Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Once again, I haven't been posting much about it here because I'm not going to be changing any minds. Odds are, if you're reading me, you're a friendly, and if you're not, I doubt you'll be swayed by anything I have to say. But I've been bombarding myself with blog posts and YouTube videos and Facebook postings, from gay people and straight people and Californians and people who occasionally know what cold weather feels like. It makes me sad, knowing that in 2008 we're still in a dogfight for something so simple; and yet it makes me proud, that there's a banding together of like-minded (and like-hearted) people for something so important. No on 8. Think it hard. Put it out there in the universe. Come on,
Anyway, to make up for my lack of actual insight on this topic, here's a trio of posts from some of my favorite internet types, all of whom made me smile today:
"You can decide for yourself whether my marriage has any meaning for you or not, and how you feel about it morally...that's your right, as an American. You can decide that the rite of marriage should only be between a man and woman, because that's the way it's been since, well, a long time and things should never, never change and grow. ... But what you CANNOT continue to do is deny the LEGAL protections that every American deserves. Especially if you believe that America should be the land of the free, that all men are created equal, that we all have a right (protected in the Constitution) to pursue happiness."-- Gabriel Shanks, Modern Fabulousity
"I'm voting no because my aunt's 2003 commitment ceremony was one of the most bat-sh*t insane spectacles of all time. Biracial (half white/half-African-American) woman ties the knot with another biracial (half white/half-Hispanic) woman, then buys out a dive bar for the evening reception in one of the most buttoned-up communities in Los Angeles County? I smell sitcom!"-- Aaron Cameron, That Bootleg Guy
"What a dumb argument to even be having in the 21st century. What a tragedy that there are still people who hate gays for no good reason three decades after the murder of Harvey Milk. How sad is it that there are still people who are actively trying to deny gay people the most basic rights and happinesses."-- Devin Faraci, CHUD
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But this movie is tougher. What I can say is that it made me feel terrible. Just awful and wrecked and miserable. Which isn't the slam it might sound like -- if a movie's making me feel something besides bored, and making me feel it so intensely, it's at least doing something right. The plot, such as it is, concerns Phillip Seymour Hoffman, playing the latest in a long line of Charlie Kaufman surrogates, who, after his wife leaves him and he's subsequently awarded a Genius Grant, sets out to stage a play that will be an indelible and personal piece of art. So he rents out this caverous warehouse wherein he'll begin the work that will last the rest of his life, such as it is: a decades-spanning recreation of not only his life, but the lives of everyone around him. It's confusing and has that reality-within-reality-within-reality thing Kaufman loves, but I don't think it matters very much because this is easily the least plot-centered movie he's ever done.
Because the movie itself is about PSH's character, Caden, obsessing on himself. Calling it akin to viewing one's own life from the vantage point of up one's own ass doesn't sound very charitable, but I don't mean it as a slam. I should probably say right now that I think Synecdoche is a good movie, I'm just wrestling with whether it was a great one. The whole movie is about self-obsession which, when we're talking about a character who hates himself as much as Caden does, means two solid hours of misery. Awesome. The fact that this self-obsession is the whole point of the movie doesn't completely absolve it from charges of impenetrability and lack of focus, but it is a bit of a mitigating factor. Even the funnier parts in the first hour -- and there are many very funny moments to enjoy -- share a "well, aren't we so dry and clever" self-congratulation. The wordplay between PSH and Catherine Keener, for example, or Hope Davis's entire character arc, or Samantha Morton's oh-so-symbolic burning house.
The meanderings and the indulgences of the film do end up coming together (for the most part) in the final half-hour, in a climax that I found emotionally devestating but I'm not sure how many other people will. And honestly, I wonder of I'd have had any patience for it at all if my own life were in a different emotional space. But I can't really know that because, try as I might, I can't ever entirely escape my own self and truly see things as another person. Which, hey, is one of the points the movie makes. How about that.
It's an admirable movie, with some very fine performances. I kind of feel bad for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Not his character, but the actor himself. This movie really does represent the fourth and most overt (and please let it be final) attempt by Charlie Kaufman to dare the audience to not to completely despise him. He's had surrogate central characters in his four biggest movies now (we've all agreed to pretend Human Nature never happened, right?), each one repellant in his own way. Craig Schwartz was selfish and morally bankrupt. Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation was socially inept and neurotic. Joel Barrish was weak and boring and afraid. But Caden Cotard is just beyond the limits. Whiny, sad, lumpy, diseased, needy, miserable, not fun, and he never once gets beyond it or grows past it. So, hey, who better to play him that Phillip Seymour Hoffman? And while that may be true, that had to hurt PSH on some level to realize that.
I should also make special note of a trio of superb supporting performances. Samantha Morton is absolutely stellar in a role that starts out all cleavage and inexplicable attraction and gets more beautiful, and more heartbreaking, the longer the movie goes. But even in her old-lady makeup, she's the one spark of light in the whole movie. Michelle Williams has become a really accomplished actress, able to convey so much with really tiny gestures and inflections. Past a certain point in the movie, you don't know what her character is still doing there, at least in practical terms, but then she does these self-conciously actorly things that remind you why her character (a self-conscious actor) would stick around. And while Dianne Weist's contribution is more through her presence, and the calming/authoritative influence of her voice, I can harly imagine who could have played that part better.
So...don't see this movie on my recommendation. I don't want to be blamed for you either spending the rest of the day in a terrible funk or else feeling absolutely nothing and thus wasting two hours on miserablist self-indulgence (which, even if you think it's a good movie, it pretty much is). But if too few films this year have made you feel anything at all, good or bad, and you're looking for something to stick you in the gut and remind you of the lonely, cavernous warehouses that are our lives -- to be a tangible representation of the crushing weight of loneliness and opportunities wasted -- then by all means. Have a blast.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
And, if you want something I actually had a creative hand in, please check out our coverage of Beyonce's alter-ago Sasha Fierce. I haven't had that much fun spending an afternoon making up silly names in a long time.
In other awesome news, the Tomato Nation Donors Choose project hit $100,000 with time to spare (which...how incredibly awesome). Y'all are still welcome and encouraged to keep donating through the 31st, as there are still projects to fund. And keep forwarding me those confim emails -- the "program Low Res for a day" contest is still accepting entires.
In other random linkage:
-- My New Plaid Pants ups the threat level on Jake Gyllenhaal's hair to orange.
-- Yahoo Sports explores the disastrous effects Sarah Palin has been having on this country's hockey teams.
-- Stinkylulu presents this month's Supporting Actress Smackdown for 1976, featuring the dirtiest pillows ever nominated for Oscar.
-- Roommate Mark brings back fond memories of Muppet Babies and thus has earned my eternal gratitude.
McCain and Pailin expound upon the "elitist" areas of the country. You know, the areas that aren't so "pro-America."
During an NBC interview, his running mate, Sarah Palin, was asked to define the "elitists" the GOP ticket scorns, and said, "Anyone who thinks that they're better than someone else."Later, in the New York Daily News:
McCain chimed in: "I know where a lot of 'em live ... in our nation's capital and New York City."
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said the Arizona senator wasn't talking about "real New Yorkers."I love how McCain keeps narrowing down the areas where this vast anti-American conspiracy is happening. You have to wonder how under-seige these pro-America small towns are when the liberal elites keep getting whittled down to, like, one zip code in Manhattan. Wonder what kind of weird-ass liberal crap goes on there?
"He's talking about Park Ave. and the upper West Side, which is inhabited by the liberal socialites and the media types who, yeah, are certainly elitists," King said.
As it happens, the U.S. zip code that's given the most to the McCain campaign - $909,128 - is Manhattan's 10021, which includes a swath of Park Ave.
Look, I realize that these "elitism" charges, and the anti-education/anti-intellectualism they represent, are my #1 trigger in politics. But look at what Palin is saying. She hates elitists because they think they're better than other people. What better way to combat that than to travel the country and tell small towners that they're better than anyone who lives within five hundred miles of an ocean? No wonder she doesn't consider abortion clinic bombers terrorists. They're just a more pro-America, and thus better, brand of terrorist.
If Obama can win this thing, it will represent the first outright rejection of the politics of demonization, divisiveness, and scapegoating in a long, long time. It's almost too much to hope for.
Ah, but what of the politics of fear? They came back with a vengeance last week with McCain jumping all over Joe Biden's so-called "gaffe," when he said that a President Obama would be tested by foreign enemies within his first year in office.
Which, let's set aside the fact that they're conveniently lopping off Biden's follow-up that they'll find Obama has a "spine of steel." Of course Biden said that, and of course McCain is ignoring it. But more importantly: what part of what Biden is saying is in any way untrue? Obama certainly will be tested in his first year. And if the Republicans are able to
Friday, October 24, 2008
Aaron: 12-2 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Joe: 11-3 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Season To Date:
Aaron: 64-38 (4-3 vs. the spread)
Joe: 64-38 (4-3 vs. the spread)
Oakland at Baltimore
Aaron: Kudos to Joe for nailing last week's surprising Raiders' win -- right down to the crappiness of the game and field goal-y finish. Please drop some identical predictive ju-ju this week, Reid. Pick: Baltimore
Joe: While I would love picking against the Ravens this week (or any week), the Raiders did look pretty bad in winning last week, and to make matters worse, Willis McGahee seems back to his old self. Better stock up on prenatal vitamins, single women of Baltimore! Pick: Baltimore
Arizona at Carolina
Aaron: I'm not sure if that whole "West Coast team travels to East Coast" syndrome has any merit, but this season it sure looks legit. Of course, this includes teams like Oakland and Seattle. And, Arizona isn't really West Coast… Pick: Carolina
Joe: Considering said syndrome has become the latest de rigueur excuse to pooh-pooh the Bills' latest win over a decent team, I agree, it's bunk. Ish. All eyes on Anquan Boldin this week as his comeback from broken-face surgery is gonna be a game-time decision. Not like any fantasy owners have to make a decision between him and backup Steve Breaston before game time or anything. I really like the Panthers at home. Pick: Carolina
Tampa Bay at Dallas
Aaron: I've always been indifferent towards Dallas -- save for their awesome Deion-infused mid-90s teams -- but, I'm taking an unusual amount of pleasure in their current meltdown. Although, Tony Romo IS my money-league fantasy QB. So torn. Pick: Tampa Bay
Joe: It would figure that once Dallas gets a team I actually like (Romo, Barber, Witten...I even had been warming to TO) that they actually get their karmic comeuppance. That being said, I TOLD YOU about Wade Phillips. Pick: Dallas (I am a sucker)
Washington at Detroit
Aaron: At some point between now and December, one of us is going to go out on a limb and pick the Lions while they're still winless. Joe? Pick: Washington
Joe: They're not gonna lose EVERY game this week. But there has to be a home game against a team more ripe for the picking than these Redskins, right? Pick: Washington
Buffalo at Miami
Aaron: The Dolphins' Pop Warner offense got exposed against the Ravens' D. The Bills are a top 10 defense, too, but I think Miami keeps it close enough to win late. Pick: Miami
Joe: I'd be more confident about this pick if I had any handle at all on this Dolphins team. I do believe in this Bills team, though. Pick: Buffalo
St. Louis at New England
Aaron: I'm surprised to see so much of the focus on New England's 41 points, instead of Denver's laughable defense last Monday night. The Rams will provide another false confidence boost until the Pats play a real team again. Pick: New England
Joe: I almost want to pick the Rams -- the suddenly alive again Rams -- here. Until we see Matt Cassel string together two good games in a row, we can't quite believe it, right?
San Diego at New Orleans
Aaron: Saints don't have Reggie Bush and the Chargers barely have 50% of LaDanian Tomlinson. Throw in an expected sloppy field, an uninterested foreign crowd and, uhh "toothy" British groupies… No clue on this one. Pick: San Diego
Joe: Yeah, I think an ugly game (which seems pretty much fated here) favors the Bolts. Pick: San Diego
Atlanta at Philadelphia
Aaron: Here's hoping the Eagles can inspire the Phillies, Chase Utley and everyone who picked them in Sarah Bunting's postseason baseball pool. C'mon, Phillies and Chase Utley! Pick: Philadelphia
Joe: Meanwhile, Ryan Howard must be filming Chunky Soup commercials with Donovan McNabb. That's the best reason I can come up with for his absence from the scoring column. Not that I'm at all bitter. Pick: Philadelphia
Kansas City at N.Y. Jets
Aaron: Brett Favre possibly betrays Green Bay and their fans by discussing his former team's tendencies with the Lions? And, just like that, I like the guy now! What the hell just happened? Pick: NY Jets
Joe: Yeah, but Brett only ended up on the phone with the Lions because he was trying to call one of his grandkids and he got confused and mixed up the numbers. ...Motherfucker's OLD. Pick: NY Jets
Cleveland at Jacksonville
Aaron: You have to admire the vindictive moxie of the Browns' coaching staff. They're going to be blown out en masse at season's end and, damn it, they're gonna keep starting QB Derek Anderson until he takes 'em to the unemployment line. Pick: Jacksonville
Joe: Jacksonville's schizophrenic this year, and Cleveland will remain a tough(ish) out for the rest of the season. Pick: Cleveland
Cincinnati at Houston
Aaron: When the top story out of Cincy is that Chad Johnson will be keeping "Johnson" on the back of his jersey for the rest of 2008… On a related note, welcome back to the sh*tter, Bengals. Your usual table? Pick: Houston
Joe: Houston, at home, against a crap team? I like patterns. Pick: Houston
N.Y. Giants at Pittsburgh
Aaron: And, so ends the Giants' preseason schedule of cupcakes, cream puffs and other assorted high-calorie confections. Commence beatdown…now. Pick: Pittsburgh
Joe: You think so? I've lost a lot of confidence in the Steelers, who, by the way, didn't exactly beat a world-beating Bengals team last week. Pick: NY Giants
Seattle at San Francisco
Aaron: How did Mike Holmgren -- blessed with some of the most talented teams in the league throughout his coaching career -- turn into a sympathetic figure this season in Seattle? F*** you, Brett Favre for giving him a Super Bowl ring and infinite job security. Pick: San Francisco
Joe: Seneca Wallace as Seattle QB or Mike Singletary and his grandpa glasses as the Niners coach? Here's a dilemma worthy of whatever iteration of that Saw movie opens this week. Pick: Seattle
Indianapolis at Tennessee
Aaron: The liberal media elite insisted that the Colts were back after gutting the inept-on-offense Ravens two weeks ago. How'd that Packers game work out for 'em, CNN? Or, should I say Clinton News Network?! Timely. Pick: Tennessee
Joe: God, how I would love for the Colts to deflower the "mighty" Titans this week and ruin the mid-season coronation of Kerry mothereffing Collins. But...yeah, probably not. Pick: Tennessee
The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread:
Aaron: Atlanta (+9) at Philadelphia
Joe: Cincinnati (+9) at Houston
I didn't think anything could ever top the Goin' To Church in a Wifebeater photo...
And now that I have your attention: The TN Donors Choose contest is nearing on $89,000 with seven days to go. You can still donate and help push it over $100k, and now that we're into Magical Matching Fund Times, any donation made to a project with the "Double Your Impact" icon gets matched, dollar for dollar. And don't forget to forward me your confirmation email so I can enter you into the Program Low Res For a Day contest.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sarah's Donor's Choose Drive is pushing up on $73,000. At $75,000, we get a $12,500 matching donation. And that puts us in striking distance $100k, at which point there will be tomato dancing.
So if you haven't yet donated, I'm gonna bug you about it one more time. Current projects waiting to be funded: classic literature, geology, digital animation, bowling, basketball, and dance. DANCE! Won't you let the children dance??
And need I remind you that I'm still looking for readers to boss me around for a day? So when you donate, forward me the receipt and your name goes into the drawing to program Low Res for a day. I'm already half-regretting making this promise, so please donate and make sure I fully regret it. Many thanks!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Aaron: 6-8 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Joe: 10-4 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Season To Date
Aaron: 52-36 (3-3 vs. the spread)
Joe: 53-35 (3-3 vs. the spread)
(And he comes alllll the way back!)
San Diego at Buffalo
Aaron: Does any team run so hot and so cold from week-to-week like the Chargers? They've looked skittish in front of hostile road crowds and, knowing Joe as I do, Buffalo is the embodiment of hostile. Pick: Buffalo
Joe: Wow, that link takes me back. Brian Cox and his middle fingers of justice. Awesome. Anyway, I'm tempted to cover my ass and take the Chargers, because I think this game is a total toss-up. But in an odd development, I have some faith in the Bills this season. Not just unchecked hope, but FAITH. This is what the possibility of an Obama presidency will do to you. Pick: Buffalo
New Orleans at Carolina
Aaron: Nothing like the Raiders to make the Saints forget about that punch in the mouf from Minnesota two weeks ago. Welcome back to the NFL, New Orleans. Pick: Carolina
Joe: Yeah, I'd love to keep picking the Saints in any and all situations, but this has all the makings: a letdown game for the Saints, a revenge game for Carolina after getting waxed in Tampa, and a tough divisional game from a tough division; I'm always gonna give those ones to the home team. Pick: Carolina
Minnesota at Chicago
Aaron: The Bears were one of the many, many teams that let me down last week. I hope they're all thinking of this emaciated San Diegan with the broken heart and inspired to show up for four goddamn quarters this week. Please, guys? Pick: Chicago
Joe: While you're cursing and pleading with the Bears, Cam, you might remember they still won you that "under" bet that allowed you to keep lil' Jalen in designer toddler wear (for another week at least). Some gratitude? Pick: Chicago
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Aaron: The Bengals gotta beat someone this season. The Bengals won't beat the Steelers this week. Pick: Pittsburgh
Joe: If they don't win soon, they might be the first NFL team in history to say "fuck it" in the locker room at about 12:50 and just leave the stadium before some game. As always, I'm rooting on the side of history. (As, uh, any Patriots fan can surely tell you.) Pick: Pittsburgh
Tennessee at Kansas City
Aaron: KC coach Herm Edwards courageously suspends declining running back Larry Johnson for this sure loss against the NFL's last undefeated team. Those principles sure will perk up Edwards' resume during his interviews with Arena League teams next spring. Pick: Tennessee
Joe: No, no, Kansas City. By all means, start all your backups and CFL rejects this week and completely roll over for the Tennessee Paper Tigers. The rest of us totally appreciate it. Pick: Tennessee
Baltimore at Miami
Aaron: The Dolphins' over-hyped sandlot offense hasn't faced a defense like the Ravens yet. For one week, anyway, the Wildcat gets hunted down and humanely destroyed – caught by one of those old-timey exaggerated bear traps favored by Elmer Fudd. Pick: Baltimore
Joe: Speaking of "over-hyped," your 2008 Baltimore Ravens' 2-0 start this season. This remains not that good a team. Pick: Miami
San Francisco at N.Y. Giants
Aaron: The Giants dropped one of this season's singular stinkbomb offerings this past Monday night. They sure seemed to roll up the carpet pretty early against a Browns team that the league has been pushing around since last December. They'll beat the Niners, but let's not plan that parade route yet. Pick: NY Giants
Joe: And thus the Giants join their division-mates the Cowboys and Redskins as teams who were indestructible juggernauts up until they actually lost a game, at which point they suddenly became deeply flawed pretenders. Take a good look, Titans. Pick: NY Giants
Dallas at St. Louis
Aaron: This'll be the biggest game of the season for the Rams, while the Cowboys are just hoping to play well enough with either an injured Tony Romo or an already-embalmed Brad Johnson. I'd pick the upset, if I hadn't pissed away so many games last week… Pick: Dallas
Joe: Didn't St. Louis already have their sneak-up-on-a-good-team-while-they're-taking-a-piss game last week? At worst, Dallas wins this by ten. Pick: Dallas
Detroit at Houston
Aaron: The Texans' last three games: OT loss to the Jags, gagged away last-second loss to Indy and a win vs. the Dolphins. None of this matters versus the miserable Lions, but it's one of those "stat things" that all prognosticators have to do. Pick: Houston
Joe: Speaking of projected blowouts, here's where Houston really starts to build up some self-esteem. We should send the Lions to high schools and burn wards and Republican headquarters other places where people really need to start feeling better about themselves. Pick: Houston
Indianapolis at Green Bay
Aaron: I'm going to keep jumping off the Colts bandwagon as long as they're playing respectable (or better) teams on the road. I will climb back on if I am wrong about their demise, which is almost certainly likely. Pick: Green Bay
Joe: I'd love to take the Colts, if only because we're looking awfully same-y this week, Cam and I, but on the road against a Packers team that is getting its groove back, and with Dominic Rhodes in the backfield...not looking too great. Pick: Green Bay
N.Y. Jets at Oakland
Aaron: Boy, that whole "let's open up the offense for JaMarcus Russell" game plan worked like a charm in New Orleans last week. Not to scare Raiders fans – and I know it's still early – but, there's a LOT of JaJeff George in ol' JaMarcus. Pick: NY Jets
Joe: So am I underrating the Jets but continually picking them to lose to terrible teams or am I just a week or two too early on the wheels falling off this team? Either way, I think this has "13-10 stinker" written all over it. Just the way the Raiders likes it. Pick: Oakland
Cleveland at Washington
Aaron: Hey, where'd all that "NFC East = NFC Beasts" talk go? There aren't many teams I'm less sold on than the Redskins, but yes, Cleveland made the list. Pick: Washington
Joe: A Cleveland win suddenly puts them in the playoff hunt again in this formless mass that we call the AFC. I'd almost pick the upset if they were at home. Pick: Washington
Seattle at Tampa Bay
Aaron: Due to certain…financial commitments…I'm forced to root for the Red Sox in the ALCS. (J.D. Drew? True Dat!) So, in return, I'll be pulling for the Bucs like crazy, yo. Pick: Tampa Bay
Joe: I don't know how you live with yourself. Pick: Tampa Bay
Denver at New England
Aaron: It's only been, what…five games or so? Still, I think it's safe to say that just anyone can't be a winning quarterback in the Patriots system. Pick: New England
Joe: And just no one can cover Brandon Marshall. 3-1 odds Randy Moss hops on the Broncos team bus after this one and defects like it's 1985 and he's a figure skater from Vladivostok. Pick: Denver
The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread:
Aaron: Seattle (+10.5) at Tampa Bay
Joe: Indianapolis at Green Bay (+1.5)
Friday, October 17, 2008
This isn't entirely surprising if you've seen Wahlberg interviewed over the years. He won't let anybody near the twin embarrassments of his career -- Calvin Klein and the Funky Bunch -- and bristles when they're even vaguely alluded to. And nobody's even hating on the "Marky Mark" era these days! That shit fell on the good side of nostalgia, Mark, calm down.
This kind of tone-deaf lack of a sense of humor is regrettable, though it does kind of explain how he could allow The Happening to...uh, happen. I'm even starting to view his two most impeccable performances -- Boogie Nights and I Heart Huckabees -- more in the light of superior directorial work, because you'd have to have a good sense of humor to play those roles, and he clearly doesn't. His role in The Departed? That, I buy. Mostly because I think it's way closer to the person he really is than any of us would like to admit.
I think I'm officially over Mark Wahlberg, you guys. Though I suppose we'll always have this scene:
One other thing: If you check out the TN Donor's Choose page, you'll notice there are three figures. One is the total money raised ($63k and counting! And we get a $10k kick-in if we hit 75! Come on, team!), the other is total donors, and the third is total students reached. At my last check, the total students (9,190) divided by the total donors (802) worked out to more than 11. For every one of us who donates, we are helping, on average, eleven kids. So if you fall into that "one person can't make much difference" trap, think about that. Your twenty bucks; eleven kids whose learning experience, whose quality of life, if you don't mind my saying so, has now been enhanced. Now you know what Angelina feels like.
So please, donate! Currently on the Donors Choose board are projects for flash drives, Judy Blume books, and -- in a project close to my own heart and educational experience -- a learning project about the Iroqouis Confederacy. It'll probably be way more impressive than the longhouse diorama I made in 4th grade. All need funding. All need YOU! Heh. But: seriously.
- - - - - - - -
Hey, so remember last year when Sarah's Donors Choose charity contest shattered the competition and had Stephen Colbert quaking in his boots and it all led to dancing tomatoes at Rockefeller Plaza?
Well she's at it again, and this time we're all gonna make it happen despite an economy in the crapper. Because that's the reality of a charity drive in this post-bailout world. It's harder for us to donate, absolutely. Money's tight all over. But when money's tight all over, those organizations that depend on our donated dollars suffer. And when those organizations that depend on our donated dollars are classrooms? The phrase "now, more than ever" comes to my mind.
Anyway, the Tomato Nation fall contest will be going until the end of the month. I really want Sarah to reach $100k (that is the level where the human tomato dances in front of the White House, after all). And I'd like Low Res readers to help put her there.
To that end, I'd like to offer my addendum to the TN contest. It ain't much, but let's see what we can do. Here's the deal: you guys pop on over to the TN Donors Choose page and make a donation. Five dollars, ten dollars, twenty, fifty. Whatever you feel like you can afford. When you get the confirmation email, forward it on in to me, and your name goes into a hat. For every ten donors, I'm drawing one name out of the hat, and that person gets to program one full day of content at Low Res. I don't mean one full day like I've been posting lately. Five posts. Of your choosing. You can make me write about American Idol, start a new actors tournament, review a full season of Entourage (if you're feeling incredibly mean), whatever you want.
I realize it's not much, but it's what I have to offer. And the real prize is helping out those kids, I don't care how corny that sounds. If voting for Obama doesn't give you enough happy good feelings this fall, a thank-you note from a classroom full of fourth graders sure might.
Anyway, get to donating! Make me proud!
Movie: W. (Oliver Stone)
High-Concept Synopsis: So, for example, say there was this trust-fund fuckup who drank his way through Yale, shit-kicked around Texas, found Jesus, and was set as the figurehead of the Neo-Conservative takeover of Washington who ended up being the most divisive and ultimately unpopular President of all time. Hypothetically.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who already have their mind made up about George W. Bush.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who already have their mind made up about George W. Bush.
Why I'd See It: I was really not into this project at first. Not at all. But the cast has enough intriguing possibilities (Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush? Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell?) to keep me interested. And at the very least, this is going to make for an interesting failure. October 17
Movie: The Secret Life of Bees (Gina Prince-Bythewood)
High-Concept Synopsis: In 1960s South Carolina, a white girl and her nanny (Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson) escape a bad home situation and find a home with two singers and an Oscar nominee (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo). And yes, I realize Queen Latifah has an Oscar nomination too.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the best-selling book. Jennifer Hudson fans who haven't seen Sex and the City. Gullible bloggers who were oddly enchanted by the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Chick-lit opponents. Jennifer Hudson fans who have seen Sex and the City. Lecture-averse audiences worried that this is a movie with a Lesson.
Why I'd See It: Sue me, the trailer makes this look better than it probably should be. This is my chance to understand this Dakota Fanning thing before she either succumbs to awkwardness or enacts her plan for world domination. October 17
Movie: Passengers (Rodrigo Garcia)
High-Concept Synopsis: Anne Hathaway is a therapist assigned to counsel a group of plane crash survivors. Patrick Wilson, David Morse, Andre Braugher, Clea DuVall, and Dianne Weist co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Peter Weir's Fearless, which tread on a very similar premise, but who think that Hathaway makes for a prettier version of John Turturro. Broadway fans who liked Wilson and Weist so much in All My Sons (aka, The Katie Holmes Play) that they want to see them together on the big screen. Tragedy junkies.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fear-of-flying types (I realize there's a word that ends with -phobes for it, but I don't want to look it up). Non-fans of the coping-with-PTSD subgenre. Fans of Peter Weir's Fearless, which tread on a very similar premise and was also pretty damned fantastic so why not just step off, huh?
Why I'd See It: I'm really into Rodrigo Garcia after watching a season's worth of "In Treatment." The man knows how to make therapy compelling. And he's got Dianne Weist along here too. I'm retardedly in the tank for Dianne Weist these days. October 24
Movie: Changeling (Clint Eastwood)
High-Concept Synopsis: In 1920s Los Angeles, Angelina Jolie's abducted child is returned to her ... only it's not her kid. The LAPD is sure she's just not looking at him closely enough.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Angelina's fans, eager to see her much buzzed-about performances. Oscar watchers, because: ka-ching! Easily fooled fans of George C. Scott and remakes of classic horror.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences following the increasingly unimpressed reviews. Oscar watchers who, naturally, despise filmmakers and actors who want to win Oscars. Jennifer Aniston (still!).
Why I'd See It: I continue to support Angelina Jolie in serious movies, even if this could accurately be re-titled Angelina Jolie in a Serious Movie. I'm not wild about Clint Eastwood's recent run of Oscarable movies -- Million Dollar Baby was good but overrated; Letters from Iwo Jima also good but didn't resonate; Mystic River was seriously flawed and wasted a lot of potential; and Flags of Our Fathers was embarrassing -- but I figure it's worth a look. October 24
Movie: Pride and Glory (Gavin O'Connor)
High-Concept Synopsis: Edward Norton and Colin Farrell are brothers and NYPD cops who become at odds when cops, cops, cops, Irish, gritty, cops, family, loyalty, criminals, cops, family, Irish, cops.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same people who have seen every other movie where Internal Affairs investigates a dirty Irish cop. Fans of Farrell and Norton, both of whom are so incredibly close to getting back to the A list. The prideful and the glorious.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fans of new and interesting plots. The dozens of people who have had bad experiences working with Norton or have gotten VD from Farrell. The humble and the unspectacular.
Why I'd See It: It doesn't hold a ton of appeal for me, but I do like the leads quite a bit. October 24
Movie: Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)
High-Concept Synopsis: Frustrated theatre director (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) builds an NYC replica inside a warehouse and directs an elaborate, years-spanning production inside. No less than seven hundred famous actresses take turns being sexually attracted to him.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of that sprawling cast, which incudes Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Dianne Weist. Fans of first-time director Charlie Kaufman, who's already earned much loyalty with his brilliant screenwriting. People who are totally queer for either New York City or scale models.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who can't pronounce the title. People who have caught into Kaufman's trend of writing slovenly, miserable sad-sack analogues of himself as his central characters. Seriously, people who can't pronounce the title will not go see this.
Why I'd See It: Kaufman has yet to steer me wrong, though I have my doubts about him without Spike Jonze to rein him in. October 24
Movie: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith)
High-Concept Synopsis: Seth Rogen is Zack. Elizabeth Banks is Miri. They would very much like to make a porno.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Kevin Smith's fans who managed not to give up on him after Clerks 2. Kevin Smith's fans who did give up on him after Clerks 2 but have allowed themselves to hope again. Pornography enthusiasts.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who are sick of always having to think of Seth Rogen having sex in his movies. Folks worried about Kevin's occasionally inscrutable track record towards gay characters, represented this time by Justin Long and Brandon Routh. Total prudes.
Why I'd See It: Clerks 2 was bad. He hasn't made a movie I've liked without major reservations since Dogma. And yet, the concept, casting, and trailer for this one have all been right on the money. My optimism is riding pretty high. October 31
Movie: RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie)
High-Concept Synopsis: English and/or Irish thugs and/or drug addicts murder and/or rob from each other while the requisite American contingent gets involved and quickly freaks out at how hardcore all the English and/or Irish thugs and/or drug addicts are. Ah, Guy Ritchie.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Ritchie's previous films who haven't grown tired of them yet. Fans of star Gerard Butler who refuse to allow something to trivial as a pronounced lisp get in the way of their appreciation, and good for them really. Tom Wilkinson fans, who are totally justified.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Jeremy Piven's detractors, who are equally justified. Audiences weary of Ritchie's oft-repeated themes. Madonna and Alex Rodriguez, who will be busy that weekend doing...you know, stuff.
Why I'd See It: We've discusses this already. October 31
Movie: Role Models (David Wain)
High-Concept Synopsis: Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott spend their court-ordered community service mentoring children. Naturally.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of The State and Wain's crowning glory, Wet Hot American Summer. There isn't really anything else that needs to be said but: Paul Rudd's legion of groupies, male and female. People who may have suddenly started taking a shine to Seann William Scott in, say, Southland Tales.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People wary of the sitcom-worthy central conceit. Non-fans of the possibly too-big-for-his-britches Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse. Haters of the cute-children-are-monsters genre.
Why I'd See It: Wet Hot American Summer buys you a lot of trust, my friends. A lot. November 7
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The moment I fell for her for reals no-takebacks came soon thereafter:
"Okay, girlies, it's hot out here and I'm really sick of looking at all of you, so let's just ... let's get out of here. ...What are you looking at? Wipe that face off your head, bitch!"
You know, there aren't many days when I'm happy to have Tyra Banks on this planet, doing what she does. This is one of those days. Of course, I'm always happy we've got Rich from FourFour on this planet, doing what he does.
Seriously, having the best Tyra parody AND the best McCain parody on the internet, in the same short video? Fierce.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
First off, m'boy Jason at My New Plaid Pants has scored an interview with his
Monday, October 13, 2008
Director/Studio: Fernando Meirelles / Miramax
10 Word Review: Harrowing, faithful book adaptation; way better than critical drubbing suggests.
Best Thing About It: Meirelles has a way of delivering metaphors that don't feel like metaphors. Clearly, the epidemic of blindness and the quick collapse of society soon thereafter is talking about something beyond the literal. (And with banks failing and the entire nation teetering on the financial brink, I kind of don't want to think about it further.) But Meirelles puts those concepts into an environment that is too real to fall into the comfortable distance of allegory.
Worst Thing About It: The ending, while appropriately kind after all that violence and poop, would have played a lot better had it been more ambiguous.
Best Performance: It was so nice to see Julianne Moore play someone with some fire to her! Yes, she does the gently weeping mother thing very well, but seeing her tap into her inner ferocity and get her Linda Hamilton on was a welcome delight. First runner-up, I thought, was Gael Garcia Bernal, who pulled together a charismatic villain who was much more interesting than his counterpart in the book.
Oscar Prospects: None. The reviews have poisoned that well. Which is too bad, because there's a lot of good going on here.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Movie: Rachel Getting Married
Director/Studio: Jonathan Demme / Sony Pictures Classics
10 Word Review: Bracingly real, lived-in, impeccably acted. You'll feel this in your bones.
Best Thing About It: I can't possibly pick just one thing. I haven't seen a movie this good in a good while -- it's so full of delicate character moments and the kind of realistic touches that serve as splashes of cold water for audiences used to keeping a glossy distance from their movies. The emotional high points (and low points -- and there are many of both) come later, but the single best scene is the languorous rehearsal dinner, which plays almost as if it were in real time. The whole film is like this, drawing the audience in as guests to the festivities. It's so rare to see a film take its time like this and not once get boring. And just when you've gotten yourself good and comfortable, Anne Hathaway's Kym gets up to deliver her toast and unleash her boundless self-centeredness upon everyone else. By that time, there's no getting away. You're in it. (My second favorite thing? Kym's hideous aborted streak job. So rare to see such a commitment to a disastrous hair choice.)
Worst Thing About It: It didn't bother me as much as others, but the wedding reception goes on about one or two cycles longer than it probably should have. Still, having liked so much of the relaxed pacing and allowing the audience to partake in the celebration, it feels unfair to ding it here. It's just a little ding.
Best Performance: As I said before, this is the big question. Hathaway deserves all the credit she's getting for her Kym, a monstrously selfish recovering addict whose sincere attempts to made amends might not ever be enough. Bill Irwin runs the sorrow-and-joy gamut, much like the film itself, and creates the film's warmest character. Rosemarie DeWitt peels the layers back on a wounded Other Sister who is nevertheless having the happiest weekend of her life. And while I was even more impressed with the way the film presented her character -- from a directorial and editing perspective -- Debra Winger creates a layered and real character with not a whole lot of material.
Oscar Prospects: Can't say for sure, but I'm choosing to be optimistic. I think it could definitely be a Lost in Translation-style small Best Picture nominee. This isn't just a well-made character piece. This is a movie that trades in high emotion; it's not just you'll-laugh-you'll-cry but genuine joy and genuine sorrow, reaching heights and depths very few films reach. The Oscars tend to respond well to emotion emotion. This could hit them right in the sweet spot. (The counter argument is that Oscar has never been overly fond of the emotions of women-centered pictures, so it's not this is a sure thing by any means.) Hathaway's looking very good for a Best Actress nomination, and I'd say she pulls Winger or Irwin (though, sadly, probably not both) to a nomination as well. And Jenny Lumet has a Screenplay nomination coming her way as well.Grade: A+
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Aaron: 8-6 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Joe: 7-7 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Season To Date
Aaron: 46-28 (2-3 vs. the spread)
Joe: 43-31 (3-2 vs. the spread)
St. Louis at Washington
Aaron: After a pair of impressive road wins in Dallas and Philadelphia, the Redskins could be susceptible to one of those letdown games. If only they were playing a real NFL team this week. Pick: Washington
Joe: Couldn't have said it better myself. I still don't entirely buy this Washington team (yeah, yeah), but at home against the Rams I sure do. Pick: Washington
Miami at Houston
Aaron: Can we all agree that the Dolphins should be paying royalties for their use of the "wildcat" offense to the cast and crew of the mid-80s movie Wildcats? Let's divert the funds towards the reconstruction of Goldie Hawn's obliterated face. Pick: Houston
Joe: I just find it ironic that, well after Nick Saban scurried back to the cushy confines of the NCAA, Miami's fining their first success in years by reverting to a college ball offense. Acknowledge the irony! Pick: Houston
Detroit at Minnesota
Aaron: Pick the Lions again this week, Joe. Pretty please. Pick: Minnesota
Joe: I believe I've spotted you a big enough lead already. Pick: Minnesota
Oakland at New Orleans
Aaron: The Raiders are coming off of a bye week. And, they've promised to give QB JaMarcus Russell more freedom with the passing game. And Russell should have a lot of LSU love from fans in the stands. I irrationally pick Oakland once a year, people. Pick: Oakland
Joe: I know I continue to overrate the Saints this season, but if Martin Gramatica had been shipped back to Fistpumpania at the beginning of the season instead of allowed to plague yet another NFL team with his unreliability, this team would be 4-1. He won't be able to hurt them anymore. Pick: New Orleans
Carolina at Tampa Bay
Aaron: That change from Jeff Garcia to Brian Griese sure lit a fire under the Buccaneers, eh? But, as long as they employ Negro Ewok Warrick Dunn and a top-10 defense, I ain't picking against them at home. Well, this week, anyway. Pick: Tampa Bay
Joe: How does a team defense hold the Broncos offense to 13 points and still manage a mere 3 fantasy points? It's almost literally not possible. Here's hoping they remember what a sack looks like this week. Pick: Tampa Bay
Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets
Aaron: Brett Favre against this pass defense?! Let's set the over/under at 7.5 touchdown passes and start accepting that the old man is coming back next year. Oooh, I hope teases us in the offseason by waiting until June to announce his intentions! That scamp! Pick: NY Jets
Joe: Oh, how soon we forget. First we forgot that even the most embattled Brett Favre seasons included the 6 TD score-running-up outburst at home against a mediocre team. And now we're forgetting that he's also got that 3 INT game-killer in him too. Much like that other famous gunslinger in the news these days, Favre's crazy erratic. And wrong for this country. Pick: Cincinnati
Baltimore at Indianapolis
Aaron: Peyton Manning's ascension to the upper echelon of Teflon athletes was complete last week with all the credit he received for leading the Colts to the most gift-wrapped victory of his career. Ravens…destroy him. Pick: Baltimore
Joe: I'm not sure I agree with your premise, Cam. All I heard last week was the evisceration of Sage Rosenfels which, coupled with the quip-happy ESPNers bending over backwards to make note of Sage being a Jew (guess he's got one more thing to atone for, et cetera) made things awful uncomfortable for viewers. But don't let that interfere with your zealous hatred for all things Manning. Pick: Indianapolis
Chicago at Atlanta
Aaron: Hmmm…Kyle Orton on the road vs. Michael Turner running on the Bears' stingy defense. And…holy crap…the over/under is 43 1/2?! I'm taking the remains of my 401K, betting the under and pre-ordering The Dark Knight: 2-Disc Edition! Pre-ordering! (Seriously, take the under.) Pick: Chicago
Joe: Who'd have thought at the beginning of this season that this would be one of the most interesting games on the schedule? Lucky for me, I get to watch the Bengals and the Jets. YEAH! Pick: Atlanta
Jacksonville at Denver
Aaron: The Broncos are arguably a favorable ref's call and a missed field goal from being 2-3. Unfortunately, home field trumps perceived suckiness. Pick: Denver
Joe: Speaking of perceived suckiness: The 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars. They're the Washington Redskins of the AFC, only without the wins and with an opportunity to feel smug because the Bills beat them. And yet... Pick: Jacksonville
Philadelphia at San Francisco
Aaron: It appears the seeds of the Eagles annual midseason demise have been sown. Can't say I'm glad to see the Brian Westbrook injury as the cause, though. But, a loss to the 49ers should cheer me up! Pick: San Francisco
Joe: Just because Philly's the clear worst team in the NFC East doesn't mean they're not better than the #2 team in
Green Bay at Seattle
Aaron: This one just won't be the same for me without the pre-game "Brett Favre used to play for Mike Holmgren" hype. And, now Matt Hasselbeck is out? That's the fill-in storyline for the week? Always, wantin' the spotlight, those Hasselbecks. Pick: Green Bay
Joe: I'd have gone with the Seahawks if Matt "The Only Tolerable" Hasselbeck were playing. Damn him for lessening the fantasy value of Bobby Engram! Pick: Green Bay
Dallas at Arizona
Aaron: Good to see the Cardinals move out of the NFC East a few years ago hasn't stopped the league from scheduling this annual beatdown. Looks like another "half-assedly contemplate retirement" week for Kurt Warner. Pick: Dallas
Joe: If the Cardinals are going to win the West at 8-8 (and they are), they've gotta get checked before they get too ahead of the curve. Pick: Dallas
New England at San Diego
Aaron: New England hasn't beaten a good team all season, while the Chargers have looked shaky against the Raiders and Dolphins in recent weeks. Yep, I'd give them the Sunday Night prime time slot, too, NBC. Pick: San Diego
Joe: What, you don't want to watch Not Shawne Merriman terrorize Not Tom Brady? Elitist. Pick: San Diego
N.Y. Giants at Cleveland
Aaron: Maybe every nationally televised game should just be "tentative" from week-to-week. Pick: NY Giants
Joe: Remember that comment the next time you bitch about the Giants perceiving a lack of respect. Respect lacker! Pick: NY Giants
The Sure-Thing Suicide Spread:
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets (-6)
NY Giants (-7.5) at Cleveland
That'd be the trailer for Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla, which should look familiar to you if you've seen any other Guy Ritchie movie or any other movie about criminals with thick British accents, really. The thing looks like a knockoff of a knockoff of a knockoff. And yet...I kinda want to see it. It makes no sense. I've long since grown tired of the whole Guy Ritchie thing, and I've been on record as not believing in Gerard Butler as either a movie star of a sex symbol. (It really does come down to the "thufferin' thuccotash!" Sylvester the cat speech impediment. Which is an incredibly shallow way to judge a man's sex appeal, I realize.) And yet when he does this little move in the trailer ...
... it really is quite appealing.
Quit messing with my long-held beliefs, RocknRolla!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Can we just hold this election tomorrow and be done with it? Not just because Obama's up in the polls right now (though, for real, let's hold on to that lead, huh?), but because this kind of ugliness seems to be really ramping up now.
Yes, I realize this was some liberal smartass picking up a camera and finding the most ignorant ones, but he was pretty upfront about that, for one, and it didn't seem to take a whole lot of effort to find these ones.
And yes, there are liberals who are just as mouthy and ill-informed. Who call Sarah Palin a stewardess and McCain a corpse. But this year especially, the other side -- the side highlighted in that video -- is just uglier, isn't it?
It is. Claiming Obama is a covert Muslim terrorist --a sleeper cell unto himself -- is uglier than anything the left could possibly dream up about McCain. It's dirty on both sides, sure, but one side is so, SO much dirtier. And the electorate can't make them shut up fast enough.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I hope to have a review up by the weekend, but I figure if there's anything about it you guys want to discuss in the comments, I'd just as soon do that now.
I'll say for now that Rachel Getting Married is the best movie I've seen in two years (Sarah, I cheated and saw it early, but I am so down with seeing it again), and going into awards season, I don't think any question will be more hotly debated than which of the principal cast members (Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Debra Winger) gave the best performance.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
And, you know, it mostly bears out. Even crappy Ryan Reynolds still has his moments. But, as advertised, the real show is Anna Faris as the crazy Britney Spears analogue brought to Reynolds's small New Jersey town. By the time she's been tasered, concussed, and fed a bunch of Vicodin, you get something like this:
But what nobody told me was how effing great Chris Klein was in this movie. CHRIS KLEIN! I'd written him off so long ago that I'd nearly forgot how much his Paul Metzler in Election gave me hope for him as one of his brighter stars of his generation. Too bad the movie where he delivered on all that promise ended up being Just Friends.
If you haven't seen it, check it out, for Anna Faris and for Chris Klein doing this:
Aaron: 7-6 (1-0 vs. the spread)
Joe: 6-7 (0-1 vs. the spread)
Season To Date
Aaron: 38-22 (1-3 vs. the spread)
Joe: 36-24 (2-2 vs. the spread)
Tennessee at Baltimore
Aaron: The Titans are 4-0 and it's getting harder and harder to dismiss their hot start. Then again, after last week's results, nothing makes sense in this league. Pick: Baltimore
Joe: I'm not going to all of a sudden be as gay for the Titans as Bill Simmons has become, but I've kind of turned the corner on them not sucking. Whatever. Pick: Tennessee
Kansas City at Carolina
Aaron: Put it this way, in the realm of inexplicable comebacks by Black entertainers, I've got Larry Johnson's week #4 resurrection lasting about as long as Pam Grier's after Jackie Brown. Pick: Carolina
Joe: How dare you, sir. That woman was brilliant in The Adventures of Pluto Nash! Pick: Carolina
San Diego at Miami
Aaron: The Chargers have begun their trek to 12-4 and a first round bye. Games like this one are a small price we have to pay to watch them lose at home to the Steelers sometime in mid-January. Patience, children, patience. Pick: San Diego
Joe: I don't think I'm quite so ready to pull the trigger on the Chargers just yet. I'll settle for Tomlinson staying healthy for the rest of the season. Pick: San Diego
Washington at Philadelphia
Aaron: It'd be a huge help if you'd let me know that Brian Westbrook is going to be inactive before I make my picks, Eagles. I should pick the Redskins just to spite Philly for last week. I'll do it. Don't think I will? There, it's done. Pick: Washington
Joe: Here's something weird: I'm taking the recent Redskins success as a personal affront. I have no idea why -- I don't particularly dislike their players or fans. They haven't been spoiled by overwhelming success lately. Nevertheless, seeing them hovering around the top of the NFC East is super annoying, and I kind of want that to stop right now. Pick: Philadelphia
Indianapolis at Houston
Aaron: The tattered rags known as the Colts' offensive line is going to get Peyton Manning murdered at some point this season. I should start DVRing their games, cuz you KNOW the liberal sports media won't ever show us an instant replay of that. Pick: Houston
Joe: Okay, so many people are picking Houston this week that it's making me incredibly nervous. Yes, the Colts have been underwhelming, and yes the Texans have a running game now, but this feels like a game the Colts put the clamps down for. Pick: Indianapolis
Seattle at N.Y. Giants
Aaron: The Giants take the week off, and Brett Favre throws for six touchdowns. This is insane. Has a defending world champion ever had their media spotlight dimmed in the following season? ESPN couldn't even get more than a morning's mileage out of Plaxico's suspension. And, here, they get another week off. Zing! Pick: NY Giants
Joe: All eyes on Bobby Engram and Deion Branch this week. Which I guess takes the attention away from the Giants even more. They'll have to make do with the best record in the NFC. Pick: NY Giants
Atlanta at Green Bay
Aaron: Road game for Atlanta? Yep, road game for Atlanta. Pick: Green Bay
Joe: In lieu of making a smartass comment, I'd like to make a sincere plea to my readers: anyone who has any information as to the whereabouts of Ryan Grant, please call your local authorities. Please. Any information can be of help. Pick: Green Bay
Chicago at Detroit
Aaron: Look, Lions fans…I get your hatred for Matt Millen. Believe me. But, all the mock funerals and tombstones seemed a little much. You've had the Pistons and Red Wings win titles recently, with the Tigers winning a pennant in there, too. Save the whiny football entitlement to everyone east of you. Pick: Chicago
Joe: Kyle Orton on the road. Chicago ready for a letdown after a big win. Jon Kitna filled with righteous Christian anger. Once again, I head into the breach with the Lions. Maybe I'm just a fan of the cerulean. Pick: Detroit
Tampa Bay at Denver
Aaron: Nice of these Broncos to turn into every Mike Shanahan team after John Elway retired: look like world-beaters for three weeks, look like ass for the next three, repeat. Last week was game number one of the "ass" stretch. Pick: Tampa Bay
Joe: They'll be winning ugly all season, and their best offensive player right now just might be Ike Hilliard. And yet...I like this Bucs team. Pick: Tampa Bay
Buffalo at Arizona
Aaron: Really, Arizona defense…six touchdown passes for Brett Favre last week? You guys are destroying this country by making him look good. Speaking of "destroyed", if anyone's seen Anquan Boldin's face, please spoon it up and return to the team. Postage paid. Pick: Arizona
Joe: You guys, seriously, that Anquan Boldin incident hurt my heart. It made me ill. I mean...he had that touchdown. The ball was in his hands. And then one thunderous shot to the back followed in quick succession by a helmet-to-helmet decapitation hit and he drops it, dooming my fantasy team to a tie rather than a win. I guess I just prefer guys to play with some heart. Oh, and I'm not just reverse-psychologizing -- I think the Bills drop their first game here. Pick: Arizona
New England at San Francisco
Aaron: Only because the Pats had last week off and should be, like, rested and sh*t… Pick: New England
Joe: I am SO tempted to pick the Niners here, but I think their defense is juuuust crappy enough to get beat. But they're gonna keep it close. Ish. Pick: New England
Cincinnati at Dallas
Aaron: Ocho Cinco has promised he'll kiss the Cowboys' on-field star logo when he scores a touchdown. I hope he does it with the Bengals down 38-7, then says to the press afterwards, "Hey, I ain't said nothing about winning the game." Pick: Dallas
Joe: I like the idea of Dallas having too much offense, and that's why they lost to Washington. Because of choice paralysis, I guess. It's a flimsy excuse, is what I'm saying. Pick: Dallas
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
Aaron: The Jags could legitimately be 4-0 or 0-4 right now. I don't believe they've had a game decided by more than seven points all season. What's this mean against the Steelers? No flippin' clue. Pick: Pittsburgh
Joe: The Steelers are looking is rough shape right now, but they're still 3-1. If they can weather these injuries without falling into too deep a hole, they still have the inside track to the playoffs. And yet... Pick: Jacksonville
Minnesota at New Orleans
Aaron: Did I really take goddamn Gus Frerotte on the road last week? Joe, too? Won't be making that mistake again. Pick: New Orleans
Joe: Me neither. In other news, I got the bright idea to pick up Lance Moore and promptly sat him on my bench last week as he caught two TDs and I (like I said before) managed to tie and not win despite having the highest point total in the league. Let's hope he manages to keep scoring now that it counts. You know, for me. Pick: New Orleans
The Sure Thing Suicide Spread
Aaron: Washington (+6) at Philadelphia
Joe: Tennessee (-2.5) at Baltimore