Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Favorite Oakland Athletics Teams

It was sometime in June or July when my dad and I were on the phone talking baseball.  At the time the A's had the best record in the league and appeared to be favorites to win the World Series.  It seemed like I might actually witness one of my home teams bring a championship back to the city in my lifetime.  In this conversation with my dad I told him that I wanted to fly back home for the championship parade (something I've also never witnessed).  I think this is where it all went wrong.  See, I'm a really big sports fan and on top of that I'm a very superstitious sports fan.  I never turn off a game early because I think my team is up by so much that the game is in the bag.  No!  I watch every damn minute of the game until I see a final score.  I used to think that every time the camera angle switched during a game it was bad luck.  I had a lot of little superstitions but the biggest one was always that making early predictions never had a good outcome.  You just don't declare a championship prematurely.  So am I at fault for this A's season?  I don't know, but maybe I shouldn't have started my victory lap so early.  And maybe somebody else gave us the bad juju.  Or maybe that's just baseball and the A's deceived us all into thinking they were better than they appeared.  (Nah.  I'm not even going to consider that one.)  So before we get to my quick rankings let me just make sense of this season for myself (and the reader) so we all know who to be angry at.  Lord knows I got a stack of angry letters with a minimum of 18 F-bombs a piece just ready to be mailed out.

So it was after this talk with my dad that I decided to write a blog post on my A's, similar to one that I wrote for the Warriors.  Everyone knows I'm a huge Warriors fan, but I'm also an Oakland Athletics fanatic.  I can't count how many games I've gone to over the years, and like with basketball, this love for the A's started with my dad.  His favorite player of all time is Rickey Henderson.  (Side note: my dad ran into Rickey inside an elevator and instead of introducing himself to his idol my dad just froze up and kept quiet.  Just sayin'.)  So I wanted to write a post on my favorite A's players of all time.  But I didn't want to right the post mid season because, after all, that would be too early.  So I decided to wait until we won the championship, right before I took off from Long Beach Airport to go to the championship parade.  I was going to include Cespedes in the top 10, who at the time just won his second straight Home Run Derby and was probably going to be the World Series MVP.  So I sat on this blog post.  And then it happened.

It was July 31st and had just arrived in Oakland in time for my little sister's birthday the next day.  It was a pretty early flight and I arrived around 7 in the morning.  As soon as my plane landed I turned my phone on to call my dad and let him know I had just arrived.  As I'm walking out of the tunnel from the plane to the terminal my phone vibrates and I hear the SportsCenter theme.  (Du-nunu-du-nu-nu)  Basketball season had ended and football season hadn't started yet so I knew it was most likely baseball related.  I also knew it was probably trade related (it was the deadline) and that it was a big name.  I pull out my phone and three words stand out: "Yoenis"; "Cespedes"; "traded".  I didn't even get to "Jon Lester" or any of the other names involved in this news.  I was in disbelief.  "This can't be right," I thought.  "Maybe my app is broken?"  Nope.  I looked ahead at a TV inside an airport bar that was tuned onto SportsCenter.  The big news story?  Cespedes traded for Lester.  My dad was to pick me up at the airport, and when he did, after the hugs and "welcome home's", we talked about the trade.  "I don't think this was a good trade," I said.  "We have a good thing going, why rock the boat?"  My dad still had confidence in our team.  "We should be fine.  I think Billy Beane knows what he's doing.  I still believe in us."  I told him I hoped so.  But his confidence wasn't reassuring, and neither were the many news and sports articles that claimed this trade for Jon Lester was what we really needed.  But I needed to trust in Billy Ball and things couldn't possibly go that wrong.

Wrong!  Wrong!  We started losing.  (Side note: Fate is not without a sense of irony.  The home game after the Cespedes trade was a t-shirt game.  The player on the shirt? Yoenis Cespedes!  Also, the team we played against that game?  The Kansas City Royals!)   At first I was mildly concerned.  I mean, all baseball teams go through a slump at one time or another.  And we were still in first.  But then the Angels started creeping closer and closer.  That's when I knew something was off.  I called the one person who could handle a paranoid, obsessive, superstitious fan: my dad.  On cue my dad tells me that the A's are fine.  I didn't quite believe him this time and my fears came true when the A's got swept by the Anaheim Angels.  At that point I started using a term I had read on the internet quite a few times: the Curse of Cespedes.  (Don't think curses are real?  Look up the Curse of the Bambino, the Madden Curse and the 27 Club.)  I mean, it makes sense.  Cespedes is Cuban and I'm pretty sure all Cubans learn at least a baker's dozen of curses before the age of 6.  (That last line wasn't as offensive as it could have been originally.)  The point is that basically everyone on the Oakland Athletics roster collectively forgot how to play the game they've been trained to play their whole lives.  It was like if I got into my car one day and suddenly forgot where my key went.  Team expectations started to plummet in a steady downward spiral.  I went from hoping my team reclaims it's AL West spot from the Angels to hoping my team just makes one of the final two wildcard spots.  And I could no longer talk shit the the Giants fans in the North, and the Angels fans in the South.  (That's probably the worst part of this whole experience.  The shame.)

It was towards the end of the regular season and I make a phone call to my dad.  By now he knows there's no way he can tell me the A's are doing alright.  The A's are fighting for the last wildcard spot.  But my dad is an optimist and he's not the type to say all is lost.  After I tell him about how much of a failure this season was he explains to me that the season is really only a failure if we miss the playoffs.  (Debatable.)  He says that once we're in the playoffs everyone is pretty much at ground zero and the title is as good as anyone's.  (Kinda true, except we would have to play in a one game playoff series to advance to the ALDS.)  "Look, either way you're going to justify this season.  Either the A's get eliminated and you say that the A's deserved it for ruining a season or the A's manage to win it all and you forget all about this nightmare."  (OK.  Fair point by my dad here.)  But first we have to make the playoffs, which we do.  And when we clinched that lost spot I didn't feel joy or excitement.  All I felt was relief.  For just a brief moment I could breathe.  But that moment wasn't very long.  The match-up was the Kansas City Royals, a team that hadn't made the playoffs since my dad was listening to Run-DMC on his walkman and Marty McFly was driving DeLoreans.  (Did I capture 1985 right?)  Win and we advance to play the Angels in the ALDS.  Lose and the season is over.  One game.  I didn't watch this game; I worked late that night so I missed it, but I'm almost glad I did.  I checked my phone three times that night for the score.  The first time was after the 3rd inning; the score was close but the Royals were up 3-2.  The second time made me smile.  The A's scored 5 runs in the 6th inning.  I thought the A's gear I had on was lucky.  The last time I checked was after I got off work and it made me depressed.  The score was 9-8 and the game went to 12 innings.  At first I thought Oakland won but quickly realized that my eyes deceived me and it was the Royals who were next to that "9".  I saw highlights that night to make sure it was real.  Had I seen the game live I might have actually cried.  That was the end of that season.

(Don't watch this if you're an A's fan.  It hurts too much.)

So who do we blame for this?  Do we blame myself and the other A's fans that prematurely predicted a World Series?  Do we blame Billy Beane for making that trade?  Or do we blame Cespedes for cursing us on the way out?  We could blame the other players for sucking at their jobs at the wrong times.  What if it was Lester who brought the bad luck with him?  We'll never know and this is leading us nowhere.  Instead let's talk about good things, because in sports there's always good things.  The bad moments remind us of the good times and sets us up for the great times.  There's always gonna be times like these, but it will make it that much sweeter when I finally do get to witness my team bring my city a championship.  So now that you've actually sat down and read all this we can get to the list of my 5 Favorite Oakland A's Teams.  I know I initially wanted to do a "Top 10 Players" but I figured might be more appropriate.  This is obviously subjective and I'm limiting this list to teams I actually witnessed.  So that means no 1989 Oakland Athletics (sorry pops) and definitely no 1972 "Swingin' A's" (sorry old guy at the bus stop who wants to talk to me about Rollie Fingers).  But before we get to that let's bring out an "Honorable Mention".

Honorable Mention: Pre-Cespedes Curse Oakland Athletics, 2014
Yes, this team for sure had a shot to crack top 5 or maybe even seize the top spot if it wasn't for the second half of the season.  Unfortunately half-seasons don't qualify on this list so a made up award will have to do.  But why did I love this team so much?  It gave me hope.  The Golden State Warriors have only recently become successful.  For most of my life they were a lottery team.  Since I started following the Oakland Raiders they haven't even smelled success.  But the A's made it OK to be a homer throughout the years.  The A's had some bad years in the past 13 years that I've been a real fan, but they also gave me some great years to cheer for.  So to me they were always my best hope for a championship to one of my teams.  That's why this year felt like a reward to me for cheering them on all these years and a reward for them for always giving me something to cheer for when my other teams made it hard to do so.  In a weird way we both deserved the first half of this season.  (We also had a rally possum as our unofficial mascot.)

Dishonorable Mention: Cespedes Curse Oakland Athletics, 2014
Read everything above.

5. Oakland Athletics, 2006
We're going back to my pre-teen years for this one.  The 2006 A's were memorable for me because it was the first time I ever got to go to a playoff game.  And even better I got to miss school for that playoff game.  The A's were playing the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS and my dad scored tickets for the game.  The only problem was that it was a school day and for some reason they have day games during the playoffs.  (One of the few things I don't like about baseball.)  Luckily my dad is a cool dad and told the school that I had a doctor's appointment that day and picked me up from school.  Although I'm pretty sure the school knew where I was going.  We beat the Twins but then got swept by the Detroit Tigers.  (The fucking Tigers!)  I liked this team though.  It had my boy Eric Chavez (more on him later), Mark Ellis, Bobby Crosby, Nick Swisher and the Big Hurt, Frank Thomas.  Even Marco Scutero would make some appearances pinch running.  And this is when we still had Barry Zito, a very good Barry Zito that wasn't being overpaid by the Giants.  I liked this year a lot.

4. Oakland Athletics, 2003
This was a really loaded team.  I refer to this year as the last of my golden era for the A's.  (The golden era for me spans from 2001-2003.)  Ramon Hernandez was our catcher at that point in time and I had no idea what a Kurt Suzuki was yet.  Eric Byrnes was not yet a starter.  We also had Mark Ellis, Scott Hatteberg, Jermain Dye, Erubiel Durazo, and "T-Long, Hit It Long" Terrence Long in addition to my favorite players at the time, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez.  (I can hear the McAfee Coliseum's announcer in my head.  And yes I'm aware that it wasn't the McAfee Coliseum yet in 2003 and I know it's called the O.Co Coliseum now, but it will always be called McAfee in my heart.)  Now when I said that 2006 was the first time I got to go to an A's playoffs game, I said that because that's the first one that I'm sure about.  I might have gone to see the A's play the Red Sox that year in the ALDS.  And I remember we lost that game because everyone on the bridge to BART was looking sadder than usual.  It may have been just a regular season game but there is a chance it wasn't.  My dad would know for sure.  I hope he texts me after he reads this to confirm.

3. Oakland Athletics, 2013
I love this team in particular because it reminded me why I love baseball.  After 2006 the A's weren't so hot.  I still went to the games but it wasn't as fun as it used to be.  I refer to 2012 as the Renaissance of the Oakland A's because we were able to pull out of the dark ages, but it was 2013 that really got me excited about baseball again.  And it gave me a team I could fall in love with too.  Let's see, we got Brandon Moss, Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson (he walks up to the plate to "Regulate" by Warren G and Nate Dogg), Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes, whom I just started to really dig.  Plus our pitchers weren't scrubs, especially Bortolo Colon.  That year I felt like we were ready to take the next big step.  Our ALDS match-up was the same as the year before: the Detroit Tigers.  We lost the year before, but this time we were going to get our revenge.  Well, it turns out I was wrong.  For the second straight year we lost to the Tigers.  (The fucking Tigers!)  But it wasn't a disappointment.  I felt like we were still headed in the right direction.  And above all else, I kept seeing "Bernie Lean" videos on YouTube at the A's home games.  Isn't that something to love?

2. Oakland Athletics, 2002
This was probably our best year in my lifetime.  This season is what the Moneyball movie was all about.  This was the season we won 20 games in a row, which set a new record.  I see the banner every time I come to the Coliseum through the BART entrance.  This team had the same basic line up as 2003 give or take a few players.  (Our pitching staff was amazing too!  Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson were our three best that year.)  2002 was just a better year though, and nobody had a better year in 2002 than Miguel Tejada who was AL MVP that year, but more importantly, my favorite player.  When you're 10 years old and you're watching baseball your favorite player is the one hitting those homers.  I remember no matter what the score was or what inning it was or how tired I was, whenever I heard, "NOW BATTING, SHORTSTOP, MIGUEL TEJADA", I would stand up and cheer as hard as I could.  At that moment of time I didn't quite know the significance of that season as much as I do now, but I did know I was having some of the best fun watching my baseball team win.

1. Oakland Athletics, 2001
No, we weren't as good as the 2002 team, but I love this team the most because it was the first team I fell in love with.  Me and my dad had gone to see the A's play before, but this was where I really became an A's fan.  By this year I knew who everyone was on the roster; I wasn't asking my dad who Jeremy Giambi or Jermaine Dye were.  And I knew who the good players were.  I knew that Miguel Tejada was our best player and that's why he became my favorite.  I knew the rules of baseball; my dad taught me how to keep score using the programs at the game.  You remember the years when a team is not just your dad's team, it's you and your dad's team.  That was 2001.  I had mentioned Miguel Tejada being my favorite player, but I also have to mention Eric Chavez.  Chavez was probably my second favorite player of all time.  He was the third baseman with the Golden Glove.  (Literally.  The guy had like six of them.)  He was never as good as Tejada but Chavez was a staple in Oakland for a long time.  I think he spent 13 seasons in Oakland.  Even when other players came and went, Chavez was always there. So when Eric Chavez was no longer on the team it was more than noticeable.  It was like a part of the A's soul was missing.  If I went ahead and actually did the "Top 10 Players" list, all I know is Miguel Tejada would be number one and Eric Chavez would be number two.  Beyond that I couldn't tell you.

Well that's it.  I'm torn as to who to root for this World Series.  One the one hand I hate the Giants, but on the other hand the Royals knocked us out.  I'll go for the Royals so at least I can say we lost to the World Series champs.  I hope you enjoyed this blog.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @ELGUAPO3 and @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME respectively.  Be on the look out for more posts and if you're an A's fan just remember you're not alone.  Stay Guapo out there!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Can You Believe It's Already Been a Year?

Hey people!  I'm back with another post, a special edition post.  Why?  Because today is a special day!  Today is me and my girlfriend's one year anniversary!  (I know, right?)  One year!  Un ano!  (Haven't figured out how to type in Spanish yet.)  Uno anno!  (That's Italian.)  You get it.  So what better way to celebrate than me sharing a blog on the amazing things my girl brings to the table.  Since we've been together a year and a year is comprised on of 12 months, it's only fitting that I come up with a list of the 12 greatest things about her.  Coming up with more than 12 great things about my girl was easy.  The hard part was narrowing them all down to the top 12.  This list is in no particular order.  Let's get started.

1. She's Beautiful
Let's get this one of out the way.  I'm not a cheese ball so I'm not going to say something ridiculous like I only care what's on the inside.  Don't get me wrong, personality goes a long, long way (we'll get to that), but I wouldn't insult anyone by failing to mention that I am very attracted to her.  She has one of the most endearing smiles.  Her eyes are hypnotic and her complexion is perfect.  She's got amazing legs and she's thick, a key component.  I also enjoy **** **** ** *** ********* **** ** *****.  (This part was edited out at the end when I realized my mom will probably end up reading this too.)

2. She Makes Me Laugh
She's probably one of the goofiest people I know.  The inside jokes we have are more than abundant and she can never fail to make me at least chuckle.  There are lot's of people who think they are funny, but my girl actually is.  Not in a stand up comedy kind of way, nor in a clown-like way.  Just in a I-know-you-and-I-know-how-to-make-you-smile kind of way.

3. She's My Opposite
In many ways she is my opposite, the perfect foil.  In what might seem like just two totally different people actually has made a lot of sense in this relationship.  We both have what the other one lacks.  In that sense we are able to get new perspectives and get out of our shell.  I really like me.  But I would hate to date someone like me and my girl is not like me.  Someone once said opposites attract.  I thought that guy was an idiot.  Turns out he may have been right.

4. She's Sociable
I guess she's the opposite of K. Dot according to his "Control" verse.  ( I never had the chance to make a "Control" reference at the height of its popularity.  Sue me!)  But this is a quality I really admire.  She's not shy which means I can throw her into any mix of people and she would be fine.  She tries to get to know people and make a good connection.  This quality actually made it possible to meet.  Some people don't like meeting new friends (a la Drake) but sometimes doing so can lead to great things.

5. She's From the Bay Area
Well, she's from Richmond, which is part of the Bay Area.  It's just not a part I am particularly fond of.  All jokes aside it's always great to meet people from my home and even better to have someone who I'm intimate with have that connection with me.  Let me just jot this down on paper (internet paper), people from the Bay Area are awesome, and in general better people from LA.  (Stings doesn't it.)  Don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends from LA who are dear to me.  My point is, like the Beach Boys said they wished "they could be California Girls", I wish they could all be Bay Area girls.

6.  She's the Right Amount of Crazy
Let's settle this now: all girls are loco.  Psychos.  Crazy.  Insane in the membrane.  That's fact that I'm not gonna bother debating.  But that's not all bad.  And there is such a thing as the "right kind of crazy".  Too much crazy and a girl will fly off the handle and you might not live to see tomorrow.  Not crazy enough and you spend your weekends looking forward to sitting around and reading newspapers for fun.  A little crazy adds some excitement to your life.  It leads to new adventures.  Honestly, everyone should have a little crazy in them.  I think my girl is just crazy enough for me.  Not so much that I fear for my life.  I could always be wrong, in which case look out for my name in the obituaries.

7. She Has Good Values
I grew up with parents who taught me the right way to do things.  ( I may not have always listened.)  But the values that were instilled in me by my family, the Church and all those who shaped my life are very much important to me.  It's always good to find someone with a good heart for helping others, a good spirit for keeping the faith in God and a good mind for keeping the values of love, care and support.  She is a good person with all those great qualities.

8. She Is Willing to Learn & Teach
Like I mentioned earlier the great thing about me and my girlfriend being opposites is than our flaws and strengths are able to cancel each other out in a way.  There are certain things that I'm particularly good at that my girl struggles with and vice versa.  The great thing is that she is willing to learn and grow from what I'm able to teach her.  At the same time she is able to teach me things I wouldn't be able to learn on my own.  What good is a relationship if there is no learning and growing involved.

9. She Is a Great Singer
My girl has a voice.  A very lovely one at that.  She can sing and it's not a talent everyone has, and yes that includes me.  Sometimes it's just good to sit back and enjoy the talents of my girlfriend.  Especially on a long road trip, when the road seems like it goes on forever, the sound of a beautiful voice breaking the silence can make a big difference.

10. She Somehow Likes Me
I'm not the greatest man to walk on Earth and I'm nowhere near perfect.  (I'm just really handsome with a cool blog.)  But it feels great to have someone who truly likes for who you are.  And not just the good parts, but the flaws too.  Someone who appreciate all the wrinkles and support you abundantly with any dream or endeavor you may have.  I'm lucky to have that and I appreciate it very much.

11. She's a Great Cook
When she cooks it's pretty much a done deal that the meal will be amazing.  Yeah sure, the food will not be very healthy (she hates veggies) but it will be damn delicious.  My mouth is watering at the thought of her cooking.  Not a lot of people's cooking can do that.  So it's safe to say she's part of an exclusive group.

12. She Makes a Bad Day Good, and a Good Day Better
This is really an understatement.  Everybody has bad days and most of the time people have to pick themselves on their own.  Sometimes it's just good to have someone there to lend a hand.  At the end of a rough day she can make me smile.  And sometimes at the end of a great day she  can be the icing on the cake.  I said I wasn't ranking this list, but if I was this probably takes the cake.  It's for all these reasons, and then some, that I love her as much as I do.

Well that's my time folks.  Can't spend my whole day writing.  Thank your taking the time to read this.  Sorry that I haven't updated my blog in a while.  The last time I wrote was probably the piece on Robin Williams and so I might have needed some time until my next post.  But keep a look out for my new projects.  A few announcements:  unfortunately I don't have HBO and can't keep up with Boardwalk Empire.  Thus I can't update Infinite Wisdom on Boardwalk Empire.  Sad, I know, so that project is terminated.  It had a great run and I loved doing it.  No worries, a new special project is coming soon as well as new posts for the main blog.  As always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @ELGUAPO3 and @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME respectively.  I'm gonna spend some time with my girl so have a great day and stay Guapo out there!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams, Suicide and Painful Memories

This isn't going to be one of those funny posts.  I'm usually in a laughing mood.  I tend to make a joke out of a bad situation in order to cope with it.  Sadness makes me uncomfortable.  But sometimes it's unavoidable and that's life.  Today I'm just going to give my thoughts on a tragic event that happened recently, Robin Williams' suicide.  It's an event that affected me a lot more than I thought it would and, like most people, really got me shook up.  I'm not here trying to start a debate on suicide.  I'm not gonna get sucked into an argument in which there is no clear winner.  I'm just here to give some perspective on a subject that's very personal to me.  Everyone has their opinion on suicide; I'll try to keep mines to myself.  I don't know if what I'm saying makes coherent sense.  I'm not sure if I really care.  I'm not even checking for grammatical errors.  (Although I'm usually not very good at grammar when I try.)  I'm really just trying to grab my bearings the best way I know how.  Maybe you'll learn something about me.  But that's not really my aim.  I just want to write until my soul hurts a little less.  If I make any jokes during this post just know that I'm not being insensitive on purpose.  I do it as a therapy to myself.  I do it to give myself a break from the tough subject I'm writing about.

So on the 11th of August my co-worker Obi tells me that Robin Williams is dead.  I immediately think it's a hoax.  They once announced Jeff Goldblum had died and that turned out to be false.  But lo and behold I get confirmation from the internet that the beloved actor and comedian is dead.  Not only that, but he hung himself.  This hit me like an RV (reference to a bad movie he made) for two reasons.  One, it's Robin Williams.  People die all the time.  Celebrities die all the time.  The world moves on or doesn't depending on how much that particular person.  I'm not saying that I value one person's life over another but if a person has made a big impact on your life it's going to hit you more than someone who had a smaller impact on your life.  That's just the truth.  Robin Williams was an amazing actor who starred in amazing movies and performed brilliantly.  His latest movies had been duds but naturally happens with most actors who are in the game as long as Robin Williams was.  But in his peak he put out some amazing work.  Good Morning, Vietnam was a classic.  Dead Poets Society had a profound effect on me.  Not a lot of movies can move people.  Dead Poets Society was a movie that could move people.  And no one on earth could have played Keating the way Robin Williams did.  That's just an opinionated fact.

Didn't like Hook.  Aladdin is one of my favorite films of all time.  It was a movie I saw many times growing up.  Again, no one could have played Genie the way Robin Williams could.  Without Robin Williams it wouldn't be the same movie.  It would be one step above Oliver & Company.  (Note: I actually like Oliver but let's face it, it's not in Disney's Hall of Fame.)  Mrs. Doubtfire was both touching and funny, something that couldn't be done without Robin Williams.  I owned Jumanji on VHS and I can't even count how many times I saw that movie.  Saw the first half of Flubber on cable.  I liked what I saw but never got around to the rest of it.  Bicentennial Man was underrated.  And anything I could say about Good Will Hunting or Robin Williams' performance as Sean McGuire would be the biggest understatement in world history.  And that's not all Robin Williams did.  The point is that there was no one like him and there never will be.  My grandma loved Robin Williams and she doesn't really even understand English.  I don't know if that makes a point but I just wanted to rattle off a fun fact.

The second reason this death hit me so hard was the fact that it was a suicide.  It's hard to imagine that someone so full of life would take their own.  You don't expect it.  You don't look at someone and think that person is going to kill themselves.  But this happens.  And it happens for a variety of reasons.  The reasons don't matter.  Someone died.  It's sad and it's tragic.  That's that.  Anyone who knows me well enough knows why suicide is such a touchy subject to me.  Suicide is already a touchy subject in general, but I've had to deal with it in my lifetime.  When I was in elementary school I went to class with a kid named Anthony.  He was a good friend of mine.  He was always so vibrant and full of life.  He was different.  That's what I liked about him.  Everyone at my school tried to act a certain way.  That's basically every school.  Anthony didn't care.  This kid was smart and for some reason being smart wasn't considered cool in my school.  It just got you bullied.  Anthony didn't seem to care that him being smart and him being different didn't make him cool in everyone's eyes.  I remember once for spirit week he made his own costume and showed up as Captain Underpants.  Yes, that's right.  From the book.  I thought this was the most amazing thing in the world.  You don't think people like this are going to commit suicide.  But then they do.

We had a camping field trip coming up in 6th grade.  I remember the last time I talked to him he was telling me about ticks or bugs that could bite you when you go camping.  The next morning I wake up like every other morning.  I push my dog, Toby, off me and get ready for school and head downstairs.  I see my mom is on the phone and she has this look on her face.  There's an atmosphere in the room that could only be compared to the atmosphere in that room when we were watching 9/11 unfold on TV.  My mom hangs up and walks over to me.  She embraces me and holds me tight.  I know bad news is coming.  And I know it's going to be really bad.  All she says is, "One of your classmates is dead."  Everything fell apart there.  Immediately I start sobbing uncontrollably.  For some reason I know who it is.  I don't know how i knew, but I did.  I'll never be able to explain it.  I'll never bother to try.  My parents decided to come to school with me.  They set up two meetings at school, one for the parents and one for the students.  They tell us that Anthony is dead.  They don't really bother to tell us anything else.  I'm done crying at that point.  I'm in public and for some reason my pride came before anything else at the point.  I hear from teachers that he had an accident tying knots (Anthony was a boy scout and proud of it)  and accidentally hung himself.  That's just a gentle way of telling us he committed suicide.  All the students talk about why it happened, everyone feels responsible for it.  I felt like I should have seen it coming if I was such a good friend.  People made RIP shirts with his picture on it.  People talked about how great he was, even when they knew they were the same people who made fun of him.  I'm not going to say their responsible for his death.  Who really knows why except Anthony and God?  But that's just what happened.

I didn't go to Anthony's wake or funeral.  Death makes me feel uncomfortable and at the time I wasn't ready to face the reality.  I battled depression for a while after that and even considered suicide at one point.  I never planned it out and I never did it.  I thought about the affect it had on me and the affect my suicide would have on my loved ones.  I'm not making a comment on whether that was a result of courage or cowardice.  He made a decision and I made another.  Let's leave it at that.  At my 8th grade graduation my class sang "I'll Be Missing You" by Diddy (P. Diddy at the time) in tribute to our lost friend.  I had the honor of announcing the song at the graduation ceremony.  (Note: the school wanted us to change the lyrics so that the song wouldn't be about Biggie Smalls.  We ended singing the original version anyway.)  After that I spent the years battling depression.  I always believed that Anthony was comfortable with who he was.  Whether that was true or not I was just trying to discover who I was.  When I was finally able to find closure was about the same time I started to feel comfortable in my own skin.  I don't battle with depression anymore and when I think about Anthony I tend to be more smiles than tears.  But sometimes the tears do come back.  That's natural.  And that's what happened when I heard about Robin Williams death.

But the point of this is not to sulk about important people you have lost.  Nor is it to incite a debate.  The point is just to cherish the people you love and to celebrate their life when they are gone.  It doesn't matter at the end why Robin Williams or Anthony committed suicide.  They did.  They were both tragic when they happened.  But we celebrate their lives and what they gave us.  You don't look at a loved one and think that they are going to kill themselves.  You just love them as much as you can.  I don't know if anything I've written makes sense to anyone and frankly I don't give a shit.  I feel a little better.  Go home and tell your family you love them.  Not because it might be the last time you see them or some stupid shit, but because you do love them.  Just appreciate life while it's still here and stay Guapo out there.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Hello guapos and guapas!  This is the one and only El Guapo coming to you from Infinite Wisdom.  Now, I'm aware that my movie reviews haven't had as much success as my other posts (the reason why I didn't expand and start reviewing porn), but for those who appreciate me shedding some light on Hollywood's latest releases I have a duty to perform.  I had the pleasure of catching Guardians of the Galaxy opening weekend and had a positive experience.  Truth be told I wasn't sold on this movie when the announcement first came out at Comic Con a year ago.  I hadn't even heard of the Guardians.  I asked one of the only people that I know who could have possibly known who these guys were, my dad.  Well, he didn't know either.  The first trailer came out and I thought it looked OK.  Possibly a little cheesy.  Maybe I'll catch it at the RedBox, I thought.  When I made my list of the summer movies I had to see this year I left Guardians out.  My dad told me to give it a shot.  He said I might really like these characters.  (Keep in mind my dad has no idea who these guys are.)  As the second trailer came out and as the release date approached I started to have a change of heart.  Plus, seeing as Marvel would probably try to tie this franchise in with The Avengers, I figured I didn't want to catch the movie missing some major pieces of the story.  Out of everything that stood out about this film, the most notable were the characters.

Peter (Star Lord) Quill
Chris Pratt has quietly become one of Hollywood's biggest actors and will possibly be a household name in the near future.  I remember when I first started watching Parks & Rec I didn't think much of Chris Pratt outside of a comedic role.  He's funny, there's no denying that.  But back then I couldn't picture him as the lead in a Marvel movie.  Sometimes when an actor is too funny it's hard to picture them in any other kind of role.  I mean some actors have that kind of range, (not that I'm saying Pratt could hold his own in a biopic of JFK) but could you imagine Zach Galifianakis in non-comedic movie or show.  (Just checked his IMDb page, all comedy from the ones I could recognize.)  Pratt was also pretty chunky, which I guess coincides with the theory that fat people tend to be funnier, but again makes it harder for anyone to picture as the lead in a superhero movie.  

But Pratt put in some hours in some non-comedic projects that were successful.  He played Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball, a story about of the best teams in baseball, the Oakland A's (Yeah, bitch), and was even in Zero Dark Thirty, the movie that should have won Best Picture at the 2013 Oscars. (It's all politics, kids.)  Sure, he did some comedic roles during that stretch including Movie 43 (awful), Lego Movie (allegedly good), and yes, he was still doing Parks this whole time.  But this role was somehow perfect for Chris Pratt.  I'm having a hard time picturing anyone else playing Peter Quill.  I've heard/read some people calling Star Lord the poor man's Han Solo, but I think that's unfair.  I say he's the middle class man's Han Solo.  Regardless, Pratt gets to flap his feathers as the lead in a superhero flick and he is a natural.  He's got the charisma and beefing himself up also helped a big deal, but it's his comedic talent that really comes through for him.  With Guardians being a hybrid between a superhero movie and an action comedy, Chris Pratt is given the perfect situation to shine.  But most importantly, he won my approval as a lead in the upcoming Jurassic World movie.

The least funny of the quintet, but she's not there to be funny.  Zoe Saldana plays the sexy and fierce assassin Gamora and in the process started the puberty stage for many young boys in the audience.  (Zoe went from playing a sexy blue alien to playing a sexy green alien.  I think I now have an alien fetish.)  Again, perfectly cast.  Gamora made this movie as exciting as it was and Zoe was able to find the right middle ground of being intoxicating and thrilling.  Other than Avatar and Star Trek, I haven't been that impressed with Zoe's roles, but I guess she's just one of those actresses that, in the right situation, can really come through, and in the wrong situation, become forgettable.  But not this time!  This time she nailed it!

I guess wrestlers aren't bad actors.  Dave Bautista plays Drax, a warrior seeking revenge for the death of his family who also happens to not understand metaphors.  (One of the funniest gags of the film)  He doesn't have the responsibility of carrying the movie like Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana do, but Bautista does a well enough job that I didn't spend the entire movie wondering why they decided to cast a professional wrestler.  He was funny when he needed to be and showed signs up potentially being an action movie star.

I'll admit I'm not the biggest Vin Diesel fan.  I don't go to his fan club meetings.  I don't get excited when I see his name in the credits.  His best movie (series) has to be the Fast & Furious franchise and it's not like he's the best thing about that either.  (I probably rank him as the 5th best thing about that series.  Ouch!)  But sure, he's given us those movies (even though I think they should have stopped at Fast Five) and I liked XXX, but I consciously skip the Reddick movies on cable and he gave us The Pacifier which should cancel out every single good movie he's ever been a part of.  (That's why I ignored typing Saving Private Ryan.)  Is it all Vin's fault?  Could it be bad writing?  A bad agent?  Bad Acting?  Whatever the case this was his best performance in a while, lending his voice to say the words "I", "Am" and "Groot" and even throwing in a "We" at the end.  (Ironically, Vin's voice might be top 3 in a list of things I don't like about him.)  Regardless, Groot is a lovable character and it makes me mad that I have to give credit to Vin Diesel.  So instead I'll give Vin 12% (which is better than 11%) and give the rest to the crew.

I knew I was going to love this guy before I walked in the theater.  Bradley Cooper (probably the most accomplished actor of this five-some) lends his voice to this character.  Rocket is exciting, funny, sarcastic and is a perfect compliment to the rest of this group.  Bradley Cooper does a fine job here, even if he is using some kind of Boston accent while playing a talking raccoon who happens to be an expert on arms and explosives.


So here we have the perfect blend of characters, with actors who got the job done.  This wasn't by any means the best movie of the summer, but it wasn't trying to be.  Like I said earlier, this movie isn't so much a standard superhero movie as it is a cross between a superhero movie and a action comedy, leaning more towards the comedy.  It wasn't aiming to be The Dark Knight, or even Captain America.  It definitely wasn't trying to be 12 Years a Slave or Zero Dark Thirty.  It was merely trying to entertain you with some quality action scenes and visual effects, and at the same time make you laugh.  This film did its job.  So how do I rank it?  It's tough because I have to factor in the attempt of the movie.  If this movie was trying to be more than it is, then it failed.  It's like if someone said they were going to make you an omelette and they make you an egg.  They failed even if it was a good egg.  But if someone says they'll make you an egg and they make you a pretty damn good egg they succeeded.  The problem is that he only made you an egg so it's hard to stack up against the good omelettes you had yesterday and the day before that.  Which is why, even though I really liked this movie, I had decided to give this movie an "Ight".  But then I remembered the soundtrack and said, "Fuck it, I don't have that long a life span anyway" and gave this shit a "Guapo". 

That's my review.  Check out the movie if you haven't.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.  @ELGUAPO3 for my wise tweets @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME for my Guapo photos.  Keep on the lookout for more of my posts.  Have a great day and stay Guapo out there! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Legacy of Baron Davis

Baron Davis.  BD.  Doom Dizzle.  Like most people El Guapo had a few heroes growing up, whether they were close family members, celebrities or even athletes.  Baron Davis was one of those heroes.  Now, those not old enough might not know who this man is but take it from someone who lived through the Baron Davis Era, he was really good.  Baron Davis' adventure begins in Los Angeles, South Central to be exact.  Baron played ball for Crossroads, a prestigious high school in Santa Monica, where he was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year and was selected to play in the McDonald's All American High School Basketball Game.  So he was pretty good in high school.  (All that was just paraphrased from his Wikipedia page.)  He stayed local and ended up playing college ball at UCLA.  He was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (back when it was still Pac-10) and declared for the draft after his sophomore year.  So he was pretty good at this basketball thing.

So from 1999 to 2005 Davis spent the beginning of his career with the Hornets (both Charlotte and New Orleans.)  Baron was a special kind of point guard; he was big and strong and could post up smaller guards but at the same time was quick and had a handle.  He was a natural scorer and an extremely creative passer.  He was less a traditional point guard, but rather an athletic scoring point guard.  Baron even competed in the slam dunk contest one year.  (He lost.)  The dude led the Hornets to the playoffs a couple times and was selected to the All-Star game twice, albeit once he was a replacement for the injured Vince Carter.  Baron was good enough to make the All NBA Third Team as well.  His problem however was that he couldn't stay on the floor.  As athletic as he was he continually suffered injuries in the latter years of his stint with the Hornets.  So in 2005 Baron Davis was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis (right?) and a new stage in Baron's career began.

(He'll be back)

At this point of time my Warriors weren't very good.  Mike Montgomery was our head coach; Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy Jr. were our second and third best players.  But we had J-Rich, who I've mentioned is my favorite player of all time.  When I first heard about the trade for Baron Davis I can admit to not knowing a whole lot about him.  So I asked my dad if he was good.  His response was, "Yeah.  He's one of the top 3 point guards in the league."  I still haven't forgotten those exact words.  Now was this declaration true?  We'll get back to this.  What I did know after the end of that season was that Jason Richardson and Baron Davis were made for each other.  One an athletic point guard with superior passing skills and the ability to get to the rim, the other a freakishly athletic two-guard who could jump out the gym (no Dominique) and knock down threes.  The Warriors still weren't very good, but at least I could always be excited about watching them play.  But Baron brought something else to the table that was missing.  Two things actually.  Number one, he was a leader.  Jason Richardson was never quite the leader that Baron was.  Richardson could help the team win games, but Baron could take control of the game.  Number two, Baron was clutch.  (Really.)  J-Rich had hit his share of game winners and could knock down shots when it counted, but Baron is who I trusted with the ball when the game on the line.  He wasn't just the most clutch player on our roster, I'd say he was one of the most clutch in the league.  There was something about the ball in Baron's hands with less than 10 seconds on the clock that just felt safe.

(Love the Pirates theme song with the mix!)

However, after his first one and a half seasons with the Warriors, Baron couldn't get the Warriors to the promised land, which was basically the playoffs.  I remember Jason Richardson promised the fans that the Warriors were going to make the playoffs the following season after a disappointing '06 season; nobody believed him.  Yet the '06-'07 was a special season.  We had Don Nelson take over as coach, we traded away Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy for Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington, Monta Ellis emerged as a dependable scoring option and we had a gang filled with lovable losers ready to take the Warriors to the playoffs.  But there was one leader throughout this magical campaign, and his name rhymed with Karen Mavis.  (It's Baron Davis.)  Sometimes he would rock the high knee socks, sometimes he wouldn't.  Sometimes he had the headband going, other times he left it home.  But what remained constant was his high energy game, his leadership, his beard and his ability to hit the big shot.  It was a tumultuous season, to say the least, with all the injuries, especially to Baron Davis and Jason Richardson, but the Warriors made a push and made it to the playoffs.  What you have to understand was that the last time this happened was 1994 and I was one year old.  This was like the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, obviously on a much smaller scale.  (We made the playoffs, the Red Sox won the title; our playoff drought was 13 years, their championship drought was 86 years.)  But still.  That year was an ensemble effort with everyone doing their part, but it was Baron who showed up to play hero, both in the regular season and the playoffs.

That exciting playoff run was capped off with a (successful) dunk over Kirilenko in the second round of the playoffs versus the Utah Jazz.  I remember watching the game from my living room.  The Warriors had blown the game open and Baron had been having little trouble getting to the rim.  You knew where he was going as he turned the corner.  As he picked up speed I could see Andrei Kirikenko in the corner ready to meet him at the basket.  I knew this wasn't gonna end well for AK-47, but what happened completely stopped my heart.  I saw Baron rise up and then I saw AK-47 rise up and the next thing I heard was a "Bam!"  My eyes saw Baron ram the basketball down the basket while a good, yet obviously foolish, defender was left to be the victim.  My mind kept playing the dunk over and over again until I was rewarded with a replay.  That was the moment you could be proud to don the Warriors jersey.  You could put that poster up on your bedroom wall.  It was imprinted into our memory banks; we'll never forget it, Baron will never forget it, Kirilenko will definitely never forget it.


The next season Jason Richardson was traded, which was a huge bummer for me.  I was shocked and it took me a while to get over it.  But Baron stayed being Baron, and somehow even better.  Yes, Monta and Captain Jack also stepped up, but Boom Dizzle was still our leader.  He still pushed the ball and executed Nellie ball perfectly.  His passes were still on point.  He was still one of the top point guards in the league.  He could still hit that turn around shot.  He could still juke his defender and then fade away.  He could still get to the rim.  And when we needed him most, in the clutch, he was there.  He was even able to stay on the floor for 82 games.  (Got his knees working and shit!)  If there was any season he deserved to make the All-Star team as a Warrior, it was this one.  The Warriors were even better than the year before, but even after winning 48 games the Warriors failed to make the playoffs in the super tough Western Conference.  (You know whose fault is that?  David Stern!)  No worries though, we have some good players, a great coach and Baron will be back next year to take us to the playoffs again.

(You know who it was going to)

Wrong!  Wrong!  That didn't happen.  Instead Boom Dizzle opted out of his last year of the contract and left the Warriors.  Worst of all, he went to the Clippers!  (The fucking Clippers!  Pre-Blake fucking Griffin Clippers?!?)  It was our version of LeBron's decision, again, obviously on a smaller scale.  An era had ended.  Al Harrington wanted to leave, Monta Ellis would fuck up his ankle in a moped accident (dumbass!) and Stephen Jackson was our best player by default.  I felt betrayed, yet I didn't burn my jersey like some idiots.  (Talking to you Ohio!)  Baron spent the next three years in Los Angeles, never quite playing the basketball he played in Oakland, nor taking the Clippers to the playoffs.  He got to enjoy one year of Blake Griffin, the highlight of that year being allowed to throw a basketball out of a Kia at the Slam Dunk Contest so Blake Griffin can jump over the hood and dick riders can say he jumped over a car.  But that's neither here nor there.  I booed when he came into town but eventually my bitterness turned into pity.  I wasn't liking what was happening to Baron.  He deserved much more than his body and teams were giving him.  He went to a LeBron-less Cleveland next and soon was relocated to the Knicks, probably the best team he was on since '08, where he backed up Jason Kidd who was the back up for Raymond Felton.  That's not the way you want your hero to go out.  After that the next time I saw him he was on NBATV before last year's playoffs talking about how great the crowd is in Oakland.  After the Donald Sterling fiasco I read some article about how Baron Davis personally felt discriminated in his interaction with Sterling.

(Told you he'd be back)

That brings us to this last Sunday.  My co-worker, his friends and I went to see some Drew League basketball.  If you don't know what Drew League is, it's a summer basketball league in South LA sponsored by Nike at Drew High School.  Sometimes notable basketball players show up to play.  On Sunday I got to see Nick (Swaggy P) Young, the player formerly known as Ron Artest and Terrence Ross, just to name a few.  But then I saw a familiar face with a familiar beard.  Baron Davis was in the building and he was going to suit up and play some ball.  The first thing I noticed while his team was doing lay-up lines was how much weight he put on.  Baron was never really keen on staying in shape, especially the during the latter years of his career, but Baron looked straight up fat.  (I remember meeting Baron before one of the games during his Golden State years and asking for an autograph.  I got to meet the guy who I tried to emulate on the court!  Even in my excitement I could notice that this basketball demon was a little on the pudgy side.)  If I didn't know any better I'd think he was just someone's dad who thinks he's still got it.  (Talking to you Dad!)  I wasn't even sure if he was going to start.  "Baron can't go out like that!," I told my co-worker.  But he did start and I was curious to see how he was going to do.  I expected he would run the point for a while, get tired and sit down.  (You know, fat people stuff.)

(Old Man Davis)

Wrong!  Wrong!  (These are happy "wrongs"!)  When I tell you Baron still has it, I mean Baron still has it!  No, he wasn't as fast as before and no, he wasn't dunking on people.  But even in his fat suit he was still unguardable.  His jumpshot never left and neither have his handles.  Terrence Ross tried locking him down and Baron just shot over him.  Metta World Peace tried putting the clamps on Baron and Baron shook him with those crossovers.  Baron was making wrap-around passes, quick cross over and fade-aways and I was having flashbacks.  There was a moment in the game when Baron's team was up 9.  Metta World Peace hit a three to cut the lead to 6 and then his team scored again cutting the lead to 4.  It was the 4th quarter and we were approaching the last minute of the game.  It was Boom Dizzle time.  Baron dribbled the ball down the left side of the court and started to post up his defender at the perimeter.  He turns around and fades away behind the three point line... buries it!  Next possession, the exact same play.  Baron turns around and fades away from behind the arc... dagger!  Moments later the game was over.  Everyone was wowed by Baron's performance but I had seen it before.  It was just like watching him with the Warriors, except with closer seats.  I went home and immediately started looking up old YouTube clips.  I ended up learning that he was trying to get back in the league.  My mind started to do gymnastics and picture Baron donning the number 5 for the Warriors once more, backing up Steph Curry and putting on a show.  I know that's not happening, but a guy can dream, right?

(Hol' up!  Lemme catch my breathe!)

So was Baron Davis ever an elite player, so much so that my dad's "top 3 point guards in the league" comment was warranted?  Let's find out.  I used basketball-reference.com to do some research.  (I cite my sources because I'm a college student and shit.)  We're gonna look at two seasons in Davis' career.  1) the '03-'04 season which was his best as a Hornet 2) the '07-'08 season which I would argue was his best as a Warrior.  I'm going to compare his stats with other top point guards in the league in each respective season.

  Baron Davis-             22.9 ppg; 7.5 apg; 4.3 rpg; 2.4 spg; 39% FG%; 32% 3P%
 Stephon Marbury-      20.2 ppg; 8.9 apg; 3.2 rpg; 1.6 spg; 43% FG%; 32% 3P%
Jason Kidd-                 15.5 ppg; 9.2 apg; 6.4 rpg; 1.8 spg; 38% FG%; 32% 3P%
Sam Cassell-               19.8 ppg; 7.3 apg; 3.8 rpg; 1.3 spg; 49% FG%; 40% 3P%
Steve Nash-                 14.5 ppg; 8.8 apg; 3.0 rpg; 0.9 spg; 47% FG%; 40% 3P%

Verdict: Jason Kidd was without a doubt the best point guard in the league at the time.  He lead the league in assists per game, was the best player on a good New Jersey team was was 1st team All-NBA.  After that though you can definitely make the case that Baron was a top 3 point guard in the league.

Baron Davis-              21.8 ppg; 7.6 apg; 4.7 rpg; 2.3 spg; 43% FG%; 33% 3P%
Chris Paul-                 21.1 ppg; 11.6 apg; 4.0 rpg; 2.7 spg; 49% FG%; 37% 3P%
Steve Nash-                16.9 ppg; 11.1 apg; 3.5 rpg; 0.7 spg; 50% FG%; 47% 3P%
Deron Williams-         18.8 ppg; 10.5 apg; 3.0 rpg; 1.1 spg; 50% FG%; 40% 3P%
Jason Kidd-                10.8 ppg; 10.1 apg; 7.5 rpg; 1.7 spg; 39% FG%; 39% 3P%

Verdict: As much as I hate to say this, Chris Paul was the best point guard in time at this point in time.  He led the league in assists and win shares and led his team through a great regular season, but not very far in the playoffs.  (As usual.)  After that you could try to squeeze Baron behind Steve Nash at number 3, but Deron Williams wouldn't be a bad choice.

(The glory days)

So there you have it!  Baron Davis was a good point guard who played for the Warriors, lead them to the playoffs, dunked over a Russian (?) dude, left the franchise in ruins, had his body betray him (much like he betrayed a certain young boy), retired, got fat and started lighting up a summer basketball league in Los Angeles.  I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed reminiscing.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @ELGUAPO3 for Twitter and @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME for the 'Gram.  I took the liberty of leaving you a Baron Davis YouTube mix for you enjoyment.  (Note: for you guys who spend the time to create YouTube mixes of our favorite players, you da real MVPs.)  Enjoy your summer and stay Guapo out there!  (Especially you Baron.)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dawn of The Planet of the Apes Review

Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition on Infinite Wisdom.  I am your host El Guapo, or as I'm better known south of the border, El Guapo.  Over the weekend I had the pleasure of catching the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  I was really excited to write my review but seeing as the World Cup was yesterday I didn't want to release a blog post that would be dwarfed by all the World Cup news.  It's like announcing you lost your tooth at a funeral.  For some reason people just won't care.  (Yeah Mom!)  Also I was to busy watching the game/sulking after the game to even write.  But I'm here now so let's get this bad boy going.

Very well written screenplay by the writers.  As I've said before, you need to have a solid plot in order to avoid being a Michael Bay movie.  (Had this movie been directed by Bay, there probably would have been more explosions, less meaningful dialogue, less character development and complexity, and there would definitely have been a young attractive girl.)  The plot was complex but easy to follow.  The movie had a message and the story kept you interested.  The people who wrote this screenplay also wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes so I wasn't surprised about how well this was written.  (I praised the writers in my review of Godzilla.)  Also, seeing as the same people are writing Jurassic World I'm pretty damn excited.  This is how you do sci-fi movies!

If anything this movie is about the characters and their relationships.  Yeah, we could talk about the human characters but the real stars were the apes.  It's about the relationships between the apes and the relationships between two different "peoples".  Once you're watching the movie you forget that you're watching two apes talk to each other in sign language.  You see a father talking wisdom to his son.  You forget that you're seeing an intelligent chimp and a human trying to communicate each other, you instead see two different people trying to establish trust.  Of course there's always someone to fuck things up for everybody.  In the human camp, it's a nervous guy who breaks ape/human trust  because he lets fear get the best of him.  On the apes side it's Koba, the right hand man (chimp) of Caesar, whom we all remember from the first film.  Here's the interesting thing about this movie: there's really no truly evil villain.  Follow me on this one.  As bad as all of Koba's actions are, he thinks he's doing what's best for his "people".  He gets power hungry and all that shit in the process, but I really think he had good-ish intentions.  He endured tough experiences with humans and therefore was never able to trust them.  (But to be real, Koba did some really fucked up things.  Don't worry, no spoilers!)  And like I said when I reviewed Godzilla, it makes for a better sci-fi movie when there's less focus on a romance.  On a side note, how adorable was Maurice!?!  I might name my first born child after the orangutan.

Obviously with these types of movies you really want to emphasize on things like CGI and battle scenes and what not.  This one is a no-brainer.  Great stuff.  Battle sequences were on point, whether it was ape on ape or ape on human.  (That sounded dirty.)  The apes looked really good and it all helped in the process of forgetting you were seeing talking apes.  This was CGI done right with so much attention to detail.  It makes you wonder why so many sci-fi movies cheap out on the CGI bill.  It's like a burger joint cheaping out on the meat and getting discount patties.  Dawn is exactly what you want to see if you're looking for a great adventure/sci-fi movie to escape the dull world.  And more.

The Verdict
So it's pretty obvious this was a film I enjoyed.  The movie started good and as time went on escalated to its great status.  It was about 30 minutes in when I stopped thinking, "This is a pretty good movie."  It was then my mind went, "Damn, this movie is amazing!"  I didn't have super high expectations as I did with Godzilla.  But Dawn really delivered.  Being that these two movies are in the same genre I have to compare them.  While Godzilla is probably the film I was most excited for, I have to fair and give the nod to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  So seeing as I gave Godzilla a Guapisimo for a sci-fi/adventure movie, I have to do the same for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Thank you for reading this review.  Follow me on Twitter @ELGUAPO3 and Instagram @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME.  Have a great day and stay Guapo out there!