Sunday, October 31, 2010

Canon Movie Review: Psycho

Since it is Halloween weekend, I have decided to watch a few horror films and review them. When I told my brother Ben about wanting to watch some horror movies this weekend, he suggested a few, and the only one I could remember was the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. While I debated watching the 1998 remake instead, I decided against it and watched the original, which was probably the smart thing to do. The Hitchcock version of Psycho is considered to be not only one of the greatest horror films of all time, but one of the greatest movies period. The movie stars Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Mitchell's main villian, Martin Balsam. Psycho was nominated for four Academy Awards, although it did not win any and was not even nominated for best picture. The plot is as follows: an officeworker named Marion Crane (Leigh) is asked to take $40,000 to the bank before leaving for the weekend. Instead of taking it to the bank, she takes it for herself in the hopes of paying her boyfriend Sam Loomis (Gavin) debts so they can wed and live happily ever after. While on here way to meet Sam, a driving rainstorm forces Marion to pull over and stop at the Bates Motel, which proves to be a bad idea. A few notes about this film, and there are SPOILERS ahead.

- If you didn't know better and watched the first 20 minutes or so of this movie, you might think that this movie will be solely about Marion's theft of the money and her attempts to avoid the law. Heck, the whole first part of this movie is all about establishing Marion's character, explaining the motives behind her actions and making her relatable to the audience so the impact of her demise will be felt all the much more.

- During the first part of the film, Marion is suspected by a local cop of something because she fell asleep in her car on the side of the road and acted as if she was in a major hurry, which she was. After the cop follows her to a car lot and watches her drive off with a new car, he becomes more suspicious and starts to question the car dealer. After that, the cop is never shown again, which leaves a rather big plot point unfinished. Normally, this type of thing bothers me, but in this case, well it does bother me a little. I mean, wouldn't it be normal for the PI Arbogast (Balsam) to check with the police forces along Marion's route to see if they had seen her? Or to check where her car might have been? At the very least, we could have got a 30 second scene of Arbogast asking the cop about her whereabouts. Then again, perhaps I'm being a bit too picky.

- While Norman Bates is truly a 'psycho', Marion seemed to go off the deep end herself for a while. After ten years of working at the same office, she all of a sudden goes off and steals 40 grand and takes off to California, all in the hopes of marrying Sam, throwing away her previous life in the hopes of achieving something just a little better. As it turns out, Marion realized her mistake and had planned on returning the money back to the bank on Sunday, thanks in large part to her conversation with the one and only Norman Bates. How ironic, as Norman basically convinced Marion to save her own life only to take it just hours later.

- For its time, Psycho was a very controversial film, what with a naked woman being stabbed to death in a shower and all. One of the most controversial aspects of the film was the use of the word transvestite. Today, that word is tossed around in movies like baseballs are tossed around in the World Series but back then, it was a very big deal. Just goes to show how much things have changed over the years.

- In a film full of top-notch performances, nobody's performance comes close to Anthony Perkins' portrayal of Norman Bates. Perkins did such a great job of portraying Bates that it ended up hurting his career, as he ended up being typecast as a psychotic of some sort. But, as Vince Vaughn proved in the 1998 remake, not everyone can pull off the multi-faceted role of Norman Bates, and very few actors, if any, could have made Norman so psychotic and yet sympathetic the way Perkins does in this film. In contrast, although most of the actors did a fine job, John Gavin's portrayal of Sam Loomis is kind of dull, as he portrays Sam as a one-dimensional bore. Hitchcock himself has been rumored to be upset with Gavin in this movie, and to be honest, I can kind of see why.

At the end of the day, there may have been better movies than Psycho, but you can count on one hand the number of films that had the impact on the movie industry that Psycho had. From its revolutionary cinematography to it's profound use of blood to the haunting score to the establishment of a regular human like Norman Bates as the embodiment of terror, there have been hundreds of films that have borrowed from Psycho in some way. This is the original 'slasher' film, so to speak, and it's also a darn good film. Overall, I'd give Psycho an 8.8 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about Psycho or my review, or you have an idea for a future review, then share those either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Canon Movie Review: The Hills Have Eyes

First off, sorry for the lack of activity the past couple of days, I meant to watch and review this film last night, but circumstances forced me to delay this review another day. Anyway, since this is Halloween weekend, I decided to watch a couple of horror movies this weekend. Normally, I don't really care for horror films, as I have found most of them to be dumb and most of the films sacrifice an interesting story for lots of blood and gore. So, yes, I am biased against horror films in general, but I did try to keep an open mind with this film. The Hills Have Eyes is a 2006 remake of the 1977 Wes Craven film of the same name. Directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, Piranha 3-D), The Hills Have Eyes stars Ted Levine, Aaron Stanford, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, and Emilie De Raven, among others. The plot is simple enough, as a family traveling through the desert to San Diego is led astray by a gas station attendant, and take a detour that proves to be a fatal mistake, as the car breaks down and the family is attacked by mutated people who have become mutants thanks to the U.S. Government's nuclear testing in the 50s and 60s, which effected their entire genetic code and now all of the people and their descendants are mutants of some sort. Buckets full of blood and a lot of grisly killings follow. A few notes from this film, and there are SPOILERS, so be careful.

- One of the problems I usually have with films of this genre is that the supposed 'good guys' are oftentimes either annoying or just plain jerks to the point where you root for the monster to kill them as quickly as possible. Well, these people were far from the worst characters in cinematic history, but there were a couple of characters I was annoyed with. Bob the patriarch of the family (played by Levine), comes to mind, as he comes off as a gruff know-it-all who is too damn stubborn for his own good, his son-in-law Doug (Stanford) is a technofile d-bag, while the youngest daughter Brenda (de Raven) spends the entire first half of the movie complaining. As it turns out, the only sympathetic characters in the family, the mother (Quinlan) and the oldest daughter (Shaw) end up dead anyway. Well, that sucks.

- The family has (or had) two dogs, German Shephard named Beauty and Beast. Beauty gets killed off about 10 minutes in, but Beast more than lives up to his name. That dog was just awesome, saving Doug on more than one occasion from getting killed and being a total badass, and yes, it is possible for a dog to be a badass.

- For the first half of the movie or so, there is very little violence or gore, as the director decides to take his time setting everything up, introducing the main characters and their personalities and building suspense. While the story seemed to drag at times, I think this was the right way to go, as by the time the cannibals attack, the audience is fully introduced to the family and the total brutality of their attacks over a quick time period really makes an impact on the viewer. At least it did in my case.

- Yes there is a lot of blood and gore and a bunch of mutated freaks and whatnot. In fact, I felt there may have been a bit too much, because after a while you tend to get desensitized after one grizzly scene after another. By the time Doug stuck a pick axe and some mutant's eye, it just really didn't matter as I had seen a whole bunch of other brutal scenes before that. Also, and this is a spoiler, I don't know much about radiation posining, but I doubt it gives people the ability to survive multiple point-blank shotgun blasts or being right in the middle of a giant gas explosion. Plus, is it me, or did Doug seem to lose a lot of blood throughout his battle with the cannibals, to the point where he would hardly be able to stand. But time and time again, Doug found the strength to do superhuman feats. I guess they expect me to excuse that because of his anger and the fact that he wants to get his baby back, but still.

- In spite of all the blood and gore, the two most disturbing scenes to me didn't have a lot of either of that. The first scene that got to me was the opening credits, where clips of bombs being used in the desert is mixed in with pictures of humans with extreme deformities. It's actually quite disturbing and really sad, especially the kids and babies shown. The second scene was the rape scene involving both Brenda and her sister. That scene, by far, was the most uncomfortable to watch, to the point where seeing a man being burned alive intercut with that scene is almost a relief.

Overall, this film seems to accomplish what it sets out to do, to show a whole bunch of grisly death scenes and scare the crap out of its viewers. The cinematography and the score of the movie aids tremendously in bringing a sense of fear and trepidation to the film, and for the most part the acting was well done. Yes, the plot has a whole bunch of holes in it, but no more than the usual horror fare. I admit that the movie is well done for the most part, but after awhile, all the blood and guts just have no impact whatsoever, and the ambiguous ending does no favors for this film (I'd discuss it some more, but I'd like to keep a little bit of mystery in this film review). If you like your horror films full of grisly scenes, well this one is right up your alley. Overall, I'd give it a 5.2 out of 10, as I can see why others may enjoy this film, but I just couldn't get into it.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this review or The Hills Have Eyes in general, then share them by leaving a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then share those with me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Your Canon Review 2010-11 NBA Preview

Tonight marks the beginning of a new NBA season. After a wild offseason which saw LeBron James turn on an entire state to join the Miami Heat, and All-Stars such as Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, and Carlos Boozer change teams, the proverbial deck has been shuffled quite a bit this season. New powers like the Heat and Bulls will emerge, old powers like the Cavaliers will fade off into mediocrity, and with the threat of a labor stoppage looming over next year, who knows what the future will hold for the NBA. I do know one thing, this NBA season promises to be one of the most exciting season in recent memory. So, without further adieu, here are my predictions for the upcoming season.

Eastern Conference (Conference Rank in parentheses)

Atlantic Division:

1. Boston Celtics (3)
2. New York Knicks (7)
3. New Jersey Nets (11)
4. Philadelphia 76ers (12)
5. Toronto Raptors (15)

The Celtics are among the favorites to win the title this year, and with the additions of C Shaquille O'Neal, C/F Jermaine O'Neal and G Delonte West to an already deep bench, the Celtics may have the deepest team in the game. The Knicks may not have had the offseason they wanted, but with new additions like PF Amare Stoudemire and PG Raymond Felton playing under coach Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks will be more exciting to watch this year at the very least. Look for the Knicks to play a lot of high scoring games and ultimately win enough of them to make the playoffs. The Nets will be better than last year under new coach Avery Johnson, and C Brook Lopez and PG Devin Harris are two potential All-Stars. But their supporting cast, while better than last year's bunch, isn't quite good enough to make them a playoff team. The 76ers have SF Andre Igoudala leading a bunch of players who are either too young (PG Jrue Holliday, C Maurice Speights) or over the hill (PF Elton Brand). Plus, I was not impressed with the Sixers' decision to hire retread Doug Collins as head coach, and second overall pick Evan Turner has thus far looked far short of the star the 76ers hoped he would be this year. Toronto lost PF Chris Bosh in the offseason, and the only thing the Raptors will contend for this year is the first overall pick in next year's draft.

Central Division:

1. Chicago Bulls (4)
2. Milwaukee Bucks (6)
3. Indiana Pacers (8)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (13)
5. Detroit Pistons (14)

The Bulls will have to start the season with new acquisition PF Carlos Boozer, but with PG Derrick Rose and C Joakim Noah, Chicago should be able to hold the fort until Boozer is ready to return. With defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeou as the new coach, expect the Bulls to be one of the toughest teams to score upon. I'm not impressed with Milwaukee's offseason acquisitions of PF Drew Gooden and SF Corey Maggette, as neither player seems to fit coach Scott Skiles's defensive style of play. But with PG Brandon Jennings continuing to improve and C Andrew Bogut back, many teams will have good reason to 'fear the deer' this year. The Pacers finally acquired a legit point guard in Darren Collison, and scoring machine SF Danny Granger is healthy once again this season. The young Pacers should improve enough to snatch the final spot in the playoffs, although a lot of that is also due to the other teams being quite uninspiring. The Cavaliers move forward without superstar LeBron James, and it would be silly to expect PG Mo Williams and PF J.J. Hickson to pick up the slack LeBron left behind. Sorry Cleveland, but the Cavs will once again drop to mediocrity. The Pistons still have some remnants of their 2003-04 title team in SF Tayshaun Prince, C Ben Wallace, and SG Richard Hamilton. However, this is a team that desperately needs to rebuild, and if GM Joe Dumars can get a good offer for Prince or Hamilton (or better yet, PF Charlie Villanueva and SG Ben Gordon), then I would suggest he takes the offer, because the Pistons are going nowhere fast this season.

Southeast Division:

1. Miami Heat (1)
2. Orlando Magic (2)
3. Atlanta Hawks (5)
4. Washington Wizards (9)
5. Charlotte Bobcats (10)

The Heat begin the season as the team with the biggest targets on their backs, as SF LeBron James and PF Chris Bosh have joined SG Dwyane Wade to give Miami a powerful trio. Yes, there are questions about the Heat's ability to defend the post, but the new Big Three should carry Miami to a number one seed anyhow. The Magic's big time center, Dwight Howard, seems to have rededicated himself in the offseason, and his supporting cast is still solid enough to make the Magic one of the best teams in the NBA. The Hawks may have made a mistake by signing Joe Johnson to a $124 million dollar contract. But the move did allow the Hawks to bring back the entire core of a 53 win team in 2009-10. Also, the Hawks have added rookie guard Jordan Crawford to the mix, and if he and second-year PG Jeff Teague develop the way the Hawks expect them to, then the Hawks could have one of the best backcourts in the game. The Wizards are quite guard heavy, with rookie PG John Wall and newly acquired G Kirk Hinrich joining up with the returning Gilbert Arenas. If C Javale McGee and/or PF Andray Blatche can provide a consistent low-post threat, then the Wizards may surprise some people. The Bobcats are lead by SF Gerald Wallace and SG Steven Jackson, but they don't seem to have enough pieces around them to return to the playoffs this season.

Western Conference:

Southwest Division:

1. Dallas Mavericks (3)
2. San Antonio Spurs (6)
3. Houston Rockets (7)
4. New Orleans Hornets (8)
5. Memphis Grizzlies (12)

The Mavericks will once again win 50 games behind PF Dirk Nowitzki and a solid supporting cast, and once again the Mavs will disappoint in the playoffs. The Spurs may be a little past their prime, but PF Tim Duncan and company aren't quite done yet, and if PF/C DeJuan Blair and C Tiago Splitter can provide Duncan quality frontcourt help, then the Spurs may be a contender for the title once again. I'll be honest, I have no idea what to make of the Rockets. Yes, they have quality players in PG Aaron Brooks and SG Kevin Martin, and C Yao Ming is back once again. But this team doesn't really have a superstar, just a lot of solid players. That should be enough to make the postseason, but anything after that is icing on the cake. The Hornets' entire season depends of PG Chris Paul being happy and healthy. If he's neither, the Hornets could sink fast, and despite the best efforts of PF David West and SG Marcus Thornton, the Hornets look to be a borderline playoff team this year. The Grizzlies surprised last year, but is it really wise to count on PF Zach Randolph to repeat his stellar performance last year, when his career history strongly suggests against it? The Grizzlies have other solid players in SF Rudy Gay and SG O.J. Mayo, but this team will go as far as Randolph can take them, which in the deep Western Conference, isn't that far. If only Memphis were in the East, then they would be a playoff team for sure.

Northwest Division:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder (1)
2. Utah Jazz (4)
3. Denver Nuggets (5)
4. Portland Trailblazers (10)
5. Minnesota Timberwolves (15)

The Thunder possess perhaps the best player in the game in SF Kevin Durant, a top-notch PG in Russell Westbrook, and a solid supporting cast around them. Look for Durant and company to make the jump this year and the Thunder to join the NBA elite. The Jazz lost Boozer, but gained C Al Jefferson, a similar player who is a few years younger. With Jefferson joining star PG Deron Williams, the Jazz are a star swingman away from becoming an elite team. Perhaps rookie SF Gordon Hayward can become that player. Some people are down on the Nuggets, but with SF Carmelo Anthony still in tow (for now) and playing for a new contract, the Nuggets should be a tough team yet again. The Trailblazers' front office is a mess, they have quite a few unhappy players on the roster, and their season depends on injury-prone players such as SG Brandon Roy and Cs Marcus Camby and Greg Oden staying healthy. The Blazers could win anywhere from 35 to 55 games, but I'm predicting it will be closer to the former. I don't think the Timberwolves know what they're doing, but with PF Kevin Love and SF Michael Beasley, the Wolves may have some potential if Beasley has his head on straight.

Pacific Division:

1. Los Angeles Lakers (2)
2. Phoenix Suns (9)
3. Los Angeles Clippers (11)
4. Sacramento Kings (13)
5. Golden State Warriors (14)

The back-to-back defending champs, the Lakers are just as strong as ever. However, look for the Lakers to conserve their energy during their regular season and concede the top seed to the Thunder. The Suns still have PG Steve Nash, but they are a little thin up front after losing Stoudemire. Despite the Suns' 19 small forwards, the Suns don't have the size to compete this year. The Clippers will get a huge boost from the debut of 2009 number one pick PF Blake Griffin, and with a backcourt of PG Baron Davis and SG Eric Gordon, the Clippers may make a run at the postseason. However, they still are the Clippers, so we'll see. The Kings have last year's rookie of the year, SG Tyreke Evans, and first rounder PF DeMarcus Cousins could give the Kings back to back winners of the award. But the Kings are a year away from being a playoff contender. The Warriors added PF David Lee to a core that already includes SG Monta Ellis and PG Stephen Curry. They'll score a lot, but the Warriors will have a hard time stopping teams. At least they will be exciting to watch.

1. Kevin Durant, F, Thunder
2. LeBron James, F, Heat
3. Kobe Bryant, G, Lakers
Dark Horse: Dwight Howard, C, Magic

Durant led the league in scoring last year, and just finished carrying Team USA on his back at the FIBA World Championships. With the Thunder poised to make a huge leap this year, look for Durant to carry the team to the best record in the West and his first of many MVP awards to come. James is the back-to-back winner of the MVP award, but with James joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh this year, LeBron will lose some votes to his teammates. Bryant still may be the best player in the league even at 32. Look for Braynt to have his usual excellent season. Howard has stepped up his training in the offseason and has put in work with Hall of Fame C Hakeem Olajuwon. If Howard can adapt some of Olajuwon's lessons into his own game, he may become the best player in the NBA.

Defensive Player of the Year:
1. Howard, C, Magic
2. James, F, Heat
3. Joakim Noah, C, Bulls
Dark Horse: John Wall, G, Wizards

Howard is the back-to-back winner of the award already, and should continue to reek havoc all over the court once again this year. James is a quality defender and may look to make more of a contribution on the defensive end now that he has teammates that can take care of business on the offensive side of the ball. Noah is a high energy player who plays every opponent tough and will block his share of shots. As for Wall, he might be the quickest player in the NBA right now, and his quick hands will result in a lot of steals and frustrating nights for his opponents.

Rookie of the Year
1. Blake Griffin, F, Clippers
2. John Wall, G, Wizards
3. DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Kings
Dark Horse: Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs

Griffin, the 2009 first pick in the draft, missed the entire season last year due to a knee injury. So far, it looks like Griffin hasn't lost a step after the injury, and Griffin may put up a 20 and 10 season in his rookie year. Wall was this year's number one pick, and should improve the Wizards immediately. If Wall doesn't turn the ball over too much and is consistent with his shot, he could be an All-Star as soon as this season. Cousins slipped to the number 5 slot due to attitude concerns, but there's no doubting his talent. As long as he's in the right frame of mind, Cousins will be a force in this league from day one. There was a time where Splitter was considered one of the top prospects in basketball and now that he's making his debut, the Spurs' new big man will have a chance to show why.

NBA Finals Prediction: Heat over Lakers in 6

There are three legit contenders to the title in the East: The Celtics, Heat, and Magic. The Celtics made it all the way to game 7 of the Finals last year, and have all the pieces to not only return, but win the finals this time. I do have concerns about the team's age and PG Rajon Rondo's poor shooting. The Magic will probably win 55-60 games this year and nobody on the Heat can slow down Dwight Howard. But I'm not really convinced that SG Vince Carter is the right player to take the Magic over the top, and PF Rashad Lewis slowed down some last year. The Heat may have lost to the Celtics tonight, and they are a bit thin behind the big three. But LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are three of the top ten players in the game, and for at least this year, the Heat's investment in them will pay off. In the West, the Lakers are the clear favorites, and despite challenges from the Thunder, Jazz, and Spurs, look for Los Angeles to ultimately return to the Finals, only to fall short to the Miami Heat in the end.

Well, thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts or predictions about the upcoming NBA season, or you have some issues with my predictions, then feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then share those ideas either by leaving a comment or sending me an e-mail at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Canon Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This book review comes from a request from Canon Review reader Maggie W. A couple of months before this, Maggie had asked me to read and review the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which you can find right here. Well, after that, Maggie requested that I review the second book, and some two months later, here we are. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the tale of Harry's second year at the wizardry school Hogwarts. Just like his first year, there's a terrible evil that is on the verge of being released and possibly destroying Hogwarts forever, and once again, it's up to Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to save the whole world from that terrible evil. A few thoughts about this book, and yes there will be SPOILERS, so be careful.

- This book is actually a little darker than the first one. You have key characters turned into stone, Draco Malfoy openly wishing for Hermoine's death, which was kind of a shock to me, as in the first book Draco's not much more than a jealous twit. In this book, both he and his father are dang near evil. Also, Harry's adopted family, the Dursleys, seem a lot more violent in this book than in the first book. Not to mention the whole underlying tone of discrimination, as pure-bloods tend to look down upon those with any 'muggle' blood in their family. Yes, this is a kid's book, but I do wonder about how kids younger than 9 or 10 would handle this book.

- Speaking of Draco, he seems to have some serious jealously issues with Potter. It seems as if Malfoy spends every waking second trying to get rid of Potter or show him up or something. This constant pestering of Potter and his friends backfires on Malfoy on more than one occasion, which is all in all just, but part of me actually kind of feels for Malfoy, as despite all of his wealth and the respect of his Slytherin housemates, he still obsesses over Potter to the point where any reader can tell he has serious issues of feeling inadequate compared to the famous wizard. Then again, it is only fiction, and perhaps I'm wasting my time by playing amateur psychologist.

- There are a few new characters introduced in the story, such as Dobby the House Elf, who's constant attempts to save Harry Potter usually involve getting Harry badly injured. Also, there's a new defense of dark arts teacher, one Gilderoy Lockhart. Lockhart is the stereotypical overbearing man who insists on telling everyone around him how he did this or fought off that or whatever. For some reason, Lockhart is kind of a big deal in the wizard world, authoring many books and having legions of fans. At more than one point, Lockhart uses his tutelage of Harry Potter as another way of making himself look more famous. At first, it was kind of entertaining, but after a while you just started to wish that Lockhart would fall into a giant well or get eaten by a snake or something. At least he got some sort of comeuppance at the end, as he turned out to be quite a nasty fellow.

- You know, for a bunch of wizards in an enchanted world, the people around Harry seem awfully close-minded and judgmental. When people start turning into stone, everybody's first reaction seems to be blame it on Harry Potter because he defeated Voldemort and therefore, he must be evil or something. When Harry shows the talent to talk to snakes, everybody continues to freak out even though he saved their butts from getting snakebit. Yet at the end of the day, it's Potter that once again saves their sorry selves from getting killed by the stare of a giant snake. I'm sure in the next book something will happen and everyone will call Harry evil again and all of that. You kind of feel for Harry, as in one world, he's treated like the proverbial red-headed step child, while in the other, with the exception of a few people, he's either regarded as a quasi-celebrity or the cause for everyone's faults, depending on the collective view of Hogwarts at the time.

- Then again, Harry kind of treated his new admirer, a first year student named Colin Creevey, like an irritating gnat. Sure, Colin seemed to be a bit overbearing, but Harry seemed to be a little cruel towards Colin, if you ask me.

Overall, I must say that unlike most sequals, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets lives up to the excellence of the first book. Sure, I would have liked a little more focus on some of the ancillary characters like Neville and Sheamus, and the reveal of Slytheren's heir was kind of disappointing, as it basically was the same deal as the first book. But nevertheless, this was quite an entertaining read that I had no trouble zipping through, as I couldn't put the book down. Overall, I'd give Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a 7.35 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Canon MST3K Review: The Creeping Terror

With Halloween fast approaching, many television networks have been showing horror movie after horror movie, full of monsters and mayhem and all sorts of terror. Well, one movie that hopefully will not be shown is the 1964 horror classic The Creeping Terror. Considered one of the worst movies of all-time, The Creeping Terror was produced, and directed by Art J. Nelson, who also starred in the film under the alias Vic Savage. The Creeping Terror also starred a giant monster composed mainly of sewn together carpet pieces and powered by a team of college students. Since the film was shot in the desert, I'm absolutely positive that being under that suit was not a fun experience to say the least. The film also stars a bunch of people you've never heard of, and for good reason. The plot of this monstrosity is rather simple, a monster has landed from outer space, and has started to eat people. So it's up to acting sheriff Martin (Savage), his wife, his deputy, a scientist, and the country's worst infantry unit to slow this thing down before everyone gets swallowed up. A few thoughts about this film.

- The monster, to put it nicely, moves at a glacial pace. I've seen houses move faster than this monster. So to say it's creeping is accurate. Nevertheless, despite its lack of speed, the monster is an effective killing machine for one reason and one reason only. Each one of his victims refuse to escape in any form. With the exception of the boyfriend leaving his girl to die by crab-walking on out of there, the victims just scream a lot and stare into the monster's eyes, waiting for it to crawl over them and swallow them whole. As Mike wondered during the film, "did people not run during the 50s"? Even if the victims were to walk at a brisk pace, they would avoid their doom, but I guess that was just too advanced for this film.

- To make matters worse, since the monster really couldn't do anything, all of its victims had to physically crawl in to the contraption of carpets. This is especially noticable in the first feeding scene, where the girl in the bikini is eaten by the monster. What is also noticable is that the camera lingers for a rather long time on the girl's backside and legs squirming around trying to get out (or in, I suppose) of the monster's clutches. This is not the last time that we get to see this shot, and it's shown so much that I wonder if the director has a fetish involving women squirming in giant monsters or something. 

- Most of the film's dialogue is narrated. In fact, the narration is so through that instead of hearing the characters carry out conversations, we basically get a summary of what is being talked about from the narrator. It's kind of annoying, to be honest, and being told that the colonel told the scientist to go to hell doesn't have the same impact as hearing the words from the horse's mouth would. According to rumor, Nelson may not have had much of choice, as it's been mentioned that the original soundtrack was lost and in a last-ditch effort, Nelson was forced to have the narrator talk over the film. Of course, it's also been reported that Nelson just wanted to save money, so he had a narrator talk in a studio over the footage. Considering the poor camera work, lack of production values, and cheap monster, I tend to believe the latter is true.

- Then again, that may have been a smart idea, as what little dialogue spoken by the actors is not only poorly dubbed, but the actors are just awful. It seems as if whoever is in the movie is unable to accurately portray fear, anger, or much else for that matter. Some of the acting is so bad that it needs to be seen to be believed.

- The most confusing sequence in the whole movie, and by golly there are a lot of them, is when Martin brings his deputy Barney over to his house for drinks. About halfway through, the narrator starts jumping in telling the audience about how Martin's marriage has changed his relationship with Barney, and basically saying that Barney should suck it up because getting married is what real men do or something. I think somebody involved with the film was tired of his friends ragging on his marriage. The scene ends with the happy couple making out like two clumsy teenagers, while poor Barney is sitting right next to them on the couch. Well, I think that's just rude, and really puts Barney in an awkward situation. Judge for yourself and see if you agree:

There's more, oh yes, there's more. Like the hootenanny and the third-rate folk rock, and the dance hall scene where all sorts of subplots pop up out of nowhere, and none of them gets resolved. Also, there's the mother that checks her baby's temperature in an unpleasant manner, although thankfully it's not shown, only implied, and that's not even mentioning the worst army in the history of cinema, accepting the team in the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now. For bad movie lovers, this flick has it all, poor cinematography, a terrible plot, bad acting, bad sound, one of the worst monsters in cinematic history, women dancing in tight pants, and even a preachy message about marriage. Bottom line, this movie is so bad it's good, and the riffing by the MST3K crew, while humorous, is almost unnecessary due to the sheer ridiculousness of the original film. The Creeping Terror is not good, not good at all, but it is oddly captivating and at least it's not as bad as Red Zone Cuba. I'll give the movie a 1 out of 10, and the episode itself a 5.5 out of 10, as there's quite a few funny bits in between the film.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Canon Wrestling Review: Random Ric Flair videos

Is Ric Flair the best wrestler that ever lived? Perhaps, but there's no doubt that he's among the most entertaining wrestlers that ever lived. So because of that, here are a few videos featuring 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair.

Video 1: Just Like That - This video is composed entirely of old-school Ric Flair promos and made into a song. I must say, it's actually very well done and quite a catchy tune. The video also really captures just how cool Ric Flair was back in the day, and also prominently features Tony Schiavone's old mustache. As the kids say today, this video is full of win, so check it out below:

Video 2: Ric Flair and Batista vs. The Dudley Boys, WWE RAW, January 5, 2004 - This is for Flair and Batista's WWE Tag Team Titles. D-Von Dudley starts off with his former deacon, and peppers Batista with lefts and rights. After Flair distracts D-Von, Batista gets the advantage and gets a two count after a big back elbow. D-Von regains control and tags out to Bubba Ray. After some brawling, Bubba goes to the top and hits a big cross body block on Batista that gets a two count. Tag in to Flair, but that doesn't go too well as Bubba knocks him down with a clothesline. Bubba then mocks Ric Flair, which upsets the Nature Boy as he fires away with knife edge chops in the corner. But Bubba turns Flair around and gives a few chops of his own, which actually causes Flair's chest to bleed a little. All four men enter, and eventually Flair fells Bubba Ray with a chop block to the knee. After Batista and D-Von leave, Flair tries for a figure-four, but Bubba small packages him for a two count. Undaunted, Flair continues to work away at the knee, and goes for a second figure-four, and this time he gets the hold on. Bubba turns it, but sadly for him, Flair is close enough to tag Batista, and the champs continue to work on Bubba's injured knee.Before I go on, I must mention that the commentary for this match is just awful, as most of it is Jonathan Coachman yelling at his two partners and calling Jim Ross a racist. Why they hired that guy is a mystery.

After continuing the beatdown on Bubba, Flair starts to get froggy and climbs the top rope, but Bubba is able to get up in time and toss Flair off. Hot tag to D-Von, and he hits a powerslam on Flair, but Batista comes in to break the pinfall. D-Von goes to the second rope and drops an elbow, but Flair is able to get out of the way in time. Everybody gets in there, and the challengers take the advantage after Bubba's series of punches decks Flair and using their reverse 3-D on Batista. Flair takes the two big moves in the Dudleys' arsenal, the Wassup! headbutt and the 3D, but before they can cover Flair, Triple H comes out to distract the ref. That allows Batista to sneak in and give D-Von a Batista bomb, and Flair turns over to cover D-Von and get the win. After the match, Triple H tries to help Flair up, but Shawn Michaels comes in and superkicks Mr. H. Not the finest match for any of these men, and the commentary did nobody any favors. I'll give it a 1.6565 out of 5.

Dudley Boys vs. Ric Flair/Batista-WWE Tag titles
Uploaded by Stinger1981. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.

Video 3: Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect on the Funeral Parlor - Paul Bearer is hosting his talk show segment, the Funeral Parlor, and welcomes Ric Flair and his executive consultant, Mr. Perfect. The two are here to talk about that night's later tag match between Flair and the Undertaker against the team of Hulk Hogan and Sid Vicious. Perfect states that he does not care if Hogan and Justice are on the same page because they don't stand a chance against Flair and Taker. Flair gets on the mic and basically repeats Perfect's sentiments, although he does so in a much more dynamic manner. Flair states that we will see if Hogan and Sid can walk that aisle. Well, if they can't, they're going to be in a lot of trouble because if Hogan and Sid aren't coordinated enough to walk down the aisle then how do they expect to physically compete with Flair and Undertaker? Or maybe I'm just being too literal again.

Video 4: Ric Flair vs. Brad Armstrong, WCW Monday Nitro, February 23, 1998 - The Dirtiest Player in the Game takes on second generation star Brad Armstrong in a rare Nitro appearence for Armstrong. Armstrong takes down Flair with a headlock takedown, but Flair gets up and regains the advantage with a questionable kick to the midsection. Flair bounces off the ropes and delivers a shoulderblock, but Armstrong goes down and drop toe holds Flair on his second try. Armstrong with a two count after a headlock takeover, Flair gets back up and eye gouges Armstrong in the corner. Flair with a series of knife edge chops, but that just enrages Armstrong, as he fires back with a few chops of his own, whips Flair into the corner, and backdrops him on the rebound. Armstrong tries a monkey flip, but instead takes an atomic drop for his efforts. Tony Schiavone mentions Flair's numerous title runs and wonders whether his mark will ever be broken. Well, with the World Titles trading hands every other day now, I'm 99% sure that somebody will have more than 16 title runs, probably John Cena. But I digress. The two men exchange holds until Armstrong flattens Flair with a clothesline, and nearly gets a three count after a Russian Leg Sweep. Armstrong to the top, and comes off with a missile dropkick. Armstrong once again goes to top, but this time Flair dodges a cross body attempt. Flair directs the ref's attention away from the match long enough to kick Armstrong in the jewels, and then locks the figure four on to get the submission victory. Short, but not a bad match, and I'm curious to see what would happen if these two were given 15 or 20 minutes. I'd give it a 2 out of 5.

Video 5: Ric Flair and Rip Hawk promo - This video is from way back when, 1974 to be exact. Flair and Hawk are promoting their upcoming matches against the team of Swede Hanson and Tiger Conway. Flair has on some ridiculous sunglasses and long sideburns, and to say he's a little green in this video is an understatement. He's talking about 100 miles a minute here, and it's really a lot different than what most wrestling fans are used to with Flair, although he does finish his interview with a Woooo! Quite an interesting video here.

Well, I think that's enough for right now. Hopefully I'll have something else on tap for tomorrow, although I'm not quite sure what that is yet. Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about Ric Flair or any of the videos featured here today, then feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then send it over to me either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

Friday, October 22, 2010

An update about the lack of updates

For the past couple of days, I've been trying to rack my brain to come up with some topic to write about, or something to review, but for whatever reason, I just could not think of anything. I guess I have a case of writer's block or something. Actually, this has been the case pretty much all month, as I just can't seem to get motivated to post anything lately. So, I apologize for the lack of updates and, quite frankly, the downturn of quality around here the last few weeks. Hopefully, it's just a temporary setback and I'll be back to reviewing all sorts of crazy things in the upcoming weeks, probably starting tomorrow or early Saturday morning. So don't fret, all you Canon Review followers out there, because this train is going to keep on rolling. Now here's a video of Lex Luger talking:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Canon Review Presents: Commercials with Cartoon Characters Selling Food

Since the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of television, advertisers have used cartoon characters in commercials to shill all sorts of stuff. From credit cards to shoes to insurance to even cigarettes, cartoon characters have been called upon to advertise. One of the most common users of cartoon characters in commercials are the fast food restaurants, mainly because these places target kids with toys and all sorts of other stuff in order to get their parents to buy their food. Of course, you probably know this, as it's really just common sense. Even so, here are a few examples of famous cartoon characters selling food to consumers.

Commercial 1: Foghorn Leghorn for Kentucky Fried Chicken - Yep, this commercial features an animated chicken telling people to eat chicken. This 1988 ad features Henrey Hawk trying to capture Foghorn Leghorn because, in his own words, he's a "chicken hawk and [Foghorn] is a chicken". Well, Mr. Leghorn does not want to deal with Henrey Hawk right now, so he tells his tormentor that Kentucky Fried Chicken is the place to get what he craves because they do chicken right. Which brings up the question, how would Foghorn Leghorn know this? Unless he's actually a customer of KFC? In that case, Mr. Leghorn is a terrible individual and a traitor to his species. Or maybe he just likes the biscuits. At any rate, Foghorn Leghorn sends Henrey Hawk on his way by placing him on a frisbee and throwing him into the great unknown. Well, this commercial definitely raises more questions than it answers. At best, Foghorn Leghorn is a small man who is not above selling out his fellow chickens for consumption by humans and chicken hawks, and at worst, he's a cannibal. All I know is that it doesn't really make me want to eat chicken, so I'll give it a 1.35 out of 5.

Commercial 2:Burger King's Kids Club featuring Toy Story Toys: This 1995 commercial starts off with a boy in between two old ladies. While the two ladies are pinching the kid's cheeks, he gets zapped to Burger King via animated remote control, which we later see belongs to a typical "cool kid" from the 1990s. The kid asks if we are looking for somewhere cool to go, then suggests that Burger King is that somewhere cool to go. I highly dispute his claims, as I've been to a few that were far from 'cool'. But I digress. At the time, Burger King was doing what every other fast food chain worth their salt does, and giving away free crappy toys featuring characters from the latest movie with the purchase of a kid's meal. This time, it was Toy Story toys, and believe it or not, I still have two of those Buzz Lightyear toys that came with the kid's meal lying around in my house somewhere. After every kid in the place has a toy, the cool kid cartoon comes back in spouts off some nonsense about the Burger King Kids' Club. This was slightly annoying, so I'll give it a 1.4 out of 5.

Commercial 3: The Simpsons for Kentucky Fried Chicken - Over the years, the Simpsons have sold more crap than a manure factory, so it comes as very little surprise that Homer Simpson would be featured in a commercial based on food. Actually, he's in multiple commercials like this, but this is the first one I saw so I'll go with this one. In this ad, Homer leaves his local KFC with a bucket of chicken and a 7-Up. Homer assumes that the cashier made a mistake by not charging for his drink and walks away happy, but unbeknownst to him, the 7-Up is free, but Homer starts freaking out after spotting the police. In his panic, Homer tries to sneak out of the bathroom window but gets stuck. Luckily, his father Abe is walking by, but Abe informs Homer that the 7-Up is actually free (in Canada only, according to the ad) and to make matters worse, he jacks the chicken and the drink from Homer's fingers. Sucks to be Homer, but it also sucks for Grandpa Simpson because now he has to eat KFC. Just kidding. This wasn't too bad and got the point of the ad across in a humorous manner, so I'll give it a 3.1 out of 5.

Commercial 4: The Noid vs. Domino's Pizza Dome of Quality - In some cases, as this ad from 1987 shows, advertising companies will come up with their own animated characters to feature in commercial. In this case, the Noid was featured in Domino's commercials throughout the 80s with his sole purpose in life seemingly being ruining fresh pizzas. Done in claymation, the Noid was a rather quirky character, with a red jumpsuit and rabbit ears. The Noid seemed like an odd character to feature, but he was all over the place in the 1980s and even got his own video game for the Nintendo called Yo Noid. I'm sure it sucked, but not every advertising icon gets a video game. Anyway, in this commercial, the Noid once again tries to ruin a Domino's pizza, so he gets a baseball bat. But somehow is swing is blocked by an invisible dome of quality that shields the pizza. This raises another question, if the Noid can not penetrate the dome, than can the regular consumer do so in order to eat their pizza? The Noid once again tries to destroy the pizza by running at a high rate of speed towards it, but once again the dome blocks the Noid and he turns into a big pile of clay. I think the Noid has an unhealthy obsession with Domino's and should seek psychiatric help, but I'm only an amateur psychologist. Perhaps I'm just too tired, but I really don't get the Noid's appeal and I wonder why so many hipster doofuses call for his return. I'll give this ad a 1 out of 5.

Well, I think that's going to be all for now. If you have any thoughts about these ads or the products sold in them, then feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have any ideas for future reviews, then let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Canon Wrestling Review: The Many Faces of Barry Darsow

First of all, sorry for my lack of activity around here the last couple of days. Things have been a little crazy around here as of late, so I just have not had the time to dedicate myself to such pursuits like today's review, which is a discussion of wrestler Barry Darsow and some of his matches. Darsow is a veteran wrestler who has competed under a variety of names. He was Krusher Kruschev in the NWA, then he went to the WWF and played Smash in the famed tag team Demolition. When that ran it's course, Darsow became the Repo Man for a short spell, before going to the WCW as the Blacktop Bully. That didn't last long, but Darsow came back to WCW to compete under his real name and perfected the Barely Legal armbar. So in recognition of his versatility, I have decided to scour the internet and watch a match featuring Darsow under each of his gimmicks.

Match 1: Krusher Kruschev vs. Denny Brown (Worldwide, June 15, 1985) - The former junior heavyweight champion Denny Brown takes on the much larger Russian sympathizer Kruschev, who is accompanied by Ivan Koloff. Brown frustrates Kruschev by dodging his various attacks and keeping the bigger man on the move. A dropkick by Brown knocks Kruschev back, but not down. Irish whip by Kruschev, who then tries to follow with a clothesline. However, Brown ducks between Kruschev's legs and lands another dropkick, this one knocking the big man down. But Kruschev is up quickly, and backs Brown against a corner before delivering a few body punches. Body slam by Kruschev, but Brown moves out of the way of an elbow drop. But Brown does not follow up, and Krusher goes for an eye gouge. Krusher knocks Brown down with a big punch to the gut, then puts his opponent in a half chinlock-half armbar manuever. Krusher follows up with a pair of shoulderblocks, but Brown ducks out of the way of a third and Kruschev hits the turnbuckle hard. Brown tries to capitalize by whipping Krusher into the other corner, but Kruschev recovers quickly and nearly takes Brown's head off with a clothesline. That's enough to get the victory. Match was an entertaining squash, at least. I'll give it a 1.95 out of 5.

Match 2: Demolition (Ax and Smash) w/ Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) - Summer Slam 1988 - This match is for Demolition's Tag Team Titles. Bret and Ax start off the match. Ax overpowers the Hitman with a series of ax handles, but Hart fires back with some punches for Ax and Smash. Rollup by Hart gets two, and Ax tags out. Smash is a little too eager and Hart arm drags him a couple of times before tagging out to Anvil. Neidhart takes Smash down with a flying axe handle, and uses brawling tactics to keep Smash reeling. A huge shoulderblock by Neidhart on Smash, and Neidhart bounces off the ropes again only for Ax to nail him with a kick from the apron. Quick tags from Ax and Smash, who beat the big Anvil down with a whole bunch of double ax handles to the back. The tide quickly turns after Neidhart catches a ducking Ax with a boot, and tags out to the Hitman. Dropkick for Smash, and the Harts are in control. But Jimmy Hart distracts the Anvil, and Demoliton uses it to their advantage by whipping Hart hard shoulder first into the ring post.

For the next few minutes, Demolition works over Hart's shoulder with a series of punches, kicks, holds, and pulls, keeping Bret trapped in their corner and using quick tags to keep fresh. Finally, after a few minutes, Hart is able to clothesline Ax down and tag out to the Anvil, but the referee does not see it. So, the punishment on Hart commences, until Hart gets a knee up into a charging Ax's face. Now Bret gets the tag to Neidhart, and Neidhart starts cleaning house with dropkicks and clotheslines and various other strikes. Both Demos are on the outside, so Hart slingshots Neidhart out to a standing Smash, launching Neidhart to hit a perfect pescado on his opponent. Back in, a powerslam by Neidhart on Smash almost gets a three count, but Smash kicks out to save the titles for his team. Tag into Hart, and he whips Neidhart hard into a corner-bound smash, so Neidhart delivers a shoulderblock to Smash's gut. That also gets a two count. All four men are in now, and Fuji gets on the apron, only to get nailed by Neidhart. However, the distraction allows Hart to throw his megaphone into Ax, who then clobbers Hart in the head with the foreign object for the three count. Match wasn't too bad, but probably not the best between the two teams. Still, I'd give it a 3.2 out of 5.

Match 3: Repo Man vs. Papa Shango, Prime Time Wrestling, December 14, 1992 - A rare heel vs. heel match for this time period. Shango comes out with a big skull on a stick and is accompanied by a bunch of smoke, and the match begins. Shango overpowers Repo Man and the corner and lands some punches and headbutts. Papa follows up with a big clothesline and a top wristlock, backing Repo into the corner.  Shango tries for the Ho Train, but Repo Man moves out of the way. Repo gets the advantage, landing a bunch of punches, including one to the throat that knocks Shango down. He follows up with a legdrop and then a top wristlock for Shango, but Shango gets out of it and body slams Repo Man down to the canvas. Afterwards, the two men trade blows and a double clothesline knocks both competitors down to the mat. Shango crawls to the corner to get his 'voodoo stick', as Gorilla Monsoon calls it, and uses it to shoot sparks in the sky. That causes Repo Man to get his rope and hook, and the ref decides to call the match off before somebody loses an eye. Match wasn't all that good. I'd give it a 1.2 out of 5.

Match 4: Barry Darsow vs. Saturn, WCW Thunder, May 27, 1998 - This match is between two bald men, so no hair-pulling in this match. Headlock by Saturn to start, but he's whipped into the ropes. Howevver, Saturn catches Darsow with a kick to the gut and a legsweep, and follows up with another headlock. That proves to be a mistake, as Darsow lifts Saturn up and delivers a back suplex, landing hard on his head in the process. Darsow misses a clothesline and walks into an exploder suplex. After some kicks and punches are exchanged, Darsow gets a clothesline and a two count. Darsow uses various brawling tactics to keep control of the match, and then takes it to the outside, where he throws Saturn shoulder-first into the ring post. The announcers are actually talking about the match and trying to get Darsow's finisher, the Barely Legal armbar over. That's a refreshing change from their usual talk of whatever Hulk Hogan's doing at the time, even if he's not at the show. But I digress. Saturn ducks another clothesline attempt and bounces off the ropes with a spinning heel kick. Saturn then tries for a move in the corner, but doesn't connect. Darsow starts going to work on Saturn's arm and uses a shoulder breaker to further weaken the arm. Darsow goes for Barely Legal, but Saturn gets to the ropes, much to the dismay of Darsow, who starts arguing with the ref. This proves to be a huge mistake, as Saturn gets up and delivers a superkick to Darsow. Saturn follows up with the Death Valley Driver, and the match is over after the three count. Not too bad, considering how short it was. I'd give it a 1.9 out of 5.

Well, I guess I could do a Blacktop Bully match, but I don't want to. In all seriousness. Darsow may not have been the most spectacular wrestler to ever live, but he was a solid wrestler who knew what to do in the ring and rarely made mistakes. I'm not saying he was World Championship material, but he was more than competent enough for a mid-card wrestler. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about these matches or feelings about Barry Darsow, then feel free to leave a comment on the blog. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then send it to me at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Canon Review 2010 College Football Preview Midseason Review

Believe it or not, the 2010 College Football season is halfway over. So, with that in mind, it's time to take a look at my picks before the beginning of the season and see just how poorly I've done. In case you want to look back at those picks, you can click the link here.

ACC: Originally, I had Boston College and Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game at the end of the year. Well, Boston College has not done as well as I had hoped, as they have had issues at the quarterback position. As for Virginia Tech, they have had a disappointing season as well up to this point, but still are in the lead in the ACC Coastal Division and gave N.C. State their only loss. With Georgia Tech and Miami both having up-and-down seasons of their own, Virginia Tech is still in prime position to clinch the Coastal Division title. As for the Atlantic division, it looks as if it's shaping up to be a two team battle between N.C. State and Florida State, with the October 28th battle between the two likely to decide which team will play in the ACC Championship game. If I were a betting man, I'd say Florida State will be the team that emerges, and ultimately wins the ACC.

Big East: It's highly likely that the WAC and Mountain West Conferences are better than the Big East, but since the Big East winner has an automatic spot in the BCS, they're going to get more attention. The Big East has only one team ranked in the top 25, which just happens to be my preseason choice to win the conference, West Virginia. On one hand, West Virginia is only a 6-point loss to #9 LSU. On the other hand, West Virginia isn't as consistent as one would like, as a near-loss to Marshall clearly showed. Although West Virginia is the favorite, the race is still wide open, as there's time for early disappointments Pitt and Connecticut to right the ship, and the surprising Syracuse Orangemen could be a factor as well. Overall though, I still feel pretty confident that West Virginia will take the conference.

Big Ten: Wisconsin was my preseason pick to win the conference, and if they beat #1 Ohio State at home this Saturday, then the Badgers have quite a good shot at winning the Big Ten. It would be silly to count out the Buckeyes, as they really have only two tough games (at Wisconsin, at Iowa) standing between them and a perfect season. Michigan may have college football's most exciting player in QB Denard Robinson, but their defense is offensive, and will keep them from being a serious threat. Michigan State is the other undefeated team in the Big Ten (Ohio State is also undefeated), and they get a break by not playing Ohio State this year. Iowa was thought to be a serious contender at the beginning of the year, and with home games against both Michigan State and Ohio State, Iowa may still be the favorite to win the conference. At the end of the day, even though I picked against Ohio State at the beginning of the year, I find it hard to choose against them now. But I'm doing it anyway, as I'm just not convinced that they can run the table. Give me Iowa this time around.

Big Twelve: I picked Texas at the beginning of the year, and that's going to be wrong. The Longhorns already lost to Oklahoma and are big underdogs this Saturday against a Nebraska team still angry over last year's defeat to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game. It looks like Nebraska and Oklahoma will represent the North and South divisions, respectively, in the Big 12 Championship Game. However, both teams should face major challenges from rivals Missouri and Oklahoma State, respectively, as both teams are also undefeated. When the dust clears, I expect Nebraska to finish their final season in the Big 12 as the conference champion.

Pac Ten: I must say that I was spectacularly wrong in picking Washington to win the conference this year, as they have clearly shown not to be a championship level team at this point. I also felt that the race would be wide-open all season with a number of quality teams contending for the crown. Well, while the Pac Ten does have a plethora of quality football teams, the #2 Oregon Ducks have emerged as the clear favorites, especially after their big win against then #9 Stanford earlier this season. Yes, Arizona is also a very good team, but not quite at the level of Oregon. If there is one team that could derail Oregon from a championship season, it could be the Ducks' rivals the Oregon State Beavers. Yes, the Beavers have lost two games this season, but both of those losses came on the road against top 5 teams (Boise State, TCU). Plus, the Beavers looked mighty impressive in dispatching Arizona last week, and Oregon has to come to their home stadium at the end of the year. If the Beavers get past Stanford the previous week, then we could be looking at a de facto Pac Ten title game in the final week of the season. With all that said, I'm still picking Oregon to win the conference.

SEC: Alabama's loss to South Carolina last Saturday shook up the whole landscape of the conference. In the East, South Carolina is in the lead, and is really the only team in that division playing at a high level. The team's biggest test left is a trip down to The Swamp to face the Florida Gators in a game likely to decide the Eastern Champion. Since both Florida and Georgia have disappointed, it may be the Gamecocks' year to finally play in the SEC Championship Game. In the West, Alabama's loss leaves LSU and Auburn as the two lone undefeated teams in the conference. You can make the argument that LSU has been more lucky than good, and we shall see in the next two weeks just how good the Tigers are as they play both Auburn and Alabama in back-to-back games. Auburn has been powered by QB Cam Newton and a top-notch offense, and could very well take the Western crown. It would also be unwise to count out Arkansas. However, Alabama, despite their loss last week, is still the best team in the conference, and will prove that by winning the West and avenging their loss to South Carolina in the SEC Championship game.

Other Conferences: In the WAC, preseason favorite Boise State has not disappointed, beating BCS teams Virginia Tech and Oregon State thus far and currently ranking #3 in the polls. The Broncos have a tough test upcoming against Nevada, but should be able to win the WAC once again. Over in the Mountain West conference, TCU has a battle on their hands with Utah, and the two would be BCS-busters meet November 6th in Utah and what is likely to be the only loss for one of these two teams, provided Air Force doesn't shock TCU and Utah between then. I picked TCU at the beginning of the year, and I will not change my mind now. In Conference USA, QB Case Kessum's season ending injury has put preseason favorite Houston in a difficult spot and has opened the door for a number of teams to step in. Right now, that team looks to be SMU, so that's who I'll go with. Even though I picked Temple to win the MAC at the beginning of the season, last week's lost to Northern Illinois has convinced me to go in a different direction, as now I feel Northern Illinois will be the MAC champs. In the Sun Belt conference, Troy crushed my preseason pick Middle Tennessee St. last week by a 29 point margin, and very little stands between Troy and a conference title.

National Championship: With Alabama losing last week, I have had to change my original pick, as I feel that at least two teams will go undefeated and leave Alabama out of the title game. I still have Boise State playing for the title, but I have replaced Alabama with Oregon. This might prove to be advantageous for the Broncos, as they beat the Ducks last season. That, and the fact that Boise State has proven it can beat top-notch competition on a regular basis, is why I'm picking Boise State to shock the world and win the 2010 National Championship.

Heisman Trophy: Well, my preseason pick of Washington QB Jake Locker did not work out so well. As for my other contenders, Ohio State QB Terelle Pryor has done everything expected of him, while West Virginia RB Noel Devine has been good, but not great so far. Alabama RB Mark Ingram has battle injuries this season, and Houston QB Case Kessum is now out for the season due to injury. My darkhorse was Florida QB John Brantley, and well, that's just not going to happen this year, as Brantley has struggled this year. The current favorites right now are Pryor and Michigan QB Denard Robinson, who in spite of his poor performance last week against Michigan State, has put together one heck of a season thus far. Boise State QB Kellen Moore is getting some consideration, as are the Oregon Ducks duo of RB Lamichael James and QB Darron Thomas. Other than Robinson, Auburn QB Cam Newton may be the most valuable player to his team so far this season. Also, QBs Ryan Mallet of Arkansas, Andrew Luck of Stanford, and Nebraska's dual threat Taylor Martinez all could win the trophy with a monster second half. Ultimately, it's Robinson's to lose at this point, as long as he doesn't have another game like last week's. If not Robinson, look for Pryor or James to take home the Heisman.

Well, thanks for reading. Hopefully the second half of the College Football season will be as interesting as the first, and hopefully the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will run the table from here on out. Remember, if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let us know them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canon Televison Review: Two Episodes of Pro Stars

First of all, I apologize for my lack of updates the past two days. However, I haven't been completely inactive the last couple of days, as just yesterday I penned a review of the Nintendo game WCW: World Championship Wrestling over at Axe Bomber Magazine. So, if you want to check that out, head on over to the Bomber now at Now onto the topic of today's post, a little cartoon from the early 1990s known as Pro Stars. Pro Stars detailed the trails and tribulations of three world class athletes, Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson, and Michael Jordan, in their other lives as a crime-fighting team which proclaimed themselves "all about helping kids". They lived in an underground bunker and were assisted by a technical guru known only as Mom and her young apprentice Denise. The cartoon aired on NBC and lasted only 13 episodes, but in that time had two different theme songs. So, with all that said, let's get on with this review.

Episode 1: The Slugger Returns - In the first episode, the pro stars get a tape from young Jimmy Hanks, whose father disappears after a slight disagreement between the two. As it turns out, Jimmy's father is Slugger Hanks, the curator of the Sports Hall of Fame Museum. Mom and Denise come in and show off some of the Pro Stars' new tools of justice. Mom is an over the top old Jewish woman, even to the point of being overly concerned about money. It's a bit offensive, actually. Anyway, the new tools are a wrist band that turns into a hockey stick and a boomerang puck for Wayne, a bat that shoots out baseballs, has a large powered laser, and shoots out a harpoon grappling hook for Bo. As for Michael, he gets some basketballs that fly or something. Anyway, the team takes off in Pro Star 1, a plane that looks like a sneaker, and head to the Hall of Fame museum.

The Pro Stars meet up with young Jimmy, who explains his dad's disappearance. There's a huge statue of Babe Ruth in front of the building, which will come into play later. When the Pro Stars enter the museum, they are greeted by the sweet sounds of mad man Clockwork Delaronge. who explains that he has kidnapped Slugger and is coming after Jimmy next. A statue of former baseball great Cleets Robinson tries to kidnap the kid, but Wayne's boomerang puck stops that. Wayne's hungry, so the Pro Stars go to the snack bar to watch Wayne eat 55 sandwiches. Seriously, he had a stack of sandwiches as tall as Shawn Bradley. Well, Wayne doesn't get to enjoy his sandwiches, be Clockwork Delaronge sends his robot made up of various sporting goods to push a giant basketball at the team. While Michael and Bo dispose of the basketball, another one of Delaronge's remote control statues makes off with Jimmy while Wayne has his back turned. The gang ends up in the hunter's exhibit, and deal unsuccessfully with a giant grizzly bear and a shark, as Wayne and Bo somehow end up in the shark's stomach while Michael takes the mother of all bear hugs. Meanwhile, Clockwork's Delaronge evil plan is revealed, as he's going to lure Slugger into keeping his scheduled meeting with the commissioner of baseball, who is here to present the Babe Ruth statue. Meanwhile, Delaronge is going to control the giant statue through a device to kidnap the commissioner and bankrupt organized baseball. Must be a Cubs fan. Actually, the real reason Clockwork Delaronge is doing this is because he's upset that he didn't play center field as a kid. Um, ok then.

Anyway, Slugger meets with the commissioner, and the two end up trapped in Babe Ruth's belt. Delaronge demands a ransom of either 100 million dollars or the combined salaries of all the left-handed relievers in Major League Baseball. Even in 1991, I highly doubt a 100 million dollar loss would be enough to completely bankrupt baseball, but what do I know. The Pro Stars, now free from their traps, go after Delaronge in his command center in Babe Ruth's right eye. Jordan tries to fly Pro Stars one into the statue, but Delaronge uses the Babe to deliver Michael nearly out of orbit. Although the plane is crashed, Michael ejects and uses his flying basketballs to remain in the air. Meanwhile, Bo and Wayne climb up the statue with special shoes, and Bo delivers a line drive into the control unit on the Babe's wrist. This causes Delaronge to lose control, but also causes the statue to collapse and hang between two buildings. Wayne and Jimmy end up hanging off the nose of the statue, and with the help of the flying basketball, Wayne is able to guide Jimmy down to safety. Meanwhile, Jordan hands his other two basketballs to Slugger and the commissioner, while Bo uses the harpoon grappling hook feature on his bat to make a temporary rope bridge for him and Jordan to cross into safety. Delaronge leaves and promises he'll be back, and everyone ends up happy as Jimmy rejoins his little league team with the knowledge that his dad will support him no matter what. Afterwards, Bo and Wayne answer various viewer questions. As it turns out, both men like to take naps before games in order to be at their best. Also, Wayne would choose Andre Aggasi as the fourth Pro Star, while Bo went with Nolan Ryan. They are both wrong, as the fourth Pro Star should have been Buster Douglas. Well, this was downright silly, as most of the jokes weren't very good and there's a whole bunch of things that bewilder me, such as why is Wayne Gretzky so hungry? Overall, I guess it wasn't all that bad. I'd give the episode a 4.2 out of 10.

Episode 2: Gargantus and the Highway of Doom -The Pro Stars are hanging out at Mom's gym watching a video sent in by Shelia from a small town in Australia. Apparently a gang of bikers led by a man named Gargantus really took to Mad Max and The Road Warrior, so they decided to start their own renegade gang with mohawks and motorbikes and everything. To make matters worse, Gargantus and his merry men have taken the townspeople hostage, including Sheila's father, and Shelia's brother Keith has decided to do what he can to join the Gargantuans. In this episode, Mom's gadgets include a boomerang with a surveillance camera mounted on top of it, with the camera's feed going into a portable television, as well as a remote control for Pro Stars One, so no one has to be in the plane in order to control it. That has disaster written all over it, as Wayne Gretzky shows by accidentally backing the plane through a wall. But I guess the plane is fine, as we are off to Australia.

While Wayne complains about his lack of food, the Pro Stars crash their plane trying to avoid a kangaroo. As it turns out, that is Shelia's pet kangaroo. Shelia leads the Pro Stars into town, which as it turns out is deserted since Gargantus enslaved everyone. This upsets Wayne because now he can't eat. Bo uses the spyerang to find out Gargantus' location, which is on the top of a giant mountain where's he having the townspeople build him a castle. Even though Gargantus destroys the boomerang with a rock, the Pro Stars know where to go now. However, Gargantus gets Keith to drive a car into a giant boulder, knocking the boulder down the path the Pro Stars and Shelia are coming up. Uh oh. Fortunately, Michael Jordan has a basketball in his pocket which inflates to the size of the boulder. Unfortunately, the plan backfires as the boulder knocks the ball down the hill instead. However, Jordan uses his hops to leap on the basketball and somehow the three put a stop to the basketball. Also, the boulder bounces off the giant ball right back to the mountain, where it lands of Gargantus' driver Froggy. Well, clearly Gargantus is not pleased by this turn of events, and so he sends his gang down there to capture Shelia and the Pro Stars. Despite their best efforts using Wayne's egg pucks (seriously, their secret weapons were pucks that turned into eggs? It would have been more effective had Wayne just fired some pucks in their faces instead). The Pro Stars are captured and thrown into a makeshift prison. But on the plus side, Shelia is reunited with her father in the prison, so that's something.

Fate intervenes in the Pro Stars' favor, as Shelia's pet kangaroo somehow comes up to the prison undetected with the plane's remote control in it's pouch. Also, since the Gargantuans have decided to pimp out Pro Stars One by adding some spikes to it, Michael is able to quickly move the plane into the wall, creating a giant hole and freeing the Pro Stars. To escape, the Pro Stars slow their opponents down by flinging body cuffs on Gargantus' toadies. Well, that certainly was more effective than the egg pucks. However, the Pro Stars are about to be caught, but Michael produces another giant basketball, this one with a ring around it, so the Pro Stars and their crew bounces off into safety. Wayne finds a truck, and the Pro Stars get in to get away from the Gargantuans and for Wayne to find the nearest Taco Bell so he can shut his damn mouth about wanting food. One of the Gargantuans leaps on the back of the truck and has Jordan by the ankles, but Keith finally comes to his senses and pulls the hooligan from the truck to his sure demise. Meanwhile, Bo uses Wayne's high protein chocolate shake to thwart Froggy, so he falls off the bed of the truck. But the Pro Stars are not out of the woods yet, as here come Gargantus, and he's mad. The two sides decide to play chicken and Gargantus wins because the Pro Stars bail out on the giant basketball by poking a hole in it and floating away. But Gargantus does not win the war, as somehow the Pro Stars and Shelia's family is able to steer the ball on top of Gargantus, freeing the townspeople and sending a message to Mad Max imitators everywhere. Afterwords, the family reunites, and Wayne gets blamed for the defacing of the plane after Mom shows up conveniently late. Also, Wayne and Bo answer a question with all the energy of someone wanting to somewhere else at the moment, but unlike Michael, at least they showed up. What a ridiculous episode, it wasn't good, and Wayne's constant whining about food made me want to smack him across the face. I'll give it a 2.4 out of 10 and never think about it again.

Well, thanks for reading. Have any memories about Pro Stars or thoughts about this review. Then share them by leaving a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future post, then let me know about those either by leaving a comment or sending me an e-mail at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Oilers - November 20, 1978

Today's post is about the 1978 Monday Night Football classic between the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Oilers. I guess I could have waited another day to watch some NFL football, but since my viewing area always shows Carolina Panthers games, I decided to watch some good football instead. Well, let me tell you, this was one heck of a football game between two quality teams who laid it all out there on the field in front of a rabid Houston audience. The Oilers eventually won the game, 35-30. A few notes about this game.

- This game is primarily remembered as being Earl Campbell's breakout game, as the fullback scored four touchdowns in front of a national television audience. In his prime, Campbell was a force of nature. Not only was he the most punishing runner of his time and maybe of all-time, Campbell also possessed the speed to break off huge runs, as he did in this game with an 81-yard scamper, blowing by the entire Dolphins defense with nary a hand touching him. While that was impressive, I was more impressed with a 3 yard-run by Campbell early in the game. On this play, Campbell lowered his shoulder and lifted a defensive back in the air with a charging run. On another play, Campbell rammed his head into a linebacker, and the linebacker fell straight down on his butt. Overall, Campbell put together a tremendous performance, and for my money, he's the best power back to ever play in the NFL with the exception of Jim Brown.

- Of course, a running back is only as good as the blocking in front of him, and Campbell had some excellent blocking in front of him on this night, especially from his fullback Tim Wilson. Wilson, a man who would go on to play eight years in the NFL, did an excellent job blocking for his halfback. It seemed like the Oilers could run the ball at will, and a lot of that was due to Wilson, who constantly sealed off Miami's athletic linebackers and opened huge holes for Campbell to run through. As a whole, the Oilers' offensive line was very solid, despite losing starting guard George Reihner early in the game.

- Two things about Miami QB Bob Griese. One, Griese was wearing these huge black eyeglasses under his helmet the whole game, which is quite a rare look for an NFL player. To be honest, it looked as if an accountant was playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Two, Griese played a heck of a ballgame, throwing the ball with surgical precision and spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. Overall, Griese went 23 of 33 for 349 yards, and should have had even better numbers, as the Dolphins' receivers dropped a couple of easy passes. Griese only made one mistake in the game, and it happened to come at the worst possible time. With the Dolphins down 28-23 and driving down the field, Griese launched a pass down the middle of the field to his tight end, Andre Tillman. Unfortunately, the ball sailed on Griese and led Tillman into safety Mike Reinfeldt, who not only laid out Tillman with a big hit, but tipped the ball into the hands of Oilers linebacker Steve Kiner for the game clinching interception. Still, Griese was quite impressive, and announcer Howard Cosell repeatedly referred to Griese as the best quarterback in the game.

- Come to think of it, both Cosell and Frank Gifford were rather positive throughout the game. Sure, they weren't quite as complimentary as Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski on today's version of MNF, but the two were rather quick to dish out praise. Some of it was deserved, but a couple of comments were rather silly in hindsight, such as Cosell claiming that Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper would be better than Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks.

- At the beginning of the game, Dolphins RB Delvin Williams was the league's leading rusher. While Williams displayed a wide array of skills, from speed to pass catching to running tough up the middle, and played well, he did have one weakness that came into focus during the game. On more than one occasion, Williams decided to run backwards when faced with some traffic, which resulted in some big losses late in the game. These days, running backs are always taught to go forward, and this game showed why, as Williams had two runs with a 7-yard loss. Of course, he then followed up those losses with big runs, so I guess it evened out in the end.

- One player on Houston's defense that I couldn't help noticing was outside linebacker Robert Brazile. Brazile possessed incredible speed for a 230 lb man, and was the key man in Houston's 3-4 defense. In fact, I couldn't help but notice that Houston used Brazile much like the Giants would use Lawrence Taylor in later years, moving Brazile from one side to the other and constantly sending him on blitzes. I found this rather interesting because it is Taylor that is credited for being the original 3-4 rush linebacker, when three years prior to Taylor's debut, the Oilers were utilizing Brazile in the same manner, although he was sent into coverage quite often as well. The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is that maybe we should take a second look at Brazile's accomplishments, as even though Brazlie played in seven Pro Bowls and was named to the All 1970s team, he is largely forgotten today, and that's a shame.

Well, I guess that's enough for now, as I am tired and I want to go to bed. If you have any memories or thoughts about this game, then I would like for you to post those in the comments section. Also, if you have any ideas for future posts, then let me know about them either by leaving a comment of by sending me an e-mail at

Friday, October 8, 2010

Canon Movie Review: Breaker Morant

I was in the mood to watch a movie tonight, so I decided to watch Australia's Best Picture Award winner of 1980, Breaker Morant. Actually, Breaker Morant won 10 Australian Film Institute awards in 1980, and was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Breaker Morant is the story of a court-martial of three Australian volunteers for the British in the Boer War. The men were serving for a special forces group known as the Bushveldt Carbineers, a group created to counter to guerrilla tactics of the Boers with guerrilla tactics of their own. The three men, George Witton, Peter Handcock, and the titular character Harry "Breaker" Morant, are charged with the murder of both war prisoners and German missionary Rev. Hesse. The movie was based upon an Austrailian play of the same name and was directed by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy). Breaker Morant stars Edward Woodward (The Equalizer) as Morant, Bryan Brown (Cocktail, F/X) as Handcock, Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Witten, and Jack Thompson (The Good German, Attack of the Clones) as the man called on to defend the three, J.F. Thomas. A few notes about this film, and there will probably be SPOILERS.

- Breaker Morant may be a war movie, but most of the movie does not take place on the battlefield. Rather, the majority of the movie is set in a small room where the court-martial takes place. It is there where the majority of the drama takes place. Also, flashbacks are used the illustrate the actions of the three men on trial, as well as getting a deeper look at the soilders. For example, we see a scene of Handcock, a bit of a wild man who was having affairs with two women while in South Africa, explaining to his wife that he doesn't write letters, and that if you hear something from him, something bad has happened. This serves to give another dimension to Handcock's character.

- Ultimately, the film is seemingly trying to convince the viewer that Breaker Morant and his two fellow soilders were pawns sacrificed by the English government for what they felt was a greater good. In fact, the commander of the British Army, Lord Kitchner, admits as much in the film. This theme is played up throughout the movie, as men just as guilty as Morant and the other on trial, such as Capt. Alfred Taylor, is cleared of their charges in exchange for their testimony in this case. However, the film also does not make the British prosecutors out to be monsters. Rather, they are painted as a group of men who are basically sacrificing these three in order to appease the Boers for possible peace talks as well as preventing the Germans to get involved after one of their missionaries is murdered. The commanders of the British Army are mainly concerned with covering their own butts, so they basically sacrifice three Austrailians in exchange for a possible end to the war. so what's On the one hand, you can somewhat see their point, but on the other hand, it is not right to sacrifice the lives of three men in exchange for a hope of political gain and harmony.

- Morant and Handcock were guilty of their crimes. However, it is unclear whether or not they are being punished for following orders, as Morant and Thomas both repeatedly claim in their defense. According to Thomas, Morant and his men were ordered to a) shoot any Boer wearing a British soilder's uniform, and b) not to bring any prisoners to their base in South Africa, doing with them as they see fit. Although the film presents Morant as being accurate in this regard, it is also hard to prove because Morant's commanding officer, Capt. Hunt, was brutally murdered by the Boers during a skirmish, and that most of the men that knew of this order had conveniently been sent to India just before the trial.

- The guy that got a raw deal in this movie was George Witton. For one, Witton did not participate in the firing squads involved with killing the prisoners and had no knowledge of who killed the missionary. Yes, he did kill a Boar prisoner, but only in self defense after the prisoner attacked Witton and reached for his gun. Yet here he is being tried for a bunch of charges that he had little to no involvement in.

- The acting in this movie is top notch, as Edward Woodward does an excellent job as Breaker Morant. However, I think the real star was Jack Thompson as the defender J.F. Thomas. At first, Thompson is able to portray Thomas as a bit of an inexperienced attorney, which really he was, as the British saw it fit to provide the three with a defender who never tried a court-martial and had a whopping total of one day to prepare. But as the film progresses and Thomas becomes more and more of a thorn in the British's side with a passionate defense, Thompson really begins to shine, and stands out amongst a crowd of very talented actors. Of particular excellence was Thompson's performance during the closing statement of the court-martial, which is one of the better monologues I have seen in any film.

Overall, this is a very good film, deserving of its Oscar nomination and probably meriting a few more. The script is very well written and plays to the actors' strengths, and the actors are more than able to hold their own. Everything about this film is well done, and although it starts out a bit slow, the movie picks up and provides a very interesting tale of a very interesting historic event. Overall, I'd give Breaker Morant an 8.7 out of 10. Thanks for reading, and if you have ever seen this movie, than feel free to share your comments about the film or this post. Also, if you have any ideas for future reviews, then share them either by leaving a comment or by e-mail at

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A look back at Bobby Cox's World Series Teams

This post comes from an idea from Canon Review reader Dickson S. Since I'm not exactly sure how to introduce, I'll just repost his idea here:

Since the Atlanta Braves are going to the Playoffs again for the first time in 5 years or so I thought up this idea.

Talk about each year/time that the Braves actually made it to the world series. 91,92 so on and so forth. Talk about the series and what your thoughts are...
on if you think they should have won. For instance there were a few World Series that the Braves were in that could have went either way. You can mention your thoughts on the teams they played and if you think the Braves lineups matched up to the Twins, Blue Jays.....etc.

And finally once that is all complete mention your thoughts on today's 2010 Braves and how you think they will do in the 2010 Playoffs?

Well, that sounds all right to me, so let's look back at the Braves' World Series appearances under the legendary Bobby Cox.

1991- Braves vs. Minnesota Twins, Twins win 4 games to 3 - In one of the greatest World Series ever, the Braves battled the Twins in a battle of two teams that jumped from worst-to-first. There was three extra innings games, including the final game, which ended in a 1-0 score for the Twins. The Braves could have won had Lonnie Smith not fallen for Chuck Knoblauch's deke, causing Smith to eventually stop at third on Terry Pendleton's double. Really, the series could have gone either way. Both teams were rather even, as each team had three quality starting pitchers, and while the Twins had the best reliever in Rick Aguilera, the Braves had the better overall bullpen by a slight edge. Offensively, both teams got nothing out of the first base position, as the Twins Kent Hrbek hit 3 for 26, while the Braves combo of Sid Bream and Brian Hunter went a combined 7 for 45. Both teams got key contributions from role players, as Braves 2B Mark Lemke hit .417 in the World and got the game winning hit in game 3, while Twins 3B Scott Leius hit .357 and hit the game winning home run in game 2. Overall, this was a great battle between two good teams that could have gone either way. It would be easy to blame Smith for his baserunning gaffe, but to be fair, he did hit three home runs, including a game tying homer late in game 4. If anyone could have made a difference, it would have been Braves speedster Otis Nixon, but he was suspended for the postseason after failing a drug test. But really, the series was so close that it's hard to blame the Braves for coming up just a game short. If only they could have hit Jack Morris.

1992 World Series - Braves vs. Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto wins 4 games to 2 - There are three things I remember most about this series. One was the controversy that ensued after the Canadian flag was displayed upside down during the signing of the Canadian national anthem before game 2. Also, there was Devon White's great leaping catch in game three that should have resulted in a triple play, but the umpire missed the call on Kelly Gruber's tag of Deion Sanders, and then there was Toronto catcher Pat Borders, who had the series of his life, hitting .450 and walking away with the World Series MVP. Oddly enough, the Braves got a second chance to face Jack Morris in the World Series, and this time, the Braves' only two wins came off of the same man that had frustrated them so much in the previous year's series. Coming into the series, the teams looked rather even, but the Braves figured to have the edge in pitching. While the Braves' rotation of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery pitched well (combined 2.55) ERA, the Braves' bullpen struggled, as Jeff Reardon gave up game winning hits in back to back games, and it was Charlie Liebrandt that gave up the eventual Series clinching hit to Dave Winfield in game 6. Offensively, two of the Braves' big guns, Ron Gant and David Justice, struggled mightily against Toronto pitching, as they combined to hit 5-27 with a combined three RBIs. Despite Deion Sanders best efforts (8 hits in 15 at bats), the Braves just came up short again. Ultimately, the Jays' clutch hitting and quality bullpen (one earned run in 17 innings) propelled them to Canada's first World Series champion. The Braves might have been a slightly better team, but the Blue Jays definitely were a deserving champion.

1995 World Series - Braves vs. Cleveland Indians, Braves win 4 games to 2 - This was a battle of strengths, as the Braves' vaunted pitching staff battled the Indians' high powered offense. The Indians came in with a 100-44 record after the shortened 1995 season, powered by an offense that led the majors in nearly every major offensive category. The Braves weren't exactly slouches on offense, but their lineup had nowhere near the firepower of the Indians. So, what did the Indians do against the Braves' pitching? They hit .179 and scored a mere 19 runs in their six games after averaging nearly six runs a game in the regular season. The only Indians regular that was effective in the series was Albert Belle, and even he (.235, 2 HR, 7 BB) was nowhere near the player he was in the regular season. With the exception of John Smoltz, who struggled in game 3, the Braves' pitching annihilated the Indians' hitting, culminating with MVP Tom Glavine's and Mark Wohlers combined one-hitter in the series clinching game. The success of the 1995 Braves just goes to show that great pitching can beat great hitting.

1996 World Series - Braves vs. New York Yankees, Yankees win 4 games to 2 - This one hurt. In hindsight, it may look as if the Yankees had the better team, but at the time it was thought that the Braves would easily take this series. Not only did the Braves have the better rotation, they also had a deeper lineup and more offensive firepower than the 96 Bronx Bombers. After the first two games, in which the Braves won by a combined total of 16-1, it looked as if Atlanta might sweep the Yankees. But once again, the Braves' bullpen faltered when they needed them the most, specifically in game 4, when the Braves blew a 6-0 lead. Yankees pitching shut down the Braves in games 5 and 6, and the Yankees won their first World Series since 1978. Even though the Braves' starters put together a 1.48 ERA, they fell short once again. Honestly, when you compare the two teams, you would figure the Braves would have won, but obviously that did not happen. If only Wohlers hadn't of hung that slider to Jim Leyritz in game 6. 

1999 World Series - Braves vs. Yankees, Yankees win 4 games to 0 - The Braves won 103 games in the regular, although I don't see how. 1B Andres Galarraga missed the entire season due to cancer, C Javy Lopez misses most of the season due to injury, and outside of Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko, Andruw Jones, and Brian Jordan, the Braves had a bunch of below average players in their lineup. Pitching wise, although SP Kevin Millwood and CP John Rocker were outstanding, Glavine and Maddux didn't have their typical excellent seasons, although they still were pretty good. Meanwhile, the Yankees had All-Stars at nearly every position, and had just won the World Series in 1998. In game 1, John Rocker continued the Braves' tradition of bullpen woes in the World Series after reliving Greg Maddux in the eighth inning, and in game 3, the Braves had a 5-2 lead heading into the seventh inning, but eventually lost after Chad Curtis' game ending homer. The Yankees would sweep the Braves, outscoring the Braves 21-9. It might have helped had Andruw Jones and Jordan hadn't combined to hit 2-26 in the series, but quite frankly, the Yankees were just the better team that year.

Before I end this post, I have to mention the 1998 Braves. After all, they were Bobby Cox's best regular season squad, finishing the season with 106 wins. That team was powered by four players which hit 30 or more home runs (Galarraga, Lopez, both Joneses) and boasted a pitching staff in which each starter won at least 16 games, and the big three of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz combined for a 55-18 record and a 2.49 ERA. However, in the NLCS the Braves ran into the San Diego Padres and Sterling Hitchcock, an otherwise mediocre pitcher who frustrated the Braves by winning two games and allowing a mere five hits and one run in his two starts. Hitchcock and the Padres' shutdown of the best Braves team in the Bobby Cox prevented Atlanta from a showdown with the Yankees in the World Series, and although the Yankees were a heck of a team that year, I'm willing to bet that the Braves would have had a better shot at beating the Yanks than the Padres did. But that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

It would be nice if the Braves could finish off Bobby Cox's career with another appearance in the World Series. It doesn't look that likely, as the Phillies are probably the most complete team in baseball, and the Giants are not exactly a pushover in the NLDS. On paper, it looks as if the Braves will be unable to reach their sixth World Series under Bobby Cox. But, as the Braves have proven, the games aren't played on paper, and many times the team that has the most talent doesn't win the series. So, if the Braves get some good pitching and a couple of their hitters get hot at the right time, who knows? Maybe Bobby Cox will go out on top.

Well, thanks for reading. Feel free to share any memories of the Braves' World Series teams, or any disagreements you may have with this post in the comments section. Also, if you have any ideas for future reviews, then let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at