The Week That Was

As 2006 comes to a close, we take a look back…at this past week…this past week’s hockey games…

WASBUFFans barely had time to sit down in front of the TV and take a sip of beer before the Sabres buried four pucks behind head case goaltender Brent Johnson, who engineered his early exit from the game by freaking out and breaking his stick on the goal. The Sabres were up six goals to natch about 12 minutes into the 1st period. The Zamboni drivers had an easy intermission, only needing to ice Washington’s end of the rink.


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Lady in the Water | B+

director: M. Night Shyamalan
starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, M. Night Shamalamadingdong

LITWMy reaction upon first seeing the teaser trailer for Lady in the Water, some months ago, was less than favorable. It looked more like a series of random and unrelated shots designed to build toward the reveal of director M. Night Shyamalan’s name, as if the mere fact that he was directing was the real event. The actual movie? Bah! A minor annoyance to put up with in order to see the utter majesty and superiority of Shyamalan’s blinding talent. Oh, and did I mention he actually has a significant role in the film? This looked more like a vanity project than something worthy of the company of Shyamalan’s past successes. While the full trailer was much better, I still had a sour taste in my mouth from M. Night’s last film, The Village, which had editing choices so inexplicable that my enjoyment of the movie was destroyed. If I had an Avid and a few days to kill, I could turn that movie into a great one. But I digress.

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Rocky Balboa | B+

There are some spoilers in the review, so I suggest avoiding this until you’ve seen the flick. I will say that it’s worth seeing if you’ve ever been a fan of the Rock. Rocky Balboa is a great Christmas gift for his fans.

director: Sylvester Stallone
starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Milo Ventimiglia, Geraldine Hughes

RockyNostalgia’s a powerful thing. There’s just something comfortable about this movie–it feels like revisiting your childhood home and feeling that sense of “rightness.” There are very few movies, and even fewer movie franchises, that can truly transcend demographics and the latest fads to touch everyone who watches on some level. Rocky Balboa manages to take the best moments from the previous five (well, maybe four, as Rocky V wasn’t exactly the high point of the franchise) films and roll them all into one, final farewell to the fans who’ve cheered the Rock on every step of the way. In point of fact, this feels more like a movie that’d be at home in the seventies or eighties rather than the modern Hollywood popcorn blockbuster factory. It’s rare to see a movie like this get made these days, and I appreciate Rocky Balboa as much for that as any reason.

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American Psycho | C+

director: Mary Harron
starring: Christian Bale, Chloe Sevigny, Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon

American PsychoThe controversial book focusing on a materialistic, self-obsessed serial killer was made into an almost-equally controversial movie, to less than stellar results. Saddled with a screenplay that doesn’t make much sense in terms of plot (though maybe that’s intentional in a story about insanity), American Psycho has some message to tell the populace about avarice and vanity, but it may have an even more important message to tell us about the impact of 80’s music stars. Then again, maybe not.

Christian Bale, in his “breakout” role as New York City stockbroker Patrick Bateman, maintains a smug, condescending manner embodying the very essence of arrogance–whether issuing 10-minute monologues on Huey Lewis or outlining his daily routine of applying a series of facial scrubs and lotions. It’s that same arrogance that drives him to hit a colleague in the face with an ax and commit all sorts of murderous chaos throughout Manhattan. The monologues, though, are the highlight of an otherwise incoherent script.

I live in the American Gardens building on West 81st street. My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.


The plot, of what little there is, centers on Bateman killin’ people, that aforementioned colleague in particular, and his descent into (deeper) madness prompted by a police investigator’s questioning of Bateman about the disappearance of said colleague. Unfortunately, there’s never any real pay-off to that or any of the other minor subplots, but in the end, that may be the point entirely. The power-hungry culture Bateman finds himself a part of is so ensconced in wealth and privilege that its sole focus is to keep that status at the expense of almost everything else, even when it comes to ignoring the glaring truth that you work and socialize with a homicidal maniac. As long as they’re in the black and have eighty-six designer suits in the closet, all’s fair as long as you fit in with the jet set of New York City’s high society.

Stampeding to the postseason


For the most part, regardless of how the Bills are doing in the context of this latest NFL season, a shutout victory over the Dolphins at home always feels pretty damn good. Who would’ve believed this team had a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs a few weeks ago? Granted, it’s a slim chance, but that chance is greater than 0%. Based on where my football mind was before the season (somewhere between the black abyss the Arizona Cardinals have occupied for the last decade and Camden, NJ), I’m pretty pleased with where this team is at this point.


Another in a long line of hapless Miami quarterbacks.

QB J.P. Losman has shown enough promise in the second half of the season that Buffalo fans everywhere have lowered their guns, untied their nooses and left the rooves of their buildings in the hopes that the Bills my have finally found a quarterback for the future. (A future absent of Todd Collins, Alex Van Pelt, Billy Joe Hobert and Drew Bledsoe.) There are enough young guys proving themselves that the losses the team is sure to suffer in the offseason (CB Nate Clements, LB London Fletcher, and some other vets) are sure to be surmountable.

This team has shown promise like this before, though, so leave that door to the roof unlocked for now, Buffalo. I’ll be content with a respectable showing this year with an eye toward an improved 2007. But it may be way too soon to use Bills Parcells’ Patented Anointing Oil on a team that is likely another year away from a playoff berth.


Speaking of playoff berths, here’s what needs to happen for the Bills to make the postseason, courtesy of WGR 550:

First things first…the Bills must beat TEN and BAL. Then, they must find themselves ahead of 3 teams currently tied at 8-6. The Bills have to pass 3 of these 4 teams: CIN, DEN, JAX, and NYJ (all 8-6).

If CIN beats IND, then they need just 1 more win (against either DEN or PIT) to get to 10 wins, and clinch a spot ahead of Buffalo. The Bills need CIN to lose 2 out of 3…but WHO they lose to matters. If common opponents becomes an issue (NE, BAL, SD, IND) Cincy would be 1-3 going into tonight, and losing to the Colts would mean 1-4, matching Buffalo’s mark of 1-4. From there it goes to strength of victory, where things go crazy, depending on WHO the Bengals beat in their 1 allowed win in the next 3 games. (Beating Denver is better for Cincy than beating Pittsburgh, based on the team’s records and also what those two teams do in the OTHER game they play this year – Den v. SF and Pit v. Baltimore)

The Broncos still play home against CIN and SF. In order to pass Denver, the Broncos must LOSE both games. If they lose to CIN and beat SF that would put Denver 9-7, 7-5 in conference (matching the Bills), and the tiebreaker would go to common opponents: NE, BAL, SD, IND. Denver’s record is 2-3…Buffalo’s is 1-4. You need Denver to lose both.

If KC wins their last two and Denver splits their last two, then they each end up 9-7 and only one can advance in a 3-way or more team tie since they are in the same division. KC has the tiebreaker and would eliminate Denver. Bills have the tiebreaker over KC.

The Jags play home against New England, and on the road in Kansas City. If they lose either one of those games, the Bills would pass them.

New York Jets:
The Jets can CLINCH a spot OVER BUFFALO by beating Miami. It would put their division record at 4-2, ensuring that they win a tiebreaker. The Jets need to LOSE to Miami…the Oakland game is irrelevant for the Bills. A loss to Miami would put the Jets at 3-3 in the division, tied with the Bills at 9-7, and their conference record would be lower at 6-6.

-Jeremy White, WGR55

Oh, and another thing that I could probably devote an entire post to, but won’t because it gives me a headache just thinking about it: I get the distinct impression ABC play-by-play man Al Michaels is more concerned with his tee time and the rarity of his steak than he is about a job that pays him millions to do an adequate job of calling a football game. God forbid Sunday Night Football takes place in a cold weather market. That prima donna might flip out and lock himself in his dressing room.

That’s all.

Hawaii '78

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono Hawai’i*
Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono Hawai’i

How would they feel
would their smiles be content
rather then cry
cry for the gods, cry for the people
cry for the lands that were taken away
and in it you’ll find Hawai’i

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina ka pono Hawai’i

How would they feel
would their smiles be content
rather then cry
cry for the gods, cry for the people
cry for the land that was taken away
and in it you’ll find Hawai’i

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono Hawai’i
Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono Hawai’i

*the constant, wet rain gives life to the land and brings goodness/change to Hawai’i

Pearl Jam
Honolulu 12/2/06
Release: 2006
Lyrics: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Music: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Any Given Saturday

I wish I had a better context in which to post this–ya know, like the kind of context featuring the Bills in a meaningful playoff game or–God forbid–the Super Bowl, but since that’s a good, long while away and this clip is so good, I must post it now. Maybe we can apply it to the Sabres somehow.

* * *

BUFMONSpeaking of the Sabres, they won a fantastic game last night, in the shootout on a ridonkulous Thomas Vanek slap shot about 30 feet from the goaltender. Anyone lucky enough to be able to watch it knows just how positively the rule changes have impacted the game. Describing the overtime as “nonstop end-to-end action” doesn’t quite do it justice. I’d kill to see a playoff series between these Buffalo and Montreal at the peak of their respective games next Spring.

Until then, however, I would like to see Buffalo regain the form it had on display the first 10 or so games of the season: dominating opponents with their speed and special teams. The power play’s running on empty (3 for their last 30-something) and the forwards have taken to making the finesse play instead of attacking the zone and taking advantage of odd-man rushes. Too often the man with the puck will try to make an unnecessary, overly-fancy pass instead of just taking the zone and leaving the puck behind for the trailer to pick up. That tricky crap ain’t gonna work in the playoffs.

Getting back their injured blueliners should help a lot with that–Henrik Tallinder in particular is a big reason the power play’s suffered as of late. Teppo Numminen’s gonna be out for a while with a broken toe, of all things, so greenhorns Nathan Paetsch and Andrej Sekera will have to pick up the slack. Paetsch’s looked pretty good in the time he’s been up from Rochester, so we needn’t be too worried.

And speaking of not being worried, this guy is our goaltender: