Screed #27

December 28, 2009…

Even though we are longtime Dallas Cowboys fans here at The Federation, we feel sorry that the Indianapolis Colts’ chance at a perfect season was ruined by such a bad decision by team president Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell to deliberately bench their top players in the 3rd quarter against the New York Jets yesterday, in order to “rest” them for the playoffs. That decision cost them not only the game, but a chance to be the first team to potentially go 19-0. The New England Patriots came within a minute of achieving that distinction two years ago, only to lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in one freak play.

We think it is disgraceful to practically “throw” a game that the Colts clearly should have won. It is never acceptable for teams or players to lose on purpose. It’s one thing if the team had already lost a game during the year. But they hadn’t. They were on the road to perfection. And their leadership let them down. The decision would have been the correct one if the Colts had been up by 3 TDs, perhaps, but not when the game was as close as it was. They should have let QB Peyton Manning & co. stay in the game and fight it out.

No matter how much Manning or any of the other players toe the company line and say that this loss isn’t a big deal, and that winning the Super Bowl is the real goal (which, ultimately, it is), there is no way that they cannot be disappointed to have their chance at perfection taken away from them in such a manner. They have worked extremely hard all year, and deserved their shot. It is so difficult for any team to be perfect throughout an entire season (again, think of the 2007 Patriots) but to lose in this fashion is disgraceful. What kind of message does it send to their players? That it’s sometimes okay to deliberately lose?

We also feel sorry for their fans. They were clearly angry and disappointed with the decision, and rightly so. It must be very discouraging for them to see the head coach of their team decide that being perfect is not really important. It doesn’t inspire much confidence or inspiration. Plus, they pay good money to see players of Manning’s caliber on the field, and to do everything they can to win every game — not to play the final quarter and a half as if it’s nothing more than an exhibition game.

The question now is whether this will help the Colts to win the Super Bowl. But “Coltsthink” has failed by making boneheaded decisions like this in the past.
The Colts tried this end-of-season “preservation” approach in 2005 and 2007, and then lost their first playoff game each time. In 2006, though, when they were forced to fight to the end, they won the Super Bowl. Coincidence? Perhaps.

We realize that there is a chance that they could have lost anyhow to the Jets, or could lose next week against Buffalo (highly doubtful), and therefore their shot at perfection would have been lost one way or another. With their president and head coach making the decision for them, though, they will now never know what might have been.


All-Time Worst Films (Roll Call #7)

December 13, 2009…

Here are our choices for the worst movies of all time. We find these films to either be completely forced, overrated, badly acted and written or just your typical over-the-top, crass Hollywood garbage. We cannot fathom how any of these movies can be liked by anyone on the planet. Considering that most of them were extremely successful, it just goes to show you can never account for peoples’ taste, or lack thereof.

A few things we have learned in compiling this list: sequels are almost never a good idea; most big-budget, blockbuster action films and horror flicks completely blow; not all of these movies are necessarily terrible — some are just highly overrated, unnecessary or have terrible endings; and Nicholas Cage, Jim Carrey, Arnold Schwartenegger, Bruce Willis and John Travolta should probably never be allowed to make another movie.

In no particular order:

Con Air (1997) — Dumb and Dumber (1994) — Titanic (1997) — Glitter (2001) — The Terminator (1984) — Swept Away (2002) — Battlefield Earth (2000) — Independence Day (1996) — Die Hard (1988) — 2012 (2009) — Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) — Weekend at Bernie’s II (1989) — Little Nicky (2000) — Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) — Friday the 13th Part III (1982) — Grease (1978) — Home Alone (1990) — Problem Child (1990) — Beaches (1988) — Step Brothers (2008) — Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) — Child’s Play (1988) — Problem Child 2 (1991) — Rocky IV (1985) — The Mask (1994) — Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) — Face/Off (1997) — Tropic Thunder (2008) — Commando (1985) — Singin’ in the Rain (1952) — Me, Myself & Irene (2000) — Rambo III (1988) — Blades of Glory (2007) — Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) — Rambo (2008) — Die Hard 2 (1990) — Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) — Caddyshack II (1988) — Stepmom (1998) — Raising Arizona (1987) — Hellraiser (1987) — Blade (1998) — Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) — Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) — Wild at Heart (1990) — Anaconda (1997) — Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999) — Twister (1996) — A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) — Jaws 3-D (1983) — Saw (2004) — Armageddon (1998) — The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) — Conan the Barbarian (1982) — Demolition Man (1993) — Meet Joe Black (1998) — A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) — Young Einstein (1989) — The Sixth Sense (1999) — Saw II (2005) — A Night at the Roxbury (1998) — Brokeback Mountain (2005) — Conan the Destroyer (1984) — Child’s Play 2 (1990) — I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) — Ishtar (1987) — Predator (1987) — Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) — Joe Dirt (2001) — Saturday Night Fever (1977) — Spice World (1998) — Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) — Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) — North (1994) — Total Recall (1990) — Zoolander (2001) — The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) — Saw III (2006) — Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) — Live Free or Die Hard (2007) — Passenger 57 (1992) — U.S. Marshals (1998) — Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) — You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) — Howard the Duck (1986) — Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) — Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) — Look Who’s Talking (1989) — Predator 2 (1990) — Saw IV (2007) — No Country for Old Men (2007) — Men in Black (1997) — Clambake (1967) — Minority Report (2002) — Staying Alive (1983) — Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) — Alien (1979) — The Matrix (1999) — Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) — Look Who’s Talking Too (1990) — Jurassic Park III (2001) — Jaws: The Revenge (1987) — Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) — Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) — Cape Fear (1991) — Alien vs. Predator (2004) — Rocky V (1990) — Dirty Dancing (1987) — Double Trouble (1967) — Kindergarten Cop (1990) — Saw V (2008) — Hairspray (2007) — Grease 2 (1982) — Speed (1994) — Porky’s Revenge (1985) — Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987) — Braveheart (1995) — Son of the Mask (2005) — Rent-a-Cop (1987) — Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) — Aliens (1986).

All-Time Most Beautiful Women (Roll Call #6)

December 12, 2009…

These singers, actresses & models (etc.) are, in our opinion, the world’s all-time most beautiful women (in their prime — past & present).

In no particular order:

Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Anna Karina, Jennifer Lopez, Marilyn Monroe, Jaclyn Smith, Suzanne Pleshette, Stevie Nicks, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Barbara Parkins, Annette Bening, Nancy Cameron, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Slick, Halle Berry, Jennifer Tilly, Barbara Feldon, Jessica Alba, Pam Grier, Christina Aguilera, Kathleen Turner, Salma Hayek, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lauren Bacall, Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson, Drew Barrymore, Esther Baxter, Alida Valli, Kim Kardashian, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Heather Spytek, Natalie Wood, Kate Hudson, Teri Hatcher, Portia de Rossi, Teri Garr, Naomi Campbell, Kym Malin, Phoebe Cates, Sophia Loren, Chelsea Handler, Debra Winger, Gene Tierney, Kim Novak, Jayne Mansfield, Deborah Shelton, Katherine Heigl, Grace Kelly, Jennifer Salt, Beyonce Knowles, Brenda Acevedo, Lydia Cornell, Jeanette Lee, Kellie Martin, Ming-Na, Amanda Bynes, Diane Keaton, Kim Basinger, Lorraine Bracco, Rosalind Russell, Mira Sorvino, Kari Wuhrer, Christina Milian, Naomi Watts, Sheila E, Raquel Welch, Debra Messing, Meg Ryan, Sheree J. Wilson, Carmen Electra, Laura Elena Harring, Suzanne Somers, Rachel Lutzger, Hazel Mae, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Adrienne Barbeau, Madonna, Megan Fox, Lil Kim, Marilu Henner, Eva Mendes, Priscilla Presley, Charlene Tilton, Vanessa Williams, Kate Beckinsale, Ann Margaret, Jane Russell, Mayte Garcia, Christina Hendricks, Charlize Theron, Barbara Eden, Berlinda Tolbert, Joyce DeWitt, Mary Wilson, Farrah Fawcett, Peyton List, Brigitte Bardot.

All-Time Greatest Films (Roll Call #5)

December 12, 2009…

Our list of the all-time greatest films — in no particular order:

The Godfather (1972) — Manhattan (1979) — 8 1/2 (1963) — Annie Hall (1977) — The Godfather Part II (1974) — GoodFellas (1990) — Persona (1966) — Citizen Kane (1941) — Breathless (1960) — Anatomy of a Murder (1958) — Rear Window (1954) — A Fistful of Dollars (1964) — La Dolce Vita (1960) — Last Tango in Paris (1972) — It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) — Taxi Driver (1976) — Hud (1963) — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) — Wild River (1960) — The Enforcer (1976) — For a Few Dollars More (1965) — American Beauty (1999) — The 400 Blows (1959) — Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) — Days of Wine and Roses (1962) — Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) — Band of Outsiders (1964) — Born on the Fourth of July (1989) — The Manchurian Candidate (1962) — Animal House (1978) — Who’s Afraid of Virgina Wolff? (1966) — Scenes from a Marriage (1973) — The Third Man (1949) — Touch of Evil (1958) — Escape from Alcatraz (1979) —The Lady from Shanghai (1947) — Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But We’re Afraid to Ask) (1972) — The Aviator (2004) — The Stranger (1946) — The Godfather Part III (1990) — Pierrot le fou (1965) — The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) — Dirty Harry (1971) — Shame (1968) — Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) — When Harry Met Sally… (1989) —  Scarface (1983) — There’s Something About Mary (1998) — Fatso (1980) — Radio Days (1987) — Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) — This Is Spinal Tap (1984) — Das Boot (1981) — Unforgiven (1992) — The Pink Panther (1963) — Do the Right Thing (1989) — Cape Fear (1962) — Catch Me If You Can (2002) — Zelig (1983) — Schindler’s List (1993) — Raging Bull (1980) — Rebel Without a Cause (1955) — Stardust Memories (1980) — The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) — The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) — The Lost Weekend (1945) — The Front (1976) — Cast Away (2000) — Bullets Over Broadway (1994) — 12 Angry Men (1957) — Walk the Line (2005) — Rocky (1976) — Mo’ Better Blues (1990) — The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) — Donnie Brasco (1997) — Insomnia (2002) — Jungle Fever (1991) — Take the Money and Run (1969) — Punch-Drunk Love (2002) — Easy Money (1983) — The Green Mile (1999) — Magnum Force (1973) — The Meaning of Life (1983) — M*A*S*H (1970) — Gandhi (1982) — Father of the Bride (1950) — Rocky II (1979) — Sudden Impact (1983) — The Breakfast Club (1985) — Play It Again, Sam (1973) — Back to School (1986) — BUtterfield 8 (1960) — Key Largo (1948) — A Place in the Sun (1951) — Head (1968) — Husbands and Wives (1992) — Rashomon (1950) — Wild Strawberries (1957) — The Onion Movie (2008) — The Odd Couple (1968) — The Seven Samurai (1954) — A Shot in the Dark (1964) — Threads (1984) — And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) — Valley of the Dolls (1967) — The Seventh Seal (1957) — Interiors (1978) — Masculin Feminin (1966) — Vertigo (1958) — The Naked Gun (1988) — The Misfits (1961) — Little Miss Sunshine (2006) — Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) — Sleeper (1973) — The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) — Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) — Small Time Crooks (2000) — Sideways (2006) — Jules and Jim (1962) — Play Misty for Me (1971) — Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) — Yellow Submarine (1968) — Serpico (1973) — Private Parts (1997) — The Day After (1983) — Your Friends & Neighbors (1998) — Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) — Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) — Fletch (1985) — Trading Places (1983) — Meet the Parents (2000) — 200 Motels (1971) — Made in U.S.A. (1966) — The Birdcage (1996).

The Revenge of Brett Favre (Validation #2)

December 8, 2009…

We come here to praise Brett Favre – not bury him.

The Federation would like to (somewhat) apologize for the comments we made months ago about the man. We called him “a pathetic, attention-seeking joke” in his constant decisions to retire and un-retire in recent years, and the underhanded, deceitful way he seems to have gone about the whole mess.

But you know what? He has proven this season, if any more proof was needed, that he is simply one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. In his most-recent stint with the Minnesota Vikings, he is having one of his best seasons ever. After 12 games, he has led the team to a 10-2 record (10-1 up until the other day), he has the highest completion percentage of his career (69.0%), has thrown 26 TD passes and only 5 interceptions, which considering the fact that he has always thrown a lot of interceptions in his career, is far below his average (as of 2008) of 17 per season (his worst season being 2005 when he threw 29). It shows that he is becoming a much smarter passer in his older years and not making as many risky throws. It proves the old saying, “with age comes wisdom.”

He is leading his team to victory week in and week out (this past weekend notwithstanding) and has clearly shown that he still has excellent leadership abilities and a strong competitive nature. He beat the Green Bay Packers twice and proved to them that they never should have allowed him to get away (not to take anything away from the talented Aaron Rodgers). He was simply dominant in both games. It may have been purely revenge that drove him during those games, but whatever it was, it worked.

On November 22, he even had perhaps his best game ever. Against the Seattle Seahawks, he threw 4 TD passes and completed 22 of 25 passes for a single-game, career-high 88% completion rate, en route to a Viking blowout victory of 35-9. It was truly breathtaking to watch a QB, that some (perhaps us included) thought was over the hill.

If he can take the Vikings all the way, or even deep into the playoffs, then we really will have nothing bad to say about him anymore. He is a world-class athlete, pure and simple. And who are we to argue?

He still may be a bit narcisstic at times but he has shown that any team would strongly benefit having him on their roster. Whether he retires, yet again, at the end of the season or not, he has already proven that coming back was the right decision.

Looks like old Brett is having the last laugh. We say good for him.

The Eyes of Passion (Validation #1)

December 6, 2009…

We realize that we spend a lot of time on this site ranting and raving over things that truly piss us off – and rightly so. Life has become an absurd experience over the past few years, due to an endless war, a bad job economy, Jon & Kate, AIG, and the latest obsession over Tiger Woods’ sex life. But we don’t want anyone thinking that we are simply a group of constantly-angry folks who find nothing good in the world to cheer about. There are, in fact, plenty of things to celebrate. It’s just that life on this planet, circa 2009, is making it harder and harder to find those moments that are worth praising.

One truly extraordinary thing, that brings immense joy to us, is the lesbian love scene in David Lynch’s bizarre 2001 symbolism-laden film Mulholland Drive (noted in our Roll Call #3 on this site). We have decided to honor it in a new category called “Validations.”

We cannot think of a single scene in any other movie that is as sensual and erotic, yet also as innocent and pure, as the one between the characters of Naomi Watts (“Betty”) and Laura Elena Harring (“Rita” aka “Camilla”) while they are lying in bed. We realize that we are taking the scene totally out of context from the rest of the film, but still, it’s a scene we at The Federation have watched dozens of times and never fail to be equally moved and turned on by. It’s got nothing to do with two attractive women simply “gettin’ it on” and everything to do with smoldering passion and emotions. It is ten times more erotic than any porn film we have ever scene. Whatever anyone thinks of Mulholland Drive, in general, it is worth owning just for this 4 ½ minute interlude alone.

David Lynch directs the scene brilliantly, taking his time setting up the moment. and Watts and Harring are so convincing in their love and passion for one another that you never believe for one second that they are merely “acting.” It is a very intimate scene – like we are eavesdropping on a private moment between two women who suddenly discover that they are in love with one another. There is absolutely nothing cheap or lurid about it. The way they look at one another, the way Betty confesses her love to Rita, the moment they begin kissing and undressing – it is all done in a very innocent and beautiful manner. It’s all about subtle nuances, which this scene has in abundance – as when Naomi Watts looks down at Laura Harring’s lips and then looks back up at her eyes right before they begin kissing. She has a look of surprise and innocence that is truly mesmerizing. If this scene does not move you, then as an old song once said, “Jack, you dead.”

Watts and Harring say more with their eyes than most actors say with a thousand lines of dialogue. Both actresses have very beautiful, sensual, expressive eyes and the way they look at one another is absolutely captivating.

This scene begs for repeated viewings – not just because it is so incredibly erotic, but because watching it multiple times reveals all of its subtle nuances. It is a scene that unless you have watched it you cannot begin to understand its magnificence. We, here at The Federation, nominate this as being in a list of probably the 50 greatest scenes in cinematic history. And definitely the most erotically sensual.

A War with No End (Screed #26)

December 2, 2009…

And the war continues on, with absolutely no end in sight…

President Obama has decided to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan, which will soon bring the total cost of this endless war to just over one trillion dollars. He said he plans to start removing troops in 18 months’ time. We’ll believe that when we see it.

This sounds like the same tired promises we have been hearing for years now. In every election the Democrats promise that they will bring an end to the fighting that has been going on in Afghanistan and Iraq for the better part of a decade now. Then once in office they begin to waver. And who is to say that something won’t happen during the next 18 months that will cause more reasons not to leave? Will there ever be a good time to finally pull out and admit victory or defeat? Is that even an option anymore?

The new Afghanistan strategy will end up costing $30 billion more than current spending. Obama’s proposal would place a total of 200,000 troops in both countries.

Thousands of young men and women killed so far and what have we truly gained? And possibly thousands more deaths to come.

This certainly doesn’t feel like “change,” does it?

Willie Horton Redux (Screed #25)

December 1, 2009

We are absolutely disgusted to find out that former Arkansas Republican governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee pardoned the man that slayed four police officers in Lakewood, WA on Sunday morning. And this is not the first time he pardoned a dangerous criminal who went on to commit more violent crimes.

Maurice Clemmons, who committed the cop slayings and who was killed in a further showdown with police this morning, was given a 108-year sentence in 1990 for several felonies (including armed robbery and threatening a judge), but Mr. Huckabee, in his brilliant wisdom, decided that, because Clemmons had supposedly found “religion” and because he had “only” been a teenager when he committed the crimes, he should be allowed to walk the streets again. Sure, why not? Since he was pardoned in 2000, Clemmons committed more robberies, assaulted two police officers, raped and held hostage two children, terrorized his family, declared himself Jesus Christ, and now, finally, killed four police officers, ambush-style, as they sat drinking coffee and working on their laptops inside a coffee shop.

Mr. Huckabee also publicly supported and privately urged the release of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond, who won parole in 1999. Dumond moved to Missouri where he commited another rape and murder.

Nice job Huckabee! You clearly have excellent judgement when it comes to releasing violently psychotic criminals, who are supposedly “cured.” He has also been known to go easy on people whose relatives or supporters helped him politically.

What is the point in wasting taxpayers’ money to have a trial if some idiotic, crooked politician is going to come along and reverse the decision the jury agrees on?

Huckabee, a religious wackjob who believes the Earth is only 5,000 years old, has naturally been trying to pass the buck and blame others for the release of Clemmons. Shame on him! These murders should have never taken place because Clemmons should have never been released from jail. Now Huckabee has the blood of several murdered people on his hands, not to mention several people, including innocent children, being raped. His chances of running again for the presidency in 2012 have been hopefully laid to rest. This will prove to be his “Willie Horton.” And conservatives cannot blame this on some “bleeding-heart liberal” either.

We say good riddance to Maurice Clemmons – may he rot in hell. And good riddance to Mike Huckabee and his future political aspirations. He clearly has no business being in positions of power.