Thursday, February 25, 2016

Leo's Quest

Award season is in full swing and Leonardo DiCaprio has a movie out.  That can only mean one thing: everyone and their momma is wondering if this is finally the year that Leo reaches the promised land and win himself an Oscar.  And he really has a shot this year.  He stars in The Revenant and is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role.  It's his 4th nomination in that category and 5th nomination overall.  (Leo was nominated for a Supporting Actor role for What's Eating Gilbert Grape.)  I heard a lot of great things about The Revenant so I went to the nearest AMC and peeped game.  Let me tell you, I was blown away.  It was an absolutely breath-taking, gorgeous movie.  I thought Alejandro González Iñárritu did a superb job directing Birdman last year, but he outdid himself this time.  Talk about a cinematic masterpiece.  Just beautifully shot from start to finish.  Plus, as co-president of the Tracking Shot Appreciation Club, (Omar De La Cruz is the other), I found myself drooling over what can only be described as tracking shots galore!  I'm calling it right now.  Your back to back Best Achievement in Directing Winner, Alejandro!  (Did I mention he's Mexican?!?)

Look, I don't want to get into a whole movie review about The Revenant.  I'm here to talk Leo.  If you want to read a great review about this film check out Liz Medrano's page.  Her take on the film is better than anything I could have come up with.  The only thing I can really say is that I personally loved and it earned the coveted Guapo Stamp of Approval.  The Revenant has a good chance of winning an Oscar.  I think Best Director is a lock.  Where does this leave Leo?  Does he deserve to hold that gold statue?  This was a really good performance by Leo.  I mean, this was some gritty shit he was pulling off.  So my next question then is, should we be rooting for DiCaprio to take home the gold?

You're looking at this question like I'm an asshole for bringing this up, but let me just start by saying I am rooting for the guy.  I love Leonardo DiCaprio!  He's the perfect mix of bankable movie star and great actor.  (Yes, there's a difference.  Tom Cruise is a movie star with some acting chops, Sean Penn is a great actor who you wouldn't exactly put on your blockbuster movie poster.)  I do want Leonardo to get his Oscar.  I think he already should have an Oscar.  Nobody could have played Jordan Belfort better than Leo.  I can't think of one actor who would have done a better job in The Wolf of Wall Street.  But McConaughey was riding a hot streak and was amazing in Dallas Buyers Club.  That's nobody's fault.  Leo has been a consistently great actor since the 90's and has an amazing IMDb page mixed with heavy box office hitters like Titanic and Inception and Oscar darlings like The Departed and Titanic.  (Titanic held the box office record for at least a decade and took home 11 Oscars including Best Picture.)  If Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in your film, you're either going to make a lot of money or take home some awards.  Sometimes both.  I want that guy to be rewarded.  But I find myself arguing the other way.  Hold on a sec.  Let me just play Devil's advocate here.  (No Keanu Reeves.)  Wouldn't it be better if the Oscars didn't give Leo the Oscar?  (GASP!)

Okay, somebody just threw a brick through my window.  Windows ain't cheap!  Somebody is going to have to pay for that!  But hear me out.  I have legitimate reasons of why the Academy should withhold giving Leo that golden statuette.  Yes, one of the reasons is because I am an asshole who takes pleasure in the misery of others.  I'm the type of person who would laugh at a fat kid getting stuck in a Chuck E. Cheese playpen.  On Tumblr I follow a page called The Agony of Defeat, which is just a series of photos capturing the the absolute anguish of athletes losing competitions and games.  In the words of Alfred, some men just want to watch the world burn.  But again, I like Leo.  I thought his Golden Globes speech about how the stories of the indigenous peoples needs to be told was a powerful statement that needed to be said.  I'm glad he's the one who said it.  And quite frankly the Academy has done him dirty with snubs.  Enough to post another edition of The Art of Getting Snubbed.  Some of them I get.  He wasn't going to beat Forest Whitaker for his portrayal of Idi Amin.  But how was he not even nominated for The Departed?  But since Leo is no stranger to snubs, why even break the cycle.  We have good thing going!  Leo makes a great movie, we love it, Leo does not get an Oscar, he makes another great movie.  He's like the Wile E. Coyote of actors.

Plus, with every snub he gets it feels like he just wants it more.  The longer the Academy holds out on him the more extreme his roles are going to get.  This last movie he was attacked by a bear, saw his son get murdered, and was left for dead in the cold snow.  Leo will go further than this!  He just needs a little push.  In a few years he might play a blind, gay guy who wants to be a boxer.  In 10 years he might pull a Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder and play a black guy.  Can you see Leo play Walter in a movie remake of A Raisin in the Sun?  Can you see the Academy nominate him and then crush his dream and not give him the gold?  Can you see the Academy nominate him, but not any of the cast played by black actors? (Serious, though.  The Academy does have a race issue.  Even deeper than that, I think Hollywood has a race issue.)  I want to see how deep this rabbit hole goes.  I think we owe it to ourselves to root for an Oscar hungry Leo to keep almost getting there.  Let's face it, Leo not having any Oscars is such a fun talking point.  It makes the Oscars that much more interesting.  Remember how fun it was to talk about LeBron before he had rings?  That's Leo right now. 

Suppose Leo did win an Oscar for the Revenant.  I see only two possible outcomes.  Scenario 1:  Leo wins an Oscar.  He gives a gracious speech about how hard he's worked.  He thanks everyone who was involved with the project.  He gives another speech about the stories of the indigenous.  He continues to make great movies for years to come.  He possibly wins one ore two more Oscars throughout his career.  That sounds good, right?  Well, let's look at scenario 2: Leo wins an Oscar.  He gives a Kanye-esque speech about he's the greatest of all time and the embodiment of art.  Throws a party that goes way over budget.  Begrudgingly agrees to make a Revenant 2.  That movie obviously flops.  It flops harder than Vincent Chase's Medellin.  Already having an Oscar, Leo just gets lazy and stops working for a while until they cut the lights out in his house.  He decides to work for Tidal as Director of Marketing to make some dough while he waits for new projects to find him.  He ultimately decides that Grown Ups 3 is his best option.  Leo plays the new mailman who is trying to steal Sandler's hot wife.  Grown Ups 3 gets nominated for an Academy Award: Achievement in Sound Mixing.  Leo spends the twilight of his career making Lifetime movies.  Is this what we want for Leo?!?  Save Leonardo DiCaprio; don't give him an Oscar.

El Guapo is a talented blogger on the rise, regarded by many as a cross between Homer and Socrates.  Through real life experience and expertise in many facets of life, the Guaps aims to provide readers with unique takes that will enhance the way they think and live.  Keep up with his main blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo’s Brain.  NBA fans have to place to go with his basketball blog, Infinite Wisdomon the NBA.  Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.  Leave comments in the section below.  Stay Guapo out there!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hanging Up the Cleats

With Super Bowl 50 in the books, it's time to stop talking about football.  I honestly don't care for the constant criticism Cam Newton has received.  It's a little harsh.  The Broncos shut down the Panthers on defense and Peyton got his second ring.  (Eli lost some bragging rights.)  The Panthers just couldn't put it together on the big stage.  There's no single person to blame, but the Panthers are a young good team and they could very well come back to the Super Bowl next year.  Personally, I really like Cam.  He's fun for the game.  I like the fact he dances.  If team's don't want him to dance, keep him out of the end zone.  That's what the Broncos did.  Fans who don't like Cam's dancing probably are bad dancers themselves and look silly when trying to dab.  Just know I'm all in on dancing in sports.  Sports on some level are supposed to be fun.  Now that I'm done with that little rant we can really stop talking about football.

HOLD THE PRESSES!!!! Marshawn Lynch is retiring!  And he retired in the most Marshawn Lynch way possible: by tweeting a photo of cleats hanging on a phone line withe the peace sign emoji.  His retirement will most likely go down as one of the three most notable retirements of this football season.  Calvin Johnson is retiring after 9 seasons with the Detroit Lions and everyone and their momma knows that Peyton Manning is most likely walking away while he's atop the mountain.  The careers of Megatron and Peyton are stark contrasts to one another.  Both are among the best in their respective positions.  Calvin Johnson was a dream to have as your WR1 on your fantasy football team.  Peyton was a general at the quarterback position.  But Megatron was stuck on a losing team for most of his career only making the playoffs twice throughout his career.  He really had no future with Detroit, though I think physically he had a lot left in the tank.  Peyton on the other hand had the long, booming career that now includes two Super Bowl rings.  He will retire with the feeling that he's accomplished everything he could accomplish.  It will be sad to see two football greats like Johnson and Manning walk away, but I'm even more down about Marshawn.

Yes, part of the reason I care more about him is because he is from Oakland.  It's no secret that I tend to favor Oakland/Bay Area people over others.  But it's not just that.  Genuinely, I think Marshawn was good for the game.  Players like Marshawn made the NFL just that more interesting.  He was a great fucking running back.  Beast Mode had six seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards.  It's not just that he's fast; he's fucking powerful.  There's a reason why he's Beast Mode.  Watching defenses trying to tackle Marshawn on a carry was like watching house cats trying to take down a tiger.  He made respectable players look like high school kids.  Among active players he's second in rushing touch downs.  The Seahawks were able to build an offense around his running game and become championship contenders for a good three or four year window.  (Having the Legion of Boom didn't hurt.)  Marshawn is walking away from the game with a Super Bowl ring on his resume.  I think he's a Hall of Famer.

I remember Marshawn Lynch when he played for Cal.  My dad went to Cal and he was a pretty big Lynch fan.  After Lynch was drafted by Buffalo I stopped keeping up with him, because who the fuck watches the Bills?  It wasn't until Marshawn was traded to Seattle that my ears perked up again.  It wasn't until his first full season in Seattle that Marshawn blessed us with his most marvelous performance.  The year is 2011.  It's the NFC Wild Card playoff game between the Seahawks and defending champs New Orleans Saints.  To be truthful I didn't see Marshawn's 67 yard TD run live.  I heard it on the car radio and it was pandemonium.  When I finally saw a YouTube clip of the run it was more amazing than it sounded.  In 20 years when my kids ask me about Marshawn I'll just show them that clip and they'll know.  They'll know.  Scratch that, I'll actually show them this clip with Demetry James' commentary.

He got a lot of flak for refusing to talk to the media.  One the one hand I see where the media is coming from.  They have a job to do and they have the right to do that.  But I empathize with Marshawn too.  Look, the media has a way of taking things out of context, blowing things out of proportion and misrepresenting the thoughts and opinions of players and coaches sometimes.  I think a majority of the media members are good professionals who avoid doing that.  But there are some media members out there who do make other media members look bad.  I can't blame Marshawn for not wanted to be a part of that.  If I had the choice between enjoying a nice bag of skittles or possibly having my words misprinted in a newspaper I would probably pick the Skittles.  I know a lot of media people were pissed off during last year's Super Bowl media week when Marshawn showed up and repeatedly said, "I'm only here so I don't get fined."  You know what?  They should be thanking him!  His media session was way more entertaining than most peoples'.  Are you telling me you'd rather listen to 10 minutes of Marshawn rambling about Deflategate?  Or about what Seattle is going to do against the Patriots?  Boring!

I'm going to miss Beast Mode, but I'm happy for the guy.  I can sleep well knowing that he's not going to go broke anytime soon  because he hasn't spent a dime of his football money.  His legacy will continue through his work in the community with his Fam 1st Family Foundation, which mentors youth on the importance of education and self-esteem.  Have a happy retirement Marshawn Lynch!  But feel free to un-retire in a year or two to join the Oakland Raiders.  (Unless that dick head Mark Davis moves team.)

El Guapo is a talented blogger on the rise, regarded by many as a cross between Homer and Socrates.  Through real life experience and expertise in many facets of life, the Guaps aims to provide readers with unique takes that will enhance the way they think and live.  Keep up with his main blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo’s Brain.  NBA fans have to place to go with his basketball blog, Infinite Wisdom on the NBA.  Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.  Leave comments in the section below.  Stay Guapo out there!  HOLD MY DIIICK!!!