Friday, December 21, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

Holy shit, looks like it's Christmas time 'cause this is my second post this month!  I've had more time to write since I'm on break plus I'm feeling generous, so why not?  Also, I may or may have not promised to write a review on The Hobbit in my last post.  This is a bit late considering the movie came out last Friday but better late than never, right?  (I don't see it that way.)  Well, you're just insatiable.  Let's get to it!

Just in case, for some odd reason, you don't know anything about The Hobbit I'll give you a brief rundown of the story.  The Hobbit is essentially the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien, possibly the greatest fiction author in the last two centuries.  (What about J.K. Rowling?  She wrote the Harry Potter books!)  Please, stop it.  You're not really comparing Harry Potter to anything Tolkien wrote, are you?  I mean, the Harry Potter books were cute, I guess.  But nobody important dies in the story.  (What about Sirius Black and Ron Weasley's brother?)  Like I said, nobody important.  Anyways, the basic plot of the story is there's a party of dwarfs on a quest to reclaim their home in the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug.  This group of dwarfs is led by Thorin who was the king's grandson when the dragon forced the dwarfs out of their homes.  Joining the dwarfs is the wizard Gandalf the Grey, a name that should sound familiar if you ever saw the Lord of the Rings movies or even read the books.  (But where does the hobbit come in?)  Well, as it turns out the dwarfs need a burglar to steal the Arkenstone from the dragon which is essentially the heirloom of Thorin's family line.  Gandalf chooses a little hobbit named Bilbo  Baggins (played by Martin Freeman), Frodo's uncle from The Lord of the Rings, to be that  burglar.  Only problem is that Bilbo doesn't want to go on an adventure and wants to stay in Hobbiton.  Eventually Bilbo changes his mind and goes on this quest.  The story also sets up the trilogy with Bilbo finding the ring, but it's mostly just about Bilbo's adventure.

I've read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  To be quite honest I've always preferred The Hobbit over the trilogy.  It's just so much more fun to read.  It's a story about adventures and as a kid, and even as an adult, those type of books really draw you in.  There's nothing wrong with the trilogy as a story, but it was just so much harder to read.  When I read The Lord of the Rings it felt like a chore.  For the longest time I had been waiting for The Hobbit to be made into a movie.  Now that is is a movie this is what I have to say:  As a movie The Lord of the Rings just translates better.  It's just the first movie in a series of three for The Hobbit (whose idea was it to split the book into three movies?) but so far The Lord of the Rings is doing better on film.  There's nothing wrong with The Hobbit really, it's just different.  Frodo is trying to save the world in The Lord of the Rings and Bilbo is just going on this adventure for shits and gigs. It's different when it's on film because you're expectations for what's at stake are higher.

As far as the production of this movie goes it was, dare I say, neat-o burrito.  (What?)  Okay, it was pretty good.  This movie was of course directed by the amazing Peter Jackson.  He did the Lord of the Rings trilogy and did amazing at it.  I believe Return of the King actually won the Academy Award for Best Picture.  I've never complained about anything Peter Jackson has done.  I liked what he did with King Kong and he also produced The Adventures of Tintin which was really cool, and violent, for a kids movie.  (Let me just check IMDb for anything else he directed...)  He did some other shit I haven't seen.  Either way once again he was successful in bringing Middle Earth back to life.  Everything looked amazing!  Everything from the dwarf mines to the elf cities to the hobbit town was beautiful.  Times like these I'm glad I'm not blind.

Alright it's time for my official grade for this movie.  Hmm... I'll give this a Guapo, pending on how the rest of the trilogy works out.  I wasn't blown away, but it was a pretty good movie.  It's beautiful to watch and it's a really fun story.  If anything just go for the story, I know you're not gonna read the book.  The only reason why anyone wouldn't like this story is if they absolutely hate adventures.  So basically they'd have to be Bilbo Baggins from the beginning of the story.

Okay that's the end of this post.  You know the drill, follow me on Twitter @ELGUAPO3.  It's like my blog but one sentence at a time.  It's also less structured.  I guess the world was supposed to end today and we're still alive, so I guess that means you get to continue to enjoy my blog.  (Actually the today wasn't the end of the world, it was just as the end of the Mayan calendar.)  I know that.  I'm just appeasing all the motherfuckers who are into that type of shit.  Stay tuned for my future posts and stay Guapo out there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ranking the NBA Finals Losers Since 2003

First off I want to say I'm sorry I haven't been posted in over month.  I would like to remind my readers that I do have a personal life so I don't have the time to be posting as frequently as you might want me to, or even as much as I'd like to.  I mean, it's not like I'm some acne-ridden nerdy kid sitting in his basement, writing a blog while eating delivery Chinese food.  (I'm El Guapo, goddamn it!)  I go to school plus I have a job so I don't have as much time as I'd like to sit down and update this blog every day.  Believe me, if I could I would be writing every single day.  I really like doing this shit.  I would become that kid eating Chinese food in his basement I described earlier, just a better looking version of it.  It's not like I don't try to keep this updated either.  But I made a commitment to excellence and I take a lot of pride in being able to produce high quality posts for you guys.  I'm constantly coming up with ideas for posts and writing them, then deleting them because they are not as good as I'd want them to be.  Off the top of my head I could think of 5 posts that I actually wrote, read over, and then deleted because I didn't feel it was up to par.  And if you want to count ideas that I came up with and scrapped during the outlining process, that number has to be in the double digits. I'm really only giving you my best work here.  (Remember when I said "I'm sorry" at the beginning of the paragraph?  Change that shit into a "You're Welcome".)

This list ranks the last 10 losers of the NBA Finals by worst to best teams since 2003.  (Hey shouldn't that be 2002 since it's 2012?)  I thought that at first, but then I made the list on paper and it turned out I had 11 teams, so no.  (Whoa Guaps, this is such a cool idea for a post!  How did you come up with that?)  I'm so glad you asked!  Last night I was watching the Reggie Miller 30 For 30 documentary on Netflix called Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks.  The documentary is basically about the rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers in the mid 90's.  It's probably my favorite 30 For 30 film.  I love the Reggie Miller trash talking, the John Starks head-butting, the old Patrick Ewing having trouble elevating and of course Reggie grabbing his neck AND crotch for Spike Lee.  But my favorite part about this documentary has to be Ahmad Rashad having such difficulty saying the word "balls".

I digress.  Sometime in the middle of this film I realized something about both these teams: both Patrick Ewing's Knicks and Reggie Miller's Pacers did make it to the NBA Finals and lost.  (Knicks went to the Finals in '94 and '99; Pacers went to the Finals in '00.)  This gave me an idea to blog about teams that made it to the Finals but never won.  Originally I was going to do a "Best of All-Time" list but like I mentioned in my last blog I only really got into the NBA around 2002 or 2003.  I really didn't want to do research on the 1974 Finals runners-up Milwaukee Bucks.  So instead I just decided to rank the last 10 losers.  So without further adieu I present "Ranking the NBA Finals Losers Since 2003"!

10. 2007- Cleveland Cavaliers (Lost in 4 Games)
This is the only team on this list that got swept in the Finals.  I remember this being a super boring match up.  I also remembering earlier in the playoffs my Warriors upsetting the Dallas Mavericks.  We Believe!  (God! Do you ever shut up about the Warriors?) Nope.  Now back in '07 everyone thought the Finals would be a rematch between the Pistons and Spurs.  Then, in the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James said "Not Today!" and single-handedly upset the Detroit Pistons to put the Cavs in the Finals.  And I really mean single-handedly.  Do you even want me to tell you the rest of the starting line-up?  Boobie Gibson, Drew Goodon, Sasha Pavlovic & Big Z.  Well, long story short LeBron couldn't defeat the Spurs on his own.

9. 2009- Orlando Magic (Lost in 5 Games)
I bet a good number of people reading this blog are going, "Oh yeah, the Magic were in the Finals.  Forgot all about that."  And with good reason; this was a very unmemorable match-up.  Everyone and their mom wanted to see LeBron vs. Kobe and if not at least a Boston/Los Angeles rematch.  Sad to say we got neither.  This was back when Dwight Howard was still NBA's sweetheart.  "Dwight can do no wrong!" they said.  (Silly Orlando folk.)  It's not like this was a shitty team necessarily.  It just wasn't nearly as good as the Lakers.  Orlando's offense consisted of having Dwight in the middle with their three-point sharp shooters (Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson & good ol' Mickael Pietrus) waiting for the pass when Dwight couldn't get his in.

8. 2012- Oklahoma City Thunder (Lost in 5 Games)
What a disappointing series!  What was supposed to be an epic match-up between LeBron and Kevin Durant turned out to be an ass-kick by the Heat.  It never really got be Lebron vs. Kevin Durant because Russell Westbrook kept fucking things up for Durant.  I'm not hating on Westbrook, I love seeing this motherfucker play, but he has to be one of the most inefficient players in the NBA behind Klay Thompson.  (See, I could talk shit about my own team.)  It was never King James vs. KD.  Instead the rivalry became Russell Westbrook vs. himself, with LeBron becoming the clear winner.  It was a pretty solid team though: Kevin Durant the superstar, Russ Westbrook the explosive guard, James Harden the perfect 6th man, Serge Ibaka Mr. Get-That-Shit-Out-Of-Here himself, Kendrick Perkins not smiling, and Grandpa Derek Fisher.

7. 2011- Miami Heat (Lost in 6 Games)
At this time everybody was either in love with LeBron or secretly planning his assassination.  The latter was most likely because of "The Decision" made in the off-season.  There were a lot of people wishing him the worst during these Finals, including me.  And for anybody hating on LeBron, the results were priceless: LeBron averaging less than 18 points, the Heat losing in 6, Chris Bosh crying on the way to the locker room.  It's not like it was all Lebron's fault though; the Heat probably had one of the worst benches in the league.  It wasn't '07 Cavs bad, but still, it just wasn't a deep team.  Also a lot of sportscasters were trying to spin these Finals as some big rematch between the Mavericks and the Heat.  The only remaining players from the '06 Mavs team was Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki.  And unless I'm mistaken the only remaining players from the Heat were Udonis Haslem and Dwayne Wade.  (I'm not even going to bother looking that up.  You could do that as an extra curricular activity if you want.)

6. 2003- New Jersey Nets (Lost in 6 Games)
For all you youngsters out there who are watching their first season of NBA basketball it's time for me to drop some knowledge.  A long time ago the Brooklyn Nets used to be the New Jersey Nets.  And by "A long time ago" I mean just last year.  You can thank Jay-Z for that.  Anyway, the Finals prior to the ones in 2003 also featured the New Jersey Nets.  In 2002 they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers which featured the famous Kobe/Shaq duo.  Well, 2003 came around and the Nets were back for more and this time they were facing the Spurs.  The Nets were hungry for the title but my boy Stephen Jackson said, "Not today!" and put the dagger in them in game 6.  Even with a roster like Jason Kidd, an SJND alumni, Richard Jefferson, Kenyon Martin and Brian Scalabrine (yes, even the god couldn't help them) the Nets were no match for the Spurs.

5. 2004- Los Angeles Lakers (Lost in 5 Games)
On paper this sounds like a pretty good roster: Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Karl Malone, Shaquille O' Neal, Gary Payton.  Too bad you don't play basketball on paper.  The thing was Karl Malone wasn't the Mailman anymore.  The Glove was out of his prime.  Shaq and Kobe had problems.  The result was a loss to the Detroit Pistons in 5 games.  And thus ended the Shaq & Kobe Lakers era.  Shaq would leave for the Miami Heat and it would be another five years before Kobe and the Lakers would win another title.  Five years doesn't sound like a long time but for the Lakers that's a lifetime.  (Those greedy bastards!)  The thing about this loss was the Pistons didn't really have any superstars.  They had a lot of good players, just no household names.  I remember thinking, "Who the hell are these guys?"

4. 2006- Dallas Mavericks (Lost in 6 Games)
They were up two games to none.  The Mavs had the Heat with their backs up against the wall.  Then Dwayne Wade said, "Not Today!" (it's such a great phrase to say) and led a Miami Heat comeback.  Mark Cuban's Mavs wouldn't get their "revenge" for another six years but the Mavs were surly a force to be reckoned with, right?  (The Mavs would lose in the first round to the Golden State Warriors the following year marking the greatest upset in NBA history.)  Still, they had a great roster.  Dirk Nowitzki was the unguardable big man who could light it up from three.  He was surrounded by solid players Josh Howard, Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry.  They probably had a better roster than the Heat but Dwayne Wade was by far the best player in that series.  And no one on that team could stop Shaq, even if he was starting to decline.

3. 2008- Los Angeles Lakers (Lost in 6 Games)
The Lakers had gone through some mediocre years up until that point.  Then they decided to turn things around and bring in Pau Gasol in a trade with Memphis.  Now all of a sudden the Lakers were back in the Finals "reigniting" a rivalry with the Boston Celtics that had been dead since 1987.  But the Boston Celtics had the Big 3: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen & Kevin Garnett.  As skilled as Pau Gasol is, he was just too soft to handle KG.  The Lakers had a great roster though that would eventually win two titles.  Kobe had a chip on his shoulder and was trying to win a title without Shaq.  Pau Gasol was as skilled as you got in a big man.  Derek Fisher, a "Ranking the NBA Finals Losers Since 2003" veteren (see #8 and #5), just being there when needed.  Lamar Odom doing solid work at the three or four.  Andrew Bynum not playing because his body hates him.  All in all a good team.

2. 2010- Boston Celtics (Lost in 7 Games)
A rematch from the Finals two years earlier.  The Celtics were sure to do it again, right?  Wrong!  Kobe & Gang knew what they were doing this time around.  This series went the full seven games, one of only two teams to do that on this list.  This year the Celtics weren't the "Big 3"; they were the "Big 4".  Ray Allen, Paul Pierce & KG had a group meeting and decided Rondo could sit at the cool kids table.  The only problem was that the Lakers acquired Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace (take notes kids), and his psychiatrist seemed to be the secret to their success.  Not even a repeat of the Paul Pierce's fake (?) knee injury from their previous Finals encounter could have saved the Celtics from the inevitable.  Kobe wasn't messing around.

1. 2005- Detroit Pistons (Lost in 7 Games)
Like I said earlier, the Pistons weren't a team of superstars.  They were just a team of really good players who could get it done.  They had one of the best starting five players I could think of:  Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot, Rip Hamilton with his face mask, Tayshaun Prince, gets shit done and probably has a good personality, Rasheed Wallace, big man with a jumper that can talk shit, and Big Ben Wallace, who wasn't going to score a lot, but he was going to get them boards and stop you from scoring.  Coming off their championship run, the Pistons were ready to face the Tim Duncan and the Spurs.  It took 7 games and a big short from Robert Horry somewhere in that series to put the Pistons away.  Out of all these losers I've talked about on this list, the Pistons are definiteley the best.

Well that's it for this post.  I hope you guys enjoyed it.  As always feel free to leave a suggestion on what you might want me to write about.  If I like it and I have time I just might do it.  I'll do you guys the courtesy of letting you know when my next blog is coming out.  I'm going to write a review on The Hobbit so stay tuned for that if you're a fan of my reviews.  If you're just here for my Top 10's and rankings I'll keep you posted.  I've also previously mentioned that I have big plans and other projects I was working on and I'm ready to tell y'all.  Ready?  I've decided I'm writing a novel.  The title will be The Other Side: The Adventures of Toby's Spirit.  It's basically a comedic story about a ghost who spends his afterlife hanging out with his friends in college.  I actually came up with this concept last year.  Back then I wanted to make it a TV show.  I was inspired by the show Two Broke Girls and I thought, "Hey writing a TV show must be easy!  They'll put anything on TV."  But thenI figured I couldn't just waltz into a studio with a script demanding my show be made so I decided to try to make it a YouTube cartoon show.  I soon came to realize the logistics would be to difficult to overcome and that writing this story as a novel would work best.  The novel is going to like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the sense that it's going to be a collection of short stories about the main character.  I don't know when it's going to be done and I don't know how it's going to be published but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  Until then enjoy my blog.  I also have another project I'm excited about but I'll announce that some other time.  Stay Guapo out there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My 10 Favorite Warriors Players

Happy Halloween folks!  I'm sure you're as excited as I am.  Many of you have that crib decorated with spiderwebs, pumpkins, and tombstones.  October 31st is such an exciting time, and not only because it's Halloween, but also because this is opening night for the Golden State Warriors.  Tonight people will be dressing up in amazing (and not so amazing costumes) and while tonight I've decided to dress up at Tom from Parks and Recreation (played by the talented Aziz Ansari) underneath my costume I will be sporting my Stephen Curry jersey.  Unfortunately here in LA they don't show any Warriors' games so I'm left to rely on my phone to check out the scores throughout the season.  But that still does not hinder my love and excitement for this team so for tonight's blog I will countdown my top 10 favorite players to ever put on a Warriors' uniform.

So a couple of things I have to say before I kick this countdown off:  I was born in 1993.  I'm 19 years young.  And I probably didn't become a Warriors fan until 2003 or 2004.  I think 2004 is when I became a really dedicated fan.  Meaning up until that point, being 2003 and before that, I really wasn't paying attention to the NBA.  Sure I caught a few games here and there, but I wasn't really paying attention to who was playing.  I just liked watching people dunk.  The point is this isn't a list of the Top 10 players to ever play for the Warriors.  This is a list of my favorite players to watch as a player for the Warriors.  So if you're asking why Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond aren't on this list it's because those dinosaurs played decades before I emerged onto this earth.  I never got to see Run TMC play so don't be surprised if Chris Mullin or Tim Hardaway aren't on this list.  And although Antwan Jamison and Gilbert Arenas did play for the Warriors while I was alive, I just didn't really care about the NBA at the time and never really got to see them play.  That being said here are my favorite players since I first became a Warriors fan circa 2004.  Enjoy.

10. Mickael Pietrus (2003-2008)

Oh, Mickael, you lovable French bastard.  Always full of personality.  I remember when I first found out he was French the first thing that came to my mind was, "Why is he black then?"  I was so young and naive.  Anyway, this dude was a corner three specialist.  He played some defense and dunked it every now and then, but his spot was that corner.

9. Kelenna Azubuike (2007-2010)

The Warriors have had a habit of picking up players from the D-League.  All the time.  Some of them have worked out (e.g. Reggie Williams) and some haven't (e.g. Chris Hunter).  Kelenna definitely worked out for us.  He was never a star or anything like that but he was consistent.

8. Al Harrington (2007-2008)


I'm not super crazy about this guy, but without him the Warriors wouldn't have had that amazing We Believe season.  He came to us in a trade that shipped away Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Troy Murphy (Thank God!), hit a bunch of threes for us, then a year and a half later decided he wanted to leave.  Last time I checked he's playing for Orlando Magic and I saw him on Attack of the Show.  That's not too bad, I guess.

7. Andris Biedrins (2004-Present)

Honestly I want to put 2004-2009.  I don't know what the fuck this guy is doing with his life anymore.  I guess he just lost all confidence.  Either way for a good 5 year span he was a consistent double-double kind of guy.  At this point of his career though he's happy to get to touch the ball 2 times a game.

6. David Lee (2010-Present)

Not the most exciting player to watch but he puts up numbers.  He goes out there and gets those rebounds and finishes.  Pretty skilled big man, but I just wish he'd add some flare every now and then.  And if you've been keeping up with this blog you know how much I love flare.

5. Stephen Curry (2009-Present)

Young Steph Curry is a nice player indeed.  He has that range, he has those handles, and he can dish the ball too.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he won the Skills Challenge during the All-Star break once.  (I just checked Wikipedia.  I'm right.)  I just love watching this guy play.  This will be his first full year without Monta Ellis so this is basically his team now.  Only problem is he has weak ankles.

4. Stephen Jackson (2007-2009)

Captain Jack!  You can't not love this guy and his fast break threes.  We got him in the same trade that got us Al Harrington and helped the Warriors in their playoff run.  This guy was dynamite in a Warriors' uniform.  The dude hit 7 threes in game 6 of the first round of the playoffs against the Mavs, who we beat, and he did that shit with flash.  Every now and then Nellie had him run the point, and every now and then he would deliver.  Sure you can complain that he was constantly getting hit with technicals, sure he thought he was better than what he actually was, sure he fired a gun outside a strip club and was involved in Malice in the Palace, and yes he did leave the Warriors on bad terms, but that's what made him such an exciting player.  Currently he's back with the Spurs AND he's a rapper.  Talk about moving up in life.   

3. Baron Davis (2005-2008)

Baron.  After all these years I just want to say that I forgive you.  It took a while, but then I got to reminiscing about the good old days.  He was out there rocking the full beard before James Harden decided to do it.  At his peak with the Warriors I could say he was easily one of the top 5 point guards in the league. Easily.  He could do no wrong.  He had them handles, he threw those dimes, he had that flash and most of all he was clutch.  You might not know this, but they sometimes call me Crunch Time Guapo and everything I learned about being clutch I learned it from him.  This dude was fucking sick.  When he made those alley-oop connections with J-Rich it was like watching art.  And every now and then he would come in with that slam dunk.  He put the team on his back during the We Believe season, and for that I'm forever grateful.  Then, before the 08-09 season, Baron decided to leave the Warriors and join the Clippers.  Yes, the fucking Clippers.  And not the Black Griffin/Chris Paul-having Clippers, I'm talking about the Chris-Kaman-Is-The-Best-Player-They-Have Clippers.  But like I said, I have finally forgiven you.

2. Monta Ellis (2005-2012)

It was sad to see him go last season.  I basically watched him grow up on the basketball court.  His relationship with the Warriors was kind of like a roller coaster. He got that "Most Improved Player" during his second season, the same season we beat the Mavs, and I think we all knew he was going to be a really good player.  But then he decides to ride a moped and fucks up his ankle pretty badly.  (Dumbass!)  But the kid comes back right where he left off and better.  Even after the ankle injury this guy was one of the fastest players in the league.  He was a pure scorer.  If he only knows how to do one thing, it's putting the ball in the basket.  He's done amazing moves so effortlessly (with flare), where as when I attempt them I usually pull a hammy.  Yet every single year he was snubbed from the All-Star team.  Every single goddamn year!  (Seriously, how was Chris Kaman an all star guys?)  Hopefully he can get a spot now that he's in Milwaukee.

1. Jason Richardson (2001-2007)

J-Rich.  Probably the most exciting player to watch as a Warrior.  Back to back Slam Dunk Champion.  Even when I was a small lad I would watch the games just to see this guy dunk.  He doesn't do much of that now over in Philly, but in his prime this dude got up there.  And he wouldn't just settle for for a simple dunk.  J-Rich would say, "Not today!" and windmill that shit.  And if not he'd do a 360.  Why not?  J-Rich was the epitome of flare.  Then when Baron Davis came in J-Rich said, "Let's just alley-oop it every time."  Somewhere along the way he started hitting threes.  Now, that's all he does.  For me, Jason Richardson is by far the most memorable player to play for the Warriors.

Okay guys that's it.  The countdown is done.  Fin.  Hope you guys enjoyed it and I hope you guys enjoy your Halloween.  Let me just sprinkle some advice on you before I part ways.  Fellas:  Remember, if you get her drunk it's considered rape.  So make sure she can't identify you.  Ladies:  Please don't wear a slutty costume if the product is not for sale.  It's so misleading!  Kids:  This is the one time of the year you can take candy from strangers, so enjoy!  Married couples trying desperately trying to rekindle their flame:  pop in a scary movie, then have a go at it.  You're kids are having fun, why shouldn't you?  Pets:  Relax, you only have to wear that tonight.  Weird people living alone with those pets: floss is not an acceptable treat to give to kids.

Alright guys, make sure to follow me on Twitter @ELGUAPO3.  I'm planning on dropping another post on Election Day so keep on the look out for that and other awesome projects I'm working on.  Also, do me a favor and check out my boy, Garrett Rich.  He's trying to make it in the world of stand up comedy and it'd mean a lot if you support him.  Follow him on Twitter @TheG_RichLife.  Don't worry if you hate him, just think, he can only get better, right?  Anyways, I'm done here.  Have a good night!  Stay safe and have fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Flash vs Fundamentals

Hello all, Guapo here with the latest edition of Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo's Brain.  Sure, it's a pretty long title, but it's all by design.  I could have gone with a simpler title that got straight to the point without stimulating your minds like Mario's Blog, but where is the fun in that?  I needed a title that added some pizzazz, gave the blog some oomph, a title that let you know that I was going to invade your brain and deposit wrapped goodies of knowledge like freakin' Santa Claus and look bad-ass doing it.  It was a choice I made between flash and fundamentals, and I chose flash.  And that's exactly what I'll be discussing in this tonight's post: how to choose between being showy and gaudy or just getting the job done.  (Spoiler alert: the answer is always be gaudy.)

I love playing sports, particularly basketball.  I never really played on a team unless you count the CYO league back in elementary school.  I had big dreams about playing professional basketball when I grew up.  (I'm talking D-League dreams.) That was when I was just El Guapito.  Didn't play high school ball, instead I took up running and swimming.  At this point my dreams were a lot more realistic.  (Become a street ball legend at Mosswood Park in Oakland.)  I still play a pickup game whenever I can.  Up in the Bay Area you can find me and the Guapo crew (not official/agreed upon) in Alameda tearing shit up.  I also got my spots in LA.  I bedazzle crowds of basketball fans with my superior point guard skills, or at least I try to.  However, wherever I go I hear the same thing from my teammates, my opponents and my fans:  Why did you try reversing that wide open lay-up?  You were wide open, why did you make that shot more difficult than it had to be?  You didn't need to fade-away that shot.  Why aren't you using the screen? Stop, Mario! etc, etc.  My response?  Flare.

I believe it was the 2003-2004 season when I really became a dedicated Warriors fan.  Back then my favorite player was Jason Richardson.  He was exciting.  He had flare to his game.  He did windmill dunks because he could.  He could have easily just attempted lay-ups on fast breaks, but no.  That's not the J-Rich way.  The J-Rich way is doing a 360 dunk.  Guess who was my least favorite player.  It was Mike Dunleavy Jr.  Oh, how I detested him and his stupid bounce passes.  I relished the moment he was traded away.  And with that trade the Warriors formed what we all know as the WE BELIEVE team in '07.  My heart is racing just thinking about that team.  Baron Davis' no look passes, J-Rich's dunks, Monta Ellis' moves, Stephen Jackson's fast break threes, oh what great memories.  (Anyone else excited for this upcoming season?)  Point being, the flashier, cooler team was without a doubt the better team.

Just think about the best basketball players.  What made them so great?  Their swagger did.  Think Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaq, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe and LeBron James.  All great players.  All exciting to watch.  They didn't just go out on the court, make a few jump shots, make a lay-up, win the game and call it a day.  They went out and put on a show.  As great as Larry Bird was, who would you rather see, Magic or Larry?  Today the best argument for fundamentals over flash would be Tim Duncan, the Big Fundamental, Grandpa Duncan.  "He won four championships using no flash whatsoever," they say.  "Championships is all that counts, regardless of showmanship."  Well tell that to Carmelo Anthony fans.  (Since LeBron won his championship we've all had to find new targets for ring-less jokes.)  Besides, I can't remember the last time I've heard ANYONE say, "Hey, the Spurs are playing the (insert home team) tonight.  Let's get tickets!"

Why limit this argument to just basketball?  I could I apply this to any sport.  It's all about the eccentric athletes.  How can you not love someone like Chad Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, formerly known as Chad Johnson?  (Is it just me or is Chad a weird name for a black guy?)  Andy Murray doesn't just play tennis, he puts on a performance.  Then there's Mr. I'm-A-Living-Legend himself, track star Usain Bolt.  He wouldn't be nearly the sprinter he is if he didn't showboat a little.  And you can't not like a boxer as flashy as Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Flashiness shouldn't just stop in sports.  It's a concept that could be adapted in every profession, be it rapper, lawyer, doctor, teacher, accountant, cashier, vet, businessman, President of the United States or blogger.  Sure, it's great to have sound fundamentals in whatever you do.  But there is nothing wrong with adding a little spice by unleashing your flashy side.  Why stop at just getting the job done, when you could take one step further and get the job done with some style?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

El Guapo Vs the Hurdles Story

I'd like to start this post by saying I'm an athlete.  Not a great one, but still an athlete.  I can produce in an athletic event.  I won't necessarily dominate, but I'm not going to bad.  Let's say if there were two captains picking a basketball team for a pick up game, I'm not the guy the captain is eager to pick with his first selection, but I'm not the guy who gets chosen after the fat 40 year old in his mid-life crisis.  I'm the guy in a t-shirt and shorts picked third just because I look like I might be able to run up and down the court a couple times (which I can).  Now that we've established my state of athleticism, let's get started.

I ran Cross Country throughout high school.  I had some good times running in the fall, but in the spring I swam.  At least I did until my Junior year in high school when I made the controversial switch from Swimming to Track & Field.  (It wasn't really that controversial at all.  I'm not sure anyone noticed.)  My Track coach was also my Cross Country coach, and since Cross Country was all long distance it made sense that my coach, Tony (he's a legend) put me in the long distance events.  So I ran events like the 800, and the 1600 and so on.  As much as I liked long distance running I had other aspirations; I wanted to the run the hurdles.  How I longed to run the track, leaping over hurdles, and claim victory and glory.

Me & Tony

I approached Tony with this radical idea once before a meet and wisely he told me no.  My spirits were light-weight crushed, but I didn't lose hope.  I knew it was my destiny to run the hurdles.  So I persisted and kept asking him before meets if I could run the hurdles until one day he said yes.  I couldn't contain my excitement.  It was like asking the hottest girl in school out to prom and her saying yes, except I was asking Tony if I could run the 300 hurdles and him saying sure.  Prior to this day I had never jumped a hurdle, so I figured that moment would be best to start practicing.  I picked out a hurdle and practiced jumping over it, and to my surprise I was clearing it with a few inches to spare.  What I didn't know at the time was that I was jumping the women's height.

I don't remember which team we were running against or what I had for lunch earlier that day but I remember this race vividly.  I approached my lane with great anticipation.  There were only three people in this race including myself.  Both men where on either side of me.  They were tall and very athletic looking.  They had their starting blocks all set up; these guys looked like they knew what they were doing.  They looked down at me and smiled, the same way cool kids smile at a little nerdy kid when he asks if he could join their table for lunch.  They had the audacity to set up my starting blocks for me, but I didn't care; I was just focused on the race.

We were set to race.  I waited anxiously until the race to start until finally... the gun sounded.  The two boys got off to a really good start.  I really, really good start.  Way better than I had anticipated.  They I was halfway to my first hurdle and these boys had already cleared it.  It was at this moment I realized I was going to come in third.  But I still need to finish the race.  With each step I approached the my first hurdle.  Finally as I was prepared to make my first leap I saw how high the hurdle was and I stopped in my tracks.  This hurdle was up to about my chest at the time.  I knew I was not going to make it, so I did the only logical thing I could think of: I climbed over it.  My friend and teammate AJ was watching this race from the side, laughing at my struggle to clear the hurdle.  At the time he must have been joking, but in the heat of the moment I thought he was serious when he yelled out, "Go under the hurdles!"

And went under the hurdles I did.  As I approached the second hurdle, I swallowed my pride and dove to ground.  I crawled through the hurdles and as soon as I was clear I got back up and kept on running.  I was ashamed at first, but only at first.  I knew it was the only way.  I went under the next handful of hurdles as planned, the shame washing away each time I crawled.  By the time there were only a few hurdles left I looked around to see a crowd surrounding me, cheering (and laughing)!  This hum drum event had an audience, a star.  It wasn't the best of circumstances, but at the time I thought fans are fans.  I finished strong for them, and by "finished strong" I mean I went under the last three hurdles.  I finished the race, and one of the most embarrassing chapters of my Track career came to an end.  I did redeem myself in the 300 hurdles a year later and completed them a year later, but no one remembers that story.

Is there a moral to this story?  Yeah, there is.  (Bet you didn't know I had morals.)  The lesson here is that you should always go after your dreams, no matter how stupid they seem.  You might find something you love or you might embarrass yourself like I did, but at least you tried.  Worst case scenario you have a pretty funny story to tell.  And as embarrassing as this story is (not one of my Guapo moments), I'm not ashamed to tell it, because at the end of the day, I'm a pretty good looking guy and isn't that all that matters.  (Having a nice personality helps.  So does the ability to clear hurdles.)

Ok, folks.  That's if for today's blog.  I have started my Sophomore year at Cal State Dominguez Hills for any of you wondering where I have gone.  Don't worry, just because I'm not in the Bay Area doesn't mean I'm not in your hearts.  I'm probably going to be a little more busy because of school, but I'll still try to find time to blog.  Until my next post, stay Guapo out there guys. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman Movies Ranked

Hey guys, this is El Guapo back by popular demand.  (I'm popular.  I demanded it.)  Thursday night was the long awaited premier of the Dark Knight Rises, the latest Batman movie and the last chapter of the Dark Knight Trilogy.  As expected I was there at the premiere.  Actually I went to this special at AMC Theatres that showed Batman Begins and the Dark Knight before the Dark Knight Rises.  I got to comparing the three movies, and then I got to comparing all of the Batman movies.  See, originally I was just going to write a review on the Dark Knight Rises and call it a night.  But where's the fun in that?  So instead I decided to go ahead and rank all the Batman movies.  Your welcome.  We're talking live action movies here, so if you get upset that Batman Year One didn't make the cut, it's because it didn't qualify.  I'd like to remind the readers that my word is law, so these are the official rankings.  Enjoy.

8. Batman & Robin (1997)
This is probably the only movie on this list that I will call horrible.  There are so many things wrong with this movie.  Let's start with Joel Schumacher's decision to put nipples on the Batsuit.  Come on, bro.  Plus there's this whole scene where Batman and Robin are ice-skating for some diamond.  George Clooney was a pretty bad Batman.  Then there's Mr. Freeze's terrible, god-awful ice puns, (I didn't completely hate those) and they really fucked up with Bane.  Schumacher made Bane an unintelligent pawn.  Basically just a really strong henchman.  Only positives is having Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone as Poison Ivy and Batgirl, and it's not because of their acting abilities.

7. Batman Forever (1995)
I actually really enjoy watching Batman Forever.  In fact, Batman Forever was the first Batman movie I ever watched as a child.  When Joel Schumacher took over the Batman series from Tim Burton it was supposed to be more kid friendly and shit.  But even as I watch it today I can still enjoy it.  However I've come across a lot of people that don't like this movie, and I'm not oblivious as to why.  It gets pretty corny at times and that's really just Schumacher's fault.  Plus Tommy Lee Jones played Two-Face like the he was the Joker but less intelligent, which kind of ruins it for me.  A lot of people have a problem with Jim Carey's performance as the Riddler.  In all honesty I didn't hate it, but I could understand why someone would.  But let's talk positives.  Val Kilmer was a pretty cool Batman.  I liked the Robin origin.  And Nicole Kidman was a baddie.  (Yeah, she was.)

6. Batman (1989)
I'd like to start off by saying I'm not a fan of Tim Burton.  (So many people will hate me for saying this, but I'm not apologizing.)  I'm not a hater, I'm just not a fan of the way he directs his movies.  Not my cup of tea. I did think Batman was a pretty good movie though.  However I did have problems with this movie.  For one, they have a Joker origin story.  I really feel like Joker is a character that just should not have an origin story.  Plus the Joker was played by Jack Nicholson, and who wants to see Jack's fat ass dance around in clown make-up.  (I don't.)  Michael Keaton was a good Batman, but he looks too much like an average Joe to play billionaire Bruce Wayne.

5. Batman (1966)
Can't go wrong with the classics.  Adam West as Batman.  Burt Ward as Robin.  Four villains including Catwoman, the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin.  You got the "Pow" and "Wham" frames when someone get's punched.  Robin saying his catch phrase, "Holy _____, Batman!"  And of course my favorite quote of the movie: Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.  Sure it's not action heavy, but I've always thought of this movie as comedy anyway.

4. Batman Begins (2005)
Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise in 2005 and he didn't disappoint.  First of all, I love origin stories.  And I love Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Shadows.  I liked seeing Bruce Wayne training.  Christian Bale was fucking awesome as Bruce Wayne/ Batman.  It was definitely one of the better Batman movies, especially considering Batman and Robin was the last movie that was released.  (It was still fresh in my mind.)  Michael Caine was a good Alfred.  Katie Holmes is cute.  She's not a baddie, but she's definitely cute.  You got Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman.  And then there's Liam Neeson.  Every time I hear Liam speak I just shutter.  He has a super manly voice.  If there was ever a definition for a man's voice, it's definitely Liam's voice.  Scarecrow, one of my favorite villains, was there.  The Tumbler was a really cool vehicle.  The scene where the cops are chasing  Batman in the Tumbler is one of my favorites of all the Batman movies.

3. Batman Returns (1992)
The number 3 spot goes to Tim Burton's second installment of the Batman series.  Michael Keaton returned as Batman and this time Batman faced two villains.  First you got Catwoman played by Michelle Pfeiffer, (oh yeah) and then you got the Penguin played by Danny DeVito.  (Oh, Ok.)  And then you got CATWOMAN played by MICHELLE PFIEFFER!! (OH YEAH!!!)  I love Catwoman.  The character is just sexy.  Plus she's not really a villain.  She's more of an anti-hero.  And when I saw this movie growing up the Penguin scared the shit out of me.  Ok, he didn't really scare me, he just freaked me out.  Oh and Mr. Christopher Walken plays the terrible Max Shrek, and who doesn't like Christopher Walken.

2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
So here we are.  The Dark Knight Rises.  Goddamn was this good.  First I want to thank Christopher Nolan for making such a great series.  Ok, that's enough thank you's for today.  This movie basically picks up about 8 years after the end of the second movie.  Batman had retired, in comes Bane, and Batman is back.  Awesome.  First, Tom Hardy did an awesome job playing Bane.  (Way better than that douche in Batman & Robin.)  And Tom Hardy got big for this role.  I mean really big.  I mean, I can't imagine what his workout routine was like.  Plus, I swear this guy got taller.  At least six inches or so.  Tom Hardy is not that tall in real life, and he was towering over Batman.

Then you have Catwoman.  (OH YEAH!!)  Now when I first heard Anne Hathaway was playing Catwoman I was a bit skeptical.  I thought, "Wait, you're telling me that "Ella Enchanted" is going to be playing Catwoman?  Seriously?  The girl from the Princess Diaries?  I mean, she's cute and all, but your body has to be shmachin' to get in that Catwoman suit."  And my God, was her body shmakin'.  If anyone has ever proven me wrong, Anne Hathaway has.  And when she got on that Bat-bike?  (OH YEAH!!)  Enough about Catwoman.  I really liked the story.  Christopher Nolan did a great job of tying this movie in with the first and second movie.  The movie did get a little emotional and I have to admit I almost cried.  In addition the fight scenes in this movie were probably the best of all the Batman movies, and the ending was very satisfying.  So without further delay, let me present this movie with my official rating:  Guapisimo!!  The first one yet!

1.  The Dark Knight (2008)
Here's how I know the Dark Knight was the best Batman movie.  While I was watching The Dark Knight Rises all I kept thinking was how it compared to the Dark Knight.  And The Dark Knight Rises came close, but at the end of the day I have to give the crown to the Dark Knight, and here's why:  The Joker.  Heath Ledger played the Joker as well as anyone ever could.  He probably gave one of the best performances of anybody to ever fortunate enough to be in a Batman movie.  There were so many memorable scenes in this movie that revolved around the Joker.  Batman stepped his game up from the last movie and kicked ass again.  I liked this movie's take on Two-Face way better than Batman Forever's with Aaron Eckhart playing Harvey Dent.  If there's even a down-side to this movie it would be the fact that they replaced Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal.  (Come on, let's be real.)

So that's it guys.  Thank you for reading my masterpiece.  If you love what I'm doing on my blog (you do)  then sit tight, because I'm not going away.  I'm on Twitter, so follow me @ELGUAPO3, and I'm also on Tumblr, the name being Sirelguapo.  I'm open to suggestions, so If you have anything you want me to discuss  please feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments section below. Stay Guapo out there.