NBA Western Conference Part Two

With most of the country focusing more on the NCAA Tournament (and rightfully so, the wife and I absolutely love it every year), I figured it would be worth to dive into the Western Conference. For the record, my wife picked Gonzaga, and I picked North Carolina to win the entire thing. We do brackets each year and as of right now, we have the same number of correct picks (8 out of 10), so feeling pretty good so far.

Now, let’s take a look at the Western Conference as we are in the final ~10 games of the season.

Pretenders/Contenders: Looking at where these teams are now (Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Portland Trail Blazers. Since then, the Thunder have slipped to the 8th spot in the West (Warriors vs. Thunder in the 1st round? That would be an amazing matchup in all honesty and one I would salivate over). With the Thunder dropping down, the Jazz have stepped up, and while I love the Jazz, I definitely would put them in the pretender column while the Rockets are now contenders as they’ve really turned it on. This team was basically dead in the water during the first third of the season. Harden has been on a warpath. So, contenders are Warriors, Nuggets, Rockets and pretenders are Trail Blazers and now Utah Jazz.

Cellar-Dwellers: This list has grown to include the Los Angeles Lakers who have simply imploded since the trade deadline and are having one of the worst seasons of LeBron James career. That team is going to need a significant overhaul in the offseason and I don’t think even that will be enough. The reality is outside of partnering with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, James has never been a player that other top flight players want to play with. It’ll be interesting to see if he can really convince anyone to play with him in Los Angeles. Not seeing it right now.

The other team that is now on the bottom are the Minnesota Timberwolves. I don’t get it at this point. How a team with great talent in Karl Anthony Towns and solid talent around him can’t seem to get it together baffles me. A team with Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and others can’t figure it out? That’s scary and I don’t know if they will be able to turn it around. Towns will be looking to play for another team in 2-3 years and set this team back another decade in the process.

On the Bubble: This list is pretty tight at this point, with the Thunder/Clippers/Spurs. The Kings, who have had an amazing season considering where they should have been, will be on the outside looking in, but they should be proud of their season. I feel like the Spurs deserve a novel-length post because of their ability to overcome adversity time and time again to put together a team that could beat just about any team in the playoffs this year, save for the Warriors (though Pop would definitely frustrate the hell out of them). The teams that will be in the playoffs are set, all that is left to figure out is who will be in what spot as three games is all that separates the 3-8 seed and that will make the next two-three weeks a ton of fun to watch.

NBA Eastern Conference Part Two

A few weeks back, I began writing about the NBA and meant to go back to it, but didn’t get the chance to do so. We are nearing the start of March Madness and right after that, you have the NBA Playoffs. Since I wrote about the Eastern Conference last month, things have tightened quite a bit.

Contenders/Pretenders: Not much has changed here for me from our top four teams. Milwaukee has been dealt some difficult blows with losing Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic to injuries, which hurts their depth. While they should get both players back in the timeframe they should still be in the playoffs, the issue becomes knocking off rust and integrating them back into the flow of their team, which will be more difficult than anticipated. The only change for me here is that the 76ers are now my favorite team to make it out of the East. This team is legit with their starting five and the bench they have. Toronto is knocking on their door though, and I could easily see either of those two teams, but right now I think the 76ers are the ones making it out of the East.

Cellar-Dwellers: Obviously nothing has changed here.

On the Bubble: Since my last post, the Nets and Pistons have strengthened their position and should be in the Playoffs when they begin next month. The remaining teams then would be the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, and the Washington Wizards. While Charlotte and Washington are still in the hunt, in reality, they’re not. The Hornets have been in a tail spin since last month when they were technically in the playoffs and just do not have the firepower to keep their heads afloat. Meanwhile, the fact the Wizards are still in the race is a miracle after the horrenouds start to the season. This is a testament to how much Bradley Beal has exploded since John Wall went down with injury. That leaves the Heat and Magic.

For all intents and purposes, the Magic should be leading the charge here as they have been playing some of the best basketball since February 1 and had the best record in the month of February. Their issue is they usually find themselves beating the teams they shouldn’t be able to beat (Indiana, Toronto, Milwaukee) while losing to teams they should be able to beat easily (New York, Memphis, Cleveland). That tends to be their issue. Based on that thinking, they should go 6-4 over their last ten games, giving them a 40-42 record to end the season. There’s not telling what they will do.

Miami is not a team I love, one because of my deep hatred of them, two because of the makeup of their team. This is a team with a bunch of pieces that would be great on other teams as role players, but an entire team of them doesn’t make much sense to them. Then again, they seem to win when they need to. Hassan Whiteside is their best player and he’s coming off the bench right now. The Dwayne Wade retirement tour seems to have given the team a boost to get into the playoffs. The difficult part is there schedule down the stretch. As I write this, they’re playing the Spurs (and winning by 15). After this, they still have Milwaukee, Boston (twice), Toronto, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn.

I’m definitely biased, but I definitely think Orlando should make the playoffs and will.

Writing Day #1

One of my goals this year is to finally get back on track with my writing. To say I’ve gotten sidetracked is an understatement. When I was in my late teens, I was writing every single day. There were days I would just write through classes, ignoring the education my teachers were trying to bestow upon me. As time has moved on and the responsibilities of life has piled on, I’ve let my writing drift significantly, which is not something that I’m proud of. If anything, I’m deeply disappointed in myself for not following this dream of mine.

There are many excuses to make. The reality is I love creating stories and crafting a story. The difficult part at time is actually just sitting down and putting the time in on the words, to really flesh out the plot, and figure out the pacing of a story. There’s a part in my brain where I want to finish something as fast as possible, which is really a massive flaw, but the longer something sits on my brain, the worse I feel about it. I usually critique myself quite heavily so if it sits on my mind and conscious for too long then I usually tear it to pieces. So on some level, I let it just sit in my brain, and never touch it so I don’t have to shred it to pieces eventually.

There’s more I can say on this and I’m sure I will. The goal is to do some writing every single day. I’ve started work on a novel (I have like seven sitting on my hard drive in various states of unfinishedness. That is not a real word FYI.) and it’s an idea I really like. The goal is to finish it this year, go through a beta reading group, get a revision done on it, have an editor read it, and then try to get a manager/publisher for it. Well, really this year is to finish it. Next year will probably be the rest while writing another book. The goal is to find a healthy balance and not worry about how much I can write in one year (I can usually do a lot of writing when I put my mind to it), but get one project done a year. As the process becomes easier, then it will be easier to write more.

We have to start somewhere. Today, I just started working on the rough outline of the plot beats of the story. I’ll finish that tomorrow and then work on a chapter by chapter outline. I actually have written about 3000 words of the story as I figured I needed to get it out of my head and onto paper.

Here’s to tomorrow. And the day after. And with each word I write, 1000 words will come after it until there’s some 80000+ words written for the first manuscript.

Notebook Page #1

As I mentioned originally, this would also be a place for me to treat this as a notebook page to keep track of things. Tonight, that’s what I’m going to do. So ignore the below, because it will more than likely just be boring.

Thursday
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #5
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #6

Friday
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #7
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #8

Saturday
– Finish watching WM2
– Record WF #4

Sunday
– Watch 1/2 of WM3
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #5
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #6

Monday
– Watch 1/2 of WM3
– Record WF #5

Tuesday
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #7
– Record 1/2 of SM Podcast #8

Okay, thanks! Much appreciated for you letting me just jot down nonsense, but it makes sense to me at least.

Just a Few Thoughts

Not much to write about today. The last handful of days has seen me write a plethora of words, so I figured I’ll keep it tight today and pick it back up tomorrow.

The past few days have been a whirlwind as I’ve been diving deep into a number of passion projects I’ve kind of let linger, from podcasts to writing, and I have to say I’ve felt so much better by putting my creative energies into them. I wrote about on my birthday having dealt with depression last year, but I’ve honestly never felt better about myself, my marriage, and my dreams as I have in the last few weeks while really getting back to what I truly enjoy.

If you read this, thank you for taking the time. I sincerely appreciate it.

NBA Western Conference

To say that I’m on a NBA kick right now could possibly be an understatement. Part of me really wanted to write about about LeBron James lack of leadership throughout his career less than twenty-four hours after he threw his teammates under the bus once again. Not quite positive which players he is referencing to, considering two key pieces, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram, that were continually mentioned in trades for superstar Anthony Davis, went 21-for-34 from the floor and scored 56 points. So obviously, he’s not talking about them. He’s ready to throw out blame, but the other day when the team had 17 turnovers, of which he had 6, he didn’t want to blame the turnovers for their loss because that would mean he has to blame himself.

I could write all day about the lack of leadership and my overall disdain for LeBron James (he’s a great player, make no mistake about it, but he’s not the G.O.A.T.), but I want to continue taking a look at the other half of the league before diving into other topics this week (and probably coming back to talk about the teams on the bubble this weekend.

Contenders/Pretenders: When looking at the top five teams in the conference, it would be very easy to say there is only one real contender to come out of that group and that would be the Golden State Warriors. With by far the best starting five in the league now that DeMarcus Cousins is back, and it’s not even close outside of the Philadelphia 76ers, and a good enough bench that consists of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Jordan Bell, there’s no doubt the Warriors are the odds on favorite to make it to the Finals out of the West as well as winning the NBA Championship once again. When you have a starting lineup that consists of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant (and I put them in that order because Curry is better than Durant, it’s not even a conversation to me). This is a team that can be the best offensive and defensive team on the court 90% of the time when they really want to be. The only ones who can beat them (and I know it’s cliche), is themselves. I think one last pursuit for a title though will ensure they’re in the Finals and taking home the title before Durant moves on to another team.

The second best team in the West are the Denver Nuggets and there’s plenty to like/love about this team, starting with Nikola Jokic. The Joker is one of the most gifted big men in the league when he applies himself and he’s been doing a better job of doing just that over the course of this season. He can dominate the game in so many facets and when he’s doing all of them at the same time, he’s nearly unstoppable. In a league that values players doing all of it (scoring, rebounding, passing) all of the time, he’s definitely one of the best ten players when he’s on. The rest of the Nuggets adds up to a really well balanced team with the likes of Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap providing the consistency you need from the team. From there, the team is deep with the likes of Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Will Barton, and more. Keep in mind that there big draft pick from the offseason was Michael Porter Jr., who has the full potential to be a stud, and hasn’t played at all this season. In addition, they just welcomed back Isaiah Thomas, which if he can integrate himself into the team, will just add another weapon. When I started looking at this, I really thought they were pretenders, and this is a team I like the makeup of, but they could very well be contenders. They’re right on the edge and while this team is right on the edge, next season will be there year to shine.

The next team is a real contender, second to the Warriors, and that team is the Oklahoma City Thunder. If you don’t follow the sport very closely and someone asked you the best player on this team, you would answer Russell Westbrook, which is not a wrong answer. It is this season though. The best player this year on the team is Paul George and it’s not even close. George, in the years since his devastating injury, has continued to get better and better with each season and this season has definitely been no different. Taking over the Thunder has provided this team with an ability to destroy teams on any given night, because their second best player is Russell Westbrook. When you have those two on the court every night, you have a chance to beat everyone in the league handily, including the Warriors. Westbrook is the pitbull you want in your corner every night as he has the ability to have a 40 point triple double every single night of the season. Around those two, you have Steven Adams, who provides them with the toughness they need down low, and Dennis Schroder, who can score twenty points off the bench in a hurry. The recent signing of Markieff Morris provides the team with depth this team has previously not had before. This team has just enough to be a contender, and if the Nuggets/Thunder faced off in the playoffs, I would anticipate it going seven games, but at the end, the Thunder would pull off the final victory needed to advance.

The next team on this list are the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that I don’t think they really know how to play when it matters the most. I would die to have Damian Lillard on my team every night of the week, but it’s what surrounds him that usually lets him down the most. The second best option on the team is CJ McCollum, who is a fine player, but he’s not even nearly as good as Klay Thompson. I like Jusuf Nurkic down in the paint, and the recent addition of Enes Kanter gives them another big body that can do some damage, but as you keep looking at the team, you just realize they don’t have much in terms of depth or firepower to keep up with the other teams in the league. Right now, they would face the Houston Rockets in the first round, and I don’t know many experts around the league who would pick the Trail Blazers over the Rockets. This is a team stuck in the middle with no next step to take. It may be time to start over with this team as every piece under Lillard is replaceable at this juncture.

The Houston Rockets are the final team in this section and they are a pretender team. It’s shocking when you consider the fact that a season ago, they were a powerhouse that were virtually unstoppable. If Chris Paul doesn’t go down with a hamstring injury, then they were marching on to an NBA Championship. The team though lost the wrong pieces while trying to keep Chris Paul, who is on the back stretch of his career, and as a result they had a horrendous start to the season, and lack the depth they need to be serious in the playoffs. James Harden is a scoring genius, to say the least, and he will easily score 40-50 points each game in the playoffs, but it’s what after him that makes a difference. Paul is too injury prone and is not the same CP3 we saw even a year ago. Clint Capela is a great piece, but will need to get back into playing shape after suffering an injury earlier this season that has kept him out for an extended period of time. The other pieces on this team aren’t really worth mentioning because they’re not pieces any contending team would really want beyond the 8-10 spot on the roster. The reality remains they’ll probably get out of the first round thanks to Harden, but a series against Warriors/Thunder/Nuggets would see them bounced from the playoffs in quick fashion.

On the Bubble: Okay, this post is already running long and we are going to circle back to these teams over the weekend. Right now, there are six teams competing for the final three spots in the West. The teams in right now are the Utah Jazz, the LA Clippers, and the San Antonio Spurs. The teams on the outside looking in are the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, and LA Lakers. At this point in time, and it’s really close, but I don’t see the Kings or Lakers making the Playoffs. I’ve been beyond impressed by the way the Kings have played this year as they have no reason to be this good, but they have a ton of good pieces that have the makings of an upstart team next year. The Lakers are a team that have no chemistry and do not trust one another. Out of the Jazz/Clippers/Spurs/Timberwolves, I would say the Clippers are the team on the outside when the season is finished as they traded away their best player in Harris right before the trade deadline.

Cellar-Dwellers: Now it’s time for a quick look at the other teams in the West:

  • New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis provided a death sentence to the Pelicans a few weeks ago and it looks like they’re going to be starting a rebuild shortly unless they net some great pieces for Davis (such as Jayson Tatum). I love some of the pieces on this team though, specifically Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle. It will be interesting to see what the team can return for Davis, but more than likely this is a team that will sit in the cellar for quite some time because of their poor management team.
  • Dallas Mavericks: This team has so much potential and living in Dallas, I can’t wait to see it all unfold. The future couldn’t be brighter for this team and hopefully an offseason that allows them another big player will help them reach those goals. Luka Doncic is in his first year and looks like a bonafide superstar. As a rookie. No player has looked as good as Doncic has in his first year since LeBron James. Doncic can do it all and he’s going to be a centerpiece for this team for the next 20 years. Then right before the trade deadline, the Mavericks made a trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis to the team that will give them a great 1-2 punch for the next ten years. The issue for the team is going to be getting the third piece they need and the right talent around them. Thankfully, Rick Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the league and can make gold out of nothing time and time again.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: They are a team that has slowly marched towards rebuilding, but they’ve had to do so kicking and dragging. They started the year off strong before falling apart and have now traded away Marc Gasol. They decided to keep Mike Conley, but he should be gone come the offseason. Their one bright piece is Jaren Jackson Jr. and they will get another top pick in the draft this offseason. This team is just starting and they will probably be bad for quite some time.
  • Phoenix Suns: This is a team that has been bad for a while now and rival the New York Knicks for ownership ineptitude. The fact of the matter is this team has so much talent on it that it’s going to waste. Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, TJ Warren, Josh Jackson, and Kelly Oubre Jr.. They need some experience on this team, they need a new head coach, and they need an owner to stay out of their way because this team has so much talent and the fact they haven’t done anything with it thus far speaks volumes.

Okay, I need to go and be productive in other areas of my life. I wrote far too many words about basketball.

NBA Eastern Conference

So, let me start off this by saying that I’m a lifelong NBA fan and one of my dreams has been to write about the sport. I absolutely love it, I devour as much as I can, and most of the time I’m on my phone, it’s looking at news and stats as it relates to the NBA. So more than likely, you will see me write quite a bit about the sport. I also am probably biased towards the Orlando Magic, which is great because as we enter the final 20-25 games of the season, they’re in a great position to make the playoffs. Yes!

With that being said, I wanted to offer some thoughts that I’ve had while looking at the Eastern Conference of the contenders/pretenders that will come out of the East, the teams on the bubble of making it, and what the future holds for the cellar dwellers.

Pretenders/Contenders: The teams that make up the pretenders/contenders section are those who are pretty likely to make the playoffs as of today. Those teams are the Milwaukee Bucks, the Toronto Raptors, the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics. Out of these five teams, I fully believe the Raptors and the 76ers are contenders while the other three teams are pretenders at this point.

Starting with the Celtics, you have a team with deep chemistry issues at this phase. This is a team that should be at the top of the league and the one true team that could go up against the Golden State Warriors. and yet as we enter the final stretch of the season, it’s painfully obvious that these guys don’t even like playing with one another. Kyrie Irving has blasted the team a handful of times, comments from the likes of Marcus Morris has shown the team is fraying, and the team has been woefully inconsistent throughout the season. Gordon Hayward hasn’t shown he’s fully ready to shoulder the load that was expected to him before his gruesome injury last year, Jayson Tatum has stayed fairly stagnant in his second season, and Kyrie Irving is too volatile to put stock in right now. The positives is the fact their bench is deep and feisty and they do have one of the best coaches in the league in Brad Stevens, but right now they’re in pretender status for me.

Next in the pretender column are the Indiana Pacers, which is of no fault to themselves. They’ve played amazing all season long and they deserve the spot they’re in right now, third in the East, but with the season-ending injury to Victor Oladipo they lack that go-to player for the playoffs. This is a team with a ton of fun pieces sans Oladipo such as Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. That sadly won’t be enough to push forward in the Playoffs right now, but they’re going to be a true contender next season.

The final team in the pretender column for me are the Milwaukee Bucks. They’re the best team in the league right now and when you have a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo, you really should be one of the best teams in the league. Giannis has taken the next step on his evolution to becoming one of the top ten players to have ever played the game. The thing that tends to be a sticking point for me is his supporting crew around him. Khris Middleton has had a borderline All-Star season, but behind that leaves a lot of questions. When the rest of your lineup consists of Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez, it definitely leaves questions of how far this team could truly go. They may get out of the first round (they should), but beyond that? I don’t see it. Plus, their bench leaves much to be desired.

The two teams that have the best chance of making it out the Eastern Conference are the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers. It’s no surprise though since these two teams made huge moves at the trade deadline with the Raptors grabbing Marc Gasol while the 76ers grabbed Tobias Harris. The Raptors are lead by Kawhi Leonard and have looked amazing throughout the season, thanks to the steady hand of Kyle Lowry (not playing his best basketball, but plays much better with Kawhi off the court which gives them a great 1-2 punch in that regards). They’ve also seen a massive leap from Pascal Siakam and are anchored by a bench that includes Marc Gasol, Jeremy Lin, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby. They have the starting five with the bench that will allow them to go deep this year.

The other team that is definitely a contender, though second to the Raptors (yes, I believe the Raptors will make the Finals), are the 76ers. This is a team with a stack starting lineup that includes Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris. Four studs to say the least. Since the trade they’ve gelled really well (though Jimmy Butler’s usage rate has dropped and will definitely be looking for greener pastures after this season) as they’ve ran the starting lineup to start and end the game while then rotating in their bench pieces to allow the stars to really shine and stagger it so it’s like a really long boxing match with Mike Tyson. The bench definitely leaves much to be desired, but when you get to the Playoffs, you usually see that rotation shrink and rotation with those four plus JJ Redick, TJ McConnell, James Ennis III, and Jonathan Simmons leaves them in a very good position to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

On the Bubble: At this point of the season, you have five teams competing for three spots. Those teams are the Brooklyn Nets (currently in 6th place), Detroit Pistons (currently in 7th place), and Charlotte Hornets (currently in 8th place). The first two teams outside of that bubble are the Orlando Magic (1 game back of the Hornets, 1.5 back of the Pistons, and 3 games back fo the Nets) and the Miami Heat (.5 game back of the Magic). Out of those five teams, I see the Nets, Pistons, and Magic making the playoffs. I could talk a lot about these five teams, and I will at a later point, but the reason I see the Hornets and Heat looking in from the outside comes down to the lack of scoring options after Kemba Walker for the Hornets and not enough consistency from the Heat.

Cellar-Dwellers: The race to the bottom consists of the following five teams, of which I’ll make a prediction on what the future looks like for that team:

  • Washington Wizards: This team is snake-bit. They have drama on top of drama between injuries to the likes of John Wall and Dwight Howard and largely inconsistent play (I’ve seen this team down significantly after the first quarter on multiple occasions to teams that are WORSE than them). Bradley Beal has looked like a real superstar since Wall has gone down, but there’s no positive outlook for this team. They’re going to be starting a rebuild pretty soon, whether they like it or not, because the pieces on this team just do not fit with each other.
  • Atlanta Hawks: This team I’m pretty unsure of. They have some great young talent in the form of Trae Young and John Collins. They’re going to have some good draft picks in this upcoming draft, two lottery picks depending on where the Mavericks finish the season (the Mavericks traded this year’s pick if it falls outside of the top 5 to gain Luka Doncic). The future is bright for this team, as they are still early in their rebuild, but could give it another two to three seasons and they could be a force in the East again.
  • Chicago Bulls: This team needs to be scrubbed from the top down in terms of their front office. They are one of the worst-ran teams in that regard. I love the pieces on this team though with Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Zach Lavine. I don’t know where this team is going though and the direction is going to largely fall on how these pieces develop. If they develop the right way, then they’re going to be in a very strong position. The front office though will make the difference in my opinion and right now, I’m not convinced they know what they’re doing in the least bit.
  • New York Knicks: Thankfully, I don’t need to waste my time writing a ton about this team. They’ve got nothing to really like outside of Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox, who are great pieces, but more than likely are not pieces that are the #1 option on a team. The reality is if this team doesn’t land a Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or similar caliber player in this offseason, they’re rudderless. Which really isn’t any different than where they’ve been the last few years. Nothing’s going to change until they get a new owner, if you ask me.

Man, that was a lot to write about just on the Eastern Conference, and I didn’t even dive that deep on five of those teams. I’ll write about them at a later date. Tomorrow, I’m going to dive deep on the Western Conference.

The 2019 Oscars

Well, tonight are the Oscars, if I’ve finished this post up at the right time. Most years, I’ve been fairly excited about the Oscars, but this year I can’t help but feel a bit apathetic towards it. I’ve seen a good chunk of the movies that have been nominated with the wife and I think we would both agree that this year there were a ton of good movies. A quick look at the movies nominated shows that we’ve seen the following:

  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Green Book
  • A Star is Born
  • Incredibles 2
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse

Wait… that’s all the movies we saw this year that are up for an Oscar tonight? Oh man. That’s not good. Now, there are definitely some movies we still want to see (BlackKklansman, The Favourite, Vice, just to name a few) and some movies we really don’t want to see (Roma, you come to mind. Sorry.). This post isn’t about who has been snubbed or who should win tonight (I fully expect Roma to clean house, which I’m sorry, shows just the gulf between what the Academy Award voters think versus the rest of the country).

This post is about access. And a little bit about price.

The wife and I live in Dallas and we have access to just about every movie that comes out in the country. We love movies and are usually consuming a handful of movies every week that catches our attention and that we want to see. The issue is we usually capture those movies at home instead of in the theater. Why you might ask? It’s the same reason a lot of people don’t frequent the theater any more; cost and time. For us, the biggest issue is the cost. Not the cost of paying for tickets and popcorn/soda (of which the wife and I ensure we are taking in the tickets when they’re the cheapest and sharing a popcorn/soda). No, instead it is the cost of getting a babysitter for roughly 3-4 hours. By the time we take that into account, we’ve added another $45-$60 to our total and that doesn’t count a dinner or drink, you know, time to actually have adult conversations that don’t involve children interfering into them every fourteen seconds, give or take a millisecond.

The simple truth is by the time these movies come out in a format that is digestable at home, we’re inundated with plenty of other movies. There’s a reason why last summer’s box office season was the second worst in terms of attendance in more than 25 years. Take into consideration what I just said. Imagine if you want to take your kids to a summer flick and the costs that come with it.

When you take into account that your Oscar movies are those that your children more than likely don’t want to see outside of the animated features and Black Panther, you’re paying a significant amount of money to see these movies when they’re out in theater. Now, there’s been a lot of talk about bringing these movies to your home when they launch in theaters.

GREAT IDEA!

In 2017, this very idea was floated out there. As the article suggests, studios would show you the movie in the comfort of your own house for $30. The problem is they wouldn’t show in the house until 30-45 days after they were released in theaters. You know, giving you plenty of time to avoid spoilers thrown out there on your friends Facebook timeline or your Twitter feed. By the time you would actually have a chance to sit down and watch that movie, it would be spoiled for you. The other hiccup is the movie theaters don’t want this to happen because they know people would stop coming to the theaters.

I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. The wife and I love going to a theater when we don’t have to pay an amount the equivalent to a car payment just to see a movie or two a month. The experience is tremendous. In Dallas, we have an abundance of your standard movie theater chains (AMC, Cinemark) while also having a great offering of premium theaters (Alamo Drafthouse, Studio Movie Grill, Flix Brewhouse). Usually when we go see a movie, we aren’t burdened with loud children or unruly patrons. The seats recline and are comfortable, plus you get the large format screens and sound systems that you could never replicate in your own home without the HOA seizing your house due to sound levels.

I think there’s still a market for that and when we no longer have kids in the year 2143, we will be going out to the theaters every single week (once again, on like a Tuesday night where we can get tickets for $5 — sorry movie theaters, we’re still going to be as cheap as possible).

The other half of the problem is the amount of movies released in just the last three months of the year. If we’re not getting out to the theaters to see the movies, then we have an onslaught of movies to see in the first 6 weeks of the year (if they’re released digitally in time for us to view them by January 1 which they’re usually not). When you look at the contenders for Best Picture this year, plus a smattering of other movies that make up the top movies of the year, this is when the movies were released in theater:

  • Black Panther – February 16
  • BlackKklansman – August 10
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – November 2
  • The Favourite – November 23
  • Green Book – November 16
  • Roma – November 21
  • A Star is Born – October 5
  • Vice – December 25
  • The Wife – August 17
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? – October 19
  • If Beale Street Could Talk – December 14

So that’s one movie released in the first half of the year, two movies released in August, and eight movies released after October 1. This obviously doesn’t take into account the myriad of other movies that were released in this timeframe that would’ve been huge draws that you want to see as well (Fantastic Beasts 2, The Grinch, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet). So by the time these movies are released at home, if you can’t make it to the theaters, it’s just too much to see.

So what is the solution? One, place your movies better. They all don’t have to be in the last 6 weeks of the year. I’m not sure why this always tends to be the case. Second, put the Oscars in March. Maybe you’ll get some better ratings even if more people are invested in the products you’re awarding! Third, these movies need to be available to watch at home at the same time they’re in the theaters. The advertising is in place for then, not when the movie comes out on Blu-Ray/iTunes.

The truth is my wife and I want to watch the Oscars tonight and feel tied in with the movies. We know these are some of the best movies of the year and have them on our list to watch. The reality is the audience the Oscars want are those with families, those with lives, those with jobs, etc. The audience for the Oscars shrinks every year. I wonder if the reasons I’ve listed above are the reason why more people don’t watch and less about because the superhero/blockbuster movies aren’t represented.

May the best pictures win tonight.

The Week That Was [2.24]

Phew. Lots of writing this week. At least I felt like it was. I have word counter on the site and it tells me that I wrote some 4900 words this week. I guess that’s a good amount? I figured I’d compile a link of posts I wrote for the week (not all of them, but some of my more favorite ones) to share with some possibly updated thoughts.

  • I turned 33 this week. Just a phenomenal week spending with my wife and my boys. Don’t really have much to add here except for the fact that I’ve been more creative in the past week than I’ve been in quite some time. Feeling so refreshed in that regards and hope I can keep it up.
  • Before the CPD charged Jussie Smollett for filing a false police report, I talked about the importance of a police department not letting stories leak out. I still stand by that. With Jussie, there’s no telling what was going on in his mind. I know the motive the CPD has laid out there is to make more money, but that just doesn’t equate in my head. More will come out about this, but the fact remains the CPD shouldn’t have been leaking news in regards to this case until all the facts were laid out.
  • I wrote not once, but twice about trolls attacking Rian Johnson and Brie Larson. Enough is enough. Cut off their voices because their voices only give credence to hate and bile. They should not be given an avenue to amplify their hate.
  • From a technology standpoint, I wrote about the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Games-as-a-Service with the launch of Anthem this past Friday. Nothing new to say here.

I’m happy that my posts provided some variety this week, but I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m working on a post for this afternoon in regards to the Oscars. I want to talk about sports this week. I want to continue to find interesting pieces and stories that are important to me from a pop culture standpoint as well as socially important. If you have something you would like for me to write about it, leave it in the comments and I’ll see if I have something to say about it.

Thanks!

Trolls. Trolls. Brie Larson and Trolls.

Man, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to write today. To say I had an AMAZING day with my family would be an understatement. Brunch at Nerdvana (a video game restaurant), a trip to Barnes & Nobles for the boys to take part in a LEGO Movie 2 build event, and an evening watching Avengers: Infinity War with margaritas. Today was all about me living my best version of life.

However, with all of that being said, there still is the reality that craziness is happening out in the world. Sometimes I feel compelled to comment. Other times, I just leave it alone. This isn’t one of those times. Man, I even talked about this very subject just a few days ago while being blissfully aware that Brie Larson was also facing the very thing that shouldn’t have to be faced.

I’m talking about trolls.

If you read that article, you will find that Brie Larson is being attacked and the Captain Marvel movie is being attacked because of a simple statement where she said as she is doing press interviews, she realizes there’s a large percentage of people in the room that are white men.

Really? Are we going to be upset about this?

SHE’S NOT WRONG.

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to get so upset and offended. I guess my issue is that we give these trolls, let me define a troll for you as a misogynistic, racist, bigot who can’t live with the idea that someone who is NOT them, which I mean looks like them, acts like them, thinks like them, has an opinion that differs from them.

For most of the 2000s, trolls were simply viewed as people who were on the internet and could sway popular opinion over a geek/nerd-centric movie (hello sci-fi, fantasy, superhero films). Obviously, these movies have moved away from being such a closed room and are readily in the pop culture lexicon these days. The definition of a troll has tremendously changed and those people who think like that deserve much worse vocabulary as troll thrown their way. I’m refraining from using much more colorful language on this blog for the fear that one day my mother or grandparents will stumble upon this blog (hi! And no, I’m not worried about my father reading this blog and seeing those words because my father would totally be in agreement with them).

We have to stop. It is time we as a society STOP caring what bigots, racists, misogynistic, sound bites have to say because they ultimately don’t bare any credence to the general mass. They represent, what, 1% of the buying public? I could be generous and give it 2%. The sad reality is that if you have part of a fandom (of which I’m part of many), you know the reality is there are those who are well-adjusted and appreciate it for it is, those who dive a level deeper and cosplay as their favorite characters (don’t worry, you all are cool!). A level deeper is where you get the obsessives who think they speak for everyone when they clearly don’t.

The problem is that articles are written on them (much like this one), moments on radio shows and podcasts are spent on them, and they ultimately suck the fun out being a fan for a property. Because they then control the media cycle, force celebrities off of Instagram/Twitter, and force their poison on everyone. Star Wars is a great example. Comic book movies is another.

The sad reality is these people are going to amount to being nothing more than people who can’t accept that the world around them is changing and changing for the better. Instead, they will be left with their own bit of bitterness. Let them. Stop trying to educate them or better them because they’re not capable of that. The fact they’re racist, bigot, misogynistic people should’ve given you that hint. Ignore them. Stop giving them a microphone or platform to speak on. This is who we ended up with Donald Trump.

As the days click down towards March 9th, the truth is that I can’t wait for Brie Larson to suit up as Captain Marvel. I’ve been waiting for years to see this. Instead of focusing on what the trolls had to say, who have no discernable contribution to society, let’s focus instead on what Brie Larson has to say, the person who has to live with this for every single day of her booming career.

There is not enough diversity in those rooms where she gives the same interview over and over again. We should do something to fix that.