules in this regard are very clear. It is all done in the effort to win and bring glory. Again I ask, at what price is glory no longer worth it?
These are just the stories breaking this week. It is a quieter time for real sports news now that the NFL season has ended and baseball spring training is just about to begin, but what message are all of these stories screaming at us? Too many people try to win at all costs and feel they are above the rules and/or laws. To quote Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street, "Greed is good," and often times it can be. In this case, I feel that greed for money, greed for winning and greed for glory are all inter-related and are at the root of this dilemma. It all catches up with you eventually and then you end up paying the real price. Just ask Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds or Kelvin Sampson or the University of Southern California or the countless people who felt they were above the rules and above the game. Like that banner at the swimming pool I mentioned earlier read, "Winners never cheat. Cheaters never win."
That will put a wrap on Kickin' it for today. To me, it is not about who is right and who is wrong because there are a lot of folks partially to blame. It is just the fact that it takes the focus away from the game itself. Hopefully Baseball season will get here quickly and we can turn our attention to the field where it belongs. By the way, what are you planning to spend your tax rebate on??? If you have not heard, read this article and start thinking about what you can splurge on ... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080213/ap_on_g o_pr_wh/economy_stimulus" title="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080213/ap_on_g o_pr_wh/economy_stimulus" target="_blank"http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20...;_ylt=AgeAeOV8Zh4p3yBUEyz qPyOs0NUE You need to spend this money to allow it to work. Thanks for reading and please tell a friend or two that you like Kickin' it Old School. Peace and much love to you all.
Check this out: WARNING. This is a little bit crude, but I find it hilarious. I gave you a link to Matt Damon yesterday and today's involves him again. I think it is very cool to see someone that has reached his status, but still does not take himself too seriously. Funny stuff ... www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnVJZkDuVBM
Quote of the day: "Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
Download this: I realized that I never officially recommended some of my favorite songs nominated for Grammy's. Here are some of the other nominated songs that I wanted to be sure to add to my list... "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake, "Everything" by Michael Bublé, "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie and "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's.
|Steven Spielberg Top 10 Movies
|02.12.08 (11:11 pm) 
I read that actor Roy Scheider passed away on Sunday at the age of 75. To me, Scheider is best known for his role as Police Chief Brody in the movie Jaws. Whenever I think of Jaws, I remember that it was the first major movie that the great Steven Spielberg directed. Speaking of Spielberg, I am sure you have heard that there will be a fourth film in the Indiana Jones saga coming to theaters this May. Spielberg is the director for this new film, still starring Harrison Ford, as he was for the first three adventures. This new installment is titled Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don't know about you, but I am pretty excited to see them pull this off. I was a big fan of the first three, so expectations are high as they go back to try creating that magic again. We will save Harrison Ford for closer to the release date of this new film, but I thought I would pull out my Top 10 Favorite Spielberg flicks at this time. This list will not be comprised on which films I feel are his best works, but based more on which I enjoyed watching the most (big difference as you will see). Here are OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FAVORITE FILMS DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG:
Honorable Mention. Schindler's List (1993) - Here is a prime example of how this is a list of my favorites and not his best films. Schindler's List would easily have to appear in the top 3 if this was not based on my viewing enjoyment. You also will not see other critically acclaimed films like The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Amistad or Munich in my Top 10. I did want to at least give Schindler's List an honorable mention since it won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture.
10. Jaws (1975) - You cannot truly appreciate the movie magic that he created on this film unless you watch the "making of" documentary. Spielberg was able to work wonders out of the mechanical shark and created intensity and fear in a way no other film ever had. Some of this was forced due to mechanical difficulties with the shark, but ended up generating more fear than having the full services of the shark ever could. He owes a lot of credit to his buddy John Williams, who does the musical score for all of his films, for the tension building music that played notifying you that the shark was near. Spielberg's work with special effects in this film and many of his future films was way ahead of his time. It is amazing to think that this film is now well over 30 years old. If you watch it, even now, you knew that this director was destined for greatness.
9. Catch Me If You Can (2002) - This film is based on a supposed true story and really comes to life because of the actors playing the two main characters. It stars Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio who both play their roles brilliantly. The film is a great mixture of comedy and drama. It is delivered to you in a way that allows you to enjoy both aspects. This is a very entertaining movie indeed.
8. The Terminal (2004) - This film is the second of three films that star his good friend Tom Hanks. Hanks truly makes this film special as he plays an immigrant who ends up having to live at JFK airport after getting held up in customs. The story is a bit farfetched especially with the heightened security that we now live with in all airports, but still somehow creates a connection with the audience. You honestly care about the characters which is a common result in most all of Spielberg's films (as with any successful filmmaker).
7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - This is the second film in the original Indiana Jones trilogy and Spielberg's first sequel. It is my least favorite of the three, but that being said, it is still a pretty darn good movie. The mine car chase is an exciting scene. The leading lady in this film was played by Kate Capshaw who would later become Spielberg's wife.
6. Jurassic Park (1993) - The original film, based on the Michael Crichton novel, was groundbreaking in many technical aspects. It was one of the first films to use CGI to such a large extent, but Spielberg also expertly uses the camera to capture the scenes in a way that forces the audience to experience the story in a special way. Though this film was a huge summer blockbuster, Spielberg does not get the credit he deserves for such genius filmmaking. He also directed the 1997 sequel, but by that time some of the magic wore off and the story he was given was not as powerful. I recommend you go back and watch Jurassic Park, but be extra observant of the brilliant cinematography and other technical aspects under Spielberg's direction.
5. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - This film should have been awarded the Oscar for Best Picture, but was not. Spielberg was at least awarded the Oscar for Best Director for this fantastically realistic depiction of World War II. It featured a fantastic cast and is a masterpiece in direction, editing and cinematography in my opinion. The opening sequence is emotionally and physically difficult to watch. I cannot do this film justice, so I will just leave it as a technical masterpiece.
4. Minority Report (2002) - He returns to his love of science fiction with this film set in the future. It stars Tom Cruise who does a magnificent job in his first time partnering with Spielberg. They create this amazing future world with incredible advances in technology, but still do not lose the attachment to the actual characters. I personally feel this film is tremendously under-rated. Although I enjoyed it the first time, it is pretty complex and I did not fully appreciate it until the second time I watched. I definitely recommend it very highly.
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - At the time, this was supposed to be the final chapter in the saga and it delivered with flying colors. I fell in love with the Indiana Jones character when I was a young child, so each subsequent film was sure to entertain. The interaction between Sean Connery as Indy's father and Harrison Ford is priceless and really makes this particular film special. They even rode off into the sunset at the end.
2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Spielberg brings this fairytale to life in the truly magical fashion that only he can accomplish. What an amazing film! Again, Spielberg creates an emotional attachment to the characters despite one of them being an alien. He received his third Oscar nomination for Best Director (though he somehow lost to the director of Ghandi). I saw this movie when I was just 9 years old and I can remember it vividly. It's just a spectacular film from start to finish which I will always hold dear.
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - I remember seeing this film when I was just 8 years old, but then seeing it for a second time as part of my 9th birthday party. Special times. Indiana Jones is one of the greatest characters in the history of cinema and he is brought to life by the fantastic acting of Harrison Ford and the brilliant filmmaking of Steven Spielberg. The great George Lucas also was involved with writing the story for each part of the trilogy. This movie re-invented the action-adventure genre and we all owe them our praise and gratitude for doing so.
There you have it. My ten favorites from a person who I feel must be referred to as a cinematic genius. What do you think??? Spielberg was to be deservingly honored at this year's Golden Globe ceremonies with the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement. We lost this great moment due to the writers' strike, but the good news is that it was only delayed and he will be presented at next year's Golden Globes. I will be looking forward to that presentation.
That will do it for another issue of Kickin' it Old School. As always, thanks so much for reading and please consider subscribing. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I noticed that Matthew McConaughey has a new film opening this week called Fool's Gold. This reminded me of a very funny Matt Damon appearance on David Letterman where he did an impression of his friend... www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuYD2cwMbpw
Quote of the day: "Failure is inevitable. Success is elusive" -Steven Spielberg
Download this: "I Will" by Ben Taylor - This song sung by the son of the great James Taylor was featured in the film Bye Bye Love. It is a cover of a song written and originally performed by The Beatles, but I think this version is amazing.
|50th Annual Grammy Recap 2008 - Kickin' it Old School
|02.11.08 (9:41 pm) 
As promised, here is Old School's Grammy recap. There were a couple highlights, but not a whole lot to write home about. I assume that if you are reading this, you read my Grammy preview from Saturday. If not, I suggest you click on February Archive and read that one first. If so, we are ready to move on.
First, I have to say that Alicia Keys really was the highlight of the show. She kicked the show off performing a slick duet with Frank Sinatra. There will be a link down in the "Check it out" section below that will allow you to see this if you missed it. Keys is a tremendous artist and really got the show off on the right foot. She was then presented with the award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance by none other than Prince himself (who won for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in the non-televised portion of the ceremonies). She won this award for her song "No One" and I cannot understand how this was not also nominated for Record of the Year. Much later in the show, Keys returned to perform the song "No One" in one of the best performances of the night as she was joined by another one of my favorites, John Mayer, on guitar. I feel that all of these Alicia Keys moments were really some of the best this show, which dragged on for over 3 ½ hours, had to offer.
If Alicia Keys was the highlight, I have to say Amy Winehouse has to be the lowlight. She was not able to obtain a visa to attend the show, so she performed via satellite from London. This performance was what you would expect from her and if you are a fan then you probably enjoyed it. I am just not a fan of Winehouse in any way, shape or form. I applaud her uniqueness, but just don't think the music is all that special. That's what it all comes down to, right? The lowlight was not necessarily this horrible performance, but the fact that Amy Winehouse took home Grammy's for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Performance. This was very disappointing to me. She also won Best New Artist which I can understand because the competition in this category was negligible. I just wish with such little quality music being produced that they would not waste recognition on the garbage that Amy Winehouse is putting out there. Her acceptance speech for Record of the Year, also via satellite, was even a lower lowlight with her fake look of surprise and then incoherent mumbling. I think you can all tell where I stand on this issue, so we will move on to some better things.
In a pleasant surprise to the 80s fiend that I am, Morris Day and The Time performed their hit "Jungle Love." This was pretty cool until Rihanna joined them to perform her mega hit "Umbrella." She looked fantastic, but the song still does not do it for me. It was great to see The Time perform together again. One of the funny but true lines that I heard was "What is the best thing about the 2008 Grammy Awards being over? You might never have to hear the song "Umbrella" again." We can only hope. Carrie Underwood performed her country smash "Before He Cheats." Again, I am not a fan of country music, but Ms. Underwood looked beautiful as always. She was nominated for Song of the Year (which she lost to Winehouse), but won the Best Country Song award. There was a performance by Kanye West. I am not a fan of Kanye, but he did have some cool glow in the dark sunglasses as you can see in the picture. Other than that, he also performed a second song dedicated to his mother who recently passed away. Tom Hanks introduced a Beatles tribute which featured a performance from the show Love (which later won the award for Best Soundtrack) and the movie Across the Universe. The first was a strange interpretive dance from the Cirque du Soleil show that really was rather horrible to watch even though I am a huge Beatles fan. The second was a fantastic performance of "Let it Be" featuring a young boy by the name of Timothy Mitchum. This little boy can sing and it would not surprise me to see him have a career develop for him. I have a link to this down below in "Check this out" so you can see for yourself. In one of the other highlights of the evening, Fergie performed a song accompanied by John Legend on the piano. I have a link to this stunning performance as well in my "Check this out" section below. If her singing on "Big Girls Don't Cry" does not already prove it, this performance really shows off what an amazing voice Fergie possesses. I also need to say that Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" definitely deserved to win Best Female Pop Performance which was unfortunately won by Winehouse's "Rehab." Also noteworthy was a tremendous performance of "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner joined by the amazing Beyoncé. Turner is well renown for her high energy performances and the gorgeous Beyoncé complimented her extremely well. It was great to see how the show weaved the stars of today together with legends of the industry throughout the evening. This probably could have been even more effectively than it was and this show should definitely be trimmed down to at least 3 hours. If my biggest disappointment of the night was all of the awards given to Amy Winehouse, the biggest surprise had to be that Herbie Hancock actually stole the Album of the Year award. I don't think anyone was expecting this and, even if it may or may not been warranted, it was nice to see them honor diversity.
I was happy to see that Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around...Comes Around" at least won for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. I was also pleased to see Maroon 5 win for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, though neither award was presented live during the televised portion of the show. That puts a wrap on my Grammy recap. There were a couple fantastic performances, but even those were not all that truly memorable in the big scheme of things. At least to my ear, I think we are in the midst of a music slump or recession, if you will. There are still some tremendous artists and songs, but unfortunately they are not always the ones getting all of the awards and airplay. Thanks for reading Kickin' it Old School. Please be sure to click on the Archives to read any previous issues you may have missed. If you like what you read, please subscribe and/or tell a friend or two. Peace and much love.
Check this out: First, here is a link to the opening performance from the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. It is a duet between Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra.
Second, here is a link to the amazing performance by Fergie accompanied by John Legend on the piano.
Last, here is a link to the performance of "Let it Be" where you can see how great the young man can sing.
Quote of the day: "Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory." -Sir Thomas Beecham
Download this: "No One" by Alicia Keys - As mentioned above, this song from her recent album As I Am won for Best Female R&B Performance, but probably deserved to at least be nominated for more.
|Old School's Summary of 'DOWNLOAD THIS' Song Recommendations
|02.10.08 (4:29 pm) 
*** Hi, this site has no affiliation with either of the movies Kickin it Old Skool (2007) or Old School (2003), but it seems like several folks stop here in search of the soundtracks to those movies. As a convenience to those folks, here are links to the soundtrack lists for each of those films:
Kickin it Old Skool Soundtrack List
Old School Soundtrack List
*** Hopefully you will stick around and check out the rest of my articles. Click here to go to the home page: Kickin' it Old School Home Page. Now back to normal business....
By popular demand, I have created a comprehensive summary of every song that I have recommended in the "Download this" special feature at the end of each issue of Kickin' it Old School. I will continue to update this on a regular basis and there is a link directly to this list over in the left column of the blog. Thanks for your continued positive feedback and please feel free to send me song recommendations as well.
Summary of all of Old School's recommended "DOWNLOAD THIS" songs (sorted alphabetically by artist name):
> Aaron Neville with Robbie Robertson - "Crazy Love"
> ABC - "Be Near Me"
> a-ha - "Take On Me"
> Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
> Alicia Keys - "No One"
> Amos Lee - "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight"
> Amos Lee - "Seen It All Before"
> Amos Lee - "Sweet Pea"
> Amos Lee - "What's Been Going On"
> Babyface - "When Can I See You"
> Barenaked Ladies - "If I Had $1,000,000"
> Barenaked Ladies - "Take It Outside"
> Baz Luhrmann - "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)"
> Ben Taylor - "I Will"
> Ben Taylor - "I Try"
> Billy Joel - "Keeping the Faith"
> Black Eyed Peas - "Where Is The Love?"
> Blues Traveler - "But Anyway"
> The BoDeans - "Good Things"
> Bone Thugs-N-Harmoney - "Tha Crossroads"
> Boyz II Men - "Yesterday"
> Bruce Hornsby & the Range - "Jacob's Ladder"
> Bruce Springsteen - "Dancing In The Dark"
> Colbie Caillat - "Bubbly"
> Coldplay - "Viva La Vida"
> Colin Hay - "Overkill (acoustic)"
> Colin Hay - "Waiting For My Real Life to Begin"
> Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On (Acoustic)"
> Crowded House - "Don't Dream It's Over"
> Curtis Mayfield - "People Get Ready"
> Cyndi Lauper - "Time After Time"
> Daryl Hall & John Oates - "I Can't Go For That"
> Daryl Hall & John Oates - "Ooh Child"
> Daughtry - "What About Now (Idol Gives Back Performance)"
> David Gray - "Babylon"
> David Gray - "Please Forgive Me"
> DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "Summertime"
> Don Henley - "Boys of Summer"
> Don Henley - "The End of Innocence"
> Dooley Wilson - "As Time Goes By"
> Duran Duran - "Is There Something I Should Know?"
> Ella Fitzgerald - "Over the Rainbow"
> Elliott Yamin - "Wait For You"
> Eric B. & Rakim - "Follow The Leader"
> Fergie - "Big Girls Don't Cry"
> Finger Eleven - "One Thing"
> Genesis - "Throwing It All Away"
> Grant-Lee Phillips - "Boys Don't Cry"
> Green Day - "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
> Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes - "If You Don't Know Me By Now"
> Harry Connick Jr. - "The Bare Necessities"
> Hootie & The Blowfish - "Earth Stopped Cold At Dawn"
> Hootie & The Blowfish - "Innocence"
> Hootie & The Blowfish - "Only Lonely"
> Howard Jones - "No One Is To Blame (acoustic)"
> I Nine - "Same In Any Language"
> India.Arie - "The Heart of the Matter"
> Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"
> James Morrison - "Broken Strings"
> James Morrison - "You Give Me Something"
> James Taylor - "Fire and Rain"
> James Taylor - "Shed a Little Light"
> James Taylor - "You Can Close Your Eyes (Live)"
> Jason Mraz - "Lucky" (featuring Colbie Caillat)
> Jason Mraz - "The Remedy (I Won't Worry) [acoustic]"
> Jeff Buckley - "Hallelujah"
> Jeremy Kay - "Have It All"
> Joey Scarbury - "Believe It or Not (Theme from The Greatest American Hero)"
> John Mellencamp - "Ain't Even Done With the Night"
> John Hiatt - "Have a Little Faith In Me"
> John Mayer - "Comfortable"
> John Mayer - "Free Fallin' (Live)"
> John Mayer - "Say"
> John Parr - "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)"
> John Waite - "Missing You (acoustic)"
> Jon McLaughlin - "Already In"
> Jon McLaughlin - "Human"
> Justin Timberlake - "(Another Song) All Over Again"
> Justin Timberlake - "What Goes Around...Comes Around"
> Keb'Mo' - "I'll Be Your Water"
> Kenny Loggins - "I'm Alright"
> Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes - "Don't Fall In Love With a Dreamer"
> Kina Grannis - "Message From Your Heart"
> Level 42 - "Something About You"
> Loggins & Messina - "Danny's Song"
> Madeleine Peyroux - "Don't Wait Too Long"
> Madonna - "Crazy For You"
> Madonna - "I'll Remember"
> Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - "One Sweet Day"
> Maroon 5 - "Harder To Breathe"
> Maroon 5 - "She Will Be Loved"
> Maroon 5 - "Sunday Morning"
> Marvin Gaye - "Yesterday"
> Matt White - "Love"
> Michael Bublé - "Everything"
> Michael Bublé - "Home"
> Michael Jackson - "Human Nature"
> Michael Jackson - "Stranger in Moscow"
> New Edition - "Can You Stand the Rain"
> New Edition - "I'm Still In Love With You"
> Nick Drake - "Northern Sky"
> Obadiah Parker - "Hey Ya"
> OMD - "If You Leave"
> Otis Redding - "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"
> Otis Redding - "Try a Little Tenderness"
> The Outfield - "Your Love (acoustic)"
> Paul Simon - "You Can Call Me Al"
> Paul Young - "Every Time You Go Away"
> The Pet Shop Boys - "What Have I Done To Deserve This"
> Pete Townshend - "Let My Love Open the Door"
> Peter Gabriel - "Don't Give Up"
> Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes"
> Peter Gabriel - "Solsbury Hill"
> Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah"
> The Police - "Don't Stand So Close To Me ‘86"
> The Police - "Synchronicity II"
> Prince - "Kiss"
> Queen & David Bowie - "Under Pressure"
> Rascal Flatts - "Bless The Broken Road"
> Ray Charles - "Over the Rainbow"
> Ray Charles - "Yesterday"
> Cast of Rent - "Seasons of Love"
> Rod Stewart - "Forever Young" (acoustic version from If We Fall In Love Tonight)
> The Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
> Rufus with Chaka Khan - "Ain't Nobody"
> Sara Bareilles - "In Your Eyes (live)"
> Sara Bareilles - "Love Song"
> Sarah McLachlan - "Angel"
> Sarah McLachlan - "I Will Remember You"
> Seal - "Crazy (acoustic)"
> Seal - "Love's Divine (acoustic)"
> Seal - "Prayer for the Dying (acoustic)"
> Sheryl Crow - "Sweet Child O' Mine"
> Simple Minds - "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
> Spandau Ballet - "True"
> Stevie Wonder - "Stay Gold"
> Styx - "Babe"
> Talking Heads - "And She Was"
> Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)"
> Tears For Fears - "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
> Teddy Geiger - "For You I Will (Confidence)"
> The Temptations - "I Wish It Would Rain"
> The Time - "Jungle Love"
> U2 - "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
> U2 - "One"
> U2 - "With or Without You"
> The Verve - "Bittersweet Symphony"
> Whitney Houston - "One Moment In Time"
> The Who - "Baba O'Riley"
> Yael Naïm - "New Soul"
Last Updated 11/1/08
|50th Annual Grammy Awards Preview
|02.09.08 (4:07 pm) 
The 50th Annual Grammy Awards will take place Sunday night, so I felt it appropriate to discuss the Grammy's and the state of the music industry in general. It is no secret that I feel that the quality of music in relation to the quantity being produced over the last fifteen years leaves a lot to be desired. This is made quite evident when you look at the Grammy nominations for this year. I don't consider myself an expert or on the cutting edge, but I know good music when I hear it and unfortunately I don't hear that much of it anymore. If you remove older established artists creating new music from the conversation, the slump is even more evident in my opinion.
You can simply go to the Best New Artist award to see how sad it truly is. Here are the nominees this year: Feist, Ledisi, Paramore, Taylor Swift and Amy Winehouse. How weak is that list??? Recent winners of this award include the likes of Maroon 5, Hootie & the Blowfish, Carrie Underwood, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey and John Legend. Nobody on this year's list can hold a candle to any of those artists. I feel that this is a sad indication of the state of music. I feel the best new artist is Colbie Caillat. I think she is phenomenal and her new album titled Coco is outstanding. She has started to receive radio play (almost suddenly overplayed), so she will start to get the attention she is due. I highly recommend that entire album and will have the obvious hit track from it featured in my "Download this" at the end of my post.
One thing that always confused me about the Grammy's is the eligibility dates. According to the official site, the time period for this year's awards is from October 1, 2006 though September 30, 2007. It always seems to me that songs are still nominated from older albums and it turns out that this is actually possible. On Record and Song of the Year awards, it is based more on when the song came into prominence. I found an article which explained how this can happen and here is a link if you are interested in reading more about it ... www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23017319.
In my opinion, the best song of 2007 is "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake. This song is nominated for both Record of The Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. I was very happy to see it recognized, but unfortunately I do not have strong feelings about any of the other songs nominated for Record or Song of The Year. "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé is nominated for Record of The Year and "Like A Star" by Corinne Bailey Rae is nominated for Song of The Year. Both are very good songs by very quality artists, but not all that extraordinarily special in my opinion. "Umbrella" by Rihanna has been the runaway hit of the year, but as hard as I tried to like it, I just could not understand all of the hype. Don't even get me started on Amy Winehouse. Record of The Year has a rich history of tradition, but other than the Justin Timberlake song I do not feel any of this year's candidates deserve to be in that same company. Last year, there were some decent nominees, but the winner ended up being the Dixie Chicks with "Not Ready to Make Nice" which was the first disappointing winner since 1999 when Celine Dion won. Unless Timberlake wins this year, add another clunker to this list. Here are some of the past winners of Record of The Year: 1971 "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel, 1978 "Hotel California" by The Eagles, 1986 "We Are the World" by USA for Africa, 1993 "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, 2001 "Beautiful Day" by U2, 2003 "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones and 2004 "Clocks" by Coldplay. I have gradually and reluctantly become a big Justin Timberlake fan as both a musician, but also an actor and entertainer. His outstanding appearances on Saturday Night Live really sealed it for me. Here a link to the long form video (9 minutes also starring Scarlet Johannson) for the song "What Goes Around... Comes Around." It starts a bit slowly, but once it gets to the song, I am sure you will see its greatness. Check it out if interested.
The two strongest categories, in my opinion, this year are Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals. Some of the nominations in these categories include: "Everything" by Michael Bublé, "Amazing" by Seal, "What Goes Around...Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake, "Home" by Daughtry, "Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5, "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's plus songs by U2, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi and John Mayer. If you are looking for a silver lining on this dark cloud, those are the categories I would suggest looking to. The coolest category, in my opinion, is Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. I love the diversity that this category allows and encourages. Pop collaborations are becoming more common and turning into huge hits for the artists, so I look at this to be a growing trend in the music industry. Hopefully it will lead to more interesting combinations coming together to make special music. This year you see nominations for Tony Bennett with Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé with Shakira, Robert Plant with Alison Krauss, Gwen Stefani with Akon and Timbaland with Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake. Not sure who will win the award this year, but I expect this category to be hot for years to come.
Another category that I felt particularly disappointed this year was Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. All of the nominations and nominees (except for Prince) are nothing special. I feel that there was a huge oversight here with no nomination given to Elliott Yamin and his outstanding song "Wait For You." I feel this was one of the best songs of 2007 and should have not only been nominated, but easily handed the award in this category. I am not sure why he was not recognized, but it seems unbelievable to me. I am not sure what criteria is used, but it really needs to be reevaluated. Another big award is Album of the Year. Again the nominees leave a lot to be desired, but I did notice the nomination for Herbie Hancock's album ode to Joni Mitchell titled River: the Joni Letters. Honestly, I am not that familiar with this album but it does include some songs featuring artists like Norah Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae who are two of my favorites. I am sure it is outstanding and I will be checking it out further. While I was traveling this week, I caught a documentary on Showtime called "Herbie Hancock: Possibilities" which was based on the making of his 2005 collaborative album. I am very familiar with this album and I enjoy it very much, so I watched most of the documentary with interest. I suggest you check out Possibilities by Herbie Hancock. It includes songs featuring artists like Sting, Paul Simon, John Mayer, Santana, Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone and Annie Lennox. I know this really does not have anything specifically to do with this year's Grammy awards, but I just saw the documentary and Hancock does have another album nominated, so it is close enough.
Regarding Album of The Year, this will mark the 40 year anniversary since The Beatles won with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1968. It is 30 years since Fleetwood Mac won with the amazing Rumours and 20 years since U2 won with The Joshua Tree. Too bad none of this year's nominees could even be considered in the same universe as any of those great albums. Back in 1985, Lionel Richie won this award with his album Can't Slow Down. To give you an idea of how great the competition was back then, he surpassed albums by Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner to win the Grammy that year. What a golden age of music in my opinion. Hopefully we can get back there again soon.
To summarize these ramblings, it is not that I don't feel there is any good music only that it is much less plentiful than it has been in the past. Actually there is some truly outstanding music being produced, but a lot more really bad music clogging up the airwaves too. I feel Elliott Yamin and Colbie Caillat created some of the best new music last year and were robbed by not receiving any nominations. I hope that Justin Timberlake's song wins Record of The Year since "What Goes Around...Comes Around" was my favorite new song of 2007. That pretty much gives you the highlights in a nut shell.
I will probably watch the Grammy's on Sunday night only because there often are some great performances during the show. As for the awards themselves, nothing too inspiring is expected based on the mostly pitiful selection to choose from. I will probably give you some of my opinions on the results next week. That will do it for Kickin' it Old School's Grammy rant. Thanks for reading and please click on the archives to make sure you have not missed any past postings. Also, if you enjoy Kickin' it, please subscribe yourself and please tell a friend or two. Peace and much love.
Check this out: I have given you a couple links that were related to actor Christopher Walken recently and here is one more. This is the classic SNL skit that coined the phrase "I need more cowbell." I think this is one of the funniest skits ever on SNL. Enjoy...
Quote of the day: "That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Download this: "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat - As mentioned above, this is an outstanding song by this artist's debut album Coco. It has begun to get a lot of radio play, so it is likely you have heard it. The entire album is actually very good if you like her style.
|Back to the 80s: Top 10 TV Characters of the 80's
|02.08.08 (11:06 pm) 
As I was traveling this week, I read an article in USA Today's Life section (February 5th) titled "John Schneider in driver's seat." The subtitle read "Bye-bye, ‘Dukes'; hello, new roles." The article was all about how Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the early 80's television show The Dukes of Hazzard, is getting more roles and that people might actually stop stereotyping him as the good ol' boy he played back on that popular show.
Schneider is currently playing a role in the FX series Nip/Tuck and starring on Broadway as slick lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago. The article goes on to discuss everything he will be doing and he has been doing since The Dukes of Hazzard with the goal of seeing him as someone more than Bo Duke. It had the exact opposite effect on me. I immediately started to think about The Dukes of Hazzard show and how Bo and Luke Duke were two of my favorite television characters when I was growing up back in the 80's. I decided that I should publish a Top 10 list of my favorite television characters from the 80's. This list will be slightly different than my favorite television programs since it will be primarily focused on the characters. It will obviously be impacted by my favorite shows of that time since it would make sense that my favorite characters would likely come from my favorite shows. So here it goes, OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 FAVORITE TELEVISION CHARACTERS FROM THE 80s:
Honorable Mention: "Crockett & Tubbs" from Miami Vice (84-89 NBC played by Don Johnson & Philip Michael Thomas) - Believe it or not, I was not a huge fan of Miami Vice. As you will see, I was much more into sitcoms, but you cannot deny the pop culture impact that the show and these characters had especially in terms of fashion. I felt I needed to at least give them honorable mention for that.
10. "Dan Fielding" from Night Court (84-92 NBC played by John Larroquette) - This character comes from one of my favorite shows and interestingly is not the main character in this case. Dan Fielding should not be likable, but for some reason you did. That is what makes him a special character.
9. "K.I.T.T." from Knight Rider (82-86 NBC voiced by William Daniels uncredited) - Though David Hasselhoff's "Michael Knight" was technically the star, I always felt it was the talking car that made the show. The car was a Pontiac Trans Am and his name was short for "Knight Industries Two Thousand." There is a remake of this show scheduled to premiere later this month on NBC where K.I.T.T. is now a Mustang and, in an interesting casting choice, voiced by Val Kilmer.
8. "Mork from Ork" from Mork & Mindy (78-82 ABC played by Robin Williams) - The character first appeared on an episode of Happy Days and proved popular enough to garner his own series. This was thanks in large part to the one and only Robin Williams who is a comedy genius and brought this character to life. He had his trademark rainbow suspenders and phrase "Na-nu, Na-nu." I always remember him saying "Mork calling Orson, come in Orson."
7. "Arnold Jackson" from Diff'rent Strokes (78-86 NBC played by Gary Coleman) - Another one of my favorites as a kid, where Arnold and his older brother Willis are adopted by a rich white man. He had the popular catch phrase "What you talkin' about, Willis?" which always made you laugh. Simply perfect casting because nobody could have played Arnold as well as Coleman did.
6. "David Addison & Maddie Hayes" from Moonlighting (85-89 ABC played by Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd) - It is all in the casting in this case. Bruce Willis was relatively unknown at the time, but ended up making an amazing David. Cybill Shepherd was already well known, but who could play Maddie better than her? It was really a very entertaining show that was primarily driven off of the relationship of these two characters. I still enjoy it just as much when I am able to catch it in syndication somewhere.
5. "Arthur ‘The Fonz' Fonzarelli" from Happy Days (74-84 ABC played by Henry Winkler) - He was not meant to be a central character at the beginning of this show, but his popularity resulted in many episodes revolving around him. He became such a breakout that the network even pushed to change the show's name to Fonzie's Happy Days at one point. He could turn on the juke box with his elbow, he could get a pretty girl by his side with a snap of his fingers and his trademark "Heyyy" with his thumbs up made him an icon so much so that they are very close to erecting a bronze statue of the character here in Milwaukee (where the show was to have taken place).
4. "Bo & Luke Duke" from The Dukes of Hazzard (79-85 CBS played by John Schneider & Tom Wopat) - As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was one of my favorite shows as a kid. I loved how they raced around in their souped up Dodge Charger called "The General Lee" and how they always seemed to foil "Boss Hogg" and "Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane." It was fast-paced and often funny. I will probably never be able to see either actor as anybody other than them good ol' Duke boys. Yeee-haaaa!
3. "Jack Tripper" from Three's Company (77-84 ABC played by John Ritter) - This is one of my all-time favorite television shows. The character ends up moving in with two women who are in desperate need of a roommate, but he has to pretend to be gay around the landlord in order for him to allow them to share an apartment. Nobody would barely blink an eye if something like this would happen today, but back at that time it made for a very funny premise. John Ritter was one of the truly funny physical comedians of all time and he was able to show this off through this great character. Anybody want to meet at the Regal Beagle for happy hour?
2. "Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable" from The Cosby Show (84-92 NBC played by Bill Cosby) - Everybody loved this show at least through the 80's and it was mostly due to the comedy genius of the great Bill Cosby. It was the #1 most watched show on television for 5 straight seasons 1985-1990. The other characters on the show helped make him great, but he made everybody else even greater. It was a truly wonderful show in so many ways and sadly nothing really like it has ever come since.
1. "Alex P. Keaton" from Family Ties (82-89 NBC played by Michael J. Fox) - Similar to many of the characters on this list, the actor really made them what they were. Michael J. Fox helped create a very special character in Alex who was the politically conservative son of two liberal parents. Similar to Fonzie, this character was not originally supposed to be as central to the show as it became. The audience reacted so positively to him that the focus had to be shifted to Alex more so than the rest of the family. This was a very good show, but a truly great character.
Those are my favorites. There are many that did not make the top 10. There are some obvious characters missing like "J.R. Ewing" from Dallas, Magnum P.I., "Jim Rockford" from The Rockford Files and "Hawkeye Pierce" from M*A*S*H, but those were not shows that I watched regularly as a kid. There are others that just missed the list like "George Jefferson" from The Jeffersons, "Sam Malone" from Cheers, "Kevin Arnold" from the Wonder Years, "Alf" and Laverne & Shirley. Who were your favorites from that era??? As I was going through these shows, I automatically remember the theme songs for each of them. Many of those were pretty good, so I think I will do a Top 10 list of TV theme songs some time soon. Also, please check out my list of the top Female TV Characters from the 80's which was necessary because of the lack of women represented on the list above. Television shows and, more importantly, television characters don't seem to be nearly as strong as they were back in the 70's and 80's.
That's going to do it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks, as always, for reading and please click on the archives to make sure you have not missed any past posts. Peace and much love.
Check this out: In case you cannot read the caption on the photo, it says "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. Firstly, I would like to thank you for choosing to fly Mandarin Airlines. As we taxi out to the runway please make yourself comfortable... and for those of you sitting on the right side of the plane, please look to your LEFT!
Quote of the day: "Common sense ain't common." -Will Rogers
Download this: "Ooh Child" by Daryl Hall & John Oates - This amazing song originally performed by The Five Stairsteps appears on the album titled Our Kind of Soul
|Back to the 80's: Top 10 Classic Arcade Games
|02.07.08 (10:37 pm) 
I am back from a short trip to NY and I have lots of topics to get to now. While traveling I was reading my Entertainment Weekly as always and read a DVD review for a documentary called The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It is about two guys who have been battling it out to be the best players of the arcade game Donkey Kong. If you would like to read the article yourself, here is a link to the EW review... www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,2017521 0,00.html.
The documentary sounds interesting and I will probably try to see it at some point. More importantly, it reminded me how much I used to love playing arcade games back in the day. I can't even fathom how many quarters or tokens I deposited into arcade games over the years. I loved Donkey Kong and many others, so I started remembering some of my other favorites. I decided that this would be an appropriate place for a Top 10 list only I fondly recalled so many classic games that I loved that I decided to make it a Top 20 list. You get the normal Top 10 plus a bonus 10. These are the actual arcade games not game system games like Atari or Nintendo versions. Without further ado, here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 CLASSIC ARCADE GAMES (+ BONUS 10):
Honorable Mention: Space Invaders and Asteroids - These are some of the originals, so I wanted to at least pay homage. They were never my favorite games, though they did receive a good number of my quarters along the way as well. Both of these arcade games were released back in 1978 and helped start a revolution which is still evolving today into game systems like Wii and Xbox 360 and hi-tech arcade games that cost a lot more than a quarter nowadays.
20. Dragon's Lair - Released back in 1983, this was one of the first arcade games that cost more than just 1 quarter to play. It was state of the art like nothing ever seen before and looked as if you were actually controlling a real cartoon.
19. Rampage - A 1986 game that three players could play at the same time. You could control a Godzilla, King Kong or Werewolf type character and the object was to knock down buildings and destroy cities.
18. Tempest - Released back in 1980, this was one of the very first arcade games. You used a dial rather than a joystick to control the game which featured 3d images, but very primitive graphics. This game was at a bowling alley that we used to go to and received countless quarters from my brother and me.
17. Centipede - Another game from 1980, this one used a roller ball to control the game. I always remember the distinctive sound of this game and could hear if someone was playing the game the moment you walked in the door.
16. Xevious - From 1982, this was a vertical scrolling game where you controlled an aircraft and you could shoot or drop bombs as you proceeded along the course.
15. Donkey Kong Junior - This was the sequel to Donkey Kong which was released in 1982. I always liked the original a little better, though this game was very fun and challenging in its own right. You control Junior who is trying to save his Dad from Mario. As you will see, many of the Mario related games were my favorites.
14. Mario Bros. - This was a spin off of Donkey Kong released in 1983. It introduced Mario's brother Luigi and allowed you to play with two players simultaneously. The game takes place in a sewer where the two characters have to defeat all of the pests that come out of the pipes.
13. Defender - This game was introduced in 1980 and might possibly be one of the most difficult games of that generation. It required you to use a joystick and five other buttons in fast paced game play. Though the early graphics were nothing special, I always enjoyed this game and the challenge it provided.
12. Frogger - This game was released in 1981 and is probably ranked higher on many people's list because it became one of the arcade game icons. The goal of the game was to guide the frog across a busy street and then a river. Like most games, this became more and more difficult as you advanced levels. I love the Seinfeld episode that centered around the arcade game.
11. Zaxxon - From 1982, this game featured a space craft flying through a fortress. "At the time of its release, Zaxxon was unique as it was the first game to employ isometric projection, something of a three-quarter viewing perspective. This effect simulated three dimensions from a third-person viewpoint" which was pretty cool. I pumped my fair share of quarters into this game.
10. Pole Position - Released in 1982, I believe this had to be one of the first driving games and you were able to use an actual steering wheel. That is pretty cool when you are not old enough to drive a real car yet. I enjoyed Pole Position, but I have it on this list representing all of the classic driving games.
9. Star Wars - This game was released back in 1983 and was based around the original Star Wars movie. You pilot Luke's X-wing fighter through several different levels. I was (and still am) a big Star Wars fan and thus really enjoyed playing this game which also featured some of the real character voices. It was at the roller skating rink that we would go to and I remember playing that game more than I remember actually skating.
8. Pac Man - One of the most famous and iconic video games of all time, it was originally released in Japan in 1980. It definitely became a part of pop culture (including the 1982 pop music hit "Pac Man Fever") and created a new genre for arcade games. I really enjoyed this game, but as you will see, I enjoyed his wife's game a little better.
7. Donkey Kong - I always remember this game, introduced in 1981, very fondly. Along with Pac Man and Frogger, it really seems to be one of the classic arcade game icons. I give it additional credit for launching the Mario franchise as well.
6. Burgertime - From 1982, the goal of this game was to create hamburgers by walking over layers of the sandwich forcing them to drop down while avoiding being caught by the hot dog, pickle or egg enemies. Another game that definitely received a lot of my quarters as a child.
5. Tron - This game was based on the Disney film by the same name and released back in 1982. It featured 4 subgames including: tanks, cycles, spiders and a "breakout" style wall. Unlike Star Wars, I was not a big fan of the movie, so I am not sure why we enjoyed this game so much, but we played it a lot.
4. Q*bert - Released in 1982, this was easily one of my most-played games. The goal was to hop from cube to cube and change the color of every cube on the pyramid without falling off the side or getting caught by any of the enemies. If Q*bert is caught by an enemy a dialogue bubble appears with "@!#?@!" symbolizing swearing. Very challenging game.
3. Ms. Pac Man - Another game released in 1982, it is a sequel to the original Pac Man. The game is almost identical to the original with some subtle changes and of course the main character has a little red bow signifying that she is a girl. The intermissions between certain levels show scenes in Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man's relationship. I always enjoyed this game a little more than the original and it rates as one of my very favorites.
2. Galaga - Released in 1981, this is technically a sequel to a game called Galaxian. I feel this game requires as much hand-eye coordination than any other video game especially as you get to higher levels. Despite the evolution of video games through the years, I feel this game still holds up as very challenging and very entertaining. When I am able to purchase a classic arcade game for my own home, this will likely be the one I would get.
1. Super Mario Bros. - This was released in 1985, later than any other game on this list. Though it gained popularity more from the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was also an arcade game. I am likely biased a little by the ability to play it later on Nintendo at home, but it was revolutionary at the time and my all time favorite classic arcade game
There is my list in the most accurate order I can remember. It has been a long time since I have played most of these games. What games are missing from my list??? What were your favorites? It really seems like the golden age of arcade games was 1980-1982. There are several on line websites where you can play some of these classic games for FREE. If interested, here are a couple links...
http://backtothe80s.ca/show/arcade.htm" title="http://backtothe80s.ca/show/arcade.htm" target="_blank"http://backtothe80s.ca/show/a...
Let me know if you go to any of the above sites and how you like it. That will wrap up Kickin' it for today. Thanks for reading and please consider subscribing so you don't miss a posting. Peace and much love.
Check this out: Do you need your computer monitor screen cleaned? Maybe you should click on this link. It is kind of cute and will likely make you chuckle... www.linein.org/media/screen_clean.swf
Quote of the day: "Life - it only makes sense when you look at it backwards. Too bad we gotta live it forwards." - character Dick Lacey from the film 13 Conversations About One Thing
Download this: "The Remedy (I Won't Worry) [acoustic]" by Jason Mraz - The original version is good, but the acoustic version is great
|Super Bowl XLII Recap
|02.04.08 (9:40 pm) 
Well, I have to say that yesterday's game might have been the best Super Bowl game in history (if not, definitely in the Top 10). If you like tons of offense, then maybe you would not agree, but if you are a true football fan then it was unexpectedly fantastic. Most Super Bowls find it impossible to live up to all of the hype surrounding and leading up to them, but this game delivered. According to Nielsen, with 97.5 million viewers, The New York Giants' thrilling win over the New England Patriots was the most-watched Super Bowl ever. Only one other show in American broadcast history was watched by more people, the "M-A-S-H" finale in 1983, which drew 106 million viewers. It started with an amazing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Jordin Sparks and ended with two of the most exciting minutes in Super Bowl history. I have to admit that I did kind of want to witness history with New England achieving the perfect 19-0 season, but I found myself cheering for both teams as it came down to the end. The Giants played incredibly well, especially on defense, and deserved to win the game. The beat the odds, winning games at Tampa Bay, at Dallas and at Green Bay just to get the chance to play the mighty undefeated Patriots. In the big game, they battled all night long and came up with the big plays when it mattered most.
Late in the game down by 3 points, the Patriots precision offense finally moved the ball down the field like they were accustomed to scoring a go ahead touchdown to take the lead 14-10. Back in week 17 against the Giants, Tom Brady connected with Randy Moss for a touchdown which broke the season record for passing touchdowns (50) and receiving touchdowns (23). Brady again connected with Moss to take the lead and left less than 2 minutes on the clock. It looked as if the Patriots would win the game as expected. Then came an unbelievable series for the New York Giants. Here's a recap of what happened:
1:20 left, 2nd & 5 on the NYG 44 - Eli Manning throws a pass down the deep right sideline intended for David Tyree. This pass should have been intercepted by the Patriots defender up the field, but it wasn't. It could have ended the game, but still did not seem like that big of deal with the Giants in the position they were, but then the very next play changed all of that.
1:15 left, 3rd & 5 - Eli Manning gets pressured and is nearly taken down. He somehow escapes and heaves the ball down the middle of the field. David Tyree makes an impossible grab and somehow holds on to the ball as he slams to the turf. The 32 yard play gives the Giants a first down all the way up at the Patriots 24 yard line. This play will live on in Super Bowl lore as one of the truly greatest of all time. Here is a link, so you can watch this play again which will go down in history... www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5BWzoyzVbc
0:59 left, 1st & 10 - They still need to score a touchdown and on first down the Patriots sack Manning for a loss.
0:51 left, 2nd & 10 - Manning throws an incomplete pass and the pressure starts to mount.
0:45 left, 3rd & 10 - Manning completes a short pass to Steve Smith short of the first down, but Smith alertly turns it up field and is pushed out of bounds after a gain of 12 yards and more importantly a first down. If not for this play, it would have been 4th down and would have limited the Giants options. They certainly would not have been able to make the play that came next.
0:39 left, 1st & 10 on the NE 13 - Manning completes the pass in the left corner of the end zone to Plaxico Burress for the touchdown. The Giants now take the lead 17-14 and leave very little time on the clock. The Patriots are not able to move the ball and the Giants are champions. Incredible 2 minutes to end this game.
The game did start pretty slow with only 2 possessions in the entire 1st quarter. This was the fewest in Super Bowl history and far fewer than the 10 possessions in last year's big game. Not that exciting, but showed the Giants strategy of controlling the ball on offense and attacking the quarterback on defense. There was one other moment that I feel could have changed how this game ultimately ended. In the third quarter with 6:49 left the Patriots were faced with a 4th down and 13 yards to go on the Giants 31. Instead of a makeable 49 yard field goal, Coach Belichick decided to go for it. It ended with a low percentage deep pass into double coverage and the Giants took over on downs. I remember thinking to myself when this happened that it could come back to haunt the Patriots and obviously it did. Who knows what would have happened, but I do know that the Patriots probably wished they had those 3 points at the end of the game. You have to give credit to the Giants. A couple other tidbits about the game... If you read my February 1st posting, I discussed what a proud Dad that Archie Manning must be. How proud do you think he is today now that his sons have won each of the last two Super Bowl MVP awards? For the record, I thought the Tom Petty halftime show was weak. Also for the record, the only thing that Bill Belichick might be more that a bad winner is a sore loser. On to the commercials.
I have to say that this might have been the worst year in my memory for Super Bowl commercials. They were pretty unspectacular to say the least. If you want to see any of them, you can go to www.myspace.com/superbowlads and they have them all there broken out by quarter. There were a couple that were at least mildly entertaining. GoDaddy.com had an interesting strategy of not showing their actual commercial on television, but instead saying that regulators did not allow it and directed viewers to see it on their website. Other than that, I would have to say my favorite was a Bud Light spot in the 4th quarter starring Will Ferrell as the "Jackie Moon" character from his upcoming film Semi Pro. It is immature humor, but it reminded me of his Ron Burgundy character from Anchorman and made me laugh more than any of the others. Here is a link to this particular commercial... www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-XbmIntWn8. You gotta love YouTube.
That's it for this issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks for reading and we will be back to more pop culture very soon. I will be away for a couple days, so probably no new posts until later this week. I came across another interesting website that any of you 80s lovers might enjoy. I thought it was very well done, so you might want to check it out... www.liketotally80s.com/index.html
Check this out: When I was on the website above, I saw a link to a cool 80s television trivia quiz courtesy of one of my favorite shows, "Psych." I have mentioned this show a couple times (January 13th and January 24th). Here is the link to the quiz... www.usanetwork.com/series/psych/games/80 strivia/tv
Quote of the day:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
* Interesting that this quote is often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it is really an adaptation of a poem published in 1905 by Bessie Stanley. No version of it has been found in Emerson's writings. For more information see http://www.transcendentalists.com/success.htm" title="http://www.transcendentalists.com/success.htm" target="_blank"http://www.transcendentalists...
Download this: "Message From Your Heart" by Kina Grannis - This song is now available on iTunes. It was featured in a Doritos commercial during the Super Bowl because she won an online contest voting for the best among several other unsigned artists trying to be discovered. I like the song and thought it was appropriate as we recap the Super Bowl. Also available to download now on iTunes is the "Star Spangled Banner" version sung by Jordin Sparks before the game. One of the best renditions I have ever heard.
|Top 10 Super Bowl Champs of My Generation - Kickin' it Old School
|02.02.08 (6:50 pm) 
Happy Groundhog Day! Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which supposedly means 6 more weeks of winter. Ughh! I don't know if I can take anymore of this snow and cold. Phil's meteorological skills have not been all that accurate in the past, so let's hope that is the case this year. I would really appreciate an early Spring this year.
As promised, it is Super Bowl week, so I intend to provide you with my Top 10 list of Super Bowl champions from my generation. The first Super Bowl I can recall specifically watching is SB XV in January of 1981. This year the Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles in an otherwise non-memorable game. Since that is where it really begins for me, that is where my list will begin. My list will not include the legendary Packers teams of Vince Lombardi or the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of the 70's. My list will not be calculated in any scientific way, it will simply be this very knowledgeable football fan's opinion on each team's place in my history.
Just to clarify up front, this year's New England Patriots team will become #1 on this list if they are able to complete their perfect Season tomorrow night. I have few doubts about that, so this list could only remain in this order for another day or so. When referring to the year of each team, I will use the year of the season not when the actual Super Bowl was played. Since the big game is always played in January (or now February) it can be confusing when discussing the teams. For example, this year's amazing New England team would be referred to as the 2007 Patriots even though the Super Bowl will technically be played in 2008. Just wanted to clarify that up front, so now let's get on to the list. Here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS (1980-present):
Honorable Mention. 2001 Baltimore Ravens (SB XXXV) - The Ravens were just a wild card team that year, but they featured one of the best defenses in NFL history. They did not even need an offense to win games which is a good thing because they had Trent Dilfer as their quarterback. The team won their last seven regular season games and then four more games in a row during the playoffs. This Ravens defense led by linebacker Ray Lewis only allowed 165 points during the regular season which is an average of 10 points per game. This continued into the playoffs where they only allowed a total of one touchdown and three field goals in their three wins getting to the big game. Then they became only the third team in NFL history to shut out the opposing offense in the Super Bowl. That is amazing and I feel this team deserves recognition for that accomplishment.
10. 1986 New York Giants (SB XXI) - The Giants finished the regular season with a 14-2 record and were lead by linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Taylor did not only win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time that season, but he also became just the second defensive player to ever win the NFL MVP. Coached by Bill Parcels, this was the first Super Bowl appearance for the Giants and 23 years since they played in an NFL championship game. Quarterback Phil Simms was named the Super Bowl MVP after throwing for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing an amazing 88% of his passes. It is hard to believe that this team played over 20 years ago now.
9. 1994 San Francisco 49ers (SB XXIX) - This 49ers team ended the season with a league best record of 13-3 and led the league in points scored. Their weakness in previous seasons had been their defense, but they addressed this by signing several key free agents including the incredible Deion Sanders and improved to the eight ranked defense in the league that season. Sanders won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award that season, but it is the offense who deserves the most attention. Quarterback Steve Young won the NFL MVP and he was throwing to Jerry Rice who happens to be the best wide receiver in history. Despite outstanding statistics, Young had been criticized for not winning the big game and constantly compared to the great Joe Montana. This championship served to "get the monkey off of his back." The 49ers put on an impressive display in the Super Bowl scoring 49 points. Young threw 6 touchdown passes in the game (3 to Rice) on his way to winning the Super Bowl MVP.
8. 1999 St. Louis Rams (SB XXXIV) - "The Greatest Show on Turf" were a major surprise ending the season with a 13-3 record and one of the most prolific offenses in league history. The amazing thing is that they were lead by a quarterback with nearly no NFL experience who had only previously played in the Arena League and NFL Europe. Kurt Warner had a dream season throwing for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns earning him the NFL MVP award. The team also featured offensive weapons Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. The team's defense did not get as much attention but put together a solid season ranking 4th in total yards allowed. This game had one of the all time best finishes in Super Bowl history. The final play of the game ended just one yard short of the Titans scoring a game-tying touchdown. Kurt Warner was awarded the Super Bowl MVP after throwing 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was that tackle that saved the victory for the Rams.
7. 1998 Denver Broncos (SB XXXIII) - This Broncos team won back-to-back championships after beating the Packers the previous year. The team was dominant that season winning their first 13 games in a row and finishing with a 14-2 regular season record. Though John Elway steals so much of the attention (undeservingly), it is running back Terrell Davis and the offensive line that made this offense click. Davis won the NFL MVP this season after rushing for over 2000 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. The Broncos defense was also very solid giving up the 8th fewest points in the league. John Elway would go on to be named the Super Bowl MVP in the last game of his career as he went on to retire. Though I feel Elway was very over-rated during his later years, this team won two Super Bowls in a row and that gets them ranked a little higher on this list.
6. 1991 Washington Redskins (SB XXVI) - This was one of my favorite teams in NFL history as they finished the regular season with a 14-2 record. Coached by Joe Gibbs, they had both a dominant offense and defense. The offense lead the league in points scored outscoring their opponents 485 to just 224 that season. The defense ranked third in fewest yards allowed as well. The offense featured a vaunted offensive line, nicknamed "The Hogs," who lead the league in fewest sacks allowed and also opened huge holes for the running game. Joe Gibbs won his third Super Bowl as the Redskins jumped out to 24-0 lead and cruised to victory. Quarterback Mark Rypien was named the Super Bowl MVP. Outstanding team.
5. 2004 New England Patriots (SB XXXIX) - These Patriots won back-to-back championships and this actually made it an incredible 3 in 4 years. Many of the same players are playing for this year's Patriots team which is looking to make history. This ranking is more of a cumulative affect of all 3 of those championship teams and, as I said earlier, they will bump all the way up to #1 with a win Sunday. Coach Bill Belichick and his outstanding quarterback Tom Brady are the glue that holds this team together. They have had many high quality players over the course of these Super Bowl winning seasons, but the strength seems to lie in the system. They seem to be able to fill holes and keep on rolling. We will revisit this dynasty's place if they win their 4th Super Bowl in just 7 years.
4. 1996 Green Bay Packers (SB XXXI) - I am obviously biased when it comes to the Packers, but this particular team was pure greatness. This Packers team was dominant having both the top ranked offense and top ranked defense as they finished the regular season with a 13-3 record. They only allowed 210 points and scored a league best 456 points becoming the first team since the 1972 Dolphins to be the best in both categories. The defense was lead by the "Minister of Defense" Reggie White and the under-rated LeRoy Butler. The leader of the offense was clearly Brett Favre who won his second consecutive NFL MVP award that season after throwing nearly 3900 yards and 39 touchdowns. They even had spectacular special teams with kick returner Desmond Howard who returned 3 punts for touchdowns that season and set an NFL record for punt return yards. Howard became the first special teams player to ever win the Super Bowl MVP primarily for his 99-yard kick off return TD and setting the Super Bowl record for total return yards. I felt that Favre probably deserved the Super Bowl MVP as he threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for 1 more himself. This team, coached by Mike Holmgren, is one of the best single season teams in NFL history, in my opinion. If they would not have been upset in the Super Bowl by the Broncos the following year, this might be more recognized. It is pretty amazing that Favre is still going strong 11 seasons later and hopefully we will see him come back for one more.
3. 1989 San Francisco 49ers (SB XXIV) - This team won back-to-back championships after the play known simply as "The Catch" the previous year. Bill Walsh retired as coach and George Seifert took over becoming just the second rookie coach to win a Super Bowl. These 49ers had an NFL best 14-2 record in the regular season lead by quarterback Joe Montana who won the NFL MVP. Like Steve Young later on, Montana had the luxury of throwing to Jerry Rice who caught 17 of Montana's 26 touchdowns that season. The 49ers defense ranked third in the league this season in fewest points allowed. They had two losses, but one was to the Rams by just 1 point and the other was to the Packers by 4 points. The Super Bowl game itself was a dominant performance as they dismantled the Broncos 55-10. They scored 8 touchdowns in the game (2 each quarter and missing one of the PATs), with Montana throwing 5 of them on his way to Super Bowl MVP honors. This was Montana's third Super Bowl MVP and his fourth championship win. They were an amazing team for most of the 80's and 90's which makes it sad how far this team has fallen off in recent years.
2. 1992 Dallas Cowboys (SB XXVII) - This dynasty ended up winning 3 of 4 Super Bowls and this year marked the first of those championships. They are ranked this high based on the cumulative effect of all 3 championship teams. In 1992, the team finished with a 13-3 record. Similar to John Elway in Denver, quarterback Troy Aikman received a lot of attention as the leader of the Cowboys, but it was really the exceptional running back Emmitt Smith and a dominating offensive line that made this offense great. Aikman was efficient, but it was Smith that made everything possible. Smith would go on to set the NFL record for career rushing touchdowns as well as rushing yards. This team had a strong defense as well giving up the fewest yards in the league this season, though no individual players really stand out. Aikman would throw 4 touchdowns and win the Super Bowl MVP this year with Emmitt Smith winning it the following year. Jimmy Johnson deserves a lot of credit for building this dynasty as well as coaching them on the field.
1. 1985 Chicago Bears (SB XX) - Mike Ditka coached this team to an incredible 15-1 regular season record. The Bears won their first 12 games before losing their only game of the season to the Dolphins. After that loss, they proceeded to steamroll the competition all the way to a Super Bowl championship. Who could forget "The Super Bowl Shuffle"? More importantly, who could forget the most dominant defense of all time? This defense was lead by linebacker Mike Singletary who won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and Richard Dent who ultimately won the Super Bowl MVP. The Bears defense allowed both the fewest points and total yards in historic fashion. This team also featured one of the best running backs ever to play the game in Walter Payton. The offense surprisingly ended up ranking second in points scored as well as leading the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. It was an impressive performance all season and this continued in the Super Bowl where the Bears crushed the Patriots 46-10. The Bears defense only gave 123 yards for the whole game, only 7 rushing yards while getting 7 sacks and scoring a touchdown on an interception return. The only unfortunate aspect to the Super Bowl victory was that the great Walter Payton was not given an opportunity to score a touchdown in what ended up being his only Super Bowl appearance. Coach Ditka has stated that he feels this to be his greatest regret in his career. Nonetheless, the 1985 Bears are the best team of my generation (but for how much longer?).
There is my list. I am sure there is plenty of room for debate. I did consider both the 2006 Colts and 2005 Steelers, but likely my most obvious omission would be the 1984 49ers. I already had two other 49ers teams on the list which I felt ranked higher, so I left this team off despite their impressive 15-1 regular season record. Let me know what you think. Who is missing or who is not ranked correctly? Will you consider the 2007 Patriots the best team of all time if they win this year's Super Bowl?
Here are some more interesting Super Bowl tidbits for you. When I have no clear favorite team in the game, I always at least want the game to stay close. In recent history, we have a few games that stayed interesting (namely the three Patriots wins each by a Vinatieri field goal and the Rams heart stopper in XXXIV) though the statistics have proven it is important to get off to a strong start. The last 12 teams to lead the Super Bowl at halftime have gone on to win. The last to lose were the Buffalo Bills, who couldn't hold a 13-6 halftime lead to the Cowboys and ended up losing 30-13 back in Super Bowl XXVIII. Worth noting, though, is that the Giants have trailed at halftime in all three of their Super Bowl appearances, yet have won two of those games. The New England coach referred to by some as "Hoodie" (because of the hooded sweatshirt that he often wears) has a pretty impressive place in NFL coaching history. Bill Belichick has one of the best postseason records by a head coach in NFL history. In fact, of all coaches with at least 10 postseason games, only the great Vince Lombardi has a better winning percentage in postseason play than Belichick. His 15 postseason wins are the fifth-most all time, and one more win this postseason will give Belichick his fourth Super Bowl title. Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll is currently the only head coach to have won four Super Bowls. Belichick also appeared in 3 other Super Bowls (winning 2) as an assistant coach with the NY Giants and New England Patriots. Not bad for a guy who was fired by the Cleveland Browns back after the 1995 season. He has about as much personality as a pile of rocks, but you cannot argue with success.
There you have it. One of the longest Kickin' it Old School posts to date. Thanks for reading and be sure you check out the archive for past postings. One quick news update that I just heard... Art Monk was selected to be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today!!! As you may have read in my January 8th posting, I felt that Monk was more than deserving of this honor and I am so happy that he will finally receive it. Enjoy the Super Bowl and we will get back to some pop culture in the coming days! Peace and much love.
Check this out: You may have seen this Subway commercial featuring a football referee in a "fresh moment." I think it is pretty funny and appropriate heading in to the big game. Click here if you want to see it... www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcFtcoo0ic4
Quote of the day: "A person's greatest strength develops at the point where he or she overcomes their greatest weakness." -Elmer G. Letterman
Download this: "Let My Love Open the Door" by Pete Townshend - Originally on his 1980 album titled Empty Glass
|Super Bowl Week Tidbits
|02.01.08 (9:44 pm) 
Happy Friday to you all. It has been a little while since I have posted anything sports related and it is Super Bowl week, so I should probably kick that topic around a little bit. I plan on posting my Top 10 teams to win the Super Bowl in a posting this weekend. To be honest, with the Green Bay Packers getting so close and then blowing it against the Giants, my interest in Super Bowl is obviously not nearly as high as it was going to be. The only thing that is keeping me captive is potentially witnessing history if New England can complete their perfect season. During the two weeks leading up to the big game, you can be overwhelmed with the media hype and stories from every angle. There are a couple stories that I found to be worthy of mentioning.
There are a couple elderly guys (as far as football players go) playing in this game, one on each team. Junior Seau, the Patriots linebacker, is 39 years old and Jeff Feagles, the Giants punter, will turn 42 in March. They have 38 seasons of experience between them which is pretty amazing and both have the chance to achieve the ultimate goal of winning their first championship. Seau will be playing in just his second Super Bowl (lost as a Charger back after the 1994 season) and Feagles will be appearing in his very first. Both are very deserving after very impressive careers. Junior Seau is a 12 time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL 1990's All-Decade Team. He is without a doubt one of the most dominant linebackers of his generation and still plays with tremendous pride and emotion. Jeff Feagles has only made one Pro Bowl, but you don't stay in the NFL for 20 seasons if you are not pretty good at what you do. Feagles holds the record for Most Consecutive Games Played in a career at 320 games in a row! That is pretty inspiring even for a punter. Who knows if either player will play another season after this, let alone get another chance to win a championship. Old School wishes both players luck this Sunday.
Another story that I find intriguing is Archie Manning. Archie Manning is the father of Peyton Manning, who won the Super Bowl last year with the Indianapolis Colts, and Eli Manning, who is the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. Archie himself played quarterback in the NFL for 14 seasons. He was considered a very good quarterback, but he never played on a winning team himself and that naturally means he never even sniffed a Super Bowl as a player. Now he will be a guest of honor at the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. This would not be a surprise if he was there to watch Peyton defend his title, but the fact that he will be there to cheer on the younger Eli is quite unexpected. Peyton undoubtedly considered one of the best quarterbacks of his generation and won the NFL MVP in 2004 and the Super Bowl MVP last year. He is far more accomplished that his brother, but it is Eli who is on the big Super Bowl stage this year. In fact, Eli has thrown for almost 600 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in 85 pass attempts. No quarterback has ever entered the Super Bowl, throwing as many postseason attempts as Manning has without an interception. I am sure it has to be satisfying to see your children excel in their lives and chosen careers. It has to be pretty exceptional to see even one of your sons be blessed enough to become a professional athlete. It must be extraordinary to see two of your sons become starting quarterbacks in the National Football League. It has to be unimaginable to see both reach the pinnacle of their sport and lead their teams to a Super Bowl. Archie Manning has to be an exceptionally proud parent which I have already learned is a pretty special feeling.
Here is a quick bit of Super Bowl trivia that you might find interesting. Even without including this year's Super Bowl, New England and New York are already the only teams to reach the Super Bowl in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. With an upset Sunday, the Giants would become the first team in NFL history to win Super Bowls in three consecutive decades. In case anybody cares, I am picking the Patriots to win on Sunday, but not necessarily to cover the point spread. The last three Super Bowls the Patriots have won (2001, 2003, 2004 seasons) were all won by exactly 3 points. If New England wins, it will give Tom Brady 4 Super Bowl championships which would tie him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most all time (and Brady is just 30 years old!). I will give you a few more tidbits with tomorrow's post.
That will wrap up Kickin' it for today. Thanks so much for reading and please consider subscribing. As I said, look for tomorrow's Top 10 List of Super Bowl Winning Teams from my generation. Peace and much love.
Check this out:
Super Bowl weekend is the Thanksgiving of finger foods, and chicken wings are its turkey. The National Chicken Council estimates that more than 450 million cut wings were consumed during Super Bowl weekend in 2007, which equals about 90 million pounds of wings. (Source: www.buffalowings.com; National Chicken Council)
Quote of the day: "The successful person will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way." -Dale Carnegie
Download this: "You Can Close Your Eyes (Live)" by James Taylor - I love all of James Taylor's music, but this song which can be found on his recently released live album One Man Band is especially nice.
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