Top 5 Sports Documentaries

I was going to do my Top 5 Documentaries list when I realized that with the exception of one (Deliver Us from Evil), my Top 5 were all sports docs. The reason for this being that there is no art of film making more pure than the documentary, and no art of humanity more pure than sport.

5. Go Tigers!
Cameras follow the three captains of the Massillon Tigers High School football team through 1999 football season in a town whose reputation rests on these teenage athletes. The doc tells the stories of how far a town is willing to go for its teams, using at times some unethical means. This is definitely recommended viewing for fans of Friday Night Lights.

4. Broad Street Bullies
Old Time Hockey. Three words have never sounded so sweet. BSB is the story of the Philadelphia Flyers teams in the mid 1970s that used grit, tenacity, and just a little bit of goal scoring to win two consecutive Stanley Cup titles.

3. Hoop Dreams
This 1995 documentary follows two inner city basketball players from Chicago as they go through high school and college in their attempts to go pro in the sport they love.

2. Bigger Stronger Faster
In one of the more controversial sports documentaries around, BSF takes a look at steroids and their effect on society. The doc gets a little abstract at times, almost taking a pro-steroids stance as the merits and faults of the issue are discussed.

1. Murderball
This is one of the most emotional films I’ve seen in a long time; MB is the story of the players of the United States Wheelchair Rugby Team and their journey to the Paralympic Games. It chronicles the lives and hardships of the players and what they have done to overcome their obstacles and compete in the brutal sport.


My 50 Cents on 50 Cent

By Matthew Frazier

50 Cent is a rapper who has been shot nine times, is a co-founder of group G-Unit, and now… is potentially skinnier than I am?

The once muscular 50 recently took to his Twitter to post pictures of him looking dramatically leaner, all in the name of a movie role. His dedication in losing weight, which he achieved through an all-liquid diet in addition to a treadmill walk three times a day, is a testament to his new devotion to acting.

Although he has seen success through his popular albums, 50 is joining a league of actors such as Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Renee Zelwegger (Bridget Jones’ Diary) and Matt Damon (Courage Under Fire) who have purposefully undergone weight transformations to bring their character to life.

In 50’s case, he dropped down to a skeletal weight for the film “Things Fall Apart,” in order to portray a Heisman trophy hopeful who is stricken with cancer at the peak of his career, according to MTV News.

Surprisingly, this is not 50’s first time of the big screen and is certainly not his last. He is popularly known for “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” a film based loosely off his debut album. While some might not take a rapper-turned-actor seriously in movie roles, “Things Fall Apart” boasts an all star cast including Mario Van Peebles, Ray Liotta and Lynn Whitfield.

A quick scan of 50’s IMDB page notes his seven upcoming film projects, most of which involved notable actors co-starring: the upcoming “13” also features Mickey Rourke.

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper

Following quickly on the heels of Gary Coleman’s passing yesterday, it has been reported that Dennis Hopper passed away this morning at age 74. According to Reuters, Hopper died from complications with his battle against prostate cancer. Dennis Hopper is most famous for Writing, Directing, and Acting in the 1969 classic, Easy Rider.

You can skim over Hopper’s 200 and some-odd acting credits over his illustrious career and many classics will pop out. He can be seen in Rebel Without A Cause, Cool Hand Luke, Hang ‘Em High, True Grit,  Apocalypse Now, Hoosiers, True Romance, Waterworld, and many others. He also has two upcoming movies, The Last Film Festival & Alpha and Omega. Over the years, Hopper became known as a “Hollywood Hellraiser” marrying 5 times and getting involved in numerous legal suits. Most of our generation probably knows Hopper from the Ameriprise Financial retirement commercials.

In order to properly remember Dennis Hopper, head out to Vulcan Video, Blockbuster, any video store of choice, or log on to Netflix and pick up any one of the movies listed above. It surely wont disappoint, and when you’re done, come back here and let us know what you think of his work.

R.I.P. Gary Coleman

The famed child star died today of intracranial hemorrhaging. He was 42 years old. Coleman was famous for his role as Arnold Jackson on “Growing Pains” and his catch phrase “Whatchu talkin’ bout Willis?”.

Our generation probably knows Coleman more from his stint as a gubernatorial candidate for California, his appearance on “Divorce Court”, getting charged with assault as a security guard, and any number of the other troubles he has gotten into since his fame and fortune. Unfortunately, later in life rather than delivering the punch line, he was the punch line.

If you want to read more about him follow this link.

Lost Art of the Music Video

by Trevor

Gone are the salad days of the music video. The days where Steve Perry and the rest of Journey are singing on a pier have been replaced with Lil Wayne and the rest of Young Money singing to a house full of scantily clad women. The music industry hasn’t only been hurt by the illegal downloading and streaming of music, they have also been burned by the hand that gave a thumbs-up to the plan to make multi-million dollar shoots that, for some reason, involve a camel.

Who is to blame for the lack of creativity in today’s music videos? The consumers have to take at least partial credit. Lionel Richie wasn’t out to sell Jheri Curl formula and Steven Tyler wasn’t out to sell lip gloss the way that Jay-Z is out to sell RocaWear clothing and All Time Low is out to sell Glamour Kills shoes. Musicians used to make their money on music. Nowadays, musicians have their hands in several different pots trying ever valiantly to get that house in the Hamptons they have had their eye on.

Certainly the rise and fall of MTV has something to do with the downturn of music videos as well. Bands in the late 80’s/ early 90’s would work their asses off to get the exposure that a Yo! MTV Raps! or a HeadBangers Ball would provide whereas today all it takes is a HandyCam and an internet connection to surpass a million hits. There is no benchmark for “making it” anymore the way that hearing your song on the radio or seeing your video on television used to be. The only thing that can come close to that in the industry today is to reach a million plays on MySpace.

Another unfortunate victim of the death of the video is the live shows. Acts like Alice Cooper and Meatloaf used to make a production out of a set. There would be pyrotechnics, lightshows, and three act plays to accompany the music that put the people in the seats. Now, there are backup dancers grinding to a singer who half-heartedly lip syncs their way through another song created in a studio somewhere.

Luckily for us, bands like OK Go have ditched the practices sent forth by their contemporaries and created videos that can be enjoyed even with the sound off. They recognize the power of the viral video and embrace the new technology. The music video for their song “Here It Goes Again” was the driving force behind the song breaking many a top 20 countdown and propelling the band to international stardom.

Hollywood: An Obituary

by Trevor Carter

Here lies the movie industry. It’s once glorious run cut down in its prime by cable television. The movie industry is survived by Jujubes, overly buttered popcorn, and whatever other overpriced treat no self respecting individual would eat outside of a theatre. Cable television, sensing an opening, struck early and often to bring down the mighty behemoth and claim the spot as the Entertainment Mecca to which millions of bored Americans flock to.

Let me begin doling out the blame/praise by first commending television on doing their part in stepping up the stakes. Cable shows like AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad paired along with network broadcasts such as NBC’s Community and 30 Rock have become appointment viewing. For the price of two tickets to see whatever Kate Hudson’s flop du jour may be, the American public can see four hours each of what Don Draper and Liz Lemon are up to in their vaguely accurate worlds. Television producers and networks know that they have to put the best product out there so that they can live to see a second season, or else they will be packing their offices and trying to move to another network they can attempt to sink. They are aware of the hundreds of other options that consumers have in front of them and are desperately fighting for the ever-valuable Nielsen Rating.

Hollywood can’t say their own blood isn’t on their hands. Movies which in an earlier era could be characterized as “B Movies” are complete with $50 million budgets and A-List actors. They don’t care about critical acclaim, they are only after the dollar sign. They know that they can create one good movie and be set for life. Nic Cage is still riding the wave of Leaving Las Vegas even after the flops that were Bangkok Dangerous and Knowing. Directors are also given the same leeway. Personal hero and indie Filmmaker Kevin Smith gets to create Jersey Girl and the aptly titled Cop Out all because he made the cult classic Clerks.

And so, it is with that we bid you adieu Hollywood, you will be missed.