What To Expect For Super Bowl LI

superbowl

First and foremost I am not shocked that the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl once again. They’ve had a lot on their plate since the long publicized “Deflategate”. New England started the season without Tom Brady for four games with no pay (along with a first-round pick loss). We all thought it would bring them down for the first couple of games of the season but they started better than expected. They proved Brady wasn’t needed with the help of James Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. The Patriots are favored to win the Super Bowl but as history has shown anything can happen. A great season is meaningless without the Lombardi Trophy, just ask Dallas. At the end of the road for New England ends in a showdown against Atlanta.

 

The Falcons have proved themselves this year but this isn’t Atlanta’s first post-season rodeo. They’ve made it a habit over the last few years flaming out at the exact wrong times. The last time the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl with a win was back in 1998 against the Vikings going into overtime and taking the game 30-27. They returned the following year but with a 19-34 loss to Denver. Matt Ryan has been playing his heart out and to be honest no one has really been giving the Falcons the credit they really deserve this season. Focus has been fixed on the consistently dominant Patriots but the win is anything but assured. Not yet anyway.

 

Matt Ryan needed one key to open Pandora’s Box in Julio Jones, Atlanta’s star wideout. Against the Packers Atlanta delivered a beatdown with every Green Bay turnover. Every time the Falcons had a chance to have the ball they took it to their advantage and went for it. This alone will be a major key for them to win it all. If you’d listen to the press, New England’s next victory is almost all but assured. However the playoffs has always been about getting hot at exactly the right time, and as it stands Atlanta is scorching. Still they are the underdogs and I can’t wait to see what a good game this will be.
Let the Best team take it all!

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Harden Propelling Rockets

 

James Harden seemed liked he had lost his game on the court but he just showed us that he was a little rusty. In last nights game against the Philadelphia 76ers he finished with 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists ending the game at 123-118. This isn’t his first time breaking a record he’s done it before on New Year’s Eve against the New York Knicks. The Rockets ended the game with 129-122 win against the Knicks giving James Harden the most ever points to make in his career with 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. Harden has made top number one in having 50 plus point triple-doubles in his career in one season. No other NBA player has done that all in one season. Harden may be an All-Star player when he’s playing like an MVP. Question is will he eventually revert in time for the playoffs? He has the potential for more and I hope he continues to strive with the Houston Rockets. Let’s see if James Harden will continue to break his own records to stay on top. Once they go to the playoffs it will be crunch time, now Harden is known to break under pressure. Will he keep his game up to make it far with the Rockets once Playoffs come around and continue setting new records in his career?

Love is in the air for DraLo

Where do I start? This just feels like it’s all for publicity but then there’s this…this…kiss. A kiss that happened at a prom-themed winter formal party both attended (try not to gag). There are so many videos shared on Instagram of both dancing and sharing kisses on/off stage. All these rumors started when Drake attended two of J.Lo’s Las Vegas shows in the same week. Shortly after, Drake reportedly invited J.Lo to intimate get together in which they ended up leaving together. After the first selfie they took together on December 11th rumors began to spread like wildfire and while Twitter seems to have no shortage of haters. There is, after all, a 17 year difference between the two. Or put this into perspective: J.Lo was 28 years old when she made Selena in 1997; Drake was 11 years old and probably just started discovering his body. But does age really matter when it comes to love? As long as it’s of legal age, of course.
Even though right now public display has been just a few selfies here and there, not to mention a very cozy picture they have together, so it may really just be love. They may also be working on music together in which makes me iffy on the whole situation. I just don’t know what to expect out of it, be it good or bad. Besides making music together, they will be bringing in the New Year together as Lopez recently cancelled her event in Miami to spend it with Drake.
The duo may have some support from their fans, but Rihanna isn’t having it. As soon as pictures went to Instagram, she immediately unfollowed Jennifer Lopez on all social media accounts. But something like that couldn’t be prevented, it seems J.Lo had his number on her new boy toy. J.Lo and Drake were meant to be since her first album’s title is “On the 6” and Drake is all about the “6”. Drake is all about that lovey dovey kinda love. Could this be the best he ever had? Lest we all forget Drake is as soft as Angel Soft making him the game’s most expensive toilet paper and J.Lo is simply loving the softness. Let’s see how long this lasts and all the emoji love that is going on between the two with all their heart-eyed emojis.

Race to Super Bowl LI

It feels like it was only yesterday we saw Peyton Manning in Super Bowl 50 with a dominant Denver Broncos defense taking their big win. We are now only a couple of weeks away from Super Bowl 51 and the race for the playoffs has gotten even more intense. I’ve been wondering who will make it with New England standing tall in the AFC, especially with contending Raiders losing QB Derek Carr for the season and Kansas City stalling these last few weeks. The NFC is burning with the Cowboys rolling on a two game win streak heading into a bye week, while the Seahawks, Falcons and Packers are clawing to keep their hopes alive. Green Bay can also thank a decaying Lions team who will be fighting for their lives on New Years Day against a confident Aaron Rodgers.
I’m going to be upfront, I think the Patriots will lock this year down with a disappointing win on par with Trump(Too much?, I dunno). They are playing like they’ve already won it. However you can’t count out the Falcons, Seahawks, or even the Raiders quite just yet. The Seahawks are playoff bound but not quite comfortably. If they want a first round bye, they’ll have to beat San Francisco which likely won’t be so hard. As for the Green Bay, they’re clutch when determined and it’s been proven again this season. They’re annoying as hell, but you can’t ignore their tenacity. Rodgers is showing why he is an MVP. Then there’s the Falcons, who come in with a 10-5 record, striving for that elusive playoff win that has been haunting them.
Finally we have the entertaining Dallas Cowboys who can’t be talked up enough. Their superstar rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot have been nothing short of ridiculous. There is the storyline of the passing of the torch in less than deserving ways as Tony Romo was forcibly removed by injury in preseason. There is no team hotter in the NFL than the Dallas Cowboys, whether you’d like to hear that or not. They are the NFC’s leading contender and there looks like no sign of them stopping.
POLL:
WHO IS GOING ALL THE WAY?
• Patriots/Cowboys
• Patriots/Seahawks
• Patriots/Falcons
• Patriots/Packers
• Raiders/Cowboys
• Steelers/Seahawks

Taking a Walk On the Wild Side – Pokemon Sun/Moon

It’s a testament to a franchise to be just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. While some things don’t change, like Ash Ketchum still being a loser, a lot of the latest entry gives Pokemon The Force Awakened treatment: making something old feel new again, even if it isn’t dramatically so. While the franchise has grown in depth tremendously, especially since 2007’s Diamond/Pearl introduced online activity, none of the games managed to really recapture the sense of wonder many felt during their first playthroughs of Red/Blue or Silver/Gold. That sensation of exploring a new world teeming with new life.

Alola is a world where for the first time in the franchise’s history actually feels like a world where people and Pokemon live together. Rather than reuse key items and force useless moves on your team, the newly introduced Ride Pager solves both problems. The Ride Pager allows you to ride on one of seven Pokemon that perform special functions. You can call on Charizard to fly you anywhere you’ve visited on Alola, ride a Stoutland to look for hidden items, or even be carried by a Machamp while it shoves big blocks out of your way.

There are three key ways to experience Pokemon: 1.) to fight everyone and prove you’re better than them, 2.) to complete your Pokedex and catch all 802* Pokemon, and 3.) to wander around and take in the sights. For a while the third option wasn’t really a viable one since the main plot line in nearly all entries have been too linear for their own good. You essentially run a loop around the world map and grind through the mandatory 8 gyms before taking on the Pokemon League. The story is always meant to act as a coming of age tale, but it always comes off as children wandering away from home fighting organized crime with extremely dangerous monsters. Alola’s trials, which replace gym battles, feel so much more fun and organic than anything provided before.

For returning fans, Sun/Moon streamlines a lot of its more complex inner workings to get you into competitions more quickly. The new Z-moves are cute more than useful, not quite being the gamebreaker some may have feared they would be. Plus if you’ve been stockpiling Pokemon from either X/Y or Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, you can only transfer your Pokemon through the Bank, which itself won’t be prepared for Sun/Moon until January.

The biggest reason Pokemon continues to be great is because it’s strikes a balance between being shallow enough to understand and enjoy on a superficial level but deep enough that it takes hundreds of hours to wrap your mind around combating complex tactics employed by some of the best real players around the world.

One has to wonder how much of Sun & Moon’s current success is in thanks for Pokemon Go’s insane ascension in the mobile market (and it’s equally insane dip following months of updates and tweaks). While Nintendo hasn’t had success creating new franchises, Pokemon has always been a go-to. Right now it’s Nintendo’s fastest selling title ever and for good reason. Sun/Moon is nostalgia refined and distilled. Forget the cutesy graphics for a moment and the whack anime that accompanies it. Pokemon has been a pillar franchise for Nintendo for a reason: because few games are as good as you remember them to be. Sun/Moon is that kind of game.

At the Movies – Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

There’s some minor, minor spoilers involved in this article but I largely stay as vague as possible so you can experience the film for yourself. So shit gets put out there, and might ruin your enjoyment, but I feel confident in saying the minor spoilers I reveal won’t damage an already damaged movie.

From the onset, it’s clear what Batman/Superman wants to accomplish: it wants to reach The Avengers’ level in a third of the time. DC has tried for years to find superheroes the public can embrace as they do Marvel’s, but so far only Batman has found that critical acclaim, and it’s not the same Batman they would prefer. Superman, DC’s golden child, can’t seem to catch a break. 2013’s Man of Steel has been the closest thing to a reprieve Superman has been able to attain, and it’s the platform on which Batman/Superman is built: WB has finally reached a level of desperation and understanding that people like Superman, people really like Batman movies, maybe Batman can finally save a Superman film.

What WB wants so badly is to have films it can just chuck characters at and make shit work. Some what in the same sense you could watch Ant-Man and still get the same sense it takes place within an established world, but embrace a new film and a new character. Batman/Superman is meant to establish that world but there’s too much incongruity. There is too much the film wants to highlight and is able to get none of it to work together. We’ve sat through a dozen Marvel films already, we get these characters already and where it takes place.

Two and a half hours is a lot to request of the audience when the film acts like it has so much to say, but says absolutely nothing. It’s especially hard when we’re introduced to so much shit, yet see none of it come together to make cohesive sense. Wonder Woman is teased throughout the film for the majority of it, but has no value or even exposition until the last possible minute when she’s meant to act as the film’s deus ex machina.

Batman/Superman tries to establish a new world separate from every single past film (except for Man of Steel which seems to act as the start of “Phase 1” as Iron Man did), and in that regards it works. Maybe that could’ve worked, but it doesn’t because we only have a grasp on Superman. The Batman of Batman V Superman is unlike what we’ve seen in previous films. The most descriptive way I can put it is Batman’s an enormous douche bag, content to resort to murder, bribery and extreme collateral damage to get the job done. Superman is naturally still a naive man-child wishing only to do good (though consistently in the film being blamed for an inexcusable amount of collateral damage deaths) and bang Lois Lane. The yin and yang element to the film is balanced by Wonder Woman, who is totally mysterious and totally happenin’, though isn’t introduced until we realize the film’s true final boss needs an extra foot in their ass.

Batman/Superman wouldn’t be so much a struggle to watch if it just stuck to its two titular heroes. Batman versus Superman, while creatively weak, isn’t a hard premise (or maybe it is, given its been in production hell for years). What is a lot to ask is to jam the film with as many characters as possible, as weakly as possible, in a hurried attempt to build an established universe. Oh shit, is that The Flash? I guess it was. Aquaman? A super fucking weak cameo, but sure whatever. Oh was that…Cyborg? Why the fuck is he here? There is a solid ten minutes where the film stops the plot entirely to let you see who else they plan to add to the upcoming Justice League film. Then just as promptly as they appeared they return to the ether, only to be brought up at the very end of the film as an inevitable need in the future in the same sense Nick Fury announced The Avengers in Iron Man.

Look, it’s cool. Let’s really take the situation in for a second. Did anyone think for a second Batman/Superman was going to be an Oscar nomination-worthy film? No of course not. It’s a summer popcorn flick porn meant to be ogled. And ogle you shall, believe me, at all the expensive looking CGI. You want explosions? Guess what buddy, you’ll get more explosions than you wanted to deal with. By the end, you’ll be begging for a still shot, as the ending credits will be the sweetest releases.

Even I can sit back, look at this wall of text, and think why the fuck did I just spend time trying to dissect a movie like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice? What was I hoping to discover? I’m not quite sure. But again, two and a half hours is a lot to dedicate to a story with no real story to tell, no satisfying conclusion or point to it. We get our Batman versus Superman fight alright, in all of its extremely CGI’d glory, and sadly it wasn’t satisfying. Instead the film saves it’s CGI load for its final fight sequence against the film’s “real” bad guy, which devolves into a thirty(?) minute orgy of hilarious destruction.

Look, I’m not a professional. I’m some asshole sitting behind a computer, half drunk on Buffalo Trace whisky trying to understand what happened to the last three hours of the my life. I think it was best summarized by the look on my girlfriend’s face after the film. After she spent the last three months talking to me about the film, excited to finally see Wonder Woman in action. After she sat through two and a half hours of film, finally seeing the fruits of her patience. I can’t give it justice through text, but sadly I didn’t take a picture of the moment. But I think I learned from observation what disappointment objectively looks like. It’s just sad that I can’t relate to the expected.

 

Free Sega Games on Steam

In an effort to keep up to date when free shit goes up for grabs, Steam is giving away Golden Axe, Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit with its corresponding DLC, Jet Set Radio and the Sega Classics collection for free as a package deal under its Make War Not Love 3 Prize Bundle. I don’t know how much longer the deal will last but don’t be a fool and pass up on free games, man. Just don’t do it. Seriously. Don’t.

[Source] http://store.steampowered.com/sub/94153/

Entertainment, sports, and culture from a Chicago slant