Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dark Knight, The Academy, and Respect

We hate the Academy Awards.  Imagine another industry getting together to congratulate itself in such a way.  They create awards like 'Best Cinematography'.  That's like having 'Best Rivet Job on a Construction Sight in a Non-Living Space, Office Building, or Edifice'.

The fact that it's so covered and so hyped feeds the ever-inflating sense of self-importance of Hollywood.  We're dorks.  We know that.  We loved the Dark Knight like late-night cheese fries and cannot imagine a better movie experience than seeing it on opening night in IMAX with our dorkbot friends.  We also liked Slumdog Millon-air, but the complete lack of respect for the Dark Knight in favor of flicks like 'Benjamin Forrest Gump in New Orleans Button' and 'The Reader' really chapped our buns.  How do you not nominate for best director!?!?!?  The dude had a truck flip over in a city street.  Christopher Nolan directed that.  Whatever.

Moving on, here is a look at some of the most disrespected athletes, people. and teams of all time.  These guys never got the credit they deserved and we never understood why.

-Ricky The Dragon Steamboat.  Not one title in the WWF.  This dude invented high-flying and was one of, if not the, best athletes in the ring of all-times.  He was awesome.  And yet, for some reason, he never got shots.  When we were kids and went to the Capital Center in Landover, MD to watch the WWF, we sat in horror as the fans treated a Steamboat match like it was a poetry reading in a hipster coffee shop.  So aggravating.

-Andre Dawson.  For whatever reason, The Hawk can't get any Hall of Fame love.  Is it the 8 gold gloves, being the 2nd player in history (at the time) to hit 400 homers and steal 300 bases, or the MVP award when he dropped 49 bombs and drove in 137 in an era where no one who wasn't roided did that?  What's confusing you?  People forget.  They forget about the HOSE that dude had or the fact that he had the most outfield putouts for 3 straight years stalking balls in Montreal.  

-Kate Beckinsale.  The headline of every gossip column, entertainment page, or any news item not about war should read: 'Beckinsale Continues to Be Hot'.  This should be every day until further notice.

-Run TMC.  Beauty.  Joy.  If you were lucky enough to catch a Golden State Warriors game during the 1990-91 season, you were treated to 3 guys all averaging over 22 pts per game, 3 guys who were buckets, and 3 guys that just needed some semblance of a post player to be great and all they got was Alton Lister.  The tightness of Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and Tim Hardaway has long since been forgetten.  They were always undervalued and were a symbol of entertaining basketball until Pat Riley murdered joy forever with a rusty scimitar named Anthony Mason.

-Airwolf.  This show never got its props.  Other tight shows like The A-Team stole the headlines and Airwolf flew under the radar (HA!).  Jan Michael Vincent people.  Also, Ernest Borgnine... and how about the guy playing polo?  We used to get SO fired up when JMV rolled into the secret mountain and it was time for Airwolf to go and fight planes and always win.  The soundtrack/intro were exceptional.  Jack the volume on this and feel it:

-Lawrence Moten. - You all already know how we feel about Randolph Childress.  Here's another guy that we can't figure out.  When we were growing up in DC, this dude was the biggest deal around.  He left as the Big East's all-time leading scorer... and then was a 2nd round pick by the Grizzlies?  LM had incredible game and got fewer ticks than a plastic dog.  Unreal.  Now no one remembers.  Just know this, when everyone else's socks were down, his were up.  So tight.

Who else is getting Dangerfielded?

East Coast Bias and the Oscars

Congratulations have to go to East Coast Bias, a quality sports blog that is well written and humorous.  We're not mad, you snooze, you let someone else post your idea first.

We were going to write this very column when the calendar turned to March:

Well, ECB, did it in February.  Right in our mouthpieces.  They were ahead of the curve over there.

We'll now lay down in the fetal for a spell, thinking about what we've done.

We'll toss this clip in because it's all we have:

Last random thought, did anyone watch the Oscars last night?  We felt like, with every award read outloud, they should have said: 'And for some reason, not the Dark Knight.'  What disrespect.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wa-keen is Wakward

Here at Gus Johnson's Whisper, we think you can never underestimate the importance of film study.  You can spot an opponent's tendencies, correct your own bad habits, and gain a tangible advantage over the competition.  We're going to break down some film of Joaquin Phoenix...

Here's this thing in it's entirety.  

Here's another clip from a few years back when he was on Oprah.

Here's our Dr. Jack Ramsey style breakdown.

1) Lots of people out there are all: 'he's doing a character', 'it's an act', 'he can do what he wants, who are you to judge him?'  Those people should be at home coloring.  Here are the appropriate responses to those little quips.

-So what if he's doing a character?  It's still bizarre, weird, and discomfortable for everyone.  Sweet character!

-If it's an act, what's the upside?  You're there to promote a movie.  You are compensated in an incomprehensible way to act on camera.  In order for you to continue to be compensated in such a way, people must see your films.  You must promote your films so that people will want to see them.  If you screw this process up, it hurts your career.  We ask again, where's the upside in putting on an act?  There are literally MILLIONS of people who would kill to be on the stage that Letterman provides.  To treat it with such contempt and callousness is unforgivable.  So, if he's doing an act, he's an a$$hole.

-He chose a lifestyle in the public eye.  He doesn't have to appear on a program for millions to see.  We are all fully entitled to judge.  The same way an audience member on the Maury show has the right to toss out a phrase like: 'You need to step up and be a man and handle yo' responsibilities!' (raucous applause)

2) We think dude has officially gone off the reservation.  Like, that's it and that's all.  Ballgame.  The reason we think that is if you watch the 2nd video above, you can catch a whiff of crazy.  It's like crazy cologne.  You can see the odd delivery.  At the 1:32 mark, he talks about how it's not acting anymore... watch it... right there... see that.. you talk about a guy riding the car to crazytown... watch this right here...  He says that acting isn't pretending when that's exactly what acting is supposed to be, at least according to Sir Ian McLellan:

So right there, you've got to know that Joaquin a couple nuggets short of a 20-piece.

3) What kind of assurances do you need for his next film if you're the studio?  
What kind of corollaries do you demand? 24 hour guard? 37 dream catchers? One of those electric
fence collars? Seriously. How could you book this dude and not protect yourself?

4) If you can do a freeze frame at the 4:58 mark of the Oprah video, do so. We'll wait. Now, tell us
that you'd feel comfortable leaving him alone in a pharmacy after it closed.

5) Sometimes it's easy to spot crazy. The dude fighting imaginary spiders on the bus? Crazy.
Easy. Other times though, it's harder to notice. Notice the mannerisms of Wah-keen, head down at
a slightly cocked angle with his eyes straining upwards to make eye contact, the fidgety and
uncomfortable mannerisms (not nervous ticks but the kind of motion that makes it look like he wants
to crawl out of his own skin), and the unwillingness to smile/laugh/show vulnerability despite his
acceptance in front of an approving group. But there's more than that. Can't you see it? It's that
thing... that intangible thing... it's like knowing that a certain dude will drill that free throw with 2
ticks left... or knowing that in 5 years, this dude will be a hot mess with a beard who thinks he's being
interviewed in Narnia by Fiorello LaGuardia about the Fraggle Rock Ewok War.

So, we feel like if Letterman had watched all the game tape, he could have seen this coming. Of
course, Letterman was fine but the laziness of not watching the tape can cost you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If If If.. You Had A QB... That You...Needed to Win You A Game... That QB... Would Be Brett Favre

The Favre is gone, baby.  He told the Jets he's retiring.  He's told people a lot of things.  Maybe he'll get the itch again and ruin another team.

Here's a good rundown of just some of the damage he did to the Jets:

When the Jets got off to a hot start, all the Favre apologists and tv talking heads like Skip Bayless, 

were busy running Green Bay under the bus and praising Favre as a godsend for the Jets.  Nevermind that the Jets were all of a sudden able to stop the run with a healthy Kris Jenkins and an improved defense that was a laughing stock the year before and the addition of quality, veteran offensive lineman allowed them to run the ball effectively.  I'm certain Thomas Jones has always been that good and was just biding his time before really applying himself.  A$$.

It is stunning to GJW how few people get it when it comes to certain guys.  If the squad you root for had a 2nd year guy who decided he wasn't going to do the off-season workouts, show up for team activities, but would make himself available for quotes from the press about the things he needs to come back and play for your team.  You'd be pissed right?

When you are a professional, you have to act professionally.  That's it.  The 'will he/won't he?' dance that this ego maniac has done for the last 4 off-seasons is stunning.  The running teammates under the bus, the astounding demands from management based on his perceived iconic status, and the poor play as a direct result of a lack of preparation and commitment area all enough for us to wish good riddance to favre, brett.

We must never forget the back-breaking interceptions that led to defeats.  52 other men worked too hard to have their fates decided by a 'gunslinger' trying to make a hero play.  Never forget, we live in a world where Eli 'Back-Foot-Under-Pressure-Throw-It-Up-And-Hope-The 6'5" Gazelle-Who-Shot-Himself-Will-Catch-It' Manning has a Superbowl win.  It's because of Favre.  

Players have to be accountable to their teammates.  Favre, Brett has not been accountable for some time.  This is not debatable.  If you believe otherwise, you can form your squad with the Pacmans and the TOs and let all of us 'haters' explain to you why your squad self-destructs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Feel Deep Regret

By now, you've all seen it.  If you haven't, being Amish in 2009 must be going great:

It's the complete Alex Rodriguez interview with Peter Gammons.


A-Rod has been schooled in phony PR since he was an 18 year old senior at Miami Dade Christian High School.  He never speaks out of turn, always says 'the right thing', and is generally as boring and manufactured a media figure as you'll find.  It's smart though.  People can't stand this guy and yet, he mints money.  He's in everything and has signed 2 different 10 year contract worth over $25o million.  Have you met my friend here, Mr Ho-Lee Sheet?

Here is the official reaction of Gus Johnson's Whisper to these developments;

-He did himself a service by his 'admission' (we put it in quotes because he says things like 'I admit to being naive' which are attempts to remove some culpability on his part).  If you look at the sh*t shows that guys like Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro etc have/are going through, the best course is to come clean.  Of course A-Rod came about as clean as a pair of underwear worn by a man for 52 days in a row.

-We're still taken aback at all the 'surprise' that people seem to be feeling.  Everyone knew.  It was around.  Guys that we played with in summer ball, guys that we knew from being around baseball etc. everyone of them had a story about a guy who was using or whole teams using, clubhouse attendants going on roid runs like they were picking up soda, and so on.  Everyone knew.

-We get upset at the 'moral outrage' of columnists/pundits (like the NY writer who said the yankees should release A-Rod no matter what the cost).  It's so easy to 'take a stand' against this sort of thing.  They can't affect wether or not a guy is allowed to play so they strike in the only forum they can, Hall of Fame voting.  Because they don't sit on MLB rules committees, or participate in hearings, or have any influence on who is allowed to play, they use their little pulpits to express their opinions.  We get annoyed at sportswriters inserting themselves in the debate.

-Of course it's long overdue to have effective testing.  No one should argue differently.  No one was complaining after the strike, when all the homeruns and Cal's streak brought fans back.  It's the dirty little secret that owners turned a blind eye and rewarded guys with deals.  For every A-Rod, there were 3 dozen guys who were just trying to get 1 big free agent deal.

-We ask where you draw the line.  Meaning, we all agree that roids are wrong.  Fine.  But, 162 over 7 months is beyond hard.  Can guys not take caffeine pills but drink strong coffee?  Can guys not eat lots of carbs on gamedays because they can get energy?  What suppliments are OK and what are not?  Everyone's body is different so a suppliment might not help one guy but change another's entire game.  It's a weird time because we don't know where you can draw the line.

-In sum, we're not bothered by guys that did it.  It's easy to cast a stone, call it wrong, and move on.  We for one, don't particularly care if a guy did or didn't.  The culture rewarded it and now, the culture is being changed.  Each player had to live with his decisions, weighing $ against long term health, his chance to keep his dream alive for another season or 2 against begging for a spring training invite while ignoring the writing on every wall.  Pro sports are merciless and cruel.  99% of the time, guys are let go without ceremony and the season goes on.  Guys that have worked their entire lives have everything they know taken away from them by a handshake from an assistant GM who has a computer program that measures defensive efficiency.  We don't care.  Make your choices but be prepared to live with them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

National Signing Day and Sitcoms

There are lots of things that Gus Johnson's Whisper loves (fast Americans at the Olympics, a well run fast break, making the extra pass, and Star Wars).  There are also lots of things that Gus Johnson's Whisper hates.  One object of our venom are recruiting class rankings.  

Lots of reasons for this and here are some of them:

-Players gain reputations and hype and this leads to an inflation/deflation of rankings

-If these scouts were actually correct, dudes like Drew Henson would have led the Patriots to 3 Superbowls.

-It is near impossible to compare the thousands of levels of football across America. Making tangible comparisons when there is such a huge disparity of talent is fruitless.

It's that last point that led to this blog.  We're going to make tangible comparisons... between the top football powers and chicks from sitcoms from when we were little.

#1 Alabama: Shelly Long. 
Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Having a scumbag coach who can really recruit, sure does cost a lot.  See what we did there?  We never got why Shelly Long got more than a minute of Sam's time.  She was so high-maintencey; a quasi-hot chick that wasn't likeable.  You know Alabama, with their #1 recruiting class in tow, will get smoked by someone.  You know this because they'll have some 3-named quarterback who gets pummeled so hard, the hair that comes out of the back of his helmet uncurls.

#2 LSU: Justine Bateman. 
The show was obviously incredible and in our opinion, she was the glue guy.  She took the charges, was sweated by Skippy and every other male 80s child, and always had at least 1 great line per show.  That's how LSU is.  The SEC is always raw and it's these guys, year in and year out running 22 athletes out there, that make the conference the place of naked anger.

#3 USC: Alyssa Milano. 
Name someone hotter than Samantha Micelli in season 5 of Who's the Boss for a male under 14.  You can't.  You would watch that show even if it meant putting up with Danny Pintauro (The Pete Carroll of Sitcom stars).  You also know that USC will be right there in the hunt.  You also know that all that talent will occasionally have an F-up (Like Mrs. Rossini accidentally burning the Lasagna).  There will be hiccups but talent wins.

#4 THE ohio state university: Markie Post. 
Boooorrrrrriiiiiing.  They'll win the Big-10 then get mooshed in a bowl.  We get it, John Laroquette likes sex and Christine doesn't want to sleep with him.  At least Harry Anderson (Terrell Pryor) can do a magic trick or 2 to make the 30 minutes seem slightly more bearable.  

#5 Texas: Danica McKellar. 
Winnie Cooper.  Every male in the world has a Winnie Cooper.  Fact.  That's what made this show so special.  Every male has someone that he hyped up so much in his mind that he couldn't see straight, that cost him his judgment, and made him a wreck.  For Texas fans, Colt McCoy is your Winnie Cooper.

#6 Florida State: Tracy Gold.
Winning the ACC is like having a know-it-all goodie goodie sister that stands in the way of Mike Seaver nailing bait like a carpenter.

#7 Michigan: Nancy Mckeon.
An also ran on a show of also-rans.

#8 UNC: Missy Gold. 

Who is that?  She's from where?  Benson?  That was a show?  Really?  7 seasons?  That show ran for 7 seasons?  No f-ing way.  

#9 Georgia: Nicole Eggert.

Sexy pick.  They started 2008 as the #1 team in the country and they ended up on Howard Stern begging for an acting role.  Charles in Charge indeed.

#10 Florida: Soliel Moon Frye.
Listen, everyone knew she was going to be hot.  Adults watched the show, they knew.  Kids that watched the show, they knew.  Everyone on set and at the network, you best believe they were in the know.  It's inevitable.  You think the Florida kids are worried because Alabama had a great recruiting year?  You think Soliel looked across the lot and was worried because they were filming Small Wonder?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Waiting for Manny

Baseball free agency this year is weird.  The first round of players got signed in a timely manner and the process played out like a normal off-season.  Then something happened or rather, stopped happening.  Teams are refusing to pony up ANY money whatsoever to sign players that could help them.

The trend now in MLB is to grow your own talent within the organization.  It was such a profound trend that it led the Yankees last year to refuse to deal prospects for the best pitcher of this generation who, by all accounts, has several great years left.  Now, those prospects who were 'untouchable', will not even make the rotation this year or next.  Ask a real Yankee fan about Phillip Hughes and they might punch your mouth.

Look at this:

Bobby Abreu, Garrett Anderson, Orlando Cabrerra, Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Ivan Rodriguez, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, and of course, Manny Ramirez.

You're telling me that nobody wants to nut up and toss a 2 year deal for a guy that gets on base at close to a 40% clip and has had huge years outside the Bronx?  Nobody needs a 20/20 guy that scores 100 runs a year?  Memo to every team that didn't win the world series: Abreu could help you.

What about a Gold Glove 2nd baseman that hits around .300?  Oh, so you're all set with the USS Belly-ard Nationals?

We really don't get this.  The point is to win the championship and there are guys out there right now who could help teams do that but whatever.  It's like so many teams are feeding their fans horsepoop and somehow, we are eating it and asking for more.  How is this acceptable?  We need the Bureau of Fan Intervention like never before.

We're sure you all saw the news that Manny Ramirez turned down the Dodgers 1 year/$25 million offer.

Lots of columnists (like Bill Simmons: don't understand why teams aren't clamoring to sign Manny.  These guys point to his .396 average in his time with the Dodgers, his career totals, and the 'raw deal' he got from Boston.

These guys don't get it.  Here's why with some bullet points which means that the points are valid:

-.396 just proves he was tanking in Boston.  No one thinks he's not capable.  Everyone knows he is.  It's just that Manny has entered Bondsian territory of being more trouble than he is worth.

-If you think Boras manipulated Manny and are giving him a pass (you're wrong), say you're right, what makes you think you won't have to go through something else?  Boras forcing a trade, voiding a deal and seeking a raise when the economy gets better, or any of the millions of other things that Manny does that are a nightmare for any team.

-If you think Manny will behave himself, what are you basing that on?  If you think he's motivated by personal milestones, you don't know enough things.  You don't know about how the Indians had to beg Manny not to take days off when he was chasing Hack Wilson's RBI record.  You don't know how the Tribe front office couldn't wait to be rid of the daily headache of assigning an army of attendants to make sure their professional hitter was where he was supposed to be.

-If you are one of those dudes that goes: 'Manny being Manny' then you shouldn't be allowed to have cable.  That's a press invention.  If you played sports beyond 8th grade, you know the truth.  Guys like that disrupt your team.  The rules that everyone else has to play by don't apply to a 'star' and it ruins things.  It's a fracture and it's always at the forefront, always discussed, debated, and analyzed.  You answer questions about it, you fight with your teammates about it, and you suffer because one guy isn't accountable to his teammates.  To a young team or a team that is learning how to win, this can be the kiss of death.

-If you do sign him at this point, you are getting a guy that can hit.  When will he hit?  You think he'll be a happy little soldier because you low-balled him and earned his services because no one else would?  You think this pouting, tanking, space cadet will want to show up and play hard for you?  You have to look at the whole body of work, not just the most recent.  3 months of good citizenship?  Not enough for us, at least not at that price.