Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top 10 places to get lost

1. Old Town Prague

How many bars can I get thrown out of? How many spires can I count? How many pivos can I order? How much Bohemian glass can I break?

2. Ilha de Mocambique

The most photographic children I've ever seen. The scenery ain't bad either.

3. Hvar Island, Croatia

Take a moped an hour before sunset, stopping at every cove for a drink, a swim, and a glass of wine. Then do it again.

4. Fes, Morocco

The best place to get in a fight with a donkey or throw up outside a tannery. Or both.

5. St. Petersburg, Russia

Walk across the Neva, play hockey with the Russians, drink where Pushkin drank, see where Dostoevsky was born, walk the canals during White Nights. The scope of this city is gargantuan. And the beauty much underrated.

6. Pamplona, Spain

As long as you're wearing white with red trim, drinking Calimochos, and having a good time, you can't really go wrong here in early July.

7. Laos

Slow boat on the Mekong, French architecture, Beer Lao, dynamic people, temples at every corner.

8. In a car on the Garden Route, South Africa

Think Monterey, California meets the Grand Canyon, then imagine the dutch farm houses, the occasional whale sighting and a chance to dive with Great Whites.

9. Lake Malawi

Sand, sea, scuba diving, and all in a fresh water paradise. Plus the damn crocodiles only swim at night.

10. The West coast of Ireland


Top 10 Road trips

1. San Diego to The Rockies, Colorado

2. Highway 1, California by motorcycle

3. Seattle to Anchorage

4. Durban to Cape Town

5. Melbourne to Perth

6. The Che Route, Argentina

7. Dalmatian Coastline, Croatia

8. Costa Brava Spain to the Sahara (Morocco), via Tangier

9. The Amalfi Coast, Italy

10. Baja California

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Celebrities to Take Shots With

10. Bill Clinton ("How was Yale...........? Just kidding. Lewinski. Everything. Go!")
9. Robert Downey Jr. ("Set the're drunk, you're wandering the streets, you climb into bed with a total stranger...and the next thing you remember is what?")
8. Shakira ("Bring your acoustic in the hot tub. Trust me.")
7. Donald Sutherland ("How do you get your mouth to always look like you've got a jawbreaker in there?")
6. Courtney Love ("So tell me about Kurt...")
5. Hugh Hefner ("Do you sometimes wonder if your life would have been different as a priest?")
4. W  ("How does it feel to watch a bomb explode on TV and know that you pushed that button?")
3. Tom Cruise ("One rule for tonight...there's no limit on the "Top Gun" lines, k Mav?"
2. Jim Carrey ("Quick advice before the drinks come: STOP MAKING SERIOUS MOVIES. You're not Funny in them! BE FUNNY!")
1. O.J. ("I really liked your book.")

Saturday, February 4, 2012


10. Sugar

The story of one Dominican boy's move from the camps in his home country to the farm leagues of rural Iowa. A very vivid and topical and realistic portrait of the lives these kids (and they really are kids) lead before, during, and after their careers. The story is poignant and the plot is believable. Plus, it's just a great view into minor league baseball. 

9. The Natural

A bit sappy, predictable and formulaic, but the uniforms, characters, costume design, and - at times - dark themes give the movie a unique feel. Plus, the acting is fantastic. Too many great performances to note, although Robert Duvall, Robert Prosky, Kim Basinger, and Glenn Close stand out among many others. 
The railroad scene as Redford waits to leave town was based on accounts of Ted Williams' own baseball recollections. A great portrait of the game and America in general, pre-WWII.

8. Rocky IV

"I must break you," serves as the ultimate 'bring it on' moment of the Cold War stalemate between the U.S. and its arch nemesis, the Soviet Union. I nearly fell over when I heard Dolph Lundgren was from Sweden. I couldn't believe it. And furthermore, I didn't want to believe it. He will always be Drago, pumping iron, shootiing 'roids, yelling at the Politburo that he fights for him, not for them. If any movie could and possibly did lead to dissolution of the eastern Bloc, it was this one. So many quotes, so many great moments ("And the Russian's cut, and it's a bad cut!") so many great montages. And so what if the whole theater cheered when Rocky knocked out Drago. We weren't just cheering for Balboa that Christmas night in Russia, we were cheering for capitalism. 

7. Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner defies logic and reason by following a mysterious voice across America, discovering truths about his past and others he is chasing as his financial crisis mounts back at home. Threatened with selling his farm to escape bankruptcy, Costner follows his heart to eschew his creditors urging him to sell before he loses everything. 

6. Major League

"The Indians score run one run and one god damned hit, that's all we got?"
"You can't say "god damn" on the air!"
"Don't worry. Nobody's listening anyway."

As my dad said, it's "the Natural" with four letter words. Funnily enough, it's really stood the test of time. Whether it because Charlie Sheen is constantly in the news or the Indians are a real Major League team (as opposed to say, the New York Knights) this movie has some serious staying power. It also has a great cast (Snipes, Sheen, Rene Russo, The black president from "24" as Pedro Cerrano, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Chelcie Ross and Bob Uecker) a believable storyline, fantastic quotes, and a hilarious editing mishap (look closely for the fat guy celebrating on the field twice at the end of the movie).  

5. Raging Bull

Deniro, Pesci, and Scorcese team up for this "inspired by true events" story of middleweight contender Jake LaMotta. The black and white cinematography is as much the true star of the movie as DeNiro, whose portrayal of LaMotta, shadowed by Pesci, is first-rate.

4. The Karate Kid

"Well, well, well...if it isn't our little friend, Danielle."

The ultimate good (Daniel LaRusso) versus evil juxtaposed with the California beach high school we all wanted to attend in the 1980's. Ali with an "i" meets Daniel with an "l" and sparks fly. But that sit well with her ex-boyfriend and current All-Valley under-18 Karate champion, Johnny Lawrence. After LaRusso gets his ass handed to him by Johnny and the Cobra Kai's one too many times, its high time he sought help. This comes in the face of a midle-aged, widower simply named Miyagi-san. Their union, while a tad far-fetched and borderline uncomfortable at times ("You're the best friend I ever had,"....."You are pretty okay too.") 
is the perfect kryptonite to the Kai's Valley dominance. And when Miyagi throws down the gauntlet to Lawrence's sensei at their dojo, it is on. Sparkling performances by William Zabka and Elizabeth Shue carry a mediocre cast all the way to the finals. But will Daniel be able to handle the pain to get there? 
"Hai. You have goooooo-oood chance."

3. Miracle

Kurt Russell plays U.S. hockey coach, Herb Brooks, as the cast of cast-offs and college all-stars take on the mighty Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympic semi-finals. This story goes deeper than one game, mind you, as we watch a team assembled and put together before it comes together. Stand up and cheer as the Americans attempt out skate the unbeatable Red Army, who seem poised for the gold medal in the U.S. backyard of Lake Placid, New York. Russell is likable, intense, and demanding, as Brooks, and immediately grabs center stage in this feel-good rendition of American pride. 

2. Rocky 

1976 Academy Award for Best Picture, "Rocky" delivers on all what is right about a sports movie: rags to riches story, the ultimate underdog conquers all, wins the girl, and shows his/her human side. Rocky Balboa has entertained us for 35 years but the original film is the true gem of the six, where Mickey, Apollo, Adrian, Paulie and Rocky are all introduced to us for the first time. We learn about their shortcomings, their goals, their dreams and their connection. Set in the gritty streets of Philadelphia, this movie is shot in a way which reveals Stallone's depiction of Rocky in an incredibly human way. Stallone wrote the screenplay as well. 

1. Hoosiers

"Welcome to Indiana Basketball."

Gene Hackman and an alcoholic Dennis Hopper, a contemptuous Myra Fleener, played by Barbara Hershey, and the pint-sized Hickory Husker team taking on South Bend Central in the 1951 Indiana State you need much more. There are so many highs and lows in this film that it's uncannily re-watchable. Add to that a tremendous musical score and gripping screenplay by Angelo Pizzo and you have the greatest sports movie of all time.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top 10 Super Bowls of all time

With the big game coming up Sunday, here's a look at the top 10 Super Bowls of all-time.

1. Super Bowl XXIII San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16

Montana to Taylor will live in Super Bowl lore as long as American sports flourish. So will John Candy eating popcorn in the end zone, Boomer Esiason mouthing the words to "I'm going to Disneyworld" before his hopes are dashed, and Tim Krumrie's agonzing knee injury shown in slow motion, over and over again.

2. Super Bowl XLIII Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23

Certainly one of the best endings and last second drives in the history of the game. Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald up the seam is outdone by Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes' breathtaking conection in the back of the endzone with precious seconds remaining. James Harrison's fumble return at the end of the half cannot be forgotten either. One of the most memorable games in recent memory with a fantastic finish.

3. Super Bowl XXXIV St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16

A seemingly innocuous three quarters turns frantic by game end, as the late great Steve McNair engineered one of the great two-minute drills of all-time, minus the final result, as St. Louis turns back the Titans at the one yard line as time expires and confetti descends. Kurt Warner's story book season gets its perfect denoument.

4. Super Bowl XLII  N.Y. Giants 17, New England 14

The perfect ending to an imperfect season? This loss will always remain bitter with Patriots fans. An 18-0 season was dashed by the upstart Giants, led by Michael Strahan, Eli Manning, and David Tyree, whose helmet catch will live forever with Big Blue's faithful.

5. Super Bowl XXV N.Y Giants 20, Buffalo 19

The Gulf War tributes and Whitney Houston set the tone early. But by game end, it's Ottis Anderson and Jeff Hostetler who have made their mark. And Scott Norwood, whose "wide-right" field goal to lose it haunts Bills fans to this day. Buffalo would go on to lose four straight Super Bowls, a feat most of northern New York would rather forget.

6. Super Bowl XXXII Denver 31 Green Bay 24

"This one's for John." The words from Broncos' owner Pat Bowland sum up what Elway meant to a city and an organization. And how much he wanted it in his fourth Super Bowl appearance. Don't forget Terrell Davis's performance, the Green Bay give-away goal line stand decision by Mike Holmgren with two minutes remaining, and Favre's inability to lead them back. Had he tied the score, this game might be number one all-time.

7. Super Bowl XLIV New Orleans 31 Indianapolis 17

The final score doesn't quite do the game justice. Peyton Manning was poised to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining, when his ill-advised pass across the middle was picked and returned for a pick-six. The frenetic last three minutes of the game turned bizarre and ended the perfect catalyst for Bourbon Street's all-night celebration of their Saints' first world championship.

8. Super Bowl XXXVI New England 20 St. Louis 17

The Silence of the Rams. Tom Brady's first Super Bowl might still be his most memorable, coming of an ankle injury two weeks before to lead his team down the field on the final drive, setting up Adam Vinatieri's last second FG to win it over the 14-point favorite Rams.

9. Super Bowl XXXVIII New England 32, Carolina 29

...Unless Brady's second supercedes it. Two bursts of scoring (24 points at the end of the first half and in the final quarter) provide the fireworks to an otherwise stale game. Once again, Adam Vinatieri's leg wins it for the Patriots as Tom Brady cements his legacy with his second MVP trophy.

10. Super Bowl III, N.Y. Jets 16 Baltimore 7

Certainly, this is the most important Super Bowl in history, if not its most sublime. Namath's guarantee precedes the Jets' triumph at the Orange Bowl, as Broadway Joe delivers on his promise. The AFL's first win over the previously-thought invincible Colts opens eyes to the balance of power between both leagues. The merger two years later can be attributed - in large part - to this game's outcome.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Welcome to the TOP TEN

This is a blog consisting of ratings. The Top Ten of every imaginable category as rated by the blogger. Feel free to post, agree, disagree, argue, or bandy about any and all ideas present.