Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Review Of "The Departed"

"When you're facing a loaded gun...what's the difference?"

Alright, before I review the most hyped movie I've ever hyped, here's a few things to bring to your attention:

Marty Schottenheimer is officially done in San Diego. Again, this doesn't surprise me at all. I mean when you have the "most talented" team in the NFL, which has been said by countless coaches, players, and analysts, then going 14-2 and not making it out of the Divisional Playoffs is completely unexectapble. Of course, when you play the Pats in the playoffs, rarely will you have the upper hand when all is said and done. However, when you look at that game, it really came down to the fact that the Pats were a much more disciplined and better-coached team than the Chargers. Countless times, San Diego continued to shoot itself in the foot, and it's only a matter of time when you face a team like New England that those mistakes will be taken advantage of on the other side of the ball. Marty simply does not have the prowess, or the control of his own players for that matter, to have been effective in San Diego in the postseason. Also, couple all of that with the situation between him and GM A.J. Smith, which has been described almost to the point of "hatred" between the two, and the other shoe was destined to fall on Schottenheimer. However, with all that being said, you could not have picked a worse time to fire your head coach. Already, four of the Chargers coaches have departed, including two for other vacant head coaching positions (Cam Cameron to Miami, Wade Phillips to Dallas), which means that they are going to have to hire a completely new staff in a very short time. With the combine only a month away, the Chargers are going to be looking at a coaching pool that is pretty weak right now. Had they had pulled this move right around when the Chargers got bounced from the playoofs, they likely would have had their choice of Cameron, Phillips, or perhaps even someone else that was looking for a head coaching position, like Ken Whisenhunt, who ended up in Arizona. If San Diego had a job opening, you would have to think it would have been the most attractive spot for a coach to end up at. You already have arguably the best player in the game (LT), a young and promising QB (Rivers), a franchise TE (Gates), and a defense that has a ton of star quality (Jawad Williams, Shawn Merriman, Quentin Jammer to name a few), so the Chargers could have basically had their pick of anyone they wanted to. Instead, they were hesitant about making the move until all of their coaches were gone, and once that happened, Schottenheimer really had no coaching link left, so the Chargers just decided to start all over again. It will be very interesting to see what direction San Diego will go on this. By far, the best two coaching candidates left have to be Bears' D-Coordinator Ron Rivera, and former Falcons coach Jim Mora, Jr. The early favorite seems to be Mora, who would be implementing the west coast offense with Rivers and Co., which he is more than ready to handle in my opinion.

Pitchers and catchers report on Friday for the Sox, and never has there been the kind of anticipation swirling around the team like it is this year. With so many question marks coming in, and a seemingly limitless potential, this are exciting times to be a Sox fan for sure. I will actually be heading to Punta Gorda, located about 30 minutes from Fort Myers, where the Red Sox hold their Spring Training, so hopefully, while I'm down there, I can see who's looking promising and all that (although workouts end before I get down there, at least I'm pretty sure on that, but still, I believe that they will have some morning practices, but we shall see). I know that if you are not a Sox fan, and you're reading this, you are probably under the impression that this is almost like "beating a dead horse" with all that I have already written, but the thing is that I'm just so excited to see how everything will turn out that I can't help but feel almost obligated to try and keep those of us who care up to date about how I feel that this team will do. There's never enough, in my opinon. So the beat goes on. Anyway, I really feel like this team will be coming into the 90-95 win plateau that they hit in 2003 and 2004. The pitching will be called upon more than ever to carry this team along, and when you have all those young guys and all the ageless veterans, and seemingly no one else in between, I can't help but feel incredibly anxious to see these guys in action. The more I've been reading about it, it's almost feels like the Matsuzaka story has almost been given more attention than the impending career home run mark that Barry Bonds is about to set (that is if he signs with anyone). I mean the fascination about the huge posting fee, the contract drama, the "gyroball"...it never ends! Now it's just like "ok, everything is done, now let's see this guy pitch already!" Obviously last season touched a nerve with the front office, because they started doing things they vowed never to do (no-trade clause for Dice-K, and becoming a double offender to the "no contracts over four years" policy they laid down, with J.D. Drew, and Dice-K again). Will their efforts in getting a few missing pieces (and replacing guys, like Gonzo and Nixon, who were crowd favorites, with a former Tampa shortstop and a fragile right fielder who's still not even on the 40 man roster) coupled with their ability to hang onto most of their young talent (the most pressure this year goes on three guys in my opinion: Pedroia, Papelbon, and Hansen; Pedroia has been light-hitting, but apparently, has gone through some transformation to being more of a power hitter, which is good considering he has an upper-cut swing, but will he be able to at least provide some adamant offense at the four-hole?; Papelbon will be in his first year as a starter, and after coming off a brilliant season, but one that was cut short due to shoulder fatigue, will he be able to handle a full season role in the rotation?; Hansen will inevitably be the closer, because he's got that good of stuff and, frankly, he's the reason why Papelbon is a starter, so will Hansen be able to conjure up some of the magic that Pap brought last year, or will they have to rely on a veteran like Brendan Donnelly or Mike Timlin to step in?) be enough to finally overtake the Yankees, who basically put it in neutral this year outside of getting Andy Pettitte? So many questions, but they will all be answered through the course of the season, which seriously could not be any slower to get here.

Ok, so I felt like I had to write some kind of opinion of what I thought about The Departed, and just as I had promised everyone that I talked to about this, I was at Wal-Mart last night at midnight to get this movie. So why did I make such a big deal of this, especially when you consider that I had never seen the movie until last night? Well, I just think that all of the implications going into the movie just had me so juiced to see it, that I immediately knew not only will I think the movie will be good, but that I would love it. And I'll tell you what, it did not disappoint in the least bit. This movie, right now, probably is sitting around #6 or #7 of my favorite movies ever, and I've only seen it once! But that didn't matter at all, because I haven't seen a movie like this one in a real long time. First of all, this movie does not hold back at all. There are literally no boundaries to which this movie could be contained by. It just keeps getting progressively better and better. A couple notes on this. First, I can't even believe how good Marky Mark was in this movie. I mean I've never been a huge fan of him in really anything he's ever done (I have not seen "Invincable," although I hear it's pretty good...also, "Boogie Nights" was a classic one), however, I loved him in this. From his very first line, you see a side of Wahlberg that you have never seen before. From the outset of the movie, and all the way through, the guy is swearing like a drunken sailor. It's pretty hysterical actually. Secondly, and this goes for pretty much every Scorsese movie of all-time, the soundtrack is awesome. I figured I would have to play "Gimme Shelter" to get myself reved up for this one, but it comes on literally 30 seconds into the movie, and then, is laced with the usual classic rock tunes, and also, a mix of some bagpipes and Irish-geared music, which I ate up with a spoon (oh, and also, "Thief's Theme" by Nas is featured, so there's something in there for everyone). The last thing I will say about this movie is that it is such an incredible ride and it doesn't stop until about 2 minutes before the end of the movie. I will not give anything away, but if you get up for a snack or for a bathroom break, make sure to pause this movie, because you will miss something. Since there are so many details in this movie, you really have to pay attention to how all the characters are and how they progress throughout the picture. So, I would suggest this movie to the following people:

1.) If you are from Boston, have family in Boston, know someone from Boston, or have any kind of fascination with anything to do with Boston.
2.) If mob movies intrigue you.
3.) If you're Irish.
4.) If you get your kicks by listening to fake Boston accents (like this guy), this is a definite (Jack Nicholson's is decent at best, and Anthony Anderson's is horrendous)
5.) If you liked Boondock Saints, it's kind of like that, but longer, and on acid.
6.) If you like good movies, and aren't really keen to bad ones, that would also be helpful.

Basically, this is a must see for anyone. Everything you've heard is true. This is an amazing movie. I had an idea that this would be an amazing movie, and it exceeded my expectations. It is that good, at least in my opinion, so do yourself a favor and definitely see it. Also, if you plan on buying the movie, pick up the collector's edition, which features a story on Whitey Bulger and the Boston mob, a Scorsese expose, and a feature of how Scorsese uses his knowledge of organized crime to make some of the best movies of all time. Very cool.

Alright everyone, take care. Have a good one. Peace.


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