Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Thoughts: Lakers Trade for Steve Nash

It was a fantastic Fourth of July if you are a Laker fan like me. The team finally, finally has a point guard.  Sorry, Ramon Sessions. We thought you might have been the point guard, but we went for a decent point guard to a great point guard when we traded for Steve Nash. The good news is all the Lakers had to do was give up a couple of first round draft picks. The Lakers have never really been the kind of team to draft players and develop them anyways. They look to win now, not three years from now.
From the Suns of point of view, they wanted to put Nash on a good team, as Nash has been loyal, hardworking and a fantastic player for them. He has given his body, his heart, and his soul to that team.  Yes, the Raptors offered more money, but with Nash being 38-years-old, it’s clear they are not going to win titles in the next year or two. Nash realizes going to the Lakers over the Raptors and the Knicks gives him the best chance to win a title and win one now.  It also gives the Suns some draft picks to use to get better. Everyone wins.
For the Lakers, it’s a home run trade, the kind they have been looking for since they traded for Chris Paul and got vetoed by David Stern. It has been clear that they need a point guard to compete with the top teams in the west.  Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, Ramon Sessions were just not cutting it. This is a point guard league now, and you need a good one to be a championship team.  This makes Gasol, Bynum, and Kobe better. Too many times I watched a Laker game and they would take the ball down the court, slowly, pass it, find no one open, and turn it over or miss a long distance shot.
Yes, Nash is not the player he once was, but playing for the Lakers, with all of the talent surrounding him is going to light a fire under someone who doesn’t need a fire lit in the first place.  This makes the Lakers a scary good team.  The good news is maybe they are not done yet.  Maybe they will trade Bynum for Howard, a movie that I fully endorse. Bynum is a good player, without question, but Howard is a great player and the Lakers can build around him when Kobe retires, keeping a star in L.A. for another decade. Both are immature and headache inducing, but I’d take Howard and his wishy washy personality over Bynum and his negative attitude any day.
Kobe, Dwight, and Nash … wow! Who would have this would be possible a month and a half ago after the Lakers were eliminated by the Thunder? It looked pretty difficult to make any moves, with the new CBA, their high payroll, limited trading parts. As I wrote in this blog before, the Lakers are the kind of the team that always lands on their feet. That was clearly the case with this fantastic move.
Now, let’s get working on trading for Howard and fixing the bench!
-Tony Farinella

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ted Review

I don’t know how much of this will be an actual film review and how much of this will be a rant and rave. Ted is the first feature film from Seth MacFarlane and he also voices Ted, the bear that looks cuddly, but is actually quite crude and vulgar. MacFarlane, of course, is known from his work on Family Guy, a show I must admit has provided me with little to no laughs.
John Bennett is played by Mark Wahlberg as sort of a man-child that refuses to grow up. He would rather smoke pot all day with his teddy bear, Ted. You see, Ted is real because John grew up without any friends and wished for his teddy bear to be his best friend forever. Yes, he’s seen as a real life teddy bear that lives and breathes around town. At one point, he was a major celebrity and even appeared on the Johnny Carson show. Now, John is 35-years-old, and Ted has grown up to no longer be a cute and cuddly bear. He’s basically become a moocher and a pain in John’s rear end.
John’s girlfriend is played by the lovely Mila Kunis, who is given the thankless role of telling John to grow up. They have been dating for four years, and she wants him to grow up and leave his teddy bear behind. Yes, the all too familiar story of a boy who needs to turn into a man as his girlfriend nags him and pushes him to be an adult. This story has been done countless times in Apatow flicks and other R-rated comedies.
I must be in the minority here, as the film has received rave reviews from critics and made over 54 million dollars at the box office in its opening weekend. It’s clear that MacFarlane has an eye on what the 18-34 demographic is looking for and what they want to see. The theater crowd that I viewed the film with was laughing their asses off and had a blast with it. They were clapping when the film was over.
Three jokes in particular made me quite uncomfortable: one involving Ted telling a young child he will get kid cancer, a joke about 9/11 and Nora Jones, and Lou Gehrig's disease. Yes, almost anything can be made funny if done in a creative and unique way, look at Curb Your Enthusiasm for example. With Ted, it’s all done to get a reaction out of someone. They are not imaginative, humorous, or even remotely stimulating. They are just said to get a groan and cheap reaction out of the crowd. That’s not comedy. That’s high school humor.
Seth MacFarlane is basically saying with this film that everything and everyone sucks, and nothing and no one has meaning. It’s a sad state of affairs and a very cynical, negative way to look at the world. There is no originality with the story, the jokes, or the execution and the lame attempt at heart near the end of the film.
Come on, America! Is this what you find funny?
Grade: C-
How should you see it: For Seth MacFarlane fans only.