Friday, July 27, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 21: The Fountain of Youth is in Inglis' shoulder

Happy 21st to the NRL for 2012.  Here, have a card shaped like a key that I got all of your friends to write in. 

Greg Inglis broke open a massive debate this week (also, broke open Dean Young’s brain) with possibly the greatest hit on a bloke since Big Mal smashed Terry Lamb in the 1994 Grand Final.  Should the shoulder charge be banned before our NRL superstars all become brain-dead morons?  Oh no, we wouldn’t want Todd Carney to lose any more brain cells, right?  The kid is about one head clash away from not being able to synchronise his breathing and blinking (fingers crossed!).

Inglis walked out of the judiciary with a 3-week suspension.  Personally, I think it’s a bit harsh. 
One: it was a fucking great hit that quite literally took years off Dean Young, who was reportedly telling his coach, “Brownie, I’m fine.  Put me back on.”  Nathan “Brownie” Brown hasn’t coached at St George since 2008. 
Two: people love big hits. 
Three: if you’re not prepared to cop a big hit, either go back to practicing your dressage, or stop running at Greg Inglis. 

Keep the shoulder charge in, but police it the same way you do with every other tackle.  Simple.  The NRL can send me that cheque for doing their job any time they want.

Round 21:
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Melbourne Storm
Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans
Bulldogs vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sharks vs Penrith Panthers
Manly Sea Eagles vs New Zealand Warriors
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Wests Tigers
Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels

On paper, this week looks like a fairly simple round to pick.  It even looks easy to pick on a computer screen.  One would assume that Melbourne will wake up from their funk and remember how to play fooseball.  Even Parramatta didn’t know what to do last week with their win.  Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh went into autopilot with his post-match interview and began with “Mate, credit to the boys, they really stuck in this week and tried hard, but on the day, Melbourne were just too good for us and deserve the two points,” before someone pointed out that the Eels had somehow won a game.  There would have been a few improvised versions of the Parra victory song sung in the changerooms as well, as it has been about eighty years since their last win.  Only Luke Burt was alive the last time they had to fire up their ghetto blaster for it.  

Sanity will prevail this week, as the St Snooze Dragons will again try to bore the opposition to death, but Melbourne will cheat their way to a win.  The Titans will continue their push to sneak into the top eight, while Cronulla SHOULD slow down their freefall out of finals contention with a win against the Panthers.  The only real squint and scratch game this week for me is Souths vs Tigers; the loss of Inglis is big, but reports are that Benji Marshall is crap injured and may not take the field.  Without Marshall, the Tigers have even less idea of what to do than usual.  I’m going with Souths, not only because I like their angry rabbit mascot, but due to them being way better at footy.

Canberra Raiders vs Newcastle Knights
Who would have thought that Canberra would SMASH the Sharks last week in such glorious fashion?  Not me, hence I didn’t tip them, based purely on their shithouse form from the week before.  Will the Raiders’ yoyo performance of 2012 continue this week?  Will they be good, bad or completely fucking insanely unstoppable?  Round 21 sees our heroes in green face a daunting task as they host a much weaker team in the form of the Newcastle Knights, a team they thrashed earlier in the year.  Canberra Stadium, poor opposition, proven dominance.  It all adds up to some nervous Raiders supporters to get the Green Machine over the line in a game they’re expected to win but may ultimately lose quite convincingly in a screaming heap.  At least that screaming heap will have my tip this week.

Reasons I don't play NRL #326: I'm not good looking enough

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - this is why Batman doesn't dance anymore

Nana nana nana nana BATMAN. 

And so the Dark Knight Rises from the Dark Knight, which began in Batman Begins, and concludes here with The Dark Knight Rises.  The reinvented Batman trilogy from writer/director/producer/boom mike guy Chris Nolan has come to a cape-fluttering end… but is it any good?

I’m not a professional movie reviewer; probably because I’m lazy and haven’t studied things like “Film Appreciation” or “Movie Stuff” or “The Difference Between Movies and Films: How to sound like a massive wanker when you’re bitching about spending $17 at the flicks because you thought that Battleship sounded like a worthwhile investment.”  And because I’m not a professional reviewer, I do unprofessional unreviewing type things, such as giving away vital plot points that ruin the movie.  For example:
  • Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad. 
  • The chick in the Crying Game is a bloke. 
  • Clerks 2 isn’t half as good as Clerks 1. 
  • Bruce Willis is dead – no one can survive a nuclear explosion, even in space.  Even Bruce Willis 
See?  Can’t help myself.  SO, dear reader – if you don’t want to know everything that I can remember about my visit to see The Dark Knight Rises, don’t read any further.  OR, skip right to the end for my patented “Mister Evil Breakfast One Word Movie Review.”

You’ve been warned, I’m going to give a lot of shit away here.  Seriously.

Here we go:

So Batman has been in hiding for eight years, essentially giving away the whole superhero caper and instead deciding to grow a long beard and begin construction of the Spruce Moose.  But because Harvey Dent was such a stickler for justice blah blah blah, the good people of Gotham passed a law which negates parole hearings and therefore keeps organised crime off the streets OR SOMETHING. 

At this point in the review, I'll break away from the onscreen 'action' for just a moment and recommend brushing up on your Batman before wandering into Cinema Three (“Just on your left, hold onto your tickets”) for Dark Knight Rises, because 50% of this movie is reliving The Dark Knight, 50% is going back to the League of Shadows and Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins, and the rest is made up of new material that’s mainly plot holes and sideways glances. 

Back to Cinema Three:  Commissioner Gordon wants to let the world know that Harvey Dent wasn’t the super awesome guy that everyone thought he was, but there’s never really a good time to bring up that he became a super villain, especially when the city is celebrating Harvey Dent Day.  It’s like when Lisa Simpson wanted to spill the beans on Jebediah Springfield, I guess.

Gordon’s “I hate Dent and this is why” speech falls into the hands of Bane, a fairly large man with a breathing problem and a mask, who sounds like Billy Maddison doing an impression of Sean Connery imitating Yoda as a Furby.  As a result, he’s pretty incomprehensible, especially during his longer speeches, and even moreso if there’s anything louder than a small caterpillar walking across a pile of cushions in the background.  I actually wish that the Penguin made an appearance in this movie, just so I could hear Bane say, "Oooh hello Mr Penguin.  It's too hot for a Penguin out here."  It might make an appearance in the extra features on the Blu Ray edition (fingers crossed).

In a fairly unnecessary sub-sub-sub-plot, Bane gets his grubby paws on Bruce Wayne’s money, which , in a roundabout sort of way, forces Bruce to donate his most valuable MacGuffin, a renewable energy source that looks like a leftover prop from Spider-Man 2, to some other rich philanthropist lady just in case it falls into the wrong hands (Bane’s) who might use it as a nuclear weapon.  Strangely, yes, that does happen. 

Then there’s a bit of biffo, some Catwoman, an improbable move that brings the entirety of the Police Department into the same place at the same time (except for one single cop called Blake, aka the Kid from Third Rock From the Sun), and all of a sudden, Bane has control of the city.  He releases the prisoners from the jail, and lets the citizens of Gotham sort out this Lord of the Flies scenario for a while as they await nuclear destruction. So basically he’s playing The Sims.    

Sounds exciting?  It’s actually not.  Sounds like something’s missing?  Yeah, and that certain something is Batman.  For a Bat-flick, there’s definitely something caped and crusaderish missing.  For most of the movie, Batman is either being a massive whiny bitch, locked up, or not interested.  It really should be called The Kid from Third Rock from the Sun Rises, as he does way more than he really should.  And all on a policeman’s salary, too, with no overtime bonuses.  I mean, he somehow provides food, water, clothing, medical supplies, shaving kits and electricity to 3000 policemen trapped in a sewer for three months, while Batman waits for a plot hole to open so he can return to Gotham (and it's a big one, too).  

Remember the first Transformers movie when the American troops defeated the Decepticons while Optimus Prime and co sat back and painted their nails?  Yeah, same thing goes on here, with the minor characters picking up Batman's slack.  It's almost as if Nolan has picked up a script and intermittently slapped Batman into random scenes.  This would be an interesting idea if that movie was Driving Miss Daisy, Top Gun, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  

It sounds like I’m being a bit negative, but the movie isn’t a complete waste of time.  Despite a clunky line here or there, Anne Hathaway is pretty decent, the effects are convincing, Bane looks badass and we get to see Cillian Murphy make another cameo.  There’s some cool music and sound shit (if that floats your boat), some new Batman toys to play with (vehicles and figures sold separately) and a wide-open gate for someone else to pick up and run through with the next Batman storyline. 

If you’re still reading this, and you like Batman movies, then I don't need to tell you to either see or skip The Dark Knight Rises.  You already know if you're going to see this film, and it IS worth seeing, it’s just not as glorious as everyone (me) wanted it to be.  I've read a lot of glowing reviews from professionals, amateurs and idiots like me, and I keep getting the feeling that those glowing reviews are coming from people who want to like it so much that they’re looking way too hard for positives to come out of this just-shy-of-three-hour-movie-in-which-not-a-lot-actually-happens.   

Look, I can appreciate the themes that Chris Nolan was aiming to put across.  I just don’t think he did them as well as he possibly could.  And before anyone starts bitching and moaning about how the film was based on the “Knightfall” graphic novel storyline and followed it perfectly, I don’t give a fuck.  It could be based on Harry Potter and the 50 Shades of Twilight for all I care.  Just make it good.  And don’t steal so much from The Iron Giant next time.   

Needed more of this action

Mister Evil Breakfast’s One Word Movie Review – The Dark Knight Rises:  Meh.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 20: Going for Gold in Making Fun of Parramatta

An interesting turn of events in the league this week.  Struggling cellar-dwellers Parramatta decided to make a play to get Penrith reject Luke Lewis to join their club, but knew that Lewis would not sign with the Eels as long as Chris Anderson was part of the coaching staff, because Lewis was still holding a grudge from 2003 when Anderson didn’t pick him for a Kangaroos tour, or didn’t invite him to prom or something.  So to get rid of Assistant Coach Anderson, the Eels had to fire their head coach Steve Kearney as well, because they were massive gay lovers and wouldn’t leave each other’s side or something.  So Parra dumped their two coaches, said, “Hey Luke Lewis, no more coaches, please come and play for us please now please.”  Lewis saw this, laughed, thought, “Well, that was fun and easy!” and then signed with the Cronulla Sharks for the next four years instead. 

Making fun of Parramatta is going to be a demonstration sport at the London Olympics, I’m led to believe.

Meanwhile, former NRL drug-runner and occasional player for Souths/Manly/Easts/Wests/Norths Craig Field will continue to ‘help police in their investigations’ into an assault that has led to the death of a 50 year old man, who allegedly attacked Field’s fist with the back of his head, and then attacked the curb, also with the back of his head. 

The murder investigation has released a few weeks of pent-up NRL bad-boy stories, with occasional NRL player Anthony Watts receiving his third assault charge this week (his first was against his girlfriend, OF COURSE) to go with some drug possession and general drunken shenanigans.  Also, Nathan Hindmarsh is battling a poker machine addiction.  Insert your own joke about slots here.

On the field, Round 20 is throwing up a few genuine boner-inducing games, if cracking a fat at the footy is what you’re all about.  I’m tipping the Dogs to get over Manly, only because I really dislike Manly (I blame Geoff Toovey), and also because they lost to Newcastle last week by an awful lot. 
Souths and St George should be a decent contest too, with Souths getting my nod due to their endless supply of “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards, although the suspension of Isaac Luke will hurt them like a kick in the dick.  Still, the Saints haven't set the world on fire this year, and they won't ignite a whole lot this week either.
I’ve gone for the Cowbs to beat the Tiges, because I don’t particularly care about either of them, and the Panthers to topple the Chooks in a battle of the worst teams of the weekend.

Manly Sea Eagles vs Bulldogs
Gold Coast Titans vs Brisbane Broncos
New Zealand Warriors vs Newcastle Knights
Parramatta Eels vs Melbourne Storm
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George-Illawarra Dragons
Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters
North Queensland Cowboys vs Wests Tigers

Game of the Round:
Sharks vs Canberra Raiders

If games were won in the first three and the last ten minutes of the match, the Raiders would have won last week against the Titans by a fairly impressive 26-0.  As it turns out, the middle 67 minutes are also useful, and once again proved to be an unassailable obstacle for the Green Machine, who let in 38 points during that time, and it would have been more except Scott “Fresh” Prince had a shocking day with his kicks, none of them landing within the same postcode as the goalposts.  If there’s an award for the “football team who least resembles a football team”, the Raiders fucking own that trophy.  It’ll go well with their prize for “pointing at opposition players instead of trying to tackle them.”

However, it is pure hearsay that the Raiders knocked up 4 tries in the last ten minutes, as everybody at Canberra Stadium who had suffered the seventy minutes prior to that had left.  The trudge across the carpark was littered with the phrase “fucking Raiders” and “fucking pathetic” – some of it from people other than myself.  I did, however, get two free sauce sachets for my chips from the bloke at the food stall.

This week, the Raiders take on the Sharkies, who hit a speedbump last week and dropped their game against the Dragons.  It’s about this time of the year that the Cronulla lads begin their sharp turnaround in form and make a beeline for the bottom of the table.  I think they’ll momentarily stop the nosedive this week, despite being without captain Paul Gallen again.  His absence will give the Raiders a sniff, but I’m still tipping the Sharks to ping a win, but without a whole lot of certainty.     

This blog post was too serious for my liking.  Below is my attempt to get a week’s worth of birthday messages from Josh Dugan on Twitter.  It didn’t work.  Also, it’s not my birthday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 19: Did I ever tell you about the time I played against Ben Hornby?

As the memories of State of Origin fade away like a XXXX-induced hangover, we concentrate once again on the season at hand.  Let’s be honest here, the Origin series does fuck around with the competition a bit, and there have been some suggestions (read: angry bogans complaining that it’s unfair for their team to have to play another team without their best players) that the Origin period should become a no-games-for-anyone-except-the-Origin-teams period. 

Fuck that.

Regardless of who you are, which team you play for, and how many tattoos you have, if you’re playing in the NRL there’s a very good chance that you’re getting paid a pretty tidy salary to play football.  Your weekly itinerary would be something like: go to the gym (for free), attend personal training sessions (for free), play 80 minutes of league, go to a sponsor’s event, get drunk (for free), have sex/punch on with random person (do not get arrested).  It’s basically the same as everyone else’s itinerary, except everyone else has to pay to do these things, work gets in the way a lot of the time, and raping people is illegal unless you have an NRL contract. 

When players like Billy Slater, the Morris brothers or Ben Hannant aren’t available for a game for their club, it means some other dickhead has a chance to play in their position.  If it’s for one game, two games – great; at least the kid had a chance to play first grade football.  If he is good, he’ll get picked again and his career will grow.  If not, then the bloke can piss footy off, get a real job and keep himself warm in his old age by telling his grandchildren about the time he played against Ben Hornby.  If your team has such a lack of depth that it can’t bung some junior bloke on the wing to cover Darius Boyd, then you deserve your six-week losing streak in the middle of the year.       

Other news in the league this week was the announcement that Luke Lewis from the Panthers is leaving to go to… well, fucking anywhere, really.  After being dropped as captain from the underperforming Penrith side, earning man-of-the-match honours the next week and taking his spot in the NSW Origin team, Lewis has been officially given the arse by the team that he has spent the last 17 years playing for.  I’m sure the Panthers have their reasons.  They’re just not telling anyone.  I tip that it’s due to their salary cap, and paying off Michael Jennings’ legal fees. 

Sonny Bill Willams, after walking out on his contract with the Roosters four years ago to play rugby in Thailand or take up foxy-boxing or something, has announced his return to the NRL for the 2013 season, despite him making it pretty clear that rugby union is his favoured sport.  He enjoys the spectacle of watching his fly half kick the ball while everyone else claps.  Sony Bill has not signed any legal documents ensuring that he will actually be a part of next year’s competition, but has claimed that his “handshake is binding.”  Don’t mind me while I count all my chickens before they hatch, Sonny, but if you last the whole season next year… well… you can have my fucking chickens.  All of them. 

NRL Round 19

Wests Tigers vs Penrith Panthers
Brisbane Broncos vs New Zealand Warriors
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla Sharks
Newcastle Knights vs Manly Sea Eagles
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Melbourne Storm vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels

This week, I’m thinking that the Tigers will wake up and get back to winning, especially against the Panthers, who probably won’t have too much oomph about themselves as Gus Gould prepares the lads for a garage sale.  I could be wrong (but I’m not).  I think the Storm will bounce back against the Cowbs, and getting flogged by spastics like the Raiders usually fires up a team for the next few games.  The Doggies should rack up another cricket score against the Eels, but unlike Manly, won't give them even half a sniff to make the scoreline respectable in any way, shape or form.  Upset of the round will be the Knights to roll Manly.  I won’t be upset, though.  I don’t like Manly.

Game of the Round
Canberra Raiders vs Gold Coast Titans
Last week, the magnificent Canberra “Never a doubt in my mind” Raiders stunned the universe by winning their second consecutive game.  Even more dazzling was that it was against the competition leaders.  Even dazzlinger was the blowout of the scoreline, which was roughly 80 million to nil.  Can the Green Machine make it three in a row?  Yes, they fucking well can. 

Last week’s victory was no fluke (it might have been a bit), and the Melbourne whingers can complain about how the Storm were missing their “big three” in the form of Slater, Cronk and Smith (although I find it hard to believe that you could ever really miss a person called ‘Cronk’), but the Raiders were actually missing ten of their first-choice team.  With Dugan set for a comeback next week, and Campese the week after, coach David “Pass me my headband so people know who I am” Furner has a few decisions to make.  I’ll do it for you, Furnsie: bung them into the Jersey Flegg team and let them earn their spots back.  There’s not a whole lot of hope that the Raiders will crack the top eight for a finals birth from here, so there’s no point in breaking Campese’s leg again this season.  Unless, of course, you’re a sadistic bastard and you enjoy doing that.  Hmmm.  

 Remember when the NRL competed for a trophy?  Now they fight for a spare tyre

Friday, July 06, 2012

NRL round 18: The Decider has been Decided

State of Origin is over for another year, and congratulations to Queensland for another series win.  With seven consecutive victories under their belt, I think it’s safe to say that Queensland, New Zealand, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and most of New South Wales certainly do breed better rugby league players than the other part of New South Wales that the New South Wales players come from.

It was a fitting send-off for Petero “Spell check” Civenociva, whose sparkling Origin career has ended after 33 games.  For someone whose job it is to smash himself into other large, like-minded individuals, Petero is a rare species of footballer – he is eloquent, softly spoken, media savvy and to my knowledge, has never been arrested for drug abuse, rape, physical abuse, drink-driving or match fixing.  He is most likely a cyborg, or a player from the 1950s who was frozen and then thawed out to infiltrate the NRL to try and teach the tattooed masses how to do an interview without sniffing, using the phrase “yeah nah,” “and that,” and ending words like ‘something’ with a k.  I’d like to say that Petero was successful in his mission, but the evil forces of the future sent Todd Carney back to the same time to combat him.

NSW played valiantly on Wednesday night, and used the emotion of a fairytale finish to inspire the team – it worked for QLD last year when they sent Darren “Gargling With Nails” Lockyer out as a winner.  Unfortunately, Mitchell Pearce’s last Origin game wasn’t quite enough to get the Blues over the line.  Maybe next year you can send Todd Carney out on a win, lads. 

I think the main problem for the Blues throughout the whole series was their half-line.  Carney and Pearce played like it was their first game of league ever, and they were just told to “pass it to the big guys and keep out of the way.”  That might work at club level (especially for Pearce), but not in the most anticipated Origin game of recent time, and not when you’re supposed to be creating plays and opportunities.  It’s not all about shagging Playboy models and tapping that chick from Celebrity Apprentice, guys.

The teams for Round 18 are another shemozzle – no one’s ever sure if teams are going to have their Origin players back up from Wednesday night, or take another day off to get a new tattoo.  On paper, this week’s tips look fucking stupidly easy, and the odds are a good reflection of that – if you’re massively rich and blow your nose with $50 notes, then you might like to pop a hanky or two on the Raiders to upset a drunken-Smith-led, Slater-less, Cronk-believing-he’s-God-because-of-one-kick-on-Wednesday-night Storm team, and the Roosters to get over on the Sharkies, and Parra to beat Manly.  I’ve got no idea how they’d do that with their only good player out with a broken ankle, but I think it would involve a shit tin of cheating.  And the Titans could easily account for the Warriors, simply because the Warriors don't know what the fuck they're doing.  Ever.

Wests Tigers vs Bulldogs
Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders
Gold Coast Titans vs New Zealand Warriors
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights
Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels
Sharks vs Sydney Roosters

Game of the Round
St Mary’s vs Wests  Under 9’s D-grade


Greg Bird's eye following Origin on Wednesday night.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke.  Cop that, Bird, you fucking fuck