Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Canon Review List-A-Mania, Top 5 Al Pacino Movies

One thing I have found out in writing this blog is that I suck at introductions. Well, I'm going to keep it simple this time. I like movies, I like Al Pacino, so I am compiling a list of his top 5 movies according to me. Al Pacino is one of my favorite actors, just behind DeNiro, so this will not be an easy task. There will be a few movies left out that you may disagree with, and there are a few I have yet to see, so I can't form a proper opinion on it yet. But, nevertheless, here are the top 5 movies featuring Al Pacino.

Honorable Mention:

Carlito's Way, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Insider, Scent of a Woman - I haven't seen any of these films, although I have heard good things about each one.

Scarface - Yes, this was a good movie, and Pacino was great in it. But to me it dragged on too long, it was hard to like any of the characters, and the ending was over-the-top and a little ridiculous.

Heat - I might get some "heat" for this one, but it's my list. Actually, I liked this movie a lot, it's just that I felt that Pacino was in better movies. I guess this would be number 6 on my list.

The Godfather 3 - Pacino was great in this film, the problem was the script wasn't nearly up to par of the first two Godfathers and Sofia Coppola wasn't a good actress at all. However, I think this movie takes more of a beating than it deserves, simply because of the comparison to the other two Godfather films. If this was the only Godfather film, it would be more well-regarded.

The List:

5. Donnie Brasco - It was a tough call between this movie and Heat, but ultimately I went with Donnie Brasco. Pacino did a great job playing Lefty in the movie, a mafia hitman who has seen better days and really wants to leave the lifestyle, but the only way out for Lefty is death. Even though Lefty is a man that has killed many people in cold blood, Pacino makes us somehow feel sympathetic towards him. Johnny Depp also did a great job in this movie as the undercover FBI Agent who must turn on a man that ultimately became his friend and mentor, and will mean doom for Lefty. Both Pacino and Depp are able to play their roles with conviction and you can really feel what emotions the characters are going through thanks to the excellent acting of these two men. It's a little long, but it never drags at any point. Personally, I think this was Pacino's best performance in the last 20 years, because unlike other later Pacino movies where he screams the whole time, he's able to play Lefty with a subtle, understated touch. Just a great movie, and one I feel is slightly underrated.

4. Dog Day Afternoon - Pacino was at his peak in this movie, and if the role of Sonny Wortzik was played by anybody else other than Pacino, this movie wouldn't be nearly as good as it is. Just the perfect marriage of actor and character in this film. Just an awesome performance here by Pacino, and John Cazale was great as Pacino's partner in crime, Sal, acting as the perfect low-key contrast to the manic Sonny. Director Sidney Lumet did a great job of telling this story and conveying the danger and the realism involved in this bank-heist turned hostage situation. Just a great movie, if you haven't seen it you should see it as soon as possible.

3. Serpico - Another movie directed by Sidney Lumet, Serpico is the story of Frank Serpico, a New York City cop who became vilified by his fellow officers because he refused to become corrupt. In another actor's hands, this movie is just another run of the mill corrupt cop film, but Pacino nailed every aspect of the multi-dimensional character of Frank Serpico, taking the movie to a whole-new level. The movie does a great job of portraying Serpico's struggle with the corruption of the NYPD, the conflict within as to whether or not he should just go with the flow, his attempts to stop the corruption without losing his job, or even worse, and how the stress affected his relationships in his personal life. Pacino also does a great job of portraying Serpico's eccentricities without going over-the-top with it. Just a great performance by Pacino, and a great movie overall.

2. The Godfather Part 1 - What can I say, this is one of the greatest movies of all time. Pacino does a wonderful job as Michael Corleone, transforming from the young peaceful man returning from war into the ruthless head of the Corleone crime family, avenging the deaths of his brother and father and eliminating all threats to his empire. The scene where Michael enters the restaurant and eventually kills Sollozzo and his bodyguard is one of the most tense and compelling scenes in film history. The actors were great in their roles, particularly James Caan as Sonny Corleone, the directing was great, and the plot was magnificent. However, there is one Pacino movie better.

1. The Godfather Part 2 - Everything about this film is nearly perfect, from Pacino's portrayal as an increasingly paranoid man who gains control over his business while losing control of his life, to Diane Keaton's performance as Michael Corleone's wife Kay, a woman who never wanted the lifestyle of a mafia wife and comes to despise the very same man she fell in love with years ago. Not to mention John Cazale's performance as Fredo and Lee Strasburg as Hyman Roth. What pushes this movie over the top is Robert Deniro's performance as a young Vito Corleone, and the masterful job done by Coppala of telling both the stories of Vito's rise to the top and Michael's never ending struggle to build on his father's legacy. This is Pacino's greatest movie, and might be the greatest movie of all time.

Well, there you have it, the top 5 Al Pacino Movies. You may agree, or disagree, and that's fine. If you have any ideas for future reviews, lists, posts, or whatever, than feel free to e-mail them to So until next time, remember these words of wisdom,  "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer".

Friday, February 26, 2010

Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, Game 7, 1969 NBA Finals (4th Quarter)

Hey, I haven't done one of these in a while. I thought about watching a complete game, but I wanted to do other things, so instead I decided to watch the 4th quarter of the 7th game of the 1969 NBA Finals instead. The game matched the Boston Celtics against the Los Angeles Lakers, and the court was full of legends. The Lakers had center Wilt Chamberlain, forward Elgin Baylor, and guard Jerry West. You could make the argument that these are three of the top 10 players of all time, and each player was either in or near his prime. For the Celtics, there was center Bill Russell, one of the top five players of all-time, as well as Hall of Famers Sam Jones, and John Havlicek. Quite frankly, these two teams were loaded. The Celtics and Lakers matched up in the finals seven times in 11 years, from 1959-1969, and the Celtics won each of the first six. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, it seemed that Boston was on its way to another championship over the Lakers, as the Celts held a 91-76 lead. A few notes from this historic quarter.

- Early in the 4th, Russell, Jones, and Havlicek picked up their fifth fouls. Meaning that the Celts' three best players played most of the quarter in foul trouble. Jones fouled out with 6 and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter (in his last NBA game, by the way), but Russell and Havlicek were able to stay in, but it did make both players less aggressive on the defensive end.

- Russell was not only the star center of the Celtics, he was also the head coach. There's no way in hell we will ever see a player-coach in the NBA again, but to be honest, I think it might be able to work. Who's to say that a player like Steve Nash or Tim Duncan can't both play and run their team at the same time? It wouldn't work in football, but in a free-flowing sport like basketball, I think it just might be able to work. Besides, a player-coach couldn't be much worse than a lot of these coaches in the NBA today.

 - As I said earlier, the Celtics held a big lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Lakers were able to make a run and get right back into the game. I should say that Jerry West went on a run and single-handedly brought the Lakers back into the game. I think he scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, making nearly every shot and making plays on the defensive end. The Celtics guards couldn't stop West one-on-one, so they had to double and sometimes even triple-team him. West still found a way to score, though, even with a sore hamstring. I guess that's why they called West "Mr. Clutch".

- Wilt Chamberlain's performance in this quarter was interesting, to say the least. Chamberlain started the quarter with five fouls, and since Chamberlain was determined to never foul out in a game, he played soft defense on Russell for the rest of the quarter. Russell also had to play back on Chamberlain due to his foul trouble, but neither team pounded the ball down low too much in the fourth, which I found perplexing. The Lakers went to West to bring them back into the game, instead of Chamberlain, only the most prolific scorer of his time. The Celtics, meanwhile, went to Havlicek and guards Larry Sigfreid and Em Bryant, and struggled with their shooting. However, since Russell wasn't a dominant scorer, that's more understandable. Then Wilt hurt his leg jumping up for a rebound, which leads to my next point.

- Chamberlain had to come out to rest his game. The Lakers put in backup Mel Counts, and right away the Lakers became a different team, getting out on the fast break quicker and picking up the pace on the tired Celtics. In a move that would be questioned for years, Lakers coach Bill Van Brenda Koff kept Counts in for the rest of the game, keeping his superstar on the bench in the final minutes of Game 7 of the Finals. There have been different theories as to why Van Brenda Koff took this course of action. Van Brenda Koff said that he felt they were doing just fine without Wilt. Other sources have suggested that Van Brenda Koff was sticking it to Wilt, since the two had been feuding for the entire season (Wilt was a notorious coach-killer, getting many of his coaches fired for various reasons). Others have said that Wilt refused to come back in, a charge that Chamberlain denied. Whatever the reason, Van Brenda Koff resigned after the series, and Wilt was further maligned for being an underachieving loser.

- The Lakers got the score to 103-102, and then after both teams exchanged turnovers and missed shots, Don Nelson got the ball after it was tipped away from another Celtic. Nelson, who currently coaches the Golden State Warriors, launched a shot from the free throw line. The ball hit the back of the rim, bounced at least five feet in the air, and dropped in the basket, giving the Celtics a three point lead. The Celtics never looked back after that, winning 108-106 (Laker guard Johnny Egan hit a field goal at the buzzer to bring the deficit to two), after Havlicek and Larry Sigfried closed the game out with clutch free throws. The Celtics, and Bill Russell, won their 11th Championship in 13 years, a record that will never, ever, ever be matched for the rest of the NBA's existence.

- When teams win a championship today, there's a huge celebration on the court, confetti goes flying everywhere, official NBA Championship hats and shirts are passed out, and people are jumping up and down and dancing in a mad frenzy. Forty years ago, after the buzzer went off, the Celtics just jogged back to the locker room, preferring to celebrate in private. There were no T-shirts, no confetti, just a team that wanted to get back to the locker room. A couple of Celtics didn't even smile as they went to back. The announcers didn't even seem that excited. Just the total opposite of what you would see today. I find that interesting.

- Bill Russell was interviewed just after the game in the locker room. The guy looked totally exhausted, more relived that he hadn't lost than excited over the victory, if that makes sense. The announcer asked him a simple "how does it feel" question, and an emotional Russell had to take a couple of seconds to hold back tears before he talked about having a great team, saying before the game that he wouldn't have traded any one of them, that he was so happy to share this with such a great group. Today, you see a team win a title and people might say similar statements, but I wonder if they say that because they mean it or because it's what people expect them to say. With Russell, there was no question about it, it was real. The drive to win, the camaraderie he had with his team, and the realization of all of the hard work put in to achieve their ultimate goal. Just watching that interview, you could tell that that was all real. Russell never played another game after this one, choosing to retire as both player and coach after the season. It's been said about a lot of players over the years, but Bill Russell truly left all he had on the court that night.

So, there's your recap of the 4th quarter of Game 7 between the Lakers and Celtics. It was quite an interesting game to watch, and it's somewhat hard to believe how different the game was back then. There was no three point line, a lot more moving without the ball and help defense, and less dunks and no-look passes. I'm not saying the game was better back then, I'm just saying it was played different, that's all. If you have any ideas for future reviews, then send them to me via e-mail at Whatever your idea is, a movie, a video game, a cereal, a review of carpentry tools, whatever you suggest, I'll try my hardest to write about it and review it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Canon Review's Winter Olympic Review so far

Over the past week and a half, I have been enthralled with the Winter Olympics, even if I don't really understand half of the events. Since I really couldn't come up with anything else to talk about, I have decided that now is as good a time as any to give some quick impressions on the Winter Olympics thus far.

- The Olympics have been somewhat of a disappointment for the Canadians. For one, their stated goal to "Own the Podium" (a rather cocky statement, by the way) hasn't been going the way they may have wanted. The first week was especially rough, and even though Canada can still finish with the most gold medals, it will not be able to outmedal the United States overall. In fact, if anybody has been owning the podium, it's the good ol' U.S.A. But that's nothing compared to the debacle at the opening ceremonies. During the lighting of the Olympic Torch, there was supposed to be four giant posts rising out of the ground. However, one of the posts got stuck, leading to mass confusion for a few minutes and a pissed-off looking Wayne Gretzky. Finally they just decided screw it, and lit the three torches that had risen up. In the end, it still looks decent, but what a bad time for a mechanical error.

- Speaking of Canada, I have developed a healthy dislike for their men's hockey team. I don't know exactly why, and I don't have a problem with any Canadians in other sports, but for some reason their hockey team grates me so much that I was actually rooting for Russia today. It seemed to me that all the Canadian fans felt that their team should just be rewarded the Gold Medal already and we don't even have to have this tournament, because Canada Rules, eh! However, the U.S. knocked the Canadians down a few pegs Sunday, thanks to some spectacular goaltending from Ryan Miller. The Canadians responded by beating Germany 8-2, running up the score and overcompensating like a man with a large car and a small penis. Then they beat the stuffing out of Russia earlier today 7-3. What struck me the most is that Russia's defensemen are terrible, as they couldn't clear the puck out of their zone to save their lives. But since Canada beat an outgunned German team and a flawed Russian team, everyone is back to thinking Canada's golden again, and the the U.S. team should just leave right now or they will be hammered into the ground like a railroad spike. We will see Canada, we will see. That is, if Canada can beat Slovakia and the U.S. can beat Finland in the next round.

- Speaking of hockey, I have heard America's win over Canada being described as another "Miracle on Ice", like the 1980 Olympics where the US beat the Soviet Union. Well, it's nothing like that, as this US team is full of professionals that play in the NHL at a high level beating another team full of NHL players, not a bunch of college hockey players beating a team that had trained together for years and featured some of the best players of their era, players that would dominate the NHL had the Soviet government allowed them to play. Sure, it was an upset, but not a monumental upset, and it's quite possible that the Americans will beat the Canadians again.

- Let's talk about men's figure skating, shall we? There's a big brouhaha over the judging, as many people felt that defending gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko of Russia deserved the gold over American Evan Lysacek, due to the fact that Plushenko hit a quadruple jump (which I think means four spins in a jump) and Lysacek did not. The judges felt that Lysacek's program was more well-rounded than Plushenko, which Plushenko and Vladamir Putin think is a bunch of crap. Nevermind that Lysacek landed all of his jumps cleanly while Plushenko had a rough landing, because that doesn't matter to Plushenko because he did one thing Lysacek didn't. Plushenko, whom, at least in my eyes, acts as if the world should revolve around him, is in such denial that he created a platinum medal. While I admire his ingenuity, it is the act of a sore loser, kind of like Russell from Survivor making a website declaring him the real winner. Come to think of it, I think Plushenko would do real well on Survivor, but I digress. Look, I don't know how they score these things, but to me, Lysacek had the better program, hit all of his jumps cleanly and had a more even program, unlike Plushenko who front-loaded his program with jumps and basically did spins during the last minute of his performance. In my view, Lysacek deserved the gold.

- It's good to see speedskater Shani Davis and skier Bode Miller do well for the U.S. Each man has won a gold medal, and Miller has a chance to be the first skier to win four medals in one Olympics. Both men have been criticized, unfairly I think, by sportswriters and columnists. Since most of these writers are idiots that barely know a sport such as football, much less speedskating, I am fully in support of Davis and Miller shutting these guys up once and for all.

- Curling seems like an interesting sport, too bad the U.S. aren't very good at it. Both the men's and women's curling team finished in last place, with curling enthusiasts heavily criticizing men's skipper John Scuster. The skipper is the captain of the curling team, so to speak, and ends up each end taking the last two shots. Well, it seemed as if Shuster was curling's answer to JaMarcus Russell, missing key shots in a spectacularly bad manner and actually getting demoted during the middle of the tournament, a move that hardly ever happens in the sport.  Things went so bad that the US Olympic Committee is seriously considering changing their selection process for the 2014 games. I don't know what that process is, but this is huge.

- The weirdest sport, at least to me, was ice dancing. In this sport, you have teams of one guy and one girl performing a dance routine on ice. The finals were on Monday and they were, interesting. A lot of these teams are brother-sister combos, making some of their dance moves seem quite creepy. There was a team that skated to a Linkin Park song, which I'm sure was Linkin Park's goal when they first started playing music. The strangest routine probably had to be the Israeli duo skating to the theme from Schindler's List. It was interesting, and I'll just leave it at that.

Well, that's my half-assed recap of the Winter Olympics thus far. I'm sure I missed a lot, as I never got to watch the biathlon, but oh well. If you would like to complain about this post, feel free to comment on it. If you have any other ideas on reviews or any feedback on the Canon Review in whole, then feel free to e-mail me at Thanks for reading, and Canada sucks, or at least their hockey team does.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's talk about Brakus

A few months ago, before the formation of the Canon Review, I was doing a series of "video challenges", in which someone would challenge me to watch videos on a certain subject (i.e.matches of Barry Windham, 80s fast food commercials, etc.) After a while, I stopped doing them. The reason I stopped is because I was asked to watch three videos of Brakus, and well, I didn't want to do that. Well, today I make up for my previous laziness, as I finally take the challenge laid down by my friend Sonny Bone. I will watch Brakus videos. In case you don't know, Brakus was a German bodybuilder who some people, including the WWF, thought would make a great wrestler. Unfortunately Brakus, despite possessing an impressive physique, couldn't wrestle worth a crap, and couldn't speak the English language, which slightly limited his expertise on the mic. Brakus wasn't around very long, having only a few matches in the USWA and the WWF, and a guest apperarnce in ECW. There are only a few videos of Brakus wrestling on the World Wide Web, but trust me, there is more than enough. Let's begin the pain, shall we?

Brakus vs. two jobbers (USWA 1997)

The video starts with Brakus and the USWA champion Spellbinder walking towards the announce table. Spellbinder is attired in all leather and wears face paint around his eyes. He also looks as if he is familiar with "performance enhancers", so to speak. Anyway, since Brakus can't speak English well, Spellbinder does the talking with Lance Russell, the USWA announcer. Spellbinder says something about how big they are how dominant he and Brakus will be or something. Brakus takes off his vest to show off his pecs and biceps, and they show a highlight from a previous Brakus match, in which Brakus gives some guy a sidewalk slam and Spellbinder plays it up as if it's the most devastating thing he's ever seen in the ring. The two are scheduled for a tag match, but Spellbinder decides that Brakus can handle these guys himself, so he'll sit this one out. So it's Brakus against TD Steel and some other black guy. Brakus destroys the first guy with his gorilla press and awe inspiring sidewalk slam. He goes for the cover, but Brakus decides that's not enough, and he launches TD Steel into the ring. He delivers the sidewalk slam to Steel, puts him on top of the other guy, and covers the whole pile of guys for the three count. Afterwards, we are treated to more words from the Spellbinder, who insults Brian Christopher for eating at KFC and calls Brakus and himself statues. They definitely move like statues. Well, that was exciting.

Brakus is coming!!!

Here is a promo video the WWF shot of Brakus, introducing him to the unsuspecting public. Brakus says something about Hunter Hearst Helmsley for some reason, saying he's going to rip out his heart and throw it into oncoming traffic or something like that. As far as I know, we never got to see Brakus-Helmsley, which is a darn shame.

Brakus vs. Taz (ECW Cyberslam 1998)

ECW brought in Brakus as part of Lance Wright's war against ECW using WWF wrestlers. Brakus is accompanied to the ring by Wright, and WWF wrestlers Darren Drozdov, and Doug Furnas. The crowd chants "Steroids" towards Brakus, and rightfully so. I mean, I don't know if he ever did steroids, but as Terrell Owens once said, if it looks like a duck, talks like a duck . . . Taz comes out to generic sounding music, meaning that this video is obviously a re-dub. Brakus is described by Joey Styles as a world-class athlete, and Taz is described as a world-class miserable human being. Early on, Taz decides to stiff Brakus with some nasty looking crossface forearm shots. Brakus is undeterred, and powerbombs Taz. He then walks around the ring for a while before deciding to powerbomb Taz again. Droz sets up a table in the corner. Brakus tries to slam Taz thrrough it but WAITAMINUTE! Taz escapes, and T-Bone suplexes Brakus through the table. Brakus nearly lands on Taz's face after the move, which I imagine would have hurt Taz somewhat. Both men get up, Brakus tries a gorilla press, but Taz escapes, and deliveres a nasty looking German Suplex to Brakus, as Brakus landed on his neck. Taz hooks in the Tazmission, Brakus taps, and the match ends with Taz swearing at the camera. A short match, but rather hard-hitting, I would say. Brakus is never heard from in ECW again after this. Probably for the best.

Brakus vs. Savio Vega (Brawl for All 1998)

The Brawl for All was an idea that, well, sucked. The WWF, in an attempt to make their sport seem more legit, put together a 16-man tournament where wrestlers, most of which were curtain jerkers,  would fight for real. The results were a bunch of sloppy looking fights. In this fight, Brakus takes on Savio Vega, the leader of the Los Boricuas. In the first of three two-minute rounds, Brakus gets a crappy looking takedown, but Savio lands about 5 solid punches to Brakus' big head. The scoring is so stupid that they give Brakus the same amount of points for his one takedown that they give Savio for consistently beating upon Brakus and controlling the fight. In the second round, Savio continues his onslaught, breaking Brakus' nose at one point. The third round is largely the same. It's obvious that Brakus is not a trained boxer, as he landed no punches and kept keeping his hands down, leaving his face wide open. To Brakus's credit, he didn't get knocked out, as Savio landed some pretty heavy shots, but Brakus stayed up. Savio wins, and I believe this was Brakus' last activity in the WWF. Not the way you would want to leave, for sure.

So, there you have it. I just talked about Brakus matches. They were about as bad as I expected, but that's okay. Remember, if you have any ideas for future reviews or posts, or if you have any feedback on the Canon Review, than let me know via e-mail at To end things, here is a video I mentioned earlier introducing Brakus.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canon Video Game Review: WCW Nitro (Play Station)

Over the years, I have amassed a pretty decent video game collection. Sure, I don't have like 1,000 games or anything, but it's a healthy amount. Most of the games I get, I don't really remember off hand where I got them or when I got them, but I do remember how I (or really, my brother and I) got WCW Nitro for the PlayStation. It was a Sunday a few weeks into 1998. I think it may have been the first Sunday of February, but I'm not totally sure. Anyway, we were going to get it on the Saturday before, since we were lead to believe that was the release date, but the EB Games in the Anderson Mall wouldn't sell it until Sunday unless you had a pre-order, and they were the only place that we knew had the game. So, we had to wait until Sunday, and the store wouldn't open until noon. So my dad took my brother and I up to the mall. The store wasn't open when we got there, but there were a few guys waiting outside the store. We waited for a few minutes, no more than 10 minutes, until the store was open and we were able to buy the game. My brother and I went home. played it for a few hours until we got tired of it, and that was that. The next day at school, me and my friends spent pretty much the entire health class doing nothing but talking about the game, comparing notes and so on. I believe my friend Sonny even brought the game with him. I don't remember why, but I'm sure he had a good reason.

So, since I remember getting this game so fondly, you would think that this must be one heck of a game. That couldn't be farther from the truth. This game sucked wicked hardcore. There were a limited amount of modes to play, and the roster was somewhat limited, so there was only so much you could do with the game. Add to that the bad gameplay, bad graphics, and limited moveset of each wrestler and well, let's just say we got tired of it rather quickly. After a few weeks, if I wanted to play a wrestling game, I would just skip Nitro and go back to the superior WCW vs. the World instead.

Since I needed something to review, however, I decided it might be a good idea to play WCW Nitro once again and see just how bad it is. I admit, I put off this task for the better part of two weeks, but over the weekend I finally got the nerve to put in Nitro and play it until I could no longer stand it. That did not take long, but I think I played enough of it to get the essence, the experience if you will, of play WCW Nitro.

When you turn on the game, a video intro of WCW action is played. That is the best part of the game, not because it's a particularly good video, but at least it's something that doesn't completely suck. Anyway, there are two types of matches you can play, singles and tag-team. That's it. Now a days, it'd be unfathomable to include just two match modes in a wrestling game, but 1998 was a simpler time folks. You can also play in a tournament, either as a singles wrestler or a tag team. In tournament mode, you play a few matches against random opponents. If you win all your matches, you become champion and a video is played. Yippie! The most memorable part about WCW Nitro, at least to me, is the wrestler rants at the wrestler selection screen. Most of them are rather cheesy, and for some reason Hollywood Hogan sounds as if he's in an empty soda can. Since my friend SonnyBone was nice enough to upload all of them to YouTube, you can watch them all right here:

Wasn't that great? Only the 16 main characters get a rant, sparing us Sonny Oono and Santa Claus (yes Santa's a hidden character) telling us why we should select them. Plus, Eddie Guerrero and Alex Wright get two, due to their bilingual skills. Once you select your wrestler is where things start falling apart. For one, if you choose a tag match or have a wrestler interfere in a singles match, be prepared for a massive slowdown. The geniuses behind this game apparently don't know how to program for more than two wrestlers on the screen without lag. That ruins the game experience just a little bit. The graphics are less than stellar, in fact, they're pretty bad even for 1998 standards. The movements are rather choppy, the animations are awkward looking at best, and the crowd looks as if it was drawn by a dog in five minutes. Other than that, it looks great.

The sound is questionable at best. The commentary of Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan is just terrible. They both yell everything and say no more than four words at a time. They use the same phrase for each move, and since there are about 20 moves overall, they get pretty repetitive. The background music in the game is overpowering, and not very good music at that. Plus, the sounds that each move makes are bewildering. For example, someone thought it would be a good idea to chew an apple, and make that the sound of the abdominal stretch. No abdominal stretch in the history of wrestling has ever sounded like an apple being chewed, but by God, that didn't stop these geniuses.

Now let's get to the gameplay. It sucks. There's no real skill involved, as you just hit a couple of buttons and hopefully the game will reward you by letting you hit the move instead of your opponent. It doesn't matter if you hit the buttons quicker than your opponent, instead the game just decides at random whether to allow you to do the move or not. In the short time I played, there were quite a few times where I know I hit the right buttons, only nothing happened. The game is based more on luck than skill. Meanwhile, the moveset in the game is rather limited. Every wrestler gets three signature moves, and then everybody shares the same 15 moves or so. So everybody from Miss Elizabeth to The Giant can do powerbombs, bodyslams, and belly-to-belly suplexes at the same level. I particularly enjoyed Pee Wee Anderson's hurracanrana, that was something else. Moreover, the CPU's logic is rather interesting, to be kind. The CPU kept wanting to climb the turnbuckle, no matter what the situation or wrestler. The CPU also liked to play a game of cat-and-mouse, running out of the ring at frequent times and generally doing their best to stay away from you. This tends to make the game even more frustrating than it already is.

Overall, WCW Nitro is one bad game. There's hardly any reason to play it, even for nostalgic purposes, unless you want to torture yourself or something. Even when it came out, it was a bad game, and it certainly hasn't gotten any better over the last 11 years. The graphics are bad, the sound is atrocious, and the gameplay makes me want to vomit with rage. It will probably be another 10 years, at least, before I play this game again, and if I do play it again it will only serve to remind me about how bad this game is. However, I did enjoy it for the first couple of hours I played it way back when, so I guess for nostalgic purposes, I'll give the game a 2.45305 out of ten, instead of the 1.1 it probably deserves. If anybody has any ideas for future reviews or feedback on this here blog, then let me know at To wrap things up, here's the commercial for WCW Nitro, which is just about as bad as the game.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

When sports teams produce bad music videos

This post is inspired, so to speak, by Monday's post which featured the music video Let's Go Mets. If you haven't seen it, well, it's pretty bad. But the Mets were far from alone. One of the most disturbing trends from the 1980s is that sports teams felt the need to produce music videos. Apparently, they though just because someone can hit a ball real far or run real fast, they could also sing and dance. This mentality produced some of the cheesiest videos to come out of the 80s, which is really saying something. Below is just a few samples of this phenomenon.

The Super Bowl Shuffle (1985 Chicago Bears)

The original, and most well known of these videos, is the Super Bowl Shuffle. This video was recorded some six weeks or so before the Super Bowl. Fortunately for the Bears, they made the Super Bowl, otherwise they would have looked like fools. Well, some of them already look like fools. Watch out for Steve Fuller (#4), as he dances like he's high on meth. Also, he's not a good rapper. Also, watch for the punter (Maury Buford) playing the cowbell. Even in music videos, the punter gets no respect. This video is missing one thing, and that is Steve McMichael. Imagine what Mongo could come up with in this video.

Baseball Boogie (1986 Los Angeles Dodgers)

First of all, check out those jackets. Nothing says macho more than a pink satin jacket. The star of this video has to be Orel Hershiser (the white guy in the blue jacket). Orel may have been a heck of a pitcher, but he had to be one of the worst dancers to be put on camera. I'm not much of a dancer myself, but I hope and pray I could do better moves than Orel, particularly that creepy shoulder shimmy at the beginning.

Silver and Black Attack (1986 Los Angeles Raiders)

This is one of the most repetitive songs in the world. They play the chorus at least 12 times. Who decided to make this video almost seven minutes long anyway. I don't know who the best rapper is, but the worst is either coach Tom Flores or Todd Christiensen (#46). Also, I like how Matt Millen (#55) is the only guy in the video that was wearing a hat. He also goes through his rap with the enthusiasm of a man buying hemorrhoid cream.

Ram It (1986 Los Angeles Rams)

Words do this song no justice. I will say that Nolan Cromwell (#21) gets the award for "Guy most out of place" in this video. Surely someone must have thought that "Ram It" might be an euphemism for something else. I guess they either didn't care or found it funny and just left the video as is. 

There are others, but I have suffered enough for one day, and I'm sure you have too. If you have any ideas for future posts or reviews, then e-mail them to me at Remember everyone, if you can ram it just right, you can ram it all day and ram it all night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

WCW Monday Nitro: February 21, 2000

I got up somewhat early today, so instead of doing something productive, I decided to go on YouTube and watch an old WCW Monday Nitro. This episode is from February of 2000, which means that it will more than likely suck. Here is a recap of what I saw.

- This episode takes place the night after Superbrawl 2000, which was highlighted by Tank Abbott holding a knife to his opponent and threatening to kill him. At least that was the highlight for me. The show starts with Mean Gene Okerlund in the ring, ready to welcome "this man", whoever that is. Lex Luger comes out wearing a FUBU shirt, which is the exact moment FUBU became uncool. Luger tries to not stumble over his words and complains that he should have beat Hulk Hogan last night. Hulk Hogan comes out, says he and Luger should wrestle tonight and that he came prepared with an "18-foot high steel cage" hanging above the ring. So Hogan and Luger in a cage is your main event this evening.

- They show a clip of Jarrett hitting a wheelchair bound Kevin Nash with a guitar last week. Jeff Jarrett and the Harrises come out with four women that they show on screen for 2 seconds. You know, if you're going to pay these women to show up, you could at least give them a few more seconds of air time. Anyway, Jarrett complains he should have won the World Title last night against Sid and Scott Hall, he's got stroke, blah, blah, blah. He pulls out a contract stating that if he didn't win at Superbrawl, he gets a 1-on-1 match with the champion. It was signed by commissioner Kevin Nash, the same man Jarrett clobbered just last week. Huh? Jarrett concludes by saying he's going to unleash the Harris boys upon WCW tonight. Oh no.

- Backstage, Kidman can't find his camera, while Madusa, wearing Tommy Hilfiger overalls, is mad over her lack of a match this evening. She blames Oklahoma, then destroys the white board with all the matches on it.

- We finally have a match, as the camera-less Kidman comes out to face Lash Leroux. Kidman lands on his head after a Lash headscissors. The match ends abruptly as the Harris Brothers run out. They beat up on the two cruiserweights, and give Kidman the H-Bomb, which according to Mark Madden destroys everything within a 20 foot radius. How a crappy double choke slam can be that destructive, I have no idea. Anyway, the Harris brothers walk to the back yelling about something. Meanwhile, Kidman's camera catches Buff Bagwell trying to hit on The Maestro's girlfriend, Symphony. Buff is rejected, and tells Symphony not to mention any of this.

- Vampiro comes out, he lost to Kidman last night. Out comes Finlay in gray camouflage, and we have a match. The match is wild and wooly, as Finlay bashes Vampiro's throat into a chair on the outside. They get back in, and Vampiro takes the advantage. At one point, he basically dives back first into Finlay in some sort of reverse Thesz press. Vampiro motions for the Nail in the Coffin, but Finlay stiffly clotheslines him. Finlay however, gets rolled up after missing a charge into the turnbuckle, and Vampiro wins the match. Finlay does not like this turn of events, and tombstones Vampiro.

- Backstage, the Maestro is beating up on Buff, Buff is unhappy that The Maestro hit him in the face. Meanwhile, La Parka is reading a newspaper when Madusa propositions him.

- Mean Gene interviews Booker, who's upset over losing his music and his T (seriously, he lost the letter T to Ahmed "Big T" Johnson). He says he's ready for war against Big Vito. Vito and the rest of the Marmalukes come out. Disco is confused, because in the space of thirty seconds, the match has been changed to Booker vs. Disco Inferno. Disco then changes the match to a handicap match, Booker vs. the Marmalukes for their World Tag Team Titles. Booker answers by cracking Disco in the mouth, and the match is on. So we have one man fighting for the Tag Team Titles. OK then. Booker wallops on everybody for 90 seconds before Disco throws him off the top rope for the DQ. The Marmalukes are stomping on Booker. To make things even better, the Harris Brothers come out. They destroy the Marmalukes and give Disco the H-Bomb, then deliver an H-Bomb to Booker. The Harrises stand strong. Why WCW would put this much effort into building up a Tag Team that nobody would ever buy a ticket to see, I'll never know.

-To the back, where Mean Gene is standing with Terry Funk and Dustin Rhodes, who have a match with the two biggest bad asses in WCW, the Harris Brothers. Funk and Rhodes promise victory. Sid is shown, and says something in a psychotic voice. We get a recap of the Harrises' butt kicking tonight, and Harlem Heat 2000, with Big T in a pink jumpsuit is interviewed. Stevie Ray is not bothered by Booker's beatdown by the Harris boys, and Harlem Heat 2000 promise dominance or something.

- Oklahoma comes out as the WCW Cruiserweight Title Match graphic is shown. Everyone's favorite wrestling parody will be joining us for commentary. The Champion, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea, comes out to ripoff of Purple Rain. It sounds better than most of the other theme songs. La Parka comes out, apparently he has lost 100 pounds and got breast implants. WAITAMINUTE! That's Madusa, who dresses as La Parka to anger Oklahoma or something. Oklahoma comes into the ring, unmasks La Dusa, only to get a few weak slaps for his trouble. La Parka comes out and hits Oklahoma with his chair. However, the Artist hits La Parka with another chair, and misses his finish (a jumping DDT off the top rope) for the three count. Well, that was a whole pile of suck. Where are the Harris Brothers when you need them?

- Ric Flair is with Luger while he trains. Flair says Luger is going to end Hulkamania before he gets cut off by the entrance of Terry Funk and Dustin Rhodes. The Harrises come out to the nWo theme song with Jeff Jarrett (apparently, they were the only three members of the mighty nWo). Jarrett blesses us by joining the commentary team. The Harris brothers beat on Funk for a while. Funk finally gets the advantage, but one of the Harrises knock Dustin down before Funk can tag out. Funk is not deterred, and puts the other Harris in a spinning toe hold. That gets Jarrett off the headset (thank God) with his guitar, but Funk meets him at the pass. Sid comes out to even the sides, and Jarrett hits some black guy with his guitar because, well, he had to hit somebody. Sid chases Jarrett off as Funk finally tags Rhodes in. Rhodes turns on Funk with a DDT because, well, why not? Jarrett speeds off in his car while in the ring, Rhodes brains Funk with a steel chair.

- Backstage now, Gene is interviewing Buff, who says he will get ruff with The Maestro. Meanwhile, Rhodes is beating up Funk outside as Funk was about the get into the ambulance. Rhodes gives him a few shots and Funk is left lying. While the paramedics are checking on Funk, Rhodes gets into the ambulance and drives off. Yep, Dustin Rhodes STOLE AN AMBULANCE! That's gangsta right there. Gene is in the ring, and he brings out Sid for an interview. Sid complements Jarrett on his wit, but promises to rule over him at Uncensored, where Jarrett's rematch will take place. Sid promises Jarrett that he will see him in hell, and hell will be Uncensored 2000. Sounds about right. Meanwhile in the back, Booker and Kidman are being separated from the Harris Brothers by security, and Ric Flair complements Dustin Rhodes for turning on Terry Funk, saying to Gene that tonight, Dustin Rhodes became a professional wrestler.

- To the ring, where we have Buff vs. Maestro. These two have no chemistry whatsoever, as Buff nearly misses a neckbreaker due to Maestro taking it too early. Buff takes control, then goes to the outside to talk to Symphony. This enrages the Stro, as he charges towards Buff. But Buff moves, and Maestro runs into Symphony, bumping her against the ring steps. Symphony sells the ring steps as if she's Hulk Hogan, and gets right back up. The Cat comes out, which distracts Maestro and the production team, as they miss Buff's blockbuster which ended the match. The Cat says that, since James Brown showed up last night at SuperBrawl, the Maestro must change his music due to a bet the two had. The Cat plays' Maestro new theme, which sounds like Notorious B.I.G. if he had Down's Syndrome. Maestro is angered by his new music, and chokes out the referee before the music stops playing, placating Maestro.

- Sid gets in his limo and speeds off to give chase to Jarrett. This despite the fact that Jarrett had a twenty minute headstart and Sid's in a limo. I guess it goes to show that Sid is dumb. A video package from last week's Saturday Night is shown, highlighting Janitor Jim Duggan's TV Title defense against Robert Gibson, and Lord Steven Regal's challenge to Duggan, saying that if he can't beat Duggan for the TV Title, he will retire from WCW. All of this for a title that Duggan found in the garbage.

- Hey, it's Bam Bam Bigelow. He comes to the ring, and The Wall jogs behind him and attacks Triple-B from behind. Bigelow threw a lot of moves at The Wall, including a top-rope headbutt and an enziguri, but Wall kicked out of every last one of them. Wall catches Bigelow on the top rope, and chokeslams him off for the surprise victory. According to Tony Schiavone, "The Wall is awesome!" Whatever you say, man.

- Hogan is beating on the side of a steel mesh fence, repeatedly screaming Luger, Luger, Luger. Hulk Hogan is psychotic, brother! Meanwhile, Ric Flair tells Arn Anderson and David Flair to step up their games. Why, I don't know. Anderson and David just stare blankly with the same bewilderment in their eyes as everyone watching at home. Gene is back with Hogan, who declares that he will be the man that escapes the cage, what ya gonna do, yadda, yadda, yadda. Flair and Luger are walking to the ring when they see Hogan's manager Jimmy Hart, getting water. They decided to push Hart into a bag of popcorn.

- Luger comes out with Flair, and they take turns kicking Jimmy Hart's ass down the entrance ramp. They beat on him some more until the show goes to commercial. When the show comes back on, Flair and Luger are still delivering a beating to Hart. Hogan finally comes out, there are a few chairshots and blow exchanged, nobody sells anything, and finally Flair is sent to the back and Luger and Hogan are in the cage. Hogan takes advantage, using his cast (due to Luger "breaking his arm") to his advantage. Luger takes advantage after slamming Hogan's head into the steel, and delivers his weak looking blows. Luger got Hogan up for a vertical suplex, and then puts Hogan in the Torture Rack. As Luger is about to walk out of the cage, Hogan Hulks up, and starts peppering Luger with blows. Flair comes out, chops Hogan to no avail, and gets the ol big boot leg drop combo. Miss Elizabeth (Luger's manager at the time) sneaks in a chair while Hogan continues the beatdown of Flair and Luger. Hogan takes off his weightbelt, but Luger finally sees the chair and smacks Hogan in the back with it. Flair takes the weightbelt and whips Hogan with it. Security comes in to try and break things up, but Luger takes care of security head Doug Dillinger, and then "breaks his arm" by weakly stomping on a chair which has Dillinger's arm in between the back and the seat of the folding chair. The show ends, with no man escaping the cage. How hard would it have been for Luger to quickly walk out to win the match? Did they really have to end it in a no contest? Stupid WCW.

Overall, this show was only good from an unintentional comedy standpoint. The best match was probably Vampiro vs. Finlay, and that match was short and sucked anyway. The Harris Brothers were in four different segments even though nobody in the history of wrestling has ever given a crap about them. The best part of the show was Dustin Rhodes stealing an ambulance. I'd give it a 2 out of 10. Remember, if you have any ideas for future reviews, then let me know at Review ideas can be about anything, even oven mitts.

Canon Movie Review: Bang the Drum Slowly

Earlier this evening, I watched the 1973movie Bang the Drum Slowly. I didn't plan on it, but it was on Turner Classic Movies, so I figured what the hey. The movie stars Robert DeNiro in one of his first major roles as Bruce Pearson, a baseball catcher that finds out he is dying, and Michael Moriarty as star pitcher Henry Wiggin, Pearson's roommate. The movie also stars Vincent Gardenia, who was nominated for the best Supporting Actor Oscar, playing manager Dutch Schnell. Bang the Drum Slowly was directed by John Hancock, and was based on the novel of the same title by Mark Harris. A few notes from the film:

Warning: Spoilers Ahead:

- Even though DeNiro's character is the one dying, the story focuses mainly on the character of Wiggin, the star pitcher for the New York Mammoths (based on the Yankees). Wiggin is portrayed as a smart man, a man that sells insurance in the offseason and to other ballplayers (back then, major leaguers had second jobs). The story is from Wiggin's point of view, from his tumultuous contract negotiations, to his struggle to keep Pearson's cancer secret, to his fight with DeNiro's girlfriend Kate over his insurance policy payout (Wiggin wants it to go to DeNiro's parents because Kate's a golddigger). Throughout the film, it's obvious Wiggin cares a lot about Pearson, he even puts in a clause in his contract that states if Pearson is sent down to the minors or traded, than Wiggin goes where he goes (that would be illegal these days , according to Major League Baseball, by the way).

- While Wiggin is an intelligent star pitcher (kind of like Orel Hershiser or Greg Maddux), Pearson is thought of as a dumb hick from Georgia, who gets ragged on unmercifully by his teammates. Also, unlike Wiggin, Pearson is far from a star player, as some people wondered if he would be sent down in favor of prospect Piney Woods, a motorcycle-riding, pistol-wielding cowboy. The team as a whole, according to Wiggin, would be a whole lot better if everyone didn't rag on each other, although we hardly get to see any of the ragging except for a few scenes with Pearson.

- DeNiro's a hell of an actor, however, I had a hard time believing he was a power threat, as described by Wiggin, the manager, and a couple of the coaches. DeNiro couldn't have been over 5'10" and was built like a middle infielder, so it would have made more sense if he were a line-drive hitter or something. To his credit, DeNiro didn't have a bad looking swing. Also, since DeNiro is not a southerner, he spent months before the movie in Georgia, in order to get the accent right. I must say he did pretty well on that front.

- The movie is obviously a sad one, as you learn at the beginning that Pearson's going to die. However, the movie is rather subtle in its telling of the story. With one exception (a locker room scene in which an unaware Piney plays a country song about the death of a cowboy), there aren't a whole lot of tear-jerking scenes. If this movie was made today, there would be ten different scenes where the two leads were crying, and the movie would be full of over-dramatic, sappy music. Come to think of it, the whole movie wouldn't work today, as Wiggin wouldn't have had an insurance job and Hodgkin's disease is more curable today.

- There's a subplot in which Dutch, the manager, tries to figure out why Wiggin and Pearson did in the off season (they went to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, then visited Pearson's folks in Georgia after Pearson's diagnosis). It took the team four whole months before a private investigator finally figured out what happened. I don't think Dutch and his staff were the sharpest knives in the drawer.

- The baseball scenes are intercut with scenes from actual major league games. In one scene, they show Tony Perez from the 1970 World Series, and Yankees such as Thurman Munson were shown (it's rather convenient that Pearson wore Munson's number 15). There aren't a whole lot of baseball scenes in the movie, as it's a story more about life. The majority of the scenes take place towards the end in Pearson's last game, where the Mammoths clinch the division against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Overall, the movie is pretty good, DeNiro is very good in a role which is much different than the types of roles he would later master, while Moriarty adds a sense of credibility to the role of Henry Wiggin. I do wonder why the movie didn't focus more on Pearson, as there were some points where he was just an afterthought. The movie is made decently enough, the plot is very good. But it just seems to be missing something, it seems as if the movie could have expanded some scenes (particularly the scene at the beginning where DeNiro is burning his old newspaper clippings). I think the movie may have moved too fast, may have been too compact for its own good. However, with that said, the movie is still very good, if not great. I'd give it a 6.82 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canon Movie Review: The Last Dragon

Recently, due to the amount of views this blog has gotten, I made my first cent from The Canon Review. That is one more cent than I expected to make from this enterprise, so I would like to thank all of you that are reading the wackiness that is The Canon Review. But I won't stop due to a piddly financial gain, oh no dear reader, because The Canon Review is a labor of love, and sometimes pain, and sometimes confusion, but mainly love.  So don't worry, because we have plenty of things to review and topics to contemplate on and plenty of time to do so.

Today at The Canon Review, I have decided to watch the 1985 classic, The Last Dragon. Produced by Motown kingpin Berry Gordy, the film stars black belt Taniak as the lead character, "Bruce" Leeroy Green. The movie also stars Vanity as Leeroy's love interest, a music video host named Laura Charles, and Julius Carry as Leeroy's nemesis, Sho'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. The rest of the cast is filled with character actors and people you've probably never heard of, except for William H. Macy and Chazz Palminteri, who make very brief appearances in the film. A few notes on this movie:

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

- The lead character's a big dork. Yes, he's super bad-ass and all with his knowledge of martial arts, but the guy's so into asian culture that he walks around Harlem in a Kung Lao style hat and a robe. When the guy goes to the movies (in this case a Bruce Lee movie), he actually eats his popcorn with chopsticks. His own younger brother stays away from him, preferring to dance to crappy music and stalk Laura Charles. Then again, Leeroy's brother is the most annoying character in the movie. Just a wannabe playa at 13 who dances poorly and hangs around with a kid that looked a lot like the Chunk from the Goonies. I was glad when that kid got dunked into a bowl of pasta by Sho'Nuff.

- Besides Sho'Nuff, the other nemesis is a man by the name of Eddie Arcadian, the master of arcades or something who's trying to break into the music business using his girlfriend. He also has a sidekick called Rocky, who keeps some sort of shark around which we never get to see. Arcadian is your basic greedy scumbag, but at least he's generous enough to pay the background dancers in his music videos in quarters so they can enjoy themselves at the arcade.

- The most hilarious scene in the movie happens at the movie theater. A bunch of people, including Leeroy with his popcorn and chopsticks, are watching a Bruce Lee flick. A few people in the back decide they've had enough, turn on their boombox full blast and start breakdancing right in the middle of the aisle. Well, the crowd doesn't like this, and one man decides to take action, matching the on-screen actions of Bruce Lee by jumping high in the air and delivering a double foot stomp on the boombox, splintering it into a thousand pieces much to the delight of the crowd. Then, Sho'Nuff and his ridiculous looking crew stop the movie, and enter the theater. Here is their entrance:

- Since this is a Motown movie, music plays a big role. After all, Vanity's character is a music video host. The most obvious use of the Motown music is playing the entire video of DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night". I guess it made sense at the time, but it added nothing to the movie and in hindsight looks kind of silly. They didn't even get DeBarge to perform, they just showed the already made music video as is.

- This movie would be 30 times worse without the presence of Carry as Sho'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. Even if his lines aren't particularly well written. The guy is just so over the top in everything he does that you can't help but get sucked in, or at least I couldn't. Whether it's fighting a guy while wearing shoulder pads, beating up movie goers, including biting someone's feet while they were down on the ground, or destroying Leeroy's family's pizza place. Sho'Nuff is the most impactful character this movie has to offer. For a villian with a large posse, Sho'Nuff is honorable in a way, fighting his own battles and turning down any money Arcadian offered him to get at Leeroy just because Sho'Nuff wanted to "designate Leeroy's ass for dismemberment" For some reason, Sho'Nuff believes that if he can beat Leeroy, he will run Harlem, even though it seems as if he already runs Harlem since he stops movies being played so he can make a grand entrance, but I digress.

- Interesting note, at least to me. Taimak, who played the lead character, was trained by Ron Van Cleef, who a few years later would fight Royce Gracie at a UFC event.

- Overall, this was not a movie that would ever contend for an Oscar. However, it is a fun little martial arts movie, with plenty of action. With the exception of Leeroy and Sho'Nuff, the characters are rather one-dimensional, and some of the effects are a little ridicoulous, especially during the final fight scene. But overall, the movie goes along smoothly, with no real errors in production and a plot which may be simple, but at least it is sensible. Overall, I'd give this movie a 6.59252 out of 10.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Canon Book Review: The Bad Guys Won!

Recently, I re-read Jeff Pearlman's book, "The Bad Guys Won". It is the story of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets. The Mets of 1986 were not only a great team, they were a team that partied hard, got into more than a few scuffles, and generally pissed off everyone else in the league. Pearlman, a former writer for Sports Illustrated who has written three books since "The Bad Guys Won", conducted over 175 interviews with Mets players, coaches, front office executives, bat boys, clubhouse attendants, and other people involved with the 1986 Mets, as well as some of the Mets opponents from that year. The resulting tale is of a baseball team known as much for their arrogance and post-game parties than for their top-notch performances on the baseball diamond. It is a team that, many Mets admit, was full of jerks, fueled by alcohol, amphetamines, and winning baseball games.

The manager of the Mets that year was Davey Johnson, an intelligent field general who let his players do whatever they wanted as long as they showed up on time.Even if they destroyed airplanes and hotel rooms, had a few beers and had a couple of run-ins with the law, Johnson just wasn't interested in the discipline side of things. Johnson was sure that his team was the best in baseball, predicting not only victory, but domination over the Mets' hopeless foes. Like the Jordan-era Bulls, or the Dallas Cowboys of the 90s, the Mets carried themselves with a certain swagger, with a belief that no matter what you did, it wasn't going to be enough to win.

Pearlman chronicles the season from the beginning to the end, He also includes a section on the building of the team by Mets GM Frank Cashen, an old-school baseball man who couldn't understand why his Mets had to be such jerks. Pearlman also writes in great detail about the Mets' epic playoff battles against the Houston Astros in the NLCS and the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Pearlman wraps the book up with a chapter about how the Mets quickly self-destructed from a sure dynasty to a flash-in-the-pan champion.

The guy that comes off the worst in this book is star right fielder Darryl Strawberry. There were times where Strawberry was a kind person, but most of the times he was an obnoxious drunk who felt everyone around him should bow down to the great Strawberry. There's one story in the book where a teammate is showing off a pair of shoes he recently got, and Strawberry walks up to him and demands that he gives the shoes to him. For the next three minutes, Strawberry berates his teammate, saying he isn't "fly enough" for those shoes and other crap, before eventually giving up. Strawberry talked crap about a number of teammates, did coke and drank alcohol at all hours off the day, and got into a domestic dispute with his wife before a playoff game. This is not the behavior you would want out of your superstar. A few more notes from the book:

Dwight Gooden, the Mets' other superstar, comes across as a nice enough person. Unfortunately, he, like Strawberry, fell in love with cocaine, and his career would never reach the heights of 1985, a season in which he won the Cy Young award and posted a 1.53 ERA. Dwight, as well as Strawberry, would be suspended multiple times in their career for drug use. I'm guessing that's a major reason why the Mets only won one World Series.

Sid Fernandez, a pretty good starting pitcher for the Mets, is portrayed as the clubhouse idiot, a man convinced that wrestling is real. Fernandez, who made 200,000 dollars in 1986, did not buy a $150,000 house because, according to Davey Johnson, Fernandez couldn't bring himself to live on only $50,000 for the year. Apparently Fernandez was unfamiliar with the concept of a mortgage.

My two favorite players from this book is Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Mitchell. Dykstra would try to hit a home run every time up, say whatever was on his mind, stay out all night long, and gamble large amounts of money in poker games against shady characters in backroom clubs. Mitchell, meanwhile, was a former street gang member who would play anywhere (even shortstop, which, if you've seen Mitchell play before, does not seem like a good decision). He also beat the crap out of Darryl Strawberry during their minor league days, which is good enough for me.

George Foster, the Mets left fielder, was an interesting character. He helped produce a rap song (Get Metsmerized, which is just awful), and would sell knockoff polo shirts to opposing players, even though he made 2 million dollars a season. He was released in August after accusing Johnson of racism after Johnson had the audacity of benching the .227 hitting Foster. Ironically, the Mets proved Foster somewhat correct by trading Mitchell after the 1986 season because he was a "bad influence" on Strawberry and Gooden, even though the only white powder Mitchell used was on his doughnuts.

Overall, this was a very good book. It's easy to read, the stories are plentiful, are Pearlman does a great job of making the reader feel as if they are in the clubhouse. Or getting arrested by overzealous Houston police officers or getting berated by that jackass Strawberry.  It's obvious that Pearlman did a lot of research on this book, providing very specific details about events such as Game 6 of the World Series, the 16 inning classic in the NLCS against the Astros, and the filming of the Mets' very own music video. Overall, if you're a baseball fan, I would recommend this book highly, even if you're like me and can't stand the Mets.

Let's finish this review with a music video. Specifically, the 86 Mets' in the "hit" video "Let's Go Mets". According to the book, the producers had a ton of difficulty getting the Mets players to cooperate with anything. Also, the video went $100,000 over budget, and the group Cameo made a cameo in the video. The video is very eighties. Judge for yourself:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Canon Review's 10 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the lack of recent updates. I've been pretty sick over the past three days, and only now am I well enough to contribute further to the Canon Review. I have a few things coming up which may or may not interest you, so stay tuned.

Anyway, a reader named Dickson S. asked who I thought were the three greatest baseball players. Mr. S felt that Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle were the three best baseball players. Well, instead of only three, I have decided to name the ten best players in baseball history, according to my opinion, because that's how we roll here at The Canon Review. So let's get started, shall we?

Guys that could be top 10, but are not for various reasons

Oscar Charleston and Josh Gibson: These two are considered to be the greatest players in Negro League history. Charleston was often regarded as a black Ty Cobb, only with more power, while Gibson was  catcher who many experts said had more power than Babe Ruth. Baseball historian Bill James ranks Charleston as the number 4 player of all time, and Gibson number 9. Ultimately, I just don't think there's enough data out there to rate these two players accurately. It's possible that they are among the 5 or ten greatest ball players of all time, but I just don't know.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez: Bonds probably would be in my top 5, and Clemens and Rodriguez would at least be considered for the top 10. However, due to their use of steroids, I can't give an accurate representation of these players until more information comes out (i.e. just how many players were using steroids during their playing time, and how much of an impact did the steroids actually have). So, they're off the list altogether.

Players that just missed the Top 10:

Mike Schmidt: In 16 years, Schmidt led the National League in home runs eight times, led in Slugging Percentage five times, and in on-base percentage three times. He also won 10 Gold Gloves playing one of the most demanding positions on the field (3rd Base). Ultimately, he just fall short, but not by much.

Greg Maddux: With 4 Cy Young Awards, 18 Gold Gloves, and 17 straight seasons in which he won at least 15 games, Maddux definitely has some great credentials. But I only have one pitcher on the list, and I just couldn't put Maddux, as well as Tom Seaver and Lefty Grove, over the pitcher already on the list.

The Top 10:

10. Lou Gehrig - Gehrig not only has a disease named after him, he's also one of the greatest hitters baseball will ever see. Gehrig finished his career with a .340 batting average, a .447 on base percentage, and a .632 slugging percentage. Gehrig is still 5th in career RBIs with 1,995, even though his career was cut at least 3 or 4 years short due to Lou Gehrig's disease. Yes, he played in an era where a lot of runs scored, but according to Adjusted OPS, a stat which accounts for different era and park factors, Gehrig ranks fourth all-time, behind Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, and Babe Ruth. He also played in 2,130 straight games, and, unlike fellow ironman Cal Ripken, his play never suffered due to overuse.

9. Stan Musial - Musial played in 24 All-Star Games, won three MVPs, led the National League in batting average seven times, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and hits six times each, and led the NL in doubles eight times. He was an above average defensive player at all three outfield positions and first base, and his 3,630 hits currently rank fourth all-time. In other words, Stan Musial was pretty darn good.

8. Walter Johnson - The only pitcher on this list, Johnson was a dominant force, often for teams that were no threat for postseason play. The all-time leader in shutouts (110). Johnson led the American League in Earned Run Average five times, wins six times, and strikeouts a remarkable 12 times. In an era where strikeouts were much rarer than they are now, Johnson had seven seasons of over 200 strikeouts, and two with over 300 strikeouts. Also, Johnson had exemplary control, twice leading the A.L. in fewest walks per nine innings, and finishing his career averaging just over two walks per 9 innings. If they had a Cy Young Award in Johnson's playing days, he would have won at least five, maybe ten. Hell, they should just call it the Walter Johnson award.

7. Mickey Mantle - Perhaps the greatest power-speed combination in major league history. If he had played in an era with more stolen bases, Mantle could have regularly stolen 50 bases a season. He also could knock the crap out of the ball. A 20 time All-Star, Mantle won 3 MVP Awards, led the AL in home runs four times, in walks five times, and in runs scored six times. His .421 on base percentage ranks 19th All-time, and his Adjusted OPS+ of 172 is sixth in Major League Baseball History. Not to mention his seven World Series titles, and his major league record 18 World Series home runs. Mantle is quite deserving of his spot in the top ten.

6. Honus Wagner - The highest ranked infielder on this list, Wagner was one of the biggest players of his era at 5'11" and 200 lbs, and according to many observers, could have mastered any position, but was put at shortstop because that's where the Pirates needed him most. Wagner was an eight time batting champion, a National League record. He also led the N.L. in on base percentage four times, slugging percentage six times, stolen bases 5 times, and runs batted in five times. He did all of this while playing excellent defense at shortstop, which is considered the most important defensive position other than catcher. Currently, Wagner is third all time in triples (252) and eighth all time in hits (3,415). Yet, for some reason, many have forgotten just how great Wagner was. To be honest, I feel six might be too low for Wagner, but I just can't put him ahead of any of the next five guys, so sixth Wagner stays.

5. Ty Cobb - Say what you want about Cobb, but the man could flat out hit. His .366 average is still the highest of all-time. He led the American League in batting average a record 12 times, led in on base percentage seven times, and in slugging percentage eight times. Not only did he win the Triple Crown in 1909 (.377 BA, 9 Hr, 107 RBI), he also led the league in stolen bases that year with 76. Overall, Cobb led the A.L. in steals six times, and RBIs four times. His career total of 892 stolen bases rank fourth all time, and Cobb is second all time in both hits (4,189) and runs (2,246). Not too bad for the Georgia Peach, but the other guys in front of him hit for more power, and Cobb never won a World Series, so Cobb ranks fifth.

4. Hank Aaron - I originally had Aaron at third, but after looking more into it, I decided to drop him down a spot to number 4. Many people still consider Aaron to be the true Home Run King (officially, he ranks second to Barry Bonds with 755). Aaron is the game's all-time leader in RBIs with 2,297, and is third in hits with 3,731. Aaron was a remarkably consistent player, a 25 time All-Star, and a threat for over twenty years. However, I put him at fourth because he rarely dominated over a single season. He only one one MVP and one World Series (both in 1957). He led the National League in batting twice, home runs and RBIs four times, and in total bases six times. Ultimately, Aaron was great, but there were some that were better.

3. Ted Williams - On one hand, Williams never won a World Series and was reputed to be an enormous prick. On the other hand, the man hit as well as anyone that ever played and being a prick does not effect anyone's rankings. Williams won the AL Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947, was a 19 time All-Star, and was a two-time MVP that would have won at least two more had the writers based the award on merit rather than whether or not they liked the guy. Anyway, Williams, the last guy to hit over .400 in a season (.406 in 1941), led the American League in batting average six times, on base percentage a whopping 12 times, and slugging percentage nine times. Williams led the league in home runs and RBIs four times each, and finished his career with 521 homers and 1839 RBIs. Williams may have been a jerk, but he was a jerk that served his country in both World War II and the Korean War as a fighter pilot, flying 39 combat missions. Those wars took out five years of Williams prime, so it's quite possible he could have finished with over 700 home runs and at least 2,200 RBIs. Williams is still the All time leader in on base percentage (.482) and is second all time in slugging percentage (.634). In other words, Williams could play some ball.

2. Willie Mays - Mays was named to 24 All-Star Games, won 12 Gold Gloves for his play in center field, was a two time MVP, and won 1 World Series. Like Mantle, Mays would have had much more stolen bases in a different era, as it is, he led the National League in stolen bases 4 times. Like Williams, Mays missed two years due to the Korean War, possibly taking away 40 or 50 home runs. Mays also played the majority of his home games at Candlestick Park, which was a severe pitchers park. Mays led the NL in batting average one time, slugging percentage five times, and home runs four times. Currently, Mays is seventh all time in runs scored, (2,062), 3rd in total bases (6,066), 10th in RBIs (1,903), 5th in Extra Base Hits (1,323), and 4th in home runs (660). I decided to put Mays ahead of Williams for two reasons, one, Williams played in a much more favorable park (Fenway Park), and two, Mays was a much better defensive player.

1. Babe Ruth - The only player in major league history to be a dominant pitcher and hitter. Ruth was so far ahead of his peers that, in my opinion, he's the clear choice as the greatest player of all-time. As a pitcher, Ruth was excellent, a 20 game winner in two different seasons, and pitched 29 1/3 straight shutout innings in World Series play. As a hitter, Ruth was transcendent. For example, in 1920, Ruth hit 54 home runs for the New York Yankees, more than any other team in the league. Ruth only led the AL in batting average one time, in 1924. However, Ruth led the AL in on base percentage 10 times, in Slugging Percentage 13 times, in home runs 12 times, and in RBIs six times. To this day, Ruth is third all time in home runs (714), second in on base percentage (.474) and first in slugging (.690) and adjusted OPS+ (209). His .342 batting average is currently 10th all time, and Ruth was a member of seven different championship teams. If Ruth had remained a pitcher, it's very likely he'd be a Hall of Famer. As it is, he only became the most dominant hitter that ever lived.

Well, that took a little longer than I thought. Anyway, if you have any grievances or compliments on my rankings, or any ideas for future reviews, let me know. I'm going to lay down for a while, but, as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, "Dillion, you son of a bitch!"

Edit: Sorry, meant to put a video up to explain that quote. Here it is:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

ABC - Always Be Canon reviewing

Yesterday I came down with a bit of a head cold. I had something planned out for yesterday, but I didn't feel good so I've decided to push that back a few days. So, I spent most of the day watching TV, trying to stay hydrated and warm. So, even though I should be in bed, I will share a few thoughts about what I saw yesterday.

- Shepard Smith of Fox News is a moron. I watched his show at 3 yesterday because I didn't feel like changing the channel, and it seemed two hours long. He had about 925 different catchphrases for yesterday's snowstorms throughout the Northeast, and didn't even understand the point of his own's show online poll. The poll asked if Ellen DeGeneres would increase the ratings of American Idol now that she's one of the judges, and most of the people voted no. Shep gets all sorts of indignant at this, saying that those saying no must be haters. Um, just because they think Ellen won't increase the ratings of a show that's already peaked does not mean they necessarily hate her. It's just that just because Ellen is there does not necessarily mean more people will watch the show. Calm down, man.

- Watched Rome is Burning (hosted by Jim Rome). They had Curtis Granderson, new Yankee outfielder on the show. When ask by Rome if Granderson made any changes to improve his hitting against lefties (Granderson batted something like .189 against them last year). Granderson said no, he is not making any dramatic changes. Um, you might want to rethink that approach there, Curtis.

- After watching some Seinfeld and South Park, I then tuned in to American Idol. It's Hollywood Week, and yesterday was group day, where a bunch of people with their egos so built up that they believe they are the next big music star have to cooperate with a group of other similarly minded people. It's always fun for everyone. Some groups do pretty well, although to me, all the favorites grouped up with each other in order to not get dragged down by other people that just aren't as good. Meanwhile, the mid-carders were left to fend for themselves. There were two groups, called Neapolitan and Destiny's Wild (most of the group names sucked by the way), that both did an A Capella version of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance". The first group (Neapolitan) sang it pretty well, with not too much frills added. Well, Destiny's Wild was all pissy about Neapolitan stealing their cover version of someone else's song, so, to make up for it, they tried to do way too much with it, practically screaming each note. They even had one guy do a backflip. Nevertheless, they all got through, so no harm no foul.

Another group, called Phoenix, which I presume has nothing to do with the indie rock band Phoenix, stunk on ice. They had one person who was there last year, and she got carried to a good group performance, so see thought (and the others probably assumed) that she knew what she was doing. Apparently she didn't as things got so bad that one person quit the show rather than face sure embarrassment. So, with one person down, they did a dog-ass performance of "Carry on Wayward Son" where the girl with previous experience forgot pretty much every word she was supposed to sing. Towards the end, one guy hit a crazy note just before the chorus kicked in. It was impressive that he held that note for so long, but it completely drowned out the rest of the group. Since he made it to the next round, I admire his decision to go into business for himself, because, to be honest, there was no saving this trainwreck. Speaking of trainwreck, a few groups decided to sing Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" which was just an awful choice for two reasons. One, there aren't a whole lot of big meaty vocal notes in this song, as Stefani sorts of stays at the same volume and tone throughout the song, and two, she's singing a mile a minute, so there is a great possibility that someone will mess up the lyrics of this song, especially since they have only 12 hours to learn the song. Needless to say, that's what happened, as a lot of people tended to mumble throughout. Some people made it, but most that chose this song were sent packing.

- The final group of the night named themselves "The Dreamers", because they were going to try to sing "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. The group had 4 women and a guy named Alex Lambert, who had a rather similar name to a guy that should have won last year's competition, but that's neither here or there. Anywho, the group had two people join after hours of deliberation, and were led by single mom Mary Powers, a girl who seems to fancy herself as some sort of Pat Benetar-Pink hybrid. I actually liked Mary, that is, until tonight, where she was just going nuts on everybody. She was even bossing around the professional vocal coach working with them, demanding that he speed up the tempo, much to the bewilderment of the coach. Then she has the gall to complain that her group was awful compared to another group. They might be if you didn't keep stopping them and barking at them every three minutes. Anyway, they went on stage, Mary kind of fumbled through her words, the next girl did ok, and the third person turned in perhaps the worst performance in the history of group day. She was way off-key, laughing inexplicably through the song, and to top it off, she forgot the lyrics. Mary, the other Lambert, and the girl that followed Mary got through. I don't see Mary making it to the final 24, however.  Oh, and there was also a guy named Big Mike  whose wife was giving birth to their first child just before he was set to go onstage. He did well enough to get to the next round, so good for him.

-Finally I watched Birdman of Alcatraz, I must warn you that there are SPOILERS in the next few sentences. Ok, OK!

First off, the name is a misnomer, as The Birdman of Alcatraz never actually had birds at Alcatraz. In fact, most of the movie is set at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

- Burt Lancaster plays the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud. The movie also stars Karl Malden as warden Harvey Shoemaker, Thelma Ritter as Stroud's mother, Elizabeth, Betty Field as Stella Johnson, and Telly Savalas as fellow inmate Feto Gomez. Lancaster was nominated for an Oscar for best actor, while Ritter and Savalas earned supporting actress and actor nominations, respectively.

- Malden, as Harvey Shoemaker, Stroud's warden for over 35 years at two different prisons, was a real prick throughout the movie. Interestingly enough, his character was actually a combination of two different wardens, so Shoemaker was nothing but a myth.

- Like many Hollywood films, this one takes some liberties with the truth. Not only is Shoemaker a doppelganger, so is Stella Johnson, Stroud's business partner and later wife. In real life, the lady's name was Della Mae Jones.

-Although Stroud was portrayed as a peaceful inmate who was repeatedly wronged by Shoemaker and others due to a personal grudge, there are some reports that Stroud, while intelligent, was a dangerous man who deserved everything he got. Some guards at Alcatraz referred to him as a crazed man, a "wolf" (prison term for aggressive homosexual) who needed to be kept out of the general prison population for a number of reasons. Other accounts said that Stroud wrote literature that would make Geoffrey Leonard blush, talking about sexual and physical assault of young boys. Whether that is all true, or just the fabrications of men upset with Stroud's portrayal of a hero, we will probably never know for sure.

- Stroud was allowed one shower a week, and at one point he had about 75 bird cages full of canaries and other birds. I can't imagine how bad the odor must have been in that cell.

- Overall, this is a very good movie, although how much of it is true and how much of it is typical Hollywood fabrication, I don't know. I'll just say that Lancaster did a hell of a job portraying Stroud over a 50 year time span. Overall, out of 10, I give this movie and 8.6463.

So, there, that's what I did yesterday (and probably today, as I feel just as bad). I have a couple of ideas for reviews, but if anybody else has any ideas, feel free to let me know here at the Canon Review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Random WCW Matches on a Rainy Tuesday

It's Tuesday, it's raining and it is cold. So, here at The Canon Review, we have decided to celebrate this weather by watching random WCW matches. And away we go:

Match 1: Ric Flair vs. Lizmark Jr.

Well, why not start with a match that makes no sense whatsoever. Ric Flair is a multiple-time World Champion, one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. Lizmark Jr., meanwhile, is a Mexican wrestler brought in with all the other Mexican Wrestlers to have 8 and ten man tag matches so Mike Tenay can pretend to know what he is talking about. So, why not match the two together and see what happens. I'm convinced that whoever was in charge of this show just drew names out of a hat, and this is the result. The match is 90% Flair, but he does let Lizmark hit a back body drop and a couple of dropkicks, which is much more than many other WCW veterans would let him have. A lot of this match is Flair working on the legs of the luchadore, keeping him grounded. Flair uses a leg-grapevine and a half Boston Crab. At one point, Bobby Heenan compared Flair to a top attorney and publicly wondered why there are not more female attorneys, much to the bewilderment of Tony Schiavone. The match ends with Lizmark tapping out to the figure-four leglock, and Flair celebrates his victory. Decent enough match for a random 5 minute squash for Flair, but why they decided to put this match together is anybody's guess.

Match 2: Konnan vs. Tsubasa

Konnan had just joined the nWo, which, according to Mike Tenay, has really cheesed off all of the luchadores in WCW. I wonder what Lizmark Jr. thought. Meanwhile, Tsubasa is from Mexico by way of Japan, whatever that means. Tenay says he is now training in Mexico, so he must be one of the luchadores upset about Konnan's decision or something.The match takes about a minute, as Konnan starts by beating down Tsubasa, then gives him some sort of variation of a fisherman's buster. Konnan puts on his Tequilla Sunrise finisher, which looks rather crappy, and Tsubasa calls it a day. Konnan celebrates, while Tsubasa never wrestles for WCW again. Why WCW would fly in Tsubasa from Mexico for a 1 minute squash on WCW Nitro, I'll never know. Tsubasa went on to wrestle in Japan, mainly for Osaka Pro and other Japanese indy promotions. In case you were wondering, Tsubasa means "wing" in Japanese.

Match 3: Michael Wallstreet vs. Kenny Kendall

This matched sucked. Wallstreet apparently was about to join the nWo at the time, which would have put that organization over the top, for sure. Kendall is a jobber with an awful haircut. Bobby Heenan called it an "instant electric chair" hairstyle, because the only place you should go with that hairstyle is the electric chair. Harsh, but true. The match had a bunch of headlocks and tie ups. Kendall tried a sunset flip, but Wallstreet screwed that up when he just stumbled forward on his face instead of rolling back. Wallstreet controlled much of the action, but Kendall got a few shots in, including the old bash your opponents head ten times into the turnbuckle move. Match ended with the Stock Market Crash, which was basically a Samoan Drop. Wallstreet gets the three, and says into the camera, "not today". I wish I hadn't of watched this match today.

Match 4: Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page

This match took place in 1992, before DDP was a major superstar in wrestling. DDP is dressed like Kevin Nash, with leather pants and a black singlet, while Sting is your WCW Heavyweight Champion. Pretty basic match, some headlocks, punches, and what not. Jim Ross and Bill Watts are on commentary, and they mention the recent death of Buddy Rogers and Sting's upcoming match with Vader at the 1992 Great American Bash (Vader would win the WCW Title from Sting that night, BTW). Match ends with a Stinger Splash and Scorpion Deathlock, and that's all she wrote.


The lesson is, Mike Tenay is an idiot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Canon Review Super Bowl XLIV preview

It's that time of the year again, where two football teams clash to decide which one is the best in all of civilization. This year, it's the Indianapolis Colts, led by quarterback Peyton Manning, taking on the New Orleans Saints, led by their quarterback, Drew Brees. While every other football prognosticator, both professional and amateur, look at each team's strengths and weaknesses to preview the game and pick a winner, we here at The Canon Review have taken a slightly different approach. We have decided to play video games to pick the winner.

Now, you're probably thinking that that has been done, and it has. The crew at Electronic Arts simulated the game on Madden 10, and the Saints ended up winning 35-31. There are probably many people out there that have fired up their copy of Madden and plugged in these two teams to see what would happen. Well, we will too, but that's not all. See, we need to have a more unique perspective than a simple simulation of Madden 10 would provide, we need another 1 or 2 different sources. So, I decided to play my copy of Madden 05 Collector's Editon for the PS2, and a Tecmo Super Bowl mod featuring rosters from the 1985 season. The matchup will be Colts vs. Saints, and, since it wouldn't be as fun if I just let the CPU battle it out, I took control of the Colts in Madden 05, and the Saints in TSB 85. That way, we can get a truly unique viewpoint of the big game.

First, I played Madden 05. Why Madden 05, you ask? Well, I'm not entirely sure, after all I do have more recent football games, but Madden 05 was as good as any Madden game ever made, and besides, I don't really care for the more recent Maddens (The most recent one I have is Madden 08 for the Xbox360, which is ok, but I think the Madden games on the XBox and PS2 were better, just a personal preference). I did make a few roster changes before the game, trading for players that were on the game already (i.e. Drew Brees went from the Chargers to the Saints, Darren Sharper went from the Packers to the Saints, etc.) but I did not create any of the players that weren't on the game. So you won't be seeing Reggie Bush, Pierre Garcon, Antone Bethea, and many other key players.  Instead, I just left the rosters where they were, so in this Super Bowl 44 preview, your MVP may very well be former Saint wide receiver Joe Horn or something like that. I didn't change the rankings of any player on this game, which really hurt the Saints, as key players such as Brees and cornerback Jabari Greer hadn't developed fully yet, so their rankings are much lower than they are in this year's game. Interestingly, the only Colts I had to acquire were kickers Adam Vinateiri and Matt Stover, the rest of the players were either already on the team or not yet in the league. The Colts, even with Manning, are a very young team, so they have a great chance to go to multiple Super Bowls in the next few years until Peyton retires.  But I digress, I took control of the Colts, played the Game in Miami, and off we went.

The results were not encouraging for Saints fans, Brees' first pass was an interception by cornerback Nick Harper (now on the Titans). On the next play, Manning fired a bullet pass to Dallas Clark (a current Colt, by the way) in the endzone for a 34-yard touchdown. The Saints scored field goals on their next two drives, but the Colts scored touchdowns on the next two, making the score 21-6. The Saints used the deep ball effectively in the first half, and drove all the way to the 3 yard line. However, in a play that pretty much ended the game, Brees threw an out attended for Joe Horn, but the pass was intercepted by Jason Craft (now out of the NFL) and he returned the pick for 97 yards, giving the Colts a 28-6. I refused to let up throughout the game, and the Colts won going away by a score of 58-23. I even ran up the score in the final minute of the game, as Manning found former All-Pro wide receiver and current Philadelphia street lord Marvin Harrison for a 71 yard touchdown. For the game, Manning went completed 22 passes on 29 attempts, threw for 419 yards and 4 touchdowns. This in spite of an 18 yard loss on a screen pass where running back Edgerrin James (last of the Seahawks) foolishly ran backwards in a futile effort to avoid tacklers (that was dumb on my part). Current Colt WR Reggie Wayne caught 8 passes for 135 yards, Harrison caught 5 for 104 yards, and Dallas Clark caught 3 passes for 54 yards and 2 touchdowns. Manning was named the game MVP. For the Saints, Brees threw for a lot of yards (395), but also threw 3 interceptions and only 1 touchdowns. Neither team could run the ball with any effectiveness, so it became a passing battle, and nine times out of ten, Peyton Manning will win those types of battles.

For any body who ever play football games on the Nintendo, you know that Tecmo Super Bowl is the bees knees. Quite frankly, it is one of the funnest sports games ever made, and even today, is a hoot to play. Thanks to the efforts of websites like, there are many different hacked roms of Tecmo Super Bowl available for download, and a few months ago, I download a pack of 100 or so different versions of the game, all with different rosters and features. I could have played a 2009 mod with the Saints and Colts, but what fun is that. Instead, we went back to 1985, a time when both of these franchises were anything but super.

in 1985, both the Colts and the Saints finished the season 5-11, so this should be a pretty even matchup. As it turned out, my mad skillz and the Colts' lack of offensive balance or talent proved to be a major factor, as the Saints shut out the Colts 33-0. The Colts, for some reason, ran the ball 4 times throughout the game, in spite of the fact that they had the immortal Mike Pagel at quarterback and receivers that no one cares to remember. Due to this, the Saints secondary had a nice day, as all 4 members (Dave Waymer, Johnnie Poe, Terry Hoage, and Frank Wattelett, is anyone is curious) each had an interception. The Saints pass rush was also fierce, racking up half a dozen sacks. Rickey Jackson, who was just elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, had two sacks, 1 of which was a safety. The Saints' QBs were not effective, but journeyman halfback Wayne Wilson was, running for 169 yards and three touchdowns on just 8 carries. In the real world, Wilson never rushed for that many yards in a game during his nine year NFL career (his high was 160, which is more than most running backs can say, I suppose). Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell, who in 1985 was just about finished, ran for 85 yards and 1 touchdowns. The average of the two games so far is Colts 29, Saints 28. It's awfully close heading into the third game.

The third game was not played by myself, instead my brother Ben volunteered his services and simulated the Colts and the Saints on Madden 10 for the PS3. If he hadn't of done that, I would have probably played NFL Quarterback Club for the Genesis or something, so at least Ben has spared me of doing that. Anyway, the results of his simulation was not good for the Saints, as the Colts won the game 27-12. The score was 13-12 at the end of the third quarterback, but virtual Manning quickly erased all doubt, throwing two touchdowns in the 4th quarter to seal the victory. As was the case in Madden 05, Manning was an unstoppable force. completing 25 passes on 31 attempts for 402 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas Clark was Manning's favorite target, catching seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Also, like the game in Madden 05, both teams struggled running the ball, as both teams combined for 60 yards on the ground. Drew Brees did okay for the Saints (256 yards, 1 td, 1 int) but it wasn't nearly enough.

So, averaging the three games, my Super Bowl prediction is that the Colts will win, 28-23, which remarkably enough, sounds reasonable. I was thinking the average would be something silly like the Colts winning 75 to 2, but no, the football video games, whether contemporary or classic, know what they are doing. Or maybe they are totally wrong and the Saints will blow out the Colts. Only time will tell.