Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Helluva Band: Metallica (Part 1)

Welcome to a special two-part edition of Helluva Band, about my favorite band in the entire world.

Metallica.  In the words of Jason Newsted, "The biggest heavy band of all time."  In the words of my Enuffa.com associate Dan Moore, "Go ahead, say it - Metallica.  Congratulations, your tongue just got rocked."  In the words of one of the 21-year-old interns I work with, "What's Metallica?"  You're fired kid, get out!


What began as four teenagers pounding out bellicose machine gun compositions in the hopes of out-metaling all their heavy metal brethren has gradually escalated over three decades into a mainstream, stadium rock juggernaut, transcending genre and spawning 9 multi-platinum albums and an IMAX concert film.  Never satisfied with musical status quo, Metallica has always strived to introduce new, unexpected elements on every album, defying the conventions of their often-parodied field.  Their influence can be heard and felt in nearly every metal band that came after, and every new album of theirs is a major music industry event.

I first became aware of Metallica in seventh grade music class.  One of our first assignments was to bring in a poster or photo or drawing of any band we were interested in and put it up on the wall.  Interesting assignment really.  I was introduced to quite a few band names I hadn't heard before.  There was a Megadeth poster, a Motley Crue poster, and someone had posted a crudely drawn picture of a bunch of crosses sticking up out of the ground with the words Metallica: Master of Puppets at the top.  I said to myself, "What's Metallica?"  You're fired kid, get out!

Around this time I was watching a lot of MTV (what a fucking great channel that used to be), and discovered quite a few bands for the first time.  My musical tastes up until this point were pretty limited.  I had grown up with The Beatles and The Police, and that was about all I listened to except for a slew of random radio singles.  Then I started seeing videos from Def Leppard and Poison, and suddenly hard rock burrowed its way into my life.  Here was catchy, safe music with a slightly aggressive edge (Heavy metal at that point carried a stigma, what with bands like Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne being blamed for teen suicide - what a crock.), and I felt like I had arrived at the cool kids' table.  That fall a raunchy, dangerous-sounding band called Guns N' Roses was all over the radio, and this was the heaviest music I had ever heard.  After initially hating GNR, they grew on me like a fungus, and I was hooked.  I was officially a fan of hard rock music, and Guns N' Roses were at the top of the heap.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The History of NXT TakeOver: Toronto

Air Canada Centre - 11.19.16

After two NXT Takeovers that just reached "very good" status, the yellow brand really brought it for Toronto.  This show had everything you could want from a Takeover special, including three good-to-great Title matches.  So let's get to it...

Tye Dillinger vs. Bobby Roode kicked things off as expected.  Roode's entrance included a choir singing the intro to his (incredible) entrance theme.  Seriously, I can't get that stupid song out of my head for days after I watch one of these shows.  Why's it hafta be so good?  Anyway, this match was given considerably more time than I expected and played out like an old-school undercard bout.  As I watch Roode I'm reminded of Ted Dibiase, where his character and the way he carries himself mostly make up for the fact that he doesn't really do that much between the ropes.  I know he's a heel so he isn't supposed to fly around and such, but his offense strikes me as very limited.  Anyway, this match was fine.  Roode got the win using his new implant DDT finisher, a vast improvement from his pumphandle slam.  Solid opener.

Next up was the finals of the Dusty Classic, and as I figured it was a middling affair.  TM-61 bounced around and did a couple of fun high spots, including jumping off the structure holding Paul Ellering's cage, while the Authors of Pain mowed them over.  Still not sold on this team, but they're better Road Warrior clones than The Ascension.  They need new ring attire though.  How many times are we gonna see monster heels in SWAT gear?  I mean Roman Reigns is STILL wearing that shit.  This match was forgettable, though the inevitable DIY vs. AOP match should be a fun mismatch.

The show picked up huge with the NXT Tag Team Championship, as The Revival faced DIY in a 2/3 Falls match.  I'm a huge fan of this match type, I'm a huge fan of great tag team wrestling, and this bout lived up to all its promise.  Dash & Dawson played the part of The Andersons to the hilt while DIY's work brought to mind the Rock & Roll Express.  Johnny Gargano nailed the Ricky Morton role, spending much of the match as the babyface in peril.  The psychology here was perfect, and the third fall had so many close near-falls which the crowd totally bought into.  After having both his legs chopped out, Gargano managed to hook the Gargano Escape on Dawson while Tommaso Ciampa snared Dash in an armbar for the double tapout.  Great, great tag team match.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Dive Bars of America: Sully's (Quincy MA)

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

Another edition of The Dive Bars of the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. I’ve got a 5-category rating system between 1 and 4 handlebar mustaches, which is the preferred mustache by 9 out of 10 old timers in dive bars.


Sully’s
28 Chestnut St
Quincy, MA 02169


About a week ago, myself and fellow Enuffa contributor Scotty Pickles decided to head into Quincy Center for a little day drinking. And we decided on Sully’s as our venue of choice. For some reason, when you google this fine establishment, it comes up as Sully’s Spa. If you show up here for a nice massage and some possible crotch play, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE, PAL (that’s across the street). Sully’s is split into two distinct areas, one long bar and a seating area behind it. It also has a boss neon sign that you can see even when you’re blind drunk.




Fun Factor: Keno, all day, all night. Along with the scratchie machine, jukebox and old school TV with rabbit ears, that’s about it for your entertainment dollar. Not much happening here. But I love me some Keno, so I’m biased. They also have AWESOME décor all over the place. Planes made out of old Natty Light cans? YES PLEASE.



Cast of Regulars: Oh, yeah. TONS of em. And they were all hunkered down at the end of the bar watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”. I would love to judge these old codgers for watching an ancient episode of a show from the fifties, but I was drinking two-dollar beer in the middle of a Wednesday, so I can’t really act all high & mighty.

Spuds MacKenzie counts as a regular





Monday, November 21, 2016

WWE Survivor Series 2016 Review, or Why I Don't Like Squash

For the 2016 edition WWE finally took the Survivor Series concept back to its roots (mostly), assembling three huge traditional elimination matches - one for the men, one for the women, and one for the tag team division.  All three delivered on some level, laying the foundation for what turned out the best main roster PPV of the year.  Additionally there were three singles matches, two of which also delivered, and one which just may be the most baffling thing of any kind, in any medium, in any universe, ever.  Advanced trigonometry makes more sense to me than did this main event.  But before I start complaining about a show that I frankly quite enjoyed overall, let's talk about the good stuff.


The show opened with the Women's elimination match pitting RAW Champ Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax, and Alicia Fox against Smackdown Champion Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Natalya, subbing for Nikki Bella who was attacked by a mystery person backstage.  I'm guessing the reveal's gonna be that Nattie injured her to get herself into the match.  No matter, the change was a welcome one for me.  This match was a lot of fun despite a slightly rushed pace.  But the women got a solid 17 minutes to work with and multiple feuds played out a bit.  The RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry has never, and will never work as a believable feud, but at least in a few cases the babyfaces and heels were booked as very reluctant partners.  After Bayley won the match for her team, her co-survivor Charlotte beat the holy hell out of her, hammering home that the pleasantries were over.  Pretty much everyone in this match got time to make an impression, particularly Nia Jax who was booked like a monster, eliminating Naomi by countout after beeling her off the apron onto the floor.  This match easily ranked high on the list of best women's Survivor Series bouts, right up there with the Team Moolah vs. Team Sherri match from 1987.  A great way to open the PPV.


Next up was the Intercontinental Championship, as The Miz, fresh off regaining the strap this past Tuesday defended against Dolph Ziggler's scheduled opponent, Sami Zayn.  I'm still not sure why Miz was booked to win back the Title at the last minute, as Zayn vs. Ziggler surely would've been the superior contest.  But this was quite alright too.  As I've said before, Zayn is nigh incapable of having a bad match, and The Miz is looking better than he ever has.  So this gelled nicely.  Miz eventually won in classic heel fashion.  Zayn had slapped on a figure four and Maryse rang the bell to distract both Zayn and the referee, allowing Miz to roll Zayn up for a cheap pinfall.  This was a cheap finish, but an appropriate one for Miz's character.  It also protected Zayn somewhat and left the door open for a rematch, should WWE come to its senses and move him over to Smackdown.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Metallica - Through the Never

Welcome once again to everyone's favorite* Enuffa.com feature, Awesomely Shitty Movies, where I painstakingly examine a piece of cinematic art and try to understand why it doesn't work the way I'd like it to.

*In a poll conducted among three readers, two cited ASM as their preferred column.


Today I'll be picking apart the acclaimed 2013 concert film, Metallica: Through the Never.  I've been a monumental Metallica fan since early 1989 (as you can read here and here), when I first laid eyes on the video for "One."  Never before had my ears been assualted by such molten, powerful musical strains.  Just a few short weeks later Metallica were my favorite band in the world, and aside from The Beatles they still are.  I've seen these fellas in concert ten times and it's been two-plus hours of heavy metal bliss on every occasion.


So when I heard Metallica would be releasing a concert film in IMAX no less, I was certainly intrigued.  While my initial thought was, "Shouldn't they finish their new album first?" I knew Through the Never would be a fun, immersive hard rockin' experience, interweaved with some sort of ongoing storyline throughout.

So why does this qualify as an Awesomely Shitty Movie you ask?  Well sir, Through the Never is a film of extremes.  Rarely has a film come along where the awesome is so immeasurably life-altering, yet forced to co-exist, sometimes within the same shot, as such soul-crushingly shitty claptrap.  So let's Jekyll & Hyde this movie and separate what sucked about it from what was great, thus freeing its virtuous aspects to truly achieve their potential.  I dunno what that means....



The Awesome


Metallica

Look, it's a Metallica concert film.  It is by definition gonna be all kinds of awesome as long as the band is onscreen shredding everyone's balls off.  It's Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Trujillo blasting the audience with boiling-hot volcanic metal, like four flamethrowers melting off your face.  They rattled off such classics as "Creeping Death," "Master of Puppets," "Enter Sandman," and the aforementioned "One."  How can you go wrong?  Also with Trujillo on bass and the band having refocused on good old-fashioned speed metal, their live performances have been tight as a tripwire.  Where their chops in the late 90s got a little messy, the four members have been at the top of their game since Death Magnetic came out.

Even this picture rocks my socks off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NXT TakeOver: Toronto Preview & Predictions

It's a two-fer kinda weekend in WrestleTown, as WWE will present both Survivor Series on Sunday, and NXT Takeover: Toronto on Saturday.  So my colleague Landon and I will try to predict the outcome of NXT's newest opus.  Join us, won't you?



Looks like NXT will now be chasing the main roster around the globe for every Big Four PPV, and I love it.  It makes the Rumble, 'Mania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series feel like a bigger deal when all four become big wrestling weekends, it forces the main roster to up their game, lest they be upstaged by "developmental," and it adds to the magnitude of the TakeOver specials.

The Toronto edition looks pretty great on paper, and once again the red and blue brands will have their work cut out for them if they wanna follow it.  For once though we may have an actual contest on our hands, as Survivor Series also promises to be something special.

But let's get to the NXT matches....



Dusty Classic Finals: TM-61 vs. Authors of Pain


This tourney had the potential to be bigger than last years, what with 16 teams vying for the trophy, and had the original plan of Austin Aries & Roderick Strong making the finals come to fruition we'd have a guaranteed top-notch affair.  Alas, Aries sustained an eye injury thanks to a stiff Nakamura kick, and his team was out of the bracket.  So we're stuck with two teams about whom I'm less than enthusiastic.  Hopefully they'll both prove their worth here with a killer contest, but I'm not expecting anything amazing.

Justin's pick: I gotta go with Paul Ellering's duo, particularly since Ellering himself will be stuck in a cage.  Usually the wrestler(s) whose manager is incarcerated at ringside ends up winning.
Landon's pick: Let's talk for a hot second about this thing. Last year it was used to launch a multi month, multi main event program between the two winners. Now it's between the not-Road Warriors and a falling flat Hype team. This could've been done a lot better, but I understand at least some plans had to be changed.  For what it's worth, Authors to win.




Robert Roode vs. Tye Dillinger


Another showcase match for Roode, who hasn't shown me that much in the ring as yet, but who does carry himself like a superstar.  At this point Roode's appeal is all about that entrance.  Hopefully he changes that here.

Justin's pick: Roode, clearly
Landon's pick: The crowd may be split Solidly in half for this one. By that, I mean the crowd will equally be chanting both men in full force. Roode to win, honestly due to Dillenger at this point being unable to break out in NXT.


WWE Survivor Series 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to, Jeezus, ANOTHER round of Enuffa.com PPV Predictions, with your host, me, and my cohort Dan Moore, as we try to predict what will happen on WWE's latest illogically booked offering, Survivor Series!


Actually, truth be told, I'm pretty excited about this PPV.  Why you ask?  Because it reminds me of this one:



That's right, after DECADES of waiting, and I hate waiting, WWE is finally getting back to their roots with this show, presenting three big elimination matches.  One for the men, one for the women, and holy shit on a serving spoon, ONE FOR THE TAG TEAMS!  It's been 28 years since we got the 5 Teams vs. 5 Teams match, and at long last we're being treated to another one!  I don't even care that today's tag division can't hold a tealight to that of yesteryear, or that all three of these elimination matches are part of the contrived, tired RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry that literally zero fans care about.  I'm just excited to be seeing a real Survivor Series card again.  And it'll be four hours this year (Fuck, that's gettin' to be a lot), so none of them should get shortchanged.  Bring it on.

As for the rest of the show, we have two promising singles matches and one that's gonna suck, which is sadly the main event of the evening.  But we'll get to that.

Prediction time.

***I currently lead 52/82 to Dan's 50/82.***



Cruiserweight Championship: Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto


Well someone came to their senses and realized Kalisto is a cruiserweight, and now he's all over Smackdown.  Unlike TJ Perkins (who's a solid hand but devoid of a character), Kalisto actually connects with the audience, so there's a chance they'll be invested in this match.  Also if Kalisto wins the belt the entire division gets moved to Smackdown (Makes sense since the new 205 Live show will be airing directly after the blue brand on Tuesdays).  I know Kendrick just won the belt, but there's no reason whatsoever to add this stipulation unless you're actually gonna go through with it.  The RAW creative team has no idea what to do with these guys and the division's been dying a slow death since the CW Classic ended.  Just move the lot of 'em over to Smackdown and make 205 Live a Smackdown property.

Justin's pick: Kalisto
Dan's pick: You almost need Kalisto to win here so it moves to the blue brand.




Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Sami Zayn


I have mixed feelings about this last-minute change.  Ziggler vs. Zayn would've probably stolen the show and I'm not sure why they took the belt off Dolph already, aside from this match now being heel vs. babyface.  Regardless, Miz is good enough to have a helluva match with Zayn, and Zayn is good enough that he'd be hard-pressed NOT to have a good match.  Miz really never should've lost the belt, so I can't complain that he's got it again.  So where does that leave Ziggler?  Do they add him to this and make it a 3-way?  I'd be fine with that.  Do they pit Ziggler vs. Rusev since neither of them is booked?  Do they add him to the elimination match so Shane doesn't have to be in it?  For fuck's sake, Shane!  More on that later.  Anywho, if Sami wins, the I-C belt goes to RAW.  I can't see that happening.  Miz keeps it.

Justin's pick: Miz retains
Dan's pick: Wait, what? Had no clue Miz even won the belt back. I LOVE IT. Miz retains.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Metallica (A Heated Debate)

Welcome back to another edition of You Used to Be Soooo Good, where Justin & I, Dan Moore, discuss things used to be awesome but now, eh, not so much. This week we discuss master musicians who I believe were once at the top of the music world, but have lost a few chords on their gee-tars whilst JB thinks they’re still chugging along at light speed.


METALLICA: You Used to Be Soooo Good

Now that's METAL right there.
DAN: Ah, Metallica. Once the go to band for all things awesome & metal. If you needed your ass blasted off with music so loud the angels themselves head banged to it, they were the fellas you listened to. Their music defined metal. Christ even their name is f*cking awesome. METALLICA. Say it again. Congratulations, your tongue just got rocked. They took a genre of music, metal, named themselves after it, and then reorganized the pecking order of metal bands. It went
1.      Metallica
2.      No one else comes close

Going to their concerts in the 80s and 90s was akin to allowing a jet to take off in your eardrums. Those were the loudest concerts I’ve ever been to in my life, and I’ve seen the Barenaked Ladies (it was because a girl I hadn’t slept with yet bought tickets, but that’s still not an acceptable excuse). They were the best.
And then…they weren’t. They cut their hair and lost their powers, like metal Samsons. Now I’m not saying the haircuts all of a sudden made them not be able to rock as hard anymore, but that’s definitely the cutoff (pun humor!) point. To begin their careers, they released possibly the five greatest metal albums ever and then…a lotta crap that is completely forgettable. No songs on those albums released after The Black Album resonate with me at all. I would be hard pressed to name any, in fact. To go from perfect metal monsters to whatever they are now is such a disappoint to me as a fan of metal.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All Time, Picked Apart (251-300)

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380


We carry on with our bashing of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by tackling entries 251-300. You can catch up with Part 5 HERE.


251. Otis Redding - The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul
252. Metallica - Metallica
253. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
254. Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston
255. The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
256. Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope
257. Willie Nelson - Stardust
258. Grateful Dead - American Beauty
259. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
260. Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club


This section kicks off with Otis Redding’s last studio album before his death. Great album. Nice to see it here.

Whitney Houston’s eponymous debut is the first of her albums to appear on this list, which is surprising because I thought I’d see the soundtrack to The Bodyguard before anything, but whatever.

Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope is a surprise here for me. It’s a highly influential album and a departure on her sound and style but I still think her album janet. is a better album. I wish it were ranked here instead of The Velvet Rope, or higher.


261. Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
262. Grateful Dead - Workingman’s Dead
263. Ray Charles - The Genius of Ray Charles
264. Blood, Sweat & Tears - Child is Father To the Man
265. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo’s Factory
266. The Who - Quadrophenia
267. Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
268. Jesus & Mary Chain - Psycho Candy
269. Rolling Stones - Some Girls
270. Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today!


Friday, November 4, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 9

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) & Brandon Cuddemi


Dan's Pick

With the premier franchise in sports, the New England Patriots, on the bye, the slate of NFL games this week is ugly. I’m talking UG. I’m taking fuckin’ LEE. I checked the schedule of games on the interwebs this morning and this is what came up.


So we’re picking garbage games, which is fitting, because I’m dealing with two garbage individuals. Brandon’s been all fancy lately, hanging out with some real dandies up in Maine. 100% sure his asshole sounds like it sneezes when he takes a shit. And Miggsy is just a puddle of puke nowadays. The other day watching a game, I thought he was making his own political protest by not standing for the anthem but it turns out that fat shit just couldn’t get up off his couch. The ass groove he’s created in that thing is bigger than the San Andreas fault.  Just a disgusting human being all around.

NJPW Power Struggle 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of Enuffa.com PPV Predictions!  


This Saturday is NJPW's Power Struggle PPV, where things more or less take their final shape for the build to WrestleKingdom!  This year's card looks quite solid and makes use of a handful of guest stars from ROH, NOAH and CMLL.  As usual with Power Struggle there likely won't be any Earth-shattering developments, but it'll just be a good night of wrestling.

So let's get to the predictions....



Ryusuke Taguchi, Angel de Oro, Titan & Fuego vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ricochet & David Finlay


This should be fast and furious, with the lucha style well-represented in some of the losing Super Jr. Tag teams.  It's little more than a showcase match but should get the crowd engaged early.  I find Liger's team generally wins matches like these so that's who I'll pick.

Justin's pick: Team Liger
Landon's pick: Team Liger




Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bone Soldier vs. Togi Makabe, Tomake Honma & Yoshitatsu


I still find it so odd they turned Captain New Japan heel.  It's like WCW having Michael Wallstreet join the nWo.  He's an inconsequential character.  Anyway, since the Bullet Club C-team just got a new member I'll go with them to win.

Justin's pick: Bullet Club
Landon's pick: Bullet Club



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Let’s Give 'Em Somethin' to Taco Bout: Taco Bell's Rolled Chicken Taco

by Sok Maher


It’s noon on Wednesday. Meetings are over. Work is done-ish. There’s an adage about “idle hands” that I don’t remember, but I’m sure it applies here. Boredom and overeating have always been the Batman and Robin of my sustenance.


Which leads us to today’s subject, the Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Taco. You might know them by their American name “taquitos”. Thankfully for those who don’t “hablo ingles," they gave it the more traditional Mexican name of “Rolled Chicken Tacos”. I was first introduced to the taquito in college. Sam’s Club was kind enough to keep industrial sized bags of them frozen for us, and we, in turn, were kind enough to devour all of the taquitos from the hours of 1am – 4am later that night. Have my tastes matured? Have any of my body parts matured? Let’s go to the tale of the tape…


Monday, October 31, 2016

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 Review: Sasha and Charlotte Make History

History was made at Hell in a Cell, as the RAW Women's Division got to headline a main roster PPV for the first time, one year after breaking that barrier in NXT.  Not only that, but it took place in the first-ever Women's Hell in a Cell match that also included (to my knowledge) the first-ever Women's table spot.  A glass ceiling was shattered in Boston, MA, and while the overall results were mixed, it was certain an historic occasion.


The show opened with one of three Cell bouts (If you're going to include three of the same gimmick match on a PPV it certainly makes sense to spread them out), pitting US Champion Roman Reigns against hated rival Rusev.  This match sadly didn't do much for me, as I didn't get a sense of brutality or hatred which, given the nature of this feud, should've been front-and-center.  This match was needlessly stretched to 24 minutes when 15 would've sufficed, and I would've preferred a strong style-esque match where they simply pounded the bejeezus out of each other while the Cell itself took a back seat.  The closing stretch contained solid work however, so it wasn't a total loss for me.  I am getting tired of the overused booking template where one guy hits the other with his finisher, fails to win, and the other guy hits one comeback move followed by his own finisher for the duke.  This wasn't the only match on this show to end that way.  Reigns retained as expected and I'm sure we'll find out soon enough who his next challenger is.


Bayley got a much-needed decisive win in the second match against Dana Brooke.  This was fine for what it was - Dana has a great character and owns it well but still needs to improve in-ring.  I assume Bayley will be stepping up soon to challenge for the belt.

Enzo & Cass had an entertainingly brief tag match against The Club after cutting a pretty fun promo, now referring to Anderson & Gallows as "Andy & Big Gal."  Not sure why I found that funny but I did.  This match was also just fine.  The Club finally got a win on PPV, using the aforementioned one-move comeback booking.  Once someone points out this formula it's hard to get past it.

Friday, October 28, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 8

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) & Brandon Cuddemi



Dan's Pick

Lotta happenings and goings on here at work so this week's picks look to be short and terrible as opposed to long and terrible. Get the insults outta the way first: Brandon’s slow and dimwitted and I’m shocked he’s ever had sex with a woman without paying, and Miggsy’s got a gross, large bald head and breath that could floor a skunk. Also, our picks stink (though I pulled off a win last week YEAH).

The only possible reaction while reading this column

DETROIT (+2 ½ ) @HOUSTON THE PICK: DETROIT 
The BrockStar is now dead to me. Long live TEAM FATFACE! Not only does Stafford have a big ol’ chunky kisser and a rocket for an arm, but he has an uncanny resemblance to that now-bloated kid from the Sixth Sense.

I see fat-faced people

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to your official Enuffa.com PPV Predictions for this Sunday's Hell in a Cell!


Well the RAW weekly shows have largely been stinkers, but the brand has a pretty damn solid lineup for this PPV, including three Hell in a Cell matches (which is undoubtedly too many).  But what's noteworthy about this show is the inclusion of the first-ever Women's HIAC match, and for me that's the big draw.  I'm hoping WWE puts that one on last since neither of the other Cell bouts is likely to top it, and it involves by far the best of the three feuds.  But anyway, let's get to the predictions.

***I lead Dan 46/74 to 45/74, thanks to an abysmal 2-for-6 showing at No Mercy***



PreShow: Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari


This is just a way to get more cruiserweights on the show.  We haven't been given much of a reason to care about any of them beyond the Cruiserweight Classic tournament unfortunately.  Here's an idea, add Neville to the division instead of jobbing him out to Bo Dallas.  Dopes.  This'll be a fun match but nothing terribly memorable.

Justin's pick: Alexander, Dorado & Cara
Dan's pick: No clue who any of them are, so the other guys




Enzo & Cass vs. The Club


Not a ton of interest in this feud if I'm being honest.  Anderson & Gallows still feel very flat as heels and I'm not sure what's missing, other than the fact that they were separated prematurely from their leader AJ Styles.  Maybe they should be moved to Smackdown.  Enzo & Cass are still doing their schtick and the crowd still likes it.  The match should be fine, I'm just not invested.

Justin's pick: Enzo & Cass
Dan's pick: Enzo & Cass



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Music Review: Lady Gaga - Joanne


Lady Gaga's fifth studio album Joanne dropped on Friday, and I'm pleased to say I'm already a big fan of it.  Shedding much of the pop star accountrements and focusing on the music itself has resulted in a streamlined, mature, timeless-sounding release from the eccentric songstress.  Gone are the slickly produced dance floor anthems and "Ain't I weird?" lyrics, and in their place are pop-rock songs with dashes of country, soul, folk, latin, and plenty of 1970s influence.

I've been a Gaga fan since about 2010, when her bizarro dance-pop radio hits began to grow on me like a fungus, and by the time her 80s-heavy, second full-length record Born This Way was released I was all-in.  Even more impressive to me was the decadently over-indulgent Artpop, seemingly an ode to Gaga's own iconic status.  Sadly that album underperformed in sales (a measly 2.5 million copies worldwide), and it seems likely her audience had by 2013 tired of Gaga's over-the-top theatrics.  I actually consider Artpop her best album, but a change in direction was the right move; Artpop had taken the concept of The Hugeness of Lady Gaga as far as it could go.

With Joanne we have a much scaled-down presentation which has thus far carried over to her public appearances.  Her on-stage attire is still flashy but in a much more subdued, minimalist way, and the focus now is entirely on the songs.  And Joanne boasts some damn good ones, aided by several talented collaborators.

From the midtempo opener "Diamond Heart," with its live drum and guitar sounds, the stage is set for something really different.  Gaga's considerable vocal talent is allowed to shine through from the get-go, largely free of the usual radio pop effects.  The song's syncopated chorus is instantly memorable in a completely fresh way, and I was drawn in immediately.

Probably the most traditionally hooky song on the album is the raunchy "A-Yo," boasting an energetic backbeat and a Shania Twain-ish swagger.  Guitarist/producer Mark Ronson lends his quirky guitar licks here and on several other songs, and the result is a delightful pop/rockabilly hybrid.

The biggest stylistic departure is the title track, a touchingly simple, finger-picked guitar-folk ballad written for Gaga's recently deceased aunt.  This song reminds me of mid-90s alt-folk like Sheryl Crow and Joan Osborne, with a touch of acoustic Dylan.

The first single "Perfect Illusion" has grown on me with repeated listens and harkens back to 70s Donna Summer, with its highlighting of attitude over saccharine melodic hooks.  The climactic final chorus showcases Gaga's vocal power.

Monday, October 24, 2016

DAN'S TOP 9: EX-RED SOX IN THE WORLD SERIES

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal

DAN'S TOP

This year’s world Series pits the Chicago Cubs against the Cleveland Indians. Both of these franchises haven’t won a championship in a looooooooong time, with Cleveland’s last pennant in 1948 and the Cubs' way back in 1908, when I was only 11 years old. So both of these teams are in quite a drought. But more importantly than any of that, both of these teams are filled with ex-Red Sox greats. Here now, my list of the very best of em.




9. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CUBS (Drafted by Sox in ‘07)

This one’s a bit of a cheat, as he never actually suited up for the big club, but GODDAMMIT how I hated to see him go. He was one of the keys in the trade for Adrian Gonzalez. I remember reading about his patience at the plate and big bat, and hated to see his name in that trade. He’s blossomed in Chicago, and it kills me. Plus, a GREAT last name.



8. Coco Crisp, OF, INDIANS (Sox ‘06-‘08)

Another Hall of Famer in great names, Coco had a completely unmemorable run with the Sox. The epitome of good glove, no bat when he was here. He won a ring in ’07 on the team that beat the Rockies in the WS. He’s obviously a good player, as he’s still in the league almost a decade after leaving Boston, but he has no real great moments in Fenway (though he did almost get run over by the mascot in Seattle, which was HILARIOUS).

"Don't stand on the tracks when the ATV's coming through" - Mariner Moose


Friday, October 21, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 7



Dan's Pick

The Brock-Star saved me a bit last week. Texans were getting whalloped and he came outta nowhere to save the Texans' season. Now they won, but that only left me with a measly push. A PUSH? Who am I, Molly Brown?

Anyways, I’m sure those two dolts will go on and on with the same tired jokes about how I’m old and senile. But let’s get real here. Have you seen these two? Here’s Brandon with an actual text message he sent 'cause he can’t figure out his newfangled iPhone.

I'M AN OLD MAN, I'M CONFUSED!

The guy’s getting all discombobulated by technology and bingo in consecutive weeks. It may be time to send him off to the old nursing home in the sky.

And the less said about Miggsy, the better. Have you seen his television debut in the Ice-T Geico commercial?

Lookin' good, buddy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All Time, Picked Apart (201-250)

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380


We carry on with our bashing of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by tackling entries 201-250. You can catch up with Part 4 HERE.

201. Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
202. Michael Jackson - Bad
203. Cream - Wheels of Fire
204. Prince - Dirty Mind
205. Santana - Abraxas
206. Cat Stevens - Tea For the Tillerman
207. Pearl Jam - Ten
208. Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
209. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
210. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

I love Michael Jackson’s Bad. It’s my favorite album of his and I would argue it’s better than Thriller. Thriller is overrated because of the hype it had when it was released and because of the video.

Yeah, I said it.

With Cream, Wheels Of Fire should’ve replaced Fresh Cream at #101. Switching those two would make me comfortable with the placement. It’s a better album than Fresh Cream.

Pearl Jam’s Ten I think should be higher. It’s a pretty notable album for what it helped create. Should be in the low 100’s somewhere. Maybe switch Fresh Cream at #101 with Ten. Yes, there’s the answer and we all win!

211. Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
212. Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner
213. New York Dolls - New York Dolls
214. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
215. Bobby Bland - Two Steps From the Blues
216. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
217. Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill
218. The Meters - Look-Ka Py Py
219. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
220. Professor Longhair - New Orleans Piano

I’m wincing a little bit with The Stones’ Tattoo You being listed while at the same time not totally hating its inclusion. I kind of feel there are far better albums than this one but at the same time I get why it’s listed. I’ll live.

Love New York Dolls. Very underrated punk band in terms of influence. Even though they were right there with The Stooges and Velvet Underground, they were never given enough attention and credit. They wore women’s clothes before Twisted Sister and all the hair metal bands of the ‘80s. I always enjoy seeing them listed.

Movie Review: Sully (2016)

by Varun Bhatia
@movieman994



Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney.
Rating: 3.75/5

Sully is based on the true story of US pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who saved the lives of everyone aboard Flight 1549 after multiple bird strikes had failed all the engines.

The brilliance of Sully lies within its nonlinear plot. If this plot had been linear, I doubt the movie would have been bearable. Eastwood has a brilliant eye for direction, as he stretches a story that would hardly make a 45-minute movie into a 96-minute movie, without boring you for a single second. The storytelling was absolutely spotless.

The film takes a realistic approach to the events that follow after the miracle landing of Sully - the effects the incident had on the pilot, co-pilot and the government case that ensued.

The short runtime is what sets it apart from other movies based on true stories. I appreciated the lack of pretend drama and the fact that the movie hardly follows any mainstream movie cliches.

Acting is another plus for this movie; Hanks plays up the cool, yet disturbed Sully fabulously. You can see the amount of research he has put into his role. Aaron Eckhart has improved by miles compared to his previous work; this might be his best performance for me at least. No one else has a role even remotely as big, but I would like to acknowledge Anna Gunn for her portrayal of a NTSB agent.

The slow piano score that picks up in places fits the movie brilliantly, it truly encases all emotions, especially PTSD. Although no other instrument would have done justice to the tone of the movie, the score is rather forgettable.

The editing is sharp and to the point, which is what prevents the movie from getting boring in places where most movie of this type fail.

There isn't much to be said about the cinematography or costuming; considering the setting of the movie they are neither great nor terrible.

The low point however is the lack of threat or high-stakes, which makes the movie a little bland. There is a missing sense of danger, which if incorporated would have added to the movie's list of pluses.

Also the ending was quite sudden, which although it avoids cliches, makes you wish they showed a bit more.

All-in-all, Eastwood has made another good, indeed very good, movie.  Even though it might not be on par with American Sniper, do not miss it as it makes for a great watch.


Nomination Chances:

There is a low-medium chance for Hanks to be nominated for best actor.  A medium chance for the editor to be nominated.  A low chance for best adapted screenplay.


Rating Key:

0.5-1.5: Why was this movie even made?

1.75-2.5: A few good scenes, nothing memorable, disappointed me.

2.75-3.25: The movie did exactly what was expected of it, didn't add anything, but at least  it didn't fail.

3.5-4.25: The movie exceeded expectations and will help you look intellectual at discussions with friends.

4.5-5 Instant classic. This movie should be Oscar Nominated at the least.

Friday, October 14, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 6

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) and Brandon Cuddemi


Welcome to another edition of our terrible picks. I won last week. Miggsy won last week. Brandon lost so he can blow it out his ass. Loser. But the real losers in this are you, the bettors. Because hopefully you’re ignoring these picks and betting on something better, like cockfighting.

That bird's a ringer

And not only do we stink at sports betting, but any casino gambling seems to be an issue too. At Foxwoods last week, Brandon lost so much he tried to get a marker for his little hip hop car there, but they laughed him off and told him to keep making pretend with his friend Drake. The less said about Miggsy’s day, the better.

"I'm ruined...."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WWE Monday Night RAW: Oldberg Gets Invited to Suplex City

Goldberg.  Really?  Really?  REALLY???

When all you've got is your size and you don't even have that anymore....

I'd heard rumors of this development for weeks but last night on RAW it became official.  WWE is booking Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg for Survivor Series.  In an apparent continuing effort to further ruin what used to be one of my favorite annual PPV events, Vince McMahon has decided that the best way to utilize a monster box office draw like Brock Lesnar is to once again pair him against a guy with whom he stunk up the ring over a decade ago.  To be fair, Lesnar's recent matches against John Cena and The Undertaker were obviously massive improvements over their 2003 counterparts.  But John Cena is a completely different performer than he was back then, and Taker is, well Taker.

Bill Goldberg hasn't wrestled since he and Brock took a giant New York dump in the middle of Madison Square Garden, and let's be honest, he wasn't exactly a ring general before that.  Goldberg got as far as he did based primarily on mystique and physical presence, and in 2016 that isn't enough to be a success in wrestling.  So why in the name of all things holy, THE FUCK, would anyone in WWE think a rematch from WrestleMania XX is a good idea, over twelve years later?  Goldberg is 49 years old and literally 18 years removed from his peak.  Last time we saw him his performance (and Brock's) was so bad both guys got booed out of the building.  So yeah, let's get him back in here.  While you're at it, sign Buff Bagwell.  I know his last match in the WWF was so abysmal it sank the WCW relaunch, but he must've improved since then, right?

This pic was taken 3 minutes into the match and this is all they'd done so far.

I will never for the life of me understand Vince's obsession with reliving the Ruthless Aggression Era when it comes to Brock.  He's been trying to book a Brock vs. Rock rematch since 2012 when Lesnar returned, meanwhile half a dozen first-time matches against current stars (for whom a match with Brock would be a huge career boost) have been left on the table.  Had they not booked Sheamus and Cesaro into the ground, both of them would be excellent opponents for Brock (Oh wait, we got Brock vs. Sheamus at a house show earlier this year, and Cesaro is Swiss).  They could've booked Brock vs. Batista a couple years ago but let that one slip away.  Also Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and best of all Samoa Joe would all have instant classics against Brock.  Christ, even Bray Wyatt or a return match with Roman Reigns would be better.  Nope, we gotta redo Brock vs. Goldberg.  Because apparently 2002-2004 was WWE's Golden Age.

And from what I've read Brock's future is going to get even bleaker, as Vince evidently wants Brock vs. Shane at WrestleMania.  Shane McMahon.  Ya know, the 46-year-old businessman whom The Undertaker actually had to treat as an in-ring peer six months back?  Taker was reportedly so unenthusiastic about that match he hasn't been back since.  If Brock vs. Shane goes more than thirty seconds, congratulations, you've just destroyed Brock Lesnar's credibility as a monster.

No wonder the full-time roster can't carry ratings.  Every time Brock Lesnar comes back they either have him steamroll the guy (Orton, Ambrose) or fight someone he already beat when I was in my 20s.  And I guarantee Lesnar vs. Goldberg gets the main event slot at Survivor Series, despite literally nothing being at stake.  Zero.  For a promoter who supposedly cares about telling stories, Vince sure doesn't seem too concerned about that aspect when Brock's involved.  We now have two primary championships in WWE, but as with SummerSlam they'll both get pushed to the undercard to make room for a pointless one-off match designed to pop a quick buyrate (which doesn't exist anymore thanks to the Network).  Once again a big marquee match with no overarching story gets top billing over all the ongoing angles and full-time members of the roster, and the night after Survivor Series neither guy will be on RAW and the rest of the roster will have to pick up the slack.  Super.

It's getting to the point that I dread the Big Four PPVs, because WWE always feels the need to load them up with "big" matches instead of good ones.  I'm a Brock Lesnar fan, but I'm getting bored with the Suplex City schtick, and especially tired of seeing him fight guys he already faced during his first WWE stint.  Can't we all just move along?