2017: The end of the year rant

2017 represented so many things that it’s hard to put it into words, but I’m going to try. Donald Trump took office, Hollywood’s elite took a blow, the Patriots won another Super Bowl, the NFL became less popular, a versatile fleet of film took over cinema, and the Astros won a World Series. Anybody hear much about the NBA? Me neither.

Now, this won’t be your grandfather’s yearly rundown. What I say will most likely offend Star Wars fanatics, political maniacs, and civil minds. But, if you hang with me and keep an open mind, you’ll understand where I stand in the end. So, without much order or pre-existing thought, let’s look back at 2017.

TRUMP and POTUS

Thanks a lot, Hilary. The Democrats really screwed the pooch here. Clinton is a war criminal, liar, and deplorable idea for a President, so it was only fitting that a clueless billionaire got the keys to the office. Trump doesn’t have an iota of knowledge about running a country, and being that more than a few of his business ventures have failed, he may not be as sharp with money as some seem to think. He takes Twitter more seriously than foreign policy, and will probably end up getting us all killed. But hey, Barack Obama was so bad, right?

The Democrats should go get their shoe shine box and think about what they have done to our country. They have four years to come up with a better plan than albino calf Hilary.Here’s some advice: Forget who is in office. Just live your life. In the past year, my family has acquired two new cars, a brand new house, and our kid is in a great school. Some will say that is due to us being a white privileged family. I call bullshit. That is due to us busting our ass at hard ass jobs, sticking it out, and knowing where the end game is. Fuck the Oval Office. Take care of your own, and all will be well.

THE WOMEN OF HOLLYWOOD RISE UP AND SLAM THE SCUMBAG MEN

A year ago, Kevin Spacey was promoting a highly popular Netflix show and filming Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World. Today, he is in hiding. Neflix fired him from House of Cards, scrapped the partially filmed sixth season, and will reshoot everything in 2018. And as far as the Scott film goes, Spacey was fired from that project too, but in a more personal way. All his scenes were shot, the film was completed, but Scott pulled a Hail Mary and redid everything six weeks before release.

Harvey Weinstein went from being a mega-talented producer to pure scum in a week, and others hit the bricks too. Amazon and Disney executives went down. T.J. Miller’s nastiness went public. Jeremy Piven is busy denying his seventh sexual harassment claim. Dustin Hoffman got hit as well. Every week, someone’s ugliness comes out. Projects have been shelved and lives have been changed. One thing has been made clear: NO means NO. Being a rich person with pull doesn’t protect you anymore. Louis C.K. admitted to the bad deeds and got fried completely.

Spacey and Weinstein are the worst. The former is an all time great talent who forced himself on a 16 year old kid. You don’t come back from that. Weinstein destroyed many actresses’ confidence and wrecked their lives forever with his actions. How many times can the human Shrek push himself on women? Now, he could be pushing himself on jail time or bankruptcy. He deserves every last bit of struggle.

It’s one thing that women can’t get equal pay or be taken seriously in every walk of life, but it’s quite another rung lower for them to be sexually abused.

And it’s not just women. Look at the larger than life Terry Crews, who claimed to be harassed by an agent at a party years ago. The former NFL player came out and talked about his abuse.

And please save me the “why haven’t they spoken before?” crap. Have you been sexually abused? Did you immediately want to shout it to the wind? Nope. I won’t comment on something I’ve never personally experienced, but I’ve heard from trusted friends that it’s not something that immediately gets spread around morning coffee.

JEFF LUHNOW EXPERTISE GUIDES ASTROS TO TITLE

The Houston Astros lost 100+ games three seasons in a row, from 2011-13. They won the World Series this year after winning 101 games, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling fall classic.

Just like the Chicago Cubs, the Astros went through a full rebuild, added some savvy vets( we see you Carlos Beltran), and rode fine young talent to a ring. Behind it all, former Cardinals scouting master Jeff Luhnow. The man who developed the farm system expertise with John Mozeliak took over as General Manager in 2011, two months after helping the Cardinals collected World Series #11.

Jose Altuve. Carlos Correa. George Springer. Dallas Keuchel. A shot of Beltran and Justin Verlander. Homegrown talent mixed with talented vets led by a true baseball mind equals a championship. Turnaround in less than three years. The Astros were sulking after losing 92 games this time three years ago, and now they are champs.

TOM BRADY DOES IT AGAIN

Let me flash back to a time when I actually liked football.

Back in January, Tom Brady made football great for a single night. During a game where I had no pony to ride or emotion invested, the New England Patriots came back from a large deficit and shocked the Atlanta Falcons and the world right out of their pant suits. Brady turned back the clock to 2001, when he broke the hearts of St. Louis football fans and downed the Rams. This time, he got the best of Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who almost had the mighty Belichick led Pats down for the count.

Sure, the whole team was involved, but this was vintage Tom Brady-and trust me when I say I don’t like writing nice things about him, because I love to see him lose. Brady is the sharp looking dude with the hot wife who takes your pride at the end of the day. He was completing passes to everyone with a name on their jersey. It wasn’t Gronk or one other guy; Brady was throwing to everyone. Only Peyton Manning takes full advantage of a receiver set than Brady. That night is when Brady proved he was the true GOAT of NFL history. You can’t argue it, with or without Spygate or Deflate-BULLSHIT-Gate. He’s the best. It’s over.

Hold up. Fuck you, Tom Brady. There, now I feel better.

GAL GADOT SAVES DC FILMS

Take away Wonder Woman and the lovely Israeli actress’ part in Justice League, and DC is miles behind Marvel Films. Patty Jenkins’ summer flick was so good that it felt like a Marvel project, sad but true. Gadot (supposedly pronounced GAH-DOTT) was the heart and soul, blending heroism and action friendly abilities to show us the complete Diana Prince that we only got a taste of in Bat-Sups. Chris Pine was fantastic, the running time wasn’t terrible, and overall, just an enjoyable film even if the final third was a little XBOX CGI heavy.

In the messy as shit Justice League, Gadot was the best part…again. Just make more Wonder Woman movies. Thanks.

STEVEN SPIELBERG MAKES THE BEST MOVIE IN LESS THAN A YEAR

In case you missed my top movies list, The Post was the best 2017 had to offer, even if it doesn’t arrive in St. Louis until January. A film about the Pentagon papers, the Washington Post, and how Kat Graham was the trigger for female empowerment back during a time where it was basically outlawed was so diabolical and well-played that it’s crazy to realize it was shot, cut, and released inside a fucking year. That’s master work, right there. Few directors would have been able to pull that off.

STAR WARS: LAST JEDI: CINEMATIC BLUE BALLS

It made a billion dollars, but I left unsatisfied. Like Luke on a cold desolate mountain in Ireland, I mostly pouted when fanatics stroked themselves after exiting the theater. Where there were tears, I shrugged and checked my Twitter feed. Watching Rian Johnson’s nearly three hour expose about the rebellion’s 51st attempt to beat the bad guys had its moments, but overall, a giant bore. Come at me, worshippers. I’m sure you can tell I love sparring with people over film by now. How else can I father a son in this world and not like a SW film?!!? Rage, rage against the dying of the light….saber.

**Speaking of Star Wars, I re-watched the original trilogy this week, because that’s what you do when you are a sick and bedridden. Seven hours later, I can say this: Harrison Ford’s Han Solo was the tits in those films, and current/future Star Wars films will not be as enjoyable due to his absence. Ford’s charisma and action hero swagger just can not be replaced by any young duck. Sorry, Rian. Not sorry.

KINGDOM, THE BEST TV SHOW YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED, ENDS TOO SOON

It’s quite simple, folks. This was a great fucking show that had SO MUCH left in the tank. DirecTV abandoning this series after three seasons is like filling up a Porsche with a full tank of gas, driving it down the road, and leaving it on the side of the road. A series that offered the viewer everything: action, drama, comedy, poignancy, a realism that spoke volumes, and a need to get off the couch and ignite your life after an episode concluded. Byron Balasco didn’t just produce a fighting show. This wasn’t a series of MMA fights with a little dialogue and some training. He opened the door behind the world of fighters, the things that torture them outside the ring, where drug habits and demons from the past can sweep off your feet faster than another fighter.

Frank Grillo had the role of a lifetime as Alvey Kulina, chief of the tortured and father to warriors. If you think you know how great Grillo is at digging underneath the fingernails of an ex-fighter trying to stay in the game, you’re wrong? Did you know Nick Jonas could act your face off? He can. Did you know Jonathan Tucker is an immensely talented actor with 25 different speeds? No. Did you know Matt Lauria can bottle up a character’s rage so damn well? No. Did you know Joanna Going could break your heart and put it back together with her performance? Did you know Mac Brandt had freckles and could act? Maybe.

The MVP of this series was the script. Balasco and his team of writers knew how to cut the shit with the way people spoke to one another and how fighters fight themselves more than anybody else.

DirecTV let it go, and I’ll never forgive them for that. What they did do is provide 40 episodes of a wonderful series that will sit among the top of my all time list. Fuck Sopranos. Fuck Breaking Bad. Kingdom is where the crown lies.

CARDINALS FLOP AND THE BLUES TEASE

For the second year in a row, the Cardinals missed the playoffs. The Blues made the playoffs, advanced to the second round, and got their asses kicked. The Los Angeles Rams, in their second year out West, made the playoffs. St. Louis put on a helluva show with the Winter Classic, but championships were delivered elsewhere in 2017. Something tells me 2018 won’t be any different.

TOM PETTY IS GONE

If you are like me and listen to a ton of KSHE 95, Petty is a part of your daily soundtrack on the St. Louis radio station. “Runnin’ down a dream”, “I won’t back down”, “Learning to fly”, etc. He sang about a time that many of us wish still existed. Petty died of a sudden heart attack in October, after the conclusion of a tour. He was 66, and on this final tour, endured a hairline fracture in his hip for a portion of it. Sure, the music world lost Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, singers with a voice that will not die in the night–but those two men took their life, which hardens some of the emotion towards them. 66 years isn’t a bad amount of time on this rock, but with Petty, it still didn’t feel like enough.

Petty was the epitome of rock, and played until the end, literally. You can’t tell me one of his songs doesn’t have an effect on your life, or could have the chance to make a dent. Take “Won’t Back Down” for example:

No I’ll won’t back down/Won’t be turned around/And I’ll keep this world from dragging me down/Gonna stand my ground.

Words so simple that they should be illegally restricted from leaving a dent on your soul, but they did. It was the way Petty sang that had an impact on me. He felt like a passenger through the hardest times of your life. He was a guy I listened to with my dad and now with my son, which makes him a connective music voice in my life. I didn’t know Petty, but through his music, I felt like I had a good idea what he was all about. Rest in peace.

GIANCARLO STANTON CHOSE NEW YORK

Can you blame him? It wasn’t about the nightlife (he doesn’t go out) or the chance to win a World Series in 5 years(SF and STL could both do that); Stanton thinks the Yankees can win this year, so good for him. The Yankees will spend close to 300 million dollars hedging that bet, and with the DH in store for the final 4-5 seasons, it’s a worthy one. So fuck it, stop pouting (I did for a matter of hours), and move on.

A LAS VEGAS SHOOTER CHANGED THINGS

Maybe it was the fact that concerts were suddenly made a dangerous spot to have a good time, or the fact that the entire “one shooter” premise doesn’t hold up, but this moment changed things for a lot of people. A man unleashing absolute maniacal gunfire tells a person all they need to know about our society, species, and where we are at. I left the incident wondering what makes a guy carry all that artillery up 30+ flights of stairs and go through with an act so savage? I just don’t get it.

Once again, if the aliens ever do fly over our planet, they will keep going. There’s nothing to see here. The hate and violence covers all the good up.

People still can’t merge correctly. Construction still clogs things up. The dentist still sucks.

What about me? I don’t write that much about my life, maybe that that will change in 2018, but it was a very good year. I entered 2017 doing a morning radio show, and then lost it. I took part in two other radio shows, before they were cancelled. However, I ended the year doing a pair of radio hits, one an entertainment spot on a popular show and a two hour show on Friday. I have sponsors and still find a way to talk into a microphone. Uber and I became friends, carving a nice cash flow. I make more money writing than I did a year ago.

My family lives in a big house in South City, and my wife is killing it in the Tile Sales world. Vinny is becoming a wiz kid in Kindergarten, and people are healthy around me. I’m not living the dream yet, but I’m pretty damn close.

Thanks for reading. I’m not really sorry if I missed anything.

I will be back.

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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