Let’s call this a rendition of the usual suspects that continue to roll around my head. I make time to do things I am passionate about and while my website, film-addict.com, quenches my film appetite, the urge to inform about broader subjects always occupies a space in my mind. I lack an edge if I withhold from sending out an occasional(or weekly to bi weekly) dose, so play along here and get my take on things. What makes you stay beyond this point has to do with having skill or playing a con. You decide that while I write. Starting with, an update on my TV crush.
Banshee is still must watch television after its 7th hour produced a thrilling reveal to the endurance and resilience our main character, Lucas Hood, built in his 15 years in jail time. Let’s just say that it involved a knife, a bald muscle bound albino, a 45 pound weight and a barbell with smashing involved. This show is fearless when it comes to sheer violence, blunt nudity and the limit people will go in order to survive their predestined fate. Everything about this series feels like an exposed nerve. The fight scenes are clothed in a silent horror, without music and only producing the bone crunching sounds of fists and knees colliding with weak joints and breakable bones. Antony Starr is the anchor of the show, a New Zealand getting his first real shot. He has the ability to be intense and convincing without overacting. Steve McQueen school. Ivana Milicevic, a Bosnian actress who has existed right outside Hollywood’s notoriety for quite some time(she poisoned Daniel Craig in Casino Royale) is also getting her first real shot and doing a lot with it. She is tough, vulnerable and coiling with emotion without being melodramatic. It’s a credit to Showrunner Greg Yaeltonis that these actors got a shot and are running with the roles. As the two main leads, Starr and Milicevic’s tortured souls masquerading as normal people share a past as well as chemistry. They pull us in and keep us going. The supporting cast is wicked as well and sets this show on an unpredictable path.
It gets better with this show. I wrote a piece about the Cinemax series for Film-Addict in a crossover piece on last Friday. I did this because its female star Ivana Milicevic urged me to do so. I am not lying and clothed in truth right now. Milicevic is a Twitter lady and gets on there along with the cast and showrunner to hype up the rookie series that is the best new show on television in 2013. She and I exchanged a few tweets about the show’s greatness and she urged me to write a review of it for my site. She knew it wasn’t film but indeed the “INDIE OF TV”. The lady is classy and a good fine looking actress as well. After 12 hours, the piece had 120 reads, which is a lot for our site. Four members of the cast and the showrunner retweeted it (sending it to their followers) in the coming hours. The piece is right now around 300 reads. The site is getting more hits because of it and this is how websites grow larger and start to make money. When you market a piece of entertainment and people respond. Give it a look here. The 8th episode premiered last night and included the a brutal hand to hand fight scene between Ivana and a Russian thug that can only appropriately re-position the way we look at women in action. The best thing about Ms. Milicevic and the rest of the fierce women on Banshee is that they come across as brutal as your first impression of them hits your head.
I will keep talking about this show until it goes off the air, starts to suck(not happening with these kind of storytellers and creators) or I get feedback. There’s 8 hours to jump into and here is my FA piece to get your lips wet. Read it. Get involved.
Cards Spring Into Action
*First, calm down. These games mean nothing and are scrimmages carrying the idea of scouting and monitoring injuries. Obsession, meds, addiction, panic, joy, thrill and anticipation. That’s the spring. Fake games. Lots of players. Opportunity for fans to see the future and for that crop to see the field. Second, please don’t worry about Adam Wainwright’s long term plans. I don’t think he is going anywhere, especially if him and the team use their brain.
*Wainwright is bound to be paid and one can only hope the Cards don’t lowball him with an offer but he understands the Cards aren’t on the West coast and can’t pay him 22 million a year over 8 years. John Mozelaik let Albert Pujols walk. Wainwright will be no different if he lets feelings or pure greed enter the deal. He gave this team a discount on his last deal and this time he wants to cash in. I get his situation and the Cards and will let this play out. Part of me wants the team to stop the bus and get him signed and part of me wants Mo and his suits to do their due diligence. Without Carpenter for 2012 and beyond for sure now, keeping Waino is a big step towards solidifying a rotation that will get very young very quick in 2014. Let’s hope the Cards and Waino hammer something out in March and get it off the table. If not, the door will be open and I think it will get done.
*Oscar Taveras is a certified fresh talent and isn’t even 21 years old yet. Give him time. I agree with Jon Jay when he urges people to let Oscar play. Stop comparing him to Albert Pujols. It’s ridiculous, crude and short lived. Let the kid get out there, get dirty, hurt, rebound, go through rough patches and rise again. He isn’t going anywhere. Let’s not fuck him up the way we did Anthony Reyes or Colby Rasmus. Just let Oscar roll right along. He can’t even order a drink yet or say Jack Daniels in English properly. He popped a grand slam this week and hits the ball to all fields really hard and can take an outside corner pitch to the opposite fence. He is going to be insurance behind Carlos Beltran in right field in 2013. He will be on the team by June at the latest.
*Same for pitcher Michael Wacha, who is opening eyes this spring. The kid was pitching college ball a year ago and has an excellent swing and miss changeup to go with two other quality pitches. He has only thrown 136 innings in a season. Let him get time at Springfield and Memphis before we anoint him the next Wainwright. For the first time in years the Cards have more pitching than their current MLB roster can handle. That’s a great thing.
*Imagine if Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig all stay healthy for more than 3 weeks at a time. The possibilities are endless and most of them include bad nightmares for pitchers. Our team is a wrecking ball that just needs to swing. We were beaten in our first two games and then destroyed teams for four days straight before tying the Astros yesterday. The games don’t count, but the trends spell things out more clearly. This team can score but has to work on the consistency of manufacturing runs without their A-team. At some point, one of the vets will go down.
*While Jaime Garcia is impressing me with his shoulder strength, I am disappointed in the Cards and Rafael Furcal. He really should have gotten elbow surgery in September instead of holding out to make an appearance in the playoffs or try to make it through the winter on rehab. You can do that with a muscle. When it comes to ligaments and elbow cartilage and connective tissue, surgery is needed. That kind of pain doesn’t just go away. There is a problem here. It’s March 2nd and Furcal can’t throw for full power from shortstop or bat righthanded. He won’t make it through a month before he is on the disabled list. He is making 7 million in 2013 and shouldn’t have been fucked with. Regret is a huge price to carry on your shoulders. Also, Roger Cedeno isn’t an option and Pete Kozma won’t be given a real chance even though he showed a real bat in the fall last year.
Funny Thought-Albert Pujols isn’t playing this spring. He had knee surgery. They say he may play in a week. Really? He had the minor procedure in October!! I still think the guy’s body is going to explode and that is a funny thing now. What was once a constant worry for me(the state of AP’s health) is now a comical thing. And the Cards are 30 million lighter.
5 Quick Things About The Blues-Frustration, dangerous trends and an uncertain future
–Injuries do play a part but don’t cover up the reason ballet by themselves. Steen, McDonald and Tarasenko are key players and make a dent on the ice but this team either has energy or looks flat. Against the Blackhawks on Thursday, the Blues looked dead and lost for nearly the entire game and got embarrassed at home. Take away Chicago’s unbeaten record and I still require dignity from a team with this much talent. Injuries happen to every team. How you react determines if you get in or not.
–NEED A LEGIT GOAL SCORER. Does this sound familiar? I’ve been saying it for years. Vlady impressed, Berglund looks better but acquiring a player like Jarome Iginla and putting him on this team with this talent could change the season. I’ve sang it for years. Team needs a player that makes other team adjust instantly. Is Tarasenko that guy? When he can play again, that question will continue to gather steam. Call Jarome Iginla’s agent and tell him we can help him escape the misery of being a Calgary Flame.
-Start the Brian Elliot Watch. Jake Allen proved he could play and do it very well. Elliot becomes trade bait.
-The Blues rebounded from a horrible start last night and won 4-2 at home. What was once a powerhouse strength for the team has been a hazard in 2013. The Blues simply haven’t played well at home. Their big 5 game losing streak included an 0-3 stretch at home. The Hawks beat them on Thursday. Last night, the Blues remembered they were playing the Oilers and found a way to win. This team can’t walk a straight line anywhere and it happens every season.
-The Good news. The team is 11-7-2 and tied for 4th in the conference. They are 5-5-1 at home and 6-2-1 on the road. I can’t tell you how the next 18 games will go but I can remind you and this team that wasting any more games on injury excuses or flat play will result in a quiet playoff period in St. Louis. All we have to do is survive, stay in the hunt, add a weapon and get healthy. It was never supposed to be easy. No sport is or ever will be.
Seth McFarlane started fine and then either (A)Ran out of ideas (B) Got told to tone it down or (C)underestimated the widespread panic that’s sets in stage that’s turns one either into a zombie(James Franco) or makes them too hyper(Anne Hathaway). Last year’s safe routine with Billy Crystal sucked and the year before with Franco and Hathaway was the worst but Seth did mix in his brand of new age prank and gasp humor and got mixed results. I do like his comedy, loved Ted, get a kick out of Family Guy, so I was looking for him to give a fresh take. BUT…after the long opening act, he too often tried to dance or fire off weak offensive jokes to shock the crowd. He laughs too much at his own jokes too. Next year I really hope they give it to Conan O’ Brien.
*As far as the nominees go, I was very pleased with Argo winning Picture and Screenplay. Ben Affleck not getting a nomination or the award took away from the thrill but that’s the Academy for you. Argo won best editing and deserved it for being a taut tight historical thriller. Affleck got the last laugh with a wonderful speech that wrapped around a hyper opening but ended with a touching ode to redemption in Hollywood. “It doesn’t matter if you get knocked down. Only that you get back up.” He was citing his career turnaround from young Oscar winner to disgraced movie star to renegade filmmaker/supporting actor. Affleck is pure emotion and didn’t hide a thing. Good for him. I’d drink a cup of coffee and eat a twinkie if I was up there with an award. Suck it orchestra!
*Zero Dark Thirty’s snub was predictable. It’s just too bold for the Academy. They let it hit him with Hurt Locker but never again. Zero Dark is better than that effort. It’s a tough unflinching look at the war on terror and had some horrifying (wink wink) torture in it. I praise Kathryn Bigelow, Jessica Chastain and Jason Clarke for staying away from sentimental value and delivering a brutal retelling of the takedown of Osama.
*Jennifer Lawrence deserved it for Silver Linings Playbook and another award for honesty. After tripping while going to the stage, she quickly acknowledged it and didn’t let it stop her from her speech which was good and short. Lawrence was an exposed nerve in the film, reshaping the genre and rewriting the map for female stars in edgy romantic comedies. Bravo 22 year old foxy lady who now has 2 nominations.
*Kristen Stewart talks like a meth addict with Pink Floyd playing in her head. Cast someone better and the Twilight films are instantly better. I fucking hate her. Break the other leg.
*Christoph Waltz didn’t deserve it for best supporting actor. He was good but not as good as Robert DeNiro(Silver Linings) or Alan Arkin(Argo). I was the only person on the planet who didn’t like Django Unchained. It was long, boring and cartoonish and over the top, which is saying something for QT’s movies.
*Daniel Day Lewis deserved it for Lincoln. While I wanted Bradley Cooper or Denzel to upset him, it’s hard to argue with his performance as Abe. He was the guy for 2 .5 hours and is the best of what’s around. He is as good as it gets accepting awards as well, always speaking with sincerity and grace. The man is a marvel and hard to argue against. He is playing Barack Obama next.
*I’m kidding but imagine his prep. Hours upon hours with the Obamas at the White House mimicking the President and everything else. Don’t count him out.
*Adele is talent personified and I could listen to her filthy naughty British accent all night. She can be my voice for the Siri on my IPhone any time she wants.
*It’s hard to pick between the Best Picture nominees. I saw 6 of the 9 films and loved 5 of the 6. Silver Linings Playbook made me smile. Lincoln made me emotional. Zero Dark Thirty left me drained and inspired but feeling free to continue to let other people chase terrorists around the globe. Argo was just a perfect blend of drama, thriller, action, and power inside one 2 hour movie. Affleck didn’t waste a minute. That’s why it deserved to win.
I don’t mind the Oscars being 3.5 hours long. I wish it didn’t feel as long. The Bond tribute sucked. Barbara was flat. William Shatner didn’t need to show up.
They need to tighten up the telecast. Remedies to follow.
The Random Pile
Baseball Movies come to mind during spring training. Bull Durham is my favorite baseball movie because I can’t get enough of the minor league hustle and Kevin Costner’s performance as Crash Davis is legendary. There are several jewels. Field of Dreams, Sandlot, The Natural, Eight Men Out, and Cobb. Major League is the Anchorman of baseball film lore. A very quotable film. Go to my website in the Addicts Corner and vote on your favorite.
Film-Addict Interview with three more members of the Twilight Cast on Friday. Patrick Brennan, Lisa Howard and Marlane Barnes had very small roles in the last chapter(which was crap by the way), but meeting actors in person and seeing the real people behind the big screen presence is always a cool experience. They are all theater trained and still young in Hollywood so I hope they get a shot. Chatting with them was a good way to spend an hour at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Rams-LOOK AT MICHAEL TURNER. Seriously, Les Snead and Jeff Fisher need to call Turner’s agent. Atlanta has a young running back in the waiting and didn’t want to pay Turner his money. With Steven Jackson on his way out, Turner’s power running style with an additional ability to catch is just what the offense needs. He is explosive and durable. The Rams acquire Turner and become a deeper threat. That way, they can focus on beefing up the offensive line in the draft and not have to waste another pick on a running back. He was unable to pass a physical for an ankle injury suffered in the playoffs but given time he can be 100 percent and accumulating rushing yards again. In his five seasons with Atlanta, he averaged 1150 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns per season. He did work in a better offense but he can be a plus addition to the Rams. Without Jackson, the Rams look weak at the halfback slot.
Vincent Mania. My kid turns 18 months in 12 days and is already wearing 2T clothing(24 months and up). He is a true beast and is doing new things every day. The hardest part I find with being a parent is making sure your kid is getting the right information and growing in the mind as well as the body. It all happens with time but if you are as impatient as my wife and I, the process is hard. Vinny is intuitive, passionate and happy, but is starting to put words together, learn a few manners and act like a good little man. I just can’t believe he’s 18 months and wearing bigger clothing. He is my son indeed!
JOB STATUS is going as good as it possibly can. I work at Ronnoco and make a wage that is less than I need and I know I need more money so I keep looking. I am sinking my teeth into the job market again because with the stability of a job comes the patience in checking the market. I can be more selective now because I have something. It’s different when you are out of work and money and need a gig. I am not settled and ready to post up at Ronnoco. They are a company with new owners and plans and won’t be paying their employees more money. The job search continues.
Running is something I want to be doing more of. By eating well, working a physical job and going to the gym at least 2-3 times a week I have gotten into great shape but I want to carve even more off. I can’t wait for the spring so I can get out on the open road and run my ass off. There’s a freedom and energetic spell that comes with running outside on the streets that can’t be found in a gym. With the cold holding me indoors at times, I am disappointed that my running dates have decreased. However, the best thing about fitness is you can always do better the next week.
Coffee Consumption is something that will never stop. It’s my favorite thing and along with water, takes up most of my liquid diet. I have already had a 3 shot espresso and dark roast 12 ounce with a shot of espresso today and it’s only 2 p.m. Working a coffee warehouse(albeit one with shitty coffee) leaves me with the aroma and odor of a coffee fanatic but I flesh out my true identity with serious consumption. It’s mood boost and a confidence syrup at the very least. Find your passion in a cup ladies.
Music crush continues to revolve around The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a San Francisco rock band that has flew under the radar for 15 years. They are energetic punk cool rockers who make a brand of music that combines elements of rock, blues and alternative genres. I am tracking down all their music and have purchased a shirt with the letters, BRMC with a crossbone on the front. That way people ask about it and I get to explain to them my new music passion. Put their music, Banshee, a cup of strong coffee and bacon into a quiet screening room together with my wife and I am as happy as it gets. Plus, my son Vinny dances to their music. Apparently, any band with BLACK in the title makes him dance his ass off. The Black Keys and BRMC. Go figure. Like father like son.
Finally, a closing rant.
The Reason why I don’t get into politics is…
Simply put, I don’t see the direct effect on my life. There are certain people who probably see it better or could list me reasons why it does directly affect my everyday life but I just don’t see it. From politician to politician I see no change on me. Gas prices go up and down. Groceries vary. Bills vary. No easy scale to judge a significant change by. I wake up, go to work, and have a life. Merchandise and car payments are the same. When I lost my job, I needed government support but when I found another it was back to normal. I pay my taxes, do my thing and see nothing that Obama, Bush or Clinton for that matter have done to change my life. To me they are all hacks in a suit trying to do a very difficult job. Make all the mouths happy and the streets clean. Leave it better than when you found it. I understand their job but I choose to think in the other direction. I just keep living, no pun intended. I wake up, work, inject passion on my own dime and go back to sleep. I am sure someone could tell me to make speeches, spend everybody else’s money, authorize a war that kills thousands or put my foot further in the ring but I decide not to unless I see a real benefit or change. I get through life by cutting the bullshit away from it as best as I can. I don’t get into politics because I don’t see a real valid reason to take time away from things that make me happy. Two things happened this week that prompted this slice of Buffa life. I got a notice in the mail for voting for the next primary municipal election. Who gives a shit? Vote the next bone headed Alderman into office and I will keep moving on. I also got a smart ass comment from a facebook “friend” who told me the Cards don’t do shit for me so why should I care for them. I responded by telling him that I don’t ask for any direct love from the team. All I want is for them to play the game I love and do it well. What fan asks for unconditional love from athletes? It’s a two way street. We show up, pay our taxes(their salaries) and they return the love by playing. Sports gives more back to myself and millions of others because we know what we are getting and how much we aren’t getting. It’s an easy give and take. Movies are the same. I get a lot of meaning and enjoyment out of them than I do with politics’ dirty game. Until it gives me a reason to engage myself, I stay away from harm of getting shit on because I am sure I already do without much effort on my end. When I give my passion to something, it’s full tilt. Trust me. One day, my son Vincent may tackle the world of politics. He may be a firefighter or a doctor. An artist or a freedom seeker. I won’t tell him what to do. I will give him my advice and it is this. Politics is not a healthy way of life and doesn’t directly affect my life in a way that I can calculate or give a shit about. The end.
That’s it. Thanks for reading. Hope it left a dent or made you think a little. I never know until you respond. Read and digest.
Dan L. Buffa