Tuesday, February 28, 2017

89th Academy Awards Recap Discussion

Welcome to the Enuffa.com Oscar post-show discussion, with Mike Drinan (@mdrinan380) and myself.  It was a fairly unorthodox presentation, with Jimmy Kimmel's comedic style quite at odds with the usual timbre of the evening, plus that bizarre turn of events at the end of the show.


Mike, your thoughts coming out of Sunday night's unusual awards spectacular?


Mike: First off, congrats on winning our Oscars predictions face off!

The show itself was just alright but it ran on waaaaaay too long. It lagged in a couple of spots but I enjoyed the bits Kimmel had; the constant ribbing of Meryl Streep, and his faux-feud with Matt Damon is something that doesn't get old for me. The tour bus bit was pretty entertaining but went on forever.

No big shocking upsets in the awards. I was surprised that Casey Affleck pulled out the Best Actor award from Denzel since he won the SAG award and for the past 10 years, the winner of the SAG Award for Best Actor has gone on to take home the Oscar as well. I actually watched Fences on Saturday night and considering how stunning his performance was I didn't see any reason why that would change. I don't have a problem with Affleck winning because his work in Manchester By The Sea was fantastic and he totally earned it as well.


I was very happy that Moonlight won Best Picture. It was by far the best film of the year for all kinds of reasons and I'm glad Hollywood proved me wrong in this instance. At first I was pissed when they announced La La Land but when it all got figured out, I was a happy man.


Justin: I liked Kimmel as a host - he was very different for an Oscars ceremony, with a dry, kind of awkward delivery.  Loved the Mean Tweets segment and the Matt Damon stuff.  The tour bus segment was fun but yeah, too long.  Kimmel's self-deprecating humor was all great.

Yeah bitch, 9 for 10!  Goddamn I'm good.

I was very happy to see Affleck win (I haven't seen Fences yet and I'm sure Denzel is fantastic in it) - this was a career performance for him and it was great to see that recognized.

That ending was amazing.  They announced La La Land as the winner and I was tempted to just turn the TV off and go to bed.  Man am I glad I waited it out.  Moonlight deserved this award waaaaaaay more than LLL so I was glad to see my faith rewarded here.  And the inadvertent twist ending will be remembered forever.


I was disappointed that Barry Jenkins was passed over for Best Director though.  Has a black director ever won that award yet?  Seems like every time a black director's film wins Best Picture, the director himself loses.  Steve McQueen not winning it for 12 Years a Slave is one of the most baffling decisions in recent memory.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The 89th Academy Awards Preview & Predictions

Well it's that time again folks.  The 89th Academy Awards are upon us, and that means Mike Drinan (@mdrinan380) and I are back to give you our picks.  It's an eclectic bunch of films this year, and as usual I'm scrambling to catch up and see as many as possible before the ceremony.  Jimmy Kimmel is the host this year - an unusual choice I must say.  Kimmel sort of conveys a dorky everyman quality not normally associated with such an extravagant ceremony.  So this'll be interesting. 


As with last year we'll pick the ten main categories plus an obscure tie breaker so there will be a clear winner.  Drinan killed me in the predictions last year so I'm out for revenge.  So let's get to it....


Best Picture

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight


Justin: Wow, a musical, a sci-fi movie, a western crime drama, a war movie, and five other dramas.  Pretty diverse buncha films up for the big award this year.  I've only seen four of these so far and hope to catch at least two or three more by the 26th.  I loved Arrival, a rare sci-fi alien film that's about real ideas and the human condition moreso than it is about aliens and spaceships.  It was so refreshing to see a movie about this subject matter that was understated and thoughtful.  I also loved Manchester By the Sea, a quietly tragic drama about a lonely man carrying a horrible burden from his past.  Moonlight was a deeply touching, brilliantly acted film that at times reminded me of Boyhood and Brokeback Mountain.  La La Land.....well, if you read our discussion HERE, you know neither Mike nor I was particularly impressed by Hollywood's latest love letter to itself.  I'll be pretty goddamn pissed if LLL wins Best Picture, quite frankly.  As for the other five, I'm very much interested in Hell or High Water, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, and Fences, and less interested in Hidden Figures.  But I'm sure I'll see all five of them at some point.  But what's important here is which film I think is going to take home the gold.  It's clearly between the dual Golden Globe winners, La La Land and Moonlight.  I could see this going either way actually.  On one hand, LLL is about Hollywood, and Hollywood loves that.  On the other hand, Moonlight has "underdog Oscar winner" written all over it, plus the Academy has taken quite some flak in recent years for only seeming to honor white actors and filmmakers.  So it's really a question of whether the Academy can turn off the "Hollywood is awesome" blinders for a minute and get out of its own way.  I'm going to be optimistic and say yes.

Prediction: Moonlight


Mike: I've slacked this year at getting to the theater and have only seen five of the nominees. Like you, I loved Arrival for the reasons you mentioned. Such an original idea and delivered brilliantly. Hell or High Water I found to be very good as well and at times gave me a No Country For Old Men type feeling...maybe it was the Texas desert, might've been Jeff Bridges. I originally thought this would be a three picture race between La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea, however Manchester's stock fell way down in this category as soon as LLL began garnering rave reviews. In the meantime, Moonlight is the brilliant little engine that could and is easily my favorite of the nominees. Such a perfect film with incredible acting from the entire cast. I'm easily rooting for Moonlight to win this, however I think it's La La Land's. LLL is a throwback musical that is heavily saturated with classic MGM musical material. Plus, it's about Hollywood and, as we've all learned when Crash won Best Picture, L.A. is in love with itself. I am not as optimistic as Justin, but I do hope he wins this category.

Prediction: La La Land




Best Director

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)


Justin: Well they've taken the most diverse cross-section of Best Pic nominees and included their directors in this category.  Denis Villeneuve lent a quiet, meditative feel to Arrival and I was so impressed with his work here I'm excited to see his previous (and upcoming) films.  Mel Gibson's inclusion here is pretty staggering considering his fall from grace a few years back.  But I'm glad to see that he's put all that behind him and returned to making quality films; say what you will about him personally but I've always considered him a very gifted actor and director.  Chazelle really should've won this award two years ago for Whiplash, but he's got a very real chance to make up for it here.  Lonergan's gift for pacing and emotional weight made Manchester By the Sea a deeply compelling human drama.  Barry Jenkins (like Chazelle) has only directed two feature films and has displayed prodigious skill in doing so.  As with the Best Pic category I see this coming down to two candidates - Chazelle and Jenkins.  In either case we'll be getting a first-time Best Director, so that's historic.  But for me Chazelle failed to capture the magical touch he demonstrated with Whiplash.  La La Land to me barely felt like a musical and lacked the splendor one associates with films like that.  Jenkins on the other hand conveyed a very personal, intimate character arc with real visual flair.  So in a perfect world Jenkins should take this.  But I have a sneaking suspicion the Academy has a full-on boner for Chazelle's work, so I'm gonna pick him.

Prediction: Damien Chazelle


Mike: Denis Villeneuve is a really impressive director. I loved his drug cartel-themed Sicario and Prisoners with Jake Gyllenhaal. His film Enemy also starring Jake Gyllenhaal is currently in my Amazon watchlist queue and I'm very much looking forward to watching. BUT I DIGRESS!!! His film Arrival was another excellent film in his resume and like I said in my Best Picture summary, the delivery of how that story unfolded was brilliant and seamless. I'm also impressed with how Mel Gibson has found his way back in Hollywood's good graces following his controversial behavior. It would make for a nice redemption story if he were able to snag Mr. Oscar on this comeback trail. Kenneth Lonergan did a wonderful job with Manchester By The Sea but you're right, this is between Chazelle and Jenkins. With Moonlight, Barry Jenkins brought forth an exquisite story and was able to get his actors to display such humanity and emotion that it's almost uncanny. However, since he's a relative newcomer I think he also will get passed up for this award in favor of Chazelle. Whiplash was a great movie and he did a spectacular job with it as it won him a ton of industry praise. With La La Land being a musical, I think they will lean in his direction. Once again, I'll be rooting for Barry Jenkins since I feel he deserves it more than Chazelle.

Prediction: Damien Chazelle


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Do’s & Don’ts for the Daytona 500

Last year, The People I Call My Friends and I headed to Daytona for the most storied of NASCAR events, the Daytona 500. I’m not a huge NASCAR aficionado, but it was a bachelor party and our bachelor is a big supporter of going around in circles. I’m a casual fan, in that I’ll watch if nothing’s on and I’ve been to a few events, though moreso for the accepted binge drinking in the stands. Having just NOW recovered from that weekend, here is a list of what you should and shouldn’t do during the grand-daddy of them all in the racing world.
 
These guys look prepared.....they weren't.

DO: Bring extra underpants…you’re gonna need them.

DON’T: Eat pizza down there. Seriously, they’re clueless on how to make it. It takes them forever to make one pie. And they taste TERRIBLE.  I think ours was Wonder Bread with V8 on it.

DO: Enjoy all the Happy Hour libations. We were drinking pitchers of beer for $5 and Mai Tai’s for $4. Sure, the Mai Tai’s were essentially sour mix and ice, but goddammit WHAT A BARGAIN.

DO: Hang out with Danny Daytona. The man is a pure party animal and everyone wants to be around him. He’s electric. Fun follows that guy around like herpes at the free clinic.

Holy shit, that guy in the middle is cool!

DON’T: Go to the strip clubs. 'Cause they’re not strip clubs at all. The ladies of the night in these venues are quite modest and must, by law, keep their tops on. So if your idea of sexiness is checking out a live episode of Baywatch, have at it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Meryl Streep: Not Overrated, but Over-Nominated

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380


Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actors of all time. She’s right up there with Katherine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, Diane Keaton, Bette Davis, Jack Nicholson and whoever else you want to throw on the Greatest of All Time list. She deserves every accolade thrown her way. Seriously, I don’t have a problem with Meryl Streep, well, except for Mamma Mia! but that’s totally ABBA’s fault (fucking ABBA). However, it’s this love affair The Academy has with Meryl that I have a problem with because they throw an Oscar nomination her way for what seems like every role she takes on, even roles that aren’t Oscar-worthy performances. This practice started out modestly but has gotten worse in recent years and now it’s impossible to ignore.

Listen, we are all used to The Academy handing out bullshit nominations and even getting the winner wrong from time to time, but the fascination with Meryl, the downright idolizing of the actress, has gotten way out of hand. Here are the roles Meryl Streep was nominated for that weren’t Oscar-worthy, in chronological order.




Music Of The Heart (1999)


This Wes Craven film (yes, that Wes Craven), based on a true story, has Streep playing Roberta Guaspari, a violinist who was abandoned by her husband and is struggling with suicidal tendencies before taking on a position as a substitute violin teacher in an inner city school. Yep, one of those movies. She then builds a successful string program and begins to fight the administration when her program faces budget cuts. She stages a fundraising concert at Carnegie Hall (eye roll) in an effort to keep the program running. This film was a great feel-good story, an underdog redemption story that we all loved, especially The Academy. But Oscar-worthy? Not by a long shot, but because Streep takes on an accent all of a sudden it’s mindblowing! Give me a break. There’s nothing about her performance that warrants a nomination here, it’s just a good performance. It’s hardly a role that I remember out of her long career. Streep eventually lost out to Hilary Swank for Boys Don’t Cry. Hard to argue with that one.





The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


This critique of the fashion industry for the longest time was a guilty pleasure of mine, until Meryl was nominated for this role. Her nomination made me not want to watch it again. Streep plays Miranda Priestly, a high-powered fashion magazine editor who just crushes the soul and morale of anyone she comes across. She’s cold, soulless and people find her terrifying. Once again, Streep adopts a peculiar diction and well-defined posture and she does a good job with the character. Since when are we giving out nominations to actors for simply playing a character that’s a merciless hardass? I actually found Anne Hathaway more impressive in this film than Streep. I hate fashion exposés because they try to get me to sympathize with those working in the fashion industry and I just don’t. Anyway, Streep lost to Helen Mirren for The Queen because it was a no-brainer.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

by Dave Moore


Well the Oscars are only a few weeks away and I'm trying to see as many Best Picture nominees as possible (Sorry La La Land). I have only seen two so far and the one I want to talk about is Hell or High Water. Going into this film was pretty excited. I mean Jeff Bridges is in it. The guy makes everything cool. I was not disappointed with this movie at all.

The movie centers on two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster). Toby is a straight-living, divorced father just trying to make a better life for his son. Tanner is an ex-con with a short temper and an itchy trigger finger. The brothers are robbing branches of the bank that is foreclosing on the family land and using the banks' own money to pay for the land. They end up running afoul of U.S. Marshall Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), who is on the verge of retirement but has one hunt left in him. This turns into a cat and mouse game to figure out when the next bank is going to be hit.

The heist scenes themselves aren't trying to top anything that was in Heat. These are done by desperate men, not professionals, men who don't really know what they are doing. Mistakes are made and people pay for them. Watching them pull off one heist after the next you feel that these two men are doing what they think is right, not keeping the money for themselves but simply maintaining way of life.

All three actors do a fantastic job in this film, especially Chris Pine.  Bridges is great in this as usual, earning his 7th acting nomination this year for his supporting role in the film. Foster has been an exciting and intense actor for years, particularly in 3:10 to Yuma. Chris Pine, mostly known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot series, turns in a more focused, quieter delivery than we are use to seeing from him.  That Pine can hold his own with these two accomplished actors suggests a promising future.

Hell or High Water is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay (written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote last year's Sicario). I hope it wins the screenplay award, beyond that I think La La Land has everything else locked up.  The film is fantastically written and perfectly executed; for a late August release you can't do much better than Hell or High Water.  Highly recommended.

I give the film *** out of ****.

Monday, February 13, 2017

WWE Elimination Chamber 2017: Smackdown's Best PPV So Far

Well I may not be happy about most of WWE's creative direction heading to WrestleMania 33, but I'll be goddamned if they aren't 2 for 2 thus far in 2017 PPVs.  Last night's Elimination Chamber show featured two really solid women's matches (and a third that was decent), an unexpectedly awesome Randy Orton-Luke Harper match, and one of the best Elimination Chambers the company has ever put together.


As I said, most of the likely matchups penciled in for WrestleMania are uninteresting to me at best, and from what I've read a few of them are downright nonsensical.  But fortunately the talent roster is so good right now they'd be hard-pressed to deliver a bad standalone PPV.

Elimination Chamber opened with a very well-worked Becky Lynch-Mickie James match, featuring some great mat wrestling and a nice "cocky veteran vs. young babyface" story.  I hope this isn't the last of this pairing, because they meshed wonderfully.  Becky unexpectedly got the win with a rollup, and frankly I think she oughta still be the Women's Champ on Smackdown.  This bout was much more compelling to me than the actual Women's Title match.  More on that in a bit.


Next was probably the weakest match on the card, Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews and Kalisto.  I loved the heel move of taking out Kalisto during entrances, making this a one-on-one match for most of the running time.  The wrestling here was fine but not very memorable and not given much time.  Kalisto finally entered the fray in the last minute or so and Ziggler fell to Crews's spinout powerbomb.  I would've booked Ziggles to get a tainted win, but whatever.  I'm not sure where this double feud goes from here.

The Tag Team Turmoil match was third, and had some nice, furiously-paced action.  With six teams involved this realistically had to go over 20 minutes, and it did.  It was quite clear which teams matter on this roster and which don't.  American Alpha, The Usos and Rhyno & Slater were all booked pretty strong, The Ascension got to almost win the belts thanks to the match structure, and The Vaudvillains and Breezango looked like geeks.  But every segment of this match was at the very least watchable.  I liked AA eliminating The Usos only to later get killed by them, creating suspense as to whether The Ascension might steal the gold here.  The big feud is obviously AA vs. The Usos, which can be saved for another show; this feud's been building since September when The Usos "injured" AA to take them out of the inaugural Title tournament.  The match also made Gable and Jordan look like superheroes when they overcame the Usos' attack to eke out a win against a fresh team.


Friday, February 10, 2017

WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another (ANOTHER) round of WWE Predictions here at Enuffa.com!


This Sunday marks the return of the Elimination Chamber!  After being absent from the 2016 calendar, supposedly due to modern arenas no longer being able to support this 80 million ton structure (I believe that's the official weight) hanging from the ceiling, WWE has apparently figured out a workaround.  The Chamber PPV generally has major 'Mania implications and we should see the Smackdown side of The Showcase of the Immortals begin to take shape.  As usual this Smackdown-only PPV is pretty thin on paper, but the blue brand always seems to find a way to deliver an enjoyable show that doesn't overstay its welcome.  So let's get into it....

***I lead Dan for this season's predictions 69/109 to 63/109***



Nikki Bella vs. Natalya


The first of three (THREE!) women's matches on this show (and I'm not complaining) features probably the most heated rivalry in the division right now.  Nattie beat the crap outta Nikki on Talkin' Smack last night to add some fuel to this match.  Should be a fine contest.  I'd like to see Nattie win this, but I don't think it's in the cards.

Justin's pick: Nikki
Dan's pick: Natty




Handicap Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews & Kalisto


I hate handicap matches.  They do nothing for anyone.  If the two guys beat the one guy they've simply done the obvious, and if the one guy beats the two guys, the two guys look like chumps.  Ziggler really needs a big win to solidify his heel turn but I dunno if I can see them jobbing out both babyfaces here.  Unless maybe Ziggles takes out Crews with a chair before the bell?

Justin's pick: Ziggler wins by cheating
Dan's pick: I concur. Love Ziggles as a heel. Needs a dirty win here.





Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James


This might be the second-best match on the whole show.  James has still got it, and Becky is Becky.  Not much more to say than that - I'm looking forward to this one.

Justin's pick: Mickie wins to continue the feud
Dan's pick: Yup




Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton


Are they finally gonna push Harper in some capacity as a monster babyface?  They should.  But I doubt it.  Harper's just here to keep Orton occupied till his inevitable clash with Bray Wyatt, at which time Orton will be a babyface again (yawn).  This should be a solid outing though.

Justin's pick: RKO
Dan's pick: Viper



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka 2017 Preview & Predictions

by Landon Wayne
@LSWayne21


Well, Sapporo fucking ruled. Osaka may fall short of its sister show, but there will still be some great matches on the second half of the card. But will they hold up the bloated first half? We'll find out.



Tomoyuki Oka(?) & Henare vs. Hirai Kawato & Yoshitatsu

I assume Oka will be replacing Finlay the way he did at Sapporo in this match. Interesting dynamic here, very remaniscent of the purely Young Lion openers of 2015 and 2016 (No offense to Yoshitatsu here). The good news is that David Finlay should be cleared for BOSJ this year.

Landon's Pick: Yoshitatsu and Hirai
Justin's Pick: This match is literally of no consequence.  Sure, Team Yoshitatsu.




Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & KUSHIDA


Throwaway 6-man with Suzuki-Gun on one side and Tenkoji and the Jr. Ace (all three really wasting their time) on the other. Don't even have any expectations one way or another. It will be a match.

Landon's Pick: Suzuki-Gun
Justin's Pick: Suzuki-Gun




CHAOS (Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Jado & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Juice Robinson, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata

The glaring problemm with having the double show format like the New Beginning shows is that it tends to leave a lot to be desired with the undercards. But, multi-man mashups tend to lead towards entertainment more than not.

Landon's Pick: Nagata pins Goto, seting up a new contender and making Goto continue to look like a dork.
Justins's Pick: CHAOS




CHAOS (Beretta, Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku)


I'm running out of things to say about these undercard 6-mans.

Landon's Pick: Suzuki-Gun I guess. Let's bury this feud even deeper below ground.
Justins's Pick: Suzuki-Gun to save face after all three of them lost in Sapporo


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots & Tom Brady: GOAT

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal


Is there any doubt? Can there ever be a question again about who the greatest quarterback of all time is? After playing dead for roughly 42 minutes on Sunday night, Tom Brady put the New England Patriots on his back and forced them to win a game they decided not to show up for. Brady threw for 466 passing yards on 43-of-62 passing along with two touchdowns and one TERRIBLE interception. He willed them to a victory, his fifth in seven (SEVEN) Super Bowls. Oh, he also won his 4th Super Bowl MVP, ho-hum (though I think that honor shoulda gone to James White, but hey, whattya gonna do).

This game was a NIGHTMARE to watch as a Pats fan. They came outta the gates DEAD. Just nothing going on. To say we were discouraged at the half, with the Pats losing 21-3, is an understatement. Many creative curse words were being hurled about at the party I was at. One of my favorite things as a sports fan is that feeling you get when your team is in a big game. That nervous, giddy, excited feeling. That feeling was dead in the first half of this game. Just nonexistent. But then #12 started to do his thing, and it came right back. Watching him start to play like he’s capable of playing got me excited in all my peeing parts. The GOAT was here to play. And play he did. Like a champion. As usual.

Pictured: Tom Brady

Bill Belichick also stakes a claim as the greatest coach of all time with 5 Super Bowl victories as head coach and two more as an assistant elsewhere. The man is a genius when it comes to the pigskin. The coach with the dour expression at all times even managed quite a few smiles after being handed the Lombardi trophy again.

After vanquishing the Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history, the moment Patriots nation had been waiting for was about to happen. That lying, conniving, backstabbing douchebag of a Commissioner, Roger Goodell would finally have to realize that FrameGate was a total and utter bust. The scheme cooked up by NFL management, Ravens and Colts ownership to tarnish the legend of TB12 and to get rid of him for a quarter of the season was a failure. He would now have to hand over the Lombardi trophy once again to the team from Foxborough. And the Pats fans in attendance did not disappoint. In a display of boooing I can only call Bettman-esque, Roger’s voice was defeated by the wall of boos thrown at him. It was glorious. Sure, in the long run, this man making around $40 million a year probably won’t even care about this. But on the biggest stage of the year for any program on television around the world, getting booed like a goddam cartoon villain has to hurt his huge ego. Has to.

So that’s that. In one of the greatest comebacks in sports history, Tom Brady has cemented his legacy as the greatest of all time. There is no doubt. You wanna talk about squishy footballs, or warm Gatorade, go for it. Keep looking for reasons for why this man and this coach constantly beat your team. They’ll be busy getting ready for the next one while the other 31 teams keep making up excuses.


JB Note: My office is right on the parade route, so I got about sixty pics of our boys on their way by.  Celebrate, you magnificent bastards!




Monday, February 6, 2017

Grammys 2017 Preview & Predictions

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380


Ah yes, the Grammys, probably the most detested of the awards shows. Every time the nominations are announced I see the annual string of “Grammys are irrelevant” type comments not far behind. Let’s face it, the Grammys are all about ratings and not just about the music, a glorified popularity contest, one that is more reliant on record sales (with exceptions) than actual quality. Yes, I still watch the Grammys because a lot of times, they tend to get it right, even though I grit my teeth out of frustration. I mostly watch the Grammys for the storylines and this year, and there are quite a few interesting ones.

I’ve taken ten of the categories and given a quick rundown and prediction of who I think will win and who I’d like to win. Let’s jump in!




Album Of The Year

25 – Adele
Lemonade – Beyoncé
Purpose – Justin Bieber
Views – Drake 
A Sailor's Guide To Earth – Sturgill Simpson

This category is more or less between Adele’s 25 and Bey’s Lemonade, which makes for an interesting storyline as to which way the Academy swings this year for two deserving works: the safe choice in Adele, or supporting the social and politically charged Lemonade. What is also very interesting about this category this year is the presence of Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, a country album by an anti-country establishment artist, which I would LOVE because that album was tremendous. Most analysts are considering the possibility of Sturgill being a protest vote if neither Adele or Beyonce sits well with Academy voters. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. All I know is Beiber and Drake’s albums should not be in consideration, but hey...ratings.

Will Win: 25 - Adele
Should Win: Lemonade - Beyonce




Record Of The Year

"Hello" – Adele
"Formation" – Beyoncé 
"7 Years" – Lukas Graham
"Work" – Rihanna Featuring Drake
"Stressed Out" – Twenty One Pilots

Adele and Beyonce once again go head to head in this category with two monster singles this year. No matter where you looked Adele’s “Hello” was there. I had gotten tired of hearing it after two weeks of its release. On the other end, Beyonce’s “Formation” was performed at the Super Bowl where it garnered widespread criticism because of its PERCEIVED anti-police, pro-Black Lives Matter attitude. Just like Album of the Year, it will be interesting to see which side the Academy favors, safe or controversial.

Will Win: “Hello” - Adele
Should Win: “Formation” - Beyonce



Friday, February 3, 2017

SUPER BOWL PROP BETS

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


Here we are, the end of the NFL season and it’s the Super Bowl, or as it has now come to be known “The New England Patriots Invitational." Never mind that this is a dream matchup for me as I bet both the Falcons and the Patriots to win the Super Bowl back in week 6 for some sweet futures money. I’m already in the red…or the black. Whichever the good one is. But as always, the Super Bowl is a haven for silly prop bets, and here we go with our choices.






Dan’s Choice: Tails never fails, I’ve heard. And back in my day, I used to get all kinds of tail. You know what I mean? You know? Sex. I’m talking about sex.

Cuddy’s Choice: By “all kinds of tail” Danny is referring to both hands. Go with Heads here. Easy money.

Miggsy’s Choice: I too am going with the rhymey one. Tails always prevails.






Dan’s Choice: So easy, B-Cuddy will be higher. Only thing with more smoke running through it is a chimney.

Cuddy’s Choice: He ain’t lying. Ultimate insider info here. If you find a book that will take this bet, hammer me all day. Phrasing? I don’t know anymore.

Miggsy’s Choice: I was going to say B-Cuddy as well but I don’t think he’ll be at his uncle’s house that day so I’m going Brady rushing yards even though he runs like kimodo dragon.


NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo Preview & Predictions

by Landon Wayne
@LSWayne21


NJPW's 2017 kicks off following a fantastic WrestleKingdom. A Bullet Club-less pair of New Beginnings is packed full of every title being defended (some defended twice, in the exact same match…). The 2016 New Beginnings had results that shaped the landscape of New Japan for all of 2016, between Kenny Omega claiming the vacant Intercontinental Crown, and Hirooki Goto’s most recent shortcoming to Heavyweight gold leading him to eventually join CHAOS. Will 2017’s New Beginnings have the same effect? Well, we’re sure to find out.



Hirai Kawato and KUSHIDA vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)


I’m wondering why Teruaki Kanemitsu, my favorite Young Lion from this batch, is not on this card. Oh well, Suzuki-Gun needs momentum, and KUSHIDA loses nothing with Kawato losing.

Landon’s Pick: Suzuki-Gun
Justin’s Pick: I have a feeling the Suzuki stable is gonna murder just about everyone on the roster for a few months.




David Finlay, Henare and Yoshitatsu vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Yuji Nagata

Another throwaway match in the New Japan Style. I’m one of those people that feels like Yoshitatsu deserves better. Henare definitely shows a shining promise, and for reference he is billed at 229 lbs, missing the Junior weight class.

Landon’s Pick: The 3rd Generation
Justin’s Pick: Sure, Nagata & Tencozy




Chaos (Gedo, Jado and Will Ospreay) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Katsuyori Shibata and Tiger Mask

A match solely to fuel the Ospereay/Shibata feud going into Osaka. Their match in Osaka is officially going to be for the Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship, which is a great step in the Title’s history, and reinforces the alliance between NJPW and RPW. With Jado and Gedo, and the two old school juniors on the other side, should be an okay fill

Landon’s Pick: Shibata, Mask and Liger
Justin’s Pick: Seems like Ospreay's team oughta get the win here to build up the singles match six days later.  I'll go with CHAOS.




Takashi Iizuka vs. YOSHI-HASHI


Fucking why?

Landon’s Pick: YOSHI-HASHI
Justin’s Pick: Iizuka.  But yeah, pointless.




Dragon Lee, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi, Michael Elgin and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA and Tetsuya Naito)


It’s a preview of three matches on the Osaka card, with champions and challengers making each side. It should be a wonderful clusterfuck, with Elgin tossing BUSHI and KAMAITACHI around, and people bouncing off of Nakanishi. Still can’t help wishing we had all the titles on LIJ still, but hopefully after Osaka, the 6-Man titles will be back on the Ingobernables Trio.

Landon’s Pick: Team Not LIJ.
Justin’s Pick: This should be a ton of fun, and it's the match where this card will really get going.  I'll go with the babyfaces, again to build up the singles matches on the 11th.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The History of NXT Takeover: San Antonio

by Landon Wayne
@LSWayne21


The Road to Wrestlemania Weekend began here, in San Antonio on a Saturday night. In what seems like a quickly settling tradition, the Takeover events seem to all align before Big Four PPVs, which is brilliant both as a showcase for the NXT stars to people getting ready for a weekend of wrestling anyway, and to make the Sunday event feel bigger because of it. Takeover: San Antonio, like the Rumble to come after it, sets the board for the weekend upcoming in Orlando, as we may get a better feeling for who will challenge for what titles. But before we can go to Wrestlemania weekend, we have to get through Texas.


Eric Young defeated Tye Dillinger in an opening match that was better than I think many were giving the two a chance to give. It told a very good story of Tye being the superior athlete to Eric, but for the numbers game of Wolfe and Dane (Wait…). I really don’t know what the plan is with Tye, despite continuing to look good. He is destined to be a mediocre mid-card man in WWE if he ever leaves NXT. Eric Young and Sanity looked really strong as a unit coming out of this match. Young was able, with the finish the way it was, to show that his finisher could be hit from a variety of situations, something I think every finish needs. Sanity should be groomed for a tag title shot, IF DIY were the tag champs. But they’re not. Oh, we’ll get to that.



Roderick Strong defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas in a match that felt a lot like a match midway through the G1. There was a general sense of stake, but no specific motivations for either man. There was a clear sense that the man who won would get more opportunities or better ones than the other. Both Roddy and Andrade looked very strong in their performance. The biggest news is that they’ve decided to call Roddy’s running dropkick the Sick Kick.

The Authors of Pain defeated DIY for the NXT Tag Team Titles in a match that was as good as it really could have been. Like I mentioned in the preview, I’m not high at all on the Authors of Pain idea. I liked them better when they were called The Ascension, and The Dudleys…and Demolition, and finally the Road Warriors. I don’t know where we go from here, because we really don’t have any face teams to go up against the Walls of Meat. And I don’t know where DIY goes from here. Really an odd choice, but they must have ideas behind it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

WWE Royal Rumble 2017: Best Rumble PPV Ever?

Well damn.  Last night's Royal Rumble was about as good as can be expected in 2017.  Better than that even; I'd say the 30th edition was on par with the best Rumble PPVs they've ever done.


I've read a lot of negative feedback about the show, mostly due to the booking which was admittedly pretty unexciting.  No one new was positioned to be "made" with this match; it centered around the "safe" choices and we didn't get the expected Samoa Joe debut or a Kurt Angle return.  However we did get a very unpredictable Rumble with a larger field of potential winners than we've had in a very long time.  There were easily ten or so guys who could reasonably have walked away with the WrestleMania title shot, and that's nothing to sneeze at.  Aside from that, the Rumble match had a couple little surprises, like Tye Dillinger entering at #10 and Jack Gallagher making the most hilarious use of an umbrella I've ever seen.  Other highlights were Jericho as the long man once again (lasting just over an hour), Braun Strowman pulling a 1994 Diesel and killing a buncha guys before being eliminated, Goldberg besting Brock for the second time, and Roman Reigns eliminating The Undertaker and setting up their WrestleMania match (a prospect many are grumbling about but I'm actually fine with - it's something different and maybe we'll see Reigns go heel).  This Rumble match was not unlike the 2001 version in some ways - the surprise entrants were minor but the match had a good amount of star power and primarily served to reinforce the established names.  That's ok as long as a) the build to 'Mania unfolds logically and b) future Rumbles create some new stars.  I have few gripes about this Rumble match, except that the frequency of these two-time Rumble winners is gettin' to be a lot, and it's taking away from the specialness of that achievement.  But that's fairly minor.  Also in our Rumble pool I ended up with Roman Reigns and was ultimately the runner-up (Second time that's happened with Reigns, fourth time overall).


What really made this show stand out was the undercard.  I say without hesitation this was the finest Rumble undercard WWE has ever produced.  Two stellar Title matches and two solid title matches, with not one stinker on the entire PPV (I'm not counting the pre-show - Jax vs. Banks was a throwaway).  One can't really ask for more than that out of a Royal Rumble undercard, which generally trends toward uneven at best.

The Women's Title match opened the show and this was the absolute right move to get the San Antonio crowd invested.  Charlotte vs. Bayley felt like the first match in a series, and they got a respectable 13 minutes to tell a story.  Charlotte is such a major star right now in every facet of her game, it's really quite something to behold.  Bayley still hasn't quite recaptured her NXT magic on the main roster but it'll come.  This match didn't blow the doors off the place but it wasn't designed to - we'll doubtless see numerous superior rematches in the coming months.  For now this felt just about right for its place on the card, and the finish was novel if sudden - Charlotte nailed Natural Selection on the ring apron before rolling Bayley away from the ropes and scoring the pin.  Good opener.

Friday, January 27, 2017

WWE Royal Rumble 2017 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to your official Enuffa.com predictions for the 30th Annual Royal Rumble!  Or as Vince McMahon would like you to call it, "The 30th Anniversary of the Royal Rumble." 


We're about to begin a pretty unpredictable Road to WrestleMania, as only a few matches on that show are set in stone right now (Rollins vs. Triple H, Goldberg vs. Lesnar, and apparently Big Show vs. Shaq????).  Thus the Rumble and the Title pictures on both shows are very hard to call.  Generally speaking that's a good thing, though it does open the door for WWE to make some horrendous creative decisions as they scramble to arrange the pieces on the chess board (see Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, 2016).  But overall I'm pretty jazzed about this show for those reasons, also because WWE is returning to the Alamodome after 20 years.  The 1997 Rumble, though it hasn't aged all that well, was a thoroughly entertaining PPV that felt like a big deal in no small part because of that expansive venue.  They're also extending this show to a four-hour format as they've done with SummerSlam and Survivor Series, so every match should get enough time.

Anyway let's get to the predictions.

***I lead Dan 65/101 to 59/101.***



Pre-Show Match: Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks


I'm actually quite interested in this match and feud so it kinda sucks they're stuck on the Pre-Show.  After finally losing her epic feud with Charlotte, Sasha has run into a brick wall by the name of Nia Jax.  Nia showed great potential in NXT that's blossoming on the main roster, as she's been presented as an unstoppable force.  This match will likely be a typical David vs. Goliath; Jax's dominance vs. Banks's resilience.  The female version of Strowman vs. Zayn, if you will.  If the rumors are true and the WrestleMania plan is a four-way for the Women's belt, this match and feud will need to be booked to make both women look strong.  But I see Nia winning here.

Justin's pick: Nia Jax
Dan's pick: Sure




Pre-show RAW Tag Team Championship: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Club


This'll be a solid tag team brawl.  Sheamus & Cesaro just won the belts a month ago so I don't see them losing already, especially not on the Pre-Show.  Not much else to say about this match.  It'll be fine.

Justin's pick: Sheamus & Cesaro retain
Dan's pick: I hate them putting a Championship match on the pre-show.  Kills whatever prestige these fake championships should have.  S&C should retain.




Pre-show Match: Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya vs. Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi 


Wow, the Smackdown women's roster is actually a full boat.  We have three separate feuds going on right now and this match is a way to advance them all.  Feels a bit like a Saturday Night's Main Event kinda thing, but whatever, it'll be fun.  Mickie James's addition to the roster can only be a good thing - she's still got it by the way (See her match against Asuka for Exhibit A).  Also Nattie's back to being a heel and that makes me happy.  This match will need to establish Nikki as Alexa's next challenger.  So....

Justin's pick: Team Nikki wins
Dan's pick: Team Alexa, because I don't know


Thursday, January 26, 2017

NXT Takeover: San Antonio Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another edition of Enuffa.com Predictions, as my colleague Landon Wayne and I pick apart this Saturday's NXT Takeover special from San Antonio!



The landscape of NXT has gone through quite a number of changes since Toronto, with several new faces added to the mix.  The Women's division in particular is in a rebuilding phase, as Asuka has destroyed everyone in her path since arriving on the scene a year and a half ago.  The Tag Title picture for the first time in about a year isn't focused on The Revival.  The NXT Championship has bounced back and forth between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura (who is right now the sole face of the promotion).  It's an interesting and somewhat unpredictable time on the yellow brand.  So let's take a look at the matchups....



Roderick Strong vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas


Once again poor Almas is being used to put over an NXT newcomer.  They need to figure out something to do with this guy.  He's got the in-ring talent in spades, but his character isn't connecting.  As for Roddy Strong, it should be fun to see how he fares in NXT.  He's an obviously very accomplished indie star with a track record of fantastic bouts and I'm excited to see him interact with Austin Aries when Aries returns.  This match will be a fun opener and a great showcase for Strong.

Justin's pick: Roderick Strong
Landon's pick: This is the one match on the card that I think has the potential to be better than its placement. I have full confidence that these two will be able to make a great match out of what they’re given. I think Almas has a lot to offer the company that he isn’t, though that’s no fault of his. Strong’s place in the company is still to be determined in my mind, and the result of this match will tell all. My prediction is Almas, regardless.




Eric Young vs. Tye Dillinger


Dillinger is another solid hand who seems destined to make incoming guys look good.  I've never been much of an Eric Young fan but the Sanity gimmick is at least intriguing.  This'll be another competitive showcase match with an obvious outcome.

Justin's pick: Eric Young
Landon's pick: Eric Young. Tye needs to be number 10 in the Rumble or there’s gonna be riots.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WWE Royal Rumble Favorites: Who CAN Actually Win

by Dan Moore
@SouthieDanimal


January is Royal Rumble time. My favorite PPV to watch, the Rumble has up to 30 (and sometimes 40) men that enter the squared circle to possibly win a chance to be the WWE Champion. But let’s be realistic. Of the 30 (or sometimes 40) there’s only a handful that actually have a shot to pull off the victory. I mean, as funny as it would be to have watched Drew Carey win (or at least I assume that’s what Vince thought), most of these guys have no chance. Here now are the dudes that might have a shot to be the last man standing at the end of the night.


JB: I'll my adding my two cents to each section, just to annoy everyone.




NAMES BUT NEVER-WILLS

Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, The New Day, Sheamus, Cesaro

These are all the mid tier of the WWE at this point. They’ll all put in a good showing, they’ll all get the crowd going, and they’ll all do something bad ass in the match. But none of them have a chance to win this thing.


JB: I would add Sami Zayn to this group.  He'll have a solid showing and give us all some fighting spirit, but he'll fall short.




LONG SHOTS

Kurt Angle ODDS 100-1
One of the greatest superstars ever. He could potentially end up being a surprise participant in the Rumble, but I put his odds at winning at ZERO.

AJ Styles ODDS 80-1
The man doing the best work week in, week out has to be put on this list. But I expect him to hold onto his Smackdown Title and move onto another feud for 'Mania.

John Cena ODDS 75-1
I mean, he’s always got a shot at it. Always.

Finn Balor ODDS 50-1
Due to come back from injury any time now, it’s not unprecedented to see a returning star win the Rumble in such fashion. However, I don’t see him pulling off the win here. Just doesn’t seem right from the storyline perspective.


JB: If Balor does indeed return on Sunday I'd put him in the group of Contenders, or at least the Possibles.  He'd be pulling a 2008 John Cena or a 2010 Edge.  And it would be awesome.  Also you gotta add Samoa Joe at probably 60-1 odds, as he's a very likely surprise addition.  He's all done with his NXT responsibilities and isn't even booked at Saturday's NXT TakeOver.  He'll be in this Rumble to kill a lotta people, but he won't win.  But it will set up a feud for him with someone, which is gonna be great.  #JoesGonnaKillYou


Monday, January 16, 2017

Movie Review: La La Land

Well Mr. Drinan and I have finally both seen La La Land, the new musical that's getting all kinds of award buzz (along with a host of awards).  Did it live up to the hype?  Mike and I will break it down a little for ya.  ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** 



Justin: Alright let's get into this.  What did you think of La La Land?


Mike: Over. Rated. I don't think it's a bad movie, it's just okay. However, the amount of praise being heaped on this movie, I feel, is undeserved and overblown. It seems like Hollywood is falling over itself because this movie is about Hollywood and LA and plus, it's a musical! Hooray. Okay great, it's a musical, but it's nothing different than what's already been done. Everything about this film is drenched in nostalgia and tribute. I couldn't count how many old time movie posters were hanging on the wall during Emma Stone's number before the ladies went out on the town. Is LA really covered with lamp posts from the 1950s on every corner? Ryan Gosling's wardrobe was also old timey with the wing-tipped shoes. I thought this movie was going to be a modern take on the musical and all I got was a movie that had the 1940s and 50s written all over it.

I found the plot to be generic and boring. What was the plot? Two white people are having a tough time breaking into show business. **Yaaaawn**  No one needs a two-hour musical to realize that show business is tough to break into, so spare me the pity party. Also, the characters barely have any backstory and the script makes them uninteresting to the point that I don't care about them or feel invested in whatever happens to them. All movie long I was waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did. I was bored to tears over this movie.

Now, the music was the best part of this film for me even though I didn't think it was all that great. In fact, there were only two songs in the film that I felt lent anything to the story. The first was "City of Stars." I loved how it was the recurring song throughout the film. The other was Emma Stone's "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)." Other than those two, the film didn't benefit from any of the other musical numbers, they were just spectacle. The opening number made me feel as if I was watching an Old Navy commercial. Plus, there was a long stretch in the middle of the film that didn't have any musical numbers at all. I even wondered to myself, "Wait, is this still a musical?" before the music started up again. It was almost as if the film itself forgot it was a musical at that point.

This film was straight out of the "Old Hollywood" playbook. It was so formulaic and obvious. Again, okay movie but undeserving of all the praise it's getting.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

NJPW WrestleKingdom 11 Review: Greatest Main Event Ever?

Well this was a big deal, folks.  WrestleKingdom 11 was, as expected, a major hit for New Japan, proving unequivocally that they've recovered from the significant talent losses of 2016.  This was as good as PPV as we're likely to see all year.


The big news coming out of WrestleKingdom 11 is that the 2017 Match of the Year has already been decided.  Hell, this may have been the match of the decade.  I almost don't know how to describe it.  I can't remember being this blown away by a wrestling match since the Triple H-Shawn Michaels-Chris Benoit main event at WrestleMania XX.  If anything tops Okada vs. Omega in 2017 (or anytime soon) I can't wait to see it.  This was nearly 47 minutes of just about everything you could ever want out of a main event.  The match started methodically with both men showcasing their grappling skills.  Act 1 lasted roughly 15 minutes and then the match surged to another level, with Act 2 consisting of some of the most insane high spots I've seen since the Attitude Era.  Omega landed a moonsault from the top rope, over the railing to the floor, he took a back body drop over the top rope through a table on the floor, Okada took a Dragon Superplex that looked like it killed him, and so on.  And this was only the second act of the match!  After this the drama actually escalated as both guys tried to put each other away, Omega kicked out of the Rainmaker (joining a very exclusive club) and tried in vain several times to hit the One-Winged Angel before finally falling to the fourth Rainmaker of the match.  Again, this went 47 minutes and didn't feel a moment too long for me.  I've never seen anything like this.  Dave Meltzer awarded this match an unprecedented six stars, and in no way do I consider that hyperbole.  Okada vs. Omega was one of the most incredible wrestling matches I've ever seen in my thirty-plus years as a fan.


The main event was so good in fact that I feel like the rest of the card got unfairly overshadowed.  I had a hard time objectively rating the other nine matches after only one viewing, but I'll do my best....

The show opened with Tiger Mask W (aka Kota Ibushi) vs. Tiger the Dark (aka ACH) in a quick, lighthearted six-minute match.  Nowhere near what these two are capable of, but it wasn't supposed to be.  Ibushi needs to go back to being Ibushi ASAP.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Drinan's Top Ten Albums of 2016

by Michael Drinan
@mdrinan380

With the passing of such great musical icons as Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard and George Michael, it’s really helpful that this year was also filled with really great music to help ease the grief of losing those whose art meant so much to us. It only made sense to make a list of my Top Ten Albums of 2016.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This list was compiled and written before Run The Jewels dropped their album RTJ3 on Christmas Day. Since I have not given it more than 1 ½ listens thus far, out of fairness to the albums that made the list, I had to leave it off. However I’m confident if I had the opportunity to give it more listens, it would have definitely made it; from what I've heard so far, it’s incredible. Okay….on with the list!




10. Metallica - Hardwired...To Self Destruct


Ah yes, I love a good Metallia record and they really delivered on this one, to the point that a lot of Metalli-haters have doubled back and actually given the band a little applause. Impressive since the album really combines all eras of Metallica (even the dreaded 90s era *GASP*) quite seamlessly. Even though there are a few missteps on the album, the songs that are really good leave you with your jaw on the floor. “Moth Into Flame” is surely to be added to the long list of Metallica’s best-written songs and no one leaves “Spit Out the Bone” without screaming out of pure giddiness. These songs keep playing in my head and I rush to put this album on, almost as if I need a daily dose of it to get me through the work day. Also, being a Metallica fan since the “Black Album”, it’s sure nice to have an album to make the “I like ‘old’ Metallica” crowd shut the fuck up for a minute.




9. Kendrick Lamar - untitled. unmastered.


In 2015, Kendrick Lamar released his third studio album To Pimp A Butterfly, which was a stunning work of hip hop, a genre-defining work. Critics and fans praised the album for its infusion of funk, free jazz and hip hop while tackling a wide range of topics like racial disparity, poverty, police violence, and substance abuse. If there were anything more thrilling and fulfilling than that album, it was the performances. Instead of just performing the tracks from the album, Kendrick would perform unreleased songs, tracks that didn’t make the album for a variety of reasons. After a desperate plea from basketball superstar Lebron James to release these songs, Kendrick released this 8-track EP that featured the songs in unmastered, some even unfinished, form. The release showcased Kendrick’s songwriting process to the point where people, including myself, marveled that his throwaway songs are better than most of the finished albums released by other rappers today. The themes he tackles and the way he spins them to make them relevant to himself and relatable to the listener is incomparable. The EP shows how deft a lyricist he is and how well-thought his verses are. It proved that his nickname “King Kendrick” is well deserved.