Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amy Adams Is Lois Lane, But Do We Need "Superman" To Be "Realistic"?

The internet's abuzz with the news that the up-and-coming Actress Amy Adams (pictured) was selected to play "Lois Lane," and joining Actor Henry Cavill, who will play "Superman / Clark Kent" in Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder's version of Superman - yet another "reboot" called Superman The Man Of Steel.

Congratulations to the hard-working and hot Amy Adams, who's getting great roles and knocking them out of the park.

Ok, but regarding Superman The Man Of Steel, here's a problem.

Well, two problems.

First, "Superman" was just done before, called Superman Returns and very recently in 2006 by Bryan Singer. That version of Superman was hard to sit through because it was too realistic. Yes, "realistic" because it tried to tackle how Superman could hear all that was going on in the World and decide to swoop in on the unsuspecting bad people, or the doomed victims of a disaster.

The result was a picture of a very lonely Superman just hanging in space eavesdropping on everyone else's life, while neglecting any chance to have one of his own with Lois Lane or some drinking buddies at a local bar.

In short, Superman looked pathetic, and a far cry from the character the late Christopher Reeve gave cinematic life to a generation ago.

Now, we're forced to consume yet another take on Superman just six years later? That's a little much. Moreover, the new version comes with the built-in risk that a new generation of Superman watchers will not be able to enjoy John Williams classic score should Snyder elect not to use it, or refer to it. (Please use it!)

Second, the idea of a "realistic" Superman calls up a script from memory that was flying around the Internet and became the basis for Hancock, starring Will Smith. Called Tonight He Comes, by Vy Vincent Ngo, it was a "realistic" portrait of a super man, alright - one who was a very jaded-with-the-system, bitter, and extremely sexually frustrated super man.

(Have doubts? Read it yourself: Tonight He Comes. That's a realistic Superman.)

And if that's at all like the picture Snyder's going to paint for Superman The Man Of Steel, and if Zack saw that script by Ngo and it became part of his idea for this new Superman, then Superman as we know it - or know him - is dead.

And replaced by a person who's all too super human, all the way down to how he has "fun" to make up for his inability to keep the woman he loves, and its "impact" on bathroom walls.

Frankly, that's not a side of Superman I'm interested in seeing.

What About A Real Strong Woman?

Meanwhile, will we ever see a Super Woman played by a real strong woman? A chic with muscles? A female bodybuilder or fitness model? Judging by the looks of NBC's up-coming Wonder Woman, we're in for another skinny, watered-down version of a woman who can lift and throw a big rig - and all that in an era where women have no problem showing their guns, and guys love it.

Is there any reason why Zack Snyder can't give us that kind of realism?

Just asking.

Limitless: Bradley Cooper Makes Good Pill Of A Movie (Movie Review)

Limitless is a good movie. The story of Edward Morra (Bradley Cooper from The Hangover) is told in a great mix of jump cuts, brain activity animation, and other cinematic tricks, all for the purpose of making you feel the kind of rush, then disorientation that Morra feels after taking pill after pill of a drug called "NZT." It's the kind of movie that makes you think of what you're not doing to achieve your own potential, then shows you what people will do to maintain the success they reach after doing so.

Limitless was, for a time while watching it, an excellent Oscar "Best Picture" candidate, and it still may be, but for this blogger it fell off about three-quarters of the way through it.

After great pacing and a wild rush of cool dialog and contemporary scenes of New York City (as well as Cooper's great scenes with his girlfriend girlfriend Abbie Cornish and with Robert De Niro, who plays someone not unlike real life Investment Banker Henry Kravitz), Limitless slows down and you can almost feel the audience lose interest. One woman in the theater even fell asleep for that part of the movie.

It's as if the director, Neil Burger, and screenwriter Leslie Dixon, didn't quite know what next to do with Morra. Then, one scene where Morra drinks the blood spilled by his would-be assailant in an effort to get some more NZT in his system, was a bit much for me. That's about where it went from a "9" to a solid "7.5."

Still, Limitless is a good movie. What's especially nice is that it's modern: Bradley Cooper gets it on with women of every race and location, it seem, from black, Asian, and white, to women from overseas. That was cool, and it's great to see Hollywood come into the 21st Century.

Check out Limitless, it's a good pill of a movie.

2011 NFL Draft Mock Draft: Jake Locker To Seahawks, Cam Newton To Bears

NFL Mock Draft has Jake Locker To Seahawks, Cam Newton to Chicago Bears?

That, right there - Washington Quarterback Jake Locker To the Seattle Seahawks, Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton to the Chicago Bears - is enough to get your attention, but the picks weren't done for that reason. It's just how this first Mock Draft turned out.

This first NFL mock draft's a combination of team need, best players on the draft boards by legendary NFL Draftnik and friend Bill Chackhes of Zennie62Media and Football Reporters Online, and FF Toolbox (both which does a good job of updating their lists) and in some cases just an overall feel for what the team should do combined with what the team may do.

The 2011 NFL Mock Draft First Round

Carolina Panthers (2-14) - The Panthers don't need quarterbacks, having just went for Netre Dame's Jimmy Clausen last year. Anyone who thinks the Panthers have to go after a new QB because Clausen didn't perform well, never heard of coaches or coaching. The NFL has to stop relying on the colleges to coach the passing game for them. New Head Coach Ron Rivera knows defense wins Super Bowls, and he's got a chance to get someone who's going to be the cornerstone of his unit: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn.

Denver Broncos (4-12) - The Broncos also don't need QB's and they have a lot of offensive positions filled. And while Tight End is a place of need, the Broncos can get one in the lower rounds; there's no one so good you have to take them this high. The Broncos most glaring weakness is in the defensive secondary, where age has creeped up on the squad. It's a good reason to draft Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU.

Buffalo Bills (4-12) - Buffalo has to improve its defense. While some have the Bills taking Cam Newton here, that would be a stupid pick considering their needs. The best selection for the Bills is for Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-12) - While the Bengals do need a quarterback, the best player available's not a QB at this level, but in the mid-first round. The Bengals are losing Terrell Owens, and need a wide receiver that strikes fear into defenses. There's one: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Arizona Cardinals (5-11) - Arizona's quarterback issues are more coaching than anything else. Plus, poor defense can negatively impact the offense. A "shut - down" corner's on the board and in a draft where defensive players rank higher than offensive players, you have to go with a person like Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska.

Cleveland Browns (5-11) - The Browns need a wide receiver like President Obama and America needa another economic stimulus package (uh, we need one). The best remaining pass catcher at this point is Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. In fact, adding Jones would give the Browns offense overall team speed that may be in the top five in the NFL. Jones would more than make up for the loss of Braylon Edwards to the Jets.

San Francisco 49ers (6-10) - The 49ers have good quarterbacks, but with 6'6 Cam Newton on the board, it's hard to pass on himn. Still, Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson, is a solid choice to build the 49ers Defense, which needs an athlete on that side of the ball who can play DE and complement LB Patrick Willis. What's great about Bowers, who was number one in the nation in tackles for losses, is he can play either end or tackle, as he did against Florida State.

In fact, this video features Bowers, who's marked with a white square before the snap on each play:

Tennessee Titans (6-10) - Vince Young may be gone, but may not be, so this is the perfect place for the Titans to spend money on more pressing needs and get a QB later. This is where a great player like Von Miller, DE, Texas A&M fills the bill.

Dallas Cowboys (6-10) - The Cowboys don't have a young defensive tackle to play the gap-slamming role Rex Ryan's defensive designs call for. Moreover, the Cowboys defensive ends have been around for a while and need some young talent to push them: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina.

Washington Redskins (6-10) - While Cam Newton to the Redskins here makes sense, it's hard to see the Redskins doing it for two reasons: coaching OBs is the issue, not QBs, and Cam's not ranked so high that picking him here passes the logic test considering the Redskins needs. And the Redskins problems were more on defense more than offense. A player like Cameron Jordan, DE, California can help improve the Redskins pass rush and run-stopping statistics over time.

Here's a great video on Cameron Jordan versus Colorado, where Jordan plays various spots long the defensive line:

Houston Texans (6-10) - The Texans are "set" enough at offense, yet getting older at QB and need to think about the future here. The last time Texans Owner Bob McNair was in such a position to get a game chaning QB he passed on Vince Young, and I think he'll pass on Cam Newton. The player the Texans will get, and really need, is Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. A good solid OT that will be around for 10 years.

Minnesota Vikings (6-10) - The Vikings need is at linebacker - the offense is set - and the NFL Draft provides a chance to land a game-changing hitter. Enter Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA.

Detroit Lions (6-10) - The Lions have a returning QB in Matt Stafford, Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson, and former Cal running back Jahvid Best at the halfback spot. The Lions Defense may appear to be "set" with DT Ndamukong Suh, but it's not. One more talented lineman is needed, and why pass up a DE when there are so many good, high 1st round possibilities? Take NFL Combine "high motor" guy Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa for the win.

St. Louis Rams (7-9) - That star receiver the Rams need can be gotten in the next round. And we're at the point where defensive linemen dominate the top best prospects available now. Why pass on a DE to complement Chuck Long? The best one remaining is Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue.

Miami Dolphons (7-9) - While the Dolphins Defense is in good shape, and some point to the QB position, it's not an alarming issue. Miami is one or two players away from the playoffs, and J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin, is the player that will make the difference.

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) - Jacksonville can also take advantage of the D-Line Parade, and have needs there as well. While a number of defenders can help the Jaguars, the best one remaining is Allen Bailey, DE, Miami.

New England Patriots — from Oakland (8-8) - The Pats are going to get rich in this draft, stating here, unless they trade down or up. It's hard to see the Pats brain trust passing on a good Offensive Tackle or running back, but given the Pats don't have a runner with home-run hitting potential, and Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, is sitting there, take him. (Yes. Ingram didn't wow anyone at the NFL Combine, but he's got football speed, and is a good 20 spots better than the next set of running backs in the 2011 Draft.

San Diego Chargers (9-7) - The Chargers need more offensive line help, more specifically someone who can fill in at tackle, and push established players like Pro Bowler Kris Dielman. The best player available now just happens to fit their needs: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin.

New York Giants (10-6) - The Giants are another team that needs to improve its offensive line, and we're in a period where the top prospects remaining are O-Line folks. Anthony Castonzo, the Boston College OT the Pats would have taken if Mark Ingram wasn't available, is here, and should be an NY Giant.

Tampa Bay Bucanneers (10-6) - The Bucs have a franchise QB, a great young DT, a good set of running backs, and were just a few plays from dominating the NFC South. Where they need to get better is in the interior offensive line and at wide receiver, and an O-Line player from a college not too far away can help: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) - The Chiefs need a wide receiver and a great defensive tackle. Of the two, the DTs are still highly ranked and plentiful. The Chiefs pick: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU.

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) - Nevis is really the pick for the Colts, but the Chiefs got him. Indy simply must focus on its defense, and with Bob Sanders gone, and interior "D" a problem, there's a lot of players that can help. Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois may be the answer - he's fast, and super strong. A 4-3 run-plugger than can help Indy. Here's Liuget against tough competition in Ohio State, where on a number of plays he holds his own, and gets tackles for losses:

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - The Eagles main needs are to improve the depth along the offensive line. They could stand a good tight end, too, but the rule is if you can get a good center high in the draft, but not too high, take him. That person is Rodney Hudson, C, Florida State.

New Orleans Saints (11-5) - The Saints have great wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. But what they need, like the Eagles, are more line depth - they can focus on defense in the later rounds. Take Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California is the answer, even as some question his size.

Seattle Seahawks (7-9) - Seattle needs a good young quarterback that will point to a promising future and excite the fan base. That said, do you take Cam Newton or Jake Locker? The "Zennie Rule" is if you have a top ranked player from a local college, you take him first. That means Washington's Jake Locker stays put in Seattle, even though Newton's potential is huge. You take the known person that will help sell tickets and win games, too.

Here's a video of Locker against Stanford last year:

Besides, how does Seahawks Head Coach Pete Caroll explain passing on Locker if he's available?

Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - The Ravens need pass catching help, and not just at wide receiver. But they also need offensive line and defensive line depth. The best player on the board is Ohio State DE, Cameron Heyward - the Ravens should take him.

Atlanta Falcons (13-3) - With Tony Gonsalez set to retire, the tight end position is the focus, and the best player for the Falcons also happenes to be around the best ranked on the board now: Notre Dame Tight End Kyle Rudolph.

New England Patriots (14-2) - With the home-run hitter in place, the Patriots can now get the offensive line help needed. Big Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State is the answer.

Chicago Bears (11-5) The Bears Quarterback Position is so important the words start with capital letters. Jay Cutler, who the Bears took from Denver, was spotty, and fans are still smarting from his lack of playing desire in the NFC Championship Game. The Bears need to bring in someone that points to a promoising future (that word again), and scares the hell out of Culter: Cam Newton.

Bringing Cam Newton to the Chicago Bears would shock the city and give Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz a new young talent to teach. Newton wins games, is a Heisman Trophy winner, and will take Chicago by storm.

Here's one of what seems to be too many videos on Cam Newton. It's hard to find one that can be looked at in a clinical way, so this will have to do:

New York Jets (11-5) - It's hard to see a great player like Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, staying on the baord before the first round ends. The NY Jets addition of Paea will give them a pass-pocket collapsing specialist and run stuffer, who had an amazing bench press performance at the NFL Combine.

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) - The Steelers do have a great front seven, but it's not so good that a great Oklahoma defensive end can't help: Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma is the best player on the board now. The Steelers front seven would be even more outstanding and have more depth.

Green Bay Packers (10-6) - The Packers need running backs, but there's no one worth taking this high in the NFL Draft. But the Packers, rich in possession pass catchers, also lack a wide receiver that can just plain stretch the field, and one is available: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, will give the Pack a deep ball threat that may send them back to The Super Bowl.

2011 NFL Draft First Round A Defensive Affair

So that closes the 2011 NFL Draft 1sr Round - a round dominated by defense. But that's the way the players are shaking out this year. Consider that at the NFL Combine, the top bench-pressers weren't offensive linemen, but defensive linemen. That's unheard of. And the fastest player in the combine this year wasn't a wide receiver or a running back, but a cornerback. Offensive players were there in spots, like Locker and Newton.

Cam Newton Falls

Cam Newton's a better quarterback than this mock draft reflects; he could go much higher. But the feeling here is there are too many NFL scouts trying to downplay his overall potential, and frankly a weird tinge of racism from many sides, not just what's expected. Plus, Cam didn't come to the NFL in a "smooth" way. He's a controversial figure, but not because of his personalitity, but the people around him and the decisions he's made in an environment that's been less than supportive and far more exploitive. Finally, with so many good defensive players, and teams that don't have a pressing need for a quarterback, it ads up to Newton's falling in this mock draft.

That's one reason Newton was picked up by Chicago rather than falling further in the NFL Draft. With a talent like Cam, who has a good set of parents to support him, a surrogate black parent with a good religious background, like Chicago Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith, would make a big difference in Newton's growth, both as a person and a player. Part of the Tony Dungy Coaching Tree, Smith brings a quiet, steady, supportive presence for Newton.

Well, whatever the outcome, this is going to be fun.

Stay tuned for the next mock draft.